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Homeowners: Beware of Door-to-Door Sales Scams

Homeowners: Beware of Door-to-Door Sales Scams

door-to-door salesDoor-to-Door Sales

Private companies may employ salespeople to go door-to-door selling a variety of water–related systems and products, including treatment systems and water heaters. These sales people ask to enter residents’ homes to view or inspect their water systems and offer water quality tests to homeowners.

They may falsely claim that Markham tap water is unsafe in order to sell a water purification system. Markham tap water is tested and safe to drink directly from the tap without further treatment or filtration. There is currently no mandate, from the provincial or federal government, or the City of Markham, requiring residents to install additional filtration equipment on their water systems.

Only laboratories fully accredited by the Ministry of the Environment and licensed to perform drinking water quality testing are authorized to perform health-based tests on municipal drinking water.

Markham does not engage in any door-to-door water quality testing or sales. If someone comes to your home claiming to be a City employee under these circumstances, please contact us at 905-477-5530, or contact the Ministry of Consumer Services at 1-800-889-9768. Any City employee visiting a residence will carry photo identification.

What To Do

Residents are under no obligation to let sales representatives into their homes.

If residents are suspicious of any sales people coming to their door, or if these persons refuse to leave when asked, residents are encouraged to call York Regional Police for assistance at 1-866-876-542. If they pose an immediate threat to your well being then please call 911.

We also encourage residents to report any visits to Markham’s Waterworks Department by calling or e-mailing the Contact Centre at 905-477-5530 or

read the fine printKnow Your Rights

(Courtesy of the City of Guelph)

The Ministry of Consumer Services provides the following tips, in relation to aggressive sales tactics:

  • Don’t sign on the spot. If the salesperson pressures you to sign, insist you need more time to read the contract, including the fine print.
  • Get it in writing. Ask about rental fees, installation, repair and extra service charges and promises, including warranties, and insist on getting the details in writing.
  • Ask for identification. Ask for photo ID, the name of the company the salesperson works for, and to keep a copy of any sales material that the salesperson shows you.
  • Be sure before you buy. Once a water heater is installed in your home, you will have to pay some costs if you change your mind. These costs include the rental payments still due when you terminate, the expenses the rental company incurs to remove the water heater, and charges for unreasonable or excessive wear or use of the water heater.

Under Ontario’s Consumer Protection Act, 2002, you have the right to cancel a contract if:

  • You change your mind—for any reason—within 10 days of receiving your written copy of the contract.
  • The business or salesperson with whom you signed the contract has made a false, misleading or deceptive statement. In this case, you can cancel an agreement for up to one year after you sign it. You also have up to one year to cancel if the agreement does not meet all the requirements of Ontario’s Consumer Protection Act.
  • The contract you sign is not clear or easily understood, or fails to clearly disclose key information you need to know.
  • You do not have clear information about your rights in the contract itself.

If you have questions or concerns about the supplier of any water system, purchased or rented, call the Ministry of Consumer Services at 1-800-889-9768 or email

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softening processDo I Need a Home Water Filtration System?

No. Markham’s water does not require boiling or extra filtration. It is completely the choice of the resident to install these home water filtration systems. These systems are very expensive to install and maintain.

Water Softeners and Hard Water

Water hardness refers to the level of minerals in a water supply (typically calcium and magnesium carbonate) and have no adverse health effects. It does however affect how well soap lathers and whether water produces scaling (mineral deposits) in pipes and household appliances. Markham water is relatively hard at approximately 123 milligrams per litre or 8.6 Grains per Gallon. Some may choose to use a water softener to prevent scaling and improve soap suds. These products use ions from salts, (potassium or sodium) to replace mineral ions causing hardness.

Water Filtration Systems

If you prefer the taste of filtered water, activated charcoal filters are the most common water filtration devices. These include filtered water pitchers and under the sink installations. Water is forced through the filter, removing particles and minerals and some of the taste and odours associated with the disinfection of our drinking water. They require periodic filter replacement to remain effective. There are maintenance requirements and filter replacement costs associated with each of these systems. 

Reverse Osmosis SystemsReverse Osmosis Systems

Whole House Reverse Osmosis systems treat the water at the point it enters the residence. These systems are designed for areas where water quality is compromised, such as poor quality well water. This is not the case in Markham as our water is of excellent quality, making these systems redundant and unnecessary. Reverse osmosis systems;

  • are energy and water intensive
  • discharge water that is high in chloride and salts
  • have costly filter replacement and maintenance requirements



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