Manitoba Media Bulletin: Consumer Protection Investigation Leads to Conviction

Following an investigation by the Consumer Protection Office (CPO) of Manitoba, a local businessman has been convicted of committing an unfair business practice against a Winnipeg consumer.

On July 25, Chris Bellamy, operator of Bel-Ami Home Improvements, pleaded guilty to one charge under the Business Practices Act.  Provincial court Judge Tim Killeen fined Bellamy $500 with an additional $100 for court costs, as well as ordering $2,900 in restitution to be paid to the affected consumer.

A CPO investigation determined that, in March 2011, Bel-Ami Home Improvements entered into a contract to supply kitchen cabinets to the consumer.  A deposit was placed with the company in good faith but the goods were never supplied.  The CPO investigation was presented to Manitoba Justice and it was determined that charges should be laid.

The Government of Manitoba is committed to protecting consumers and there are provisions in the Business Practices Act to ensure that businesses treat consumers fairly and do not mislead or deceive them.  The Consumer Protection Office is the agency responsible for the enforcement of the Consumer Protection Act and the Business Practices Act.

Manitoba consumers are reminded, before entering into a contract with any business for a product or service, they should take all reasonable steps to ensure the business is willing and capable of supplying the goods or service.  These steps may include getting three estimates, checking references from the business and contacting the Better Business Bureau for information on a business’s past history.  In addition, consumers should always read and understand the information before signing a contract. 

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