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B.C. man wins $4,600 heat pump dispute after rebates fail to materialize

Company offered to replace first heat pump with a rebate-eligible one for a further $4,500.
heat pumps 3
Heat pumps are becoming more common in B.C.

B.C.’s Civil Resolution Tribunal has awarded a man $4,600 against a heat pump installation company after federal rebates for the device promised by the contractor were denied.

Gerald Lysyk told tribunal member Peter Mennie that he hired Thomson Industries Ltd. to install a heat pump in his home. He said Thomson promised the heat pump would be eligible for the Canada Greener Homes Grant (CGHG); however, it did not qualify.

Lysyk claimed $4,000 for the CGHG and $600 for an energy audit rebate which he did not receive.

In the Feb. 8 decision, Thomson asserted the CGHG is administered through a third party and that it did not guarantee that the heat pump was eligible for this grant.

The company said it installed the heat pump and fulfilled all its obligations under the parties’ contract.

“Mr. Lysyk says that when he contacted Thomson he was told that the heat pump would be eligible for multiple government rebates, including the CGHG,” Mennie said. “Mr. Lysyk says he hired Thomson on this basis.”

Lysyk initially asked for a two-ton heat pump; however, the parties later agreed to increase the price so that Thomson could install a 2.5-ton heat pump that would work on all the floors of Lysyk’s home.

The ruling noted Thomson’s initial quote for Lysyk did not mention the CGHG or the type of heat pump that would be installed. Lysyk said a Thomson employee told him the CGHG was not mentioned because certain heat pump models were still being added to the CGHG’s eligibility list and Thomson needed to confirm the model.

Then, once the heat pump was installed, the company told Lysyk he had to apply for the CGHG himself.

“The CGHG requires a registered energy consultant to audit the heat pump before the rebate can be issued,” Mennie said. “Mr. Lysyk retained an energy consultant recommended by Thomson.”

Lysyk tendered an email from that consultant into evidence confirming that the heat pump Thomson installed was not eligible for the $4,000 CGHG because it was not certified by Energy Star. At the same time, Lysyk was also not eligible for a $600 energy audit rebate because he did not qualify for the CGHG.

When Lysyk raised that issue with Thomson, a Thomson employee confirmed that the 2.5-ton heat pump was not eligible for the CGHG.

“In a later email, Thomson offered to replace the existing heat pump with another CGHG-eligible heat pump for an additional $4,500 plus tax,” Mennie said.

Implied warranty breach

The tribunal said the case falls under the Sale of Goods Act (SGA) which says there is an implied warranty in every sale of goods contract that the goods sold will be reasonably fit for a particular purpose.

That includes, Mennie said, that the purpose of the sale is made known to the seller and that the seller’s business is to supply those goods.

The tribunal found Lysyk made it clear to Thomson he wanted to buy a heat pump eligible for the CGHG and relied on Thomson’s judgment in choosing the model.

“I find that Thomson breached the implied warranty imposed by Section 18(a) of the SGA by selling Mr. Lysyk a heat pump that was not eligible for the CGHG,” Mennie said. “Mr. Lysyk has proven that he did not receive the $4,000 CGHG or the $600 energy audit rebate as a consequence of Thomson’s breach. So, I find that Mr. Lysyk is entitled to $4,600 in damages.”