Frequently asked questions (FAQs)


1. What is a class action? (back to top)

A class action is a special type of lawsuit that is brought by one or more persons on behalf of a larger group of people whose claims share common legal issues.

Class actions provide a cost-effective way for groups of people with common legal interests to pursue a lawsuit. A class action allows groups of people to benefit from a legal case without them having to spend their own money on legal and other expenses and without having to manage all of the steps and obligations related to their own legal case.

2. What is this class action about? (back to top)

On July 25, 2016, a class action was commenced against OEG and Home Trust. The class action alleged, among other things, that OEG’s Lease Agreements failed to comply with legal requirements under Ontario’s Consumer Protection Act, 2002 and other applicable laws. The class action sought damages and other remedies.

3. What is the settlement about? (back to top)

A Settlement Agreement was reached on behalf of settlement Class Members to resolve the class action lawsuit against OEG and Home Trust.

The Settlement Agreement was approved on October 21, 2021 by the Superior Court of Justice.

The settlement provides for payment by the defendants of CAD $14,950,000 for the benefit of settlement Class Members, and other important benefits, including reduced-cost exit options, and up to 225 cancelled agreements in exceptional circumstances.

The settlement is not an admission by the defendants of liability, fault, or wrongdoing, but is a compromise of disputed claims.

4. Who can receive benefits under this settlement? (back to top)

The settlement includes all persons in Ontario who are or were at any time party to a Lease Agreement for Equipment with OEG, entered into between May 1, 2012, and December 31, 2016, except Excluded Persons.

If you opted out of the class action, you are excluded from the settlement.

If you had your own personal lawsuit or other dispute regarding your OEG Lease Agreement and you signed a document called a “release” with OEG or Home Trust, you might be excluded from the settlement. If you have questions about a “release” you signed, you are encouraged to Contact Us.

5. What benefits does the settlement provide? (back to top)

The Distribution Protocol provides that all Class Members will be eligible to apply for settlement benefits, whether they are currently in an active Lease Agreement (and still rent Equipment from OEG), or whether they previously bought out or terminated their Lease Agreement (and no longer rent Equipment from OEG).

The settlement benefits are summarized as follows:

Class Member

 

Benefits

You continue to rent Equipment from OEG under one or more active Lease Agreement(s)

  • Eligibility for a single cash payment representing a refund of a portion of monthly rental payments paid;
  • Potential eligibility for an increase to the single cash payment, where certain demonstrated individual circumstances apply;
  • Improvements to the Lease Agreement on a “go-forward” basis, including:
    • A reduction of the allowable increase of the monthly rental payment each year;
    • Access to a new lower cost buyout program, with fixed and transparent prices that decrease every year;
    • Other clarifications, enhancements, and improvements to your rights under the Lease Agreement, all of which is outlined in more detail in the Settlement Agreement;
  • A commitment from the defendants to a reasonable management of debts and arrears; and,
  • Potential eligibility to have your Lease Agreement cancelled, Equipment gifted, and arrears forgiven in exceptional circumstances. Such benefits will, except in limited cases as set out in the protocol, be provided in lieu of the single cash payment described above.

You have exited a Lease Agreement (i.e. you bought out or terminated your Lease Agreement and no longer rent Equipment from OEG)

  • Eligibility for a single cash payment representing a portion of the amount you paid for:
    • monthly rental payments before the date of your termination or buyout; and
    • your termination, buyout, and/or associated arrears, interest, and NSF fees; and,
  • Potential eligibility for an increase to the single cash payment, where certain demonstrated individual circumstances apply.

6. What are the improvements to ongoing Lease Agreements? (back to top)

Improvements made to ongoing Lease Agreements will be made on a “go-forward” basis, and apply to all Class Members, even if they do not submit a claim.

Improvements to ongoing Lease Agreements include:

  1. A reduction of the allowable increase of the monthly rental payment each year (capped at 2.5%, versus 3.8% previously);
  2. Access to a new lower cost Buyout Schedule, with fixed and transparent prices that decrease every year (a copy of the reduced Buyout Schedule is available here); and
  3. Other clarifications, enhancements, and improvements to your rights under the Lease Agreement, all of which is outlined in more detail at sections 2.2(3)-(10) of the Settlement Agreement.

A copy of the Settlement Agreement and other related documentation is available by clicking here.

7. I am currently in an active Lease Agreement with OEG – what are my options? (back to top)

Class Members in active Lease Agreements with OEG have the following options:

  1. By submitting a claim and providing information to the Claims Administrator, your lease agreement may be considered for one of the cancellations under the Settlement Agreement. Cancellations will be selected after the conclusion of the claims process.

    Class Members who do not receive a cancellation can otherwise arrange for a reduced cost buyout or termination with OEG, together with receiving a cash payment from the Settlement. OEG is required to honour the reduced-cost buyout table contained in the Settlement Agreement, which is available here.

    1. Buyouts or terminations will not be completed through this claims process. You need to contact OEG directly if you wish to complete a reduced-cost buyout or termination. While we are not OEG, we recommend calling 1-800-510-4047, or emailing info@ontarioenergygroup.com to reach them.

  2. You can stay in the lease agreement, with improvements explained below, together with cash compensation from the Settlement. Your lease agreement otherwise ends when the leased equipment stops working or otherwise reaches the end of its useful life. If your equipment stops working your lease agreement is over, and you can ask OEG to remove it or have a technician return it to them. OEG cannot replace failed equipment in order to extend or renew your lease agreement, unless you agree to do so with a full understanding of costs and other obligations that are required of you.

The settlement does not otherwise cancel Class Members’ ongoing payment obligations to OEG.

8. OEG says I owe them money (called "arrears") for unpaid monthly rental payments. Does the settlement cancel these arrears? (back to top)

The settlement does not cancel all arrears or money owed to OEG, unless your lease agreement is one of the up to 225 lease agreements selected for cancellation.

Stopped payments or unpaid arrears generally should be avoided as they complicate class member’s options in respect of their lease agreements.

If there is a service failure, property damage or some other reason leading to a dispute about payment, we recommend that you explain those issues to OEG in writing promptly, and attempt to resolve arrears disputes with them directly.

  • In the event that disputes about arrears cannot be resolved directly with OEG, the settlement agreement provides access in certain circumstances to a resolution process. If you have written to OEG to explain your reason for non-payment, and have attempted (but have not succeeded) in resolving your arrears dispute directly, you may request additional information here.

9. What do I need to do now? (back to top)

If you wish to receive settlement benefits, you must submit a Claim Form.

The claims deadline was August 25, 2022. Claims filed after the deadline will be considered late and may be approved only at the discretion of the administrator and/or with Court approval.”

You may also do nothing. If you do not submit a claim, you will not receive cash compensation from the settlement and there will be no further opportunity to make a claim through the Class Action.

10. How do I submit a claim? (back to top)

The claims deadline was August 25, 2022. Claims filed after the deadline will be considered late and may be approved only at the discretion of the administrator and/or with Court approval.

11. What types of supporting documents should I gather to help prove my claim? (back to top)

Your Claim Form is your opportunity to explain your experience with your OEG Equipment Lease Agreement.

The information you include in your Claim Form allows the Claims Administrator to properly consider and evaluate your claim.

Examples of supporting documentation include (but are not limited to) the following:

  1. Your OEG Lease Agreement(s), if you still have it
  2. Any text messages, emails, notes or other documents, etc. between you and OEG or the OEG salesperson
  3. Documents relating to your OEG Equipment including installation checklists, service orders, handwritten notes or calculations by the salesperson regarding expected monthly savings, or other documents given to you by the Equipment installers
  4. Any personal notes you have made or kept about your experiences with OEG or Home Trust
  5. Recent bank statements or other records showing the latest monthly amounts you have paid for each piece of Equipment
  6. Buyout or termination quotes, invoices, letters and/or receipts from OEG or Home Trust (if you bought out or terminated your OEG Lease Agreement)
  7. Any documents related to service or repairs on the OEG Equipment, if applicable
  8. Any documents related to any other money you spent or lost in connection with the OEG Equipment, if applicable
  9. Any documents relating to mental capacity issues at the time the agreement was signed (i.e. medical documentation supporting a loss of ability to make valid decisions due to mental, physical or other problems, etc.), if applicable
  10. Documents showing any complaint(s) by you about OEG or HT including:
    1. letters, emails or other documents by you containing complaints made directly to OEG or HT; and/or
    2. documents of complaint about OEG or HT sent by you to someone else (the Better Business Bureau, Consumer Protection Ontario or similar organization etc.)
  11. Letters or other documents from OEG, HT or a collection agent to you seeking to collect arrears or other amounts, past due invoices, or similar documents etc.
  12. Notice of security interest, title searches, PINs, etc.
  13. Small Claims Court or other legal proceedings commenced by you or against you in connection with your OEG Lease Agreement
  14. If you are submitting a claim on behalf of someone else, documentation proving your legal authority to claim on their behalf

Please note that the only way to receive benefits from the settlement is to submit a Claim, including supporting documentation to the Claims Administrator by no later than August 25, 2022. Claims filed after the deadline will be considered late and may be approved only at the discretion of the administrator and/or with Court approval.

The Claims Administrator does not have access to documents (if any) that you previously provided to the lawyers for the class. Class Counsel may have assisted you thus far in order to help you locate your relevant documents so that they can be organized together and submitted by you now in support of your claim. Even if you previously provided a relevant document to the lawyers, you will be asked to please submit them again along with your claim. If you have questions or need access to documents previously provided to the lawyers, please contact them here.

12. How can I receive a cash payment under the settlement? (back to top)

When you complete your claim, you will be asked to provide:

  1. Information about the money you paid to OEG or in connection with your Equipment – monthly payments, buyout or termination payments, servicing expenses, property damage, other general expenses, etc.; and
  2. Information about any extraordinary problems you encountered with OEG.

With this information, the Claims Administrator can assess your eligibility and calculate the amount of your cash payment. The cash payment will represent a refund of a portion of payments you made to OEG and/or Home Trust, and the amount of the cash payment may be increased where extraordinary problems with OEG are demonstrated.

To be eligible to receive a cash payment, you must submit a completed Claim Form, including all required documents to the Claims Administrator by no later than August 25, 2022, and your claim must satisfy the criteria set out in the Distribution Protocol, which is available for viewing by clicking here. Claims filed after the deadline will be considered late and may be approved only at the discretion of the administrator and/or with Court approval.

13. Can I get my agreement cancelled under the settlement? (back to top)

At the end of the claims process, up to 225 active Lease Agreements will be identified for cancellation, with Equipment gifted and arrears forgiven, pursuant to the Settlement Agreement and Distribution Protocol.

Outside of submitting your claim, you do not need to make a specific request for a cancellation to the Claims Administrator.

In addition to the cancellation of the 225 agreements, the settlement also creates a less expensive buyout program that you can use alongside your claim for cash in order to reduce the cost to buyout the Equipment and to exit your agreement. If you wish to seek a buyout, you must make that request to OEG and not the Claims Administrator.

The settlement also clarifies the option to terminate your agreement (pay a fee to remove the Equipment from your home, end the contract, and remove any lien on your title) which can also be used alongside your claim for cash under the settlement. If you wish to seek a termination, you must make that request to OEG and not the Claims Administrator.

For more information on your options for ending your agreement, see FAQ#7.

14. Will I be notified if my claim is deficient? (back to top)

If a claim is found to be deficient – meaning it is missing necessary information to support the claim, the Claims Administrator will notify you, by email or regular mail, of the deficiencies.

You will have thirty (30) days from the date of the request from the Claims Administrator to correct the deficiency and/or to provide the Claims Administrator with the missing or additional information necessary to review your claim.

If you do not respond to such a request for information within this period, it may impact your eligibility to receive benefits. It is therefore very important that you respond to a deficiency notice within the time provided.

15. How will my compensation be calculated? (back to top)

Compensation will be calculated pursuant to the Distribution Protocol, which is intended to refund Class Members a portion of the money they paid to OEG, with enhanced compensation available to Class Members who can demonstrate certain extraordinary circumstances.

It is not possible to estimate the individual recovery of any individual Class Member until all the claims have been received and reviewed.

A copy of the Distribution Protocol and other related documentation is available by clicking here.

16. When will I find out if my claim has been approved? (back to top)

After the claims period closes, the Claims Administrator will review claims and make claims decisions. At that time, Class Members will be sent letters explaining the claims decision.

It is expected that the claims review process will take a number of months, but Class Members should expect to receive a claims decision letter before the end of 2022.

17. Can I dispute a claim decision? (back to top)

If you wish to dispute the decision, you may request a review of the determination by sending a statement in writing asking for a “Claims Review” and explaining the reason(s) that you believe the result is incorrect.

The Claims Administrator must receive all Claims Review requests within fifteen (15) days of receipt of their decision letter. In the event, you maintain an objection or disagreement with the Claims Review decision, the Claims Administrator has the discretion to assess the objection or disagreement and an additional process may follow pursuant to the Distribution Protocol.

The Claims Review request must be sent to the Claims Administrator, in one of three (3) ways:

  1. Email: info@OEGclassaction.ca
    OR
  2. Fax: 1-866-262-0816
    OR
  3. Mail: to the following address listed below:

    Epiq Class Action Services Canada Inc.
    Attention: OEG Class Action
    PO Box 507 STN B
    Ottawa ON K1P 5P6

18. Who are the lawyers for the class? (back to top)

There are lawyers representing the representative plaintiff and the class. These lawyers are called “Class Counsel”. Class Counsel in this case is:

Foreman & Company
Phone: 1-855-814-4575 ext. 109
Email: oeg@foremancompany.com
Website: www.foremancompany.com/ontario-energy-group

The lawyers can provide general guidance, answer questions about the settlement, and can assist you with submitting a claim.

19. How will the lawyers be paid? (back to top)

The Court has approved lawyers fees representing 25% of the settlement amount, together with repayment of other expenses they paid for in connection with the lawsuit.

Legal fees and expenses will be paid out of settlement money from the defendants. Class Members do not need to pay the lawyers “out of pocket”.

20. What if I do not want to participate in the class action? (back to top)

The period for opting out or “excluding” yourself from the class action has passed. There is no further opportunity to opt-out. If you did not opt-out of the class action, you are bound by the Court-approved settlement and could be eligible to file a claim.

21. What is a "termination"? (back to top)

A termination is a right you have under the Lease Agreement, to end the Lease Agreement, have the lien removed, and have OEG remove the Equipment from your home.

The settlement requires OEG to charge no more for a termination than the amounts explicitly stated in your Lease Agreement.

Terminations are usually cheaper than buyouts, but involve the Equipment being removed from your home. You need to contact OEG directly if you wish to complete a termination.

22. What is a "buyout"? (back to top)

A buyout is where you pay OEG to buy the Equipment from them, to end your Lease Agreement, and have the lien removed.

The settlement requires that OEG charge no more for buyouts than what is specified in a new lower cost Buyout Schedule (a copy of the reduced Buyout Schedule is available here).

The reduced buyout prices are in effect now, and you do not need to submit a claim in order to complete a reduced-cost buyout. You need to contact OEG directly if you wish to complete a buyout.

23. Does this settlement mean the lien/security registration on my home will be removed? (back to top)

The Settlement does not automatically cancel all security registrations.

The lien/security registration is OEG’s way of giving notice that the Equipment in your home is owned by them.

As such, the lien will be removed only if you are no longer renting the Equipment that OEG owns in your home. Your options for ending your agreement and having the registration removed are described in FAQ#7.

24. How do I obtain more information? (back to top)

Questions for the Claims Administrator should be directed to:

Epiq Class Action Services Canada Inc.
Attention: OEG Class Action Settlement
P.O. Box 507 STN B
Ottawa ON K1P 5P6
Telephone: 1-833-358-9423
Fax: 1-866-262-0816
Email: info@OEGclassaction.ca

Questions for Class Counsel should be directed to:

Foreman & Company
Attention:  OEG Class Action Settlement
4 Covent Market Place
London ON N6A 1E2
Telephone: 1-855-814-4575 ext. 109
Fax: 1-226-884-5340
Email: oeg@foremancompany.com
Website: www.foremancompany.com/ontario-energy-group

25. Can I still make a claim if I acquired the Lease Agreement from someone else through an “assignment”? (back to top)

In general, an assignor is a person who transfers the rights and obligations of the Lease Agreement. An assignee is a person who receives the rights and obligations of the Lease Agreement. An assignor is an original party to the Lease Agreement.

Both assignors and assignees are eligible for settlement benefits under the settlement unless otherwise specified, although assignees will generally not be eligible for enhanced benefits based on conduct that occurred from the salesperson “at the door” (because they did not sign the contract with the salesperson).

26. How do we submit a claim if there are two names on the same Lease Agreement? (back to top)

If two people each have their name on the same Lease Agreement, they are considered “co-lessees”.

All co-lessees should sign and submit the same Claim Form.

In the event that co-lessees have a dispute between them or cannot agree with each-other in respect of the claim, the Clams Administrator cannot resolve any such dispute and cannot offer any forum or other assistance in respect of it.  Reasonable accommodation can be assessed in order to allow such claimants to advance a claim in respect of the subject Lease Agreement and/or to have the claims award payable in connection with the subject Lease Agreement paid to a mutually agreed neutral third party pending dispute resolution between co-lessees. 

Otherwise, where two or more claimants are requesting compensation or other benefits in connection with the same Lease Agreement, the compensation will be divided pro rata in accordance with the formulas set out in the Distribution Protocol, based on the amount each settlement Class Member paid under the Lease Agreement.

27. I am submitting a claim on behalf of someone else - what documentation must I submit to prove that I have authority to act on behalf of the Class Member? (back to top)

If you are submitting a claim on behalf of a Class Member other than yourself, you must provide a document verifying that you have legal authority to act on behalf of the Class Member or the Class Member's estate in respect of their financial affairs.

Some common types of Court-approved documents that fulfill this requirement include the following:

  • Power of Attorney for Property; OR
  • Court approved Guardianship; OR
  • Last Will and Death Certificate; OR
  • Certificate of Appointment of Estate Trustee (with or without a will).

The only way to receive money from the settlement is to submit a completed Claim Form and all required supporting documentation to the Claims Administrator by no later than until August 25, 2022. Claims filed after the deadline will be considered late and may be approved only at the discretion of the administrator and/or with Court approval.

28. What documentation must I submit if the Class Member is deceased? (back to top)

If you are submitting a claim on behalf of a Class Member’s estate, you must provide a document verifying that you have legal authority to act on behalf of the Class Member's estate.

Documents that fulfill this requirement include the following:

  • A copy of the Death Certificate; AND
  • A copy of the Last Will.

Please note that these documents are required for any person claiming on behalf of a Class Member’s estate. However, if you do not have a Death Certificate and Last Will, alternatively, you could provide the Claims Administrator with a Certificate of Appointment of Estate Trustee.

If you do not have a Certificate of Appointment of Estate Trustee or the Last Will and Death Certificate, you may apply to the Court for a Certificate of Appointment for a Trustee without a will. This process is more commonly known as probate.

To get more information regarding this process, you may wish to seek independent legal advice at your own cost, as the Claims Administrator cannot provide legal advice.

The only way to receive money from the settlement is to submit a completed Claim Form and all required supporting documentation to the Claims Administrator by no later than until August 25, 2022. Claims filed after the deadline will be considered late and may be approved only at the discretion of the administrator and/or with Court approval.