Warning – Unsolicited Goods (PPE)


The FNHA would like to take this opportunity to warn British Columbia ​First Nation leaders about an increase in the number of instances where First Nations communities and health service organizations are receiving unsolicited Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and then later sent an invoice demanding payment – sometimes of thousands of dollars. These scams are sometimes successful when the recipient accepts the delivery and either feels guilty or pressured to make the payments. 

The BC Better Business Bureau has the following advice on their website:

Within the Business Practices and Consumer Protection Act, consumers have no legal obligation around unsolicited goods or services unless or until they let the supplier know in writing that they intend to accept the goods or services.

Another thing to know about unsolicited goods or services – if you live in BC and pay for an item or service that you don't actually want, you can ask for a refund as long as you didn't let the supplier know in writing that you were keeping it. Consumers have two years from the day they receive the goods or services to demand a refund, in writing, from the supplier.

Some of these companies have held themselves out to be working on behalf of the FNHA. Please note that any time that the FNHA sends you PPE or any other supplies, it will come from your FNHA regional team based on your submitted order. You can also contact covid19needs@fnha.ca​ to confirm that you have received a legitimate supply order.

The recommended response to this is to promptly issue a formal notification letter to the distributor informing them that you:

• Did not place an order for these supplies

• Did not enter into any type of formal agreement to purchase those supplies

• Await their instructions as to how they will collect those supplies if they want them returned – at their expense 

You should consider sending an initial notification letter and a second (final) notification letter, listing the deadline for them to pick up the materials. 

Do not use any of the materials until the deadline has passed because the distributor could argue that you have accepted the supplies at the invoice cost that the distributor sent you.

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