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Reliance Home Comfort Reviews & Complaints

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1.2
Rated 1.2 out of 5
1.2 out of 5 stars (based on 87 reviews)
Excellent4%
Very good1%
Average2%
Poor2%
Terrible91%

Bottom line

Renting a water heater or other home appliance from Reliance is similar to buying an extended warranty as it works as form of insurance. You pay more for the product upfront and get support should anything go wrong. However, it is a great moneymaker for providers and a bad deal for the majority of their customers and not a common practice in Canada outside of Ontario. Purchasing your own unit can result in substantial savings over time, according to the Competition Bureau.

Pros

  • No large up-front cost
  • Low monthly payments
  • They handle service and repairs

Cons

  • High cancellation fees
  • Many complaints about their maintenance and repair services
  • No coverage for damage caused by leaking tanks

About Reliance Home Comfort

Reliance Home Comfort installs, rents and services water heaters, furnaces and air conditioners to 1.7 million Canadian households primarily in Ontario, but also in western Canada.

The company was started in 1999 as the water heater rental division of Union Gas (now Enbridge), which had a monopoly over a large portion of Ontario. The company worked with home builders to pre-install gas-powered water heaters to increase usage and reliance on Natural Gas as a source of fuel.

Due to regulatory changes, the unregulated water heater rental business was split off as Union Energy in 1999 and acquired by Epcor for $160 million in 2001, spun off as UE Waterheater Income Fund in 2003 and purchased by Alinda Capital Partners for $1.74 billion in 2007 and purchased by CK group for $2.8 billion in 2017.

Who owns Reliance Home Comfort?

Reliance Home Comfort is owned by Hong Kong-based CK Asset Holdings Ltd. (75%) and Cheung Kong (CK) Infrastructure Holdings (25%) owned by Chinese-Canadian businessman Victor Li, and his father Li Ka-shing, Hong Kong’s richest person and 30th richest person in the world, with a net worth of $35.4 billion. They acquired the company from US private equity fund Alinda Capital Partners for $2.82 billion in 2017.

How much does it cost to rent a water heater from Reliance?

Ontario residents can rent a hot water tank from Reliance Home Comfort for $20 to $35 per month depending on the size of the tank. Tankless water heater rentals are commonly found in new builds and cost $35 to $50 per month.

In addition, the agreements stipulate that these charges are increased every year by the greater of 3.5% and Ontario CPI.

These rental agreements continue until the “end of the useful life” of the unit, which is from 10 to 20 years and an average of 16 years. At $35 per month, payments made during the agreement would add up to $4200 to $8400 – 3 to 6 times the installation cost of the tank (about $1500).

Further reading: Is renting a water heater worth it?

Reliance Home Comfort contract example

For installs made before November 5, 2014, the following agreement applies:

You will not be able to terminate this agreement until you have rented the water heater for at least a period of 84 months following the commencement of your rental agreement (the “Minimum Rental Term”), unless you buy the water heater from us in accordance with this agreement.

If the water heater has reached the end of its useful life and we are not installing a replacement, you shall at such time own the unit.

Example buyout schedule

I was not able to find a copy on their website, but I found a few examples online:

Age (Years)Buyout price
41800
53,726
51500
7700
7.52118
8895
9700
10545
10700
11329
11810
12600
141400
14210
15700
1625
1625
20100

How to cancel a Reliance Home Comfort water heater contract?

Agreements started in 2009

A consumer was recently quoted:

  • $150 + HST – Drain, disconnect and removal from the home
  • $150 + HST – Pickup already drained and disconnected
  • $150 + HST – Account Closure Fee
  • $100.00 – Dropped off to our nearest drop off location.

An appointment is not necessary, but the drop off hours were limited to: Mon, Wed, Thurs from 8am to 12pm

Agreements started after Nov. 5, 2014

For agreements started after November 5, 2014 and until November 5, 2024, the 2014 Competition Tribunal orders to Reliance Home Comfort applies, which state:

Termination

  • Reliance shall permit a Customer or its Agent to terminate a Rental Agreement at any time by submitting a Notification of Termination by telephone, facsimile, e-mail or webform.

Removal

Reliance shall permit a Customer or its Agent to:

  • drain, disconnect, remove and/or return to Reliance the water heater that is the subject of the Rental Agreement; or 
  • request that Reliance drain, disconnect, remove and/or pick up at the Installed Address the water heater that is the subject of the Rental Agreement

Fees

Other than any outstanding rental payments and interest charges owed, Reliance may not charge any Exit Charges other than a:

  1. Maximum termination charge of $200 (unit is less than 1 year old) and a maximum of $40 (unit is more than 1 year old and less than 10 years old).
  2. Maximum pick-up charge (not including draining or disconnection) of $65 in respect of a natural gas, a maximum of $125 for an electric.
  3. Maximum pick-up charge (including draining and disconnection) of $125.
  4. Any cost to repair damage to Reliance units only when the following two conditions are met: 
    1. the damaged unit is less than seven (7) years old; and 
    2. the damage was caused by a Person other than Reliance, the proof of any such damage being caused by a Person other than Reliance resting with Reliance. 
  5. Purchase price voluntarily agreed to by a Customer to purchase the unit outright. (optional)

Regulatory actions against Reliance Home Comfort

2014 – Reliance acquires National Home Services, which was fined for door-to-door sales practices

Competition Bureau makes National Home Services (acquired by Reliance on same day) pay $7 million for misleading door-to-door sales

2014 Competition Tribunal consent agreement

After Reliance was found to be using using anti-competitive processes that made it difficult and frustrating to return or cancel their water heater rental, the Competition Bureau issued a consent order ordering Reliance pay a penalty of $5 million and modify its residential rental agreement termination and water heater return policies to:

  • Not require customers to obtain an authorization number before returning their unit
  • Allow a new supplier to terminate a customer’s account on their behalf
  • Not unreasonably restricting where and when a unit can be returned
  • Not charging unwarranted fees to switch providers or terminate contracts
  • Open new return depots

Customer reviews

1.2
Rated 1.2 out of 5
1.2 out of 5 stars (based on 87 reviews)
Excellent4%
Very good1%
Average2%
Poor2%
Terrible91%

Don’t get business with reliance

Rated 1 out of 5
January 6, 2022

being treated.

We have 2 years old furnace and AC, that a reliance sales convinced us to buy (a choice we will never take again). Since October we had continous issues, let me list some for you:

Over heating

Chip circuit issues

Sensor issue

Pressure issues

Etc

Every night our heat stops working, we get a report from nest as well (we do have reports and supporting documents), we wake up and the house is freezing cold.

I called customer resolutions million times they told me they will get someone to call me back to find a decent solution for whats going on, and as usual no one cared to call us.

We called customer solutions to lower the amount we pay as the equipment doesn’t deserve this money, no one took any action or cared.

The house has been freezing cold since Wednesday, and the contractor who came on Friday forgot to put notes on file they had to chase him to find which part needs to be ordered. After 48 plus hours they sent internal tech on Sunday to look into the issue and this time it is a pressure tube.

We pay 150 dollars per month to rent reliance equipment which doesn’t work.

This is an on going issue, and no body is providing us with real compensation or resolution.

Now we are looking to buy out the equipment to save us the 150 per month that we waste and guess what are they saying the equipment is worse? 9000 dollars!!! For equipment stops working every night. Doesn’t make any sense.

There explanations it is a market value …their condition can’t be compared to a market value its garbage.

We are willing to take this case to ctv news and further to social media.

Marina rizk

RENTAL COSTS NEVER END!!! You pay over $5,000

Rated 1 out of 5
January 6, 2022

Do not get into a rental agreement with reliance!! You can not afford to break the contract. They charge you close to $500 to pickup their tank if removed and will charge you for removal, even if the tank is over 10 years ole. You will end up paying $5,000 to $8,000 for a tank that is worth $1,500.

Do yourself a favour, if you are buying a house with a reliance tank bite the bullet and end the contract or you will be paying for the next decade plus!

Jean Hoover

Reliance is the worst business I have ever dealt with

Rated 1 out of 5
January 6, 2022

I bought a house in 2019 and it came with a rental tankless water heater which was installed by Reliance in 2010. I decided to keep the service, In December 2021 the unit started to leak and provided zero hot water to the house. I called up and was told they would be there between 10:am and 2:pm the following day. They did not show up that day or the following two days. Each time I called their office, they pretended that was the first time they had heard of the problem.

The serviceman came on the 4th day and turned the water off. He said the unit was not repairable and he would return the following day with a new replacement unit. He never showed up. Again, I called and there was no indication that anyone was aware of the problem. They offered to book an appointment for two weeks down the road.

Based on the fact that I have a sick person in the house and need the hot water on, I told them that they should at least come and remove the unit so that I can have another company install one in a more timely manner. They told me that the earliest they could come and remove it, is January 30, 2022. I asked them if it is OK to have the other company remove it, they said that I have to return it to them myself 80 KM away.

This is the worst customer service I have ever experienced in my life. I am giving this a ONE star because the system will not allow me to give them a 0.

Jessie Peart

Terrible services and rip-off company

Rated 1 out of 5
January 6, 2022

Have a 8-year-old water heater rented from Reliance, I have called 3 times ask them to replace the never changed anode rod of the water tank. Their technician came three times and go but all refuse to do the job. I want get out of this poor rental service, tried to buy it out. They offered me $970+HST to buy this old equipment as is. With that amount of money I can add litter bit more to purchase a brand new one on my own. Since I rent the water heater with Reliance on the month-to-month charges no contact signed, so I want cancel the rental. Reliance charge me $816+HST termination fee for that.

Chiping Wu

Phony overpriced scam

Rated 1 out of 5
January 6, 2022

if I could give a negative rating I would since one star is way too generous. Had one of their technicians check out our electric furnace. He stated that the furnace was too old to get parts, never checked the model and serial number which I had easily found myself. Then he arranged for a sales rep to attend later that day and gave me an absurdly expensive verbal quote. Bottom line is a paid $100 for this ‘service call” which just ended up in a sales rep trying to upsell me.

So… the next day I contacted another company who arrived within two hours. Their HVAC tech pulled the dead part out, ran the model and serial number, found a replacement part and got our heat back. A huge big difference in service and ethics

D Ware

Leave a review or submit a complaint

If you have experience with Reliance Home Comfort, we’re interested to know your thoughts. How long have you been with them and what do you think about their service, contracts and value? Let us know by leaving a review and sharing your experience below!

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Cansumer Staff
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2 comments

  1. As homeowners we were also shocked three years ago when we went to get a line of credit and were turned down because of a lien Reliance put on our house. We had no choice but to pay it off, which was a lot of money! We got a lawyer and it was discharged. It’s been three years since that happened and we went to extend our line of credit just two months ago to find out that the lien was never taken off! ! Apparently, the Land Titles Registry Office doesn’t have to tell homeowners when this happens so the owners could still have a lien even though you have a discharge. Maxium Financial was the company Home Reliance went through to put a lien on my property, but Maxium Financial had changed their name to a numbered company and it’s necessary to include that in the paperwork when taking the lien off. The Land Titles Registry Office gave Reliance 5-8 days to fix this paper work in order to take the lien off and Reliance never bothered, so the Registry withdrew the discharge and kept the lien on the house. Here we are three years later, we owe nothing after paying reliance a huge lump sum of money, and we now have two lawyers trying to contact someone at Reliance to help us (specifically, the woman who signed off on it the first time they tried to discharge it). She won’t return their emails and calls. My lawyers don’t understand why they won’t take the time to fill in papers to take a lien off of our property when we don’t owe them any money. This is our life that they are messing with. We cannot secure any line of credit ever again with any bank until they complete the paperwork and have the lien taken off. What are they gaining from doing this to us, after paying them three years ago. Unfortunately, we are now discussing court action at this point and going to CHCH media, who is very interested in this story if they have more people willing to share. It looks like there are many, so this definitely is an option I will now start exploring this week.

    Reply
    • Sounds familiar. It is becoming a fight to get the lien lifted on my property. Just see who owns Reliance and you will understand why there is a ‘don’t care attitude’