Fake Kijiji ad leads to charges against neighbours of Ottawa daycare operator

The ad was placed while Stewart was away for a weekend.
The ad was placed while Stewart was away for a weekend. (Photo courtesy Google)

Two Ottawa, Ont. residents have been charged for allegedly putting a fake ad on Kijiji in July, advertising free toys that could be picked up from the front yard of a Bells Corners, Ottawa home.

Heaven Stewart, the owner of the house, runs a home daycare and had the pricey toys stacked in her front yard.

The ad was placed while Stewart was away for a weekend and her daughter alerted her that someone had placed an ad telling people to come pick up toys, which read, “FREE TOYS closing home daycare...we got them for free so we are passing them on to someone who can use them. First come first served NO EMAILS must be gone by 4 PM then we are donating them. Please leave trampoline. Help yourself...thanks.”

When Stewart rushed back to her house, she was heartbroken to see that almost all of the toys had been taken.

"I don't understand how you can be that hurtful. On innocent children. On us. On anybody really. It's not right”, she told CBC News.

This is not the first time Stewart has run into issues because of the front yard toys. She was previously visited by a bylaw officer due to a complaint by one of her neighbours but the officer found no violations.

When Kijiji found out about the false ad on their website, they released a statement to CBC News saying, "Kijiji has a zero-tolerance policy for any misrepresentation by users. (Users) who post malicious, bogus ads are permanently banned, and that has been done in this case.”

Placing a false ad doesn’t just get individuals in trouble with the publication but it also gets them in legal trouble as it is considered false advertisement.

False advertisement means that a product or service has been misrepresented to the consumer, often through misleading or deceptive claims, as was the case here.

Businesses and individuals must give correct information about products or services to consumers, failing which they could get into considerable legal trouble.

The individuals who allegedly placed the false ads are facing charges of mischief and conveying false information, as well as theft under $5,000.

Find a Lawyer