Consumers are individuals who have purchased goods or services for personal use. In Canada, federal and provincial legislation has been enacted in order to protect consumers. These different laws provide added protection for consumers due to the power imbalance that exists between buyer and seller. The legislation provides rights and recourses for consumers that go beyond what is provided for in a regular commercial or business context, and provides a minimum standard of quality for goods and services.
Canadian federal legislation applicable in a consumer protection context includes the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act, the Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act, the Motor Vehicle Safety Act, the Food and Drugs Act and the Competition Act. In Ontario, the Consumer Protection Act grants the buyer rights and remedies against the seller in a variety of circumstances, such as protection against unfair business practices, products and services that are below “reasonable quality”, late deliveries and more. It also provides consumers protection in specific industries, such as the purchase of timeshares, motor vehicle repairs, personal development services (for example, gym memberships), internet agreements, and more.
Among others, unfair business practices include misrepresentations or false information provided to the buyer about the sellers themselves or the goods or services they provide. In cases where the seller provided false information about the product or service, for example, the buyer will generally be able to cancel the contract within 1 year of purchase.
For certain contracts, the law provides a cooling-off period. For example, if you purchase an item or service in your home, the Consumer Protection Act automatically grants you a cooling-off period where you can cancel the contract for any reason 10 days after receiving a written copy of the agreement.
If you are unsatisfied with a recent purchase of a product or service, or if you believe your rights have been violated by a business, a variety of remedies may be available to you as a consumer. Contact Us to learn more about these remedies and what options you may have as a consumer or purchaser.