Diamond and Diamond AB
ALBERTA OFFICES

Calgary Main Office

1331 Macleod Trail SE, Suite 420

Edmonton Head Office

4246 97 Street NW, Unit 100

B.C. Offices

Surrey Consultation Office

1104 – 13737 96 Ave, Surrey, BC V3V 0C6

Kelowna Consultation Office

1631 Dickson Avenue Suite 1100

Vancouver Head Office

1727 West Broadway, Suite 400

ONTARIO OFFICES

Oshawa Consultation Office

50 Richmond Street E, Unit # 108 B

Brampton Consultation Office

341 Parkhurst Square, Suite 5

Toronto Head Office

255 Consumers Road, 5th Floor

Sudbury Consultation Office

144 Elm Street, Suite 201

Ottawa Main Office

955 Greenvalley Crescent, Unit 315

Oakville Office

2939 Portland Drive, Suite 200

London Main Office

256 Pall Mall St, Suite 102

Hamilton Consultation Office

105 Main Street East, Suite 1500

Barrie Main Office

17 Poyntz Street

Windsor Main Office

13158 Tecumseh Rd. E. Unit 3B

Thunder Bay Consultation Office

278 Algoma Street South

Consumer Rights in Alberta

Trying to decipher exactly where you stand on the legal side of things can be a bit tricky. Researching on your own can feel incredibly confusing, with new and past legislation, as well as case law, that seems to contradict itself. Don’t worry, though. We’re here to help.

We’re going to look through the multiple components of consumer rights, including contract problems, common product issues, sales, refund policies, claims against your property, and legislation. 

By the end of this article, you’ll feel much more equipped and have a much more comprehensive understanding of consumer rights in Canada and Alberta specifically. 

Consumer Rights in Alberta: An Overview

What is a consumer? They’re an average person who acquires goods and services for his or her direct use. This is done for ownership, rather than for manufacturing, production or resale.

This type of person has certain rights and responsibilities that come with being a consumer. They have the right to expect a fair marketplace, to be informed, to have their interests protected and to be able to take action when maltreated. That being said, as a consumer, you do have the responsibility to be fair in your dealings. 

What about consumer rights in Alberta, specifically? Well, in Alberta, you’re well secured by a variety of legislation that ensures your protection, as well as the business with which you’re dealing. The Consumer Protection Act is the predominant force governing this and has significantly influenced the guarding of consumers against unfair practises.

Consumer Protection Agencies have also been put in place, and they enforce consumer rights through fines or administrative orders. They can also seek to have offences prosecuted if necessary. Depending on the issue, however, complaints made by consumers may fall under territorial, federal or even provincial legislation. 

Refund and Exchange Policies

Another area of consumer law relates to product liability. This is when either the distributor or the manufacturer is held liable when the product is defective in some form. As a rule, the law requires that the products meet the original expectation of the buyer, as long as it’s reasonable.

We look to the common law when considering your consumer rights in this situation. You, as the consumer, are required to prove that there’s a defect in the product. This is determined solely by the standard used when the product entered the market.  

Items Going on Sale After You Made a Purchase

A seller isn’t necessarily liable to refund consumers if the sale occurs after the purchase. The only instance where this may not be the case is if the business has put in place a price policy.

Contract Terms

You must make sure that you’ve completely understood a contract’s terms before suggesting that there has been a violation of the agreement.  

Contract Cancellations

You can cancel a contract during the ‘cooling-off period’. This is a specified number of days where you can cancel your agreement without any penalties. 

You’ll be able to end your contract within ten days of getting your copy of the agreement by sending a cancellation letter to the business with which you’ve agreed. 

Defective Products

A seller can compensate you should you be able to prove that there’s a defect.  

Private Sales

Be wary, as consumer legislation doesn’t protect private sale contracts. If you need to get compensation, it’ll be a challenge.

Claims or Holds Against Property

It’s vital to ensure that you check that no pre-existing liens or claims are on the property when purchasing from an individual.

What Are the Consumer Rights in Alberta?

Consumers have the right to:

  • Essential goods that ensure their survival.
  • Be protected against hazardous goods or services
  • Have the facts needed to make informed choices.
  • Choose products at competitive prices.
  • Be compensated for misrepresentation or shoddy goods and services.
  • Acquire the skills and knowledge to become an informed consumer.
  • Work and live in non-threatening, healthy environments.

Consumers, however, have the responsibility to:

  • Use goods and services appropriately.
  • Read instructions carefully and use precautionary measures.
  • Look for and use available information. 
  • Make responsible choices and resist high-pressure sales.
  • Make opinions known and join consumer associations.
  • Fight for the quality that businesses should provide.
  • Take advantage of consumer opportunities and education. 
  • Minimize environmental damage through the proper use of goods and services. 

What Is the Consumer Protection Act in Alberta?

The Consumer Protection Act protects consumers from businesses taking advantage of them, exerting undue pressure, using unfair pricing and using Terms and Conditions that are one-sided. This act is applicable in Alberta and offers consumers a lot of certainties. 

Although consumers inherently have rights, it’s easy for businesses to ignore them. This act ensures that consumer rights are protected and that legislation maintains fair trade competition. In addition, fraud and other unethical practises are carefully monitored. 

The Consumer Protection Act in Alberta regulates many areas of transactions, including public auctions, travel clubs, gift cards, energy marketing, credit and personal reports, automotive sale and repairs and ticket sales.

Common Types of Product Defects 

Manufacturing defects

These are defects that occurred as a result of a mistake made by the manufacturer.

Design defects 

These are defects that occur during product planning. For example, a faulty overall structure. 

Marketing defects 

This is anything as it relates to the marketing of the product itself. It includes mislabelling and vague instructions. 

Lack of safety warnings 

A failure to caution consumers about potential health risks and injuries is a liability issue. 

Pro Tip

“As a consumer, never sign a Contract that you have not read or do not understand, because the law will assume that you read and agreed to the terms. Never sign a Contract with blanks to be filled in, such as price or quantity.”

Speak to an Alberta Personal Injury Lawyer From Diamond & Diamond

The law is complex, and so is trying to figure out where to direct complaints. The answer depends on the jurisdiction. In Alberta, specific territories and provinces regulate most consumer issues, as opposed to the government. 

Should you need some advice about consumer complaints or if you’ve been hurt because of a product defect, you can contact one of our Alberta lawyers.

Call Today For A FREE Consultation at 1-800-567-HURT!

Consumer Rights in Alberta FAQs

How do I file a complaint as a consumer?

It’s best practice first to phone the company that you’ve received a dissatisfactory service or a defective product from. Then, if this doesn’t resolve your problem, you can send an email to the company that explains the issue and your request. You might also explain what further action you’ll take. 

Finally, you can either refer the issue to the small claims court or various third-party organizations, such as the Better Business Bureau.

What is a consumer dispute?

This occurs when the person to whom you made the complaint chooses to either dispute or deny the allegations made against him or her.  

What constitutes a consumer?

A consumer is any natural person who purchases goods or services for household or personal use.  

Pro Tip

Make sure when you are purchasing a home that title is checked in advance by your lawyer to ensure no surprises on closing day.