If you think a merchant is misadvertising or giving false information, here is what you need to know.
All merchants and advertisers are prohibited from:
- indicating only the amount of the periodic instalments that must be made for a membership to a fitness or weight management centre without displaying its total price more prominently;
- demanding a higher price than advertised;
- advertising a reduced price when it is not;
- using an illustration that does not accurately depict the service whose price is advertised.
An advertised price must include all the amounts you need to pay to access the services. This total amount must be displayed more prominently than the amounts that make it up.
This price must include all initial fees, such as registration fees, file setup and case analysis fees, as well as any other related fees, if you must inevitably pay them.
What if a merchant advertises a price that does not include all the amounts you are required to pay? Demand paying the advertised price and nothing more. For example, a merchant who advertises a $30-per-month membership, without mentioning that $50 in registration fees must also be paid, can only charge $30 per month. Registration fees must be included in the advertised price.
Amounts that can be added
Certain amounts can be added to the advertised price upon payment. Those amounts are required under the provisions of a law or regulation and must be collected and remitted to a public authority. These refer to amounts such as:
- the Québec sales tax (QST);
- the goods and services tax (GST).
You can try to get compensation when you think the services you received do not correspond with the agreement you concluded with a fitness or weight-management centre.
The services rendered must conform to:
- their description in the contract;
- what was described by the merchant;
- advertising, whatever its form (poster, Web site, radio advertising, sales person, and so on).
For example, a centre that advertises 2 free months on the purchase of a 12-month membership must fulfill its promise.
The law provides recourse when merchants do not respect what they said to you or what they advertised. But first, try to reach an agreement with the merchant. The Negotiating with a merchant page provides details on the procedure.
If the negotiation fails, you can send a formal notice to the merchant. The Sending a formal notice page provides details on this subject.
If the merchant fails to respond to the request indicated in your formal notice, you can initiate court proceedings. The small claims court page provides details on the procedure.
You can also contact the Office de la protection du consommateur to enquire as to whether you should file a complaint.