Do you think a merchant is making misleading advertising or giving false information? Here is what you need to know.

You can try to get compensation when you think the computer or computing device you purchased does not correspond to the agreement you had with the merchant.

The computer you purchase must conform:

  • to its description on the contract or the invoice;
  • to what was described by the vendor;
  • to the advertising in which it is featured.

Examples:

  • a merchant cannot pretend a computer features a video card that is fast enough to allow you to play online games when it is not;
  • in an advertisement, a merchant cannot indicate the price of a computer and use the photo of another computer that is more expensive and more powerful.

Recourse

The law provides for recourse when merchants fail to abide by their statements or advertisements. But first, try to reach an agreement with the merchant.

Tools made available by the Office

To help you resolve your problem, the Office has made various tools available to you. First, refer to the Resolve a problem with a merchant section, which presents the various steps to follow. Among other things, you will find suggestions on negotiating with a merchant in order to reach an agreement.

The Office also makes available information kits tailored to problems of an exclusively civil nature. They cover reasonable durability of goods, deliveries, warranties and non-conformity of goods or services. The Download an information kit page provides all the information you need.

A merchant that advertises a computer or a tablet on sale must have enough stock to meet demand.

Required note in advertisements

If quantities are restricted, the merchant must state that in their advertising. If they have very limited stock, the advertising must state the exact quantity that is available. In such a case, notes such as “limited quantities” or “while stocks lasts” are not precise enough.

Out of stock situations

If the merchant has not specified the quantity of items in stock and the advertised device is out of stock when you go to the store during the sales period, you can request that the merchant offers a similar device sold at the same or at a superior price and sells it to you at the advertised sale price. Some merchants will offer a deferred rebate coupon that will allow you to purchase the device later while still benefiting from the sale price.

If the merchant refuses to compensate you, you can file a complaint with the Office de la protection du consommateur. The Contact us page provides the ways to reach us.

The price displayed for a computer or a tablet in an advertisement must represent the full amount you need to pay to buy it. This total price must prevail visually over the amounts that that make it up, and it cannot be raised unless products or services are added upon at request.

Amounts that can be added

Certain amounts can be added to the sale 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).

Amounts that must be included in the sale price

Environmental handling fees (EHFs) that are collected by merchants at the time of sale of computing devices must be included in the advertised price. The list of devices and their associated EHFs is available through the Québec Electronic Products Recycling Association Web site.

Merchants can choose whether they want to inform customers that the sale price includes EHFs or not. For example, on a price tag or in an advertisement, the merchant may choose to add a note in small characters, such as “This price includes the EHFs of $X.” The total price must prevail visually over the amounts that are included within it.

The Office provides advertisement examples:

Advertisement that complies with the law

Price is 529.99$ environmental handling fees included.

Advertisement that does not comply with the law

Price is 489.49$ plus 42.50$ environmental handling fees included to be equal to 529.99$.

Prohibited practices related to the advertising of the sale price

All merchants, manufacturers and advertisers are prohibited from:

  • indicating only periodic instalments that must be made to buy a computer or a tablet without displaying its total cost more prominently;
  • demanding a higher price than advertised;
  • advertising a reduced price when it is not;
  • claiming that the price of a computer or a tablet is "the best in town" when you can, in fact, buy the same device at the same price or less from another merchant;
  • using a photo that does not accurately depict the computer or the tablet whose price is advertised;
  • using the expression "cost price" or any other expression that would lead one to believe that a computer or a tablet is sold at such a price, if it does not make reference to the actual price paid by the merchant to acquire the device.

If there is a problem

If the advertised price is not the one you are charged, you are entitled to demand paying the advertised price.

You are also invited to file a complaint with the Office de la protection du consommateur if you find that a merchant does not abide by pricing regulations. The Contact us page provides the ways to reach us.

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