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 electronic device you purchased does not correspond to the agreement you had with the merchant.
The electronic device 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.
For example, in an advertisement, a merchant cannot indicate the price of an electronic device and use the photo of another electronic device that is more expensive and of better quality.
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.
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 an electronic device 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 electronic device is out of stock when you go to the store during the sales period, you can request that the merchant offers a similar electronic 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 an electronic device 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 make it up, and it cannot be raised unless products or services are added at your 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 some electronic 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 of an electronic device 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
Advertisement that does not comply with the law
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 an electronic device 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 an electronic device is "the best in town" when you can, in fact, buy the same electronic device at the same price or less from another merchant;
- using a photo that does not accurately depict the electronic device whose price is advertised;
- using the expression "cost price" or any other expression that would lead one to believe that an electronic device is sold at such a price, if it does not make reference to the actual price paid by the merchant to acquire the electronic 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.
Last update : June 27, 2023
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The information contained on this page is presented in simple terms to make it easier to understand. It does not replace the texts of the laws and regulations.