A formal notice is an official letter that orders the recipient (a merchant, for example) to do or not do something. This can be, for example, to solve a problem, to pay a specific amount, or to fulfill a contract.
Why send a formal notice?
You can send a formal notice when you are unhappy with a product you purchased or a service you received. It provides clauses and deadlines to meet. The letter provides the merchant with the opportunity to fulfill your request without having to go to court.
Before sending a formal notice, the Office de la protection du consommateur suggests trying to negotiate with the merchant. You can also refer to the Potential Solutions page to get a better idea of what can be claimed from the merchant. The notions of compensatory damages and punitive damages are also explained.
Writing a formal notice
The Office can provide you with tools to help you write a formal notice.
If your problem relates to reasonable durability of goods, deliveries, warranties or non-conformity of goods or services, you can download an information kit which will guide you through the process.
For any other consumer subject, please contact us to speak to an officer. This person will be able to ask you specific questions in connection with your problem in order to provide you with proper guidance and a complete reply. Based on the situation, the officer may provide you with tools to help you assert your rights regarding:
- delivery deadlines, the conformity of goods or services and warranties;
- the repair of household appliances and electronic devices, or automobile repair;
- itinerant sales (door-to-door);
- the Price Accuracy Policy;
- prohibited business practices;
- telephone, Internet, television, remote monitoring, and other such services;
- fitness and weight controI centres, etc.
Formal notice template
The Ministère de la Justice provides a formal notice template. It could be useful if the subject of your problem does not fall within the Office’s jurisdiction. The Ministère can also help if you have any questions about the formal notice process.
Sending a formal notice
Before sending your formal notice, make sure you keep a copy for your personal records.
You also need to keep confirmation that your letter has been received. To get that confirmation, you can send your notice via registered mail and ask for signature on delivery. You can also hire a bailiff to deliver your letter.
What to do if the formal notice fails
If the merchant does not respond to your formal notice or the formal notice does not provide the desired results, you can file a complaint with the small claims court or the Civil Division of the Court of Québec.
Last update : October 11, 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.