PARLe offers a relatively simple process for consumers to settle a dispute with a merchant on their own.

Steps in the process

The PARLe process is carried out in a few steps as follows:

  1. Opening a consumer account
  2. Creating a file in connection with the problem

    Consumers fill out the various sections of their online file to:

    • describe their problem;
    • propose a solution to the merchant;
    • upload a scanned copy of any relevant document (invoice, contract, warranty document, photo, etc.).

  3. Negotiating with the merchant and mediation, if applicable

    After receiving the consumer's proposal, the merchant can:

    • accept it; or
    • submit a counter-proposal and continue the negotiation.

    If no agreement is entered into 20 business days after the start of negotiations, a mediator automatically intervenes in the file. However, as soon as the parties have submitted both a proposal and a counter-proposal, the consumer or the merchant can ask the mediator for assistance in trying to settle the conflict.

  4. Entering into an agreement and closing the file

    Once an agreement has been entered into, a document that describes the details of that agreement is uploaded to the file. The consumer can then download it and use to obtain the settlement.

Tools provided to consumers

In order to assist them in using PARLe, the Office provides certain tools to consumers. Among other things, they include:

  • a guide on how to use the platform, which contains the relevant sections of the Consumer Protection Act and other information, which can be used to help consumers justify their proposals to the merchant, based on the nature of the dispute between them;
  • Summaries of the most recent judgments concerning legal warranties that consumers can refer to if their problem concerns a defective item. Without providing ready-made answers, these summaries can help consumers determine what is a reasonable duration of their item and estimate the amount of compensation to which they may be entitled, among other things;
  • a Frequently Asked Questions section, which can be accessed on the platform's website.

Additional support

The Office cannot access a PARLe file at any time, as the information disclosed in these files is strictly confidential. The Office can therefore not render an opinion on the value of any proposals or settlements.

However, should consumers feel uncomfortable using the Internet or experience any difficulties in completing the PARLe process, they can be assisted by an acquaintance, friend or relative, other than an attorney. In such cases, consumers must fill out an assistance mandate. The Office includes this document in the email it sends out providing access to the platform.

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Last update : March 18, 2019

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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.