Find the Prohibited Practices

Objective :

  • Identify the rights of consumers;
  • Indicate the areas governed by Québec legislation;
  • Identify the recourses available to consumers and merchants so they can assert their rights;
  • Indicate certain merchant responsibilities.

Description :

Every week, consumers are exposed to merchants' offers through various ads (print, television, radio, etc.). In this exercise, students are asked to analyze a fictitious circular to identify prohibited practices.

Equipment :

Introduction :

To begin this activity, the teacher projects the Circular Plus on the board and points out to the students that:

  • the circular looks like those distributed weekly to consumers;
  • advertisements, like circulars, and the information in these are part of the business practices governed by the Consumer Protection Act (CPA);
  • this advertising may contain practices prohibited by the CPA, which may have an impact on consumers.

Instructions :

Every student is given a paper copy of the Circular Plus workbook.

The task can be done alone, in small teams or as a large group.

Using the reference file, which contains the sections of the CPA that govern certain business practices, students must:

  • identify the eight prohibited practices found in the circular;
  • for each prohibited practice, indicate which section(s) of the CPA were breached and why.

With the entire class, the teacher asks the students to name the prohibited practices they found in the circular. Using the explanations provided in the answer key, the teacher fleshes out the answers given by the class.

Conclusion :

To conclude, the teacher asks the class the following question:

What do you think a consumer can do if they see a prohibited practice in a merchant's ad?

Response elements:

  • Inform the merchant that this advertising practice is prohibited using the content of the website of the Office de la protection du consommateur (show the merchant the webpage directly on their phone).
  • If the merchant disagrees, contact the Office de la protection du consommateur to file a complaint. An agent of the Office can then inform the consumer of their rights and recourses and send them documents to help them take further steps with the merchant, like sending a formal notice. The next steps will depend on the merchant's response.

Teachers who want students to work specifically on the formal notice can use the Consumer Rights and Responsibilities activity.

Reinvestment

In the days after completing the activity, ask students to observe the various advertising practices in print, electronic, television or radio advertising to see if they can identify any practices that breach the Consumer Protection Act. The teacher can ask them to share their observations with their classmates.