Unfair or Deceptive Business Practices

Unfair or deceptive business practicesThere are many different types of unfair or deceptive business practices covered by Canadian consumer protection laws. Many of these laws concern the ways in which a business may mislead a consumer, either through advertising, on the packaging, during a sales pitch, or at any other time.

Other practices considered unfair include taking advantage of a consumer who can’t take care of his or her own rights, because of a disability, for instance, or a lack of fluency in the language used by the business. Other concerns include high pressure sales, and doing repair work at a cost far in excess of the estimate without getting the consumer’s consent.

Many unfair or deceptive business practices rely on misleading advertising. For more information, please visit the misleading advertising section of this site.

Learning More About Unfair or Deceptive Business Practices

The Competition Bureau is responsible for investigating cases of misleading statements in advertising or in other forms, such as on product labels or made through telemarketing, and other deceptive business practices while promoting fair competition, services and informed consumer choice.

The Canadian Consumer Handbook provides tips, contacts, and other information for consumers, including information on unfair or deceptive business practices. The Handbook is produced as a partnership by the Consumer Measures Committee, a group of senior federal, provincial, and territorial government consumer affairs officials.

The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC) works to protect and inform consumers of financial services. The FCAC is responsible for rules and regulations created in an effort to limit financial institutions’ business practices that are deemed not to be beneficial to consumers.

Provincial and Territorial Information

Choose your province or territory from the list above for information that applies to where you live.

For residents of Ontario

For more information on this topic, you may wish to contact your territorial consumer affairs office. They can be reached at:

Consumer Protection Branch, Ministry of Consumer Services
5775 Yonge Street, Suite 1500
Toronto, Ontario M7A 2E5
Telephone: 416-326-8800
Toll Free: 1-800-889-9768
Phone (TTY): 416-229-6086
Phone (TTY) 2: 1-877-666-6545
Fax: 416-326-8665
Email: consumer@ontario.ca
Website: www.ontario.ca/consumerprotection

For residents of Quebec

Services Québec offers citizens and businesses throughout Québec a single, multiservice window for simplified access to public services. The consumer section of the Service Québec website offers useful information and tips on a number of consumer issues, including unfair or deceptive business practices.

The Office de la protection du consommateur enforces legislation under its jurisdiction, informs consumers collectively and individually, educates consumers, receives complaints, and fosters dialogue among consumer marketplace participants.

Its website provides detailed information on false advertising and illegal business practices, as well as on consumer rights and responsibilities under the Consumer Protection Act. This also includes a primer on pyramid sales.

You can find more information on pyramid selling by consulting our page on Multi-level Marketing and Pyramid Schemes.

For residents of Nova Scotia

For more information on this topic, you may wish to contact your territorial consumer affairs office. They can be reached at:

Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations, Public Enquiries
Mail Room, 8 South
Maritime Centre
1505 Barrington Street
Halifax, Nova Scotia B3J 3K5
Telephone: 902-424-5200
Toll Free: 1-800-670-4357
Fax: 902-424-0720
Email: askus@gov.ns.ca
Website: www.gov.ns.ca/snsmr/access/individuals/consumer-awareness.asp

For residents New Brunswick

For more information on this topic, you may wish to contact your territorial consumer affairs office. They can be reached at:

Financial and Consumer Services Commission
Kings Place (King Tower)
440 King Street
Fredericton, New Brunswick E3B 5H8
Telephone: 506-453-2659
Toll Free : 1 866 933-2222
Fax: 506-444-4494
Email: info@fcnb.ca
Website: www.fcnb.ca

For residents of Manitoba

For more information on this topic, you may wish to contact your territorial consumer affairs office. They can be reached at:

Consumer Protection Office, Consumer and Corporate Affairs, Manitoba Healthy Living, Seniors and Consumer Affairs
302-258 Portage Avenue
Winnipeg, Manitoba R3C 0B6
Telephone: 204-945-3800
Toll Free: 1-800-782-0067
Fax: 204-945-0728
Email: consumers@gov.mb.ca
Website: www.gov.mb.ca/cca/cpo/index.html

For residents of British Columbia

For more information on this topic, you may wish to contact your territorial consumer affairs office. They can be reached at:

Consumer Protection BC
#307-3450 Uptown Blvd
PO Box 9244
Victoria, British Columbia V8W 9J2
Telephone: 604-320-1667
Toll Free: 1-888-564-9963
Fax: 250-920-7181
Email: info@consumerprotectionbc.ca
Website: http://www.consumerprotectionbc.ca

For residents of Prince Edward Island

For more information on this topic, you may wish to contact your territorial consumer affairs office. They can be reached at:

Consumer Services, Office of the Attorney General
Shaw Building, 4th Floor
95 Rochford Street
PO Box 2000
Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island C1A 7N8
Telephone: 902-368-4580
Telephone: 902-368-4550
Toll Free: 1-800-658-1799
Fax: 902-368-5283
Website: http://www.gov.pe.ca/jps/index.php3?number=1002799&lang=E

For residents of Saskatchewan

For more information on this topic, you may wish to contact your territorial consumer affairs office. They can be reached at:

Consumer Protection Division, Financial and Consumer Affairs Authority of Saskatchewan
1919 Saskatchewan Drive, Suite 500
Regina, Saskatchewan S4P 4H2
Telephone: 306-787-5550
Toll Free: 1-888-374-4636
Fax: 306-787-9779
Email: consumerprotection@gov.sk.ca
Website: www.justice.gov.sk.ca/cpb

For residents of Alberta

Service Alberta works to ensure a fair marketplace for both buyers and sellers by investigating consumer complaints, enforcing consumer protection legislation and providing information products and services to consumers. Service Alberta's website contains consumer information and tips on a variety of consumer issues, including a tip sheet on unfair business practices under the Fair Trading Act.

For residents of Newfoundland and Labrador

For more information on this topic, you may wish to contact your provincial consumer affairs office. They can be reached at:

Service NL
PO Box 8700
St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador A1B 4J6
Telephone: 709-729-4834
Toll Free: 1-877-968-2600
Fax: 709-729-6998
Email: gsinfo@gov.nl.ca
Website: www.gs.gov.nl.ca/index.html

For residents of Northwest Territories

For more information on this topic, you may wish to contact your territorial consumer affairs office. They can be reached at:

Consumer Affairs, Department of Municipal and Community Affairs
5201-50th Avenue, Suite 600
PO Box 1320
Yellowknife, Northwest Territories X1A 3S9
Telephone: 867-873-7125
Fax: 867-873-0309
Email: michael_gagnon@gov.nt.ca
Website: http://www.maca.gov.nt.ca/?page_id=504

For residents of Yukon

For more information on this topic, you may wish to contact your territorial consumer affairs office. They can be reached at:

Consumer Services, Department of Community Services
Andrew Philipson Law Centre
2130 Second Avenue, 3rd Floor
PO Box 2703 (C-5)
Whitehorse, Yukon Y1A 2C6
Telephone: 867-667-5111
Toll Free: 1-800-661-0408 ext. 5111
Fax: 867-667-3609
Email: consumer@gov.yk.ca
Website: www.community.gov.yk.ca/consumer/index.html

For residents of Nunavut

For more information on this topic, you may wish to contact your territorial consumer affairs office. They can be reached at:

Consumer Affairs, Department of Community and Government Services
267 Qaiqtuq Building
P.O. Box 440
Baker Lake, Nunavut X0C 0A0
Telephone: 867-793-3303
Toll Free: 1-866-223-8139
Fax: 867-793-3321
Email: Laupaluktuq@gov.nu.ca
Website: www.gov.nu.ca/english/