Charges and convictions under Ontario's Consumer Protection Act
The Consumer Protection Branch of Ontario's Ministry of Government and Consumer Services investigates unfair business practices and lays charges against businesses that violate consumer laws.
Operating under the Consumer Protection Act and other laws, the branch has obtained nearly 950 convictions in the last five years. The branch enforces the law to achieve four key consumer protection goals:
- Informed consumer choice
- Clear, comprehensible and prominent disclosure of consumer rights and obligations in all contracts
- Freedom from undue pressure and misinformation
- Fair resolution of disputes between consumers and businesses
Engaging in unfair business practices is prohibited in Ontario. The Consumer Protection Act defines unfair practices including but not limited to:
- Exerting undue pressure on a consumer to sign a contract
- Exploiting someone's disability or infirmity to get them to sign a contract
- Misrepresenting the quality of goods or services, or the credentials of the business
- Promising something the business knows it cannot deliver
- Misrepresenting price advantages
Anyone with knowledge of or information about the use of unfair business practices in Ontario should call the Consumer Protection Services Bureau toll-free at 1-800-889-9768. Within the GTA call 416-326-8800.