Filing a consumer complaint
Find out how to file a complaint against a business in Ontario.
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How you’re protected
Whether you’re buying an appliance, signing up for a gym membership, shopping online, or renovating your home, your transaction is likely covered by a consumer protection law.
The types of consumer complaints we can assist you with
We encourage you to file a complaint with us if you think your consumer rights have been violated to help the government enforce these laws.
Here are some of the types of consumer complaints the law covers:
- Auto repair
- Collection agencies
- Consumer reporting
- Home furnishings and furniture
- Home renovation and maintenance
- Large appliances, including heating and air conditioning equipment
- Payday loans
The types of consumer complaints we cannot assist you with
We may not be able to help if your complaint:
- Is based on events that occurred more than two years ago
- Is about a business-to-business transaction
- Focuses on the quality of a good or service beyond the basic guarantees in consumer protection legislation
- Is seeking a form of damages or compensation other than a refund of monies already paid or the cancellation of an agreement as provided under consumer protection legislation
If your complaint is not covered by the consumer protection laws we enforce, we will do our best to help you find an organization or government office that can assist you.
Here is who to contact for help if your complaint relates to:
- Credit unions, insurance, pension plans, loans, or mortgage brokers
- Electrical safety/electrical contracts
- Federally regulated financial institutions
- Fraud and identity theft
- Home builders
- Motor vehicle dealerships
- Real estate transactions
- Telecom-television services
How to file a complaint
Here are the steps you should take to file a complaint with the ministry:
Step 1: inform the business of your complaint
You should advise the business of your complaint by letter, email, or by phone before filing a complaint with us. We recommend writing to the business before you file a complaint with us.
Make sure your letter or email includes:
- the name of the business
- how your rights were violated
- if you’ve reached out to the Ministry of Public and Business Service Delivery
If you advise the business by phone, make sure to note the date and details of the conversation.
In some cases, you can also include one of the province’s consumer complaint notices to help get a response from certain businesses. There are complaint notices regarding:
- alleged violations of the Consumer Protection Act
- collection agencies
- debt settlement services
- payday lenders and loan brokers
- credit reporting agencies
If the business does not resolve your complaint after the business receives your letter, email, or phone call, you can file a complaint with us.
Step 2: submit a complaint to us
There is no cost involved.
When submitting a complaint online, you will also be asked to provide supporting documents. These include:
- A copy of the letter you wrote to the business about your complaint and any response they have sent back to you
- Your contract or any other related agreements (if applicable)
- Copies of invoices, records of payments made and any other letters, documents and e-mails
- Logs of calls from a collection agency (if applicable), consumer reports or any documentation relating to the original debt relevant to your complaint
Submit your complaint on paper or by email. If you require an alternate format, please contact us.
In order to file your complaint in paper or by email, please use this PDF version of the complaint form.
Send your completed form with copies of any supporting documents by mail or email to:
Ministry of Public and Business Service Delivery
Consumer Services Operations Division
PO Box 450
Toronto, ON M7A 2J6
Courier packages should be delivered by Canada Post or Purolator.
Step 3: after you submit your complaint
We will contact you by email, mail or phone within 15 business days.
Complaints will be examined on a case-by-case basis in order to determine what action, if any, should be taken. The ministry’s involvement may take the form of:
- referring you to an organization or government office that is better suited to deal with the complaint
- attempting to mediate a resolution between you and the business
- educating the business about consumer protection laws and the consumer about their rights
- administrative action against a business, if the business is licensed, registered, or appointed by the Ministry of Public and Business Service Delivery
- issuing a compliance or other type of order
- conducting an investigation into the conduct/activities of the business where appropriate
- ongoing monitoring of the business through the consumer marketplace
- placing the business on the Consumer Beware List if certain regulatory conditions are met.
Learn more about actions we take with respect to your complaints.
Questions about filing a complaint
If you have any questions about filing a complaint, call Consumer Protection Ontario between 8:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday to Friday at:
1-800-889-9768(toll free) 416-326-8800(Toronto area)
1-877-666-6545(toll free) 416-229-6086(Toronto area)