Returns, exchanges and warranties in Ontario
Although many retailers that sell you goods in store or online have a return policy that allows for refunds or exchanges, the law doesn’t require them to.
Learn what you need to ask before you shop at retail stores.
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Ask the right questions
- Do you offer full or partial refunds, exchanges or store credit?
- Are there any fees for cancelling the purchase after I put a deposit on it?
- Who is offering the warranty – the store, the supplier or the manufacturer?
- Do I have to pay shipping and handling charges for a replacement or to get a repair?
Returns and exchanges
The Consumer Protection Act sets out requirements for refunds in some circumstances for certain types of agreements but does not provide a general right to return or exchange goods. The terms and conditions of an agreement between the business and consumer may determine if a business is required to provide a refund in a particular situation.
Before you buy, find out if the store has a return policy that includes exchanges or refunds. Here are some questions you can ask:
- do you offer full or partial refunds, exchanges or store credit?
- what do I need to bring as proof of purchase? (for example, the receipt, sales tags, original packaging)
- are there any extra fees to return an item? (for example, restocking fees)
- are there rules about returning seasonal items after a certain period?
- can I return personal items, such as jewellery or lingerie?
- can I return an item I opened or used?
We recommend getting the store’s policy in writing if you think you may have to return an item.
You have the right to ask for a refund if a business misrepresents their product or service.
Making a deposit
When you put a deposit on an item at a store, ask the following questions:
- will the store refund my deposit if I change my mind?
- are there any fees for cancelling the purchase?
- what do I need to bring as proof of purchase to get the item? (For example, receipt, contract, credit card)
Make sure to get a written contract and receipt for your full or partial payment.
This contract must have all the details of the transaction, such as:
- credit terms
- payment due date
- delivery details
A warranty is a promise by the business to repair or replace a defective item for a period of time after the purchase.
Before you purchase an item, make sure to check the terms and conditions of the item’s warranty. A few things you need to ask include:
- how long is the warranty for?
- what kind of defect or damage does the warranty cover – installation errors, accidents etc.
- who offers the warranty – the store or the manufacturer?
- do I get a replacement or repair?
- do I have to pay shipping and handling costs for a replacement or to get a repair?
- where do I go if the item needs repair?
- does it include the price of both parts and services for repair?
An extended warranty offers the same promise over a longer period of time, and usually costs extra.
Make sure the cost of the extended warranty is worth the extra protection you will receive. It might be cheaper to buy a newer model if it’s a low-cost item, or the extended warranty does not cover shipping and handling charges or replacement parts.
Make sure you understand the terms and conditions of the extended warranty before signing a contract for one. If you feel you need extended coverage for the item, you should:
- shop around for the best price that includes the cost of the extended warranty
- find out if your credit card offers any protection for a purchase. If it does, you may not need an extended warranty
- research the company offering the warranty. Remember, if a company closes down, you may not be able to enforce your warranty
Canada’s Competition Bureau enforces the rules against misleading warranties and guarantees.