When you order a product or service that costs more than $50, the business must provide you with a copy of your agreement. This can be done by mail, or other means that allow you to retain a copy for your records.

This contract must include all the details of the transaction, like payment terms and delivery details.

You have a right to get out of your contract under certain circumstances. For example, if the business does not deliver the good or service within 30 days of the delivery date in the contract, you can write to the business and cancel the agreement. When you do this, the supplier is required to provide you with a refund. If you paid by credit card, let your credit card provider know about your dispute to stop any remaining payments.

There are no requirements for businesses to provide returns or exchanges. So, ask about refunds or exchanges; know and understand all the terms and conditions before you buy.

Read more on returns, exchanges and warranties

Buying over the phone

When buying over the phone, it’s important to record all the details of the transaction. Make a note of:

  • the name and employee number (if available) of the salesperson
  • the items you ordered
  • date of purchase
  • cost, including shipping and handling
  • expected date of delivery
  • the credit card you used, and remember to check that your statement doesn’t have any unexpected fees

Avoid doing business with telemarketers who:

  • offer to send a courier service for your money, or ask you to wire it
  • ask to automatically withdraw money from your bank account
  • ask for personal information, like your bank account number, social insurance number, etc.
  • offer you a free prize, but want to charge handling and shipping fees for you to receive it

Learn about buying safely over the phone in the Canadian Consumer Handbook

Lawn care

Most complaints about lawn care contracts are about what services the company is supposed to provide. This often happens when a consumer has set up services over the phone.

Sometimes, consumers complain that they are getting services they didn’t order. Or, they say they are being charged for a service that they did not ask for.

Avoid these problems by:

  • not dealing with a company or salesperson during a random sales call. If you call a company to ask about its services, make sure to end the call by clearly saying that you were only asking for information
  • demanding a written estimate that shows what services you would be getting, when you should expect these services and how much they will cost
  • paying special attention to anything in a contract that talks about renewal or continuous service. Sometimes lawn care contracts give the business the right to automatically renew a contract the following year unless you cancel in writing by a specific time
  • making sure you agree with all the terms and conditions of the contract

Under the Consumer Protection Act, you do not have to pay for services that you didn’t order. If you get a bill for services you didn’t order, write a complaint letter to the business.

If writing to the business does not resolve the problem, you can file a complaint with the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services.

Phone and long distance services

If you receive a call about your phone service and/or long distance plan and feel you were treated unfairly or want to log a complaint, contact the Commissioner for Complaints for Telecommunications Services (CCTS). These could be complaints about:

  • service delivery (for example, interruptions to service, or if your service wasn’t set up)
  • billing errors or contract disputes
  • if your long distance telephone company is switched to another without your permission