Here at Consumer Protection BC, we receive hundreds of consumer inquiries each week. They come to us through our inquiry centre or social media accounts as well as through here, on our blog. For today’s post, I’m sharing a few consumer questions (and our answers!) about returns and refunds.
We purchased $2,000 stationary bike in February 2013, used it for less than one hour and decided to return to the store. They said they would accept it but charge 20 – 25% penalty and we pay for shipping again. So they want $350-500 to resell the almost-new machine.
Restocking fees are often part of a retailer’s return or refund policy. That’s why asking about a company’s policy prior to purchasing is so important – it helps to make an informed decision. Thanks for sharing your example of how different return or refund policies can vary from retailer to retailer.
I purchased a book and upon my return home realized it was one that I already had in my collection. The next day I returned to the store and asked to exchange the book (with my receipt) but was told exchanges were only allowed on clothing. My receipt stated that exchanges and credits were available on clothing within 7 days with receipt, but did not state any exceptions regarding other types of merchandise. A written store policy was posted, but it stated that exchanges and credits were allowed with a receipt (in the first paragraph). Again (in another paragraph) it specifically mentioned clothing could be returned, only with receipt within 7 days. What should happen if a store does not follow its written policy?
Unfortunately, a store’s policy is just that and not a “law.” If the store chooses to dishonour their own policies, you can try filing a complaint with the Better Business Bureau. Because the retail industry isn’t regulated in BC, retailers are not even required to post return policies. Perhaps if you aren’t getting your questions answered to your satisfaction with the store, you could also ask to speak to a manager (if you didn’t already do that).
I sold my old car to someone in private deal. One day after she wants to return the car and wants her money back. Is it possible?
Private transactions are not regulated and, as a result, it is up to the parties involved to attempt a resolution if possible. If this is not possible the matter may need to be resolved in a court of law. I’m sorry we couldn’t be of more help.
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83 thoughts on “Dear Consumer Protection BC: returns and refunds”
I’ve recently purchased a new fridge, which seems to work fine. My problem with it is that the energy efficient design has it running most of the time.
I’m a writer who writes at night, and at my kitchen table. If I knew now what I knew before buying the new fridge I’d have bought a used (and much quieter one). Do I have any recourse for returning it as an unsatisfied customer ?
Appreciate your time,
I understand how that would be frustrating for you. I would recommend contacting the business as soon as possible to ask if they are willing to do anything. In BC, I’m afraid there is no opportunity to return an item for reasons of dissatisfaction.
Hi there, I purchased an expensive mattress in 2020 due to my back pain. After a week I started to feel the pain again with new mattress. I told the store manager about and as per the policy I got another mattress that was $1000 cheaper but the store manager refused to return the money and said you can buy something else but he is not go to return the money. Can you please advise what can I do?
Hi Mona, thank you for reaching out to us here. As the blog post suggests, retailers in BC are allowed to set their own return and refund policy. Have you tried talking to the store’s head office? That probably be the next step and after that, you can take the company to the court – CRT (Civil Resolution Tribunal). It is an online-based resolution platform and you can file your claim up to $5,000. Here is their website if you are interested in finding out more.
We were told that if we provide store credits for our store, that there should be no expiry for store credits as prescribed by law. Is there such a law that prohibits a store in putting expiry dates for store credits? If so, can you send me a link to this? Thank you.
Hi Jun – Thanks for your question. Generally speaking, refunds and returns do not fall under Consumer Protection BC law (the exception would be if your store credit falls under the definition of a “prepaid purchase card,” which we regulate – you may want to check out this section of the law to make that determination: click here). If your store credit qualifies as a prepaid purchase card, it’s important to know that gift cards/certificates for specific good or service (such as a haircut) can expire, while gift cards for general dollar values (such as $50 to a hair salon) cannot expire. You may also want to check out the BC Sale of Goods Act (available here) in case there is anything in it that addresses your particular situation. Hope that helps!
Refunds need to be part of consumer protection, or what’s the point?
Too many times I have been ripped off by faulty equipment not returnable and restocking fees that basically are free money for the company. If there were laws to have store owners responsible for their products, then maybe we would get quality back into our products instead of the throw away products that are now eating away at our pocket books, our health and our planet that pollute the homes of the other patrons that live in our oceans, and lands. This may seem small….and its NOT!!!
Hi Cheryl — Thanks for your comment. As amendments to laws (including the creation of new laws) rests with government, you may wish to reach out to your local MLA to pass along your thoughts and concerns. Also, the BC Sale of Goods Act (available here) may address some of the issues you’ve raised, but, as you mentioned, our office does not administer these laws. All the best, Melaina
Hi Jallu – Thanks for the question and this sounds super frustrating! While the laws we administer don’t cover returns and refunds (so unfortunately I can’t say whether or not you have a right to a refund), I have a few suggestions that you may wish to consider. First, if you aren’t able to work it out with the business (it sounds like you’ve already tried to do this), check to see whether the business is a member of the Better Business Bureau and try filing a complaint. Second, there is a piece of law called the BC Sale of Goods Act (a link is here: http://bit.ly/1HnU4rA) and some of the provisions may apply to your situation. It’s a bit of a difficult read, but the Canadian Bar Association has a helpful page on their website to help consumers understand the information (here’s a link: http://bit.ly/1F6Lwz9). Now it’s important to understand that there is no regulatory body that oversees this law, but it can be used in can be used in court. If you wanted to get a legal opinion about the Sale of Good Act, or about your case in general, the Canadian Bar Association has a service where you can talk to a lawyer for 30 minutes for $25 – information about that program is here: http://bit.ly/1T9UW7G I hope this helps and I hope you get the issue resolved quickly!
I purchased a washing machine from a major retailer. On the day of delivery, I used it and it caused a major water leak in my home. It turned out to be a defective product with a part missing from the inside. A month later I am still dealing with the insurance claim and the appliance manufacturer. I wanted a return and refund and was led to believe by the retailer that the manufacturer would be responsible for this. Today I received word that they are willing to offer repair only. If I want a refund, I have to fight for it through the retailer, which has a zero return policy on major appliances. Am I within my rights to obtain a return and refund on a defective product, which I used once, and found defective on day of delivery, even if the manufacturer repairs it under warranty?
Hi Amanda — Authority over motor vehicle salespeople and dealerships rests with an organization called the Motor Vehicle Sales Authority of British Columbia (they, like our organization, administer certain specific laws in the province). The MVSA will have an answer to your question — here is a link to their website: http://mvsabc.com/
I bought a used vehicle from a dealership. Not even 24 hours later, the car overheated and was un-drivable. My mechanic said there was a huge hole in the radiator. When I purchased the vehicle, the company gave me a checklist certifying everything was in proper working condition. The dealership took back the car to fix, but I would like a full refund because I do not feel safe driving the vehicle. If they hid the radiator problem, they could have hit other issues. The dealership will not let me return the car for a full refund. Is this fair? I feel cheated and don’t want this vehicle, I dont trust the validity of their inspection and want my money back. Can Consumer Protection help me get my money back?
Hello Augustine — We have information about BC’s gift card law on our website here, including a link to the law here.
Feel free to give our office a call if you’d like more information about your specific situation: 1-888-564-9963. We’ve come across this issue a few times, and, generally speaking, we’ve found that the prepaid purchase card law does not apply to these kinds of refund situations.
I recently attempted to redeem store credit issued on a “refund card” from Canadian Tire, which sadly expired. I’m wondering where I can find additional information as to the definition of a Prepaid purchase card to determine whether or not this is a legal business practice. From what I can tell from the prepaid purchase cards regulation, refund cards are not excluded from this definition. Thanks!
I recieved a present for x-mas from my boss, which is a very expensive cashmere item. I have the gift reciept, and the store’s policy states that you can get a refund (up until Jan. 8 2016) with a receipt etc. so long as the product has not been worn, etc.
I’ve asked them for a refund, as I am VERY allergic to cashmere, and they have refused (although the item is in perfect condition, and I have the reciept). I’ve followed up with their head office, and they will give me a refund, if I get my boss to bring their credit card in. I don’t want to involve my boss in this, as a) it’s not their business, b) having to tell someone ‘hey, you gave me the gift of a christmas rash, can you take your time on the weekend to get me a refund for the unwanted present?’ is pretty damn insulting (plus, it’s not my boss’s business if I’m allergic to something or not.
Is there a way to force the company to give me the refund in the manner described on their website (via cheque in the mail)?
Hi Natalie, thank you for your question. Retail stores are allowed to set their own policies on return/refund/exchange and Consumer Protection BC does not oversee this area. It’s my understanding that there are no governing bodies that regulate retail stores. There is more information about this on our blog post here – http://bit.ly/2hOwdMF. You may just have to be persistent with the store owner/manager.
I cancelled my service with Telus on October 3 2016. At the time I cancelled I had paid for service that wold not be provided, leaving Telus to return that amount. I have called Telus on three separate occasions asking when this will be returned each time I am told it will be there next week. It is now January 11 2017.
Is there anything I can do to force Telus to honor this return.
Hi Rick, I’m not sure what kind of contract you cancelled (home phone, cell phone, internet etc) but you may want to contact the CRTC (Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission) as they regulate telecommunications carriers. Here is a link to their support centre. I hope they can point you in the right direction!
I placed a order for some interior doors from a door company on October 2016. Was told it was a 2-4 weeks from the time they received deposit. Going on 12 weeks now and all I get is excuses. According to company reviews many others are in the same boat having giving a deposit and no product in return.
Is there anything I can do to get my money back?
Hi Sheldon, when you paid the deposit, did you get a contract or a receipt with terms and conditions? If you didn’t receive one or the contract is missing required contents, you may be able to still cancel and get a refund. Either way, we would like to get more details from you so if you could contact us, that would be great. Our toll free number is 1-888-564-9963 or email is email@example.com.
My 17 yr old put a deposit down on a dress without either parents permission, we have now found same dress elsewhere for much cheaper, store will not match price and wants to charge a $100.00 cancellation fee to my daughter because her supplier says he will charge this same fee to store owner, so she’s passing it along. Contracts made with minors in BC are unenforceable, store was fully aware that child was 17, asked her to call parents for permission, did not receive permission but went ahead anyway. Does store maintain a right to charge a minor with a cancellation fee on a contract she had no legal right to enter into in the first place?
Hi jan, thank you for posting your question here. Unfortunately retail sales are not something we oversee so I’m not very familiar with this type of situation. Having said that, you may want to look into the Infants Act (http://bit.ly/2jorfXE) regarding the contracts signed by an underage person as well as the Sale of Goods Act (http://bit.ly/2kl6DPB).
Also the Canadian Bar Association has a lawyer referral service that gives you an access to lawyers and provides the opportunity to have a consultation with a lawyer for up to 30 minutes for a fee of $25 plus tax. I hope this information is helpful, jan.
I purchased bluetooth wireless samsung earbuds from Best Buy at 2220 Cambie, Vancouver, and it turns out they’re just a lousy product that don’t work well or sometimes at all. I spoke to a sales-woman on the phone who, it turns out, made false claims about the product. I’ve since researched the product and found out it is plagued by many problems. The store insists I cannot return them because they go in your ear and I opened the package. They offered me a store credit. $279.00 But I had to buy a different brand while on vacation so now its a very expensive fiasco for me. Do I have any recourse to persuade them to give me my money back? (Other than potentially writing a bad Yelp Review?) Thanks. Ben
Hi Ben, thank you for your question. Unfortunately, retail sales aren’t bound by law to provide mandatory returns or refunds, retailers actually set their own rules around refund policies. You may want to contact the store manager or the corporate office perhaps? Writing an email would probably be better as you can keep a better record with date and time. We also have a blog post about how to complain effectively that might interest you (post link here). I hope this information helps, best of luck!
I signed up to do a triathlon a month ago. However though it is not until August 6th and I just contacted them today to tell them I can’t do it. They told me they won’t give me money back. Instead they told me that they will transfer it to another race but that is all. They have a return policy that says nothing about returns but instead offers a rollover to the next race. I have given them 4 months notice and I struggle to think that I can’t be given my money back. For a race that is still 4 months away. I haven’t used the product rather signed up. Is there any options for me?
Hi Jared – Thanks for the question. In BC, businesses set their own refund policies. While that may be frustrating to a consumer, legally, a business is allowed to do not give refunds or offer returns. If I’ve understood correctly, in your case, it sounds like their rules may be in their terms and conditions (stating that they will roll over the fee to the next race). If you aren’t able to work it out with the business (it sounds like you’ve already tried to do this), perhaps they may be able to offer some other options for you. For example, do they allow race participants to sell their place to another person? I hope this information is helpful to you!
About 5-6 months ago, I returned a package to Zara for a refund. After 1-2 months, I still had not received the refund from the company and contacted their customer service department. After weeks of discussion they told me my package had arrived after their 30 day policy and therefore refused the refund. They then told me that merchandise SHOULD HAVE been shipped back to me. Although I had notified them using their app prior to the 30 days, I told them that I understood but have not received any merchandise back from them. They never replied, and I followed up regarding the situation multiple times. Today I was finally provided with a tracking number which says the package was dropped off at my door over a month ago because a signature was not required. I had never seen the package. It seems like the delivery company is to be held responsible but is the supplier responsible in contacting them or is the buyer?
Hi Alicia, thank you for your question. In this situation you may want to contact the delivery company and find out what their policies are for lost parcels. It may be worthwhile to elevate this issue with the delivery company to see if they have any recourse for situations like this. They may be better equipped to answer your question, as this issue falls outside of our regulatory power.
We bought a sectional from a furnitre store for our new home.We sat on the floor model and liked it.One was ordered.We paid the balance 2 days ago and the furniture was delivered yesterday.The sectional was not what we ordered.The fabric/legs are different and it is very poorly made.Immediately, I said something before they had time to set it up.They told me that we got what was ordered.The salesman must have written the wrong product name down but we had no idea what that one word meant.Bait & switch?The salesman gave us a copy of the spec sheet which we have kept in a binder.They keep saying that we must have looked in their computer and picked a random sectional that we had not seen, touched or sat upon.They tell us the salesman is out of the country for another 2 weeks and we can use it while we wait for him.We are NOT going to use it.We want a refund or the product we ordered.Can we get our cc company to pull the final payment pending satisfaction?
Hi Jane, thank you for your question. Retail sales are not something that is covered by our legislation. Have you taken a look at the refund/return policy of the furniture store? It may be a good place to start. It might also be a good idea to try and escalate the situation with them to try and receive a refund. If this is unsuccessful you may want to contact the manufacturer to seek a refund or exchange, if possible.
In regard to your question about your credit card company, you may also want to contact your provider to find out what options you have here, as I couldn’t say for sure what their policy is in this situation. For more information on retail sales, the Sale of Good Act may be useful to you. Here is a link to it. I hope this is helpful to you and best of luck!
I booked an appointment with a hotel/spa and I couldn’t make it at the last min. I didn’t realize that their cancellation policy include charging me the full price on my credit card. They said they required my credit card when making reservation, so they charged it on my credit card, but I didn’t sign anything; I didn’t even make it to the hotel.
Basically they are charging me for a service I didn’t use. I have tried calling them to dispute it, but claims there’s nothing they can do.
Hi Cindy, thank you for your question. Businesses are allowed to set their own return/refund/cancellation policies. By agreeing to the appointment, you may have agreed to the terms and conditions of the cancellation policy of the hotel/spa. It is my understanding that they do this to protect themselves from no-show appointments where they could have had a paying client during that time. We always suggest that consumers ask businesses what their return/refund/cancellation policies are before buying a product or service or making an appointment. I hope this helps and provides you with some helpful information.
I purchased a Car Audio system from an Established Retailer and paid for the In-house Installation as well.
During the installation, the staff caused very Visible Screw-driver Scratch damage deep ones in multiple numbers to the Dash Board of my car. He also left the Dash Crack Open in some areas. Altogether, terrible work!
It was dark when I picked up my car and did not realize this until next day.
I have not contacted the retailer yet.
What are my rights here?
What can I ask for?
They killed the beauty of my Dash and I am very disappointed about it.
Hi Soalwin, thank you for your question. Did you get the work done at a licensed dealership? While Consumer Protection BC is responsible for certain industries and transactions in the province, issues relating to vehicles falls outside of our regulatory power. The organization which oversees the law governing certain aspects of dealerships is the Vehicle Sales Authority (link here: https://mvsabc.com/), so I would suggest you contact them directly with your question.I hope this helps and best of luck!
I purchased flowers online to be delivered. I payed extra to upgrade the flowers to their top version of the bouquet I picked as well as chocolates a card and a vase. The flowers showed up completely damaged. They looked like they’d been sat on and some of the flowers were falling off. It was also a completely different bouquet than what I ordered and less than half the size of the regular bouquet (certainly not the delux version that I paid extra for). Along with that, the chocolates were never delivered at all. I contacted the company, pictures included, and they advised that they would send the correct order out. I waited nearly a week and nothing was delivered. I reached out to them several times to no avail. I finally was able to reach someone who assured me that the flowers would be sent that very day. Still nothing arrived. i then got ahold of someone again and advised that since it had been weeks of dealing with this, I only wanted a refund at that point. They just advised that they don’t do refunds but could offer a credit or resend the order. I had tried having it resent and they never followed through so again I asked for a refund. They said that their policy stated that they don’t do refunds for delivered products. Their online policy also guarantees best quality, guaranteed delivery and the best customer service, non of which they delivered on. I also don’t believe that it’s fair to say that the product was delivered when half the product was missing and what was delivered was completely wrong and damaged. I’m quite frustrated as a consumer because they also don’t have any other means to contact someone there other than online chat. Is there any law under Consumer Protection that says if part of the paid for items don’t arrive and what does arrive is completely wrong and damaged that policy aside a refund should be issued? I understand mistakes happen and I was completely fine settling for them resending it but after several failed attempts and assurances that they would, I absolutely do not want to do business with this company ever again. I’ve also done some further research online and have found that out of 70+ reviews they only had 2 that were above a 2 star rating and almost all the comments sounded very similar to my situation. I should note that I’ve ordered from this company in the past and never experienced such terrible service/product.
Hi Jamie, thank you for reaching out to us here and taking the time to explain your situation. I understand this is a frustrating scenario and it sounds like the business has some bad reviews from others too. This, however, is a quality of service issue. While this is not an area we have any authority over, we’ve written a blog post about your options when you encounter a quality of service issue that may provide you with some helpful information for your next steps. I hope this helps and best of luck!
Last summer, I purchased services from a driving instructor to help me prepare for my road test. The package i purchased was to include five one hour lessons, one two hour lesson, and one final warm up until the test. I completed everything except the one hour warmup since I had to reschdule my road test multiple times. I chose to pay for the package all at once instead of pay as you go as I was confident that I would get a refund in case things didn’t work out for whatever reason. Later, me and the driving instructor, who owned the driving school, had a falling out and I was offered a refund but my mother, who recommended the school in the first place, negotiated on my behalf and declined it saying it was best to finish the package. Some time passes by and I took the two hour lesson in hopes that things between me and the teacher would improve, things did not improve as the teacher failed to improve on his behaviour. After the lesson i was offered another refund, but considering how my mother was constantly advising me to see the package through till the end, i declined. A few months went by and I made my own decision to cut ties with the teacher as I could not stand his attitude so I texted him saying that I changed my mind and that I would accept the refund that was offered earlier. However he claims, through text, that because i cancelled the package I lost on the discount, meaning no refund, and also means that I was now paying for every lesson individually plus gst. I responded by texting that even if that were the case, there is still money left over. He responded again, through text, saying he would calculate and send the details of the calculation and even claimed I would have to pay a credit card processing fee since according to him, the benefits of the package with discounts are seen on the day of the road test not before, even though that was not said anywhere on his website as far as i know. Three weeks have past and i still have not seen the promised calculation or even a cent of the money I wanted back. What can be done to get my money back and to avoid paying the processing fee?
Hi Winston, thank you for taking the time to explain your situation to us here. Do you happen to have a copy of the contract? Do you know what the cancellation or refund policy is? That would be a good place to start. Looking forward to hearing back. Thanks!
There was no contract, just the information on the school’s website.
Sorry I meant to say I was not issued a contract or the refund and/or cancellation policy.
Hi Winston, thanks for clarifying. So I can’t say for sure, but it sounds like this type of contract may be considered a future performance contract. A future performance contract is an agreement where you do not pay in full upfront, OR you don’t get the goods or services immediately (your driving classes). If you did not receive a contract or the terms and conditions did not contain all the required information, you may be within your rights to cancel and receive a refund for the services not provided. I would suggest taking a look at this page on our website to go through the information to see if it applies to your situation. There is a form on there that you can send to the business demanding a refund within 15 days of them receiving the form. While our law does not speak to partial refunds, which sounds like it might be the case in your situation, you may still be interested in trying to send the form to the business. If you have any questions, you can contact our inquiry centre at 1-888-564-9963. I hope this is helpful to you and best of luck!
When you said the law “does not speak to partial refunds” do you mean that the law doesnt mention partial refunds specifically or did you mean it does not cover partial refunds?
Hi Winston, it doesn’t mention partial refunds. I would suggest sending the form to the business, as I suggested in the last reply. If you have questions, feel free to contact our inquiry centre: 1.888.564.9963. I hope this helps!
Thank you for your response, but I have one more question that may affect my decision to give this form, as I like to be prepared for anything. Should the driving school be obligated by Consumer Protection to give me the refund, but they instead decide to take legal action against this, would they be able to? And what would be the likelihood of them winning the dispute?
Hi Winston, thanks for your message. I can’t weigh in on what the driving school is obligated to do, as I have not seen the website or the details of your contract. I might suggest trying the form to see where it gets you and if it doesn’t work you can call our inquiry centre so we can get some more information from you about the details of the whole transaction. Regarding your question about legal action, we are not in a position to give legal advice at Consumer Protection BC. If you are interested in obtaining legal advice I would suggest contacting the Lawyer Referral Service through the Canadian Bar Association. You talk to a lawyer on the phone for 30 minutes for approximately $25 dollars. I hope this helps and best of luck.
I bought a piece of clothing from one of the Indian stores. After purchase I realized I was charged 3 times the price they charge to buy the same product online. In this situation, what are my rights and responsibilities?
Hi Aradhana, thanks for your question. What have you done to try and resolve the issue? Have you tried speaking to the management of the store yet? While we are responsible for overseeing specific consumer protection laws and regulate several industries in the province, we have no authority when it comes to pricing discrepancies from retail stores. If you give me some more information about your situation I might be able to offer some information or a referral to someone else who may be able to help. Thanks!
i paid about $90.00 for counselling services in Coquitlam. Company policy was to pre-paid for the session and no refunds. She replied with 2-3 available sessions but i was not available during that times. In second email she replied with a session availability and when i chose the session i didn’t get any reply from her. I have sent 20 emails till now but no reply. I even asked for the refund but again no reply. her policy is that is no refunds but for even that she need to provide me a session i guess. in one of her few emails her excuse was she sent me many emails but they didn’t go through. Should i take any legal action or something to get my refund for no services provided by her.
Hi Raj, thanks for reaching out to us here. We always suggest people try to work these things out with the business directly first, as it is usually the cheapest and most efficient way to resolve consumer issues. It sounds like you’ve already tried that. I might suggest continuing to try to work it out with the business owner directly and if you are unable to do so successfully, I believe your only recourse would be through small claims court. We are not in a position to offer legal advice, but you can try contacting a lawyer through the Canadian Bar Association. They offer a lawyer referral service where you can speak to a lawyer for 30 mins for approximately $25. Here’s a link to more information on that: https://www.cbabc.org/For-the-Public/Lawyer-Referral-Service. Another option is to go through the Civil Resolution Tribunal. They can help resolve certain disputes under $5,000 quickly in a variety of ways. We’ve written a blog post about what to expect from the process here. While we have no legal authority when it comes to issues involving undelivered services, we are happy to refer you to someone who is better suited to help. If you would like to know what kinds of issues Consumer Protection BC can help you with directly, please check out this page here on our website. I hope this is helpful to you, Raj. Best of luck!
I ordered a package of clothes from a company. I contacted them when the item was not received and they said it was probably lost and reshipped the package. They refunded me the items that were out of stock. Oddly, I received both packages, the first and the reshipment. I let the company know of this and they would like me to send back the items and recharge me for the refund the processed previously. I will resend the items backs but I’m wondering what my legal obligations are with receiving two packages due to reshipment as well as them trying to recharge me for an item I now received but was previously refunded.
Hi Alice, thank you for contacting us with your question! In BC, retailers are allowed to set their own policies around refunds and shipping so if you have questions or concerns it’s best to go back to the business and negotiate with them.
We have had heat treatment for bed bugs twice, one in September and another in October. In January, bugs have reappeared. What should we do if the company refuses to provide refund for services that did not achieve the purpose. The company advertises providing service which completely eradicates bed bugs in the apartment. Their first treatment was not successful, and after they provided the second, we still have bed bugs.
Hi Oli, thanks for reaching out to us here. That sounds like a frustrating situation. While this is not something we have any authority over, I’m happy to provide you with some info and some referrals. When you are not happy with the service of a business, the most effective way to reach a resolution is by dealing with the business directly to come to a solution, which it sounds like you’ve already tried to do.
Have you had a chance to review the contract you signed with them? It may shed some light on the small print in the contract that details what “promises” were made.
Additionally, because you are looking for a refund from them, you may be interested to know that retail businesses in BC are allowed to set their own refund policies (you may be able to find their policy on their website). It may even be in the contract you signed. After combing through some of the details, you can decide if you would like to proceed to pursue a refund. In these situations, where the “work” has been completed, but not to your satisfaction, you may need to take legal action to get your money back. There are a couple ways to do this. The Civil Resolution Tribunal can help you try to resolve small claims disputes under $5,000. And BC Small Claims can help with claims between $5,001 to $35,000. We’ve also written a blog post with some more info on what to do when you experience a quality of service issue. I hope these resources are helpful for you and best of luck in getting what you’re looking for!
I rented a car in December and 2 months later, in mid February the car rental facility mailed me to say there was an error changing my credit card at the time and I was never charged. (I didn’t notice because I just pay the card off each week). They are now going to charge me (it was around $80 I think).
My question is, if they have failed to charge me for so long, are they allowed to do this? Can I dispute it saying it’s been too long? They should eat the cost as it was their error.
Many thanks in advance
Hi Greg, thanks for your question. I think the folks you would want to talk to about this would be Payments Canada. If there are any laws that address your rights around payment errors, they would likely be responsible for them. Here is a link to their website. While this isn’t an area we have any authority over, I hope the referral is helpful to you. Best of luck, Greg!
Great thanks for the link!
We had paid for a machine rental that we received a credit note refunding part of the rate a few months down the road. Several months later we asked that we are sent a cash/cheque refund in lieu of the credit note, as we dont anticipate using this company any further, but were told that it was not their policy to issue cash/cheque returns (with exception of deposits) and that they only issue credit notes on accounts to be used for future purchases/rentals. Are they legally able to refuse to refund us by cheque?
Hi Tina, thank you for asking a question here. In BC, retail stores are allowed to set their own return and exchange policy. This means that it is up to the business to decide if they will or will not provide a cash/cheque refund. If the business is part of the Better Business Bureau, you can leave them a review with your feedback. Sorry there aren’t much more I can suggest, Tina.
I purchased a piece of clothing at a sports event. For “fan appreciation”, they had discounted everything by 30%. It was only that night so I decided to make the purchase. I changed my mind and wanted to return it. However, they told me I could not because all “on sale” items are final sale. I was not notified of this on the day of the sale and there were no signs that night at the event. The 30% off was just something the employees and in-game hosts mentioned. However, on the receipt, it does say “all sale items are final”. I countered by saying I only got the receipt after I purchased the item and by then, technically the transaction was completed and hence, it was a final sale. I did not see the receipt until a week later when I decided to return it. What are my options?
Hi Mike, BC retail businesses are allowed to set their own return, refund and exchange policy and there are no laws that cover this issue. The best way to resolve this is to talk to the seller which you have been doing and it is really up to them to decide what they offer. Hopefully, they can provide you with an exchange or something to recover some of your costs.
My relative bought an LG washing machine at Leon store. A few month later it started making noise. They want now return the machine, but the store refused. They sent some man over to fix it – repairman said there is nothing wrong. But after this, the machine still make noise and the store refused to take it back to refund. They also bought insurance for the washing machine but the store still refused to exchange or refund it. BBB was acting on behalf of the store. What should my relative do?
Hello and thank you for contacting us! I’m not sure why the BBB is acting on behalf of the store but have you or your relative contacted the BBB? Consumer Protection BC doesn’t oversee retail sales of large appliances, including warranties so we would not be able to offer much but I wonder if BBB would be able to. Here’s their contact information (if you live in Mainland BC) – https://www.bbb.org/local-bbb/bbb-of-mainland-bc. You can also explore options with CRT (Civil Resolution Tribunal) which allows you to have a dispute of up to $5000 online. Here’s their link.
An event business I know of has a general no return or refund policy but allows refunds for emergencies in not being able to attend.
They were entertaining the idea of setting up a system to only provide a partial refund to patrons and keep the paid service fees without adding this stipulation to their policy beforehand so purchasers are aware of the terms and conditions of purchase.
So not providing a full refund without disclosing that. Is this legal?
Hi Kat, thank you for posting your question here. Without knowing what type of event business it is and the contract they use, it’s hard to give you an accurate answer but generally speaking, businesses (especially retailers) can set their own refund and exchange policies in BC. If the business is signing people up and providing events at a later date, their contract may fall under future performance contracts (more info on that here on our website). But again, it is hard to determine without more information so please feel free to submit a complaint form to us.
i wish to inform you that dollar stores in Vancouver, as a general policy, do not give refunds for defective products under any circumstances. On two occasions recently, items failed immediately after purchase.
One case was a small travel weight scale with hook to weigh luggage. It worked on the first try OK, but on the 2nd try a few minutes later it is out by 15 ibs and has stayed that way since. The owner of the store said all the dollar stores do not give refunds or credit for defective items, echoing what I’ve heard before.
And today I purchased a solar power string of lights which would have been very helpful to me. It worked OK when I first turned it on, but when I pressed the mode button which is supposed to change the rate at which the lights flash, the unit failed and now does not work at all.
I don’t believe this can be legal to reject return of items that do not work soon after purchase. While the dollar amount is individual small, dollar stores are rapidly increasing in market share and changing the way people shop with ever pricier and more sophisticated products. It would be a mistake to overlook such behaviour.
Without some correction, there will be no incentive for the stores to improve quality.
Hi Roland, thank you for posting your comment here and sorry to hear about your experience. Unfortunately, the law in BC does not speak to retailers’ refund/exchange policy so our organization is not in a position to take actions on this issue. As the blog post suggests, retailers are allowed to set their own policies so we always encourage people to ask about the store policy before purchasing. Sorry, Roland that we can’t be more helpful.
Are you sure, you can’t be more helpful? that is, are you saying your office can’t help, or that I have no case at all in law such as small claims courts.
I would say that when a retailer has a blanket ‘no refund for any reason policy’ that is akin to saying the Sale of Goods act does not apply to his business, and I think that’s wrong.
And if an entire class of Merchants say the same thing, then there may be a case for a class action.
For years I’ve understood every sale of a good in Canada has an implied warranty which includes reasonable duration and works for the intended use. In my case, since the product broke down the day I purchased it as soon as I returned home, both conditions were violated. Is my understanding not not correct?
Hi Roland, I’m not able to give you legal advice here but if you would like to speak to a lawyer about your understanding of the act, you can use the Lawyer Referral Service here.
I bought some clothing from a retailer but after taking product home we found a defect (discolored mark / stain.) I took it back to the store abiding their return policy (all tags, packaging, unused, unaltered, unwashed, within 30 days etc.) They refused to exchange.
Manager then showed me a cellphone photo of the cctv footage of me buying the item to claim the defect was not there when I bought it. However I am not satisfied with her response because her blurry “evidence” merely shows the clothing folded with the defect already hidden, while another image merely shows the back side of the clothing which does not have the defect.
From the Office of Consumer Affairs:
Refund and exchange policies: Businesses are not legally obligated to accept returned items unless they are defective.
I thought long and hard on whether I could have made that stain but nothing in my household could cause that kind of discoloration (yes, not even bleach!) The more I research on so-called consumer protection the more I am lead to believe this: If you think housing and tenancy regulation here in BC is favored towards renters over landlords, then rest assured “consumer” protection is favored towards businesses over consumers.
I bought wrist guards costing over 100$ for carpal tunnel and when I got home realized medium was too big and I needed a small. When I called they said because of COVID there can’t be any exchanges or returns and that I will just have to spend that money again on the small. But every where else I have shopped is doing returns and exchanges and any time I have ever bought some thing with a final sale policy, they make it very clear when you pay for the item, and state that to you. Or it is at least on the receipt. I was neither warned nor does it say that on the receipt, so I am wondering if it is legal to refuse exchange when there is 0 communication on the companies behalf about it. She offered for me to try it on in the store before buying why would they let me put my germs on it there, what difference does it make?
Hi Katie, thank you for contacting us. Retailers in BC are allowed to set their own return, refund and exchange policies and consumer protection laws do not have oversight on these issues. Having said that, if you have not spoken to the store manager or possibly a head office, you may want to try that and see if you can try to resolve the issue that way. I hope you will be able to work it out with the business, Katie.
I have 4 complimentary admission passes to Van Dusen gardens with no expiry date. I purchased them for charity many years ago and forgot about them but since they have no expiry I expected them to be valid. When I contacted Van Dusen they said the passes are too old and would not honour them. Is this legitimate? Can they void these passes as they see fit even though there’s no expiry date? Thank you.
Hi Sheila, thank you for leaving us a question here. In this case, if the gift card was issued for a charity, the card is allowed to expire. We have written a Q&A blog in the past and it explains a bit more in detail. Here is the link to it.
I put a 50% deposit down on a catio last fall . The job was to be done before winter but had to be postponed till spring. I was told through email that I would be first on the list for spring. I have now been told that other projects were also put on hold due to many excuses. I asked for my deposit back and have been told that company policy says I must wait 6 weeks and pay a restocking fee for materials. In emails I was told that materials were already purchased last fall but delays this spring due to delays getting wood. I never had a contract or copy of company policies to sign. Do I have to pay a restocking fee for materials?
Hi Glenda, first of all, thank you for educating me on this term I never heard of – “catio”. A quick internet search showed me exactly what it is and now I know! In your case, because the work has not started and you were never given a contract, you may be able to cancel your contract and demand a refund. This type of work agreement is called a future performance contract and if it’s missing any of the required contents, you have one year to cancel by giving notice to the business. We have more information on this topic on our website here. The cancellation form is also on the same page so please follow the instruction on the form and submit it to the company. If you don’t hear back from them, please feel free to contact us and submit a formal complaint.
We regularly ski at Whistler -Blackcomb. In 2020 the resort closed due to COVID-19, and we were unable to use our Edge ski passes. Whistler Blackcomb gave us a credit to apply to 2020-21, but only 80%, and then we had to buy another day to activate it). So we we were down $400. Come 2021 we had our epic 6 day passes with insurance coverage. Again, when we had planned to come, the resort closed. There was so much misinformation regarding booking and cancellation, and since we did not use any of the days on our passes, and reading the website about being contacted by someone, we assumed this would happen. So we waited. Nothing happened, and after several frustrating conversations with Whistler Blackcomb and Vail Resorts insurance agents AMC, we eventually filed for a refund. Now have been told no, you get nothing because we did not file within 30day of the end of the season (something no-one mentioned during our many phone calls and robo chats). So that is $3,000 gone into Vail’s $1.3 billion cash on hand. Frankly, this is not fair, in fact there is a class action law suit in California against Vail citing fraud, misrepresentation, false advertising, unjust enrichment and breach of contract. Is there anything we can do as Canadians, who bought a service we could not use due to resort closure, and now they will not reimburse us. Thanks
Hi Margaret, we have some authority over certain types of contracts so there’s a chance we may be able to help but it will depend on when and how you cancelled your passes. I know you’ve done a lot already to try to resolve this but if you feel up to it, I suggest that you fill out our complaint form and upload all your documents so that we can take a look at it. Here is the link to that form: https://www.consumerprotectionbc.ca/complaint-assistant/
I purchased Bausch machine from CASstore surrey. The sales rep sold us the washing machine without guiding that plug needs a whole wiring. Not give us proper information and we bought open box around 1000 dollar. And didn’t inform us that we should buy the dryer and now they are not ready to take the machine back I just want to exchange it. I have been doing laundry every day out and spent on washer repair guy 100 bucks. But he couldn’t fix it he misled us that’s not tight either I should get my money back or exchange it thus is a frustrating and disgusting service I have ever seen they are not resolving the issue especially the manager. My order no is 1634624
Hi Aparna, BC retail stores, including appliance stores, are allowed to set their own refund and exchange policies. As you are trying to exchange your machine, you need to work with the store directly to come to a resolution. As the Surrey location seems to be a part of a large company, you may want to contact their regional or head office so you can peak to someone else rather than the store manager. I hope you can get this resolved quickly.
Purchased a camping item at Canadian Tire on Friday. Went camping for the weekend. Item was defective (metal component completely buckled under normal use).
Went to return item on Sunday. At first I was told that I could only exchange the product for the same item.. I didn’t want to as product didn’t last.
I was then told that I could “upgrade” and use funds paid against higher priced item… this seemed like a bad option, as all other items were 50% higher in price than I had paid.
Finally I was told that store would issue a credit note. I took this option as I didn’t want to transport bulky defective item home.
Is this policy legal – I understand in BC that stores can set their own policy, but this seems to only apply to non-defective products.
Hi there, thanks for your question. Most retail sales are regulated by the Sale of Goods Act which is overseen by the courts. The business does have the option to provide alternative forms of compensation, but if you are not able to come to an acceptable resolution directly with the retailer, you can look at the option of filing a claim with the Civil Resolution Tribunal. Hope this clarifies the situation!
Starting October 2022, Foody World supermarket (3000 Sexsmith Rd, Richmond, BC) charges consumers $1.50 bottle deposit for 1L Avalon milk while everywhere else only charge $1.25. And the refund for these bottles is confirmed to be only $1.25 everywhere.
What’s funny is that Foody World closed their bottle return service, which means your pay $1.50 for bottle deposit in their store but can only get $1.25 refund when you return the bottle to other stores or return depots.
Is what Foody World doing legal?
Hi there, thanks for reaching out. We don’t have authority over the pricing or recycling policies of a business. If you are worried about the supermarket’s practices, I suggest reaching out to them directly to ask for an explanation. Good luck!