Sometimes we receive consumer complaints about a business and the quality of their service or product. While this isn’t something that we have authority over, we do have some information about what you can do when you encounter a quality of service issue.

What is considered a quality issue?

A product quality or quality of service issue is difficult to define because people have different ideas of what they consider to be good service or good quality. You might feel as though the quality of the good or service that you received did not meet the minimum standards of what you were expecting. If you feel dissatisfied with a product or service that you have paid for, you may be experiencing an issue that falls under this category. The following are some examples of what may be considered to be a quality of service issue:

  • Jen went to a new salon for a haircut. She didn’t like the haircut and felt as though the stylist did not listen to what she wanted. She wants her money back.
  • Brett and Chelsea hired a tiling company to tile their kitchen. After the work was completed, they felt that the tiling job was sloppy and poorly done. They want the company to come back and redo the work, but the company owner says that the work is fine and refuses to fix it without proper compensation.
  • Victoria bought a dog collar online and after only using it one time the buckle cracked in half. The business does not provide refunds or exchanges, as laid out in the terms and conditions. She feels as though this is an unacceptable level of quality and wants her money back.

What can you do when you experience a quality of service issue?

Due to the subjective nature of these kinds of complaints, it can be a challenge to provide specific options for recourse as these kinds of issues vary in scope and cost. Depending on your issue, there may be laws that address your concerns, but sometimes it becomes a “he said – she said” type of dispute that may have to be resolved in court. Here are some options that you may want to pursue when you are experiencing a quality of service issue:

  • Try to resolve the issue with the business directly.

    This should be your first step. Depending on what your issue is, you may be able to explain your case and the business may be happy to address your concerns. You may be interested in reading our blog posts about how to write an effective complaint letter, and general tips for resolving complaints.

  • Be aware that retail stores are responsible for setting their own refund and exchange policies.

    It is important to ask retailers what their policies are before making a purchase.

  • Do some research to see if your issue is captured under any relevant laws.

    Sometimes the Sale of Goods Act may apply to quality of service issues. If so, your options for recourse would be through the courts. Additionally, the Competition Bureau enforces misleading advertising and labelling provisions that may apply to your situation.

  • Check out the Civil Resolution Tribunal (CRT).

    The CRT can help you try to resolve small claims disputes under $5,000 and strata (condominium) disputes of any amount. We’ve written a blog post that goes over what you can expect from the CRT.

  • If you want a legal opinion, consider trying the Lawyer Referral Service from Access Pro Bono

    They provide the opportunity for you to have a free 15 minute consultation to find a suitable legal professional to resolve their legal problem.

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About Consumer Protection BC

We are not-for-profit regulator responsible for overseeing certain industries and specific consumer transactions in British Columbia. If your concern is captured under the laws we enforce, we will use the tools at our disposal to assist you. If we can’t help you directly, we will try to offer a referral to a relevant organization, if one exists. Other times, court or legal assistance may be the best option. Explore our website at