Encountering a problem with a business can be challenging at the best of times. With the added concerns of COVID-19, there are some additional things to think about. Here are our tips for resolving issues with businesses during COVID-19.
Resolving issues with businesses during COVID-19
We know consumer issues can be emotional and stressful (we’ve all been there). Please remember that the person you’re talking to is human too and they likely want to resolve the issue as much as you do.
- TIP: Have you spotted abusive or obnoxious behavior toward an employee at a restaurant or bar? The Province of BC can now issue $200 violation tickets for unsafe COVID-19 behaviour, such as responding with abusive conduct to an employee of a bar or restaurant.
Remember to stay physically distanced, wear a mask when asked to, and respect the rules of the business you are visiting.
Concisely explain the problem.
The first step of any complaint process is to start with the source. Contact the person closest to the problem and explain your issue. Be polite, firm and unthreatening and give the business a fair chance at fixing the problem.
- TIP: It’s important to decide what it is that you’re looking to achieve. What is your desired outcome? Remember to be reasonable and seek a remedy that’s proportionate to the problem you experienced.
Escalate the issue.
If that step is unsuccessful, the next step is to escalate the problem. Ask to speak to a manager or consider following up with a written complaint. Again, clearly state your problem and let the business know what you think a successful resolution would look like. Be reasonable and state a timeframe in which you expect a response.
Do some research to see if your issue is captured under any relevant laws.
Have you explored our website to see what kind of issues we can help you with directly? If your issue isn’t something we can help with directly, read our referral directory to find the topic that best captures your issue.
Check out the Civil Resolution Tribunal.
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.
Get legal advice.
If you want a legal opinion, consider trying the Lawyer Referral Service from the Canadian Bar Association. They provide the opportunity for you to have a consultation with a lawyer for up to 30 minutes for a fee of $25 plus taxes.
Did we miss anything? What are your tips for resolving issues with businesses?
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How to make the most of your trips to the grocery store.
How to visit restaurants safely and considerately
Going to the movies: here’s what to expect now that theatres are open
COVID-19: returns, refunds, and exchanges
Where do we fit in?
Yes, we are a provincial regulator. We are responsible for some very specific transactions in BC. We aren’t experts on COVID-19. We won’t – and shouldn’t – ever give medical or legal advice. But we are in a unique circumstance right now and we want to help people navigate the current reality. We don’t have all the answers, but we will do our best to share information from reliable sources, put it in ways that are easy to digest and understand, provide referrals and help you navigate this situation.
About Consumer Protection BC
We are responsible for regulating specific industries and certain 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 be happy to provide you with as much information as possible. Depending on your concern, another organization may be the ones to speak to; other times, court or legal assistance may be the best option. Explore our website at www.consumerprotectionbc.ca.