Oct. 31, 2016, VICTORIA, BC – Acting on a recent complaint, Consumer Protection BC has reopened an investigation into the business practices of Consumers Distributing Inc., a Vancouver, BC-based online retailer that was found to have engaged in deceptive acts or practices back in May 2015.
A 2015 Consumer Protection BC investigation found Consumers Distributing was in violation of several sections of BC’s Business Practices and Consumer Protection Act and the Consumer Contracts Regulation. At that time, Consumer Protection BC issued a compliance order and administration penalty against Consumers Distributing, ordering the business to refund consumers and stop engaging in deceptive acts or practices. More information about those actions can be found by researching the business on Consumer Protection BC’s website.
“To-date, Consumers Distributing has only issued refunds to one of the three consumers, and has paid none of the administrative penalty,” says Chabeaux-Smith. “Given this, we have taken the next step in our progressive enforcement model which is to file our decisions in the Supreme Court of BC – essentially, making these orders of the court.”
View the court filings.
By law, specific information must be included in certain types of contracts, such as the supply date and the amount of each payment. Consumers may also have certain cancellation rights.
“We have issued orders against this company in the past and we are concerned about a potential pattern of behaviour,” says Tatiana Chabeaux-Smith, spokesperson for Consumer Protection BC. “As the investigation is still ongoing, I can’t provide details on this new information, but we want people to know that if they have been impacted by Consumers Distributing – for example, if they paid for something, but never received it – they should make a formal complaint to our office.”
Tips if you’re buying online:
1. Do your research. Read reviews and make sure the business is legitimate by reaching out to Consumer Protection BC or your local Better Business Bureau.
2. Pay with a credit card. Paying with a credit card may give you added protection, as you can often request a chargeback in the event the seller doesn’t send you the goods, or if you were charged more than what you originally agreed to.
3. Read the fine print. Always read the terms and conditions on the website to make sure you understand exactly what you’re buying and what cancellation rights you may have.
About Consumer Protection BC:
Consumer Protection BC is the regulator of a variety of sectors and specific consumer transactions in the province. Our mandate is to license and inspect our regulated businesses, respond to consumer inquiries, investigate alleged violations of consumer protection laws, classify all general release motion pictures and provide information and referrals to consumers.
For more information about our organization, to read recent enforcement actions, and to learn about our inspection and complaint-handling processes, please visit our corporate website at www.consumerprotectionbc.ca. You can also follow us on Twitter @ConsumerProBC, like us on Facebook and read our blog for valuable consumer tips and resources.
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