Problem-Solving Guide for Ontario Residents Marketplace for Ontario Businesses
Exciting Reading for Everyone!

Filing a Consumer Complaint in Ontario

Jul 16th, 2015 | By | Category: Affidavits & Oaths

Filing a Consumer Complaint in Ontario

Read about how to file a consumer complaint with the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services of Ontario and write an effective complaint letter.

If a business is found guilty under the Consumer Protection Act:

  • a corporation can be fined up to $250,000
  • a business owner can be sentenced to a term of imprisonment up to 2 years less a day or be fined up to $50,000, or both

How to make a complaint against a business

There are 3 steps you must follow:

  1. REVIEW YOUR RIGHTS

See if your complaint falls under the Consumer Protection Act (CPA) or the other consumer protection laws that we are responsible for.

If you have questions about your rights, you can call the Ministry at:

  • 1-800-889-9768 FREE or 416-326-8800
  • TTY 1-877-666-6545 or 416-229-6086

If your complaint is not covered by the consumer laws that the Ministry is responsible for, they will do their best to help you find an organization or government office that can help you.

  1. WRITE A COMPLAINT LETTER TO THE BUSINESS

You should write a complaint letter to the business before the ministry can get involved. Send your letter by email or by registered mail so you have a record of when you sent it.

A sample letter you can use as your template you can find here: http://www.sse.gov.on.ca/mcs/Documents/samp_228552.pdf

You can also include a notification of consumer complaint with your complaint letter. This notification tells the business that you have started the complaint process and explains the consequences of ignoring a complaint that may fall under the CPA.

When you write your complaint letter:

  • type it or make sure your handwriting is neat and easy to read
  • explain what happened
  • be specific about how you want to resolve the problem. For example, request for a refund, return, etc.
  • specify the date by which you want a response (3 weeks is reasonable)
  • keep it short and to the point
  • be firm but polite
  • include copies (not originals) of receipts, invoices, contracts, or other relevant documents
  • include your signature and date
  • keep a copy of the letter
  • keep a record of its delivery. For example, send it by registered mail, fax or email
  1. SUBMIT YOUR COMPLAINT TO THE MINISTRY

If a letter to the business doesn’t resolve your issue, you can file a complaint with the Ministry by choosing one of the following:

  1. a) submit an online complaint – https://www.consumerbeware.mgs.gov.on.ca/esearch/compform/english/complaint.jsp
  2. b) print and complete our complaint form (http://www.sse.gov.on.ca/mcs/Documents/stel02_046670.pdf ), and send it by mail, email or fax to:

Ministry of Government and Consumer Services

Consumer Protection Branch

Box 450

1201 Wilson Ave Building A

North York ON M3M 1J8

Email: consumer@ontario.ca

Fax: 416-326-8665

After you file a complaint

The Ministry monitors all complaints and inquiries to track patterns of misconduct by a business or sector. Once the Ministry receives your complaint and all required supporting documents (receipts, invoices, contracts, etc.), they will be able to know how to help you.

The ministry may mediate or investigate complaints if the business violates a law the Ministry is responsible for, and:

  • your dispute (or a group of similar disputes) involves more than $500 including tax
  • we see a pattern of complaints about one business or sector

The Ministry may begin an investigation if mediation is not successful. In some cases, it can lead to charges against the business.

If a business is found guilty under the Consumer Protection Act:

  • a corporation can be fined up to $250,000
  • a business owner can be sentenced to a term of imprisonment up to 2 years less a day or be fined up to $50,000, or both

If your complaint doesn’t meet the criteria for mediation or because of the nature of your complaint, it may be resolved through the small claims court process. At the Ministry, they can help you understand your next steps.

Updated: May 5, 2015

References:

  • http://www.ontario.ca/consumers/your-rights-under-consumer-protection-act
  • http://www.ontario.ca/consumers/your-rights-when-starting-home-renovations-or-repairs
  • http://www.ontario.ca/faq/what-are-some-common-home-renovation-scams
  • http://www.ontario.ca/consumers/filing-consumer-complaint
Tags: , ,