Mail order—including catalogues, magazine offers and bill inserts—is another way that consumers can buy things.

Ordering

  • Keep a record of the name, address and phone number of the company, the goods you ordered, the date of your order, the amount you paid and the method of payment.
  • Keep a record of the promised delivery date if one is provided.
  • You may wish to send your order and payment by registered mail. Canada Post offers this service for a fee, attaching a tracking number to your envelope so you can check that it arrived at the destination.
  • If you are told that the shipment will be delayed, write the date of that notice in your records and the new shipping date, if you’ve agreed to wait longer.
  • To limit unwanted mail, sign up with the free Do Not Contact service, operated by the Canadian Marketing Association (CMA) under the Consumer Information tab of their website. The Association will instruct its mail-marketing members to take you off their lists. However, not all marketers belong to this association, meaning you may still continue to receive some unwanted mail.

Unsolicited Goods

You are under no obligation to accept or pay for any merchandise you receive in the mail that you did not order.

In most provinces and territories, when the sender asks for the merchandise back, you must return it at the sender’s expense. In some provinces and territories, the sender may not require you to pay for the goods or services unless you agreed to do so in writing.

To complain about unsolicited goods, contact your provincial or territorial consumer affairs office.

Mail Fraud

  • Be suspicious of “free gifts” that require a “tax payment” or “registration fee,” sweepstakes requiring an entry fee or purchase, employment or work-at-home opportunities requiring a fee, offers requiring your credit card number or bank account number, loans that require you to pay a fee in advance, mailings that look like they are from official government agencies when they are not, and prize notices requiring you to call a 1-900 number. Accepting these “free gifts” may, in fact, result in you having to pay charges for little or nothing in return.
  • Read the offer carefully. Get the advice of another person whose opinion you trust.
  • Deal only with companies or charities whose reputation and integrity are known.
  • Never give out your credit card number or personal, financial or employment information, unless you know with whom you are dealing.
  • Never send money for any “free” merchandise or services.
  • Think before making an impulse purchase. Take the time to compare the products, services and prices to those in local stores.
  • Keep a record of the order, notes of the conversation and copies of the advertisement, cancelled cheque, receipt, letters and envelopes.
  • Ask your provincial or territorial consumer affairs office or Better Business Bureau whether there have been any complaints against the company.

Mail fraud is a crime. If you believe you have been the victim of mail fraud, report the incident to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre. For incidents of online fraud, send an email through Reporting Economic Crime Online (RECOL).

The Canadian Anti-fraud Centre

Box 686

North Bay, Ontario  P1B 8J8

Telephone: 1-705-495-8501 (Overseas and Local)
Toll Free: 1-888-495-8501

Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP)

RCMP Public Affairs and Communications Services

Headquarters Building
1200 Vanier Parkway

Ottawa, Ontario  K1A 0R2

Telephone: 613-993-7267
Fax: 613-993-0260

Provincial and Territorial Consumer Affairs Offices

Alberta

Service Alberta, Consumer Contact Centre
3rd Floor Commerce Place
10155-102 Street

Edmonton, Alberta  T5J 4L4

Telephone: 780-427-4088
Toll Free: 1-877-427-4088

Email
Websitewww.servicealberta.ca

British Columbia

Consumer Protection BC
#307-3450 Uptown Blvd
PO Box 9244

Victoria, British Columbia  V8W 9J2

Telephone: 604-320-1667
Toll Free: 1-888-564-9963
Fax: 250-920-7181

Email
Websitewww.consumerprotectionbc.ca

Manitoba

Consumer Protection Office, Manitoba Justice
302-258 Portage Avenue

Winnipeg, Manitoba  R3C 0B6

Telephone: 204-945-3800
Toll Free: 1-800-782-0067
Fax: 204-945-0728

Email
Websitewww.manitoba.ca/consumerinfo

New Brunswick

Financial and Consumer Services Commission
225 King Street, Suite 200

Fredericton, New Brunswick  E3B 1E1

Toll Free: 1-866-933-2222
Fax: 506-444-4494

Email
Websitewww.fcnb.ca

Newfoundland and Labrador

Service NL
PO Box 8700

St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador  A1B 4J6

Telephone: 709-729-2600
Toll Free: 1-877-968-2600
Fax: 709-729-6998

Email
Websitewww.servicenl.gov.nl.ca/index.html

Northwest Territories

Consumer Affairs, Department of Municipal and Community Affairs
5201-50th Avenue, Suite 600
PO Box 1320

Yellowknife, Northwest Territories  X1A 2L9

Telephone: 867-767-9161 ext 21022
Fax: 867-873-0309

Email
Websitewww.maca.gov.nt.ca/en/services/consumer-affairs

Nova Scotia

Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations, Public Enquiries
Mail Room, 8 South
Maritime Centre
1505 Barrington Street

Halifax, Nova Scotia  B3J 3K5

Telephone: 902-424-5200
Toll Free: 1-800-670-4357
Fax: 902-424-0720

Email
Websitenovascotia.ca/sns/access/individuals/consumer-awareness.asp

Nunavut

Consumer Affairs, Department of Community and Government Services
3090 – 9th Street
P.O. Box 440

Baker Lake, Nunavut  X0C 0A0

Telephone: 867-793-3303
Toll Free: 1-866-223-8139
Fax: 867-793-3321

Email
Websitewww.gov.nu.ca/

Ontario

Consumer Protection Ontario, Ministry of Government and Consumer Services
Box 450
1201 Wilson Ave, Station A

Toronto, Ontario  M3M 1J8

Telephone: 416-326-8800
Toll Free: 1-800-889-9768
Phone (TTY): 416-229-6086
Phone (TTY) 2: 1-877-666-6545
Fax: 416-326-8665

Email
Websitewww.ontario.ca/consumerprotection

Prince Edward Island

Consumer Services, Department of Justice and Public Safety
Shaw Building, 4th Floor
95 Rochford Street
PO Box 2000

Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island  C1A 7N8

Telephone: 902-368-4580
Telephone: 902-368-4550
Toll Free: 1-800-658-1799
Fax: 902-368-5283

Websitehttps://www.princeedwardisland.ca/en/topic/consumer-services

Quebec

Office de la protection du consommateur
400 Jean-Lesage Boulevard, Suite 450

Québec, Quebec  G1K 8W4

Telephone: 418-643-1484
Toll Free: 1-888-672-2556
Fax: 418-528-0976

Websitewww.opc.gouv.qc.ca

Yukon

Consumer Services, Department of Community Services
307 Black Street

Whitehorse, Yukon  Y1A 2N1

Telephone: 867-667-5111
Toll Free: 1-800-661-0408 ext. 5111
Fax: 867-667-3609

Email
Websitewww.community.gov.yk.ca/consumer/index.html

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