As part of its goal to ensure consumers have competitive prices and product choice, the Competition Act prohibits a number of marketing practices.
- Misleading advertising occurs when a claim about a product or service is materially false or misleading, in an attempt to persuade the consumer to buy it.
- Double ticketing occurs when a seller puts two or more prices on a product or service, and the consumer is not charged the lowest price.
- Pyramid selling is a multilevel marketing plan that uses certain specific deceptive means to obtain money (see also “Multi-Level Marketing and Pyramid Selling Schemes“).
- Bait and switch occurs when a seller attracts customers by advertising a certain product or service at a bargain price and then persuades the customer to purchase a more expensive item, since the seller does not have reasonable quantities of the advertised item in stock.
Consumers may complain to the Government of Canada about any of these practices even when they have no intention of buying the product. Consumers may contact the Competition Bureau to file a complaint or obtain additional information. When the matter relates to labeling or advertising of food, contact the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. You may also contact your provincial or territorial consumer affairs office.
You may also complain to Advertising Standards Canada about misleading advertising. This non-governmental body is made up of advertisers, representatives from advertising agencies and the media, and consumers. It discourages false or misleading advertising by its members through codes of conduct.
Competition Bureau Canada
Gatineau, Quebec K1A 0C9
Canadian Food Inspection Agency
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0Y9
Calgary, Alberta T2E 9B2
Moncton, New Brunswick E1C 8R2
Guelph, Ontario N1G 4S9
Montréal, Quebec H3A 3N2
Advertising Standard Canada (ASC)
Toronto, Ontario M4W 3R8
Montréal, Quebec H3A 1T8
Provincial and Territorial Consumer Affairs Offices
Service Alberta, Consumer Contact Centre
Edmonton, Alberta T5J 4L4
Consumer Protection BC
Victoria, British Columbia V8W 9J2
Consumer Protection Office, Manitoba Justice
Winnipeg, Manitoba R3C 0B6
Financial and Consumer Services Commission
Fredericton, New Brunswick E3B 1E1
Newfoundland and Labrador
St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador A1B 4J6
Consumer Affairs, Department of Municipal and Community Affairs
Yellowknife, Northwest Territories X1A 2L9
Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations, Public Enquiries
1505 Barrington Street
Halifax, Nova Scotia B3J 3K5
Consumer Affairs, Department of Community and Government Services
Baker Lake, Nunavut X0C 0A0
Consumer Protection Ontario, Ministry of Government and Consumer Services
Toronto, Ontario M3M 1J8
Prince Edward Island
Consumer Services, Department of Justice and Public Safety
PO Box 2000
Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island C1A 7N8
Office de la protection du consommateur
Québec, Quebec G1K 8W4