What are your rights when a business makes false, misleading, deceptive or unconscionable representations to you?

Let’s examine the Consumer Protection Act, 2002. This Ontario law is often plead in either the Plaintiff’s Claim or Defence in small claims court Ontario.

The Consumer Protection Act, 2002 has many parts that deal with many types of consumer transactions. This article will only deal with false, misleading, deceptive representations, and unconscionable representations.

The definition of a consumer in the act is:  “An individual acting for personal, family or household purposes and does not include a person who is acting for business purposes.”

The act prohibits false, misleading or deceptive representations, and unconscionable representations.

Sections 14 and 15 of the Consumer Protection Act, 2002 outline these prohibited representations. It states:

“14. (2) Without limiting the generality of what constitutes a false, misleading or deceptive representation, the following are included as false, misleading or deceptive representations:

  1. A representation that the goods or services have sponsorship, approval, performance characteristics, accessories, uses, ingredients, benefits or qualities they do not have.
  2. A representation that the person who is to supply the goods or services has sponsorship, approval, status, affiliation or connection the person does not have.
  3. A representation that the goods or services are of a particular standard, quality, grade, style or model, if they are not.
  4. A representation that the goods are new, or unused, if they are not or are reconditioned or reclaimed, but the reasonable use of goods to enable the person to service, prepare, test and deliver the goods does not result in the goods being deemed to be used for the purposes of this paragraph.
  5. A representation that the goods have been used to an extent that is materially different from the fact.
  6. A representation that the goods or services are available for a reason that does not exist.
  7. A representation that the goods or services have been supplied in accordance with a previous representation, if they have not.
  8. A representation that the goods or services or any part of them are available or can be delivered or performed when the person making the representation knows or ought to know they are not available or cannot be delivered or performed.
  9. A representation that the goods or services or any part of them will be available or can be delivered or performed by a specified time when the person making the representation knows or ought to know they will not be available or cannot be delivered or performed by the specified time.
  10. A representation that a service, part, replacement or repair is needed or advisable, if it is not.
  11. A representation that a specific price advantage exists, if it does not.
  12. A representation that misrepresents the authority of a salesperson, representative, employee or agent to negotiate the final terms of the agreement.
  13. A representation that the transaction involves or does not involve rights, remedies or obligations if the representation is false, misleading or deceptive.
  14. A representation using exaggeration, innuendo or ambiguity as to a material fact or failing to state a material fact if such use or failure deceives or tends to deceive.
  15. A representation that misrepresents the purpose or intent of any solicitation of or any communication with a consumer.
  16. A representation that misrepresents the purpose of any charge or proposed charge.
  17. A representation that misrepresents or exaggerates the benefits that are likely to flow to a consumer if the consumer helps a person obtain new or potential customers.  2002, c. 30, Sched. A, s. 14 (2).

Unconscionable representation

15 (2) Without limiting the generality of what may be taken into account in determining whether a representation is unconscionable, there may be taken into account that the person making the representation or the person’s employer or principal knows or ought to know,

(a) that the consumer is not reasonably able to protect his or her interests because of disability, ignorance, illiteracy, inability to understand the language of an agreement or similar factors;

(b) that the price grossly exceeds the price at which similar goods or services are readily available to like consumers;

(c) that the consumer is unable to receive a substantial benefit from the subject-matter of the representation;

(d) that there is no reasonable probability of payment of the obligation in full by the consumer;

(e) that the consumer transaction is excessively one-sided in favour of someone other than the consumer;

(f) that the terms of the consumer transaction are so adverse to the consumer as to be inequitable;

(g) that a statement of opinion is misleading and the consumer is likely to rely on it to his or her detriment; or

(h) that the consumer is being subjected to undue pressure to enter into a consumer transaction.  2002, c. 30, Sched. A, s. 15 (2).”

If a representation is made that prohibited under sections 14 or 15, the consumer may terminate or rescind the transaction within one year. Termination of the transaction can be made in any form. I recommend sending the notice in writing by registered mail.
A consumer can sue for general damages as a result of the improper representation as well punitive damages and aggravated damages.

Paralegals are trained to recognize when your consumer rights have been violated. Make sure to hire an experienced paralegal Ontario to represent you in Toronto Small Claims, Richmond Hill Small Claims, Brampton Small Claims and other courts around Ontario.

If you need representation in small claims court dealing with the Consumer Protection Act, 2002, please contact Marshall Yarmus at 416-229-1479 or visit www.CivilParalegal.com

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