Have you ever seen a really good price advertised in store or online, only to be surprised by extra fees at the checkout? Most hidden fees are illegal according to Quebec’s consumer protection law!
Consumer protection law covers you for most purchases
You’re protected by this law when you buy a product or service from a merchant for personal reasons. A merchant is a person or company who regularly sells products or services as a business.
Merchants must tell you the full price up front
When you’re shopping, there usually shouldn’t be any surprises once you’re at the checkout. In other words, merchants generally can’t advertise one price for something and then add extra fees at the checkout. Extra fees must be included in the advertised price.
Some examples of extra fees that need to be included in the advertised price are installation fees, delivery fees, or administrative fees. The advertised price also needs to include any extra fee for paying with credit or debit. In other words, merchants can’t ask for these fees only upon checkout.
There are some limited exceptions
There are a few exceptions to this rule. For example, merchants don’t have to include taxes in the advertised price.
The advertised price also doesn’t need to include consignment fees for cans or bottles, or fees paid directly to the government. An example of a fee paid directly to the government is the fee for filing paperwork with the Registre des droits personnels et réels mobiliers (register of personal and movable real rights) when you buy a car.
If you have questions about extra fees or want to file a complaint, you can visit the website of the Office de la protection du consommateur (Quebec’s consumer protection office).