5 Things to Know When You Shop


You might wonder about certain things when you’re at a store: exchanges and refunds, having to leave your bags at the entrance, pricing errors on your bill, gift cards, etc.

What are your rights as a consumer? Here are the top five things you should know.

1. Exchanges and Refunds

If you regret making a purchase or change your mind, does the store have to exchange what you bought or give you a refund?

  • No. If what you bought isn’t defective, the store doesn’t have to take it back. However, if the store has voluntarily decided to have a policy on exchanges and refunds, it must follow it.
  • So, before buying, ask questions! (Is there an internal exchange and refund policy? Are there time limits? Does the exchange and refund policy apply to my purchase?)

2. Leaving Bags at the Entrance

  • Under the law, stores can have a policy about this and impose the policy on all customers. If you refuse to, the store can refuse to let you enter.
  • What if the bag you left at the entrance disappears? The store is responsible and must give you the value of your bag in cash, even if the store has indicated on a notice that it’s not responsible for the theft or loss of your bag!

3. Pricing Errors

Is the price on your bill higher than the price posted in the store? When you notice the error, ask whether the “Accurate Pricing Policy” applies in the store. If it does, the store must respect it, and you are entitled to the following:

  • If the posted price was $10 or less: the store must refund you the price on your bill for that item. (You get it free!)
  • If the posted price was more than $10: the store must correct the error on your bill and give you a $10 discount.

4. Gift Cards

Do you have a gift card with an amount of money to be spent in a store?

  • In most cases, the law says that the card cannot have an expiry date. There’s therefore no deadline for you to use it.
  • If there’s $5 or less on your card after you use it, you can ask the store to give you this amount in cash.

5. Office de la protection du consommateur (consumer protection bureau)

Do you have a question about something you bought or are thinking of buying? Do you have a problem and want to know your rights? For information, contact the Office de la protection du consommateur.