Even though it’s the madness of shopping at malls, the time has come to take stock of what has annoyed you as a consumer for a year. Purchases of used cars and household appliances again stand out for the large number of complaints they generate. While Amazon makes the list of the 10 most reviled companies for the Office of Consumer Protection (OPC).
Unfortunately, whether online or in-store, every purchase exposes us to a number of potential frustrations. Delivery problems, non-compliant product, difficulties in honoring the legal warranty, disrespect for the displayed price, abuse clauses in contracts… the list is long.
Over the past year, nearly 22,000 complaints have been registered by the OPC. The bigger the size of a company’s business, the more likely it is that people will be unhappy. The winners in question must therefore be read with this consideration in mind.
That’s actually why I was surprised to see that Amazon took so many years to become a part of Top 10. We don’t know its sales figures in Quebec, but to see the number of delivery trucks displaying its logo on the streets, it’s clear that the American giant is not lacking in popularity.
In the past year, 147 Quebecers contacted the OPC to file a complaint against Amazon, primarily for problems with delivery, payment or product compliance. It’s both a little (out of millions of potential customers) and a lot (it’s enough to occupy the 9the ranking list).
Do consumers think it is futile to file a complaint against a company established outside of Quebec? Maybe.
However, that is not the case, assures the OPC’s spokesman, Charles Tanguay, with the example of the Canada Pardon Service. The Ontario company, which “offers a completely useless and very expensive criminal record expungement service,” he summarizes, pleaded guilty in 2021 to various offenses The Consumer Protection Act (LPC). The OPC had received a hundred complaints against him.
Farestore, does it matter to you? This ranking intruder has sparked a flood of complaints after he mistakenly advertised a $250 flight to Europe. The displayed price was not respected, which is illegal and has been condemned by the popular site Flytrippers.
As for Star Laser, it’s a laser hair removal company in Montreal whose customers were lost by the hundreds.
Used vehicles and household appliances continue to top the list of the most problematic areas.
It must be said that the lack of new vehicles has caused the sale of used cars to explode. The number of complaints increased by 6% to 3,324. This corresponds to 15% of all complaints processed by the OPC during the past year. Consumers complained about misrepresentations, omission of material facts and various prohibited pricing practices.
In the case of household appliances, consumers complain mainly about the reliability of the appliances and the difficulty of having legal and traditional guarantees respected. The problem is that you often have to turn to small claims, which currently take at least two years.
When your refrigerator fails prematurely, you can’t wait that long to replace it.
“We are talking about small cases, but often it is decided at the time of the opening letter. Which just requires a letter,’ argues Charles Tanguay.
Option consumers also receive calls about the legal warranty, which, I remind you, provides that an item will function normally for a reasonable period of time given the price.
“People want to know their funds. You have to explain to them how it works,” reports the organization’s lawyer and budget adviser, Sylvie De Bellefeuille. In his opinion, this free guarantee is “good on paper”, but you still need to understand how it works to assert your rights.
The renovation and construction industry takes third place among the sectors that make you sweat the most. Here, the quality of the work is not at stake, because the OPC rather takes into account complaints about deceptive trade practices or non-compliance with the price in the contract.
“Problems in renovation and construction have brought the furniture sector into third position, probably due to the scarcity of labor in this area and the increase in the price of materials”, explains Charles Tanguay.
The year was also marked by a chaotic recovery in the travel industry. Flight delays and cancellations have increased the number of air travel complaints.
I remind you that some disputes can be resolved quickly and free of charge with the Parle platform. This year, almost 2,000 cases have been treated there. The average time is 21 days, and 91% of the time, to the satisfaction of the consumer.
Dear readers, don’t hesitate to write to me to tell me about your misadventures as consumers or just tell me what annoys you. Your stories and your questions inspire my columns!