Even with the Canada Post strike threatening to hold up packages past the holidays, a large portion of Canadians plan on shopping online during Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
With massive discounts and sales happening all week long, the phenomena that are Black Friday and Cyber Monday is here to stay in Canada.
But online shopping can be risky. Canada’s Competition Bureau is warning Canadians to be smart about deals that look too good to be true.
On Wednesday, the independent law enforcement agency issued an alert about cancelled discounts. According to the agency, cancelled discounts are a new advertising trend that’s on their radar.
How It Works
After seeing a deal too good to pass up on you make an online transaction just like a typical purchase. Shortly after your purchase is confirmed, you receive an email from the retailer indicating your order has been cancelled. The message will also note that the retailer cannot honour the advertised price for a variety of reasons.
You might want to give the retailer the benefit of the doubt, thinking maybe they just ran out of stock, but when you refresh the page or return back later you’ll notice the product is still available at a higher price.
Competition Bureau Canada says this bait and switch tactic is why it’s so important for consumers to know their rights. And where to file their complaints.
What Should You Do
If you believe you’ve been misled by a retailer, contact the Competition Bureau and file a complaint by phone at 1-800-348-5358 or online.
Other actions you can take include:
- Using a credit card that offers purchase protection when shopping online
- Monitoring your credit card statements on a frequent basis to ensure no unknown charges have occurred
- Keeping purchase confirmations and credit card statements.
- Ensuring you are fully refunded for items unavailable at their posted sale price
- Keeping all email exchanges with the retailer, especially if they stated they are offering they’ll give a full refund.
- Verifying on the website whether or not the item is unavailable at the price offered. If the ad is still up, take a screenshot, and follow up with the retailer.
- If the scenario above occurs, keep records and file a complaint with the Competition Bureau
- Contact your local consumer protection agency to see if your provincial or territorial law requires the retailer to honour the advertised price.
- Contacting the retailer immediately to question suspect transactions, especially if you have made a purchase and have not received the product nor confirmation of the product’s delivery