Consumer Contracts

Did you know that every time you make a purchase you are entering into a consumer contract? It does not matter if the purchase is for a new sweater or if it is a pack of gum. The purchase is still considered a contract.
shoppers
shoppers

The majority of Canadians take for granted the benefits of consumer protection, but when an issue arises and protection is needed the importance of the law becomes very apparent.
Where is contract law derived from?
While the law of contract is founded within the common law, statute law has been developed in order to clarify and to protect the interests of consumers against potentially more powerful commercial interests.
Statutes associated with consumer protection are designed to provide a remedy to the consumer, that is not provided via the common law.
  • Consumer protection is covered at the provincial level in terms of issues related to the actual goods exchanged.
  • At the federal level, legislation addresses issues of pricing and advertising of goods and services.
One feature of statute law in consumer protection legislation is the absence of privity, allowing a consumer to hold a retailer accountable for a product, even if a third party supplier manufactured the product.

Consumer Protection




Why do consumers need protection? Why is it not just a buyer beware type of world?
In Saskatchewan, consumer protection is legislated under The Consumer Protection Act, while several other statutes impact upon the transactions between buyers and sellers, depending upon the specific nature of the transaction.
Statutes such as the following affect the buying and selling of consumer products, although each is very specific in scope according to the specialized nature of a transaction.
Application of The Consumer Protection Act is limited to transactions between consumers and those normally in the business of selling consumer goods and services.
The Consumer Protection Act:
  • protection from unfair marketplace practices
  • consumer product warranties
  • unsolicited goods and credit cards.
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One important feature to note about this Consumer Protection Act is that remedies are predicated upon one distinct feature:

The consumer must attempt to personally resolve a matter prior to addressing the matter in court.

In cases where there is no satisfactory resolution reached between the parties, a consumer may then seek relief, usually through Small Claims Court, asking the court to enforce a judgment under The Consumer Protection Act.
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Assignment

Research the legal issues associated with an Internet Purchase. Select a product and document the protection and the concerns that a consumer faces when making a purchase electronically. What does the purchaser need to consider in the following areas, from credit card protection, shipping, warranty and quality of the product.

Answer in a paragraph.

Do product warranties favor the consumer or the seller?
When a consumer purchases a product, the product automatically has a statutory warranty attached to it under Saskatchewan’s Consumer Protection Act.
bike
bike

As soon as Kathy purchases a bike from Canadian Tire, the bike is covered by this legislation.

While many consumer products may also have a written warranty from a manufacturer, just like the bike would have a written warranty, the statutory warranty remains in effect by law.

This statutory warranty is not optional, and applies to all consumer products sold in Saskatchewan by those individuals whose ordinary business it is to sell consumer products.
pencil
pencil

Activity

Contact an automotive dealership near you via e-mail. Ask a sales representative to explain the difference between the warranty offered on a new car versus a used car purchased at a their establishment.
Summarize the two warranties in a paragraph. Answer the following questions based on the two types of vehicle warranties that are offered: You will have to wait for a reply. We will continue next day.
  1. Describe what is meant by acceptable quality.
  2. Who must provide the onus of proof?
  3. Explain the coverage for used products.
  4. What is meant by warranty obligations?