Unfair practices

How it works

The Fair Trading Act protects consumers from unfair business practices before, during or after a consumer transaction.

Service Alberta can investigate an alleged unfair practice if:

  • the consumer or supplier lives in Alberta
  • the offer or acceptance is made in or sent from Alberta
  • the unfair practice is made or received in Alberta
  • the unfair practice involves an Alberta supplier or their representative

An unfair practice may occur even if you don’t start or finish a consumer transaction.

You can’t waive your rights under the Fair Trading Act. If a consumer contract is vague, the terms of the contract are interpreted in favour of the consumer.

The Fair Trading Act (PDF, 124 pages)

Definitions

Consumer transaction

Any sale, lease or other transfer of goods or services for payment. This includes a contest prize and goods or services given to someone else.

Consumer

An individual who:

  • is given or pays for goods or services
  • does not intend to sell goods after receiving them

Goods

Goods generally refer to:

  • material items used primarily for personal, family or household purposes
  • a new residential dwelling, whether or not it's attached to land
  • a voucher that promises goods or services in the future

Services

Include, but are not limited to, any of the following when they are used primarily for personal, family or household purposes:

  • maintenance, improvement or repairs to goods or private homes
  • membership in a club or organization if the club or organization is in business to make a profit for its owners
  • the right to use property under a time-share contract

Payday loan

A loan of $1,500 or less for a term of 62 days or less.

Credit agreement

An agreement under which credit is extended, including:

  • a loan of money
  • the extension of credit
  • a sale on credit
  • an agreement under which a loan or credit sale may occur in the future

Supplier

A person who:

  • provides goods or services to consumers
  • manufacturers, assembles, or produces goods,
  • promotes the use of goods or services, or
  • receives or is entitled to receive money or other consideration as a result of the provision of goods or services to consumers.

This includes any salesperson, employee, representative or agent of the supplier.

Contact this service

1-877-427-4088
(toll free in Alberta)

Northern Alberta (north of Red Deer):
ciu.north@gov.ab.ca

Southern Alberta (Red Deer and south)
ciu.south@gov.ab.ca

8:15 am - 4:30 pm (Monday to Friday, closed statutory holidays)