We know it’s frustrating when you have an issue with a business and you can’t seem to fix the problem. We take a ton of calls and emails from folks in BC who are looking for help with what to do next. To help us help you, we’ve put together our top tips on how to be an awesome complainer.

Help us help you: what we need from you before you contact us

If you haven’t already, try to resolve the problem with the business directly.
Pro tip: working with the business directly to fix the problem is always the fastest and most effective method to reach a solution. Most businesses care about your satisfaction and want to reach a fair resolution.

Explore our website and learn what we can help you with.
We know that the name “Consumer Protection BC” suggests we can help with all consumer-related issues. The fact of the matter is that the laws we’re responsible for overseeing only address very specific industries and types of consumer transactions in BC. By taking a look at our website, you’ll have a better sense of what to expect from us when you contact us for help. You may even find an answer to your problem.

Okay, by now you’ve explored our website…

What to do when your issue is something we can help with directly

Have a simple timeline of events to reference.
What have you done to resolve the issue so far? What was the outcome? Map out any important events or relevant communication with the business and have it organized chronologically. Stick to the important facts and leave out anything that isn’t crucial or relevant to the situation.

Decide what it is that you’re looking to achieve.
This is so important. Identify what your goal is. What is your desired outcome? Remember to be reasonable and seek a remedy that’s proportionate to the problem you experienced. Are you looking for an apology/acknowledgement of the issue, a refund, compensation, or something else entirely? Be prepared to share your goal with us early on so we can help determine the appropriate course of action.

Gather your supporting documents.
Do you have a contract to reference? Highlight the important dates or info on it. What about any receipts? Screenshots of phone records? Emails? Try to gather all the things you need before you call so you have the important information ready to go.

Prepare any questions you have for us.
While we may not always know the answer, we’ll do our best to figure it out with you.

5 tips to keep in mind when you call us

1. Be prepared to give us your name and number right away in case of a dropped call.
We want to hear what happened, but we need this info first. Take a minute to provide your name and number, then we’re all ears! Fun fact: If you are only looking for advice or information, you have the right to remain anonymous and we do not require any of your personal info.

2. Be concise.
Stick to the important information. What’s the issue? What have you done to resolve it so far? What are you hoping to achieve? If we need more details, we’ll ask for them. That way, we can help you as quickly as possible.

3. Manage your expectations for a solution.
The best way to do this is by visiting our website to explore what topics we can help with directly. We’ll always do our best to help you with the tools available to us and sometimes that means a referral to an organization that is better suited to help. We also know that sometimes we tell people things they weren’t expecting to hear. For example, when the issue falls outside of our laws and there’s no other regulatory body or agency to refer you to, sometimes legal action or court is the only recourse.

4. Please be patient.
When we receive a complaint that falls under our laws, our enforcement inspectors may review and investigate it. It’s important to remember that our investigations follow due process, which can take time. Learn more about how we handle formal complaints. We ask for your patience during this process. Don’t worry – we’ll keep you in the loop for updates and results.

5. Be kind.
We know consumer issues can be emotional and stressful (we’ve all been there). Please remember we’re human too and we really do want to be as helpful as possible.

How to contact us

Our hours are from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (PST), Monday through Friday.
We are closed on statutory holidays.

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About Consumer Protection BC

We are responsible for regulating specific industries and certain consumer transactions in British Columbia. If your concern is captured under the laws we enforce, we will use the tools at our disposal to assist you. If we can’t help you directly, we will be happy to provide you with as much information as possible. Depending on your concern, another organization may be the ones to speak to; other times, court or legal assistance may be the best option. Explore our website at dev.consumerprotectionbc.ca.