COVID-19 response: Consumer protection
As a result of COVID-19, Service Alberta has noted an increase in consumer protection concerns such as:
- delays or discontinuing of services
- scams to donate to COVID-19 victims, charities, or capitalize on alleged cures or treatments
For more information, see: File a consumer complaint against a business
Find tipsheets on a variety of market awareness subjects to help you stay alert and informed as a consumer, business or non-profit.
Home improvements – what you need to know – This publication provides information about home renovation contracts in general as well as specific information about working with prepaid contractors. Before you hire a contractor to do renovations or repairs to your home, do your homework.
Hiring a contractor – Get tips and advice for finding a qualified contractor who can help you repair or rebuild your home.
Hiring a Home Inspector – Before buying, you should know what condition the home is in and what repairs might be needed. Hiring a qualified home inspector to examine a home can help you to make an informed decision about its condition. Some homeowners also have their place inspected so they can get any defects fixed under their new home warranty before it runs out.
Numerous publications and factsheets can be found on Condominium information.
They provide an overview of the key topics to be aware of when buying and owning a condominium. They do not cover all the special circumstances or unique situations that can arise under the Condominium Property Act and its related regulation, which affect condominium owners, buyers, sellers and developers.
Landlord and tenant
Information for Landlords – In Alberta, the Residential Tenancies Act applies to most people who rent the place where they live. This law sets out the rights and responsibilities that apply to landlords. For your convenience, This publication contains former tips in a one-stop location: Inspection Reports, Sample Cleaning List, RTA Offences
Information for Tenants – In Alberta, the Residential Tenancies Act applies to most people who rent the place where they live. This law sets out the rights and responsibilities that apply to tenants. For your convenience, this publication contains former tips in a one-stop location: Inspection Reports, Sample Cleaning List, A Checklist For Tenants. Information for Tenants French
RTA Handbook and RTA Quick Reference Guide – The RTA Handbook and Quick Reference Guide are designed to explain the rights and responsibilities all tenants, landlords, and agents involved in renting residential premises in Alberta have under the Residential Tenancies Act and regulations.
Sub-meters for Rental Units – Some landlords are changing the way they charge tenants for natural gas and electricity. Landlords are using a new tool that measures the energy used by each rental unit. This tool is called a sub-meter. This publication includes information about sub-meters and how they may impact tenants. It also answers questions about tenants’ rights and responsibilities.
Renting a Mobile Home Site – In Alberta, the Mobile Home Sites Tenancies Act applies to people who own a mobile home and rent the mobile home site from a landlord. This law sets out the rights and responsibilities that apply to these tenancies.
Living in a mobile home community in Alberta: responsibilities of landlords and tenants – A shorter fact sheet that highlights information regarding the Mobile Home Sites Tenancies Act and the supporting regulations.
Residential Tenancies (Safer Spaces for Victims of Domestic Violence) Amendment Act – Changes to the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA) allow victims of domestic violence to end a tenancy early and without financial penalty.
Verifying tenant information: Tips for residential landlords – General information about the ways landlords can assess the suitability of potential renters and determine if they will be responsible tenants.
Credit and money
Bill Collection and Debt Repayment – Collection agencies collect unpaid debts or locate debtors for others. Debt repayment agencies charge a fee to negotiate payment arrangements for people who owe money. The Consumer Protection Act and the Collection and Debt Repayment Practices Regulation identify the rules these businesses and the people working for them must follow. In French: Bill Collection and Debt Repayment French
Gift Cards – Gift cards purchased in Alberta are no longer subject to expiry dates and fees that lower their value over time. Refer to the Gift Card Regulation, part of the Consumer Protection Act. The regulation also includes other rules to improve consumer protection, use of the cards and disclosure of terms and conditions.
Payday Lending – What is a payday loan? A payday loan is a loan of $1,500 or less. The term of the loan cannot exceed 62 days. The maximum fee a payday lender can charge is $15 per $100. This includes all mandatory fees and charges related to the loan.
What Creditors Can Do If You Don't Pay – When you use credit to make purchases or pay for services and fail to make payments your creditors may take legal actions to recover the money owed. Common types of credit are: bank loans, bank account overdrafts, lines of credit, credit cards, finance agreements, student loans, payday loans. This publication describes the legal action a creditor may take if you do not pay your debts.
Your Credit Report – Credit reporting agencies must make sure the information in your file is correct and based on the most reliable evidence available. The Consumer Protection Act and the Credit and Personal Reports Regulation identify what can be included in and released from your credit file.
High Cost of Credit – High Cost of Credit (HCC) is getting a loan for more than it costs at a bank. It can be at a business or on the internet. Payday loans are not high-cost credit. There are consumer protections when getting HCC.
High-cost Credit: Business Tips – As of January 1, 2019 high-cost credit businesses must be licensed under the Consumer Protection Act and the High-Cost Credit Regulation. This fact sheet explains high-cost credit and describes: licensing requirements for high-cost credit lenders, information that must be provided to borrowers of high-cost credit, and powers of inspectors and investigators to inspect a high-cost credit lender.
Complaints and unfair practices
Filing a Consumer Complaint with Service Alberta – This publication explains how to file a complaint with Consumer Services and when an investigation may be opened, as well as other options available to consumers.
Consumer Bill of Rights tipsheet – Alberta’s Consumer Protection Act helps protect consumers from unfair practices and businesses from unfair competition. Alberta’s Consumer Bill of Rights was developed to help businesses and consumers understand their rights and responsibilities in Alberta’s marketplace. In French: Consumer Bill of Rights tipsheet French
Security Claims tipsheet – This publication explains how to make a claim against a business operator’s security. Many licensees under the Consumer Protection Act are required to provide security to Service Alberta. Consumers who have suffered a financial loss because of the actions of a licensee may be able to submit a claim for compensation from the licensee’s security.
Unfair Practices – the Consumer Protection Act – The Consumer Protection Act protects consumers from unfair business practices before, during or after a consumer transaction. The legislation applies 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 and involves a supplier’s representative. An unfair practice may occur even if a consumer transaction was not entered into or concluded.
Who Do I Contact? – This publication provides a quick reference to many of the contacts used by consumers and businesses.
Identity theft and fraud
Identity Theft – When someone uses personal information such as your name, social insurance number (SIN), credit card number or other identifying information without your knowledge or permission, it is identity theft and it is a crime.
Protect Your Identity Away From Home – A handy passport size brochure with tips on protecting your personal information when traveling.
Protect Your Business – Protect Your Customers (PDF, 280 KB) – Information to help a business protect itself and its customers against identity theft.
Reporting ID Theft (PDF, 24 KB) – A standard form that a victim of identity theft can use to streamline the process of correcting a credit report, notifying banks, retailers and credit card issuers.
Mortgage Fraud – Protect yourself from being an unwilling participant in mortgage fraud! Do your homework. If you are going to invest in real estate, make sure you are using a licensed mortgage broker who is registered under the Real Estate Act in Alberta.
Odometer Fraud – Tampering with an odometer is illegal in Alberta. Purchasers of used vehicles who learn that the odometer has been turned back should first try and resolve the issue with the seller.
Buying and selling
Buying Time Shares – The Time Share and Points-Based Contracts and Business Regulation under the Consumer Protection Act sets out the rules for businesses selling time shares.
Dealing with Door-to-Door Sales – Door-to-door salespeople sell everything from encyclopedias and magazines to home improvements. If a contract is signed, negotiated or concluded away from the seller’s usual place of business, it is considered a direct sale.
Door-to-Door Sales of Energy Related Products and Services – Energy related salespeople are misrepresenting themselves as Government of Alberta inspectors to Alberta homeowners and renters. They are asking to inspect the home's HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) systems. Effective January 1, 2017, the Government of Alberta has banned direct sales (door-to-door) of furnaces and related products and services including water heaters, air conditioners, windows, energy contracts and energy audits.
Purchasing cemetery supplies or services – In Alberta, the registration of cemeteries is governed under the Cemeteries Act (Act) and regulations. The Act ensures consumers who are purchasing cemetery supplies or services are protected and sets out: licence requirements for persons who solicit or enter into pre-need contracts for cemetery supplies or services and what must happen in the event of a contract cancellation.
Selling Time Share Contracts – The Time Share Contracts Regulation under the Consumer Protection Act has been expanded to include the sale of points-based time share contracts. The name has been changed to the Time Share and Points-based Contracts and Business Regulation.
Ticket Sales and Resales – Alberta’s Consumer Protection Act and Ticket Sales Regulation ensure protections for Albertans when buying tickets for cultural, sporting and recreational events.
Cemeteries and burials in Alberta – In Alberta, the registration of cemeteries is governed under the Cemeteries Act (Act) and regulations. Along with rules surrounding maintenance, the Act also ensures that cemeteries are protected and sets out: who may establish a cemetery, columbarium or mausoleum; the ways in which a deceased person may be put to rest, and who may control disposition of the deceased remains.
Matchmaking Services: Before you sign up – There are many types of dating or matchmaking services. Although no specific requirements under Alberta’s Consumer Protection Act for licensing exists, the act provides protection against unfair business practices. As with all service agreements, it’s important to read carefully before signing a contract or making a payment. Read and follow the tips to ensure a positive experience.
Electricity and Natural Gas Contracts – In Alberta, you have options for how you buy natural gas and electricity for your home, farm or small business. You can sign a contract with an independent electricity and natural gas marketer or you can choose not to sign a contract and receive energy at a regulated rate.
This publication outlines the rules that electricity and natural gas marketers must follow under the Consumer Protection Act and the Energy Marketing and Residential Heat Sub-metering Regulation. It also provides information about your rights and responsibilities as a consumer.
Internet use and services
Internet and Mobile Devices Safety and Social Media Tips – The Internet is widely used by Albertans for many purposes. Although educational and entertaining, it can also expose users to scams and other fraudulent activities. This publication outlines how to keep you and your online activities out of harm’s way.
Internet Shopping – Shopping on the Internet is different from shopping at your local mall. The Internet Sales Contract Regulation applies to residents of Alberta or to people purchasing goods or services from Alberta businesses that sell online. Only goods or services that are bought or sold for personal, family or household use and have a value of more than $50 are affected by this regulation.
Auctions – Buying and Selling – This publication outlines the rules and regulations that must be followed by Alberta businesses that sell goods by public auction. Such sales are governed by the Consumer Protection Act, the Public Auctions Regulation and the Sale of Goods Act.
Auction Business Trust Accounts – Auction sales businesses (auction businesses) have certain responsibilities under Alberta’s Consumer Protection Act and Public Auctions Regulation. The business, consigners and buyers of goods could all be affected if a business has not acted according to the legislation.
Condominium Developer Infosheet – This document is intended to provide general information for condominium developers. It addresses changes being brought by the Condominium Property Act and supporting regulations to developers in how they handle purchase agreements, trust funds, the appointment of an interim board of directors, and the turn-over of the corporation and specified documents to an elected board.
Cooperatives Act – A cooperative is a business organization started by people who want to use services or buy goods as a group, have an equal say in how the business is run and share in any profits the business makes.
Employment Agencies – An employment agency helps an employer find employees or helps employees find work or evaluates or tests people for employers seeking employees. Changes to the Employment Agency Business Licensing Regulation came into effect September 1, 2012.
Franchises in Alberta – A franchise is a business arrangement. A franchisee (buyer of a franchise) buys the right to market particular products and services from a franchisor (seller of a franchise). The franchisee buys those rights for a specific period of time in a particular location.
Licensing and Registering Your Business – The Government of Alberta licenses or registers businesses under the Consumer Protection Act, Charitable Fund-raising Act, Cemeteries Act and the Cooperatives Act.
Charitable Fundraising – Do you ask Albertans to donate to fundraising campaigns? Do you solicit contributions that will be used for a charitable purpose? If you do, you must follow the rules that are set out in Alberta’s Charitable Fund-raising Act and regulation. These rules exist to protect potential donors from false and misleading requests for donations.
Charitable Organizations That Solicit Donations – The Charitable Fund-raising Act and regulation lay out the rules that must be followed when charities ask Albertans for donations. Fundraisers need to know what their legislated responsibilities are.
Checklist During a Charitable Solicitation (PDF, 208 KB) – The Charitable Fund-raising Act and Regulation set out the rules that must be followed when charitable organizations ask Albertans for donations. A key responsibility is disclosing information to donors in accordance with the legislation. This checklist helps charitable organizations follow the legislation.
Giving To Charity: Information for donors in Alberta – This brochure contains valuable information about giving to charities.
Handling of personal information
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