Archived — Principle 1: Information Provision

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Canadian Code of Practice for Consumer Protection in Electronic Commerce


1.1 Vendors shall provide consumers with sufficient information to make an informed choice about whether and how to complete a transaction. All information that the vendor is required to provide pursuant to this Code must be:

a) clearly presented in plain language;

b) truthful;

c) conspicuous and easily accessible on vendors' Web sites at appropriate stages of consumers' decision making, particularly before consumers confirm transactions or provide any personal information; and

d) capable of being saved or printed by consumers.

1.2 Vendors shall ensure that their marketing practices, information and links on their Web sites are current, accurate and not deceptive or misleading to consumers, and that all objective claims can be substantiated.

1.3 Vendors shall identify themselves on their Web sites and provide information about their policies, including to whom consumers should direct claims, ask questions, register complaints or obtain warranty information, repair services and support related to the goods or services available through the sites. The information shall be available to consumers before they engage in transactions and shall include:

a) the vendor's legal name and the name(s) under which the vendor conducts business;

b) the address and telephone and fax numbers of the vendor's principal office and, when applicable, of local offices or agents;

c) any geographic, age or other restrictions on transactions;

d) the currency used by the vendor to quote the price and the payment methods and currencies the vendor accepts;

e) the vendor's cancellation, return and exchange policies, including any associated charges;

f) contact information for consumer service and support, including days and hours of operation, when applicable, and any associated charges;

g) details of the vendor's complaints process;

h) the vendor's policies on privacy and unsolicited e-mail; and

i) contact information for any seal or other self-regulatory programs or applicable dispute resolution processes in which the vendor participates, and, whenever possible, an online method of verifying its certification or membership.

1.4 Vendors shall make information available about the goods or services for sale in order that consumers can see it before they initiate transactions. The information shall include:

a) a fair and accurate description of the goods or services offered for sale, including the terms of any service contracts and material information that consumers would otherwise have available to them when buying the goods or services offline (e.g. restrictions, health and safety warnings, or limitations or conditions of purchase, such as parental/guardian approval requirements and time restrictions); and

b) any guarantees and warranties concerning the goods or services.

1.5 Prior to the conclusion of transactions, vendors shall ensure that all terms and conditions of sale related to the transactions are available to consumers. Such information shall include:

a) a description of the goods or services including the quantity to be purchased;

b) the full price to consumers, including:

  • the applicable currency;
  • any shipping charges, taxes, and specific reference to any other charges that the vendor is responsible for collecting;
  • when the vendor cannot reasonably ascertain the amount of potentially applicable charges (e.g. additional taxes, customs fees, custom broker fees, etc.), the fact that such charges may apply; and
  • when the full price cannot be worked out in advance, the method the vendor will use to calculate it, including any recurrent costs and the method used to calculate them;

c) payment terms, including the methods of payment available to consumers and any associated surcharges or discounts;

d) cancellation, return and exchange policies, including any associated charges;

e) applicable warranties, including any associated charges;

f) how the vendor will contact the consumer in the future (e.g. by e-mail, telephone, facsimile, letter);

g) any restrictions, limitations or conditions of purchase, such as parental/ guardian approval requirements, the length of service contracts, or any geographic limitations applying to the offer; and

h)the time frame for shipping goods or activating service, how consumers will be notified when the vendor is unable to complete the order or service request within this time frame and, when applicable, options for delivery.

1.6 Vendors shall provide consumers with a record of the transaction as soon as possible after the transaction has been completed.

1.7 Except in the case of 1.8, when consumers contract for the ongoing provision of goods or services, vendors shall ensure:

a) that they disclose the following to consumers, prior to the conclusion of the transaction:

  • how often and to what address statements of account will be delivered;
  • how the consumer can change and correct such information; and
  • how the consumer can cancel the contract and the implications of any such cancellation;

b) that each invoice or statement of account identifies the vendor, the goods or services in question and the amount billed.

1.8 When goods or services are ordered for future physical delivery on a one-time basis, vendors shall provide consumers with a printed record of the transaction when the goods or services are delivered or provided, as appropriate. The record shall include information set out in 1.5 a) through d).

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