Archived — Principle 6: Complaint Handling and Dispute Resolution

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Canadian Code of Practice for Consumer Protection in Electronic Commerce

6.1 Vendors shall provide consumers with access to fair, timely and effective means to resolve problems with any transaction.

6.2 Vendors shall offer an internal complaints-handling process that:

a) is easily accessible online and offline;

b) is available to consumers free of charge;

c) is easy to use;

d) acknowledges complaints within seven business days of receipt and endeavours to resolve or address these complaints within 45 days of acknowledgment; and

e) records and monitors complaints.

6.3 When a consumer and a vendor cannot resolve a complaint, the vendor is strongly encouraged to offer to refer matters to an appropriate third-party dispute resolution service, use of which shall be at the consumer's discretion.

6.4 Any dispute resolution service(s) offered by the vendor in accordance with 6.3 shall:

a) be available to be initiated online and irrespective of consumers' location;

b) be easily accessible to consumers (e.g. via a hyperlink from vendors' Web sites);

c) be easy to use;

d) be offered at nominal or no cost to consumers;

e) be expeditious, with reasonable time limits for each stage of the process;

f) be fair (i.e. meet the standards of due process);

g) commit vendors to abide by awards when consumers agree to them;

h) be operated by an independent and impartial body; and

i) be transparent in all aspects of its operations, including services, procedures, governance structure, dispute resolution personnel, and the results of dispute resolutions. With respect to the last, the dispute resolution service provider shall make public its arbitration case results and detailed statistics on its confidential dispute resolution results covering the number and type of complaints and the proportion resolved in the customer's favour.

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