Consumer Complaints

aarrggh-300We need to be pro-active when it comes to real grievances in dealing with unscrupulous business types no matter where you find them.

Anything to do with the provincial government falls under the realm of the Ombudsperson and Human Rights Tribunals, while general business complaints have many distinct agencies and advocates.

Sometimes it might be so overwhelming with all the strange paperwork that you need your own team – and that’s where advocacy groups are the big guns here. Tirelessly and honestly, they explain and assist you in understanding what is being requested of you and how to go about getting it.

Advocacy Groups

Whether you’re fighting and Employment Insurance claim or need help filling out your CPP form or appeal, PLEASE do yourself a huge favour and meet with these people FIRST. The volunteers share their expertise and the service is free. Furthermore, they will save you a LOT of grief, especially and even if your CPP claim has been rejected three times.

One example is the Nanaimo Citizens Advocacy Association whose programs address such issues as crisis advocacy for individuals who are the working poor, on income assistance or with disabilities. They provide help with such things as policy interpretation, completing disability applications, appeals and tribunals, residential tenancy, food & shelter, counseling, problem solving and liaison with government offices.


Consumer Affairs is a consumer news and advocacy organization where you can tell everyone and lawyers read the complaints submitted by consumers in case there is cause for a class action suit.

Here is an example of a complaint for Classmates that finally was resolved:

They also have a resource page with a list of agencies and organizations that help consumers avoid fraud.


Provincial Public Agencies

Office of the Ombudsperson has jurisdiction over a wide range of provincial public agencies, including:

  • British Columbia government ministries, including complaints regarding income assistance and the Family Maintenance Enforcement Program
  • Crown corporations such as ICBC and BC Hydro
  • Government boards such as WCB and the BC Human Rights Tribunal
  • Hospitals, health authorities, and health-related government agencies such as Medical Services Plan and Pharmacare
  • Schools and school districts
  • Universities and colleges
  • Local governments
  • Professional associations such as the Law Society and the College of Physicians and Surgeons

The Ombudsperson does not have jurisdiction to investigate complaints involving federal government ministries or programs, private corporations, the courts or the police. Some examples are:

  • banks
  • consumer inquiries
  • doctors
  • employment issues involving private companies
  • federal programs, departments or agencies
  • home and property insurance
  • landlord and tenant (residential) inquiries
  • lawyers
  • municipal police
  • private life and health insurance
  • private schools
  • RCMP

BC Human Rights Tribunal deals with discrimination under the BC Human Rights Code

The purposes of this Code is to:

  • foster a society in British Columbia in which there are no impediments to full and free participation in the economic, social, political and cultural life of British Columbia
  • promote a climate of understanding and mutual respect where all are equal in dignity and rights
  • prevent discrimination prohibited by this Code;
  • identify and eliminate persistent patterns of inequality associated with discrimination prohibited by this Code
  • provide a means of redress for those persons who are discriminated against contrary to this Code

General Business Complaints


Be Fraud Aware

Fraud warning signs – know the warning signs of investment fraud.

  • No risk!
    • There’s no such thing as a guaranteed investment: the higher the returns, the higher the risk.
  • Profit like the pros!
    • These scams are pitched as opportunities known only to a select few. The scam artist convinces you that he or she has access to this inside information.
  • Offshore,tax free!
    • Fraudsters may try to convince you to move your money outside Canada to avoid taxes. They really want you to move it to an inaccessible offshore account.
  • Get in now!
    • Scam artists use this tactic to pressure you into making a quick decision. They suggest they have secret information about a company that the general public doesn’t have.
  • Your friends and family can’t be wrong!
    • Scam artists target religious, ethnic, or close-knit groups by working their way into organizations and befriending members. This approach relies on the trust you place in the people you care about.

Businesses (including fitness clubs, weight loss organizations etc.)

Car Purchase or Lease

Cell Phone Company

Financial Institution (Bank)

  • Financial Consumer Agency of Canada     at
  • Ombudsman for Banking Services and Investments at
  • Your bank manager, regional manager, and bank’s ombudsman


Moving Company

New Home Builder

Real Estate Agents or Home Sale or Purchase


Scams (telemarketing, email, phony prizes)

Stock Brokers or Firms (including stock market scams)

Strata Disputes or Questions

Telemarketers and Ad Mail

Vehicle Manufacturer Defects

  • Canadian Motor Vehicle Arbitration Plan (CAMVAP) mediates disputes between consumers and vehicle manufacturers about alleged manufacturing defects at

Additonally, if you can’t resolve a dispute you can go to:

Small Claims Court

People United Are Unstoppable