Introduction to Consumer Protection (11:I)

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This information applies to British Columbia, Canada. Last reviewed for legal accuracy by the Law Students' Legal Advice Program on July 8, 2022.

A. Overview

This chapter provides a general discussion of consumer protection laws in British Columbia (BC).

While parts of this chapter are concerned with the rights of sellers, the main objective is to aid consumers who want to enforce contractual obligations, cancel contractual obligations, obtain damages for a breach of contract, or file a complaint with the appropriate regulator. This chapter should also help in determining contractual and other obligations of the parties, and whether or not those obligations are enforceable.

B. Common Law vs. Statute

An aggrieved party may have remedies under statutory law, the common law, or both. BC statutes provide better protection to consumers than is afforded by the common law. Since legislation (statutes) takes precedence over the common law, it is crucial to check all relevant statutes (see 11:II A. Legislation) when faced with the legal matters of consumers. For example, some contracts that are enforceable at common law are rendered unenforceable by relevant statutes.

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