B.C.’s second annual Consumer Awareness Week kicks off
May 13, 2014

VICTORIA, BC – Marking B.C.’s second annual Consumer Awareness Week, the Ministry of Justice, Consumer Protection BC and the Better Business Bureau Serving Mainland BC are putting consumer contracts in the spotlight, reminding B.C. youth of the rights and obligations that come with signing on the dotted line.

From May 12-16, Consumer Protection BC and its partner organizations will share contract information under the theme “Take5” – representing the number of tips released each day and the need for consumers to pause and reflect before signing any contract. The goal of this year’s Consumer Awareness Week is to educate B.C. consumers between the ages of 17-25 to make informed contractual decisions.

The types of contracts covered during Consumer Awareness Week will include fitness contracts, vehicle sales agreements and cell phone contracts.

Take5 – five things to know before signing any contract:

1. Know your obligations. In British Columbia, once you are 19 years old you are legally responsible for the contracts you sign and these contracts are enforceable in court. It is important to know your rights and responsibilities as a consumer when it comes to contracts.

2. Get it in writing. Always get a written copy of your contract. If you do enter into a verbal agreement, make sure you follow up in writing, outlining the terms both parties agreed to.

3. Know what you are agreeing to. When entering into contracts online, you may quickly hit “I agree” to the pop-up terms and conditions. Take the time to read the details.

4. Know your cancellation rights. Certain types of contracts provide cancellation rights under specific conditions. Make sure you know your cancellation rights before you sign.

5. Read the fine print. There are often many details in the fine print. Take the time to read it, ask clarifying questions and, if in doubt, do not commit until you are sure.

Suzanne Anton, Attorney General and Minister of Justice –

“Consumer Awareness Week is a great opportunity for youth and British Columbians of all ages to learn about their rights and responsibilities as consumers, so they can make informed decisions about the contracts they enter into. Contracts can be complicated, so I encourage young adults to educate themselves so they can ask the right questions and have the confidence that the contract they’re signing is right for them.”

Tatiana Chabeaux-Smith, manager of corporate communications at Consumer Protection BC –

“Whether it’s online, in-person or over the phone, these days consumers enter into numerous contracts, often without knowing it or fully understanding what’s they’re agreeing to. Through Consumer Awareness Week, we want to help young adults know what to look for in certain consumer contracts – before making that commitment.”

Danielle Primrose, president and CEO at Better Business Bureau Serving Mainland BC –

“To a generation where everything is ‘click first, read later,’ we need to remind consumers that frustrations can be avoided by taking the time to ‘read first, click later.’ Ask the question: what are you really ‘accepting’ when you click yes? If you don’t understand what you are reading, or a section doesn’t apply to you, be prepared to walk away."

Quick Facts:

  • The Business Practices and Consumer Protection Authority Act established Consumer Protection BC as a not-for-profit corporation in 2004 to strengthen consumer protection in BC.
  • With 2014 marking its 10-year anniversary, Consumer Protection BC is responsible for a range of consumer education, as well as the licensing, inspection, investigation and enforcement of various industries and consumer contracts.

Learn More:

To access the daily Consumer Awareness Week “Take5” tips, visit:
www.Take5BC.ca

Participate in the online conversation on Consumer Protection BC’s Facebook page:
www.facebook.com/ConsumerProtectionBC

Use the hashtag #Take5BC on Twitter and follow @ConsumerProBC:
www.twitter.com/ConsumerProBC

If you have questions about your rights and responsibilities as a consumer in British Columbia, please contact Consumer Protection BC toll-free at 1-888-564-9963 or visit: www.consumerprotectionbc.ca.

Media Contacts:

Consumer Protection BC
1 888 564-9963 ext. 2824
media@consumerprotectionbc.ca

Better Business Bureau Serving Mainland BC
Simone Lis, Vice President
604 681-7476
simone@mbc.bbb.org

Government Communications and Public Engagement
Ministry of Justice
250 213-3602