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What are some common consumer legal problems in Canada?

Everybody has experienced a legal problem at one time or another, regardless of whether the person realized their problem was legal in nature or not.

There are a variety of legal issues Canadians can face on a day to day basis, but some of the most common issues to date are: consumer problems, debt issues, employment issues, conflicts with neighbours, family law issues and increasingly, senior fraud.

Consumer problems

There are a wide variety of issues that can fall under this section. Some common examples of consumer problems include: being overcharged on a cell phone bill, trying to get out of a gym contract, and if a store has sold you a shoddy product and won’t give a refund.

Many of these types of problems are resolved by talking to the businesses, writing to the business and asking for a resolution, or filing a consumer complaint with the appropriate consumer protection agency of the province.

Employment issues

Sometimes in the course of one’s career problems can arise, such as harassment at work, wrongful dismissal, employment contracts disputes, and disputes over vacation time entitlement or bonus pay.

If the issues faced at work are minor talking to one’s human resources department or manager may solve them. If the issues are more serious in nature, then it’s a good idea to consult with a lawyer.

Family law issues

Family law issues are a bit more serious in nature than other consumer legal issues. That is because family law problems are often brought to court, especially where it concerns separation, divorce and custody/access of children.

When it comes to family law problems it’s often best to consult a lawyer as such issues are often quite complicated.

Senior fraud

Though often not cited as one of the common consumer problems it’s becoming more and more relevant, because as the population ages, senior scams are increasing fast.

One problematic aspect of senior fraud is that seniors are not just being taken advantage of by telemarketers or scammers who are aware that some seniors are not savvy when it comes to technology or scams.

Sometimes seniors are victims of family members or friends. Whatever the case may be, some indications that seniors may be a target of fraud by strangers or family members/friends are:

  • Phone, mail or email requests asking seniors for personal information, such as banking, credit card or debit card information;
  • If someone comes to the senior’s door and pretends to be from a charity or claims the person has won a prize — if the senior didn’t enter a contest then it’s likely they wouldn’t win a prize;
  • Unduly pressuring, forcing or tricking a senior to make or change a will or to sign legal documents that gives away the senior’s property or obligates the senior for something for which the senior does not benefit.

Some minor legal problems can be resolved by consumer’s themselves by phoning the company or writing a letter but if you are facing a major legal problem you should consult with a lawyer.

Read more:

Canadian Consumer Handbook

What are the most common family law issues CLEO