Better business for consumers on the way

Spotlight Staff

Consumers would be protected more under a bill proposed by the provincial government.

The bill strengthens consumer protections and helps businesses succeed, states a news release Nov. 29.

“We are bringing in smart rules to support businesses, because they should not be undermined by bad actors that don’t play by the rules,” Service Alberta Minister Stephanie McLean says.

“Stronger protections boost consumer confidence, and that’s good for business.”

A Better Deal for Consumers and Businesses Act would support a level playing field for businesses and improve protections for Albertans who make big purchases such as buy or repair a vehicle, buy concert tickets, take out a loan or get medical care for their pets.

If passed, the bill would also empower shoppers with more information and put bad actors on notice, with strong recourse for consumers if a transaction goes wrong.

The Better Deal for Consumers and Businesses Act would:

-Put fans first by helping prevent ticket fraud and gouging.

-Introduce strong rules for buying a car and standards for car repairs. Regulations would require sellers to disclose vehicle history, use a standard bill of sale and follow minimum warranty protections for repairs.

-Better protect borrowers against high-cost credit by licensing high-interest lenders and establishing disclosure and advertising requirements so consumers know what they are signing up for.

-Boost consumer confidence when shopping by creating a Consumer Bill of Rights to let Albertans know their rights, require consumers to be informed and consent to any contract changes, disallow clauses that prevent consumers from posting negative business reviews, and enable government to publicly release information about charges, convictions and other enforcement actions taken under the act.

Business and consumer associations support the proposed bill.

“The Better Business Bureau is very excited for these proposed changes,” says Ron Mycholuk, BBB marketing for northern Alberta.

“As an organization whose goal it is to promote a fair and honest marketplace, any changes that look to increase transparency between customers and businesses are a step in the right direction.”

If passed, the bill would improve protections in the following areas, which were the most popular topics raised during public consultations over the summer.

Service Alberta investigates potential violations of consumer protection laws, reviews complaints for transactions between businesses and consumers and takes enforcement action where legislative breaches have occurred.

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