2012–13 Project Summaries: Union des consommateurs

6226 Saint-Hubert Street
Montréal, QC H2S 2M2
Tel.: (514) 521-6820
Toll-free: 1-888-521-6820
Fax: (514) 521-0736

1. Medium Income Quebec Consumers and Financial Management: Who to Turn to?

According to Union des consommateurs (UC), it is important that all consumers have access to financial advice to ensure the sound and comprehensive management of their personal finances. This advice must also be available to the most vulnerable consumers, at a reasonable price, and these consumers need to know how to go about obtaining it.

Expected results

By means of this project, UC will check whether consumers are aware of the benefits of obtaining the general financial advice required for the sound management of their personal finances, and whether services exist to meet their needs. The findings will lead to the submission of proposed solutions aimed at addressing the gaps identified.

2. The Usage Limits of Mobile Internet Services: Information and Protection of Consumers

Consumers are buying more and more smart phones as well as tablets and USB keys that have Internet access and a range of new functions. Devices that allow users to access the Internet generally come with plans that include limited data transfer.

Expected results

This study will provide a Canadian perspective on the issue of limits on usage and information for consumers. The analysis will identify the best means of addressing what has proven to be a source of dissatisfaction and propose effective ways of correcting the situation.

3. Proliferation of Redress Procedures

According to UC, a number of players have frequent concerns about the effectiveness of consumer law, given the persistent problems of access to justice: a lack of knowledge about rights, clogged courts, minimal economic incentives that do not justify the time and money invested in a court remedy, long delays, etc. There are as many potential solutions as there are problems: creation of a specialized tribunal, small claims courts, criminal and administrative penalties, alternative methods, class actions, etc.

Expected results

The purpose of this research is to analyse the barriers to greater effectiveness of specific consumer remedies. With a view to ensuring access to justice and judicial economy, and based on measures adopted in Canada and abroad, UC will examine opportunities for increasing the use or effect of existing remedies.