The standard for fair business practices in New Brunswick will soon increase with the government’s introduction of the Consumer Protection Act on November 22, 2023.
The Consumer Protection Act, administered by the Financial and Consumer Services Commission (FCNB), will consolidate, update and elevate provincial consumer protection laws and protect New Brunswickers by raising the standard for fair business practices, aligning New Brunswick with other Canadian jurisdictions.
The Act will consolidate and update six existing regulatory areas overseen by FCNB and introduce the following six new consumer protection areas under one Act:
Unfair Practices Provisions - to protect consumers from unfair practices such as sellers making false statements about the quality of a product, and sellers taking advantage of vulnerable persons.
Unsolicited Goods and Services – to prohibit businesses from sending or giving consumers goods or services not requested and requiring payment.
Internet Sales Contracts – to protect consumers making online purchases by requiring the suppliers to provide certain information and giving consumers rights for cancellations and refunds.
Future Performance Contracts – defines the consumer contract for services when either the consumer does not pay in full upfront, or the consumer pays for services to be completed later. Consumers will have some legislated cancellation rights and funds recovery options.
Personal Development Services Contracts – regulating health and fitness, exercise, dieting, modelling, and other similar activities and services.
High-Cost Credit Products - licensing and oversight of high-cost credit lenders.
This legislation benefits both businesses and consumers and is intended to help foster and strengthen the New Brunswick economy. The legislation should enhance consumer confidence in the marketplace and ensure businesses that comply with legal rules are not disadvantaged by competing against those that do not.
Most businesses that have already adopted high standards for their business practices will be minimally impacted by the legislation. While some changes could result in short-term costs for some businesses, these changes are important for the longer-term benefit of modernizing the Act and better protecting consumers.
Consumers and businesses will soon be invited to provide feedback on rules and regulations that are currently under development. In the meantime, business owners can stay informed by subscribing to email notifications to receive updates on the Consumer Protection Act and visit FCNB.ca to learn more about the new and enhanced protections in the Act.