Retail stores and telecom companies topped the list.
Retail stores and telecom companies were unsurprisingly among those that were subject to the most consumer complaints in Quebec in the past year. But they still only represent a small fraction of the complaints sent to the province's consumer watchdog, the Office de la protection du consommateur (OPC).
According to information the OPC shared with MTL Blog, the office received a total of 21,442 complaints between December 1, 2020, and November 30, 2021.
Of those, 15% were concerning car rental services, 10% had to do with large home appliance purchases (stoves, fridges, washing machines, etc.), 8% involved issues with other types of furniture and another 8% were related to home construction, renovation or maintenance.
The OPC also provided a breakdown of the types of consumer-related problems it handled, saying it detected a total of 35,548 in the same 12-month period. The most common issues, representing 31% of the 12-month total, had to do with a delivery or the quality of a good or service.
15% involved a warranty. 13% were allegations of commercial "misrepresentation and omission of an important fact." And 8% had to do with a vehicle sale or repair.
6.5% were complaints of what the office calls a prohibited price practice, including charging more than the advertised price or certain prohibited advertising practices.
"The year was of course marked by the pandemic, the many questions it raised and still raises, as well as the changes it brought about in consumer habits, notably the explosion of purchases made via the internet," the OPC said in a statement sent to MTL Blog.
It said that there was a notable increase in consumer complaints surrounding pricing increases, especially in the auto and construction sectors.
As for the companies that were subject to the most complaints, retail stores led the pack. Furniture store Brault & Martineau was implicated in 453, or 2%, of the 21,442 total complaints sent to the OPC.
It was followed by rival home appliance and furniture store The Brick, which represented 322 complaints (1.5%).
Walmart Canada followed in third place with 304 complaints. 289 complaints named Best Buy, which took the number five spot. Meubles RD was in sixth place (286 complaints).
Appliance manufacturer Whirlpool had the seventh most complaints, 196, and Samsung Electronics Canada had the ninth most at 167. Ameublements Tanguay was in 10th place (157 complaints).
The remaining two spots on the list went to telecom companies. In fourth place was Vidéotron with 298 complaints, while 173 complaints targeted Bell Canada, which landed it in the eighth spot.
The OPC clarifies, however, that the complaints sent to its office between December 2020 and November 2021 are so far unverified and "may be subject to further verification."
It suggests moreover that the size of some businesses could explain a higher number of complaints.
This article's cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.