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Province tables Bill 31, legislation to better protect consumers
(AP / Michael Sohn)
The Alberta Government tabled legislation meant to improve protection for consumers and help businesses Wednesday afternoon.
The province said Bill 31: A Better Deal for Consumers and Businesses Act is expected to improve protection for Albertans making big purchases, such as buying or repairing a car, buying concert tickets, taking out a loan or getting veterinary care for pets.
Protections include banning ticket bots that allow scalpers to buy tickets to concerts and shows in bulk, adding a requirement for ticket sellers to identify tickets purchased by bots, and making sure re-sellers offer full refunds for tickets that are cancelled, counterfeit or had been purchased by bots. The legislation also gives businesses and consumers impacted by bots the ability to sue bot users.
Bill 31 also introduces rules for buying a car and standards for repairs, requiring repair shops to provide written estimates when requested before starting work on a vehicle, and making sure shops get permission from customers before starting work.
Plus, the Alberta Motor Vehicle Industry Council board will become a public agency.
Under the legislation, borrowers would be better protected against high-cost credit, defining high-cost credit as 32 percent or higher.
For pet owners, fee disclosure and customer approval will be required before veterinary care is given for pets – unless it is an emergency.
The legislation will also include a Customer Bill of Rights, including not allowing clauses that prevent consumers from posting negative reviews.
In addition, the Fair Trading Act will be renamed the Consumer Protection Act – the Fair Trading Act ensures transactions are carried out fairly. The Act was introduced in 2000 and has not been updated since 2005.