Filing a complaint against a plumber with the OPC

21 October 2021

Filing a complaint is one way people can exercise their rights when dealing with plumbers. While plumbing services are provided without a hitch most of the time, there are situations that can require such recourse. It’s often best to file a complaint before initiating legal proceedings. Read on to learn how the complaint process works at the Office de la protection du consommateur (OPC).

Reasonable grounds for filing a complaint

Complaints to the OPC are intended for those who haven’t had any success complaining to their contractors. As well as leading to sanctions, they enable the OPC to identify recalcitrant contractors. Complaints must be on one of 3 grounds:

  • The plumber has charged more than the amount set out in the contract. No additional costs may be charged, even for unforeseen repairs (their cost must be approved in advance).
  • The plumber did not complete the work for which they were hired.
  • The work was not in accordance with the agreement and with prevailing standards.

It’s also recommended that you file the complaint with the appropriate professional order, such as the Corporation des maîtres mécaniciens en tuyauterie du Québec (CMMTQ).

How to file a complaint against a plumber with the OPC

According to the OPC, the first step in any complaint process should be to discuss the matter with the contractor in question. This can often help you settle things without the need to file a claim with a government or legal authority. However, if that is impossible or goes nowhere, you may file a complaint with the OPC. To do so, contact an OPC agent by phone, in writing or in person. They will hear out the complaint and decide whether it can be accepted by the OPC. If it falls within the OPC’s purview, it will be recorded in the contractor’s file. The OPC can also provide you with resources to initiate further proceedings against the contractor. Any such proceedings are the responsibility of the complainant, however, not the OPC. In the most serious cases, or when sanctions are required, the OPC may ask you to disclose more specific information, such as the details of your contract. These cases are treated as priorities by the OPC authorities responsible for administering sanctions.