Buying Materials for a Course or Social Activity

Radu Razvan / iStock / Thinkstock

When you register for a course or social activity, you often have to buy materials : for example canvasses and brushes for painting class. 

The law protects you when you make a contract with a merchant to participate in a course. The law also protects you when you have to buy materials to participate and you buy them from the same merchant who is offering the course or activity. 

Important ! 

The rules in this article only apply when you buy materials IN PERSON from the merchant offering the course of activity. If you buy at a distance, such as over the Internet or by phone, the rules might be different. Check the website of the Office de la protection du consommateur (consumer protection bureau) to find out more.

The rules explained in this article do not apply to the purchase of materials for courses and social activities offered by these institutions and people:

  • school board and schools
  • CEGEPs
  • universities
  • municipalities and government departments
  • people who are members of a professional corporation (for example, parenting workshops given by a social worker)

The Contract for the Purchase of Materials

The merchant offering the course or activity cannot oblige you to purchase her materials. If you need books, tapes, a tracksuit or any other materials, you can buy them wherever you want. 

However, if you decide to buy the materials directly from the merchant offering the course or activity and the total value of the purchase is more than $100, the merchant must make a written contract with you. This contract must contain this information:

  • your name and address 
  • her name and address 
  • the date and place of the contract 
  • a description of the materials purchased 
  • the price of each item
  • the provincial and federal taxes
  • the total amount you have to pay 

The merchant must include a cancellation form with the copy of the contract that she gives you. This form lets you end the contract if you choose to.

Cancellation of the Contract for the Purchase of Materials

Important! The rules explained in this section don't apply if the total value of the materials purchased is $100 or less.

If this is your case, you'll have to negotiate with the merchant to try to cancel the contract and be reimbursed certain amounts.

You can cancel the contract for the purchase of materials without a penalty, if you cancel within these time periods:

  • within 10 days of delivery of the materials
  • within 10 days of the beginning of the course or other activity
  • within 10 days of cancelling your registration for a course or other activity
  • In this last case, you must have had the materials for less than two months and for less than one third of the length of the main contract.


If you're taking a karate course that lasts three months and you've had the uniform for a month and one week, you can no longer cancel the contract for the purchase of materials.

Even though the two-month period hasn't finished, you've had the uniform for more than one third of the main contract, which is one month.

To cancel a contract for the purchase of materials, you can do one of two things: 

  • give the materials that you bought back to the merchant
  • send the merchant one of these documents, ideally by registered mail:
  • the cancellation form that is part of the contract you were given when you bought the materials
  • another written notice saying that you're cancelling the purchase

In all situations, you must give back the materials within 10 days of cancelling the contract and the merchant must reimburse you within the same time period. 

Important !
This article explains in a general way the law that applies in Quebec. This article is not a legal opinion or legal advice. To find out the specific rules for your situation, consult a lawyer or notary.