Empty boxes, double billing: Ontario Cannabis Store has received about 2,500 complaints so far
Published Tuesday, June 25, 2019 11:09AM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, June 25, 2019 8:21PM EDT
The Ontario Cannabis Store (OCS) was the most complained about government organization this past year according to the province’s Ombudsman, as the online-only store “struggled” with delays, delivery problems and customer service issues.
Paul Dube’s annual report documented some of the 2,411 complaints that his office received in the months after cannabis was legalized in Canada — which included a “general dissatisfaction with the province’s rollout of legalized cannabis.”
The Progressive Conservative government scrapped the Liberal government’s plans for provincially-run pot shops and instead opted for an online-only cannabis store with mail delivery service before brick-and-mortar store opened several months later.
The Ombudsman said within three weeks more than 2,100 people from across the province filed complaints about delays in deliveries, lack of communication and “unhelpful and difficult to access” customer service.
One OCS customer complained that when their cannabis order had been delivered they opened the box to discover it was empty. The customer said they were instructed to mail the empty box back to the OCS in order to receive a second order, free of charge.
“Faced with the absurdity of having to return an empty box for a refund, he complained to our office,” Dube’s report reads, noting that once the Ombudsman’s office made an inquiry the replacement order was expedited and the customer didn’t have to return the empty box.
Other customers ran into payment issues including double billing and delayed refunds.
The volume of complaints forced the Ombudsman’s office to set up a triage team to prioritize the criticisms and worked with the Ministry of Finance, responsible for the OCS, to fix the issues.
Dube said the OCS thanked his office in December for highlighting and helping to resolve the “vast majority” of complaints.