Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year

I want to wish a Very Happy New Year to all my readers. Sometimes, coming up with posts is not easy, but knowing you are out there, makes it easier.

Have a blessed new year and we will connect again in '10.

P.S. January 1st is a statutory holiday. All banks and major retailers will be closed.

Happy Shopping!!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Gift Cards

For some, the thought of going from mall to mall, shop to shop looking for that perfect gift, is really what the Christmas season is about. For others like me, I am indecisive and usually end up getting something the receiver does not like. That's why I like to give the gift that keeps on giving, gift cards. I've had discussions with people who think gift cards are cold and impersonal. That they are easy ways to get out of truly looking for and spending time to find a gift that the receiver would love. C'mon, let's be honest, most gifts end up being returned because it's either the wrong size, make, colour or fit. At the end of the day, it's the wrong gift.

My opinion is, why not save yourself and the receiver the hassle of returning a gift when they can pick their own. It's not the same as cash, in that, with a gift card, you are directing the receiver where to go. Unfortunately, the problem with giving cash is that it can be used on things that you might not have intended it to be used on, like bills. With a gift card, your receiver is forced to spend it on something for themselves, from a particular store.

Gift cards are availabe everywhere. For the coffee lover, why not a Tim Horton's, Second Cup, Timothy's or a Starbucks gift card? For the new mom, maybe a Toys 'r' Us or Babies 'r' Us or a Shoppers Drug Mart gift card. For the handy man, Home Depot, Home Hardware or Canadian Tire. For the overworked and stressed woman, a gift card for a particular spa or a mani-pedi and for those picky teenagers, an i-Tunes, VISA, MasterCard or American Express gift card. The options are endless.

Information on gift cards:
  • businesses are required to fully inform consumers at the time of purchase how and where gift cards can be redeemed, used and replaced. Whether only at corporate stores, outlets, specific locations, etc.
  • Gift cards that expire are prohibited, unless they are issued or sold for charitable or promotional purposes, or if they are for a specific good or service such as a haircut, because it is not expected that a business would make the same product or service available indefinitely.
  • handling charges or fees are prohibited , except in limited circumstances. 
Contact your Consumer Affairs Department for specific provincial legislation.

Happy Shopping and 
Merry Christmas!!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

2010 Smart Consumer Calendar

 2010 Smart Consumer Calendar has arrived. This calendar is full of  tips and advice to help you be a better, smarter and wiser consumer.

The calendar features different consumer protection themes each month such as tips on gift cards, buying or selling a home, dealing with an energy supplier, and buying cars and fitness club memberships.
Get your free copy from Service Ontario.

Life after debt

Bad credit does not have to be the end. After having gone through bankruptcy or a consumer proposal, many people might think that their credit is shot and that there is no way of ever getting a good credit score.

Without a decent or good credit score, you will not qualify for personal or car loans, lines of credits or even a mortgage. There are many companies out there that are willing to help you re-establish your credit after going through some debt troubles.

One of those companies I have had the personal experience of working with is Prudent Financial Services. Prudent specializes in personal loans, car loans and mortgages. By getting a loan with PFS, not only is it an opportunity to re-build your credit but (unlike banks), they will not lend you any more money than you can afford to re-pay. They are easy to work with and have very flexible repayment schedules.

It's nice to know that credit problems are not the end, and that there is life after debt.

Click here for more information on PFS Loan Centre.
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