Friday, September 10, 2010

Financial Consumer Agency of Canada

About FCAC

Who we are

The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC) is an independent body working to protect and inform consumers of financial services.
We were established in 2001 by the federal government to strengthen oversight of consumer issues and expand consumer education in the financial sector.

What we do

As a federal regulatory agency, FCAC is responsible for:
  • ensuring that federally regulated financial institutions comply with federal consumer protection laws and regulations;
  • monitoring financial institutions' compliance with voluntary codes of conduct and their own public commitments;
  • informing consumers about their rights and responsibilities when dealing with financial institutions; and
  • providing timely and objective information and tools to help consumers understand, and shop around for, a variety of financial products and services.
FCAC Website

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Shopping with your rewards points

I just finished doing some online shopping...for gift cards and gift certificates. I enjoy collecting points, because I like knowing my loyalty yields rewards. I just got a $50 gift card from Home Hardware through my CapitalOne Mastercard, and with my AirMiles, I picked up a $25 gift card for Cara foods, a $20 gift certificate for Metro and a $20 gift certificate for Shell.

Not to mention, the $10 taken off my purchases (a couple days ago) through the Optimum Program at Shoppers Drug Mart.
Shoppers Drug Mart Optimum

I can't wait for them to arrive. It pays to be a Consumer.

Happy Shopping!!

McDonald's® 2 Can Dine Coupons

McDonald's® recently issued their coupon book of 2 For 1 deals and Buy 1 Get One Free. The deals are pretty good, and would be even better, if McDonald's got their accounting right.

One of the coupons offered is 2 Can Dine For $8.98. Anyone who has taken simple mathematics in school knows that at this price of $8.98, in Ontario with 13% tax equals $10.15 (actually, $10.1474). I received a complaint from a friend that when she had presented this coupon, McDonald's® overcharged her by $0.20. When she tried to bring it to the attention of the cashier and then the manager, they were both rude and unapologetic. The problem here is not the money (although, overcharging customers by a mere $0.20, will add up to a lot over a short period of time.) The problem was the level of customer service she had received from the employees. They did not appear to be knowledgeable and when the error was brought to their attention in a very professional manner, they became rude and belligerent.

McDonald's®, if you are going to have this type of promotion, ensure all your locations are aware of the correct pricing as to not have this type of confusion in the future. In addition, if a discrepancy does occur, your employees (especially those who have the title "manager") should conduct themselves and handle the situation in a professional manner so as to not leave the customer angry and disgruntled.

McDonald's complaints and feedback

Unhappy Shopping!!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Participating in Clinical Trials - Extra Cash

A great way to make extra cash is by participating in clinical research trials. You can earn anywhere between $600 to $3000 (or more) depending on the study. Pharmaceutical companies are always looking to test new drugs or new variations, to see their effect on humans. At a research study, you are provided shelter, meals and a small dose of whatever medication is being studied, to assess the medication's absorption in the blood. You stay in a controlled environment, for a period of time (usually one night or two) and are monitored. The facilities are clean, the employees are nice and it's a great way to get a check-up. You have to undergo medical screening, prior to being accepted into a study.

jscreationzs /
If you are looking for a tax-free way to supplement your income, this just might be for you.(If you are afraid of needles or get queasy at the sight of blood, then this is definitely not for you.)

Check your local newspapers for company advertisments or online under the search paid clinical studies or research studies.

Below is a site I came across with a listing of companies. Good Luck.

Clinical Research

Friday, August 13, 2010

Pizza dinner on a budget

image: federico stevanin /

With so many of us, trying to fit so much in a day, it can be difficult to get a hot, delicious and nutritious dinner on the table some nights. My children recently began taking swimming lessons, and wouldn't you know, swimming is around dinnertime. I can feed them earlier, which would probably leave them hungry later on in the evening (which means a late night snack) or we can have dinner right after swimming. I have chosen the latter.

Our favourite place to eat (on a budget) is Pizza Nova. They have a wonderful promotion, walk-in, 1 topping pizza - $7.99 for medium and $9.99 for large. We order 2 large pizzas and half & half the toppings (that way, everyone gets a topping they like - my son likes sausages and my daughter likes cheese.) With 4 drinks and 3 dipping sauces, our dinner came to $28.82. We ate there, so there was no dishes to do after and we took the leftovers home, for lunch tomorrow. Yum!

Check your local Pizza Nova for their walk-in specials, and you too could be having family pizza night soon.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Mountain Blue Eyes has nursing moms covered

Quality tops make breastfeeding easy for the active mother

Breastfeeding should be a comfortable experience for both mom and baby, and conducive to any lifestyle. This is the vision behind Mountain Blue Eyes, an Alberta-based company that specializes in nursing apparel for the active mom.

Specially cut to fit post-pregnancy curves while keeping optimal modesty in mind, the collection of tanks, tees and fleece sweaters use light-weight, breathable fabrics, that dry quickly and wick moisture away from the body. The material is also antibacterial and resistant to piling, a common problem with fabric used in athletic clothing. All of the tops feature discreet openings that provide easy access while keeping other areas including the stomach and back, covered.

With a keen understnading that hungry babies won't patiently wait to eat while mom tries to find a secluded feeding spot halfway up the side of a mountain, owner Catherine Decelles saw an opportunity to provide nursing mothers with quality, functional clothing that could keep pace with a dynamic lifestyle. Inspiration struck on a ski trip, when Catherine attempted the awkward transition from outdoor activity to feeding.

"I was quite frustrated with my nursing wear that was quite frily, but didn't easily allow me to snowshoe or cross-country ski with my kids, and then come indoors and comfortably breastfeed. I started to do a bit of research to see what types of fabrics were availabe and found there wasn't any nursing clothing in a wicking fabric or a comfortable fleece, which is basically what I live in myself," says Catherine. "As an active new mother, I wanted clothing that would facilitate both outdoor activities and breastfeeding. I started Mountain Blue Eyes to meet this need. We have designed technical quality clothing that makes breastfeeding easy, whether snowshoeing in the Canadian Rockies or urban hiking with your baby. I hope you will enjoy wearing these clothes as much as I do!"

Active wear by Mountain Blue Eyes is available at several Canadian Retail Locations. For more information about where to purchase or wholesale opportunities, visit .

Monday, July 26, 2010

Eco Tax to be paid by taxpayers!!

So, it has been announced that the very poorly managed and blundered "eco tax", which caused many consumer confusion is gone. However, the government has decided that they will keep the project going, to the tune of $5 million dollars.

Now, instead of the tax being paid by consumers, it is being paid by taxpayers...but wait a minute...aren't they one and the same?

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

What the @#$@!! is MHSM?

 If you've bought paint or varsol or any other type of "hazourdous waste" at Wal-Mart or other retailers, you would have probably noticed a charge for MHSM. The first time I saw this charge, I asked the cashier what it was and she mumbled something about me buying Varsol. Anyway, I knew this was my cue to do further research. Basically, what MHSM does is, it ensures  "unwanted “household hazardous” or “special” wastes are either reused, recycled or disposed of responsibly." Stewardship Ontario

 I don't mind paying these fees, first the plastic bags, now this MHSM. (The environment is just as important to me as it is to the next person.) What I do have a problem with is the way some of these fees are implemented and subsequently collected. There is little information about them and when you inquire, you are not given a clear answer, and are left to do your own research. That's not fair, it's not right and as consumers, we deserve better, considering that all these fees and taxes end up falling squarely on our laps or in our wallets. We are the ones that fund these "initiatives". Would you ever pay a bill which you didn't know what it was for? Then next time, you see an unwanted fee on your receipt, question it!

I think many retailers are pocketing a good portion of the monies collected and once again, consumers are funding BS causes.

Click here to find out more about MHSM.

Unhappy Shopping!!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

A Ladybug in my Mexican food

Tonight I had dinner at what was my favourite restaurant. Although I looked forward to the meal, I wasn't as excited as usual and the proceeding events would confirm my feelings.

We received our appetizers after our meals, my rice was undercooked and my PiƱa Colada was gritty and watered down. I was willing to deal with all these disappointments, as the meal itself was not bad, until I saw it....a ladybug, right in my meal. I lost my appetite right there! I called the waitress over and showed her my uninvited meal. Of course she was very apologetic, asked me if I wanted anything else (to which I replied, "no, nothing, I would NOT like anything else") and took my plate back to the kitchen. She came back, still apologizing and said that my meal would be taken off my bill and I would not be charged. When she walked away, I told my husband that they should be crediting us our drinks and be taking at least 50% off our meal if not free.

When she came back to the table I told her what an awful dining experience I had endured and that after a more than 10 year love affair with this establishment, I was not returning there again. I also explained to her that if the manager or owner did not have the good grace to come and apologize in person (after a patron found an insect in their meal, of all things) they should at least be crediting us some or all of our meal, and not just the bug infested meal-I found a bug, did they think I was going to pay anything for it?

To make a long story short, our bill was credited 50% and I divorced my favourite Mexican restaurant.

Well, good riddance to bad bugs is what I say.

P.S. If you encounter a similiar problem, don't be afraid tell the establishment what you think and demand what you want. I think my ex-restaurant will be paid a visit from Public Health.

Happy Shopping!!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Free McDonald's Coffee

From March 1 - 14, McDonald's is offering their small, premium roast coffee for free, all day.

Coffee wars are on...McDonald's vs. Tim Hortons (Roll Up the Rim). Let the games begin.

Happy Shopping!!!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Dirty Washrooms at Fast Food Chains

Why do multi-national food chains, with billions of dollars in profits all have the worst washrooms in the country? I recently had lunch on Clifton Hill at Niagara Falls. Me and my family ate at the "King's" know the guy, the royal with the crown and whopper???!!! The restaurant was dirty and dingy. As you approach the counter, you notice the signs right away, 'We Do Not Participate in Coupon Programs' and 'We Do Not Offer Refills.' I was hesitant, but I ordered anyway...fries for my daughter, and 3 combos...for me, my husband and son. The burgers were small, the fries were barely non-existent and my coke was less than refreshing. I was ok with all that until my daughter said she had to use the washroom. I dreaded going to the washroom (if you have a small child who is being potty trained, you know what I am talking about.) As we got to the washrooms, there was a girl standing in line. Looking at my daughter, and knowing she couldn't wait very long, I asked the girl ahead of me if there was anyone in the mens' washroom. She said she did not think so. I pushed my way in there. (A mother has to do, what a mother has to do.) I could've vomitted. The place smelled of urine, feces and others. It looked disgusting and I was afraid to touch anything, even worse, I kept on telling my daughter every 5 seconds to not touch anything.

All the suggestions and ballot boxes, even the survey at the back of my receipt, which offers a coupon for answering five closed-ended questions, doesn't make a difference. There are never enough stalls, mirrors are dirty and let's not discuss the sink and taps. These corporations should be ashamed of themselves. Do they think so little of their clientele, that we are not deserving of a decent place to piss?

Unfortunately, this revolting experience is not something that is relegated only to fast food chains. What would Sam Walton think if he needed to use the facilities and found the washroom at his establishments in the disgusting state in which his customers often do?

Millions upon millions of dollars in profits, corporate jets, bonuses, expensive vacations, sponsorships and all they can afford for the people who got them there is a pit latrine. Might as well build us an outhouse!

Happy Shopping!!
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