How to shop smarter this holiday season

Buyer beware: Saanich-based B.C. consumer protection agency offers advice on how to be shopping savvy

Buyer beware: Consumer protection agency on how to be shopping savvy

Natalie North

News staff

Attention holiday shoppers. Slow down and think twice before frustration gets the better of you and you finish your Christmas shopping online – or you take the easy way out and buy gift cards.

It’s wisdom straight from Consumer Protection B.C., an independently funded, not-for-profit agency aimed at helping consumers and businesses make educated decisions.

Based in Saanich’s Uptown centre, the agency is about as connected as it comes to the commercialism and stress that often hits shoppers during the season.

“People like to avoid the busyness of the store, so shopping online seems like a good place to go,” said Tatiana Chabeaux-Smith, spokesperson for Consumer Protection B.C. “The consequence is that people often don’t know what they’re getting and can be frustrated when things go wrong.”

Avoid the disappointment by purchasing from a retailer you know, ensure the website has full contact information available and remember to think through the details of added shipping, taxes, delivery fees and exchange rates before you finalize the deal, she said.

“Be really aware as  you’re going through the process because sometimes that final price isn’t as great as you thought it would be.”

When shopping in person, make a habit of checking receipts before you leave the store – after all, there’s no law in B.C. that requires businesses to offer exchanges or returns on merchandise.

It’s details like these that are the expertise of the agency, which split from the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General in 2004. Call centre staff also based at Uptown are available to answer a range of questions, such as the details of consumer contracts – including those for cellphones – another area where Chabeaux-Smith warns buyers to proceed with caution.

“Always read the fine print,” she said.

Contact Consumer Protection B.C. at 1-888-564-9963 or www.consumerprotectionbc.ca.

Regretting resolutions

Ever signed a gym contract and lost motivation a week later? Don’t worry about it.

In B.C., consumers legally have 10 days to cancel a contract membership if they change their mind.

“You don’t have to give a reason,” Chabeaux-Smith said. “It’s no matter what.”

nnorth@saanichnews.com

Just Posted

Hundreds rally in support of horse carriages outside Victoria City Hall

Crowd angry with Coun. Ben Isitt’s motion to ban local horse carriage industry

Rifflandia Festival cancelled for 2019

Early Bird tickets can be refunded at point of purchase, or held and redeemed for 2020

New virgin queen headlines ‘Bee Day’ at Saanich sanctuary

Taste bee spit and check out the hive at Swan Lake Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary this Sunday

Spring banners line Oak Bay Village with local art

Banners show boats off Cattle Point, Garry oak at Anderson Hill

Five-month bridge closure poses early impacts on drivers during rush hour

Construction began Tuesday on the crossing commonly known as the Bay Street bridge

VIDEO: Canadian, U.S. Coast guards run oil spill response drills

20 vessels were on the water to practice international response methods

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of May 21

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Were you satisfied with the Game of Thrones series finale?

Millions gathered in front of their televisions Sunday night to watch the… Continue reading

Raptors beat Bucks 105-99 to move within 1 game of NBA Finals

Leonard scores 35 as Toronto takes 3-2 series lead over Milwaukee

B.C. Supreme Court dismisses review around ferry workers’ right to strike

B.C. Ferry and Marine Workers’ Union collective agreement expires November 2020

Young Victoria distillery earns prestigious Scotch awards

Scottish influences range from techniques to ‘kilted tours’ at award-winning business

Municipalities protest after B.C. declares marijuana crops ‘farm use’

UBCM president seeks answers in letter to John Horgan government

CMHC defends mortgage stress test changes amid calls for loosening rules

Uninsured borrowers must now show they could service their mortgage if rates rose two per cent

Brewpub offers ‘boat valet’ for paddlers during Surfrider celebration tonight

Free ‘Surf Formal’ evening features a local art auction, door prizes, live music

Most Read