Buying Goods and Services

Before you Buy

  • Stick to a spending plan to keep your finances in check. Ask yourself if this purchase fits into your budget.
  • Research products before you buy – especially big ticket items. Compare prices, service and warranties.
  • Read the fine print on a contract before you sign. Ask questions – it is your money.
  • Ask for references and check them before you hire a contractor. Your local Better Business Bureau can help.
  • Walk away, hang up, delete or shred an offer that sounds too good to be true.
  • Negotiate the price of an item with the seller. You may have better luck if you are polite and reasonable.
  • Check the return policy. Unless stated in their policy, stores do not have to provide a refund or exchange.
  • Avoid using credit. Make sure a credit purchase is something you really need and that you can afford the payments. Debt can pile up quickly.

After you Buy

  • Keep receipts, warranties and service contracts. You may need these to make a claim.
  • Take responsibility for your debts. If you can’t pay your bills, talk to your creditors or ask a budget counsellor for help.
  • Say “No Thank You” to anyone who says they can repair your credit history. Only YOU can do this, by paying bills on time. Get a copy of your credit report every year and check it for mistakes.
  • Give the seller a chance to correct any problems before you complain to someone else. If they can’t or won’t help, contact your provincial or territorial consumer affairs office.

Environmentally Responsible Consumer Tip:

If you are thinking of buying new appliances, electronics, heating, cooling or lighting equipment, look for the ENERGY STAR symbol. This symbol is a simple way for consumers to identify products that are among the most energy-efficient on the market. For more information, go to the Look for the ENERGY STAR symbol page.

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