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 www.oee.nrcan.gc.ca/energystar.
Provincial and Territorial Consumer Affairs Offices
Service Alberta, Consumer Contact Centre
Edmonton, Alberta T5J 4L4
Consumer Protection BC
Victoria, British Columbia V8W 9J2
Consumer Protection Office, Manitoba Justice
Winnipeg, Manitoba R3C 0B6
Financial and Consumer Services Commission
Fredericton, New Brunswick E3B 1E1
Newfoundland and Labrador
St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador A1B 4J6
Consumer Affairs, Department of Municipal and Community Affairs
Yellowknife, Northwest Territories X1A 2L9
Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations, Public Enquiries
1505 Barrington Street
Halifax, Nova Scotia B3J 3K5
Consumer Affairs, Department of Community and Government Services
Baker Lake, Nunavut X0C 0A0
Consumer Protection Ontario, Ministry of Government and Consumer Services
Toronto, Ontario M3M 1J8
Prince Edward Island
Consumer Services, Department of Justice and Public Safety
PO Box 2000
Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island C1A 7N8
Office de la protection du consommateur
Québec, Quebec G1K 8W4