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

Last week for first year of Oak Bay deer contraception campaign

Crew working to administer second booster to all 60 does

Downtown Victoria tea shop switches to plastic tea bags

Murchie’s Tea and Coffee says the transition is temporary

Dog memorial at Esquimalt Lagoon encourages living in the moment

Owner of Jazz the black lab sets up tennis ball memorial one year after dog’s death

Western Speedway racing legend ‘The Flying Plumber’ turns 98

Dave Cooper recalls car crashes, his first win, and more

Second puppy killed by poisonous mushrooms in Victoria

Springer spaniel puppy died after consuming mushrooms in Fairfield neighbourhood

WATCH: Greater Victoria’s top stories of the day

A round-up of the day’s top stories

POLL: Do you think the day of the federal election should be a statutory holiday?

Increasing voter turnout has long been a goal of officials across the… Continue reading

‘Sky didn’t fall:’ Police, lawyers still adjusting after pot legalization

Statistics Canada says 541 people were charged under the federal Cannabis Act between Oct. 17, 2018 and the end of the year

Fewer people prescribed opioids in B.C., but other provinces lack data: doctors

Patients who began taking opioids were prescribed smaller doses for shorter duration

Electric cello, stolen from vehicle in Williams Lake, returned to U.S. owner

Rita Rice of Texas said she and her husband had given up hope of ever seeing it again

Vancouver Island’s West Coast going wild about cycling

Ongoing project will tie Tofino and Ucluelet together with a paved cycling trail

Drop, cover and hold on: Thousands of British Columbians to take part in earthquake drill

This year’s drill comes as scientists announce discovery of ‘stormquakes,’ an earthquake and hurricane

Woman, 24, faces life-altering injuries after being dragged 4 blocks by vehicle in Vancouver

A gofundme account says the woman will have to undergo multiple complex surgeries

Most Read