Building your buying skills is an important step to becoming a well-informed and knowledgeable consumer. The information below provides helpful basic buying tips you can use and apply today.
"Build Your Buying Skills" was created by the Consumer Measures Committee (CMC), a joint federal/provincial/territorial committee. CMC provides a federal-provincial-territorial forum for national cooperation to improve the marketplace for Canadian consumers, through harmonization of laws, regulations and practices and through actions to raise public awareness. The Office of Consumer Affairs at Industry Canada is the Secretariat for the CMC.
You can also contact Your Provincial or Territorial Consumer Affairs Office for further information on any of these and other consumer topics, as they may have information that is more specific to the area where you live.
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 debt. 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.
Trusted consumer information
Published by the Consumer Measures Committee, a working
group of federal, provincial and territorial governments, that
helps educate and inform Canadian consumers.