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Monday, December 19, 2011

Ontario Government Offers Smart Consumers Holiday Tips

The holiday season is a time to give, but it is also a time when some people may try to take advantage of the giving spirit. The Ontario Government offers some helpful tips, and resources for consumers to protect themselves.

Smart Gift Card Shopping

Gift cards have become a popular choice for many shoppers. Although Ontario was the first province to ban expiry dates on gift cards and certificates holding a specific dollar amount, fees and expiry dates can still apply to some types of cards and certificates. Read and understand the terms and conditions before purchasing.

Smart Online Shopping

Another giving trend is online shopping, Ontarians,are advised that gifts like electronics or sports equipment need to meet Canadian safety standards. Watch for the CSA approval when shopping online internationally.

Smart Donating

Making donations to charitable organizations is a third popular giving choice.Earlier this year,Rev Mary Margaret Boone of Janetville outlined some of the pitfalls in her article Margarett Best,Minister of Consumer Services, recently explained the importance of giving wisely in a news release.

'We encourage Ontario families to enjoy the holidays and feel good about giving,' stated Margarett Best Minister of Consumer Services, adding 'but we urge Ontarians to be smart consumers.'

Two resources consumers can use when making charitable gifting decisions are The Canada Revenue Agency, and CanadaHelps websites,where consumers can find a list of registered charities.

To help families protect themselves, the Ontario Government also offers the following Tips:

Smart Consumer Gifting Tips

  • Protect Gift cards they are as good as cash -- keep them in a safe place; Keep your gift card receipt as a guarantee of the value of the card -- the recipient may need it if the card is lost or stolen;
  • Give only to familiar charities, or check diligently before making a donation; Ask questions about the charity and how your money will be spent;
  • When shopping online, purchase from a reputable business; Protect credit card numbers and personal information -- use secure websites to purchase gifts online.

Following these tips may make for a healthier and happier Christmas.

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