Saskatchewan Consumer Tips For Newcomers To Canada
The Financial and Consumer Affairs Authority (FCAA) wants to inform newcomers to Canada about Saskatchewan’s marketplace and their rights as consumers.
“Moving to a new country can be overwhelming,” Consumer Protection Division Deputy Director Denny Huyghebaert said. “We want to provide newcomers with information so they can make informed financial decisions.”
Tips for newcomers:
Be cautious of door-to-door sales
In Saskatchewan most people who come to your door trying to sell something need to have a direct sellers license. You should ask to see their license or visit www.fcaa.gov.sk.ca/fcaa411 to check their license status.
If the person says they do not need a license, you can call us at 1-877-880-5550 to see if they should be licensed or visit www.fcaa.gov.sk.ca. Sometimes a sales pitch sounds too good to be true. Take time to think things through and do not be pressured to act quickly.
If you decide to buy something (valued at more than $100) from a direct seller, make sure to get a contract in writing. You can cancel the contract without reason within the first 10 days of signing it.
Gift card rules
Gift cards, also called “pre-paid purchase cards” can be used to buy items or services from a specific store or related business. A gift card does not expire unless you receive it after making a donation to a charity or nothing of value was provided to obtain the card. Use your gift cards quickly. If a retailer goes out of business, it is unlikely you can use the card or get back the money on the card.
Returning or exchanging items
Saskatchewan retailers are NOT required by law to have a return or exchange policy, but many offer the service. Retailers can set the terms and limitations of a return policy, but if a policy is brought to the consumer’s attention at or before the time of purchase, retailers have to honour it.
What to know when buying a vehicle
If purchasing a vehicle, make sure to check to see if it’s registered in Saskatchewan by using the SGI VIN search. Make sure there is no existing debt on the vehicle. You can check to see if there is debt through the Saskatchewan Personal Property Registry. You should also check Carfax Canada to see the vehicle’s history. If you are buying from a dealership, they need to be licensed with FCAA. Check to see if they are licensed with FCAA. If you are buying from a private seller, they do not need to be licensed.
Understand your credit report
Equifax and TransUnion are the two main registered credit reporting agencies in Saskatchewan that collect financial information and create credit reports for consumers. A credit report is generally a report that summarizes an individual’s credit history. Information collected for the report may include loan repayment history, the number of credit cards held, outstanding debt, court judgments and places of employment. These reports are often used by lenders, insurers, employers, businesses, landlords, and voluntary non-profit organizations to assess if an applicant is suitable for a loan or other services. They may also be used to set premiums or fees.
Insurance companies also access your credit report information and collect information about your places of residence, property (in some cases, depending on the type of insurance you are buying), health history (in some cases) and other personal information such as marital status, number of dependents, age, education, and places of employment. The companies then use this information to assess rates and premiums.
For more information about consumer rights and financial literacy, visit https://fcaa.gov.sk.ca/financial-literacy/adults/financial-literacy-for-newcomers.