Consumer Information

Postal Strike To Begin on June 2nd

Canada Post has issued a statement in regards to having recieved a 72 hour notice from the Canadian Union of Postal Workers.

A postal strike is scheduled for 11:59 EDT on June 2, 2011. But some retailers do offer alternatives.

The following Canadian retailers offer an option to ship to their local stores :

Bestbuy.ca
Futureshop.ca
www.sears.ca
thesource.ca

The following Canadian retailers offer courier shipping :

chapters.indigo.ca (Greater Toronto Area)
Sony Style Canada (Major Cities/By Appointment)
Tigerdirect.ca – FREE SHIPPING* on selected PC Deals at TigerDirect!

There is a possibility that Amazon.ca might use courier services like UPS or possibly DHL for some of their domestic shipments durring the strike but there is no news in regards to this possibility on their web site yet.

It should be noted that Amazon.com do offer courier service regularily to Canadians.

They use DHS Global Mail for Standard and Expedited Shipping, and UPS or DHL for Priority Shipping. BUT shipments valued above $20 Canadian may incur importation fees, which in this case would be administed by the courier, in addition to the standard duties and taxes.

International shipments valued at less than $20 are not subject to duties, taxes or importation fees because of the Low Value Shipment (LVS) process at the Canadian Border Services Agency, with some restrictions.

Additional information in regards to possible alternatives and the strike will be added to this blog as we near the strike date.

Free X-Box For Canadian Students

Canadian students that purchase a HP computer from Future Shop or Best Buy will be eligible for a free X-Box.

The HP computer must cost more than $599 and must be purchased by June 30th, 2011. For additional details consult the official Microsoft press release or the Microsoft special offer site.

Retail Council Wants Levy Scrapped

According to The Wire, the Retail Council Of Canada has formally asked the Conservative government to scrap the blank audio media levy.

The group had previously stated in a March 12th, 2010 press release that they oppose any extention of the levy, stating that it would disadvantage Canadian retailers. And in this press release they stated they believed this “anti-competitive tax should be repealed altogether” :

Retailers contend the levy system is obsolete in an age of rapid technological change and does nothing to support and protect Canadian artists.”

I agree. And strangely enough the proponants of the levy also agree because they’re constantly trying to levy the next technology by stating the previous technology is no longer being used to copy music.

In less than five years the current levy was made obsolete, resulting in the following question on the savethelevy.ca web site : “It’s 2011 … who uses CD-Rs to copy music anymore?”

Well, cell phones and tablets are now being used to play back music files and cloud services will stream music to these devices shortly in Canada, making mp3 player obsolete soon. But of course like the Retail Council of Canada I believe the CPCC’s arguements are fundementally flawed :

Retail Council of Canada calls for changes to the Copyright Act to provide an explicit exception recognizing that private copying for archival or backup purposes and for format shifting purposes by individuals of legitimately acquired copies of works or sound recordings and movies is legal. This should include private copying for such purposes as platform shifting, backup purposes, or the avoidance of obsolescence.”

Remuneration is not required from consumers that have purchased music from online music retailers whose formats imply use on portable music devices in which electronic memory cards can be placed or embedded. And individuals that make personal copies for private use from recordings they’ve purchased fail to qualify as distributors because the recordings and resulting copies remain in their possession, regardless of the format shifting involved.

Private copying in no way infringes copyright, as defined by Part III, Section 27 of the Copyright Act. And a levy is not required because royalties have already been collected from the sale of legally purchased compact discs or music files, from which the private copies are made.

The alledged prominence of piracy on the internet in no way make devices like mp3 players conform to the term “blank audio media”, as defined by the Copyright Act. And the Copyright Board have already ruled that memory cards also did not qualify in a December 12th, 2003 decision.

BC Voters Asked To Keep Reduced HST

British Columbia residents are being asked to vote for the Harmonised Sales Tax during a referendum.

The BC provincial government is hoping that a promise to reduce to tax to 10% by 2014 will result in a vote for the unpopular 12% tax on goods and services in that province

The first 1% reduction would be scheduled for Canada Day, 2012, conditional of course on the re-election of the provincial Liberal Party into office. And transition cheques would also be issued to families and low to modest income seniors.

The ballots for this referendum will be mailed out on June 13th, to be counted on July 22nd. Click here for additional information.

Sony Offers Additional Security

American Playstation Network and Sony Online Entertainment users are now being offered additional security from Debix.

This service, which will protect users from identity theft, is offered free for twelve months. But no news in regards to a Canadian service has been issued yet.

Sony Ericsson Hacked

Sony Ericsson‘s Canadian site has been hacked and information from 2000 of this company’s customers have been posted online.

Though the information doesn’t include credit card information, names, email addresses and passwords have been exposed.