Consumer Information

Prime Day Specials

Prime Day has begun at Amazon.ca and this means Prime members will enjoy discounts through-out the day until Midnight, Pacific Time.

If you are not a member, you can try a Free 30 Day Trial and enjoy today’s discounts.

Membership includes free two-day shipping on most orders shipped to Canada, advance access to Lightning Deals and free unlimited photo storage on Amazon Cloud.

Membership is also advantageous if you use Subscribe & Save, a program that enables you to receive specific products monthly, like household cleaning supplies, diapers and pet supplies.

You should note that American retailer Second Spin is also offering a 15% discount on their regularly and sale priced vinyl, CDs, DVDs, Blu-rays and accessories today. Just use coupon code JY15OFF until the 14th of July.

By the way, the Prime Photos contest will also end at midnight Pacific Time so don’t forget to enter today. They’re giving away $5000 in Amazon gift cards and all eligible Prime members need to do is upload a photo to their Prime Photos account through Amazon Drive to enter. Click here for details and information on how to enter without a Prime Membership.

Postal Strike/Lockout Truce ?

Canada Post has withdrawn the 72 day notice and has agreed to a 30 day extension. But whether this will end with binding arbitration or not is still being debated, the Canadian Union of Postal Workers claiming they oppose arbitration in their latest statement.

This means that mail will be delivered today and until further notice. But I will post updates to this blog if need be.

Postal Update And More

It appears that we will be getting our mail delivered on Friday. The Canadian Union of Postal Workers has refused arbitration and Canada Post had delayed the lockout until noon, Monday the 11th of July, 2016.

The other carriers have been reporting a boom in business so it is obvious that most of the e-commerce retailers have already taken preemptive action to keep their parcel deliveries flowing. And as I’ve mentioned in previous entries, most people will likely see no significant delays in their parcel deliveries.

I will update this blog with new information if the situation changes, of course. So don’t forget to pop on by over the next few days.

By the way, a new Parliamentary petition has been created to ask the federal government to raise their de minimis threshold on postal imports from $20 to $200 (in Canadian funds).

At the moment postal shipments valued at less than $20 in Canadian funds are exempt from duties and taxes. And this petition calls for shipments to be valued at less than $200 in Canadian funds to be free of duties and taxes, in response to a study commissioned by eBay that I had mentioned in a previous post.

I have signed the petition and hope that you will sign it too before the October 14th, 2016, when the petition closes.

Canada Post Issues Lockout Notice For July 8th

Canada Post has issued a 72 hour lockout notice to the Canadian Union of Postal Workers and have notified Canadian mail order retailers to use their courier services.

If this lockout occurs people who have their shipments sent to their local store for pickup will likely notice no change because those parcels are usually delivered to these stores with regular shipments of merchandise at retailers (like Sears.ca and Staples).

Neither will customers of retailers that have multiple carriers like Amazon.ca, chapters.indigo.ca and Old Navy Canada.

According to Canada Post it appears that their major e-commerce retailers have decided to go with other carriers resulting in a 75% drop in parcels processed at their plants ; “The number of parcels arriving at our largest plants via transport trucks has declined to the point where there often are not enough parcels to last an entire processing shift”.

Perhaps the postal banking and seven day parcel delivery services proposed by the Union might help but a lockout doesn’t seem prudent because it simply causes smaller retailers to be exposed to the services offered by the other carriers.

In regards to imports by mail, unfortunately some importers will have their parcels delayed until the lock-out is over. And others will be subjected to significant customs processing fees, like customers of UPS.

Some American retailers like Amazon.com and Sheet Music Plus do offer customs processing services through alternative couriers so try purchasing from those retailers first. Foreign retailers that offer this service usually add taxes and customs fees during their checkout procedure and mention that this service is available in their shipping and handling policies.

By the way, if you’re thinking of traveling soon you might want to obtain your new or renewed passport directly from a Service Canada or Passport Office. This will cost more because of a pick up fee but it would bypass some of the delays associated to the lockout.

Canadian Postal Strike Update

Negotiations are continuing in-between Canada Post and the Canadian Union of Postal Workers, the later saying they will not give notice for a strike for now.

The Union is currently seeing higher yearly wage increases, the current offer being approximately 0.75% according to the Union, and other concessions including an agreement by Canada Post to fulfill their obligation to keep a minimum of 493 retail outlets open and the expansion of parcel deliveries on weekends.

I think the latter is something they should consider. It would be advantageous for online retailers like amazon.ca and chapters.indigo.ca to have their parcels delivered on weekends and to have a stable amount of retail outlets for their customers to use for returns and programs like FlexDelivery. And i’d definitely like to have these options, as a customer.

The Union is also proposing the introduction of Postal Banking at the Canada Post retail outlets, which would definitely be advantageous for some retailers.

I also think this is a good idea because some smaller communities that are serviced by Canada Post outlets are not serviced by a bank or financial institution. But i’m guessing this program might be some ways off because of the agreements some retailers may have with banks in regards to ATMs and credit card services. For example, one can find Bank of Montreal ATMs in some Rexall stores and one can find Royal Bank of Canada ATMs in Shopper’s Drug Mart stores.

I will of course post updates over the next few days in regards to these subject, so stay tuned.

Windows Security Update

It appears that Google has found some serious issues in Symantec security software products so users of this Norton software may want to consider purchasing a Fixme Stick to clean their computers of unwanted malicious software.

I’ve tried the latter and it’s great. Easy to use to clean out the junk that’s missed by most anti-virus software.

Symantec will likely be working on correcting this issue soon so Norton users should keep those updates recent.

By the way, if you were planning on upgrading your PC’s operating system to Windows 10 you have until July 29th, 2016 to do it for free. An upgrade cost you $120 afterwards, more if you upgrade to Pro.

Most users of the previous operators systems will be prompted to upgrade through-out the month, some with full screen warnings.