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Insider Tips

How can we be of service? Let us count the ways. We actually mean service – unlike those who have promised it before and didn’t show up when it counted most. Consider these insider tips your key to consumer affairs.

If you’re not paying for a product, then you might be the product. Wise words to consider next time you're thinking of joining a loyalty program. We love a freebie, but loyalty programs offering everything from free coffees to discounted flights aren't actually free. Businesses increase their profits with loyalty programs in two ways. A loyalty program encourages you to shop with those participating outlets more than you would otherwise. And the other way is to sell your data, either to market research companies or to other companies that then send you unsolicited emails, instant messages, SMS or MMS also called SPAM. So are these programs worth the effort or are we being suckered into giving up our personal information for little return?

Is it a case of a horror movies come to life - are our everyday items out to get us? Last year, there were 670 product safety recalls  – up 12.4 per cent from the previous year. We better get accustomed to more recalls. Brands are worried about what happens to their reputation if they don’t do a recall, so you better start paying attention. In an episode from Tales from the Darkside, a babysitter entertains a bunch of kids by inventing a creature that eats sounds. Things turn nasty when the vacuum starts eating everything and everyone in the house. In real life, we’ve had:

  • chocolate laced with plastic,
  • washing machines catching fire,
  • furniture falling on kids, and
  • cars rolling away when left in 'park'.
This year, we’ve had more cars recalled than ever before. There are plenty of disgruntled car owners, some even taking to youtube or kickstarter to raise awareness to what they perceive as a ‘lemon’ car.

You've decided you want a new or near new car. It's easy to get carried away with all the excitement; you might be tempted to buy on impulse. And the car dealerships know that. But don't get carried away. For most, your car is the second biggest investment you’ll make in your life (after your house). Doing some homework, getting savvy to dealer tricks and learning to negotiate can save you thousands. Before we give you the vital tips to getting the best deal, let's talk about the biggest waste of money to avoid - a 'junk' insurance policy. This is the add-on the dealership sells you for hundreds or thousands of dollars but offers no real benefit, in your moment of weakness and excitement.