Another contest to win my book

March 22 2013 by Ellen Roseman

You can get my new book, Fight Back, for free if you leave a comment about what annoys you as a consumer and your comment is the 10,000th at my blog. All irritants, large or small, will qualify.

JR was upset with Air Canada when a seat didn’t recline into a bed, as promised, on a flight to Australia. He paid extra for the seat feature, but couldn’t get the money back when he complained.

Air Canada refused to sweeten its offer of a future discount or Aeroplan points, even after I asked media contact Peter Fitzpatrick to help. So I’m posting the correspondence here for all to see.

Group buying coupons are also an issue. Dealfind used to be flexible about giving refunds when a merchant refused to supply a service.

But Dealfind has a new owner, Team Buy, which restricts refunds to a very short period. And after one year, it won’t even issue a credit.

TeamBuy will generally only refund the purchase price of a TeamBuy gift card if received within seven calendar days from the date of purchase. Exceptional circumstances will be handled on a case-by-case basis.

If refunds are granted after 7 days, they will be in the form of a credit to be used exclusively at

I’ll post a few Dealfind/Team Buy complaints as well. That should get me close to my 10,000 target by the end of this weekend.

Please write reviews of my book at or You can find four there already.

CONTEST WINNERS BELOW: Two people have won a free copy of my book (#9,999 and #10,000). The contest is now closed.


  1. Karen Lopez

    Mar 22 2013

    Ugh. What I hate is the number of retailers who have blatantly misleading ads.

    I tried to take advantage of a deal on a cell phone last night at Costco. The ad says that the deal is valid for existing customers. They refused.

    The ad makes technical claims about the phone that aren’t true. Sales clerk says they do that to get you to come into the store. It’s a marketing thing.

    Right. It’s also illegal. But they just assume no one will complain.

  2. bylo selhi

    Mar 23 2013

    My pet peeve is about consumer product manufacturers who shrink package sizes without also shrinking the retail price. In effect, these gambits are just stealth price increases.

    Even worse, some companies try to justify their behaviour with disingenuous claims that they’re doing it for the customer’s convenience or because their customers prefer to get less product for the same price.

    The worst example of this was a package containing 33% less product, price unchanged, that had a large sticker proclaiming “new size” as if that was a benefit to the consumer.

    How is this not fraud? And what does this say about the state of ethics in corporate management when they allow their marketing people to do this sort of stuff?

  3. Susan

    Mar 23 2013

    My biggest complaint as a customer has got to be lack of service retail outlets. I have started patronizing smaller local stores where I can get to know the salesclerks and get great service. I’m happy to pay a wee bit more (sometimes) for good service.

    Also, I just had the terms of my credit card changed again. I find this so frustrating that after taking a lot of time researching to find the card that best fits my spending, the rewards with the card have shrunk again.

    Aren’t the banks making enough money that they could grandfather some of us loyal customers?

  4. Lee

    Mar 24 2013

    As a customer, I expect stores to price their products properly, but it seems that more and more, the onus is on the customer to check prices. Retailers don’t seem able, or willing, to ensure that the price sticker on a shelf matches the product on the shelf.

    Just recently, I picked up a package of dish sponges that were on sale – according to the price sticker – for $.99. Of course, they rang up at a different price.

    Though the sticker said “X Brand Sponges – $.99” and the shelf was full of the exact same type of X brand sponges, had I checked the barcode, I would have realized that it was really a different type of X brand sponges that were on sale. The employee who did the price check for me told me to “check the barcode next time.”

    This shouldn’t be the customer’s responsibility, but it is now the rule rather than the exception.

  5. Kathryn

    Mar 25 2013

    There are so many things that annoy me as a consumer, but I think the top of the list is thinking or acting as if the consumer is dumb. Those sweeping statements or outright lies. As consumers, we are responsible for doing our research; we have the right to be treated with respect.

    Then there are tele-marketers and those in the service sector who believe that MY time is not as valuable as theirs….

  6. Donella Celino

    Mar 27 2013

    I am in the process of consolidating my RRSPs. I asked Sun Life to transfer my RRSP to CIBC.

    The funds were withdrawn from my Sun Life Account on March 15, 2013. When they didn’t show up in my CIBC Account a couple of days later, I decided to follow up.

    I was advised that as it was a cash transfer, a cheque would be mailed to CIBC. If the transfer was in kind, it would be processed electronically.

    Can you believe that in this technological age, transfers between two major financial institutions are processed by cheque?

    It is now March 27 and no signs of my money. I have been told it could take up to 25 days for this to be completed.

    Meanwhile, Sun Life will hold my money outside my account and will benefit from any interest, until the cheque is deposited and cleared.


  7. mrdisco

    Mar 28 2013

    I’m annoyed by a great many things as a consumer, but at its core, it’s when companies (large and small) don’t treat you as a valued customer but as an annoyance.

  8. Andrea

    Mar 28 2013

    Everything you need to steal my identity (legal name, date of birth, SIN number, address, phone number) was on a hard drive that was “misplaced” by the HRSDC.

    I’m annoyed that while I’ve paid my student loan on time, and with a reasonably hefty interest fee (prime plus 5% on a portion), HRSDC has done NOTHING to protect my identity from fraud from their mistake.

  9. Deruo

    Mar 31 2013

    There’s a long list of things that irritate me as a consumer… lack of price tags on most items anymore, you have to double and triple check your receipts, especially at grocery stores (Loblaws seems to be the worst for incorrect scanning), cashiers that won’t deal with mistakes and send you to “customer service” for fixes, employees that can barely speak/understand English and those that can really don’t seem to want to be there.

    But I think what bothers me the most are companies that screw their customers because they figure they don’t have any other options, or are only thinking about short term profit rather than long term patronage.

    This takes many forms, but it’s usually in the form of misrepresentation or misleading advertising – draw the customer in, get their cash and then send ’em away empty handed.

    “You can get my new book, Fight Back, for free if you leave a comment about what annoys you as a consumer. All irritants, large or small, will qualify.”

    So everyone that comments here will be getting a free copy of your book?

  10. valleycat1

    Mar 31 2013

    I’m irritated by being forced to accept temporarily free premium channels when signing up for a satellite TV package – channels we have no interest in watching – yet it will be up to me to keep track of the expiration date of the free offer AND contact the provider ahead of time to cancel.

    There are no directions available anywhere in their literature about how to cancel. It looks like I’m going to have to call them to cancel, which most likely means I’ll have to listen to their other options to ‘upgrade’ my package.

    If they’re requiring you to take the free teaser offer, then it should convert only on an opt-in basis, not on an “opt-out or we’ll start billing you x months down the road” basis.

    And I agree with Deruo that it sounds like all of us commenting here will be getting your book.

  11. Ellen Roseman

    Mar 31 2013

    Thanks for noting that I wasn’t clear on the rules. I assumed everyone had read my earlier blog post about the 10,000th comment being the winner.

    I’ve updated the post to reflect what you said.

    Happy to sell you an autographed copy for $20 (including shipping) if you send me the payment at the Toronto Star, Editorial Dept., 1 Yonge St., Toronto, Ont. M5E 1E6.

  12. Jason R

    Apr 5 2013

    Ellen Roseman, I got a few questions for you.

    1. How bored are you?
    2. How’s your career?

    Clearly the majority of your stories are about bashing businesses and complaining about the littlest of things.

    The Government steals money from us citizens and tells us about it in the media that your employer prints. Maybe you should do something about that instead of your other uninspiring stories.

    Ps. $20 for your autograph? You’ve got to be kidding me.

  13. Jason R

    Apr 5 2013


    Clearly, the part about bashing businesses and the government stealing money isn’t something you are capable of addressing.