Advice my readers want to share, part two

July 6 2010 by Ellen Roseman

People who make expensive mistakes or fall into hidden traps are anxious to share their pain with others. So, I’m updating my earlier post with advice from readers.

Joell had a bad experience shopping for mattresses at Sleep Country Canada. She returned the one she bought, which didn’t live up to its billing, but wants to point out flaws in the sales system.

Lou wants to warn seniors about being asked to sign up for an Optimum rewards card at Shoppers Drug Mart. His mother didn’t realize she’d be getting a new credit card, which she didn’t need, and not just a points card.

Linda has a digital TV package from Rogers, but feels she’s not getting her money’s worth because of a software bug that disables all programming information after midnight. As a late-night watcher, she resents being told to unplug her TV. Shouldn’t Rogers do better?

Finally, two people offer helpful information about RBC’s credit card bills and promotions.

Read and heed their advice below. These readers know what they’re talking about.

15 comments

  1. Geoff

    Jul 7 2010

    @ linda – try going into the ‘program guide menu’ that lists the name/time of what’s showing, and then selecting ‘info’ on any program – usually that triggers the program details / schedule to come back without having to unplug anything.

  2. RB

    Jul 10 2010

    Very useful information from Ronald, thanks!

    I received a similar offer from MBNA. The offer states that there will be a 0.99% promotional rate until my statement closing date in May 2011. All cheque advances that I complete between now and Sept. 30, 2010 will get this great rate.

    I am confused with the May 2011 date. Any idea what it means? Can you please explain in simple terms?

    The fine print also states that there is a standard transaction fee for cheque advances and it is 1% of each transaction, minimum $7.50.

    A lot of information is buried in the fine print and one has to be very careful before jumping on such offers that look too good to be true.

  3. Mo

    Jul 10 2010

    In reference to Bill’s comments regarding credit card payment due dates: I have voiced a similar complaint to Mastercard more than once.

    Before the government stepped in and legislated longer grace periods, it was quite common for me to receive my statement on a Monday (dated the previous Monday, but apparently “batch-mailed” some time later in the week), with the payment due the following Friday.

    With all due respect to Canada Post, unless one were to write a cheque and mail it almost immediately after the statement falls through the mail slot, the payment would surely be late.

    I have been making online payments for quite a few years now, and take pains to give myself (and my online bank) a few days to complete the transaction.

    However, I wondered if someone who works all day and only opens the mail, say, on Monday evening, could manage to get a cheque mailed off in time, particularly when there is no mail pick-up during weekends — which gives one a 5 pm Friday deadline to send a payment.

    The customer service folks at Mastercard defended their actions by saying that I could verify my balance online or by phone at any time, and send in a payment in time to meet the deadline.

    When I said that I would prefer to see my statement before blindly paying what the company says I owe, I was told that I had a month to challenge any charges once the statement had been delivered.

    That is all well and good, but in my opinion, if a credit card company is unable to provide sufficient time for mailed-in payments, then perhaps it should discontinue that option and limit the transactions to online payments.

  4. Caelan

    Jul 10 2010

    It sounds like MBNA will adhere to that 0.99% rate until May 2011. After that, I’m fairly certain you’ll be paying a LOT more. If you make purchases on the card, make sure the card doesn’t carry a balance come May 2011.

    I would not use those stupid cheque offers. They sound good, but IMO, they’re a ripoff.

    If you are a planning on transferring a balance from a higher interest card to the lower interest card, read the fine print very carefully. I transferred balances, once, and I was hit with pricey fees and hidden charges. Never again.

    Don’t use credit cards for cash advances, either. Sometimes these low interest offers don’t include cash advances, and people are hugely surprised when a cash advance is charged double digit interest.

    Be wary, ask questions, and if it looks too good to be true…well, you know the rest.

  5. Roxana

    Jan 11 2011

    To Joell: my husband and I are now looking to buy an organic mattress also, due to health reasons. I was wondering what your opinion is on the Essentia mattresses (http://www.myessentia.com/)? They are said to be completely natural and organic. Which one did you end up getting?
    Thanks!