First time home buyers

Government stress test flattens the first time home buyer market, sends real estate market into decline. Everything from new appliance and furniture sales to renovation materials and contractors suffer as a result.

Instead of reducing stress test, the proposal is some convoluted plan to have cmhc take an equity stake in buyers houses and this only if we re-elect the current government!

The largest investment most people make is being seriously effected by policy. Perhaps a little common sense would help but that is in short supply.

HP ink

My old HP printer was pretty reliable so when the carriage belt broke I decided to purchase another HP. Printers are critical in the real estate business and downtime can be frustrating.

The printer I chose is an office jet 7612 which scans and prints up to 11″ X 17″. It has worked well up to yesterday when it suddenly decided that all three colour print cartridges had to be replaced or it would not print, not even with just the black.

Obviously there is ink in the cartridges as it was printing all colours up till that point. Apparently the chip that is on each cartridge decides when the cartridge needs to be replaced regardless of the perfectly good ink that remains inside.

In the old HP the cartridge would run out of ink then you knew to replace it. Now the printers demand you buy new HP cartridges at a predetermined time even if the old ones still have ink! The printer works very well but I am disappointed with HP’s ink system.

T-Fal Limited lifetime warranty

I have had some excellent experiences with companies that honour their warranty, no questions asked. Fiskars tools, Schlage locks, Kobo readers, have all vastly surpassed all my expectations and I am happy to recommend these fine companies and products to anyone.

On the other hand there are the huge corporations that put up barriers to their warranties. A case in point is a non stick frying pan that I purchased, paying more than the competitors due to their claims of superior quality and longevity. Recently foods started sticking and upon close inspection I discovered the coating was coming off in very small bits all over the pan.

I contacted T-Fal the manufacturer sending photos and explaining this issue. They kindly responded requesting that I send the pan to them as their technician would need to examine the pan to determine if it was warranty. Needless to say Canada post probably costs more to send the pan than it’s original purchase price. And after spending the money to send it they might not approve my warranty claim in any case!

I commented to the T-Fal contact that with this policy they probably don’t have many warranty claims. They did not respond to that.

I will be replacing the pan at my own cost but never again with T-Fal.

Electricity

Conserve electricity, the message Hydro One has been promoting for years. Ironically increased rates have been approved because Hydro says we haven’t used enough electricity and they need to make up for the shortfall in revenue!

My home has a smart meter and we are very conscious of time of day billing. We received a letter several months ago telling us they couldn’t read our meter remotely and we would be switched to Two tier billing wherein over so much kWh usage they charge more per kWh. Strangely we are still on time of day but now they estimate our meter reading and electricity usage including what hour we use it!

To top it all off we have just received a bill for the family cottage which has the Hydro shut off in October until June. We used zero electricity but were still charged over $100.00 for three months delivery (of what?) Plus H.S.T. Amazing that we are being taxed for something that we didn’t buy or use!

Hydro gets away with all this insanity and all we can do is pay. Perhaps it’s time to switch to a gas guzzling generator, might be cheaper?13118948_10153374015990927_2412788121593445173_n

Bacon and eggs or pancakes?

IMG_2188 IMG_2189We couldn’t decide whether to have bacon and eggs or pancakes so we decided to have both! Yummylisious!

Batter: 3 tbs. melted butter

2 eggs

1 1/4 cups milk

1 cup white flour

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1/4 cup oatmeal

1 tbs. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

1 tbs. brown sugar

Directions: add eggs to melted butter and mix together then add milk and mix.combine all dry ingredients and whisk together. Add to liquid and mix. Add a little more milk if not liquid enough to pour. Put olive oil on griddle and pour circle leaving middle empty and crack egg into middle. Add chopped bacon around pancake. Flip when ready. Add real maple syrup and enjoy! Makes 4 to 5 servings.

IMG_2190

Social networking aids warranties!

Two recent experiences have opened my eyes to the new normal in product warranties. Fiskers makes a wonderful tool called a deluxe weed remover. I had used mine for a couple years rather than use chemicals to get rid of dandelions, thistles and plantain. Unfortunately one of the stainless steel claws stopped working. I considered buying a new tool when I saw the original package in my garage. It states “25 year warranty”. I was used to jumping through hoops and filling out forms and spending hours on the phone when attempting to make a warranty claim with most companies hoping I’d just give up. This time I went to Fiskars website and sent an email explaining the problem and attaching a photo. I was informed that they would look into the claim and let me know within a week if it was valid. Much to my surprise and delight a courier showed up unannounced a few days after with a brand new tool!
My daughter got a brand new Kobo Touch for Christmas but it unfortunately got damaged somehow. I convinced her to investigate the warranty. We still had the original bill and after she called them and sent a photo of the bill and the damaged reader, they said they would let her know if the warranty would be honoured. Once again much to her surprise and delight a new Kobo showed up by courier unannounced.
I got to thinking, perhaps these companies were going to great lengths to keep us consumers happy for a reason. The old adage, satisfy a hundred customers no one hears about it, piss off one and the whole world hears came to mind.
With social networking a complaint, justified or not, can go around the world before a company can exercise damage control.
As consumers we have a modern voice that companies have noticed. Fiskars and Kobo are two examples of great companies that pay attention to their customers and protect their public image!