Rage against the Machine tickets
Andrew Paxton bought tickets for Florence and the Machine, with Monsters and Men, for a June 10 concert at the Molson Amphitheatre. It was a treat for his daughter, who loved both bands.
“We agree with Andrew that tickets sold to events in Canadian venues should be in Canadian dollars,” she said, while noting that “technically there is nothing illegal that these sites are doing, given recent changes in the resale law in Ontario.”
A simmering issue
Canadian Appliance Source (the retailer) told her to contact Electrolux (the manufacturer), which sent a technician to her 15-year-old building. It turned out that the product was working properly, but her wiring was not adequate. Wang’s condo has a voltage of 205. The minimum voltage needed for the Frigidaire induction cooktop is 208.
That small variance makes a difference, because the cooktop she chose heats pots and pans by magnetic induction (instead of thermal induction from a flame or electrical element). Very rapid increases in temperature can be expected.
“While the electricity in Ms. Wang’s condo is within code at 205 volts, her condo’s wiring does not reach the required 208 volts for the cooktop that she purchased,” said Eloise Hale, a spokeswoman for the Swedish-based manufacturer.
“Unfortunately, this means the cooktop should not have been installed. And though we did not install it, we are offering Ms. Wang a discount to purchase a different model or exchange it for one that meets the condo’s current wiring.”
Wang plans to exchange it for an electric cooktop, but she’ll lose the extra amount she paid for magnetic induction. She wants to see prominent warnings that induction requires a higher voltage than electric cooktops.
Trouble at the border
Margaret Kipp bought a dress from Talbots, a women’s wear store in Toronto, and signed up for a free loyalty card. She decided to order five items online for $ 394.28, plus a $ 25 shipping and handling fee.
“I believed I was ordering from Talbots in Canada,” she said. “But then, I realized the products were being shipped from the United States. An email from FedEx tracking my order showed my delivery was ‘pending’ because of a clearance delay.”
When the first item was delivered, she had to pay $ 34.47 at the door — including $ 13.02 for customs duties, $ 10.15 in HST, a $ 10 fee to FedEx for clearing a shipment through customs and $ 1.30 HST on top of it.
Kipp plans to refuse delivery of the remaining items when they are delivered. “It appears there is no Canadian website. My order was processed through an American site and I am paying in U.S. dollars, plus duties, fees and taxes,” she said.
I tried placing my own online order to see what happened. The total was not expressed in Canadian or U.S. dollars on the website or in emails. Customs duty and fees were not shown, either.
When I called Talbots in Knoxville, Tenn., a customer representative said Canadians often complained about extra customs duty and fees. Some cited U.S. retailer LL Bean’s policy of including them in the price.
When I asked to cancel my order, placed 30 minutes earlier, she did so without objection.
Always ask about electrical specifications when ordering a big-ticket appliance. And ask about the currency used for payment when dealing with a U.S.-owned retailer or online ticket seller.