Letters to the editor | The press

Personal finance, investments, consumption, retirement… Our columnist Marie-Eve Fournier addresses the big and small issues that concern readers of The press.

Posted at 6:00 am

Money that legally expires

Why is Canadian Tire no longer refunding our returns but instead giving us a card that is valid for a purchase in its stores? This card is good for one year. is this legal
-Jaques M.

Nothing obliges a retailer to take back a product if the consumer simply no longer wants it.

Companies that allow exchanges, returns and refunds do so voluntarily, mainly for marketing reasons, to differentiate themselves from the competition or to have a good reputation. And they aren’t even required to disclose or explain their policy before making a purchase, except in the case of a distance contract, says Consumer Protection Agency spokesman Charles Tanguay.

While merchants are free to create the policy of their choice, they are still legally bound to respect it.

When a retailer accepts returns, they also decide how to do so. Often the refund is made in the same way as the payment (credit card, direct debit, cash).

Other companies instead refund their customers by depositing the amount on a gift card that guarantees they’ll see the person again one day.

These types of cards that are not directly paid for by the customer are not subject to the Consumer Protection Act. Therefore, unlike purchased gift cards, the card may have an expiration date. As a reminder: “The legislature regulates prepaid cards. So the rules only apply if someone has paid for the card,” says Charles Tanguay.

Cards given as a reward, as part of a sweepstakes, promotion, to compensate for a previous purchase or for any other reason are therefore not subject to the Prepaid Card Regulations.

Let’s go back to the specific case of Canadian Tire. The media officer did not answer my questions directly. But staff at two stores told me that returns are still refunded in cash to credit or debit card, depending on the original method of payment, if the person has their bill in hand and the item is resalable (box in good condition). .

In other cases (no invoice, packaging in poor condition, purchase with a gift card) the amount will be transferred to “a refund card valid for one year”.

If you buy something that goes on sale the following week, you can claim the difference. Which you then get on this type of card.

Joint accounts on death


PHOTO MARCO CAMPANOZZI, PRESS ARCHIVE

Notre-Dame-des-Neiges Cemetery in Montreal

In Quebec, the joint bank account is temporarily frozen in the event of the death of a co-owner. This can become problematic if all sources of income (PSV, QPP, pension) are paid into it and expenses are automatically deducted. In other provinces, the surviving holder becomes the sole owner. Why is Quebec different?

Martin L

In fact, the rules for joint accounts in Quebec and the rest of the country are not the same.

“In the other provinces, customary law provides that the surviving joint-holder keeps and continues to manage the balance of the account, because it is suspected that the joint-holders share a common goal,” explains the spokesman for the National Bank, Jean-François Cadieux.

In the event of the death of a co-owner, the surviving dependents can still make withdrawals and automatic withdrawals (electricity, insurance, telecommunications) can be carried out without any problems.

In Quebec, where the Civil Code sets the rules, things are different.

Joint bank accounts are subject to the principle of community ownership. As a result, it is not possible to determine the share of the individual co-partners.

When a person dies, their assets pass to the heirs and an insolvency practitioner must distribute them. The money in the joint account cannot therefore belong directly to the joint account holder. It may belong to someone else.

Thierry L. Martin, Attorney at Martel Cantin

To protect the estate, the accounts of a deceased are therefore temporarily blocked.

But financial institutions enjoy a little leeway. “Inquiries regarding maintenance and funeral expenses will be accepted. So there is an analysis that is carried out on a case-by-case basis depending on the client’s situation. […] It’s always a matter of judgement,” summarizes Timia Di Pietro, senior director, legal affairs at National Bank.

A co-owner who needs cash must go to a branch to apply for it, will in hand. If he is the sole heir of the deceased, this is of course easier and faster.

However, direct debits no longer work. “So we open another account for the co-owner,” says Timia Di Pietro.

However, things will change.

Quebec passed Bill 2 in early June that creates a new law specifically for joint accounts on death.

Financial institutions must assume that the amounts held in a joint account belong equally (50:50) to the two people, “unless the joint holders have declared different percentages to their bank,” Jean-François Cadieux points out.

Thus, a joint holder can withdraw the funds due to him after a death and deposit them into another account, especially for automatic withdrawals. The other part remains frozen until the estate is settled.

Financial institutions have six months to comply with the new Quebec law.

A primary residence outside of Canada?


PHOTO SEAN KILPATRICK, THE CANADIAN PRESS ARCHIVE

A residence outside of Canada is considered a taxpayer’s primary residence.

If you rent a home in Canada and have a residence in the United States, can the United States residence be considered a primary residence for Canadian tax purposes?

Rejean L

When it comes to taxes, the basic principle applies: Canadians residing in Canada are taxed on all of their income, regardless of where in the world they come from. For example, when selling a condo in Florida, the gain (capital gain) is taxed at 50%.

Réjean could avoid this tax: a residence outside of Canada actually qualifies as a taxpayer’s primary residence. Therefore, the gain during the sale will not be taxed as if the property were located in Canadian territory.

However, during the transaction, 15% of the sales price must be withheld and remitted to US tax authorities. “It’s his security,” explains David Truong, advisor to the National Bank’s Private Banking Center of Expertise 1859. For example, if the property sells for $500,000, the $75,000 will be withheld…even if it’s more than the profit made.

Depending on the rather complex American tax regulations, it must then be clarified whether a tax has to be paid in the United States by consulting a tax specialist who is familiar with the local legislation. The US$75,000 withheld may then be reclaimed in whole or in part, as the case may be. Note that if the buyer is purchasing the property for residential use, no withholding is required if the sale price is less than $300,000.

Remember that a married couple or de facto spouse can only have one primary residence.

Also, the number of days per year one lives in a property does not affect its status (primary or second home). The tax officer will not ask you to make any calculations with a schedule or provide evidence.

Rather, to determine which of its characteristics is the most important, we use the average annual profit, specifies David Truong.

For example, if you have owned a house in the country for 20 years that has increased in price by $200,000 ($10,000/year) and a condo in the city for 10 years that has increased in price by $150,000 ($15,000/year). is, it is more tax-efficient to declare the condominium as a main residence. Even if we only live there three months a year.

Attention, however, a main residence must be “normally occupied” by its owner, states David Truong. A condo that is to be rented out on Airbnb, for example, might not qualify.

Spinning Aluminum


PHOTO IVANOH DEMERS, LA PRESSE ARCHIVE

For peace of mind before listing your property for sale, we recommend that you have the wiring checked by a qualified electrician.

My house is built with aluminum wiring. If I need to renew my home insurance and the insurer notices this situation, they refuse to give me a price. Should I sell my house at a discount to write it off because a new buyer can never insure it?

Mary V

Before you sell your house for a pittance, let’s look at how aluminum spinning affects the price.

Certified appraiser Simon Beauchemin of Montreal firm PCG Carmon asserts that he doesn’t automatically depreciate the value of properties with walls covered in aluminum “if everything is functional and the house is insurable”. And above all: “We don’t give away a house to spin! ‘ he emphasizes.

For peace of mind before listing your property for sale, he recommends getting the wiring checked by a qualified electrician. The latter can determine whether corrective measures need to be taken and estimate the possible costs of such an operation. As soon as the offers are in, we can start work, which can be an advantage when selling. Otherwise the factory price can be deducted from the sales price.

When it comes to insurance, there is no industry motto not to insure homes with aluminum wiring. Every company is free to take whatever risks it wants.

But it turns out these properties “pose an increased risk of fire causing significant damage,” says Anne Morin, public affairs manager at the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC)..

This reduces the number of companies willing to insure these properties, confirms Louis-Thomas Labbé, chief executive officer of independent brokerage firm Gallagher GPL. “As far as we know there are three and they only accept if a master electrician has carried out an inspection. These are Intact, Economical and Assertiveness.

“An insurer is under no obligation to insure a home or renew a contract. He might decide to stop insuring houses with aluminum threads. Insurers revise their underwriting and pricing policies depending on their claims experience and the risk assessment they have made,” continued Dr.me morin

If, despite best efforts, a property owner is having trouble finding an insurer, they can enlist the help of an independent broker. Or the intervention of the BAC. To do this, you must fill out a form that is available online. The BAC ensures access to insurance, but does not intervene in pricing.

However, the difficulty of insuring a home could theoretically have some impact on the attractiveness of the property. Because during the sale, the seller’s declaration, a mandatory form, contains the following question: “Has an insurance company ever refused to insure all or part of the building?” Whether a positive response will dampen the enthusiasm of a potential buyer in the current market environment remains to be seen.

Also, this document does not contain a precise question about the type of spinning. But, of course, if an electrician informed us about possible problems, then it is better not to hide the information.

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