Top 25 Tips For Choosing a Realtor From The Pros

Whether you’re to buy, sell, or rent property, it’s important to know the basics of choosing a realtor who suits your needs. The choice of a real estate agent or broker directly affects the outcome of both residential and commercial transactions, so we gathered a number of experts’ views to help you make the best…

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5 Ways Millennials Are Saving The National Economy

After the crash of 2008, the US economy has been on an upswing ever since. Granted, the recovery has been slow, but it has been stable. We have now gone almost one decade without a slowdown, which has a slew of experts predicting that another recession is around the corner. To support their prediction, they…

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How to Find & Buy For Sale By Owner Homes (FSBOs) in 6 Easy Steps

Learning how to find and buy for sale by owner properties (FSBOs) can be a positive experience and we can show you how to do it in 6 easy steps. These steps include things like choosing a neighborhood, locating the property itself, securing financing, making an offer, and going through the entire closing process. Here…

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Deliveries Left Unattended Worry Online Shoppers About Package Theft

Package handler Chris Addison arranges packages before loading a delivery truck at a FedEx sorting facility in Kansas City, Mo., on Dec. 16, 2013.

Todd Bailey is fed up with delivery companies that drop his online purchases at his door.

A few years ago, the Grande Prairie, Alta., resident was at the hospital for the birth of his child when a big-screen TV he had ordered was left on his front stoop.

Bailey figures the enormous box, a target for would-be thieves, was there nearly 24 hours. The frequent online shopper has been repeatedly frustrated that expensive purchases have been left unattended rather than transported to a safe location like a post office.

“It’s not the first time but it still surprises me when you come home and there’s a big package on your doorstep out there for everyone to see,” Bailey says.

“I think the assumption is it’s being delivered to a person and not to an address. The assumption is it’s being delivered to go inside the house.”

It’s not the first time but it still surprises me when you come home and there’s a big package on your doorstep out there for everyone to see.Todd Bailey

For some shoppers, having a package left at their home — especially if it’s placed in an inconspicuous spot — is preferable to trekking to a faraway depot that’s always busy.

But Facebook neighbourhood groups and local news broadcasts are now frequently reporting on thieves caught on home security cameras stealing packages left outside.

On Thursday, Bailey tweeted a photo to Purolator of a box left against his door. It was a Christmas gift from his mother for his seven-year-old son.

“It’s almost too easy (for a thief),” he says. “It just boggles your mind.”

In response to his tweet, a customer service representative for Purolator replied: “Our delivery service requires a signature however if the sender selects the signature-not-required service, and there’s no risk of it being stolen or damaged, we’ll honour it.”

Different policies for dealing with theft

There are no easy answers for consumers who are victims of theft.

In an email, a Purolator spokeswoman said “the receiver should notify local authorities. They can also file a claim with Purolator.”

Meanwhile, Canada Post and UPS Canada both say shoppers should contact the retailer. FedEx Canada did not respond to an interview request but a page on its website invites customers to file a claim if a package is lost. shoppers are told — if they read the legalese in the site’s conditions of use — that “risk of loss and title for items purchased from pass to you upon our delivery to the carrier or, if such items must cross an international border, then risk of loss and title pass to you when they clear customs.”

The vast majority of deliveries make it to customers without issue. In the rare case something occurs, we work with customers directly to make it right.Amazon

Amazon added in a statement that “the vast majority of deliveries make it to customers without issue. In the rare case something occurs, we work with customers directly to make it right.”

The Seattle-based company thinks it’s solved the problem with its new Amazon Key product, which allows a customer’s door to be wirelessly unlocked to accomodate a delivery. A camera records the drop-off to protect against anything inappropriate and the door locks as soon as the delivery is complete. The service is not yet available in Canada.

Canada Post spokesman Jon Hamilton agrees that package theft is still “a small issue that gets a lot of attention,” but could not provide any figures on how many complaints the organization receives.

What we have right now with (holiday) online shopping is we’re delivering over one million parcels a day across the country.Jon Hamilton, Canada Post

While he acknowledged it does happen, he notes the volume of parcel deliveries is at an all-time high.

“What we have right now with (holiday) online shopping is we’re delivering over one million parcels a day across the country,” says Hamilton, noting the postal service hit that daily marker 60 times this year.

He invites shoppers that are afraid of theft to use Canada Post’s FlexDelivery service, which allows online purchases to be directed to a post office for pickup.

Overwhelmed with packages

But some Canada Post locations have been overloaded by packages being stored for online shoppers. On Friday, there were six across the country that were jammed full and unable to accept any new deliveries.

“The one part of the process we can’t control if a parcel goes to a post office is when people will pick it up. About 80 per cent of the parcels that are dropped off at a post office get picked up within three days and there’s about 20 per cent that will linger,” Hamilton says.

“And at this time of year when more and more parcels are arriving every day with online shopping, that can add up.”

(We) were chock-a-block with Instant Pots … so you can imagine how that could eat up a lot of space in a short period of time.Jon Hamilton, Canada Post

He added that one major retailer’s recent sale on the Instant Pot wrecked havoc with Canada Post’s network, given how large the cooking devices are.

“(We) were chock-a-block with Instant Pots … so you can imagine how that could eat up a lot of space in a short period of time.”

Workers route packages at the UPS sorting facility near Toronto on Dec. 17, 2009.

Bruce Cran, president of the Consumers’ Association of Canada, says e-commerce is still in its relative infancy so it’s not surprising that there are inefficiencies in the delivery process.

He also believes that on a percentage basis, the number of packages being stolen is small.

“Consumers love the convenience and at the moment, I don’t think there’s an immense danger in people looking to take deliveries,” Cran said.

“I don’t get the impression at the moment that it’s anywhere near the quantity that would prevent us from utilizing these services. We value being able to order on Thursday night and maybe get it on Friday morning.”

Also on HuffPost:


Employment Verification Letter – Free Templates & How-To Guide

An employment verification letter, also called a proof of employment letter, is a written document that provides employer confirmation of an employee’s current or former job status. An employment verification letter is often requested by an outside agency, such as an employee’s landlord or creditor. Businesses typically provide verification letters on company letterhead, signed and…

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Netflix Tax Decision Is Up To Morneau, Not Me: Heritage Minister Melanie Joly

Canada's Heritage Minister Melanie Joly speaks in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill on Dec. 9, 2015.

MONTREAL — The federal heritage minister says she never agreed to exempt online streaming giant Netflix from any sales tax on its service as part of a deal that has been a political nightmare in her home province of Quebec.

There were no taxes on streaming services as part of the cultural policy that Melanie Joly unveiled in late September. Instead, the policy unveiling had at its centre a $500-million pledge by California-based Netflix to set up a Canadian office and fund original homegrown content.

The ensuing weeks have seen the provincial government in Quebec vowing to tax foreign online businesses, including Netflix, if Ottawa didn’t do so, and outrage from artists and producers who slammed the Trudeau Liberals in an open letter earlier this month.

Pressed about why the Liberals decided to exempt Netflix from federal sales tax, Joly appeared to leave the door open to some sort of tax on Netflix in the future.

“I’ve never negotiated any sales tax exemption in the context of the (Netflix) deal,” Joly told reporters.

She said that anyone with concerns about the lack of federal taxes on online streaming services should voice their opposition with Finance Minister Bill Morneau, redirecting any provincial unease in his direction.

“I’m in charge of culture,” Joly said in Montreal. “Mr. Morneau is finance minister and in charge of taxation.”

In reality, even Morneau likely has little control over the matter, given that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau himself has repeatedly and categorically ruled out a Netflix tax, including during the 2015 election campaign.

Tension in Liberal caucus

Joly’s comments underline the tension within the Liberal caucus, where Quebec MPs have been unhappy about defending the government’s position that Netflix shouldn’t be taxed.

Joly said she has heard the concerns from her constituents and put them to her cabinet colleagues, saying that as a Quebecer she understood the importance of culture in the province.

Since Netflix doesn’t have a base in Canada, it doesn’t have to collect and remit sales taxes to the government. Instead, consumers are supposed to declare the issue to the Canada Revenue Agency, but few, if any, actually do so.

There are also concerns that online services aren’t subject to the same Canadian programming and content quotas as traditional broadcasters. The Liberals have said they plan to respect net neutrality, a position that Netflix promoted in its submission to the cultural policy review.

More from HuffPost Canada:

As part of the deal Joly signed, Netflix also committed to spend $25 million on strategy to develop the market for French-language content, although the fact it had no contractual obligation to do so came under heavy scrutiny in Quebec.

Joly said she would ensure the company keeps its side of the deal.

“What I hear in terms of the anxiety towards the fact that there’s not enough support for French production — that is my job to talk to the company to say that my intention and my expectation is that they invest in francophone content.”


Bring Your Own Phone (BYOP) Policies & Template for Small Businesses

A bring your own phone (BYOP) policy refers to a business either allowing or requiring its employees to use their personal mobile phones for company business. This use may be voluntary or required and compensated for or not, but the common factor is that personal phones have access to potentially sensitive company information and a…

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El Tiempo Cantina sets opening date for long-awaited location

El Tiempo Cantina finally has an opening date for its Clear Lake/Webster location.

The long-awaited restaurant will serve its first meal on Dec. 14 at 20237 Gulf Freeway in Webster, according to a press release. The owners of El Tiempo — father and son Roland and Domenic Laurenzo — had announced in July that the Tex-Mex eatery would open in December.

It’s the Laurenzo family’s ninth El Tiempo restaurant in greater Houston. They also own another concept, Laurenzo’s Restaurant, at 4412 Washington…


Dover Corp. to spin off upstream business into Houston-area public company

Illinois-based manufacturer Dover Corp. (NYSE: DOV) has decided to spin off its upstream businesses within the Dover Energy segment as a standalone publicly traded company, according to a press release.

The unnamed future company — which Dover currently is referring to as “Wellsite” — is expected to be spun off no later than the second quarter of 2018, per the release. It will include the existing Dover Artificial Lift and Dover Energy Automation businesses, which are both based in The Woodlands,…