Thursday, September 27, 2012

Activia/DanActive Danone Class Action Lawsuit in Canada - Are You Eligible?

As you may have read, earlier this week I received a cheque as a result of the Mattel class action lawsuit.

On the same day, Monday September 24th, the Toronto Star had a large ad in it stating that there is a class action lawsuit against Danone regarding health claims in advertising for Activia Yogourt and DanActive probiotic drinks.  They had an article about it in the Toronto Star on Tuesday.  You can read it here. 

Numerous Canadians are eligible to be part of the settlement of the this lawsuit and will receive between $15 and $50.  However, in order to qualify, you must have purchased the products, and must submit a claim.

It all comes down to this:

  • The advertising stated that the products could aid digestion and/or help colds. 
  • A class action lawsuit for the same issue has already been won in the US for the same issues. 
  • The settlement should be finalized in court on November 6, 2012. People will have up to three months after that date to claim, and the cheques are supposed to be sent out to claimants within 60 days after that. You are looking at a payment date of up to 5 months after November 6, 2012. 
  • If you have receipts of products purchased between April 1, 2009 and November 6, 2012, in the amount of $15-$50, you will receive your money back. 
  • If you have receipts of purchase of products in the same timeframe of less than $15, you will receive $15. 
  • If you don't have receipts, but will sign an affidavit that you purchased the products, you will receive $15.

If you qualify and are interested in being a part of the settlement of this claim, remember to send in your claim form.

Here is a link to the form that you need to send in, either by mail, or electronically.

I personally have never bought these products, nor do I intend to over the remaining claim period, but thought many of my readers would be interested in this info.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Mattel Canadian Class Actions Settlement Received

When my daughter was younger she loved Polly Pockets. She's almost 11 now, so she's outgrown this stage. Sad, but true! As a result of her loving them, and being great playtoys we had many in the house.  There was a recall on a number of the sets back in 2006/2007 due to tiny magnets coming out of the toys.

I put together all the pieces from each set that was recalled (not an easy task if you know how small they are!) and ended up returning them, postage paid, and received a credit voucher to be used towards other Mattel products in the value of $53.00. 

A year ago, I received both an email and regular mail about a class action lawsuit that was happening regarding this recall against Mattel/Fisher Price.  Since my name was in the database from returning the toys, I was already a part of the lawsuit. (Who knew?)

I wrote about this last August, in a blogpost on my personal blog.

I'd pretty much forgotten about all of this, but today, 6 years after the initial recall, and one year after hearing about the class action lawsuit, I received a cheque for $26.50, which is 1/2 the value of the original credit.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Virtual Visa Debit from RBC

A month ago I received a new Virtual Visa Debit card in the mail from RBC.  I did not apply for it.  It just...arrived.

The card is meant to be used as a "new way to pay for online, telephone and mail order purchases.  Payments are debited directl from your RBC Royal Bank personal deposit account."

I put it aside, trying to figure out why it would have been sent to me.  You see, I have absolutely no reason or incentive to use this card!

Yes, I absolutely make online purchases. However, I already have a credit card that I'm comfortable using for online purchases.  I even get points on this credit card to redeem for stuff later.

Not everyone has a credit card.  I think this Virtual Visa Debit card is perfect for those who don't.

  • For those who have chosen to not be tempted into debt and have stayed away from having a credit card.  
  • For those who don't have a good enough credit rating to get a credit card.
  • For those who are under 18 and are not old enough to have a credit card.
There are times when not having a credit card can be a real pain for those who don't.  Hotel and vacation booking is one, since you wouldn't be able to use any of the online booking companies (Hotwire, Priceline,, etc), or even be able to book directly through a hotel website.

This new card fills a gap in the market for those looking to be able to buy online and don't want to bother their friends or family members to give them cash in order to have them purchase the desired item online.

I won't be using this card myself, and will not be activating it, but I do see value in the card for others.  

Can you think of any other groups of people this card would be good for?  Would you be interested in using it?

Friday, September 14, 2012

Canada Learning Bond - Are Your Children Eligible?

I wrote about The Canada Learning Bond once before, back in 2008.  It was pretty new back then, having started in 2006. In 2006, only 4.7% of those eligible applied for this FREE money for their children's RESP.  By 2008, it had increased slightly, to 16.3%, and by 2011 had increased to 24.4%. 

You can see the totals of the participation rates broken down by province here.

At less than 25% of those eligible participating in the program, the program is still highly unknown.

I think post secondary education is important, so as a tax preparer, this year I am going to try to emphasize this program to my clients who are eligible for it.

Directly from the HRSDC website, the Canada Learning Bond is:

Introduced in 2005, the Canada Learning Bond (CLB) targets low-income families and provides them with a financial incentive to save. Upon applying, the CLB is given to all children who have an RESP account and are eligible to receive the National Child Benefit Supplement (NCBS) in addition to the Canada Child Tax Benefit, commonly known as “family allowance.” The CLB does not require any contributions from parents and is deposited directly into the child’s RESP. Specifically, the Government of Canada provides an initial CLB of $500 to children born after December 31, 2003 plus an additional $100 per year until age 15 and up to a maximum of $2,000.
So...if you receive the National Child Benefit Supplement, your children are eligible for this! Head to your local bank and ask to open an RESP for your children and have them apply for the Canada Learning Bond for you.  The first year you do so, each child will receive $500, and each year after that you still qualify they will receive another $100.

Tell me:  Have you done this already? Are you planning to?  How can you go wrong!?

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

New Baby? Make Sure Your Income Taxes Are Done!

Are you expecting a cute new baby in your life or have a newborn?  Are your income taxes all complete and submitted?

You might be wondering what the connection between these two questions is!

The Canada Child Tax Benefit (CCTB)  is a payment from the Federal Government to help families with the costs of raising children.  The majority of Canadians are eligible for this program, but you MUST FILE YOUR TAX RETURN TO RECEIVE THEM!

Separate sub-programs that are also included in this payment are the:

1) National Child Benefit Supplement (NCBS) for lower income families

2) Child Disability Benefit (CDB) for families with children who are disabled and qualify for the Disability Credit.

Also, each province may have programs as well.  In Ontario, there is the Ontario Child Benefit (OCB).

Ok, lets get to what everyone wants to know.

How Much Money Will I Get??

Using the online calculators using 2011 net income, and assuming your children don't have disabilities, here we go.  For children age 6 or under you will also receive $100/month for the Universal Child Care Benefit (UCCB), and your amounts will be slightly adjusted from these, as these figures are not including the calculations if you received UCCB in 2011. The amounts include CCTB, NCBS, and Ontario Child Benefit. 

These amounts are for people in Ontario.

Net family income of $100 000/yr will receive$21.59/month for 1 child,   $ 43.18 for 2 children.
Net family income of $ 80 000/yr will receive $54.92/month for 1 child,  $109.85 for 2 children.
Net family income of $ 60 000/yr will receive $88.26/month for 1 child,  $176.52 for 2 children.
Net family income of $ 50 000/yr will receive $104.92/month for 1 child, $209.85 for 2 children.
Net family income of $ 40 000/yr will receive $144.60/month for 1 child, $335.95 for 2 children.
Net family income of $ 30 000/yr will receive $271.27/month for 1 child, $594.27 for 2 children.
Net family income of  < $ 20 000/yr will receive $390.15/month for 1 child, $759.40 for 2 children.

To get an estimate of your own situation, go to the CRA calculators.

File Your Taxes!

You cannot receive this money unless you have filed your income tax return.  If you havn't filed for a few years and are eligible for these payments, you can go back up to 10 years and file and you will still receive the payments owed to you.