Author Archive

Buying Second-Hand Designer Bags (and recognizing counterfeits)

Some things in life should be bought first-hand and brand new- most food products, eye glasses, underwear (to name a few.) But then there are many things that just make sense to buy used- especially if the value depreciates over time. Most of the luxury items we buy such as cars, watches and jewelry depreciate as soon as we take it out of the box or wrapping and begin using them.

Case in point: designer bags. We love them, we want them, we scour the Internet looking at celebrities using them, and every so often we’ll let ourselves browse through the designer’s website casually checking out the prices. However, the logic of paying thousands of dollars for a bag that begins to lose its worth as soon as you take it out for a spin seems odd.

Buying second hand a designer bag can be one of the easiest and smartest ways to have the bag you want without putting a serious dent in your bank account. As long as the previous owner has taken decent care of the bag, no one would be the wiser that your bag didn’t come from a store.

The only major con of buying a designer bag used, is the risk that you’re spending a chunk of change on something that could be potentially “fake”, or a knock-off of the original. We’ve all seen the tables or carts set up on the streets of many major North American cities with piles upon piles of “Chanel”, “Hermes”, and “Prada” designer bags lumped together being sold by someone yelling out “DESIGNER BAGS FOR SALE. Hey…are you looking for a Gucci bag?” That happens everyday (minus the tables and carts) online. Smart Kijiji shoppers know that when it comes to buying anything designer, it’s important to know the markers of a genuine item.

Avoiding Counterfeit Handbags

To help make sure you’re never duped into buying a designer bag that isn’t actually designer, here are a few tips on what to look for in a used bag and what to ask the seller before hanging over your hard-earned cash.

1. Look for the “Obvious” Clues First

  • Check for spelling! Knock-offs often will spell just one letter incorrectly and if you’re just skimming the hardware of the bag or the inside stitching, it’s very easy to miss.
  • Take a sniff! Designers use real leather. Real leather smells like leather. You shouldn’t smell glue, rubber, or any other synthetic materials no matter how “used” the bag is.
  • Take a close look! Genuine handbags have a consistent coloration throughout the bag, and if it’s a printed bag or one with a logo, they should be consistent throughout the bag. Also, the stitching on designer bags are almost always with real stitches, not glue or other adhesives. Don’t forget about the hardware! Genuine handbags use quality metal for their hardware so there shouldn’t be severe rusting or discoloration. Any sign of deep damage could be a big hint that the bag isn’t authentic.

2. Know Your Bag Inside and Out

  • Before you purchase the second-hand bag, go to an actual store that sells verified new handbags and take a look at the details. Don’t be afraid to get a little handsy and get a good feel of the leather, the weight of the bag, and the smoothness of the stitching and lining so you can compare it to the second-hand bag later on. Never buy a bag without seeing it in person first!

3. Be Realistic About Pricing

  • A true, genuine bag (even a second-hand designer bag) will be expensive. If someone is offering a Celine, or Birkin, or Chanel for a couple hundred dollars when the real bag retails for over a few thousand dollars, that’s a huge red flag. It may be tempting to seize a deal but in this case, the old adage “if it seems too good to be true, it probably is” fits the situation.

4. Get the Proof

  • When buying from second-hand stores or sellers, it’s always safer to buy from someone who can offer you proof of purchase or has a card of authenticity that’s included with the bag when it was originally purchased.

Buying and “Celling” on Kijiji: How to Check if a Phone for sale is Lost or Stolen

Buying a used phone makes a lot of sense. Much like a new car, new phones depreciate quickly. The hottest new phone can only maintain the title of “most coveted telecommunications accessory” for so long before it is displaced by one even newer and shinier – which is exactly what makes them a great buy on classifieds. Whether you are the one always in hot pursuit of the newest phone (and find yourself constantly wanting to unload the flavor of last month to finance your new toy), or you want to score a great deal on a great phone by buying gently used, connecting with another local Canadian to make your money go farther just makes sense.

Many are concerned when buying a new phone that they might not be dealing with the rightful owner – a very legitimate concern, considering no one wants to be unknowingly funding illicit activities, or end up with an unusable phone.

Buying and Celling: How to check if a used phone is safe to buy

How to Check if an iPhone is Lost or Stolen.

Look at the lock screen.
If the iPhone offered for sale has been erased remotely or put into lost mode, it should show either that or that it is lost or stolen on the lock screen. If it says that on the lock screen, this is how you can verify that the phone is being sold by the rightful owner.

Ask the seller to reset the iPhone while you watch.
They can do this by going to Settings > General > Reset >Erase All Content and Settings. The process should take a few minutes in which the apple logo and a progress bar will be on the screen. If the seller refuses to do this, do not buy the phone! Claims that the password is forgotten or they are in too much of a rush are big red flags.

After they reset, go through the phone set up with them – make sure to select, the language, location, and network. After that, it will ask you to enter your apple ID and password (hopefully), which means you are safe to buy the iphone.

If there is not a prompt for you to enter an ID and password, and instead it asks for the previous owners ID and password, or a message that says that the phone was lost and erased, something is wrong. Ask the seller to enter the credentials. If they cannot get past this screen, you know that the phone was found or stolen.

What about other smart phones? How do I know if an Android, Blackberry, or Windows Phone is stolen?

The Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association (or CWTA) has set up a page to check whether IMEI numbers belong to cells that are available for sale before you buy. Seller doesn’t know their IMEI? It is easy to find (and replicate to verify that they gave you the right number). Open the dialler and enter *#06#, which works on most major smart phones including BlackBerry, Android, iOS and Windows Phone, as well as many other cell phone brands.

As the list is populated by reports from carriers after their customers report phones lost or stolen, there can be a lag of up to 48 hours before an IMEI number appears on the list. If you are replying to a newly posted ad and meeting up same day, ask the seller for some verification that they bought this phone originally (or if it is an iPhone, just follow the steps above). If they can’t demonstrate that this is their phone, set a meeting time that will give enough time between the ad being posted and the CWTA list being updated to ensure your peace of mind.

To learn more about mobile phone theft and how to protect yourself, visit the GSMA website.

How can you recover if you horribly blow an interview?

After months of looking, you finally landed an interview! Maybe you found a way to break into working in healthcare, or you are interviewing for your first management job, and you want it so badly you work yourself into a state that might not be ideal for an interview. Everyone reacts to nerves differently, and for some, being nervous can lead to some major “foot in mouth” moments. Sometimes the worst case scenario happens in an interview, and you say something embarrassing. Whether it was an inappropriate joke, some misinformation, some out of place gossip you wish you could take back, or your mind just went blank at the worst possible moment, here are some strategies to help you recover and save face.

Recovering from a Major Interview Blunder

Stop, take a deep breath, admit what you just said was incorrect or inappropriate and apologize. Be as professional as you can, and be honest – if your nerves got the better of you, admit it. Own up to it, make it clear you don’t normally behave or speak that way, and move on.

Make it into a joke at your own expense. Turn the awkward moment into a humorous one and make sure to laugh (as naturally as possible). If your interviewer laughs too, the ice might be broken. Again, apologize if it was out of line, state that it was unacceptable, and the mood should hopefully lighten up after the slip.

If you freeze after being asked a question related to the job – maybe you blank on a technical term, or find yourself unable to answer something that you normally can speak of without difficulty, use the opportunity for a follow up email later. Admit exactly what happened, be confident, direct, and honest, and clarify your thoughts on the issue. If you said something completely incorrect, admit that you know it was not the right answer, apologize and retract, and admit that your nerves got the better of you.

Admitting a weakness may seem counter-intuitive in an interview scenario, but an important thing to remember is that people are looking for humans who will be their colleagues, and perfectly rehearsed answers may not help you at times, as there is always a chance that the interviewer will view a perfect answer as a cliche and disregard it. Being honest can help you. If your weakness has been inadvertently revealed, admitting it, letting them know you are working on it, and possibly even asking the interviewer if they have known others who have overcame similar issues could work to your advantage. No one is perfect, and showing that you are accountable for your own actions could ultimately work in your favor.

Even if the job opportunity has been lost by a misstep, a graceful recovery might allow you to network and be kept in mind for future opportunities. If you do mess up an interview, the most important thing is to gauge the interviewer’s reaction and respond in a fitting way. Reading the interviewer is one of the most important parts of an interview, so be sure to watch their face and body language to ensure you pick the best recovery tactic for the interview you have found yourself in.

Have you ever botched an interview? Did you manage to recover? Let us know in the comments!

Categories:Kijiji Jobs

Our Favorite Fall Vacation Rental Locations on Kijiji

Fall is a beautiful time to get away from the daily grind, and for some, it can be easier to get time off during the cool days of autumn than during the hot summer or winter. Though you may need some sweaters, there are many places to plan a beautiful and memorable getaway during the fall.

Cottage Vacation Rentals in Canada

Ontario. Get away to Lake Eerie & Pelee Island or Niagara region and enjoy a romantic wine tour, or travel to Muskoka and have a cozy time around the camp fire and canoeing before cottages are shut down for the season. Though you may not be able to work on your sun tan as during the summer months, the gorgeous fall foliage and cozy evening around the fire will more than make up for it.

British Columbia. Go for a walk along the ocean shoreline on Vancouver Island and enjoy the comparatively warm weather to the rest of the country, or fill your lungs with fresh mountain air and go hiking and fishing in the Kootenay Rockies.

The Maritimes. Eat fresh lobster by the seaside staying in a cottage on the Acadian Coast in New Brunswick, or hike in rugged Newfoundland and Labrador. Explore picturesque Lunenburg in Nova Scotia, or wiggle your toes in red sand and check out friendly Prince Edward Island.

Quebec. Get away from everything by renting a chalet in Mont Tremblant and going skiing, or party it up with friends in Montreal. Dreaming of a vacation in France? Quebec City has plenty of charm, no need to go overseas or update your passport.

Saskatchewan. Love to hunt or fish? Find a cabin in the land of the living skies to get away from the daily grind and reconnect with nature.

What is your favorite Canadian destination in the fall? Let us know in the comments!

The rights and responsibilities of a landlord in Ontario

Being a landlord can be an attractive investment, but it can also be a lot of work. With the role comes a lot of responsibilities and potential risks, which can vary from province to province across Canada. It’s important to do your research and know your rights before delving into the venture. In Ontario, landlords should be knowledgeable with the Residential Tenancies Act, which outlines lease agreements, landlords and tenants responsibilities, and other rights, rules and responsibilities relating to rental properties. Some of the responsibilities include providing a rental unit that complies with health, safety, housing and maintenance standards as well as keeping the home in good repair and providing access to vital services like hot and cold water, electricity, heat and fuel (e.g. natural gas). Taking ownership and pride in your investment will only help you reap the rewards and attract the right tenants. You must also provide your tenant with an information package outlining the basic rights and responsibilities.

Before becoming a landlord, you should also check to make sure your unit is legal. Some municipalities don’t issue permits for secondary suites like, for instance, basement apartments. If you build one anyhow and it is discovered, you could be forced to pay fines and take down the rental property. If you want to rent out a space that doesn’t meet the legal requirements, you will not have the same protections that a legally rented suite will have. If you want to rent out a space that does not meet safety code restrictions, do your renovations before renting to save yourself the potential liability nightmare.


Finding the right tenant

It’s no secret every landlord wants someone who will pay the rent on time and respect the rental property and a good way to achieve this is to create a screening process that will allow you to weed out the bad apples that may have a history of not paying the bills. A rental application is often used to ensure the same information is collected from all prospective tenants. It allows landlords to make direct comparisons between applications and also verify the information that was given to them.

Landlords have the right to use income information, credit checks, credit references, rental history, employment history, personal references and other similar business practices to help them make their decision on which tenant would be best suited for the rental property. They cannot however, select or refuse tenants based on race, place of origin, ethnic origin, religion, sex, age, sexual orientation, marital status, family status (e.g. children) or disability. Familiarizing yourself with the Ontario Human Rights Code to learn about your own rights and that of a prospective tenant when it comes to choosing the right person to rent to will go a long way in helping you become a successful landlord.

Sealing the deal

Although landlords and tenants don’t necessarily need to have a written tenancy agreement or lease (a verbal agreement could be made), it’s in the best interest of both the landlord and tenant if there is one because it will act as a record should there be any kind of dispute later on that needs to be settled. You can also collect a rent deposit that is no more than one month’s rent. It must be requested on or before the day the tenant moves in and is solely used for last month’s rent before the lease ends.

Landlords also have the right to collect rent in full on the day it is due and increase the rent once during a 12-month period. If you need to complete maintenance or repairs or show the unit to a potential tenant you must let your tenant know 24 hours before you enter and send a note as to why you want to enter. It must also be between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. If there is an emergency however, you can enter the unit without necessarily needing permission (but it’s always a good idea to let the tenant know as soon as possible for good relations).

Other rights

One of the most difficult parts about being a landlord is exercising your right to evict a tenant. It’s never easy, but it’s sometimes necessary, especially if you have a tenant who isn’t paying their bills or has damaged your property. In most situations you have to issue a termination notice before taking other measures to get the tenant out of your rental suite. If you want to rent your unit to another person (or even a relative) or have decided to use the unit yourself, you need to give the tenant a notice of termination outlining the reason why. If you have a problem tenant however, the process can take a little longer. The termination notice you issue must state the number of days the tenant has to correct the perceived problem. You must then wait the set number of days to see if the issue has been resolved. If it hasn’t you can file an application with the Landlord and Tenant Board, which is responsible for settling landlord and tenant problems. A hearing will be held for the application where a member of the Board will make a decision based on the evidence presented by the landlord and tenant. Landlords and tenants also have the option of having a mediator from the Board step in to help them reach their own agreement.

If a tenant refused to move out even with an eviction order issued, you can contact the Court Enforcement Office to carry out the eviction.

Things to consider
As a tenant, it might seem like landlords have an easy job, but there is a lot more to being a good landlord than collecting cheques every month. Not every property owner makes money on their rental apartments. Even with a good location and properly vetted tenants, many landlords have gaps between tenants, which makes making money difficult. If you are thinking of buying an investment property, make sure you can afford to carry it even if you aren’t able to keep the unit full at all times. Remember, appliances, decks, and roofs need servicing and replacing every so often. If you aren’t able to make fixes on the fly, consider hiring a property manager or keeping a trusted handy man (or woman) on speed dial. Issues with maintenance and long lags between a complaint and a fix can easily drive away the tenants you took so long to vet.

Sources and more information:
Landlord and Tenant Board
Human Rights Code
Landlord’s Self-Help Centre

Categories:Kijiji Real Estate