Some Tips to Get Yourself That Console

posted in: Tips 0

Folks have reached out for tips to help them get one of those PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X|S consoles, but these tips are applicable to any scarce product.

Hope you find them useful!

Getting The Basics Ready

1. Create an account with the store ahead of time

2. Ensure you can log into the account without issue

3. Add a valid credit card as a payment method (get rid of invalid ones!)

4. Ensure your billing address and shipping addresses are correct

⚠️ Use Guest Checkout at your own risk. If something happens to the confirmation e-mail and you do not receive an order number, it may be difficult to follow-up with customer service!

Getting Ready for Showtime

1. Follow @WalmartCAGaming, @BBYC_Gamers, @EBGamesCanada, and @ShopprsDrugMart for the latest info from retailers.

2. If applicable, log onto the site 10 – 15 minutes before the scheduled drop

3. Find the link to the product and landing pages:

Landing pages are useful as they should have all consoles and bundles, but their stock status may not be the same as the actual product pages!

Note: Product pages may change, keep an eye on Twitter for updates!

StorePossible Release Times*PlayStation 5Xbox Series X|S
AmazonAny weekday
4pm – 6pm ET | 1pm – 3pm PT
Disc
Digital Edition
Series X
Series S
BestBuyAny weekday at scheduled & random times
Announces on @BBYC_Gamers
Disc
Digital Edition
Landing Page w/ Bundles
Series X
Series S
Landing Page
CostcoAny weekday @ 8am ET / 5am PT
(+/- 10 minutes)
Disc BundleSeries S Bundle
DellTBDTBASeries X
Series S
EB GamesAny weekday at scheduled & random times
Announces on @EBGamesCanada
Disc
Digital Edition
Series X
Series S
Xbox All Access
Microsoft
Store
RandomN/ASeries X
Series S
Shoppers
Drug Mart
Any weekday
9am – 3pm ET | 6am – 12pm PT
May announce on @ShopprsDrugMart
DiscSeries X
Series S
The Shopping ChannelWeekdays
7am – 8am ET | 4am – 5am PT
TBDSeries X Bundle
The SourceTBDTBDTBD
StaplesTBDTBDTBD
Toys R UsTBDDiscSeries X
Series S
WalmartAny weekday at scheduled & random times
Announces on @WalmartCAGaming
Disc
Digital Edition
Search Results
Landing Page
Series X
Series S
Landing Page
* Timings are not guaranteed! Based on observations and subject to change!

Webpage vs App?

Most retailers have an app these days and while I haven’t used any of their apps, there were reports of people finding success on apps when the webpages collapses under load. Give those apps a try as well!

FAQ: How Do These Websites Work?

Charges without order numbers? Queues? Waiting rooms? Maximum quantity? When did online shopping get so complicated?

Let’s sort this all out.

Pre-authorized Holds

So you thought you didn’t make it through and order a console, but you checked your credit card statement and noticed that the retailer charged you for the console.

What’s going on?!

This is a pre-authorized hold and depending on the bank, it can take up quite a bit of time for the funds to be released back to you.

Here’s an excerpt from Wikipedia:

Authorization hold (also card authorization, preauthorization, or preauth) is a service offered by credit and debit card providers whereby the provider puts a hold of the amount approved by the cardholder, reducing the balance of available funds until the merchant clears the transaction (also called settlement), after the transaction is completed or aborted, or because the hold expires.

In the case of debit cards, authorization holds can fall off the account, thus rendering the balance available again, anywhere from one to eight business days after the transaction date, depending on the bank’s policy. In the case of credit cards, holds may last as long as thirty days, depending on the issuing bank. Transactions may be withdrawn but in most cases, especially with smaller banks, will not show up as a deposit on your statement but will instead be directly added to your available balance automatically due to it only being a “temporary charge”.

⚠️ Please be aware of this if you have a relatively low credit card limit or if your card is almost full. The last thing you want is to have multiple holds and become inconvenienced by them.

BestBuy

Question #1: What’s this queue?

Answer:

A familiar screen for those who shop at BestBuy during Black Friday or Boxing Day, this queues consumers for processing and checkout. It’s supposed to be a first come, first served queue system. You should automatically be redirected when it’s your turn.

EB Games

Question #1: What’s this virtual line?

Screenshot of virtual line from Dec. 7, 2020 Xbox All Access release from EB Games

Answer:

This virtual line is placed at least 30 minutes before the actual scheduled release of inventory. It’s to prevent the actual EB Games site from being overrun by the influx of potential customers. It should redirect you the product page and if stock is available, you should be able to place an order.

There is no order or first come, first serve system in place. Selection is completely random and not restricted by IP. There were reports of someone running multiple tabs and finding success with one, but not others.

EB Games’ Twitter is very good at reporting the actual inventory availability.

Possible Workaround:

Dec 10, 2020 update: This workaround did not work during the PS5 Digital Edition release.

It might be possible to avoid the virtual line by changing the product link.

From: https://www.ebgames.ca/PS5/Games/877522/playstation-5
To: https://www.gamestop.ca/PS5/Games/877522/playstation-5

EB Games may stop this workaround in the future, but it does not hurt to try using their old Gamestop alias first. All the product links posted above use the gamestop.ca name.

Microsoft Store

Issue #1: “You have reached the maximum quantity for a product”

Error message when trying to checkout on MS Store

Cause:

This error appears when you already have an Xbox Series X|S in your cart.

Possible Solution & Workaround:

To check your cart, you can go to https://www.xbox.com/en-ca/cart and try to checkout from there.

You can also clear your web browser’s cache or open the product link in a private tab.

Issue #2: “Unable to purchase the order at the moment — please try again.”

Error when trying to place order on MS Store

Cause:

This error means the product is out of stock. The website may allow you add it to the cart, but it fails to process the order due to lack of inventory.

Possible Workaround:

You can keep clicking the Place Order until it finally goes through. It’s an inelegant solution, but people have found success with it. This likely works when inventory becomes available in the back end it is granted to whomever places the next order.

It’s likely easier to achieve this with the Xbox Series S than Xbox Series X due to the latter’s scarcity.

Shoppers Drug Mart

Question #1: What is the virtual waiting room?

Screenshot of a virtual waiting room message from Shoppers Drug Mart

Answer:

This is Shoppers Drug Mart’s solution to people slamming into their site. It’s placed in front of the actual console product pages and should automatically redirect customers to the product page when it’s their “turn”.

Unfortunately, it does not inform customers when the console is out of stock and will stay spinning.

Shoppers Drug Mart’s Twitter announced the status of inventory in the past, but they have been inconsistent. You could use a completely separate browser, device, or private browser tab to see if check if it ends up selling out.

‘Sold out’ message that you may not see unless you visit the product link again.

Once you see screen above, it’s fairly safe to assume that you are not going to get a chance to purchase one. You’re welcome to continue waiting as a precaution, but things are not looking good at this point.

Advanced Tips

  • Use a webpage auto refresher extension like Super Simple Auto Refresh – Found on Chrome Web Store, and Edge Add-ons
    • Be careful with this! Be sure your extension of choice stops the auto refresh once you click a link. Super Simple Auto Refresh does, but others may not. Test beforehand. You don’t want the webpage refreshing on you when you’re trying to buy!
  • Save your store credentials in a trusted password manager

Good Luck!

These tips won’t guarantee you a console, but it should increase your chances and help you avoid obstacles!

Changing PayPal’s Default Currency Conversion Option

posted in: Tips 12

January 24, 2020 update

Unfortunately the link below no longer works. There is no way to change default currency conversion option.

So you have a credit card that doesn’t charge conversion fees and you’ve added it to your Paypal account. That’s it right? You’re no longer being charged conversion fees when using PayPal! Not quite.

By default Paypal performs its own currency conversion and charges you up to 3.5% on top of the exchange rate. To change this option, log onto your Paypal account and follow the steps below:

1. Log onto your PayPal account

2. Go to this URL: https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_profile-merchant-pull-funding

4. Click “Conversion Options” beside the credit card with no currency conversion fee.

Paypal Currency Conversion Option - Step 5

6. Select “Bill me in the currency listed on the seller’s invoice.” and click “Submit“.

Paypal Currency Conversion Option - Step 6

That’s it! No more currency conversion fees! Please leave a comment below if these steps are out of date.

Amazon.ca 101

posted in: Tips 0

Did you know Amazon has a price matching feature? Did you see a deal posted only to check the site for yourself and see a completely different price? Hopefully, this post will shed some light on the less than obvious features of Amazon.

Sold By: Amazon.ca vs Third Party Resellers

A screenshot that was taken & shared often on GameDealsCanada's Twitter
A screenshot that was taken & shared often on GameDealsCanada’s Twitter

Don’t see the sale price? The deal may not be expired and you could be looking at a third party listing. Be sure to check the right side for “Sold by: Amazon.ca”.

Amazon’s Price Matching Reporting Feature

Amazon has a halfhearted price matching feature. On product page’s details section, you can find a link that says “tell us about a lower price?”. Click on it, fill out the form and hope Amazon adjusts the product’s price sooner rather than later. They won’t notify you of the change so you’ll just have to check back later to see if they adjusted the price.

Amazon.ca - Price Reporting
Amazon.ca – Price Reporting

It’s not the price matching feature we’re expecting but it’s better than nothing.

 

Release Date Delivery

Only certain items are eligible for Amazon’s Release Date Delivery.

Here’s how you can quickly tell if an item is eligible:

Amazon.ca - No Release Date Delivery
Amazon.ca – No Release Date Delivery Option

 

Amazon.ca - Release Date Delivery
Amazon.ca – Release Date Delivery Option

If you pre-order an eligible item as an Amazon Prime member, “Release Date Delivery” is automatically selected.

If you don’t have Amazon Prime, you’ll have to select “Two-Day Shipping” and pay the additional shipping fee.

A Credit Card Without Currency Conversion Fees

posted in: Tips 0

Update: This credit card is no longer available.

Sometimes you just need to buy stuff in USD, JPY or some currency that’s not the CAD. At the time of writing, the CAD is trading for $0.78 USD but you’ll be hard pressed to find a means to trade your hard earned CAD at the posted rate. Most credit cards, banks and other money services charge a conversion fee which may only amount to a few pennies on a Humble Bundle purchase but could end up being several dollars for larger purchases.

You can avoid conversion fees with the Amazon.ca Rewards Visa by JP Morgan Chase:

Features

  • Get a $20 Amazon.ca Gift Certificate instantly upon credit card approval
  • Earn 2% cash back per $1 spent on Amazon.ca
  • Earn 1% cash back per $1 spent everywhere else your card is accepted
  • No Foreign Currency Transaction Fees*
  • No annual fee

This is a great travel and international shopping credit card but managing it is a bit cumbersome if you haven’t dealt with a JP Morgan Chase credit card before.

  • You check transactions at Chase Canada Online
  • It takes a day or two for transactions to appear on the site
  • You have to add the credit card as a payee with your bank to make payments
  • No paperless billing option

Caveats aside, this is a solid credit card and the go to option for those who wish to avoid paying unnecessary fees.

You can apply for one at Amazon.ca’s Credit Card Marketplace.

E3 Promo Showdown: Amazon.ca vs BestBuy.ca

posted in: Tips 4

So you heard about these E3 pre-order promotions and want to get in on it. But which retailer do you go with? It’s easy to choose one over the other if they have different titles available, pre-order bonuses or one is offering a deeper discount. But what if all things were equal? Why would people choose one retailer over the other?

Let this comparison table tell you why:

 Amazon.caBestBuy.ca
Low Price GuaranteeYes but only until releaseYes, before & within 30 days of release
Release Date DeliverySelect itemsMost items
Cancel Individual ItemsOrders pagePhone support
Updating Billing InfoWebsiteWebsite or phone support
ReturnsShipping labelRMA # or in-store
Customer Support OptionsChat, E-Mail, phoneE-mail, phone
Other Perks & BenefitsPrice errorsReward Zone Program
More desirable pre-order bonuses

Explanations

Low Price Guarantee

Both offer Low Price Guarantees but only BestBuy offers a 30 day window beyond the release date.

Release Date Delivery

On of the biggest differentiators between the two stores. If you want your game on or closest to release date, go with BestBuy.ca.

Cancel Individual Items

Change your mind about the fourth or fifth game in your giant E3 order? Cancelling individual items is easy as pie with Amazon.ca and if you maintain the minimum amount of games (usually 3), it will retain the promotion.

BestBuy requires you to contact their phone support. They usually can do it but remind them that you have a promotion on the order just in case.

Updating Billing Info

Updating your billing info just works with Amazon.ca’s system. BestBuy’s website has that capability but it is error prone with certain orders requiring the help of BestBuy’s customer service representatives.

Returns

Bad reviews making you regret your purchase? Both retailers have you covered but BestBuy is the only one with an in-store presence.

Customer Support Options

Amazon.ca’s chat options is probably the best in the business and they’re equally as capable regardless of preference.

If you want immediate action, it’s often better to contact BestBuy via their phone support.

Other Perks & Benefits

Historically, Amazon.ca has been prone to pricing errors including the doubling of discounts. One of the best examples of a price error was the inexplicable price adjustment of Xenoblade Chronicles X down to $19.99 ($55 off). And the best part? Everyone who pre-ordered the title had their orders automatically adjusted to the new price plus the 30% off E3 promotion.

BestBuy has its share of price gaffes but they’re usually involves the mislabeling of special editions with standard edition prices — not terribly exciting. BestBuy does have a leg up on pre-order bonuses and their Reward Zone program though.

Hopefully this little comparison helps you with your pre-ordering decision. Got more points of comparisons? Did I get something wrong? Leave a comment below.