Confusion over Air Miles fine print and Expedia ‘glitch’: CBC’s Marketplace consumer cheat sheet

Miss something this week? Don’t panic. CBC’s Marketplace rounds up the consumer and health news you need.

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Air Miles fine print confusion

Do you know how many Air Miles your purchase earns? Turns out it varies depending on where you shop and what you buy. A Nova Scotia man discovered Sobeys’ promise of one Air Mile per $20 spent had a long list of excluded products. He spent more than $80 on groceries but got only three Air Miles points. The reason? The milk he bought didn’t count.

More from Marketplace: Which rewards programs are worth it?

Tobacco laws overhauled

Canada’s government just passed major changes to our tobacco laws. What’s in: Vaping, which is now, formally, legal. What’s out: logos, and brands on cigarette and tobacco packaging. The bill will allow Health Canada to mandate that all tobacco packaging is plain and standard. Vaping will be seriously regulated (A Florida man was killed recently when his vape pen exploded).

Rob Cunningham, senior policy adviser for the Canadian Cancer Society, holds up a proposed standardized cigarette package. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)

Toxic hair-straightening products

Could you be exposing yourself to toxic chemicals just by straightening your hair? A new study says certain hair products, used primarily by black women, could explain why they have higher rates of asthma and reproductive diseases than other groups. The culprit: endocrine disrupters, a group of chemicals that interfere with the way the body produces hormones.

The majority of the chemicals discovered in hair products were not listed on the product labels, researchers found. (Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty)

Expedia ‘glitch’ lists no rooms

Planning a trip to Vancouver Island through Expedia? Owners of Moon Water Lodge say the company has been diverting potential customers from booking a stay. They say people who clicked on an Expedia link were told “rooms are unavailable” no matter what date was entered. Expedia blamed a “glitch” for the search results and didn’t take down the dead-end listing until CBC News contacted the travel booking site.

Lori and Randy Strandlund, owners of Moon Water Lodge, say their small hotel in Malahat, B.C., is losing business because online-booking giant Expedia is diverting potential customers away. (Mike McArthur/CBC News)

What else is going on?

It’s getting easier to buy airline seats with frequent flyer miles. That’s according to an annual ranking of 25 of the world’s biggest airlines. Air Canada ranked second, with a score of 96.4 per cent when booking with Aeroplan points.

Baby bibs and blankets contain toxins Canada banned in other products. A new study found toxic chemicals in 86 per cent of the tested bibs, blankets, outdoor jackets, children’s snowsuits, winter gloves, cycling clothing, waterproof pants and weightlifting gloves.

The World Health Organization wants all countries to rid food of trans fats by 2023. Canada’s Health Minister announced last year that a ban on trans fats will come into effect on Sept. 12, 2018.

Uber and Lyft will let customers take sexual assault complaints to court. The shift will allow riders and drivers to file allegations of sexual assault and harassment in courts and mediation, rather than being locked into an arbitration hearing.

Cannabidiol oil sales suspended in Canada. Las Vegas-based HempWorx stopped Canadian sales after a CBC News investigation revealed its product is illegal.

This week in recalls

This French cheese could be contaminated with E. coli; these Mercedes-Benz Smart cars could pose a fire risk; this gas fireplace could pose a laceration hazard; this hot water boiler could release low levels of carbon monoxide; this candle holder could pose a fire and burn hazard when used with tea lights; and these water toys could pose a choking hazard.

We want to speak to you

Marketplace is looking for families to feature in a TV experiment. Do you feel you should recycle more? Maybe you care about the environment, but you can’t get the rest of your family to buy in — sound familiar? If you live near Toronto, would love to be on Marketplace, and you want to learn more, email


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