Door-to-door sales tactics and Airbnb changes: 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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Shifty door-to-door sales tactics

A former Bell sales rep says he was coached to not mention fine print in contracts, and to fudge on prices and internet speeds. Other door-to-door Bell salespeople also say they misled customers, especially on price. Consumer advocates advise you get a written contract and read the fine print. Bell says this conduct would violate their standards. 

Changes coming to Airbnb

Airbnb is trying to fight a slowdown in its listings by bundling posh properties with high-end travel services. The company has been hit by stricter short-term rental regulations in many cities, leading to a reduction in available properties. The new services also target travellers who were wary of renting a stranger’s home.


Airbnb has added services to some of its listings as part of an effort to fight tighter short-term regulations in some cities, which has reduced the number of available properties. (Gabrielle Lurie/Reuters)

Retailers take a stand on gun control

Mountain Equipment Co-op is dropping products from brands owned by Vista Outdoor, a company that makes guns and ammunition. Although MEC doesn’t actually sell guns or ammo, consumers have been calling the company out for selling Vista’s products after last month’s school shooting in Florida. Vista products will remain on shelves until current inventory is gone.

MEC's downtown Calgary location

Vancouver-based Mountain Equipment Co-op announced it is dropping products from brands owned by Vista Outdoor because it also owns brands that make guns and ammunition. (Mark Matulis/CBC)

The dangers of colon cleanses

Gwyneth Paltrow and Oprah swear by colon cleanses, but experts say there’s no scientific evidence to support them. The treatment is like an enema but with much more fluid (up to 60 litres, the equivalent of a Honda Civic’s gas tank). Doctors warn they can do more harm than good; risks include an imbalance of minerals, infections, intestinal tearing and even death.

Monica Black's colonic

Despite having celebrity fans, colon cleanses can do more harm than good, doctors have warned. (Craig Chivers/CBC)

What else is going on?

Gift cards in the mail. Loblaw has started to mail out $25 gift cards as compensation to try to make amends for a price-fixing scandal. The grocery giant allegedly agreed to bump up the price of bread for roughly 14 years.

This week in recalls

These children’s nightgowns don’t meet flammability requirements, the handle on these kettles could detach, these biscuits could contain undeclared peanuts, this lasagna could contain rubber, and these candies may contain harmful bacteria because of a mice infestation.

Duped at the door?

In a joint investigation with CBC’s Go Public, we look into the sales tactics of Canada’s telecommunications giants. After hearing hundreds of complaints about the largest of these, Bell, a Marketplace producer gets a job inside the company contracted to sell Bell products door to door.


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