Taking Bell to court and ‘secret’ airline fares: 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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Bell loses in court

One customer’s legal battle over service fees has ended in victory. A Toronto man took Bell Canada to court after the company refused to honour a verbal contract he made with a call centre rep for TV and internet services. When the email confirmation arrived, it said prices were “subject to change.” The deputy judge ruled the telecom giant can’t promise a price, then change it.

A recent Go Public/Marketplace hidden camera investigation captured sales reps for Bell falsely telling customers their monthly price would not increase for two years.

App offers ‘secret fares’

Air Canada and WestJet were planning to release some of their seats in a new app, with major discounts. The Hopper app uses push notifications to alert users to low-cost fares (up to 35 per cent off) that aren’t available online. The reason for the cut rate? Airlines offer the discounts to help fill up planes and increase bookings.

Air Canada and WestJet have since severed ties with Hopper due to confusion over the developer’s announcement that the airline would offer “secret fares” on its app.

The Hopper app will alert users to low-cost fares that the company says won’t be available online. (Mark Blinch/Canadian Press)

Data-only deals called ‘a joke’

Half a gigabyte of data for $30 a month — that’s what Bell and Telus are proposing as their lower-cost data-only deals. Critics are calling the potential plans from big telcos “embarrassing,” “rude” and “a joke.” One consumer watchdog group says the telcos should base their cheaper data-only deals on the $60, 10 GB plans they offered in some provinces in December.

More from Marketplace: Cellphone data shock.

More home-delivered groceries

Online grocery shopping and home delivery could be coming to your neighbourhood. Loblaws shoppers in Montreal, Halifax and Regina will be among those who can try it out. The push for grocery delivery may have something to do with the news last year that Amazon bought Whole Foods Market (including its Canadian locations).

Canada’s largest grocer plans to “blanket the country” with online grocery services this year. (CBC)

What else is going on?

Gas prices spike and Canadians keep filling up. A litre of gasoline was more than $1.60 at some stations in Vancouver this week and prices jumped almost 20 cents per litre across Canada over the last three months. The prices are expected to continue rising over the summer.

Canadian fraud victims could get their money back. After a class action in the U.S., Western Union was ordered to pay back $586 million for failing to protect its customers. But Canadian fraud victims could be covered by the settlement too.

This week in recalls

This henna could cause chemical burns; this children’s cardigan could be a choking hazard; this magnetic putty could contain high levels of arsenic; this elliptical cross trainer could be a fall hazard; this greeting card could be an eye injury risk.

What should we investigate next?

Our TV season has wrapped until the fall. Miss an episode? Watch Marketplace investigations on demand here. We are busy working on new stories and want to hear from you. What do you think we should investigate next? Email us at marketplace@cbc.ca.


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