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Speaking out against Ticketmaster and call centre tricks: CBC’s Marketplace consumer cheat sheet

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

Want this in your inbox? Get the Marketplace newsletter every Friday.

Find a call centre unhelpful? You were probably right

Have you tried to call and cancel a telecom service only to be passed from one employee to another? Our friends at Go Public reveal it’s because call centre staff often receive incentives for sales and lose commissions when something is cancelled. Former employees describe tricks used to prevent you from cancelling and offered advice on how you can get around them.

Band managers speak out against Ticketmaster

Managers of bands including Radiohead and the Pixies are not happy with Ticketmaster after the company’s secretive partnerships with scalpers were revealed. In a series of emails obtained by CBC, managers say Ticketmaster has outright denied working with scalpers.

In their emails, the band managers ask Ticketmaster: “Was this all just bollocks for public consumption when in fact you are taking a hypocritical and unprincipled stance and actually assisting scalpers?”

CBC has obtained emails from some band managers who are angry about Ticketmaster’s partnerships with ticket scalpers. (Dan McGarvey/CBC )

What happened when pot became legal

You’ve probably heard this already, but legal cannabis went on sale in Canada this week. The first shoppers were greeted with long lines. Some stores ran out of product quickly, but spirits were generally high. The rules on cannabis consumption vary depending on where you live, so check out this handy guide. Pot prices also vary, but New Brunswickers are paying the highest prices.

Some Canadians looking to buy legal cannabis faced long lines and product shortages. (Ryan Remiorz/Canadian Press)

Chiropractor crackdown

The College of Chiropractors of B.C. is cracking down on members who claim they can treat conditions there’s no evidence they can help. If a chiropractor is advertising they can treat conditions including cancer, diabetes, infertility, infections, autism, or Alzheimer’s, they have to stop by Nov 1.

The College of Chiropractors of B.C. has set a Nov. 1 deadline for members to stop advertising claims they can treat certain conditions. (CBC)

What else is going on

Your online shopping might be delayed if rotating Canada Post strikes start Monday.  Members voted in favour of the strike at the end of September.

If you want a snack and don’t want to leave the house, delivery is coming. Delivery service Foodora announced a partnership with 7-Eleven in Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton starting last week.

Recall alerts

The suction cups on this baby bath may not adhere to the tub; These slime and putty toys could contain too much boric acid; These Barrel-O-Slime toys could also contain too much boric acid; These Country Natural weiners may contain undeclared milk; This assisted flushing system could burst; Parts of this toy bus could break off and cause a choking hazard and the phthalate levels on these stuffed toys could exceed allowable levels.

Watch next week: 

Filthy flights: What are the dirtiest airplane surfaces?

When you board a flight, do you ever wonder how clean it really is? From seat belts and tray tables, to bathrooms and blankets, we swab and test three major airlines — Air Canada, WestJet and Porter. And we go beyond the surface to check the air quality too.

Before we reveal the answer on Oct. 26, we’re asking you: What do you think is the dirtiest spot on an airplane?

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Ontario’s new automated speed enforcement explained

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(NC) To wage the war against speeding, many municipalities across Ontario have turned to automated speed enforcement. Most recently introduced in Toronto, speed cameras are a high-tech solution to reduce speeding and are considered one of the most effective ways to create safer roads and save lives.  

Recognizing police officers cannot catch all speeders, these cameras fill the gap, providing monitoring in specific locations around the clock. When a car’s speed is even one kilometre over the posted amount, it will take a picture of the offending vehicle’s license plate, using the captured photo as indisputable evidence. A ticket is then served to the vehicle’s owner, regardless of who was driving. 

With a focus on high-risk areas, Ontario’s automated speed enforcement cameras are located in two specific municipal areas: school and community safety zones. School zones are designated streets close to a school, featuring reduced speed limits as dictated by local bylaws. Community safety zones are high-risk corridors and intersections, subject to increased fines and penalties.  

While the Ontario Highway Traffic Act outlines the use of automated speed enforcement, municipalities can decide when and where to use cameras to curb speeding. The act does dictate financial penalties for speed violations captured with cameras, which vary depending on the number of kilometres caught over the speed limit.  

Speed enforcement is not new, but part of a broader, integrated road safety strategy that includes infrastructure improvements, awareness campaigns and new uses of technology. City officials hope for a halo effect, inspiring better driving behaviour across entire communities, not only in areas with cameras. A controversial topic, some critics take exception to speed cameras, labelling them as sneaky cash grabs for municipalities. Governments think the opposite. 

Safety advocate and auto insurance provider Onlia is hopeful that the cameras will provide drivers with a reminder to slow down, especially in high-risk areas like school and community safety zones.  

For those who obey the speed limit, automated speed enforcement shouldn’t change anything about your driving style, says Alex Kelly, Safety Ambassador at OnliaDrivers have fair warning as they approach areas with speed cameras, as mandatory signs provide reasonable notice of upcoming automated speed enforcement. Regardless of warnings, the best speed is the posted speed. 

You can start to understand your speeding style by downloading the insurance provider’s new safe driving app that coaches and rewards for you for safe driving habits.

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Online banking: How to protect yourself from fraud

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(NC) Since the start of the COVID-19 crisis, a growing number of consumers are regularly using mobile and online banking to paybill payments, transfer money and make purchases.

Although these tools can give you easy access to your personal finances on demand, there are also some risks involved. For instance, your banking information—such as your debit or credit card number, user name, or personal identification number (PIN)—could be stolen. If criminals have access to your online banking information, they can steal your money, which is why it’s so important to be  vigilant when you bank online.

Follow these tips to help protect your personal and banking information:

  • For your online bank accounts, use a strong password that can’t be easily guessed, and never share your user name or password with anyone.
  • Check your accounts regularly to make sure there are no transactions you didn’t make or authorize.
  • When making online purchases, never authorize a website to save your credit card information, password or other personal information. Giving websites this permission will save you some time the next time you access the site, but it poses a real threat if a hacker manages to access your information.

Most financial institutions have policies to protect you from transactions that you didn’t make.

However, you are responsible for protecting your online and mobile banking information. If you give your details to anyone—including your spouse or partner, a family member or a friend—your financial institution may hold you responsible for any unauthorized transactions in your account, and even strip you of protection from unauthorized transactions in the future.

If you suspect your information may have been compromised, change your passwords immediately, and check your account and credit card statements for anomalies and report any suspicious transactions to your financial institution.

The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada has created resources to help you protect your online banking information.

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Payday loans: Not the best way to borrow money

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(NC) Payday loans are a very expensive way to borrow money. Even if you’re struggling financially, think twice—and crunch the numbers—before getting this type of loan.

Depending on the rules in your province, payday lenders can charge fees of $15 to $25 per $100 that you borrow.

As an example, let’s say you borrow $300 for home repairs. The payday lender charges you $51 in fees, or $17 for every $100 borrowed. Your loan balance is therefore $351, which amounts to an interest rate of 442 per cent.

There can be serious consequences if you don’t repay your loan by the due date. These may include the following:

  • The payday lender may charge you a fee if there isn’t enough money in your account.
  • Your financial institution may also charge you a fee if there isn’t enough money in your account.
  • The total amount that you owe, including the fees, continues to increase.

There are better options out there

Payday loans should be your last resort to borrow money. Consider cheaper ways of borrowing money, such as:

  • Cashing in vacation days or asking for a pay advance from your employer.
  • Getting a line of credit, a cash advance on a credit card or a personal loan from your financial institution.
  • Getting a loan from family or friends.

Before getting a payday loan and to avoid getting stuck in a debt trap, consider other, less expensive ways to borrow money.

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