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This week’s top consumer news

What happened this week that affects your health and your wallet:

Money
Travel
Cars
Tech
Food
Health
Home
#Fail


MONEY

Everything -- from housing to meat to telecommunications bills -- just got more expensive, according to Statistics Canada.

And if you want to buy a house, it will probably cost you almost $84,000 more than you thought it would, according to research from the Bank of Montreal. 

Experts estimate that 60 million accounts have been exposed in the Home Depot data hack, and $2-3 billion could be charged to compromised accounts. If you think your info might have gotten into the wrong hands, don’t panic. Here’s what you need to knowA class action suit against Home Depot is already underway

The CRTC hearings on the future of television, and, more importantly, what will become of your cable bill, continued in Gatineau. At issue: whether consumers should be able to pick the channels they want, without being loaded up with channels they don’t want. The arguments on both sides were dramatic. Netflix appeared before the CRTC to say that consumers, not regulators, should decide. Here's some good background about the issue and what it means for your wallet.

While there were more than 10,000 complaints against lawyers in 2012, it’s not easy to find out if your lawyer is facing suspension, as some clients out tens of thousands of dollars found out recently.


TRAVEL

WestJet is joining other carriers in charging economy travellers for bags for some customers. If you’re going to Canada or the U.S. on the lowest-price ticket, you’ll probably get hit with the $25 fee. A few days later, Air Canada followed suit.  Industry estimates say that discount airlines make 40 per cent of their revenue from fees

Meanwhile, travellers on Air France are dealing with other woes: the airline strike shut down 40 per cent of flights for several days

Guests at Marriott will now get a not-so-subtle reminder to tip the housekeepers.  Which many of you you didn’t like very much. 


CARS

GM admitted that 19 deaths are linked to its faulty ignition switch


TECH

If you’re an Apple customer, it’s been an emotional week. A record number of pre-orders in the first 24 hours mean that there may be some delays shipping iPhone 6 and 6 plusThe much-hyped Apple iOS8 was launched on Wednesday.  And if you are one of the Apple users who are frustrated trying to get that free U2 album off your phone, Apple finally caved to pressure and created an easy one-click way to get the album off your phone. The RCMP was called in to manage the crowd of Apple fans who lined up for many hours to get their hands on the first phones in Vancouver

And if you’re a BlackBerry fan, and are in the market for a really, really expensive phone, well there was good news for you this week, too.
 

FOOD

A report in the US found that restaurant goers are willing to look the other way on health violations if they think that they’re getting “authentic” food.

New rules mean that egg-laying hens in Alberta will get bigger cages. This will probably also mean you’ll have a slightly bigger grocery bill. 

And a study published in Nature found that you may want to put down that diet soda, because artificial sweeteners may be linked to obesity and diabetes.


HEALTH

A study of hospital ER wait times revealed that at one Winnipeg hospital, you could end up waiting for more than nine hours to see a doctor. Some other hospitals didn’t fare much better. 

And researchers suggested that since we give prescription medicine to 3.5 million Canadian children a year, it might be a good idea to actually test some of those drugs on kids


HOME

Hydro-Quebec wants to install 3.8 million smart meters in the province. One blacksmith is fighting back, though what he’s doing may not be legal, exactly.


#FAIL

Urban Outfitters was politely told by the Internet to not sell a Kent State University shirt that looked like it was covered in blood spatters. The store was pretty quick to pull the item. This comes only a few weeks after Zara was called out for selling a kids shirt that looked like a Nazi concentration camp uniform and only a few months after the Bay was criticized a shirt that was said to encourage eating disorders