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Clean Water, Dirty Tricks  Comment Icon 139 Broadcast DATE: Friday, January 28, 2011
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Clean Water, Dirty Tricks

Marketplace goes undercover to expose the techniques used in door-to-door sales of water purification systems — devices that can cost thousands of dollars, but which most people simply may not need. Co-host Tom Harrington investigates the scare tactics used to entice people to buy — and meets an elderly woman who spent $3,500 on a purification system.

Your Comments (139)

Ok people, the purpose of this segment was NOT to discredit all business' and individuals who legitimately conduct these tests. The purpose was to show the scam, show that purification products are not always necessary and like in many ways, there is always a scam running. They were just bringing it to the public's attention; stop trashing them because they weren't "unbiased"-had the CBC known and not done this, everyone would be complaining wondering "why did we never hear about this?..."

Chlorine is an element by itself. It does not break down. It reacts with other stuff. When that trainer says that one of the products is THM, the first question anyone should ask is where does the methane (CH4) come from? Methane is a gas.

Please read up on your municipalities drinking water. They have plenty of documentation at their office and would likely be delighted to discuss it with you and give a tour.

Educate yourself - this goes for anything you use on a regular basis.

This report shows clearly how misleading and false are these sales tactics, which should be condemned.
But a fair reporter should not put himself on the same level of these misleading practices.
The reporter made his point by focusing only one side of the medal or the town's technicians and completely ignored other scientifically based facts on the side effects of chlorine disinfection. In fact chlorination even though is necessary in order to prevent bacteria from growing in our water, it is also a disinfectant that not only smells but it is also linked (based on scientific and widely available studies) to various negative effects on the human body.
Reverse osmosis is very efficient at removing contaminants unfortunately it does not recognize minerals therefore it removes them as well producing PURE but de-mineralized and acidic water.
Any reverse osmosis system could be supplemented with a re-mineralization stage in order to elevate the water's ph and improve its taste.
Also, there's a lot of very honest sales people that provide for their own families doing their job . This report should have mentioned this repeatedly.

In reply to a comment from Big G

Especially Girl Guides selling cookies.

My Rule #1. Do not buy ANYTHING from someone who knocks on your front door.
Rule #2 Do not give money to ANYONE who knocks on your front door
Rule # 3 Do NOT disobey rule #1 or rule #2.

In reply to a comment from Kelly-Rae Aldridge

Same here, got the training and the job, did'nt beleive the product so opted out, question is how do we as a community stop these scammers that are in our neighbourhood.

Hi everyone,i work for this company in alberta as a appointment setter. It is completely different then what the ontario offices are doing. They are using electricity in water which is illegal, why they do that, who knows but since this has aired the first time the companies demo has completely changed. Our office for one just opened and don't and never will use the scare tactics, we don't need to pressure people to buy the system, it's common sense. It's a good product

In reply to a comment from Mr. Robin Parsons

I am glad to read of the antidote to drinking demineralized water. Gatorade eh? Good to know.

By the way, I live in Quebec province and wonder if there is anyone on this forum who has experience with the Quebec Provincial Consumer Protection Branch.

I sure would like to find out more of what I can do to ensure either that my filtered water has not been stripped of minerals, or, that maybe I can get a refund and the system removed......??

In reply to a comment from Ken &Val

I have one of the filtration systems and have always been concerned about how many good minerals etc. have been removed by the RO system
There seems to have been no other information from "Market Place" about their investigation along with Ont Consumer Protection Branch.
I would love to get my money back. I am also financed through TD Bank. I wonder if this Market Place program would prompt them to refund our money??

Just saw the Simple H2O story. We were visited by one of their reps claiming to be from our county Healt Unit. After a few minutes I realized he was a salesman selling us a water filtration system. I called him a snake oil salesman and he was upset that I insulted his integrity. Anyone else see the irony?

This show should be called "What is a marketplace" rather than "Marketplace" because you clearly have no idea how one works.

Sales is sales, you make your case in the best light possible to build value and a sense of urgency. And guess what? every sales person whether they are selling water systems, roofs, cars, or advertising space on CBC using the same methods to some degree. Pre-close, objection handling, product presentation, etc, all parts of your episode that you tried to portray as "questionable sales practices."

You failed to ask the question "Does the products they sell make the water safer?" or did you just assume that you would decide for everyone what level of health they want for their home?

I am not in the water business, but I am a sales person and have been for many years. It is clear to me that you are completely clueless as to how the world works.

By the way, great investigate reporting asking the people that are responsible for making water safe, if they make water safe. That is like me asking you if you think your report was balanced and fair. Maybe you should try doing some paternity test shows, those seem to be more on your journalistic level.

A friend of mine was being trained by the very same company. He still thinks its the best thing out there if someone wants their water "cleaned". But he says that this particular company prays upon people who are dying for work. The jobs are listed in the job bank. At the interview they said that they would pay $18 per hour plus commissions. Which sounds good. But then, you find that the commission is small and that you have to get at least 15 presentations in 2 weeks or you don't get paid the hourly rate. You only get your commissions for what you actually sell. But during the first 2 weeks is any new salesperson any good at what they do? So, while you are being trained, you don't get any pay at all unless you make your 15 appointments. They call to verify each appointment to see if it really happened. They gave him a $10 gas card. They want to take all the referrals that he gets and he wonders if they keep the referrals and call them on their own. If they told you that you would be working for 2 weeks with no pay...nobody would sign up to work for them. So, he does not know what to do. He is not a quitter, but, he wants to work for a good company.

Both I and my next door neighbour were visited by a "Water Tester"When they went to my neighbours door he told the person to wait a minute. He returned and passed a urine sample to the salesperson with the remarks "Test This"

In reply to a comment from Brian Adrian

Tap water has to be safe enough to it doesn't hurt you short term. If it hurts you long term how can you prove it?

need to change brita filter every month, only filters out chlorine. If that is what you want fine. But how much per year will that be on filters?

In reply to a comment from Bob Smith

Yes, how many bottle water companies just sell tap water or filtered tap water or spring water that isn't treated as much as tap water. If you are spending alot of money on bottled water if you want purified water in your home you can get it.

In reply to a comment from RADEY

yes it works feel free to get a water analysis or have them come test it or someone else. It removes everything but water. Don't have to worry what is good or bad if it removes everthing.

In reply to a comment from Stacy M

That brita filter doesn't come with a 25 year warranty including service. It only takes out chlorine and does do its job but needs to be changed every month. How much will that cost over 25 yrs let alone for the fact that all it is doing is taking out chlorine.

In reply to a comment from Donna Devlin

could also treat with UV light instead of chlorine like new york city is thinking of doing to kill bacteria. Chlorine is needed to treat tap water it is your choice if you want to filter it out.

In reply to a comment from Nancy

I emailed the manufacturer the drinking water station is made in Taiwan but was engineered and designed in Canada. All the other products are made in Canada but parts come from china just like everything else these days.

In reply to a comment from sattar

Is the home depot warranty for 25 yrs on the RO unit and does that include a 25 year service/maintenance program. That is the extra cost you are paying for. Does the home depot unit have 7 stages, does it sterilize and does it remineralize.

Two years ago, while unemployed, Pure Sense posted an employment ad online for their London, Ontario location that I found very appealing. I contacted them and was invited to a presentation session very similar to the one from the episode. Something the episode didn't touch upon is that Pure Sense scams their employees just as much as their customers. You're drawn in by the ideas of being "self-employed" and the compensation from your hard work. With only my savings, I ended up spending most of it on gas driving around town-to-town and on cell phone bills. I had no idea this is what I'd be trying to sell to people. Thankfully, I'm not much of a salesman, so these people weren't ripped off. Please keep this in mind: not all Pure Sense employees who show up at your door know what they're part of. I certainly didn't.

Two yrs ago took training course for co. selling 3 stage filter sys.Used 2 probes wired up to trans.and placed into clean glass of water.When power was applied it was not long before dark scum collected on water surface.On our break told another in class i was sure it was a scam.The two probes looked like stainless steel amd tarnished copper to me.The darker probe was sacrificial when power applied,thus the scum on water surface was my conclusion.

I am watching this show right now on tv & must comment. I cannot drink Thunder Bay or Calgary water without a RO unit. I get physically sick from it. I realized it was the water when I moved to Crossfield AB & got off the Calgary water. The water source is the only thing that changed. I also didn't get sick on the acreage from well water. Now back in Calgary I got a RO unit installed immediately in my first home & now in a subsequent home that I live in. Actually brought water from the acreage till I got the first one installed. Current one I got water from Trail Appliances until they got the unit installed. I now drink 8 glasses plus a day due to a diet plan I am on(plus it's supposed to be good for you) and don't get sick. I can't even stand the smell of Calgary water straight from a tap or water fountain.

Why are you guys attacking a company that has been in business for as long as they have, i have one of there products and it has made a huge difference in our water and they have been great about coming buy and servicing it. You need to look at what the products do and how they take out the chlorine ans other impuritaies out of the water. This show is a joke and looks for stories. Why do you have to play a re run ? Is it the fact you cant pull anything else on a legidimant company that has been in business for as long as they have.

We fell for this as well and have currently asked for it to be removed. but it will cost us 1300.00 to get rid of it. wish i had not made an impulse buy. the helpfullness from h20 has been nill. i wanted them to come and check to see if it was working properly and never received a call and yes i am concerned as to how them installed system as they cut a hole in my plumbing stuck in a tube and tapped it in place. gee how safe is this? thank you cbc for alerting people. Boy do i wish i had been this smart. but i am now.

In reply to a comment from Vaudree

Chlorine is a naturally occuring compound. Chlorine (as in bleach) is Sodium Chlorite(I), also NaCIO. Agent Orange is a 50:50 mix of 2,4,5-Trichlorophenoxyacetic acid or C8H5Cl3O3, and 2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid or C8H6Cl2O3. While you are correct, there is chlorine in it's elemental form there, it is not the same as Agent Orange. To rephrase that would be roughly similar to explanations that Hydrogen, a naturally occuring compound, has been proven to cause death (and it has) when it is combined to form H2O. For all things, do research. It's often a big hint that if you are bring pressured into something, not all is well.

I just had one of these presentations at my home. During this "precip test" which you are sensationalizing here, my rep said, nearly word for word "don't be afraid of this, it might look a little scary. This is just showing the rock that gums up your faucets."

I wasn't ever afraid of anything and she kept saying that my water was safe to drink.

In reply to a comment from janet cope

We also had it installed, but have not payed on it yet.
anyway of returning it?

In reply to a comment from kman

If you recall my posting... I never mentioned Brita as a filter, what I said was it works as good or better at removing taste and chlorine. You mention dissolved solids. Most of these are beneficial to ones health. Why remove something that is good for you? These thousands of dollar plus filters DO NOT remove harmful bacteria. I suggest a "government controlled" lab test is the only way to be sure if your water is safe and the cost (less than $50) is by far the best option. If your water is "hard" then a water softener is in order, but again, you can purchase a very good one for under a thousand dollars. You don't need a three thousand dollar model.

Costco Sell the same system for only $220 (Brand: Watts)

Water treatment is essentiqal for rural areas who rely on well water, for city water its kind of a luxury , except if you wanted a higher quality water for washing clothes , cars and bathing , and the savings in detergents usually pay for the equipment, coffee and tea and most beverages taste better with distilled or softened water , thats why it is used in bottling plants , the Calcium usually precipitates the acids and tannins in tea and juices, a good unit for reverse osmosis from the home depot for an average household for undersink use for drinking an cooking water should cost about $400-$500 give some $200 for installation and the whole fair cost should be $600 installed, including warranty, the $4000 charged by the companies is way out of whack .
What the companies dont know , is that the Fluoride present in the water causes health problems , in bones , teeth and Thyroid , and may be responsible for certain tumors and cancers, as are the heavy metals and Arsenic dumped with the raw HydroFluoroSillicic acid , from Aluminum and fertilizer plants , and the fluoride also wrecks the membrane element of the R.O unit and the resins in the softener units.

I would like the CBC investigate Fluoride use in water, I suspect the water companies are dumping more of the toxin than is deemed safe. Thank you CBC.
I am a water treatment Engineer from Edmonton registered with APEGGA and endorse everything you stated in the program investigating water treatment equipment sales companies , I personally call for government regulation of this vital industry , you simply cannot trust your water to illiterate salesmen

In reply to a comment from Stacy M

Read the label on your brita filter carefully. It states that it is not intended to be a filtration system period. Reverse osmosis distillation and de-ionization are the only methods that will effectively remove dissolved solids from water.

PBS Frontline did a story a couple years back about medical and fertilizer contaminants getting into the water supply that municipalities do not filter out. A Reverse Osmosis system will, apparently, remove those making it a worthwhile $300 or so investment (not these overpriced systems mentioned in this report).

This whole story was very sensational. Market Place has become more so over the years by producing catchy stories to boost up ratings yet not spending the time doing quality research and presenting all sides of the story. Obviously, reporters can’t be experts on everything, but they should be able to find suitable experts to put the whole picture into the correct perspective. Actually, considering the CBC has Bob McDonald as their senior “scientist”, why didn’t they have him review the story.

Therefore, Market Place did a great deed to expose the scam—potentially saving millions of dollars for Canadians—but simultaneously it has done a negative deed because it left the average person with the impression that water filtration systems (of which reverse osmosis, RO, is one) are useless—which isn’t true. In fact, the military uses RO systems in places where there is no potable water.
Having exposed the scam, the next logical steps in the story would be (1) municipally treated drinking water is SAFE (which it did), but (2) if you’re concerned about your water you can buy a basic carafes/pitcher filter or, if you still don’t think that’s enough, you can get an effective NSF-certified water filtration system (such as RO) for about $300-500 (with installation) rather than getting scammed for $2000-$7000 for the exact same system. And (3) if Market Place really did its research it could have revealed that although municipal drinking water is safe it does contain hundreds of trace chemicals (see Ontario Regulation 169/03 for Ontario Drinking Water Quality Standards)
Instead, it presented a very one-sided story. And, in that sense, Market Place has indirectly MISINFORMED the public. It’s as though the story was subsidized by the drinking water departments of Ontario municipalities. Perhaps consulting McGill University’s chemistry professor, Dr. Joe Schwarcz, who’s held seminars on water quality would have provided a more impartial analysis compared to a civic official who’ll never say anything negative about the water.

The downside of RO systems is that for every litre of water they filter they produce about 4 to 9 litres of water going back down the drain as waste water. All that effort (and money) spent by municipalities to clean sewage water to make it drinkable is wasted. However, there are new RO systems that don’t produce as much “waste water”.

There’s a lot of junk information out there and there are a lot of people believing it and repeating it, too. Unlike some reviewers have stated below, I’d never say tap water is not safe to drink—despite the trace chemicals found within it—but water filtration systems, either RO or activated carbon, do work.
Some reviewers below say that chlorine should be completely avoided. Any biology textbook will tell you that chlorine is essential—not optional—for life (although not necessarily from our drinking water) in the form of salt (sodium chloride) otherwise our nervous system, to mention just one bodily system, wouldn’t function.

The CBC?
By the way, I thought this was the CANADIAN Broadcast Corporation, whereas more and more its stories are seeming like the Toronto or ONTARIO Broadcast Corporation. The CBC costs Canadians $35/person/year. Should residents in other provinces stop contributing their taxes to CBC’s Ontario-heavy stories?

I live in Montreal and we got a call from Aqua Vie Inc. in the summer of 2010 under the guise that they were offering free water quality tests. They performed the same electrode and yellow drops tricks and it turned out they were selling a system for $2400 which costs about $200-500 at the store. Since then I’ve done a lot of research. Too bad the show focused mostly on Ontario companies. It would have been nice if companies in other provinces were mentioned, too.

Great information -- scamming and fear tactics are definately present -- please continue your research as I think there is more to the water issue that you've reported. I will state I do filter water (not with that system) for taste -- anyone old enough to have tasted tea and water years ago, knows if does tastes differently (worse). Still,I want my water purified by townships -- I can filter out the taste problem. Anyway this is what I still want to know:
1. I am worried about the pipes it has is transported through - what is the water picking up - e.g lead?
2. What chemicals can not be filtered out and is there anyway to do so -- I am concerned that our water supplies are becoming more contaminated.
3. Please research about companies buying up water supplies - is this a conspiracy theory rumor or are they preparing for a water shortage in the future?

In reply to a comment from fT

How many people died drinking tap water? Don't mention Walkerton, that is lame. Chlorine fixed the problem, not cheap Chinese filters! Did I say Cheap? YES! The filters sold by the salesmen come from China for less than 2 hundred dollars and simpleh2o re-sells for over 3 thousand dollars! Total scam. Buy a 16 dollar Brita, it does the same job or better for removing chlorine and taste.

As someone who almost ended up working for this company, I can attest that the Marketplace data is pretty darn accurate.

In reply to a comment from Jeff F.

All good soft drinks and beer are made with distilled water. Reverse osmosis is not what simpleh20 sells. They sell cheap filters made in China.

In reply to a comment from Pat Loranger

Gee Pat, what water do you think they use for soda pop?? Soda pop not only uses tap water, but they add sugar and other chemicals, artificial flavors and colors, etc. Suggest you consider another alternative such as distilled or reverse osmosis.

In reply to a comment from Omniboy

I've read this article very carefully and not once is the word bleach nor dioxin mentioned. What are you talking about?

im not a fan of them and i used to work for them... most of it is accurate but all your facts are not!!!

btw if i post and its not there... you are just as bad as them for removing posts

if that was the case someone should do a marketplace on marketplace

this is alittle in accurate... u should realy focus more about the product....

its incorrect the minerals are readded into the water...

there just happens to be more minerals and other toxics in real water...

This program had very shoddy reporting, it left one with the questions "WHAT FAKE TESTS DID THEY USE" so consumers could watch out for them???? You kept mentioning the "Fake H2O tests" but you never said what or how they were used or what they used????

In reply to a comment from Vaudree

Bleach and dixoin are not the same thing. Where did you get you facts? A cracker jack box?

There is a sucker born every minute.

Marketplace is the most BIAS news company I know.........Of course the government will say there`s nothing wrong with tap would it look if they didn`t?

I also wanted to add, it's ironic seeing comments of people mad that they bought a [grossly overpriced] water filter, but not that their city water is clearly proven to cause cancer and heart disease. Is your money really more important than your health? We should be complaining to the city for having us believe tap water is safe to drink when the science is clear that it isn't. And again, superior filters to those overpriced ones are available on ebay and other websites for just over $100, paying thousands for an inferior model is absolutely ridiculous. They also end up costing far less than a Brita and making far better water. I also add Himalayan or grey sea salt to the water to add minerals back to it (about 1/2 tsp in my 20 liter water cooler bottles) and it also makes it taste even better.

Hi just wanted to inform you that someone tried the same scam on my elderly parents today (Feb 2 2011) here in Edmonton. When my parents decided not to purchase the system the sales rep got hostile. Would you know who to complain to here in Edmonton or Alberta?


But wait.... they dont mention anything about the massive amounts of Lead in our water or Aluminum, Mercury, Chromium, Toxaphene, Flouride, Benzene.... I mean Ive been studying on this topic for 2 years now and even worked for this company "Simple H2o" not long before I realized they are scamming people for their money!! I have been an independent water technician ever since. I mean just head over to your local Home Depot Store and you will find a variety of water purifiers and experts who can answer almost any questions on these systems that sell for a fraction of the cost some unfortunate people are paying. I even created a website completely dedicated to this. Please, Do Your Research!

Chlorine is an inexpensive way to solve alot problems that arrise with supplying water to the large populations.Is it safe? more or less in the sense that it will not kill you. Is It healthy? Not a chance.
Brita's will control chlorine but after 1 month are only 66% effective. R/O systems are way more effective and can remove disloved impurities better than any filter system.

In reply to a comment from tmv

Correct water is naturally acidic and acid rain has not gone away it just does not make the news anymore. R/O's do remove minerals that balance the PH raising the acid level even further. A simple calcite filter as the final stage will balance the PH level.Retail about $12.00.
There are far more honest distrubtors of R/O systems that sell for about $400. It is important to change your filters twice a year and the R/O membrane every 4 to 5 years.

In reply to a comment from Mr. Kelly Reaburn

maybe you should ask vancouver's mayor if he only drink tap water and nothing else. if he said it's safe, he shouldn't be drinking bottled water or anything else. because bottled water is a substitute to tap water that's why bottled water is in the market because some people don't drink their tap. i hope the mayor is not, because if he buys bottled water, that's an expense to the city budget and it will be an addition to their waste and recycling.

In reply to a comment from David

I had this company come to my door...thought the price was far too much, but that presentation got me to get my water tested. I can't believe the crap that was in there (heavy metals, pesticides etc.). I am so grateful that I installed a UV light and a RO system. Now I know my water is pure. Marketplace really should have had samples taken of municipal water and had it analyzed by independent labs not just taken the word of taking heads stating the water is safe to consume (what else are they going to say). Not impressed with the one side report.

Maybe we should ask those experts on the video if they do drink their tap water??? That they don't use any water filters or purification to treat their water??? Because if they've said that our city water and the water all over canada is safe. They shouldn't be using any filters??? And also if the government is saying that our water is safe. Why is it that they allow this manufacturers, distributors of this water systems to market and sell their products if there's isn't a need because water is safe??? So with that, the public is protected from this issues. And why is it that some part in Alberta and Saskatchewan, Water conditioners and softeners are standard with every new homes. Means that newly build houses should have a water conditioners and softeners installed by the builder. So if the city water is safe, Why would they regulate this kind of thing??? Remember this systems eliminates chlorines and those hard minerals that you've seen on the video.

Really hate to rain on your parade guys but;
Unknown to education and science are the true workings of fire, water, air, light, magnetism, sound, sight, cold, hot. electricity, earthquakes, tides--and I could go on and on.

I ask you, without knowing the truth of such things, how in bloody H can one determine Clean Water, homeopathy or the simple working of our universe?! bruce voigt

Cure or Con? Your Comments 1177
Bruce Voigt
Posted on January 13, 2011 10:06 PM This one will knock your socks off -- google-magic magee healing device

Did any body look to see where the drain connections from these units terminate. Most times they are tied into the plumbing drain lines. There needs to be a physical break between the to or the potential to suck sewage water intoyour drinking water is there

In reply to a comment from Stacy M

Probably that`s why my water is still yellow.
He put a vacumn filter in my R/O..
I`m still waiting for my full refund form the vendor in Buckimgham.
he posted a comment saying : I sell the products and if anyone is unhappy I will gladly give a full refund.

Still waiting ......

In reply to a comment from Mary

They knew well #5 at Walkerton would be a problem the day they drilled it. Grazing land surrounding the well and no buffer zone was ever secured as recomended by the contractor.Stop worrying about bacteria we need it for bread,yogurt and our immune systems just to name a few. Bacteria out numbers your blood cells 10 to one.

I am not a large company looking to make large mark-ups on to cover the cost of overhead and commissions in the neighborhood of 6 figures. I have seen the results of customers who have been burned by these companies. The products they sell are not the problem it is their sales techniques and their lack of maintenance. The cost through my company to install and maintain in the first year is about $500.00 and about $120.00 per year after that. The most important thing is the filter changes on a regular basis. There are many such companies like mine that offer this service, and you can also buy them over the counter at Home depot and Canadian tire.
Chlorine bleach does come in packages with warnings for consumer health and safety for anyone to assume that the 15 or 20 pmm that is our water supply is safe would mostly be correct. That level of chlorine will not kill you. However R/O systems are not about safe water they are about healthy water. The main feature of even a simple system like a Brita is to remove chlorine.
Reverse Osmosis removes everything good and bad so the water is purified a simple PH balance filter or a mineral filter for the final stage produces a high quality of water.
Do your homework before you paint us all with the same brush?
By the way while we are on the topic why not expose the quality of bottled water City of Ottawa tap water has a lower TDS reading than most bottled water on the market so why not install and maintain an R/O system and get a supply of water you can trust.

In reply to a comment from L.Harris

I purchased a Simple H20 costing me over $7,000 or $84 a month for ten years. The plan is with TD Bank. I think I was really taken and wish I had never signed for it. How much was your machine?

I choose to drink pure water and I choose not to drink chlorinated, so bottom line the choice is yours, keep drinking chlorinated water or pure water and I'm doing my part by not polluting the environment with those nasty plastic bottles.
Remember water is a necessity of life!

In reply to a comment from David

Whatever you do, don't eat the tuna!

In reply to a comment from Stacy

I agree with Stacey here. Just because the tactics and practices of the profiled company are questionable at the the very least, it does not mean all related companies and products should have a bad light shed on them. R/O water and remin R/O water provide an option to purify water to a greater degree then the city, just be well informed and do your research before purchasing.

In reply to a comment from Robert Brown

You can have chlorine removed at your faucet for way less than 3 thousand dollars! We have chlorine removal on our kitchen faucet and shower. Total cost is 56 dollars and a few cents. My husband installed it himself. We also get our water tested in a lab every year because we have a well system and pump as opposed to city. We pour Javex in our well every spring and remove it with faucet filters. Test comes back as safe to drink with no taste at all, just clean water.

In reply to a comment from David

A Brita filter is all you need. Reverse Osmosis does NOT remove E-Coli nor does brita, but Brita filters are $3,000 to $4,000 cheaper!! Buyer beware for sure!! My Brita cost fifteen bucks and I get my water tested from a lab for $30 a year. Lab testing by a scientist who does not sell or even recommend costly filters is the way to go!!

In reply to a comment from Tri Star

Wow, maybe they are all ex vacumn cleaner salesmen? The company in Buckingham Quebec "waterworld" is owned by a guy who sold rainbow vacumn cleaners.

H20 Solutions is on their way to my home right now to do a presentation. They must be scrambling to get some business! I am looking forward to discussing their presentation.....! Thanks Marketplace.

I am a Plumber who installed many simpleh2o products from Buckingham Qc and I feel ashamed for not knowing more about them. Way over priced at $3,000 from the company(sold on the internet for $200 or less)and made in China. A Brita filter does a better job and cost just 16 dollars at any hardware store.

I think that you should check out P.A.Care also. Platinum Air Care. $5000.00 for an air purifier which claims to cure asthma. They call you first to ask if you have any breathing problems, they still claim that they are not selling anything but they are. The sales person keeps calling the "Boss" to whine about you not buying it, and they keep pressuring you to buy. I don't think that they should be allowed to enter senior citizen apartment building.

In reply to a comment from M Keeler

I live in Gatineau,
and still waiting for my 13000$ refund.
My water is still yellow and smells. and my Tankless Water Heater, is not CANADIAN Certified

Anyone who has a concern should do the research them selves. Go on to your cities website and get the annual water quality report. Read it and then do the research on the contents of the report. If you people out there will believe everything you see on TV then for shame. Do the research and educate yourselves before making a snap judgement on something you know nothing about.

I would like to see the proofs and the evidence that the city officials and the government officials were speaking of as it makes no references to any material what so ever.

In summary educate yourselves and don`t be sheep make informed decisions.

In reply to a comment from PJMurphy

If you are not going to take the word of the water quality manager for the city on the quality of the water, then whose word are you going to take? The minerals contained in tap water are the same minerals you can find in bottled water. Often, bottled water is simply tap water from the local area.

In reply to a comment from PJMurphy

If you wanted to know what the chemicals were, perhaps you could have followed the link to "How the water tests work."

In short, the chemical test detects the presence of things like alkali earth metals, most notably calcium. IOW: It's harmful to your kettle, not you.

The electrode test simply detects the presence of ions in the water. Any ions will do, even the sodium and chloride from a bit of good old table salt.

In reply to a comment from tmv

Speaking as a chemist, a pH of 7.5 isn't neutral, but rather it's slightly basic and such water is certainly not pure. If you were to take pure water, it would have a pH of 7.0 when freshly purified, (upon exposure to air it will become slightly acidic due to carbon dioxide entering solution).

Not that there is any harm in drinking water which is somewhat acidic: The first thing it's going to do is get mixed with the highly acidic contents of your stomach.

I applied for a job with this company and got it however it seemed too sketchy so I did not go. Now I'm so glad I didn't!

Unbelievable sales tactics....but non the less, the tests are authentic. The municipalities keep annual water test reports deeply hiddden on the net. Water companies were told to stop using the precipitators which also show the same guck as the chemical drops. The precipitators evaporated the chlorine leaving exposed the contents of the water....a mixture of inorganic minerals, drugs that may have been dumpred into our water source...inmdustrial & agricultural name it it IS ION OUR TAP WATER!!!

The guy in the video clealy doesn't know what he is talking about.

So anyone who bought their RO system, be thankful you at least are purifying your water

In reply to a comment from Cathy

You have left me highly confused. Who is he? and no I'm probably not the Stacy you know, considering that is my last name. If you feel that getting a refund will put you at ease then power to ya! I am a fan of water softening and R.O. but to each their own! Cheers.

Well, clean water can't be a bad thing. However if it is acidic, which most RO water is, then it's not a good thing. I called the company to let them know I'm not happy with a few things, not the least of which is the acidic issue, and they assured me they will replace the whole system and guarantee it will not be acidic, but ph neurtral at 7.5. We'll see. Have your system checked for acidity too.

Have a unit from Simply H2o, didn't work since 7 month and no service. I dont't understand that such a company is member at the Canadian Water Quality Group and that they offer financing from TD Bank. I wasn't sure to buy the unit but when they told me they are trained by CWQA abd have financing from TD Bank i was sold on the unit. How can such organisation support Simple H2o???
Do they get a cut from them???
Thank you for bringen this matter on TV.

I found this report to be pretty biased. Certainly the tactics used by the company leave a lot to be desired, but I thought that Marketplace could have done a much better job with the science.

The water company representative said that the minerals dissolved in the water were good for you. Really? Did you expect him to say anything different?

So what exactly WERE the minerals that were dissolved in the water sample? What were the concentrations? And how did these concentrations compare to the recommended levels from Health Canada?

With regards to chlorine, yes, it is necessary to have that chlorine in the delivery system to kill bacteria. But once you have opened the tap, the water has been delivered, and the chlorine is no longer necessary. Why consume it, if you don't have to? Nobody was suggesting that chlorine be removed from the delivery system, only that it be removed at the point of consumption.

And that's what an RO system does. It strips the water free of chlorine, minerals, and contaminants. If you aren't getting the trace minerals you need from your diet, then you can add them with a multivitamin tablet, where you can control the dosage.

Instead of relying on a civic water treatment manager's assurance that the minerals dissolved in the city water are "good for you".

DISCLAIMER - I work for a plumbing company that also installs RO systems, we just don't use the heavyhanded tactics of the company you profiled.

150yrs ago we could drink right from a river or spring. In just the last 100yrs chlorine has been used to kill the bacteria caused by the sewage from humans in our water. Chlorine is an effective poison in killing bacteria such as cholera and e-coli. However in today's society we have industrial pollution, pesticides ,herbicides, fertilizers,insecticides, huge amounts of plant and animal organic matter and a population so large that are using home care products and medicines that are just dumped into the water. It is no wonder our water is in such bad shape. Sure our Governments do the best they can at cleaning our water and they call it "safe". BUT it is not healthy! When our water contains unsafe contaminates they cannot remove they raise the bar on what is 'deemed' safe rather than spend the money to correct the problem. The answer is on us the consumer to protect the health of ourselves and our families. Bottled water-what a HOAX. Reverse Osmosis is a great water waster and as Distilled Water, it removes the minerals that are needed for our health. This leaves you with GAC, Grandular Activated Carbon. But BEWARE, the Govt at one time was going to BAN GAC filters because of the bacteria that grows within the filter beds of all carbon filters. They are still the best at removing most of the toxins in our water but because of the bacteria they should be changed more often than suggested by the manufacture or your drinking bacteria infested water. There is more to just drinking clean water. How about cooking, doing laundry or showering and bathing. Consumers beware!!!! There is only one company that protects you and your family with world wide patented technology that goes far beyond filtration! This company's humanitarian efforts in providing healthy,clean water to Haiti, Cameroon Africa, Mexico, Thailand are been recognized by many charitable organizations. This is a Canadian company with over 30yrs of research and development; working along side professors and scientists in providing healthy clean water to everyone costing less than a cup of coffee a day.

Interesting that Tri Star Vacuums and Simple H20 Water purifiers are owned by the same people and run by the same distributors. If you had a Tri Star demo in your home, Be sure to know that you will be getting a call from Simple H20 AKA (Tri Star Vacuums) To set up your next H20 Water in home demo!

Why breath clean air, But Drink dirty water.

I can't emagine that Ontario & the easten provinces have to deal with this. On the west coast, The Vancouver mayor is saying that Vancouver waters is safe. Is it really? I wnt to know.

We are Canadian citizens living in North Port, FL for the winter. How timely your program was - we had just had a demonstration by a gentleman at 11:00 a.m. that same morning whose business card read 'Clear Choice Technologies, LLC. He had come to us through a contact we had made at the Punta Gorda Home Show for Aqua Pure Solutions.

We could not believe our eyes when your program came on that evening - same kit, same brochures and same presentation. He tested an unopened bottle of 'EVIAN' water (brought from Canada) by putting the '5 drops' into it and it's parts per million were just marginally better than the water out of the triple osmosis drinking water system currently installed in the house. He did all the same tests as shown on tv with the same equipment to prove that our water was totally unpottable. He tried to really scare us into buying his system - he started at $7,195 and when we would not bite the lowest he went down to was $4,745.

We think CBC should contact some of the local tv stations in Forida as this system is being promoted through the Home Shows running almost every weekend. Maybe a tv station here would be interested in airing your findings.

The fraud is alive and well in the Florida area. We did not buy - but we were really concerned about the quality of our water until we saw your show a few hours later.

Thank you for airing this quality program.

I happen to own this system and have no regrets. I love it, especially it being enviromently more bottle or clhorinated water!

Has anything been done about Simple H2O? I would be plesed to make a formal complaint!!

In reply to a comment from Les Freck

You mentionned other companies. Is it possible for you to name some of them?
Thank you

I have woked for a water conditioning company for 20 years. I have seen the good,the bad and ugly side of this industry. I know we have treated water problems,as needed, and made home water safer. It is a constant battle dealing with these con-artists who claim to be experts! An educated constumer is good for our business. Be well!

We had a man come to our door- he was wearing an "official" looking name tag and said he was testing the water in the town and asked if he could test our water. I said yes because I thought this man was from our town. He took his sample and left.
Then the salesman came- he was a young kid, maybe 24 or so, just starting out and had the kit shown in the episode. Tried telling me that our water was FULL of harmful chemicals that I was giving to our children through drinking water and using it for baby formula.
Scared the crap out of me- but I had absolutely no intention of spending $6000 on the system without my husband. When my husband arrived, he too was given the presentation and was not buying it. The kid had to call into his boss and tell them we weren't buying. She literally kept him on the phone, pressuring us to buy the kit. We kept telling them we couldn't afford it- there was no way, not with 2 little kids. She would not take no for an answer. We finally put our foot down and she eventually gave up. Her pressuring and harrassment about purchasing is what really steered us away.
But I experienced everything that was mentioned in this episode, from the "water tester" right to the sales pitch, and the scary bits and pieces in our water.
So very glad we did not purchase.

what was the name of the gov. and the person that you are to send your complaint to that was said in the show

I live in kitchener and we had a young man and woman come to my house and try the same thing, they asked for a sample of the water to do a test and he said he would do it in front of us, so just for a laugh my wife went to the fridge and got some bottled water and put into the little container and we told him it came from the tap, he did his little test and told us that our water was over 10 time over the drinking limit, we then told him that it came out a water bottle, he could not leave our house fast enough, he even asked for the business card he gave us back.
All i can say is watch out there are shifty people out there

Everybody should be on guard when a sales person comes into your home. On the subject of water treatment there isn't a reputable company out there. The price of a drinking water system should not be any more than $ 325. installed and purchased only on certain circumstances!

Unfortunately I missed your program last night re water filters. I wonder if the filter program called "enagic Canada inc was mentioned. I would be interested since I bought this, and tho' I am quite happy with it, it may be just because I don't have to use the Brita anymore. Thanks for any information. Lauretta Vik

Marketplace did a very poor job of the facts on this water segment.
There are numerous studies showing the toxic effects on the body of the many chemicals and toxins found in the water.
While 'some' of the sales practices are questionable, the bottom line is that tap water is NOT safe to drink. Of course goverment's will tell you that it is. Common sense tells you that consuming anything other that real foods and avoiding chemicals that are NOT food in the body is a very wise decision. I have never seen chlorine, amonia, heavy metals... listed on any RDA (recommended daily allowance) that a human s
bodies needs to survive.
It is INSANITY to think small amounts will not hurt us. NO toxin is good. if the body does not need it, avoid it.
R.O. (reverse osmosis) water filtration is a preferred method of removing the endless list of undesirables in the city or spring water.
An aware citizen!

These people came to our door about a year ago. I was suspecious from the get go as they first phoned us and set up an appointment poseing as the City of London wanting to test our water. I said to my wife at the time all water testing is done at the source not in your home. I also knew about desolved minerals in water including small amounts of iron which appears as the brown sludge from my high school science. I did not buy their system.

Companies like this who refuse to do an interview to explain their product have something to hide. Otherwise why wont they go on camera.


This company is really working the fear factor. Marketplace was right to expose their sales practices. On the other hand though any person who thinks that drinking chlorinated water is in any way healthy is sadly mistaken. It is sad to watch your program mislead the viewers in to thinking that chlorine is in any way safe to injest. Watcher beware.

The same happends to me in Mississauga, ON. Just watch out.

In reply to a comment from michael bennett

The BBB has been called many times on Simple H2o but they have no power to stop them. The BBB is only blogg spot really It's all about opinions and no teeth.

We have a similar system in our house. It did not cost anywhere near $3500.00. It was more like $350.00 about 13 years ago. We use the filtered water to make tea and in our coffee maker. Our kettle has no sediment in it and coffee maker is quite clean. I drink tap water all the time. Now, I am going to drink more of it.

In reply to a comment from Stacy

You are not the Stacy I know. He called me and asked me to watch the program. He is helping me get a refund and I applaud him and Market Place for bringing this to my attention.

However the show is about poor business practice, having a properly running reverse osmosis system is still better than not having one....and 3500 bucks is a dollar a day over 10 years. Many people pay much more than that per day buying bottled water. (much of which is tap water as well ). Not to mention, you can even get an R.O. system for around a thousand dollars....better safe than sorry...cheers

oh yes can someone help what can we do about this where do we make a complaint about this i paid more then 3500 and i just bought that product im paying 5900 for mine.....anyone ?!?!?

After watching Marketplace tonight,I recalled a phonecall from Simple h2o on Jan.21/11 trying to come here to test our water at 6:30p.m.on a Friday night.I told them we already had an excellent water system but they weren`t concerned about that.Eventually I told them they were wasting my time & theirs.Beware people for they are in Lacombe,AB.

In reply to a comment from George Dyson

It is sad but true, but there are no government regulations on bottled water. It could be labelled Spring Water but in actuality it is only tap water. We are scammed there big time...

I sell the products and if anyone is unhappy I will gladly give a full refund.

The same scam is used to "detoxify" the body in some spas. You put your feet in a bath of water and they turn on the electricity. The rust that forms is said to be "toxins" being removed from your body through your feet.

There are inexpensive and effective methods to remove chlorine and and metals from tap water without spending a fortune. I bought a Brita water system for $15 from Canadian Tire that I am quite happy with.

It should be noted that medical studies have shown a propensity - tendancy to increased heart attack risk from long term de-mineralized water consumption
De-mineralized water arises from either distilation or reverse osmosis, but can be somewhat replaced with a drink like gatorate with 'electrolites' AKA 'dissolved mineral salts' which are naturally occuring in most potable water.

Thanks Tom for an enlightening program! I too purchased Simple H2O which was installed in Nov. 2010...what is my recourse now? I plan to contact the Ministry of Consumer Services. I am not a happy consumer after viewing tonight's program! Please keep up the good work...

People should watch the documentary GASLAND to see what comes out your water taps.

Some one call for free testing water , We live Clarence Rockland area . they have no deal with us.They have a office in Rockland ON. I know lots peoples spent big bucks on the system and they suppose to get free visit to make sure the system work.

I live in Ingersol on. Can. A young woman came to our home pulling the same trick on us. On account of a bad experience I had as a child it was many loung years before I could drink tap water again. I slowly overcame my fear by drinking bottled water only. In time I did start to drink tap water again. It has been two years since this women did this demonstration in our home; I have not drank water since that day. Now I drink soda pop only. The demonstration she did left me altogether terrified of water .

Thank you for this !!! I'm a service tech for a local water treatment company and every year we get calls from people who've had one of these scammers in and have scared them. Thanks to programs like yours people are starting to become more aware of these scare tactics and are getting second opinions. Thank you again !!!

We too have been taken, can't believe we fell for this. please let us know what we can do? Can we do anything to stop this or get our money back?

We bought one of these things, the saleswoman did her demonstration with our 10 year old daughter sitting on the counter, by the time she was done our daughter REFUSED to drink ANY water that did not come from this water purifier....How do we complain? How can we get our money back?

Another company that sells these water systems that was not mentioned is Summit Osmosis. That's where we got our system from and it cost the same. I am definately going to report this and try and get my money back.

The same stunts have been used by a different company in the Okanagan

In reply to a comment from Laura

thats a joke for one they re minerilize there water every store sells ro water and really britta sells filters to clean water and on the bacjk it says not meant to purify water whos wrecking it for who dont belive everthing you see

In reply to a comment from Laura

thats a joke for one they re minerilize there water every store sells ro water and really britta sells filters to clean water and on the bacjk it says not meant to purify water whos wrecking it for who dont belive everthing you see

I purchased one of see machines and it is a piece of garbage. I financed it through TD Bank, do they endorse this kind of business??

I haven't seen the Marketplace piece on this but it begs to ask, has anyone called the Better Business Bureau on this one?

In reply to a comment from vaudree

E.coli can not only make you sick but it can kill you - shall I remind you of Walkerton? If you're concerned about the amount of chlorine in your water a charcoal filter (e.g. Brita) will do the trick - but don't underestimate the importance of chlorination. The benfits far outway the risks and can mean the difference between life and death.

Unfortunately it is companies like that who ruin it for other legitimate companies.....not just water treatment companies. Like everything else, one bad apple spoils it for everyone.

David, I am a bit more worried about bleach than e.coli. E.coli might make you sick, but the bleach in water makes you sick/wasted each and every time. I am not one of those people especially allergic to e.coli - though e.coli sensitivity is more common that bleach sensitivity. Brita takes care of the bleach - it keeps the water from putting you in a drunken stupor. That said, I could buy better groceries if the brita tap filter was cheaper.

Of course there are scammers out there - and if they can scam with horror stories with people who are not sensitive to bleach, think of how they prey on those who are. And those who tend to be sensitive to bleach usually don't have very much money so if they try these products out of desperation, they do without.

If bleach bothers you and there is too much in the drinking water, you avoid using cold water as much as possible. If you get a yucky buzz from drinking tap water, you use a brita filter and usually having trouble reading articles and an increased risk of bathroom accidents means that the brita needs changing. If you buy orange juice, you get the no name rather than the MinuteMaid because MinuteMaid uses tap water rather than filtered water - you get a bit of bleach buzz when you drink it (slows your brain function right down).

Bleach was the agent orange of WWI and affects our cells the same way it affects germ cells so it is not good for you. Whether these fancy filtration systems are useful or affective - who knows! But one should treat tap water the same as one treats mouthwash - that you can rinse your mouth out with it when you brush your teeth but not drink it - not if you want to be alert and remember and be responsive to conversations and not feel like a rag doll.

We've been visited by one of these kind of salesmen.

He used the Dual Precepitator which shows crud "in the water" - which is actually the rods themselves corroding. The only place that sells this (otherwise useless) equipment are 'Water Filtration' websites. They also sell replacement rods.

If it was that easy to turn dissolved solids into suspended solids - actual water filtration systems would use that.

He also said we had to make a decision "right away" but that he would also "be around periodically" if we did buy it.

May as well have written "SCAM" across his forehead.

In reply to a comment from JR Jake

Read your Brita box. It states this is not to be used as a Water Purifier.

I belive that water purification is just simple science and not a scam. Reverse Osmosis has been around since the 1700's! The water plants in cities can only do so much, i believe that it is essential to add chlorine to our water in order to kill deadly bacteria, but i also belive that we should not be ingesting chlorine. It doesn't matter how much of it you are drinking in your water or absorbing through our skin... none would obviously be optimal! Not to mention flouride, lead, and iron. City water meets the requirements of the governmet, of course...but does it meet your personal requirements? Not mine, it doesn't. Water is our biggest and most basic necessity of life, why not make it the best we can? There are also other basic advantages to these systems. You don't have to buy bottled water which is obviously of benefit to our environment! I am 100% supportive of water softeners and reverse osmosis. It is just plain fact and rudimentry science not some mystery that our water canains many other things than just plain water!

A happy and healthy owner of clean water!!!!!

In reply to a comment from anonomous

I did spend big bucks - I was told that I had 1 year to decide whether I wanted to keep the system or not. It was installed in May/07 and I called in July/07 to have the system removed. To date I still have a system that is not working and I am still paying for it as I do not want to mess with my credit rating. NO satisfaction from the company.

These systems are over priced for sure...I sold them at one point...but the water out of our taps is not as good as the city wants you to think. Why is it that every diet tells you to drink water...purified water and not the city or spring water...think about it. DT

The best little water purification system and the cheapest by far for the bang, is my BRITA. Cartridges in one large and another portable changed every 3-4 months (dependent on useage) and I have the best tasting water. I don't have to buy bottled water anymore, my food tastes better and my pet loves it as well. Great investment, but than again our water is not deplorable as in some area's of the country either. I cringe everytime I hear of the elderly getting ripped off by some hip, slick and cool sales person playing on their good and trusting nature. Makes my blood boil.

I am always bothered that people fall for these sales gimmicks. Are we all so scientifically illiterate that we are so easily fooled by sales people?
Or is it that no-one trusts municipal water after Walkerton and will believe anything?

I am also bothered that some brands of bottled water who describe their product as Spring Water or something similar may in fact be municipal water in disguise.

I have done installations for a company like this. it's $7000 of of equipment worth about 1500 retail. Look forward to seeing the program... alot of people spent big bucks on these systems

About two years ago, a smile bottle was left at my house by a water filter company with instructions to fill it with tap water to be tested for free for impurities. I had in the house jar of distiller water and I filled the test bottle with the pure water. Several days later, I had fun with the representative who showed up telling me my water was filled with impurities. To verify my story, ask dan huggins, your guest. He is my son and was aware of my deceitful little trick.

Many people are concerned about the tap water in Toronto. This allows a few greedy people an opportunity to take advantage of others.

A few changes would make the tap water very acceptable. These changes include eliminating the fluoride (other ways to get fluoride and may lead to health issues) and more complex but worthwhile - reducing the amount of industrial toxins companies are dumping into Lake Ontario.

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