RCMP IDs CRA scam suspects, Airbnb shuts down top host: CBC's Marketplace consumer cheat sheet

CBC's Marketplace rounds up the consumer and health news you need from the week, including the RCMP's CRA phone scam probe, a top Airbnb host gets shut down, WestJet facing a federal transportation inquiry.

Newsletter: Consumer and health news you need from the week

A probe of a massive international CRA phone scam has identified 'targets' and suspected accomplices. (Gajus/Shutterstock)

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

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Police ID suspects in CRA phone scam

You've probably had the call: An automated message threatens you with arrest over unpaid taxes owed to Canada Revenue Agency. Now the RCMP says it is tracking suspects in Canada and India as part of a "national priority investigation" into the scam. In 2018, CBC's Marketplace identified the location of one major criminal enterprise behind the harassing calls.

Airbnb shuts down top host amid scathing reviews

Ever come across a fishy listing on Airbnb? After a CBC News investigation found a top host listing the same properties under different names, boosting ratings and misleading guests, the company shut down the account and others linked to it. Watch this if you need to fight back against bad hosts and other Airbnb complaints.

How risky are microplastics in drinking water?

There's more research needed, but the World Health Organization says the risk of microplastics found in water to human health is low. The biggest overall health threat in water is from microbial pathogens — including those from human and livestock waste. Our investigation from last year asked a lab to test five of the top-selling brands of bottled water in Canada, and microplastics were found in all of them.

WestJet faces inquiry after couple gets bumped

Chelsea Williamson and Sean Fitzpatrick were bumped off a WestJet flight last month, and now the airline is at the centre of a federal inquiry. The Canadian Transportation Agency is looking at whether WestJet policies align with new air passenger protection regulations. 

Chelsea Williamson and her husband, Sean Fitzpatrick, pose outside the Edmonton airport ahead of their honeymoon before they learned they had been bumped from their WestJet flight. (Submitted by Chelsea Williamson)

Ontario cottagers brace for jump in electricity costs

Ontario cottage owners are in for a shock this fall as electricity rates for seasonal customers are set to rise by as much as 129 per cent. The Ontario Energy Board tasked Hydro One with developing a billing model that would eliminate the class under which most seasonal customers have their hydro fees assessed.

Krystyna Williamson, Christie Lake Association president, fears Ontario cottagers struggling to maintain family properties will be further burdened with sky-high electricity bills. (Stu Mills/CBC)

Bell scales back rural internet plans

Bell Canada says roughly 200,000 households will be cut from a rural internet expansion program after a federal regulator lowered wholesale broadband prices that major telecom companies can charge smaller internet providers. Rogers said it was reviewing all future investment in rural and remote communities.

Bell says it will cut back on a rural internet program it committed to last year by some 20 per cent, or 200,000 households, to compensate for the lower rates as a result of a CRTC decision. (Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press)

What else is going on?

The latest in recalls

Canada's noisiest restaurants: Take our survey

We want to hear about Canada's noisiest restaurants, and we need your help. Take our brief survey here.

Are you the ultimate bargain hunter?  

Marketplace is looking for families or friends who are about to plan a vacation together. Do you know how to spot extra charges or hidden fees? Do you think you are a good negotiator? Perhaps you have what it takes to compete against other Canadians on Marketplace's vacation challenge. If you want to show our producers how you can beat the fees and get the best vacation deal, please email  

Do you shop online?

Ever buy a brand-name product online and believe you may have ended up with a fake?  If so, we want to hear from you. Reach out to  

What should we investigate next?

Our television season has wrapped, but you can catch up on previous Marketplace investigations on CBC Gem. From scams and misleading marketing claims to products and services that could put your health at risk, we are working on bringing you brand-new investigations this fall. If you have a story you think we should be covering, email us:


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