How fake Google listings can hurt you; Recycling plastic water bottles: CBC's Marketplace consumer cheat sheet

CBC's Marketplace rounds up the consumer and health news you need from the week.

Newsletter: Consumer and health news you need from the week

A Marketplace investigation found that many locksmith companies are using deceptive business practices, including fake online listings and reviews, to lure in new customers. (CBC)

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

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Why you shouldn't always trust Google listings and reviews

After we uncovered a sprawling network of fake locksmith locations and five-star reviews cluttering Google Maps in the Greater Toronto Area, the company is promising to take action. But that comes too late for people like Tom Gehrels, who experienced the problem firsthand last summer. When he called a locksmith he found on Google, he was disappointed in his service, and was stunned to find out the company he called didn't actually exist. 

When Tom Gehrels was looking for a locksmith, he chose one nearby with great Google reviews. It wasn't until later he learned the locksmith company he called didn't exist. (David MacIntosh/CBC)

Do you still use plastic water bottles? You need to read this

Many bottles get turned into carpets and pillows, items that have a longer lifespan, but still ultimately end up in landfills. Here's a closer look at what happens, and what some companies are doing to work toward using 100% recyclable plastic bottles. Marketplace previously tracked Canadian recycling and found that some plastics were ending up in Malaysian landfills

Tracking Your Trash: Exposing Recycling Myths

3 years ago
Duration 20:32
Should you even bother recycling? We go undercover, posing as plastic brokers in Malaysia, to expose the lucrative recycling business. And we buy and track your plastic waste to see where it really ends up.

The hidden cost of that Stranger Things marathon

We all love binge-watching TV on services like Netflix or Crave, but it turns out all those invisible gigabytes of data we're consuming come at a significant cost to the environment. Some experts say this toll rivals that of the airline industry. And it's only poised to increase as streaming services and cloud-based storage solutions proliferate. 

Streaming services and other cloud-based apps are placing growing demands on data centres in Canada and abroad. (Craig Chivers/CBC)

Need to call the CRA? Expect to face long wait times

Months after the Canada Revenue Agency promised that a new phone system would fix the problems plaguing its business call centre, wait times have increased — and 40 per cent of the answers employees give are wrong or incomplete — according to a new report by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business. The last time the CFIB conducted an audit of the CRA in 2016, it took an average of two minutes to speak to a person, but it took 15 minutes on average in 2019. 

It is taking longer for small businesses to get answers when they call the Canada Revenue Agency. (Africa Studio/Shutterstock)

What else is going on?

Here's why milk comes in bags in parts of CanadaWhat's to blame for the proliferation of bagged milk in Ontario, Quebec, and Maritime provinces but not others?

Not enough home care top concern for Ontario patients, study finds. The three biggest problems for patients surveyed about their discharge from Ontario hospitals all concern publicly funded home care, according to new research published in an international medical journal.

Toronto woman furious after finding discarded children's clothes in dumpster outside of mall. Natasha McKenna is asking children's apparel store Carter's to rethink its practices after she discovered bags of brand new kid's clothes cut up and discarded outside the Dufferin Mall.

Alberta confirms province's 1st case of severe vaping-associated lung illness. The illness was a result of exposure to commercially available nicotine products, Dr. Deena Hinshaw said Thursday.

The latest in recalls

Locksmith Ripoffs with Makda Ghebreslassie

This week on Marketplace we unlock the truth about a network of fake Google locksmith listings and fake reviews.

Take a ride with us as we follow the map to these so-called locksmith locations and see what's really there.

You also can't afford to miss our hidden camera test. After hearing consumer complaints about being overcharged or left with shoddy work by some locksmith companies, we put those companies to the test.

We rig up a rental home with surveillance and hidden cameras. I even get a lesson from a locksmith expert on how to pick a lock within minutes. But wait until you see how long it takes the locksmith who shows up, what he does to our door, and the bill shock…

Tune in tonight at 8 p.m. ET / 8:30 in Newfoundland and Labrador for our full investigation

You can also catch up on past Marketplace episodes on Gem and YouTube.

- Makda