Pot price, breast implant illness, and Bell bill battle: CBC's Marketplace consumer cheat sheet

CBC's Marketplace rounds up the consumer and health news you need from the week, including a battle with Bell over a fake account and how legalization has affected pot prices.

Newsletter: Consumer and health news you need from the week

A Toronto woman spent six months fighting Bell Canada over a Virgin Mobile account that had been fraudulently set up in her name. (Kiyoshi Ota/Bloomberg)

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

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Fake account leads to 6-month fight with Bell over bill

When Wing Sum Tang received a notice of overdue payment for a Virgin Mobile account, she knew something wasn't right. Tang had never held an account with Virgin, nor its parent company, Bell. Despite having proof the account was a fraud, Tang spent six months fighting the $2,400 bill until her name was cleared.

Competition watchdog investigates Bell's sales practices

On the heels of a CRTC report into misleading and aggressive sales tactics at Bell Canada, the Competition Bureau has launched its own probe. The investigations were sparked by Go Public and Marketplace stories about customers misled into signing up for services that were not what they expected.

Investigations by Go Public and Marketplace into aggressive telecom sales tactics have now resulted in probes by the CRTC and the Competition Bureau. (William Thomas Cain/Getty Images)

Now that it's legal, pot costs more

Legalization has pushed up the average price of pot, but that's mostly because the price of legal weed is roughly 57 per cent higher than what's sold on the black market. New data from Statistics Canada found that legal marijuana sells for an average of $9.99 a gram, while the average for illegal bud is $6.37 a gram — which is actually lower than before legalization.

New data from Statistics Canada found that legal marijuana sells for an average of $9.99 a gram, while the average for illegal pot is $6.37 a gram. (Juan Mabromata/AFP/Getty Images)

Did breast implants make them sick?

A group of Alberta women is raising the alarm about a condition called breast implant illness and wants more doctors to recognize it. The women say they struggled to find physicians who believed them and could treat them. Our investigation into the marketing of breast implants includes a woman's ordeal with breast implant illness, and her journey to have them surgically removed and tested for ruptures or tears.

Equifax's handling of privacy breach 'completely unacceptable'

When credit-monitoring service Equifax was hit by a global data breach in 2017, it didn't do enough to protect the information of its Canadian customers, Canada's privacy commissioner has found. Among Equifax's failings were a lack of accountability and inadequate protection for those affected by the breach. We recently looked into how credit monitoring is supposed to work.

Banks and government influenced a report on sales practices

CBC's Go Public has learned that the federal Finance Department and Canada's big banks edited a report about banks' aggressive sales tactics before it was publicly released. Some of the changes weakened consumer protection, even though the report was commissioned to investigate reports of pressure to upsell products to customers. Critics say this shows a too "cosy" relationship between the Big 6 and the regulator.

CBC's Go Public has learned that Canada's big banks and the federal Finance Department edited a report about aggressive sales tactics before it was publicly released. (Andrew Lee/CBC)

What else is going on

Dozens of people in six provinces are sick from salmonella. A possible source of outbreaks in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec is still being investigated. The deaths of two residents at a Winnipeg care home last month were also linked to a salmonella outbreak.

The carbon tax isn't the only reason gas prices are creeping up. Even though four provinces will see an increase because of the new federal tax, prices are expected to jump by 10 to 15 cents this summer, in part because of higher world oil prices, more demand for diesel, and higher overall demand during summer months.

Claire's, the U.S.-based jewellery and accessories store, is reviewing its piercing policy. Employee Raylene Marks chose not to pierce the ears of a seven-year-old girl who refused to be touched or pierced, but the store manager said Marks should have done it anyway. Marks then quit over the experience. Claire's has since said it will clarify its policy for when a child resists being pierced.

A new law is in the works in B.C. to prevent bots from buying up event tickets. The legislation would ban the bots and make the ticket-buying process more transparent.

Ontario realtors want to ban the 'bully' offer. The Ontario Real Estate Association says the government should use its current review of the act that governs realtors in the province to bar the practice they say gives some homebuyers an unfair advantage. The OREA is also calling for more transparency for both buyers and sellers, and the ability to kick out unethical agents.

Sunwing faces a $694,500 fine, plus compensation to passengers for out-of-pocket expenses, for its handling of travel chaos caused by an ice storm in April 2018. The Canadian Transportation Agency said the storm last spring resulted in a staff shortage that triggered the confusion, but the airline made the situation worse by not updating passengers about delays and missing luggage.

The latest in recalls

Acura is recalling its MDX SUVs made from 2014 to 2019 because water can get into the tail lights, stopping them from working.

Ford has issued another recall for its F-Series pickup trucks because problems with block heater cables could cause a fire. The problem may have stemmed from a previous recall of the trucks to address corrosion of the cables.

Also, these Ouellet, Global Commander, and Electrimart heaters could pose a fire hazard; these construction heaters by Chromalox, Centurion, Electromode, Westcan, and Dimplex could be a fire hazard; these Stelpro Design and Uniwatt construction heaters could also pose a fire hazard; these sleep suit bags, and this "I'm sleeping in" children's bathrobe do not meet flammability requirements; and this Honda portable generator could pose a fire hazard.

(If any links to these recalls don't work for you, try using another internet browser.)


This is your 'Marketplace'


If you have a story you think we should be covering, email us at (CBC)


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 at


-The Marketplace team