Free trial scams and why you shouldn't click that link: CBC's Marketplace consumer cheat sheet

If you've been too busy this week to keep up with health and consumer news, CBC's Marketplace is here to help.

Also: Sears to close remaining stores and Quebec's sugary booze problem

Jan Baird lost hundreds of dollars after signing up for free trials of skin creams online.

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

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Sears to close remaining stores

Back in June, Sears closed 58 stores and laid off 3,000 people. The company had hoped to turn things around but couldn't found a buyer who could save it.

It could start liquidating its remaining 130 stores as early as next week, putting about 12,000 employees out of work. The liquidation sales are expected to last about three months to take advantage of the Christmas season.

Potent potables

Health experts say the new sweet and caffeinated alcoholic beverage launched in Quebec, called FCKD UP, crosses ethical boundaries by marketing to young people. (

On a typical Saturday night in Montreal, four or five teens end up in hospital with alcohol poisoning. And a Montreal ER doctor says this is part of the reason: Premixed boozy drinks with high doses of alcohol, sugar and caffeine, marketed to young people.

One can of FCKD UP, for example, contains 11.9 per cent alcohol, the equivalent of drinking several beers.

Sometimes it doesn't pay to shop around

This Ontario man did some comparison shopping for a Honda ATV. But he hit a roadblock: when he got a better price from a second dealership, his local shop wouldn't price match, and then called the cheaper place and got them to cancel the offer.

That may not exactly be in keeping with the Competition Act.

Your surgeon's gender may matter

A new Canadian study found that patients of female surgeons are less likely to die. The difference is slight, about four per cent, and the study looked at outcomes within 30 days of an operation.

The lead author wants people to take away that women are at least as good, if not better, than their male counterparts, especially since surgery is still a male-dominated profession.

What else is going on?

Do you use the Weather Network app? In exchange for a free weather forecast based on your precise location, advertisers could be learning a bit more about you and your habits.

Louise Field is taking her financial adviser to court alleging he 'churned' her account, generating over $250,000 in commissions over four years. (Erica Johnson/CBC)
A Vancouver senior says her former financial adviser "churned" her account earning thousands in commissions. Her adviser claims she consented to all of the transactions, used her own judgment, and the account suffered because she relied on the advice of others.

This week in recalls:

These motorcycle helmets may not properly protect you in a crash.

Tricked by free frial scams

Hundreds of you have flooded our inbox demanding we investigate skin care products that seem linked to legit companies and celebrities.

The online scheme uses free trial offers, bogus endorsements, and surveys to trick people into paying for products and subscriptions. You can watch the episode online.