Avoiding rental car ripoffs; Amazon deliveries spark safety concerns: CBC’s Marketplace consumer cheat sheet


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

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What you need to know before renting a car 

Whether you’re travelling in a new city or heading out on a road trip, many of us have had to rent a car at one point or another. But it can sometimes be a confusing process. Marketplace went undercover at a car rental location with some of the most concerning complaints from our viewers, many of whom spoke about hidden fees, charges for damage they say they didn’t cause and insurance they didn’t need. Plus, our experts weighed in on what you should look out for when booking and picking up your rental.

Ryan Jones says he was made to feel he had no choice but to take an additional insurance policy from Economy’s Mississauga location, even though he already had coverage through his credit card. (Caitlin Taylor/CBC)

That speedy shipping from Amazon might be a safety risk

Same-day delivery for online packages is now a reality in many large metropolitan areas, but drivers say it’s taking a toll on the people delivering them. Amazon uses third-party couriers in Canada and many of them are paid per package instead of per hour, which motivates them to fill their vehicles with as many parcels as they can. It also means that rain, snow, or shine, they only get paid for what they deliver. This may lead some drivers to deliver their packages despite poor road conditions.

Delivery drivers working for companies hired either directly or indirectly by Amazon say it’s difficult to keep up with their workload. (Lucas Jackson/Reuters)

FDA tells Purell to stop claiming hand sanitizer fights viral diseases

You’ve probably seen Purell’s marketing, claiming the product “kills more than 99.99 per cent of most common germs that may cause illness,” including specific viruses such as Ebola, MRSA, VRE, norovirus, influenza and Candida auris. But the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says not so fast. In a sternly worded letter, the health regulator said Purell can’t make unsubstantiated claims about its product, including that it can help prevent people from getting sick from specific viruses.

The FDA says the maker of Purell hand sanitizer should stop making unsubstantiated claims about the effectiveness of its products in helping people avoid illness. (Charlie Neibergall/The Associated Press)

This farming family is warning others after losing hundreds of thousands to port-out scam

Members of the Johnson family near Peebles, Sask., are cautioning others about the risks of port-out fraud after they had hundreds of thousands stolen from a bank account. They posted about the ordeal online to ensure other people are aware of the scam. (Supplied by Johnson Livestock)

It appears the family was a victim of a port-out fraud — where a fraudster collects personal information about an individual and then uses it to open a new account with a new carrier. They transfer the account over and then proceed to steal the phone’s number and whatever information that may have been stored on the device. The scam has been increasing in frequency over the past year. Last season, we investigated how hackers can take over your accounts. 

What else is going on?

GM plans to bring back the Hummer — and it’ll be electric. The Hummer, once a gas-guzzling target for environmentalists, is making a comeback. A green one. 

Popular infant teething gels removed from Canadian pharmacies without notice. Some health professionals are concerned that stronger, adult versions are still being used for teething babies.

Alberta health advocates alarmed by anti-vaxx documentary screened in theatres, libraries. “It’s total propaganda based on people’s emotions,” says Joan Robinson, a pediatric infectious diseases specialist at the University of Alberta.

Tim Hortons removes Beyond Meat offerings from remaining locations. Most provinces stopped selling meatless patties in September, now B.C. and Ontario locations will too.

Staff at Extendicare nursing home abused woman before her death from dehydration, says reportAn elderly woman who died from dehydration and a urinary tract infection — caused by sitting in wet diapers — was abused by staff at an Alberta nursing home who admitted they were too overworked to care for her properly, according to a scathing government report.

The latest in recalls

Rental car ripoffs with Makda Ghebreslassie

Looking for adventure and heading out on the highway? If that trip includes booking a ride with a rental car company you’ll want to tune into this week’s Marketplace episode.

Our viewers are once again in the driver’s seat, raising the flag on one Toronto-area rental car location. We hear complaints about unexpected fees for mileage, insurance and damage viewers say they didn’t cause.

Our investigation really took off as we booked three cars online and suited up with hidden cameras to capture it all from pick up to drop-off.

Will we be charged more than we’re quoted? And what about the state of those cars? You’ll want to see what our expert finds when he does a full inspection.

So buckle up and tune in to find out how to avoid getting ripped off by any car rental company.

You can tune in and catch up on past Marketplace episodes on CBC Gem and YouTube.


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