The truth about fake Google reviews; Bank fees are going up despite profits: CBC’s Marketplace cheat sheet

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Customers call out banks for increasing fees during pandemic while profits are up

As many Canadians continue to struggle financially during the pandemic, some are questioning why Canada’s big banks are raising fees even as they continue to see profits increase. 

Customers with TD, CIBC, Bank of Montreal and Scotiabank have recently contacted Go Public about fees that increased, or are about to, for a range of accounts, products and services.

“This is really not the right time for the banks to raise any kind of fees,” said Kisan Gunjal, from his home in Milton, Ont. “We have to insert the ethics part.”

The banks tell Go Public that the increases were made after careful consideration and that other options are available to customers. Read more

A CBC News investigation traced a web of fake Google reviews criss-crossing North America, as one business owner tries to deal with the fallout of watching his Google rating plummet because of fake reviews. 8:04

Fake Google reviews are fooling customers and hurting businesses

If you’ve ever searched the name of a business online, chances are you’ve seen its Google reviews. The rating system is an easy way to assess the quality of a business before spending your hard-earned money there. But not all the reviews are necessarily accurate or even from real people.

A CBC News investigation found there’s a widespread problem plaguing the popular star-rating system — a growing black market in which some companies pay for fake positive reviews, while others are seemingly being extorted by web firms who post negative comments then propose their “review-fixing” services to get them taken down.

Using data gathering and analysis techniques, the investigation catalogued just a portion of one fake review network: 1,279 businesses across North America connected by 208 fake accounts that posted 3,574 fake reviews.

In an email, Google said its systems “check every single review before it gets published to Google Maps, looking for signs of inauthentic content,” but also acknowledged that “they’re not perfect as inauthentic reviews can slip through from time to time.” Read more

Marketplace has investigated fake listings and reviews on Google before, in January 2020 when our team looked into fake locksmith listings and reviews. We also investigated fake reviews associated with the appliance repair industry in October 2020.

Several customers of Canada’s big banks reached out to Go Public with frustrations about increased bank fees during the pandemic. The fee increases come after each of the big five banks reported billions in profit for this year’s first quarter. 2:05

Want to make your home more energy efficient? A new grant of up to $5,000 might be a start

The government of Canada is launching a new program that offers Canadians grants of up to $5,000 to pay for energy-saving home upgrades.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Natural Resources Minister Seamus O’Regan rolled out the Canada Greener Homes Grants program Thursday — worth about $2.6 billion over seven years — to help homeowners upgrade heaters, install solar panels and replace windows and doors.

Homeowners will be able to receive grants of up to $5,000 to make energy efficient retrofits to their primary residences, and up to $600 to help with the cost of home energy evaluations. Read more

Justin Trudeau spoke by video from Parliament Hill on Thursday. 1:25

What else is going on?

Federal health agency wasn’t ready for pandemic equipment demand, auditor finds
AG Karen Hogan’s review says Public Health Agency of Canada failed to address problems in stockpile management.

Ontario says more long-term care homes air conditioned, but still not all resident rooms
Last summer, the Ford government promised to install AC in residents’ rooms.

Court rules NEXUS cards can’t be cancelled for minor rules infractions
Hundreds of people are kicked out of the NEXUS trusted traveller program each year.

These bike pedals have been recalled due to a fall hazard
Consumers should immediately stop using the affected pedals and bring their bike or pedals to a Trek retailer for a free pedal replacement and instalment.

These clothing steamers are a burn hazard
Consumers should stop using the product and contact HSN for information on how to receive a full or partial refund.

These Our Father’s Farm brand apricot kernel products may cause cyanide poisoning
If the affected products are in your home, do not consume them.

Marketplace needs your help

Are you selling or planning to sell your home? Are you interested in using a non-traditional real estate model such as a low fee/flat fee brokerage, for sale by owner, or an open auction bidding process? If so, we want to hear from you. Email us at marketplace@cbc.ca

When it comes to car parts, such as tires and batteries, do you think a higher price usually means better performance? We want to hear from you! Send us your story at marketplace@cbc.ca

Catch up on past episodes of Marketplace anytime on CBC Gem.



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