Business·Marketplace

The people vs. the ticket giant; the 'Hunger Games' of air travel: CBC's Marketplace cheat sheet

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

Consumer and health news you need from the week

A woman's hands and knees are shown on top of a small, overstuffed yellow suitcase.
Overstuffed airline cabin baggage compartiments are leading some to call for changes in how baggage fees are structured, with passengers paying for the convenience of taking their luggage on board. (Sebra/Shutterstock)

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

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The people vs. the ticket giant

A photo taken from the middle of a crowd looking at an out-of-focus singer.
Some consumers are wondering whether Ticketmaster's practices are having an impact on prices for large events like concerts. (dwphotos / Shutterstock)

Ticketmaster has recently been in the hot seat over its handling of ticket sales to some of the world's biggest concerts. Now, tough questions are being asked about the company's practices and whether they have an impact on ticket prices. On tonight's episode of Marketplace, we hear from a Montreal lawyer taking on the fight. Plus, a Canadian reseller shares how he scores tickets and resells them for a profit. And, the former CEO of the company speaks out and says fans should just stop complaining.

You can watch "The People vs. The Ticket Giant" anytime on CBC Gem.

This commonly prescribed cancer drug was supposed to help save this doctor's life. Instead, it killed him

Three men stand in a living room behind an easel holding a large photo portrait of another man. The man on the left is wearing a dark sweater over a collared shirt and has short black hair. The man to the viewer's right has black and grey short wavy hair and is wearing a dark sweater. The man on the right has wavy thick black hair and wears a pale blue button-up shirt. All three of them have serious facial expressions. The man in the photo has greying wavy hair, wears a grey blazer over a pale blue button-up shirt and is smiling.
Anil (Monty) Kapoor died on Feb. 28 after being prescribed a cancer drug that was toxic to him. Left to right, brothers Dr. Vimal (Scott) Kapoor, Dr. Sunil Kapoor and son Akshay Kapoor. (Keith Burgess/CBC)

When Dr. Anil Kapoor was diagnosed with stage four colon cancer in January his prognosis was positive, and his family was hopeful treatment would buy him several more years.

But weeks later, the 58-year-old Burlington, Ont., resident was dead — killed not by the cancer, say doctors, but by the commonly prescribed cancer drug Fluorouracil (5-FU) that was supposed to help save his life.

"It was honestly a cruel rollercoaster of emotions," Anil's son, Akshay Kapoor, told Go Public. "I just feel like we were robbed of time together."

5-FU, used since the 1970s to treat many cancers including colorectal, stomach, breast and cervical, can be toxic to certain patients.

Some provinces now pre-screen for genetic variants — differences in people's DNA — that can lead to serious illness and even death.

But those tests may be giving some cancer patients and their families a false sense of security; failing to flag some of the people who could get sick or die from 5-FU, say experts. 

Anil was pre-screened and got the all clear to receive the drug. Just a few days after his first and only dose, he went from being well enough to work to being bedridden.

Go Public reached out to Health Canada to ask about pre-screening and what it's doing about the risks some patients face with 5-FU, but did not hear back in time for publication. Read more

On average, electric vehicles are less reliable than other cars and trucks, Consumer Reports finds

A blue car in a showroom
Electric vehicles are far less reliable than gasoline-powered cars, trucks and SUVs, mainly because most automakers are still learning how to build a completely new power system, according to this year's auto reliability survey by Consumer Reports. (Matt Rourke/The Associated Press)

Electric vehicles have proved far less reliable, on average, than gasoline-powered cars, trucks and SUVs, according to the latest survey by Consumer Reports, which found that EVs from the 2021 through 2023 model years encountered nearly 80 per cent more problems than vehicles propelled by internal combustion engines.

Consumer Reports said EV owners most frequently reported troubles with battery and charging systems and flaws in how the vehicles' body panels and interior parts fit together. It noted that EV manufacturers are still learning to construct completely new power systems, and suggested that, as they do, the overall reliability of electric vehicles should improve.

"This story is really one of growing pains," said Jake Fisher, senior director of auto testing at Consumer Reports. "It's a story of just working out the bugs and the kinks of new technology."

Still, Consumer Reports said that lingering concerns about reliability will likely add to the issues that give many buyers pause when considering a switch to the new technology, joining concerns about higher costs, too few charging stations and long charging times. Read more 

We want to hear about your experiences with electric vehicles. Got an issue you think we should investigate?  Write to us: marketplace@cbc.ca

Finding room for carry-on baggage has become 'the Hunger Games' of air travel, analyst says

A flight attendant helps the passengers to put their luggage in the cabin of the plane.
When more passengers are vying for limited space for carry-on luggage, it leads to costly delays, said Caroline Marete, a visiting assistant professor in the School of Aviation and Transportation Technology at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind. (lunopark/Shutterstock)

Flight attendant Cat Jones will never forget the day she spotted a woman carrying a wedding cake down the bridge to board her plane in Winnipeg.

When the passenger reached the door, Jones gently mentioned that the box was above the size limits for carry-on baggage.

"It was her niece's wedding and it was some sort of family friend who owned the bakery. And it was a really kind of meaningful, sentimental part of this wedding that was about to happen," said Jones, who worked for WestJet at the time.

She and her colleagues spent at least 10 minutes moving people and their carry-on baggage around the plane so that they could make room for the cake box on the floor of a window seat where it wouldn't block anyone's exit in the event of an emergency, Jones told Cost of Living. And that was just for one passenger's extra gear. 

Jones and other airline industry insiders say passengers have become carried away with carry-on baggage, leading to costly delays.  

That's prompting calls for changes to how airplanes charge for baggage, with some discount airlines like Sunwing and Spirit already beginning to flip the fee structure so passengers pay for the privilege of keeping their bags on board. 

Henry Harteveldt, a travel analyst with Atmosphere Research Group in San Francisco, says this change needs to happen, and that passengers should be allowed to check a bag for free.

"People would appreciate this. They would feel less nickel-and-dimed. And people who want the convenience and control would pay to bring their bags on the plane," said Harteveldt, who said airlines would likely generate the same or more in baggage revenue. Read more 


What else is going on?

988 hotline for those facing a mental health crisis has launched across Canada
Similar to 911, three digits will connect people to suicide prevention services quickly.

A Quebec coroner is calling for better training at ski hills following a 6-year-old's death.
"The basic safety rules and written directives regarding emergency measures for all foreseeable situations...were ignored," reads the report.

Christmas trees — and the farmers who grow them — are vanishing
A Christmas tree shortage, driven in part by climate change, means higher prices for real trees.


Marketplace needs your help!

A neck-down image of a woman kneeling and tying her shoe.
Do you consider yourself an expert at gym etiquette? We want to hear from you. (Shutterstock/David Abrahams/CBC)

Think you know gyms inside and out? Do you consider yourself an expert at gym etiquette? Maybe you used to work at a gym, or you currently do. We want to hear from you. Reach us at marketplace@cbc.ca.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jenny Cowley is an investigative journalist in Toronto. She has previously reported for CBC in Nova Scotia. You can reach her at marketplace@cbc.ca.

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