shrinkflation and how to recognize it; Travel agency under fire: CBC’s marketplace cheat sheet

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What you need to know about “shrinkflation” – inflation’s “insidious cousin”.

Ever feel like there’s less in your favorite cereal box? Or that, while you can’t be sure, you’re not getting as much fluid from every Gatorade you drink?

That feeling isn’t always in your head. Sometimes it’s an actual reality.

Shrinking Gatorade bottles and smaller cereal boxes are just two examples of what has come to be known as “shrinkflation” — the practice by companies of reducing package contents while changing the same prices.

“I’ve seen it being described as inflation’s sneaky cousin,” said Matthew Philp, an assistant professor of marketing at Toronto Metropolitan University.

He says companies can make containers smaller, have a different shape, or put less product in them. “It’s just to hide the fact that their prices are going up.”

It can be difficult for consumers to spot, as stores usually weed out old products before replacing them. Shrinkflation isn’t new, but experts say it’s more prevalent in times of high inflation like now, affecting almost all types of packaged products. Continue reading

Have you noticed examples of shrinkage in your area? Email us at marketplace@cbc.ca with photos

How shrinkage is affecting Canadian consumers

To deal with the effects of rising inflation, companies are reducing package sizes while charging the same prices in what is known as contraction inflation. Experts suggest that consumers can avoid shrinkage by paying attention to the price per unit rather than the total price.

How this man fought for $5,200 after a travel agent gave away his flight vouchers — to other customers

Surinderpal Gill trusted the travel agency where he bought tickets for a family trip to India two years ago.

But then he found out more than $5,200 and his confidence was broken.

Last June, Toronto-based Air Canada All Link Travel sent three vouchers to compensate Gill for return flights that were canceled as aviation ground to a halt amid the pandemic.

But instead of telling him, Gill said the travel agency had repeatedly said there was no trace of the valuable travel documents. These vouchers were then used to pay for travel for other people.

“I feel betrayed,” he told Go Public. “How can someone use my money without my consent?”

Gill is one of thousands of Canadians who have been fighting for months over travel vouchers issued during the pandemic. Many say the very travel agents they have used are compounding their problems getting coupons or airline refunds.

All Link Travel claimed the vouchers had been used accidentally – three times – but it wasn’t until Go Public got involved that it refunded Gil.

The agency declined an interview request. Instead, a representative – who declined to give his name and called Go Public on a blocked number – promised several times to send an explanation, but never did.

Gill says he’s grateful to have his money back, but the experience has been tiring.

“It all worked out,” he said. “At the same time, I still have the feeling that this shouldn’t have happened.” Continue reading

Air Canada gave Surinderpal Gill of Brampton, Ontario, more than $5,200 worth of vouchers in compensation for flights canceled in the early days of the pandemic. He was upset to learn that his travel agent had issued them on other customers’ trips. (Kimberly Ivany/CBC)

Rising fuel prices are hampering Canadians’ long-awaited travel plans

Now that most COVID restrictions have ended, are you itching to hit the open road?

You’re hardly alone, but soaring gas prices are putting a spanner in the works for many planned summer road trips this year.

With gas prices topping $2 a liter across much of the country, those long-awaited trips to reconnect with loved ones or enjoy a much-needed vacation have lost a little of their luster.

Two-thirds of Canadian drivers surveyed said skyrocketing gas prices are likely to force them to cancel or cut back on their road trips this summer, according to a new survey.

Though he no longer has to worry about COVID-19 testing requirements when crossing the border, Ted Hilton of Ingersoll, Ontario, said he won’t be visiting family in Michigan this summer due to high gas prices. (Craig Chivers/CBC)

The survey, conducted by Leger for the Tire and Rubber Association of Canada, surveyed 1,538 Canadians in April. The survey had a comparable margin of error of plus or minus 2.5 percent, 19 times out of 20.

“It’s kind of daunting,” says Ted Hilton, 81, of Ingersoll, Ontario.

Living on a steady income, he was looking forward to visiting family in Michigan after testing requirements at the border were lifted.

But he says he can’t afford the 460-kilometer drive until gas prices come down.

“You depend on staying in touch with friends and family… and when you can’t travel and meet with them, you feel quite isolated.”

what else is going on

Certain Jif brand peanut butters have been recalled due to salmonella
Recalled products should be discarded or returned to where they were purchased.

Do you feel poorer? Reverse wealth effect could be contributing to Canadians’ somber spending propensity
Falling home prices, stocks and crypto are likely to cause Canadian savers to spend less.

Bed bugs and roaches: International students in Sudbury, Ontario condemn landlord for remodeling 14-bed home
Renters say the 3 bedroom home has been converted to sleep 14 and is infested with roaches, bed bugs and rats.

How AI-enabled technology could help clinicians better diagnose mental health issues
The movement has potential, but experts say users must proceed with caution.

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