This newsletter is not AI; gag orders at the bank: CBC’s Marketplace cheat sheet

Miss something this week? Don’t panic. CBC’s Marketplace rounds up the consumer and health news you need.Want this in your inbox? Get the Marketplace newsletter every Friday.Would you sign a gag order to get compensation from your bank?Guanghu Cui of Oakville, Ont., refused to sign a non-disclosure agreement to get financial compensation in a dispute with his bank, calling the requirement ‘unethical.’ (Dave MacIntosh/CBC)Guanghu Cui was poring over his TD Bank statements in March, preparing to pay taxes for his small immigration consulting firm in Oakville, Ont., when he noticed a $1.50 fee for sending an e-transfer.It was surprising, because when he’d opened his business account three years ago, his financial advisor told him the plan included five free transactions a month, and he’d never exceeded that number.Cui complained. Eventually, TD said it would reimburse him for the fees and compensate him for his “frustration and inconvenience.” But when the paperwork arrived for Cui to sign, it included a condition saying he must “keep it confidential.” While he could speak about the dispute, he would not be allowed to tell anyone that TD had offered compensation. “I was really stunned, to be honest, because I didn’t do anything wrong,” said Cui. “Why do you try to shut me up?”Confidential contracts — known as non-disclosure agreements, or NDAs — were initially created to protect trade secrets or intellectual property, but have evolved into a common tool to silence people who have been wronged: financially, professionally or, in the case of sexual assault victims, physically and mentally. After Go Public got involved, TD apologized to Cui in a phone call that he recorded. A spokesperson said Cui’s concerns had been “reviewed further” and that he no longer had to sign the NDA. When Cui questioned why TD was backtracking, the spokesperson said the agreement was “purely for documenting.”In an email to Go Public, a spokesperson said the bank did not “believe that Mr. Cui should have been required to sign a Settlement and Release document in this matter.”She would not say why he had been asked to sign the NDA in the first place and said the experience would be used as a “coaching opportunity.” Read MoreCustomers are fed up with anti-theft measures at storesSusan Dennison said she was humiliated when the wheels on her shopping cart locked at a Loblaw-owned Fortinos grocery in Burlington, Ont. She said an employee rushed over and demanded to see her receipt. (Andy Hincenbergs/CBC)Susan Dennison recently had an unsettling experience at her local grocery store, a Loblaw-owned Fortinos in Burlington, Ont.Just as she was leaving, the wheels on her shopping cart locked, immobilizing it.She said a store employee rushed over and demanded to see her receipt. “I felt like I was ambushed,” said Dennison, who scrambled to find her bill. “She’s badgering me, like, ‘Is it in your wallet? Is it in your pocket?'”The carts are only meant to lock if a customer does something suspicious. But, in Dennison’s case, it turned out there was a glitch. “Their methods need to catch the thieves, not honest customers,” she said. Many shoppers have made similar complaints as several major retailers beef up their anti-theft tactics.Along with wheel-locking shopping carts, other contentious measures include metal gates with designated entry and exit points, random receipt checks and tall plexiglass barriers, which recently popped up at many Loblaw stores. In response to customers’ complaints about its security measures, Loblaw, Canada’s largest grocer, has repeatedly said that organized crime is to blame.”These are sophisticated organizations that are increasingly using violent tactics and complex networks to steal and sell stolen goods for profit,” Loblaw CFO Richard Dufresne said during a conference call in late 2023.Loblaw has not provided data to support its claim. According to Statistics Canada, police-reported organized crime makes up only a small portion of retail theft, and it has declined between 2018 and 2022. Read MoreAs AI gets more human-like, experts warn we must think more critically about its responsesGoogle is promising its search results will be informed by artificial intelligence in the U.S., with expansion to other countries to come. (Michel Euler/The Associated Press)”Oh stop it, you’re making me blush!” That was ChatGPT’s response when a researcher told the chatbot he was in a great mood because he was demonstrating “how useful and amazing you are.”Both OpenAI and Google announced upgrades to their artificial intelligence (AI) technologies as part of a push to make them faster, and give more conversational responses.”It feels like AI from the movies,” OpenAI CEO Sam Altman wrote in a blog post. “Talking to a computer has never felt really natural for me; now it does.”But researchers in the technology and artificial intelligence sector warn that as people get information from AI systems in more user-friendly ways, they also have to be careful to watch for inaccurate or misleading responses to their queries.And because AI systems often don’t disclose how they came to a conclusion, because companies want to protect the trade secrets behind how they work, they also do not tend to show as many raw results or source data as traditional search engines.This means they can be more prone to providing answers that look or sound confident, even if they’re incorrect. Read MoreHave you been duped by AI? Maybe what you bought wasn’t what you got, or a chatbot gave you wrong information. We want to hear about it. Email us at [email protected] else is going on?Watch out, vinaigrette lovers: Olive oil prices have jumped againOn average, prices have increased 25.6 per cent since January.Frito-Lay Canada recalls 2 of its most popular snacks for possible salmonella contaminationCheck your cupboards for Sunchips Harvest Cheddar Flavoured Multigrain Snacks, as well as Munchies Original Snack Mix. Did you hold on to your pandemic meme stock? Roaring Kitty’s return caused it to surgeThe man at the centre of the meme stock craze appeared online for the first time in three years, sending the prices of three quirky and volatile shares sharply higher Monday.Marketplace needs your help! (CBC)Have you spotted a healthy claim on a product that was too good to be true? Maybe you’ve seen a product that doesn’t have an ingredient or health benefit it claims it does. Send us your “lousy labels” the next time you shop for groceries! [email protected] you looking for the latest in business news? You’ll want to subscribe to this newsletter, too.Mind Your Business is your weekly look at what’s happening in the worlds of economics, business and finance. Subscribe now.Catch up on past episodes of Marketplace on CBC Gem.

Recommended For You