The Consumer Complaints Blog

Fighting the trained monkey in modern society.

December 28, 2011

China-Made Appliances

Filed under: Helping You Shop — Editor @ 9:44 pm

Is anyone else getting as sick as I am of shoddy, defective and unsafe small appliances from China?

In the past 6 months, I have had to return 4 toasters and 2 irons ranging in price from $24.99 (sale price) to $59.99 to various retailers. Brand names such as Black and Decker, Sunbeam, Oster and Kenmore to name a few, all made in China. One iron that I purchased, on first use, emitted smoke and then a small flame before I quickly unplugged it. Imagine, what would have happened if I had turned it on and left the room for a period of time.

After reaching maximum frustration. I called many of the major retailers to find out what, if any, small appliances were not made in China. The answer, in nearly all instances was, none! Why is our government not doing anything about this situation? Why are Canadians expected to spend their hard earned dollars on this crap? Even Breville products that are considered high-end and certainly by the price you would consider them high end, are manufactured in China. I would gladly pay more money for a product manufactured anywhere but China but it seems that this is not even possible.

China seems to have been granted a monoply in certain manufacturing sectors and the Canadian consumer is being held hostage to our governments lack of safety standards for imported goods. Who knew that buying a toaaster or an iron could be such a nightmare?

This article was submitted by one of our readers. Penciltrick cannot make any claims as to its authenticity but the article was accepted on a good faith belief that it is an accurate and truthful account of the events listed.

August 3, 2010

Toronto transportation thoughts – Just a muse

Filed under: Helping You Shop — Editor @ 6:19 pm

Imagine leaving your Toronto (any city) office for a luncheon, or a late-night soiree at a local hotspot, and instead of seeing hundreds of varying makes, models, sizes of individually owned cars, you see similarly marked, small, quiet, AC powered taxis. AND, not just sitting idle wasting time at the curb waiting for the next fare. They are all over. In fact, there are more of them than regular privately owned cars on the road. There are in fact so many, that as soon as you raise your hand, one quietly and seamlessly slides up to the sidewalk and wisks you off to a destination 5 kms away for a modest $10.00.

The city has thousands of these. Most owned by one of several different modernized privately owned taxi fleets. The fare prices are modest because the city has reduced the licensing fees (taxes) that used to run taxi companies hundreds of thousands, to a modest level to help ensure a return on investment to the taxi company owners. Sure, City loses some tax revenue but saves not having to spend another billion on TTC.

The cars typically cost $15,000 and with insurance, maintenance and a driver, can easily run $40,000 per year to operate. However, with a min start fee of $5 and $40 per hour thereafter, drivers are kept on the road all of the time making more fare money + tips. Instead of a typical taxi with 10 fares a day grossing $250, these cars are constantly on the go – 20 hours per day @ an average of $30-$40 per hour. Even if these are higher than expected, it’s over $200,000 per year per vehicle.

Keeping taxi costs lower, providing a more efficient, pleasant ride would result in this becoming a widely accepted method of economical public transportation. Not to compete with TTC but to provide an option, especially for late nighters.

Oh yes, it would also help boost the entertainment/restaurant business, most of whom are barely hanging in there with the scourge on drinking these days. Ever had to take a taxi from downtown to a 905 destination at 1:00 am. Trip takes about 30 minutes and puts a $100 hole in your pocket.

Anyway, could it work? Are there holes in it? Would I be willing to invest in it? (yes). I’m certainly not a transportation expert but I think the idea deserves merit and thought I would share it with you.

Thanks for listening.

This article was submitted by one of our readers. Penciltrick cannot make any claims as to its authenticity but the article was accepted on a good faith belief that it is an accurate and truthful account of the events listed.

June 2, 2010

Toronto Organic Butcher & Naturally Raised Meat – Fãmu

Filed under: Helping You Shop — Editor @ 7:53 pm

This is the first in our Helping You Shop section. Every once in a while we come across an exceptional business we just need to tell people about.

It’s BBQ season and for those of us that love to grill, there is no better time of year. The best results start with the best meat. Good quality meat is more important than any spice or rub you can come up with. Start with a great cut of meat, from a naturally raised animal, and all you really need is salt and smoke to make it taste great.

Berkshire pork chops

1 inch thick cut Berkshire pork chops gently cooking over some hickory wood and maple charcoal.

If you live in the city it’s fairly easy to find a few organic butchers. But what do you do if you’re somewhere else in the GTA or even in the 905? You’ve basically got two options. Either make the drive into Toronto and waste a beautiful day paying for parking or make the painless drive out to Fãmu. If you’re serious about BBQ and your family’s health, you need to go see Fãmu for your next cookout.

Fãmu is located at 3160 Steeles Ave, between Victoria Park and Woodbine just east of the 404. You can contact them by telephone at 905-475-5005 or visit their website at

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So what’s so great about them? You mean beside the fact that they custom age their stakes, will cut or source pretty much any cut of meat you want, they cary only naturally raised meat that is free of hormones and other pollutants, and the meat is locally sourced in Ontario from small family farms?

But don’t take my word for it, let’s let the meat speak for itself. Below you’ll find photos of just some of the mouth watering cuts of meat that will make you the talk of all your friends gathered around the BBQ this summer.

Skirt steak

Amazingly flavourful skirt steak.

thinly sliced beef

Thinly sliced Wagyu (Kobe) beef. Ideal for Korean BBQ or Japanese grilled dishes.

angus steak

Naturally raised angus steak.

Just some of the great meats available at Fãmu.