(frankieleon)

4 Ways Copyright Law Actually Controls Your Whole Digital Life

We all know that copyright law means you shouldn’t download copies of movies from shady torrent sites, and that you should pay for the music you listen to. We know it means people and companies have rights to stuff they make, like photos and music and books, and that there are legal and illegal ways of sharing those things. [More]

(Taber Andrew Bain)

Wells Fargo, Chase To Pay $35.7M For Allowing Illegal Mortgage Kickbacks

Federal law prohibits giving or receiving kickbacks in exchange for a referral of business related to a real-estate-settlement service, but for four years a now-defunct title company in Maryland provide cash, marketing materials and consumer information in exchange for referrals. And now the banks have agreed to pay more than $35 million — including $11.1 million in redress to affected consumers — for their sins. [More]

FreedomPop's coverage area as shown on their website.

FreedomPop Launches $5 Unlimited Public WiFi Access, But Is It Worth It?

While major wireless carriers are investing billions of dollars in LTE services, a Los Angeles-based tech company is aiming to capture some of their customers by offering unlimited access to millions of WiFi hotspots across the U.S. for as little as $5 a month. While that might seem like a deal you just can’t pass up, the new service likely isn’t an attainable alternative just yet.  [More]

Even Subway's trucks try to upsell consumers. (photo: Catastrophe Girl)

Have You Been Trained In The Art Of The Upsell? Tell Us About It

From fast food to high finance, just about anyone involved in any sort of sales to consumers has been trained to upsell the customer on add-ons. And whether it’s the right way to push a super-sized meal or convincing a new car buyer he really wants that TruCoat undercoating for $500, there really is an art to doing it correctly. That’s why we’d like to hear from people who have been taught this special skill. [More]

(protohiro)

Report: Amazon Uses Jedi Mind Trick To Convince Shoppers It’ll Always Have The Lowest Prices

If you ask someone why they decided to buy a product on Amazon, the answer will often be, “Well, they have the lowest prices.” But according to a new report, that’s just an Amazon mind trick at work to make people think that’s always going to be true. [More]

Nearly half of all consumers didn't shop around before applying for a mortgage.

Many Homebuyers Spend More Time Shopping For A TV Than Looking For The Right Mortgage

Potential homeowners might spend months nitpicking and fretting over the features of a seemingly endless series of houses they could buy, but a new report from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau claims that half of American homebuyers aren’t taking the same care when it comes to shopping around for the right mortgage, often putting themselves in precarious lending situations and missing out on savings. [More]

(Andy Jones)

California Apple Plant Issues Recall After Tests Find Link To Deadly Listeria Contamination

Federal investigators have confirmed a connection between a California apple processing plant and a strain of listeria bacteria responsible for killing seven people and sickening more than 30 others, prompting the producer to recall an undetermined number of Gala and Granny Smith Apples from retailers. [More]

Chevy Bolt Takes Aim At Tesla With Up To 200 Miles Per Charge, Cost In Low $30Ks

Chevy Bolt Takes Aim At Tesla With Up To 200 Miles Per Charge, Cost In Low $30Ks

While the world still waits for the Tesla Model 3, an electric car that will get upwards of 200 miles per charge and cost around $35,000, General Motors today revealed a prototype for its Chevy Bolt, which aims to match that upcoming Tesla in both mileage and cost. [More]

Like my new wheels? I got it through an 8-year loan with a 22% APR. What a steal! [Note: Not actually my car] (photo Axion23)

Why Are So Many Recent Car Loan Borrowers Missing Payments?

In 2014, new car sales increased to 16.5 million, the highest level since 2006, but did too many car buyers take on more than they could afford? [More]

(blue_j)

Consumer Behavior In Rhode Island Shows Shopping For A New Health Plan Can Pay Off

It might feel sometimes like you’re shopping in a vacuum, where you are the single entity in the world that matters — “Do I buy this shirt? Do I want to shop around for a new health plan?” — but the truth is, the choices we make as consumers can have an effect on everybody else. For example, if you didn’t shop around and change your health plan from last year, you might find that the price of that plan has gone up for everyone. [More]

AT&T To Free Up More Data For Mobile Subscribers, At Cost Of Net Neutrality

AT&T To Free Up More Data For Mobile Subscribers, At Cost Of Net Neutrality

Most of us are used to mobile companies clinging tightly to every precious bit and byte of data like a dragon hoards gold. Unlimited data plans were everywhere for a while, then went away, and then kinda sorta came back but not really. This week, AT&T has announced two big changes that will work to free up “bonus” data for their subscribers. One is harmless and maybe even good, but the other could have big, negative repercussions for mobile internet use. [More]

Forgot To Return A Purchase? Maybe Your Credit Card Issuer Can Help

Forgot To Return A Purchase? Maybe Your Credit Card Issuer Can Help

While racking up unsecured debt is generally a bad thing, there can be hidden advantages to using your credit card for everyday purchases. Two benefits that we often recommend as weapons for consumer justice are chargebacks and warranty extensions, but here’s another one that you may not be aware of: return period extensions. Yes, buying with some credit cards can give you longer to return an unwanted item to the retailer. [More]

From Samsung To Razer To Oculus, Our Experience With The Latest In Virtual Reality

From Samsung To Razer To Oculus, Our Experience With The Latest In Virtual Reality

Virtual reality has been a holy grail of sorts for tech developers for several decades, but previous generations’ attempts were too clunky, heavy, and unconvincing. The dream hasn’t died, and judging by what we saw at International CES this week, the field is ready to explode (in a good way). [More]

LG Figures Out What To Do With Washing Machine Pedestals — Put A Small Washer In Them

LG Figures Out What To Do With Washing Machine Pedestals — Put A Small Washer In Them

For years, washing machine makers have been upselling consumers on pricey but pretty much useless pedestals to put under their front-loading machines. At best, these products have been expensive metal drawers that save your back by forcing you to not bend over as far. But this morning at International CES, LG introduced a novel idea — stick a smaller washing machine in the pedestal. [More]

The Year That Shouldn’t Have Been: The 50 Most Embarrassing Stories From 2014

Ron G

In the days leading up to a new year, most people take time out to reflect on the good and the bad of the previous 12 months. While there were some really great things – and not so great thing (Comcast/Time Warner Cable Merger, anyone?) that happened in 2014, there was also a seemingly endless supply of stories that left us wondering just who has control of companies’ social media platforms and why CEO’s just can’t keep their mouths shut. So without further adieu, here is Consumerist’s list of stories that make us go “What, The What?” [More]

What We Liked About 2014: The Editors’ Favorite Stories Of The Year

What We Liked About 2014: The Editors’ Favorite Stories Of The Year

The clock hasn’t even struck midnight yet, and already we’re reminiscing about the year gone by. For us here at Consumerist, 2014 wasn’t only about how many times our stories were read, or who was clicking where, but about the process of bringing those stories to our readers and how we felt about working on them. [More]

(Molly)

Is In-Store Pickup Any Faster Than Just Shopping At The Store?

For years, an increasing number of retailers have been pushing their “buy online, pickup in store” (BOPIS, for all you acronym lovers) option as a expedient option that offers the convenience of online shopping without the hassle of having to search the aisles. But is it really any faster than traditional bricks-and-mortar shopping? [More]

(via Reddit)

Rejoice! Cat Accidentally Sold Along With Mattress Is Home Again

Because not every lost pet story has a happy ending, fans of Camo the Mattress Cat will likely be incredibly relieved to hear that the beloved pet accidentally sold along with bedding on Craigslist has been reunited with his owners. [More]