(Rosalyn Davis)

Reynolds, Lorillard Must Sell Salem, Kool, Maverick & Winston Brands To Gain Approval Of $27.4B Mega-Cigarette Merger

You may recall that last July the No. 2 and No. 3 cigarette brands in the country announced they were planning to go all in on a $27.4 billion merger. This week the two companies received the blessing from federal regulators, as long as they divest four cigarette brands to a UK-based company. [More]

FTD, Classmates Inc. To Pay $11M To Resolve Multi-State Allegations Of Deceptive Advertising

FTD, Classmates Inc. To Pay $11M To Resolve Multi-State Allegations Of Deceptive Advertising

The attorneys general from 22 states signed an $11 million settlement with a national flower delivery service and social networking site today to resolve allegations that the two companies misled consumers into buying subscription services they didn’t want. [More]

(Jeffrey)

Amazon Trying To Lure Etsy Sellers To New “Handmade” Marketplace

Amazon is apparently not content with just allowing third-party vendors to sell mass-produced items through the website. The online retail giant is reportedly prepping a new marketplace for customized, unique products, setting up a potential showdown with Etsy. [More]

Ashworth College agreed to settle charges it misled students.

For-Profit Educator Ashworth College Settles FTC Charges It Misrepresented Career Opportunities, Transfer Credits

Federal regulators’ crackdown on the for-profit education industry continued today as Georgia-based Ashworth College agreed to settle Federal Trade Commission charges the company misled students about career training and credit transfers. [More]

(Tom Raftery)

Twitter Reportedly Looking To Buy Article-Curating App Flipboard For $1B

If you’re one of the largest social media networks in the world and happen to have $1 billion burning a hole in your pocket, what do you do? If you’re Twitter, you apparently start talks to buy article-sharing app Flipboard. [More]

company websites

How Carl’s Jr. & Hardee’s Became One Giant Burger Chain With Two Names

Does a fast food chain by any other name smell as… burger-like? Even though Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s now share (almost) the same menu, the same graphic design elements in their branding, and the same parent company, they still retain their original names and there is virtually no geographic overlap of the two brands. While the only significant difference between Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s might be their names, for more than 30 years the two companies were worlds apart. [More]

(Danny Ngan)

Could Amazon & Penguin Random House Be Headed For A Hachette-Level Feud?

Almost exactly a year after Amazon and book publisher Hachette entered a very public feud over an e-book pricing dispute, the mega online retailer is reportedly on the cusp of engaging in a new battle with the world’s largest book publisher, Penguin Random House. [More]

(Ben Schumin)
(Ben Schumin)

Taco Bell, Pizza Hut Ditching Artificial Flavors By End Of 2015

The menus for Taco Bell and Pizza Hut will soon include fewer ingredients listed under your favorite meal, as the two fast food restaurants announced Monday that they plan to ditch artificial colors and flavors by the end of the year. [More]

NHTSA Once Again Flexes Regulatory Muscle Over GM, Manufacturers Who Used Takata

NHTSA Once Again Flexes Regulatory Muscle Over GM, Manufacturers Who Used Takata

Since taking the helm of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in January, Mark Rosekind has made his intention to hold automakers responsible for safety issues well known. This week, the agency continued tightening the reins by extending oversight requirements imposed on General Motors stemming from its ignition switch defect and invoking its legal authority to speed up the recall process related to millions of vehicles recalled for Takata airbag defects. [More]

Are Your Packages Really More Secure With UPS’ New Access Point Service?

Are Your Packages Really More Secure With UPS’ New Access Point Service?

Last October, United Parcel Service announced it would attempt to cut down on delivery stops and protect consumers’ packages from sticky fingers with its Access Point service that drops off packages at local businesses where you can pick them up at your convenience. While the idea seems great in theory – who doesn’t want to protect their unattended packages? – in practice, it appears there are still a few kinks to work out: Mainly that people aren’t aware of the service, and the packages may not be as secure as we’d hoped. [More]

Soon ads like this one that play before YouTube videos will allow viewers to easily buy the promoted product.

Soon You’ll Be Able To Easily Buy The Stuff Showcased In Ads Played Before YouTube Videos

Have you ever sat through an advertisement before being able to watch that super cool, totally in-the-moment viral video on YouTube, and thought “Man, I really need that [insert random item you probably don’t need]?” No? Okay, but in case that ever is you, Google wants to ensure it’s as easy as possible for you to make a purchase right then and there. [More]

FDA Report Shows Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams Failed To Adequately Comply With Testing, Cleaning Procedures

FDA Report Shows Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams Failed To Adequately Comply With Testing, Cleaning Procedures

While Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams prepares to reopen its scoop shops this weekend, newly released federal investigation reports show the Ohio-based company’s issues date back several years before its public battle with listeria contamination. [More]

Credit Bureaus Must Pay $6M, Fix Errors More Quickly Under 31-State Agreement

Credit Bureaus Must Pay $6M, Fix Errors More Quickly Under 31-State Agreement

The three largest companies to collect and disseminate credit information for millions of Americans – Experian, Equifax and TransUnion – must significantly change the way they treat disputed information on credit reports as part of a massive multi-state settlement announced this week. [More]

58 Senators Urge CFPB To Create Rules Against Forced Arbitration Clauses In Financial Products

58 Senators Urge CFPB To Create Rules Against Forced Arbitration Clauses In Financial Products

A month after legislation was introduced to eliminate mandatory arbitration clauses in employment, consumer, civil rights and antitrust cases, a coalition of 58 lawmakers and several consumer advocate groups are urging the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to take things a step further by protecting consumers from forced arbitration clauses in financial services contracts. [More]

(stuartpilbrow)

FTC Puts A Stop To Three Debt Collection Operations Using Threatening Text Messages, Robocalls

For the most part, we can’t say many glowing things about the debt collection industry that has, in the past, been known for using a litany of abusive and deceptive practices to pry money from consumers. Three such companies will no longer be bothering people after the Federal Trade Commission temporarily shut down the operations for engaging in nearly all of the hallmarks of shady collectors: threatening lawsuits or arrest, impersonating law enforcement and government officials and illegally contacting supposed debtors. [More]

(Chris Rief)

CVS Buys Nursing Home Pharmacy Chain, Drug Provider OmniCare For $12.7B

CVS plans to spend $12.7 billion to buy pharmacy-service provider Omnicare Inc. in order to gain a larger foothold in the quickly expanding long-term care industry and specialty pharmacy market. [More]

Health Insurer CareFirst Latest Hack Victim

Health Insurer CareFirst Latest Hack Victim

More than 1.1 million current and former members of CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield are among the latest victims of a cyberattack, the health insurer confirmed this week. [More]

EBay Rolling Out Its Own Prime-Like Service… In Germany

EBay Rolling Out Its Own Prime-Like Service… In Germany

Just weeks after rumors surfaced that Walmart was working on its own Amazon Prime-esque service, eBay is jumping into the game — except its subscription service is only available across that big Atlantic pond – for now. [More]