(Corey Templeton)

Shipments Diverted To East Coast During Contract Dispute Probably Won’t Come Back

Here’s the thing with container ships: you can move them. That’s the point, actually, so it’s not surprising that instead of waiting in long lines to have their cargo unloaded while the Pacific Maritime Association and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union spent nine months in a contract dispute. Some ships were diverted to the East Coast, and it’s possible that those shipments may never come back to the West Coast. [More]

(Rich Renomeron)

Can A Website Get You Out Of A Traffic Ticket?

It’s scary to get a traffic ticket, especially if you drive for a living or there’s a hike to your insurance on the line that you can’t afford, not to mention paying the fine. It makes sense to pay a service advertising that it can help get you out of a ticket for a modest fee that’s less than your fine. Or does it? [More]

FTC: No Scientific Proof That Mosquito Shield Bands Actually Work

FTC: No Scientific Proof That Mosquito Shield Bands Actually Work

Mint oil smells very nice, but the marketing materials for Viatek’s Mosquito Shield Bands claimed that the plant substance can do more than perfume the air. Their plastic bands were supposed to use the oil to create a 5-foot mosquito-free zone around the wearer. Do they work? No, the Federal Trade Commission says. Not really. [More]

(Don Buciak II)

FTC Challenges Sysco Acquisition Of US Foods

Sysco’s in-person meetings with the Federal Trade Commission didn’t have the desired effect. The foodservice supply giant wanted approval for its planned acquisition of competitor U.S. Foods, but the FTC thinks that Sysco wants to gobble up too much of the market. The commissioners voted 3-2 to block the merger. [More]

(rayovolks)

Changes To TurboTax Lead To Consumer Revolt, Opportunity For Competitors

It’s the opening weekend of tax season! If you work an hourly or salaried job, the W-2 form summarizing how much you earned and how much tax you’ve paid is already in your mailbox or will be soon, since the deadline to mail them out is February 2nd. If you plan to use the Windows or Mac version of TurboTax, though, there’s something that you should know before you get started. UPDATE, 1/30: Thanks to this consumer revolt, Intuit is rolling back the changes and will return to the old pricing scheme for next year. [More]

Pennies Are Still Useless, And Nickels Cost Eight Cents To Make

Pennies Are Still Useless, And Nickels Cost Eight Cents To Make

Printing and minting money is one of the privileges that government has. In theory, this is a privilege because the face value of coins is more than they cost to make. The problem is that while we still have one-cent and five-cent coins here in the United States, those coins are worth less than they were decades ago when they were designed. Minting new ones costs taxpayers money. [More]

Supreme Court: Amazon Warehouse Workers Shouldn’t Be Paid For Security Screening Time

Supreme Court: Amazon Warehouse Workers Shouldn’t Be Paid For Security Screening Time

Two months ago, the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in the case of Integrity Staffing Solutions v. Busk et al., concerning the question of whether employees at a warehouse–an Amazon distribution center, in this case–should be paid for the time that they spend waiting for security checks when they leave work. The Supremes issued a unanimous decision earlier than expected, and they say that security checks should not be considered part of the job at a distribution center. [More]

Town Might Change Fines To Reflect Typo On Dog Poo Signs

Town Might Change Fines To Reflect Typo On Dog Poo Signs

A typographical error might have unfortunate real-world consequences for the dog-walkers of North Hempstead, Long Island, NY. The town posted signs warning that people who don’t pick up their dogs’ leavings are subject to a $250 fine. The problem is that the real fine is $25. Sure, they could change the signs, but it might be easier to just change the real fine to match what the signs say instead. [More]

(CrzysChick)

Ohio Jury Finds Whirlpool Not Liable For Moldy Front-Loading Washers

For the last six years, appliance-maker Whirlpool has fought the prospect of class action lawsuits filed by the owners of early front-loading high-efficiency washing machines. When the Supreme Court declined to hear Whirlpool’s case for the second time earlier this year, actual suits could go forward. The case on behalf of Whirlpool washer owners in Ohio went to trial this month, and a jury found the company not liable. [More]

FCC: 911 Outage Affected 11 Million People, Could Have Been Prevented

FCC: 911 Outage Affected 11 Million People, Could Have Been Prevented

In the software used in a call routing center in Englewood, Colorado, there was a programming error in a single piece of software. Sounds minor, but this error could have had horrible implications: it knocked out 911 service to 11 million people in Washington state, North Carolina, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, California, Minnesota, and Florida for six hours in April. More than 5,600 calls in affected areas didn’t go through. How did this happen, and can we prevent it from happening again? [More]

(Kim)

Disabled-Access Lawsuits Against Small Businesses Increasing

Everyone who likes to eat hot dogs should have the right to enter a restaurant and order some hot dogs. Recently, though, a 60-year-old luncheonette in Miami was sued when a man who walks with a cane sued, claiming 30 separate accessibility violations. Was the man even a customer of the hot dog stand? Turns out that doesn’t really matter. [More]

Dealership Registers Car To Wrong Person, Random Lady Gets 18 Tickets In the Mail

Dealership Registers Car To Wrong Person, Random Lady Gets 18 Tickets In the Mail

An 87-year-old woman in California was confused when she started to receive parking tickets and toll notices in the mail. She had 18 separate tickets, with a total of almost $1500 in fines. Was she racking up tickets and forgetting to pay? No, and she could prove it: she no longer drives at all. The tickets listed her as the owner of a white Acura, and she doesn’t own one. [More]

Do You Know This Mysterious Man Who May Be A Lottery Winner?

Do You Know This Mysterious Man Who May Be A Lottery Winner?

The Hot Lotto is a Powerball game that’s available to lottery fans in fourteen states and the District of Columbia. Somebody won $14.3 million in Iowa in December 2010, but here’s the problem: nobody knows who. A mysterious company based in Belize tried to claim the ticket, but the original ticket purchaser has to claim the cash. He never has. [More]

There’s Some Weird Stuff In Your Homeowner’s Insurance Policy

There’s Some Weird Stuff In Your Homeowner’s Insurance Policy

Do you sit and read every word of every document that you sign? Probably not. Maybe you should, but it would take up valuable time that could be spent “liking” pictures of your friend’s new puppy on Facebook. Jacob Goldstein of NPR’s Planet Money decided to read all 23 pages of his new insurance policy, and he had some questions. Mostly about the likelihood of volcanic eruptions in Brooklyn. [More]

(Jeff Gates)

American Consumers Now Have The Most Debt Ever

Did the recent recession make consumers realize that carrying large amounts of debt for their credit card and car purchases is a bad thing? No, Americans have not adopted widespread frugality, a report from the Federal Reserve shows. We’re taking on more consumer debt than ever. Yes, even when you adjust it for inflation. [More]

(Great Beyond)

Former Peanut Butter Moguls Found Guilty Of Knowingly Shipping Contaminated Food

Remember the massive outbreak of salmonella in peanut butter? No, not the one earlier this year, or the one in 2012, or the one in 2007. We mean the one in 2008, where peanut butter shipped from the Peanut Corporation of America was linked to more than 700 illnesses and nine known deaths. Five years after the company’s cartoonish terribleness was revealed, three executives were put on trial for knowingly distributing contaminated food to the American public. [More]

(Kat N.L.M.)

What Happens When One Mall Has Two Different Minimum Wages?

Normally, it wouldn’t be a huge deal to have one mall that sits on the border between two cities. There might be some small differences in laws or sales tax, but at the Westfield Valley Fair Mall in California, there’s a huge difference. It sits on the border between the cities of San Jose and Santa Clara, and San Jose recently raised the citywide minimum wage by $2. [More]

Most U.S. $100 Bills Are Not In The United States Right Now

Most U.S. $100 Bills Are Not In The United States Right Now

$100 bills: what are they good for? Most Americans don’t use them, some stores won’t accept them, and their untraceability makes them tempting to steal. What you may not realize, though, is that two-thirds of all United States $100 bills aren’t in circulation in the United States. Instead, they’re the currency of choice in places where people have no faith in their own country’s government and the money it prints. [More]