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]

New York State Attorney General Tries To Shut Down Lyft Before Tonight’s NYC Launch

New York State Attorney General Tries To Shut Down Lyft Before Tonight’s NYC Launch

Seven hours from now, people in the New York City boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens were supposed to be able to dial up a vehicle from ride-sharing service Lyft and coast through traffic in a cloud of peer-to-peer vehicular bliss. “Not so fast!” the New York state government said to the service, its drivers, and their pink-mustachioed cars. [More]

Watch Out For This Spoofed E-Mail From E-ZPass

Watch Out For This Spoofed E-Mail From E-ZPass

E-ZPass, the transponder-based toll payment system available to drivers traveling on the East Coast, does send out invoices to the address on file for your license plate when you avoid toll collectors without having a transponder. However, they do not send these via e-mail. [More]

(Misfit Photographer)

Air Conditioner Thief Sentenced To Prison On Clean Air Act Charges

It’s important to do your research and learn everything you can before embarking on a project so you can anticipate what things might go wrong. For example, your plan to steal air conditioners and disassemble them for parts could go wrong when you accidentally release freon into the air. That’s what happened to an Ohio man who recently took a federal plea deal…not for theft, but for violating the Clean Air Act with his ill-gotten ACs. [More]

(@itsfischy on Twitter)

FAFSA Twitter Account Sorry For Posting “I’m Poor” Tweet Aimed At Financial Aid Applicants

You know what isn’t always that funny to people who can’t afford say, college? Calling them out for being poor on social media. Oh, hello, Federal Student Aid’s twitter account. You seem to have made a mistake in that area. [More]

Warning: This Bottle Of Wine May Explode

Warning: This Bottle Of Wine May Explode

Sure, we at Consumerist have our issues with the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, but here’s one case where centralized government control of the booze supply may be a good thing. Since the Liquor Control Board owns and operates all liquor stores in the state, reports of exploding prosecco bottles filtered in to the government in a timely manner, and they in turn have alerted the public. [More]

$18 Million WIC And Food Stamps Fraud Scheme Used Pretend Grocery Stores

$18 Million WIC And Food Stamps Fraud Scheme Used Pretend Grocery Stores

WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) and SNAP (Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program) are both federally-funded, state-administered programs with the simple goal of preventing Americans from going hungry. In Georgia, 54 people have been indicted for setting up pretend grocery stores that defrauded the programs of millions of dollars. [More]

People Still Falling For Fake IRS Phone Demand Scam

People Still Falling For Fake IRS Phone Demand Scam

Remember the scam that we kept hearing about during tax season, where victims received a phone call from a person pretending to represent the Internal Revenue Service who demanded immediate payment on a prepaid debit card? People just keep on falling for it. Yes, even now that most people have turned in their tax returns. [More]

Hotel Files $74,500 Defamation Suit Against Anonymous TripAdvisor Reviewer

Hotel Files $74,500 Defamation Suit Against Anonymous TripAdvisor Reviewer

The relative anonymity of online review sites makes it tempting to vent one’s anger toward a company in an over-the-top way, but does the use of a screen name prevent you from being held liable for making knowingly false claims? One hotel in Oregon says no, and is suing an unknown TripAdvisor reviewer to prove that point. [More]

(Bill Sodeman)

Shoes Are Not Magic: Vibram Agrees To $3.75 Million Class Action Settlement

Even runners, people who spend lots of time pushing themselves physically through all sorts of weather, are susceptible to the idea that one special product can provide near-magical advantages. Vibram USA has settled a class-action lawsuit alleging that they marketed their weird-looking Five Fingers shoes as providing physical benefits for which they have no evidence. [More]