(frankieleon)

FCC Chair: Current Definition Of Broadband Isn’t Fast Enough

The FCC’s current definition of “broadband” Internet is 4Mbps downstream and only 1Mbps up. These were adequate speeds in a world where you occasionally watched a grainy YouTube video, but they don’t reflect the needs or uses of most consumers, and those benchmarks are only going to grow more irrelevant with each passing day. FCC Chair Tom Wheeler admitted as much to Congress yesterday. [More]

Until Banks Settle On Single Way To Disclose Fees, It’s Hard To Compare Checking Accounts

Until Banks Settle On Single Way To Disclose Fees, It’s Hard To Compare Checking Accounts

Most banking services come with a laundry list of small-print, hard-to-read disclosures detailing how much one might expect to pay for things like depositing a check, talking to a teller or checking an account’s balance. Knowing that information before signing on the dotted line for a new checking account is paramount if you don’t want to be saddled with some of the billions of dollars consumers spend on checking account fees each year. However, as a new report continues to show, actually finding that information online can often be an exercise in futility. [More]

Regulations Help To Rein In Runaway For-Profit Colleges, But Schools Still Find Loopholes

Fujoshi Bijou

If a company routinely charges more for its products than the competition and its product is often inferior to the more affordable option, that business won’t remain open for long. But thanks to deep-pocketed backers and a government that has handed over hundreds of billions of dollars in federal student aid without asking too many questions, the for-profit college industry continues to rake in the bucks while frequently leaving its students with subpar educations and faint employment hopes. Some federal regulators have attempted to make the industry more accountable, but these schools continue to take advantage of loopholes while legislators and consumer advocates scramble to make reform. [More]

Creator Of Pop-Up Ads Apologizes For Doing His Part To Ruin The Internet

(Misfit Photographer)

Along with auto-play video and auto-refresh webpages, pop-up ads make up the unholy trinity of browsing the Internet. Now, the man who wrote the code for the first ever ad to come out of nowhere and spoil your reading experience is saying he’s sorry to the world. [More]

Here we see a priest from the Temples of Syrinx enjoying a glass of white wine.

British Airways ‘Happiness Blanket’ Makes Passengers Look Like Idiots From The Future

Which gives you more anxiety: Flying across the Atlantic or looking like an extra from Logan’s Run? If you chose the former and you like to fly first class, then British Airways has a “Happiness Blanket” for you to try out. [More]

(Mr. Jose Gonzalez)

Australian Cafe Docks Guest Workers’ Pay For Burned Waffles, Incorrect Sandwich Assembly

It’s nice to hear that a restaurant has high standards, but one cafe in Perth, Australia took things too far by docking workers’ pay for minor infractions. How minor? Fining them AU$100 (about $94) for being five minutes late, $30 for sticking the tomato slice on the wrong layer of a club sandwich, and $12 for overcooking a waffle. While subpar waffles are a shame, these deductions are illegal. [More]

Fill Out This Simple Survey, Get Actual Help From Sears

Fill Out This Simple Survey, Get Actual Help From Sears

Over the last nine years or so of Consumerist, we’ve chronicled the tragic decline of Sears, an American institution. This has happened under the leadership of manifesto-writing hedge fund manager/CEO/intra-company deathmatch impresario Eddie Lampert. Shoppers’ biggest complaint: profound dysfunction and incompetence in stores. A manager at Sears slipped Consumerist a bit of information that people locked in a customer service battle with Sears might find useful. [More]

April Recall Roundup – Look Out For Unexpected Crossbows

April Recall Roundup – Look Out For Unexpected Crossbows

In this month’s Recall Roundup, a lawnmower keeps going even after its operator has dismounted, computer batteries overheat, fireplaces explode, and a self-destructing goldfish bowl is no place for fish. (Actually, a goldfish bowl is no place for a goldfish: take the $20 you get back and put it toward an aquarium.) [More]

New Jersey Thinks 4G And Wired Broadband Are The Same, Lets Verizon Off The Hook

New Jersey Thinks 4G And Wired Broadband Are The Same, Lets Verizon Off The Hook

Someone at Verizon is wearing a party hat and celebrating this week, as the telecom titan convinced the state of New Jersey to let it wriggle out of a decades-old obligation to provide broadband throughout the entire Garden State, because apparently 4G wireless broadband is the same as a to-the-home wired connection, and broadband competition is completely unnecessary. [More]

8 Things Companies Have Said That Sounded Like April Fool’s Jokes But Sadly Weren’t

8 Things Companies Have Said That Sounded Like April Fool’s Jokes But Sadly Weren’t

For the calendar-challenged, we’ll point out that today is April 1, meaning the Internet is full of phony products, fake stories, doctored photos… so, you know, it’s like most days on the Internet. Rather than serve up a “United Charges Upgrade Fee For Merely Being Jealous Of First-Class Passengers” headline, or a post about Comcast CEO Brian Roberts giving up his job to play Gretl Von Trapp in a regional theater production of The Sound of Music, we’re looking back at some stories that would have been appropriate for April Fool’s. [More]

3 Tips To Writing A Yelp Restaurant Review That Is Worth A Read

3 Tips To Writing A Yelp Restaurant Review That Is Worth A Read

As helpful as crowdsourced review sites like Yelp can be, not every write-up is of use to a consumer trying to figure out whether a restaurant is worth the trip. Sometimes it’s because the review is too vague (“The menu wasn’t amazing” is one I come across too often). Other times it’s too specific (“The napkins didn’t match the table cloths! Never going back!”). And many reviewers tend to let their emotions get the best of them, giving slightly subpar meals a single star or throwing a restaurant a 5-star rating without really thinking about what that score implies. [More]

FDA Updates Safety Requirements For Infant Formula, Because No One Like Contaminated Fake Milk

FDA Updates Safety Requirements For Infant Formula, Because No One Like Contaminated Fake Milk

The Food and Drug Administration is taking additional steps to ensure our youngest citizens are getting the nutrients they need from formula by updating quality standard requirements for manufacturers. So maybe you can rest a bit easier knowing your child’s formula probably isn’t contaminated. [More]

Amazon Patents Method For Shipping You Things Before You Order Them

Amazon Patents Method For Shipping You Things Before You Order Them

Regular Amazon shoppers are probably quite familiar with the e-tailer’s e-mail blasts that highlight things you might want based on previous purchases and the things you’ve searched for on the site. But what if Amazon went one step further and actually predicted the things you will buy and shipped them in advance? [More]

(James M. Childs)

Dealership Publicly Shamed Into Replacing $55K Camaro Wrecked By Joyriding Employee

Yesterday many of us were bummed out by hearing that it’s perfectly legal for a repair shop employee to take a customer’s car for a joyride. And if the car gets wrecked in the process, well, there’s not much police can do. Which is why it’s heartening to hear that a man whose $55,000 Camaro was wrecked during a dealership worker’s joyride is getting his car replaced… after the dealership had a good dose of public shaming.  [More]

We Don’t Want To Hear About Your Disappointing Flowers This Valentine’s Day

We Don’t Want To Hear About Your Disappointing Flowers This Valentine’s Day

Well, Consumerist readers, the time is near. There’s a month to go until Valentine’s Day, and we have a goal. We do not want to publish any disappointing wire service flower photos on Tuesday, February 18. None. Zero. Because everyone reading this right now who plans to order flowers will proceed to the friendliest, best-reviewed local florist they can find and order directly. [More]

FDIC & OCC Ask Banks To Please Stop Issuing Payday Loans As “Direct Deposit Advances”

FDIC & OCC Ask Banks To Please Stop Issuing Payday Loans As “Direct Deposit Advances”

While many payday lending operations are not directly tied to federally insured banks, some of the biggest names in banking — most notably Wells Fargo — offer what are effectively payday loans via “Direct Deposit Advance Loans.” But today the FDIC and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency have given some guidance to the banks they regulate, basically saying “That’s enough of that, don’t ya think?” [More]

A Coby tablet from back in the day.

Coby Electronics Shuts Down, Taking Customer Warranties With It

When consumer watchdog reporters across the country start doing pretty much the same story, it’s not a good sign for…well, anyone, really. The sad tale of the Coby Electronics customer is starting to repeat itself nationwide. A customer sent an item to Coby for warranty replacement, and never got anything back. Not long ago, Coby sold $400 million worth of gadgets per year. Now the company is dead. [More]

FDA Tests Confirm Presence Of Arsenic In Rice Products

FDA Tests Confirm Presence Of Arsenic In Rice Products

Almost exactly one year after our cohorts at Consumer Reports found arsenic in a wide range of rice products — from instant rice to baby food to rice milk to cereal — the Food and Drug Administration has released the results of its own research on the topic, effectively confirming CR’s findings and suggestion that consumers vary the types of grains they eat. [More]