SEC Charges Current, Former Executives Of For-Profit Chain ITT Educational Services With Fraud

SEC Charges Current, Former Executives Of For-Profit Chain ITT Educational Services With Fraud

Back in September ITT Educational Services – the operator of for-profit college chain ITT Technical Institute – revealed it was facing increased scrutiny by several government agencies. That scrutiny turned to action this week as the Securities and Exchange Commission filed fraud charges against current and former executives with the company for their part in concealing problems with company-run student loan programs. [More]

A notario público courts customers on the side of a building. This example of notario advertising was provided by the American Bar Association's Commission on Immigration.

How ‘Notario’ Fraud Preys On Language Differences & Can Result In Unfair Deportation

While the news is filled with reports of various frauds perpetrated on American consumers, one particularly nasty scam doesn’t make as many headlines because it preys almost exclusively on recent Spanish-speaking immigrants who think they are paying for quality legal advice but instead get someone with nothing more than a notary stamp. [More]

Whatever Happened To GeoCities, Lycos, Netscape & Other Giants Of Web 1.0?

(Ben)

Long before Facebook and Twitter, well before even Friendster and MySpace, before the first dotcom bubble burst, in the eons before Google was a glint in anyone’s eye, there was the first web. In comparison to everything that’s come after it, you could call it Web 1.0 or perhaps even just “the dark ages.” But for anyone born before, say, 1990, this was the dawn of our now-ubiquitous digital world. But as the digital giants of yesteryear have been replaced by the now-ubiquitous Facebook and Google, how many are still in play now? [More]

(Mike Mozart)

Pinterest Reportedly Planning To Rollout A “Buy” Button As Early As This Year

It’s not always enough to just look at pretty things pinned to your Pinterest boards; sometimes you desire to have them in your physical possession. That need for instant gratification may be why the scrapbook service is reportedly laying the groundwork for a “buy” button that would allow users to purchase products straight from the site. [More]

Only 4% of the Walmart Spring Valley herbal supplements tested turned up DNA of the herbs advertised on the label.

NY Asks Stores To Halt Herbal Supplements After Tests Show Advertised Herbs Not Present

When you buy an herbal supplement that says “echinacea” or “ginko boloba” on the label, you may expect that it contains some additional ingredients beyond the advertised herbs, but you should be confident that those herbs are present. However, DNA tests commissioned by the New York state Attorney General found evidence that many herbal products may not contain what they advertise. [More]

Sam’s Club Put Money-Back Guarantee On Booze Labels, Wouldn’t Honor It

Sam’s Club Put Money-Back Guarantee On Booze Labels, Wouldn’t Honor It

When a product says “Money-Back Guarantee” on the label, it’s not out of line to assume that you’ll get your money back if you don’t like it, right? That’s what one Sam’s Club customer thought when he bought some seriously subpar house-brand vodka at the liquor store at his local Sam’s Club. The problem: the store, corporate, and the distillery disagreed about who should honor that guarantee. [More]

(Bob)

Toshiba Quits U.S. TV Market, Licenses Name To Taiwan’s Compal

Toshiba will be leaving the U.S. market for televisions, but you’ll still be able to buy a Toshiba TV later this year. Confused? Like other brands in the TV market, the company will license its name to Compal Electronics. TVs made by Compal will hit shelves starting in March. [More]

1800Flowers Sends Grandma Small, Non-Seasonal Christmas Bouquet

1800Flowers Sends Grandma Small, Non-Seasonal Christmas Bouquet

Reader Philip likes to send people flowers, and that includes his grandmother. He used the 1800Flowers.com website to send her a very festive arrangement for Christmas, and she was pleased enough to post it on Facebook. Philip wasn’t pleased, though. What he saw online wasn’t what he had paid for. He tried to get 1800Flowers to explain what went wrong. They gave him a refund, but no explanation. [More]

Expect A Lot More “Promoted Pin” Ads On Pinterest In 2015

Expect A Lot More “Promoted Pin” Ads On Pinterest In 2015

Pinterest isn’t just about sharing wedding decoration ideas and food photos. It’s also a way for advertisers to push their “Promoted Pin” ads on users, and apparently it’s been successful at doing that, as Pinterest is promising to roll out this advertising option to everyone in the coming year. [More]

(kevin dean)

Tired Of Saving Those American Express Rewards Points For A Trip? Spend Them At McDonald’s Instead

No one wants to wait months to accumulate enough American Express rewards points to purchase a blender when you can get instant gratification at McDonald’s. That’s right, the fast-food chain now accepts your hard-earned AmEx points in exchange for Big Mac, Quarter Pounders and other fare. [More]

(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]