Craft Store Decorates Festive Back-To-School Tree To Mark Important Holiday

Craft Store Decorates Festive Back-To-School Tree To Mark Important Holiday

Years ago, I temped for about six months in an office where an artificial evergreen tree in one lobby was always on display, decorated for Valentine’s Day, Easter, Memorial Day, or any other event that the tree’s owner felt like observing. I’m not sure whether that creative person or even the holiday mashup artists over at Hobby Lobby would have ever thought of this decoration that reader Jason recently shared with Consumerist, though. [More]

Reminder: Hallmark’s Ornament Launch In July Is Not Christmas Creep

Reminder: Hallmark’s Ornament Launch In July Is Not Christmas Creep

We take a firm stand against Holiday Creep, which is when retailers start to merchandise and decorate for a given holiday months in advance. The offending holiday is usually, but not always, Christmas. Every year around this time, we hear from exasperated shoppers who walk by a Hallmark gift shop and see their display of new Christmas ornaments, leading our readers to wonder what this world is coming to. Yet Hallmark’s Christmas displays aren’t what they seem. [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]

Want To Break Up Your Cable Bundle But Keep Your Favorite Channels? That Could Be About $250

Want To Break Up Your Cable Bundle But Keep Your Favorite Channels? That Could Be About $250

A certain segment of consumers have been clamoring for years for cable distributors to break up the monolithic, 300-channel bundle into a la carte offerings. For those who don’t watch sports, the logic goes, why pay for ESPN? Why pay for TLC if you don’t watch reality TV, or CNN if you don’t give a damn about news? [More]

(saramarie)

Nearly 70 Million Americans Had Their Personal Information Compromised In 2014

Given the sheer number of high-profile data breaches in recent years, and the varying levels of personal information stolen, it can be difficult to quantify how many American consumers were affected. A new survey tries to answer the questions of how many people have had their info stolen (a lot) and what consumers are doing to protect themselves (not much). [More]

(Brian Turner)

Arbitration Fairness Act Would Reinstate Consumers’ Right To Sue In Court

 

Companies have been taking away your right to sue them when they screw up for years, using small, hidden clauses to require mandatory binding arbitration instead. After years of consumer groups voicing their concern over this anti-consumer practice, there’s finally a new bill in congress that proposes to bring back your right to sue.

[More]

What Net Neutrality Opponents Are Saying Now — And Why It’s A Lot Of Hot Air

(Steve)

While supporters of an open internet are excited about the FCC’s recent net neutrality ruling, some folks in the telecom and ISP world are a whole lot less happy. Many of the big businesses affected by the rule had their say in February when the vote happened, but the recent release of the full rule (all 400 pages of it) this week has become an opportunity for many groups afraid of new regulation to once again put their concerns front and center in the limelight. [More]

Karen Chappell

Faith V. Greed: The Battle Between Faith-Based Organizations And The Payday Loan Industry

“The Bible condemns gaining wealth through usury; and the writers of Scripture warn about gaining wealth through exploiting the poor… [but] The State of Alabama allows Payday lenders to charge an annual interest rate of 456%.” [More]

In Spite Of All That Lovin’, McDonald’s Sales Still Sinking

In Spite Of All That Lovin’, McDonald’s Sales Still Sinking

Even though McDonald’s made a huge media push with its G-droppin’ apostrophe-lovin’ hug-acceptin’ Super Bowl-centered marketing campaign, the latest sales data from the world’s largest fast food chain shows that it’s going to take more than a few ads to turn this burger business around. [More]

(Scorpions and Centaurs)

Hallmark Planning Mini-Stores Inside JCPenney Locations

After a year of discussions and a pilot program in 15 stores, JCPenney and Hallmark are pleased to announced that they might be moving in together. Well, sort of. Hallmark mini-stores may join Sephora and Disney mini-stores inside hundreds of JCPenney locations across the country. [More]

Crayola Apologizes After Hackers Post NSFW Pics To Kid-Friendly Facebook Page

Crayola Apologizes After Hackers Post NSFW Pics To Kid-Friendly Facebook Page

Visitors to the Crayola Facebook page were seeing Brick Red, or perhaps blushing in shades of Carnation Pink on Sunday when they realized that some nogoodniks had taken over the account and decided to have a laugh by juvenile but not kid-friendly updates for the crown company’s 2.45 million fans to see. [More]

(Los Angeles Daily News)

Walgreens Pulls Swastika-Patterned Hanukkah Gift Wrap From Stores

Swastikas in any pattern are terrible. But swastikas — intentional or not — in the pattern of Hanukkah-themed items are even more jaw-droppingly terrible. And that’s exactly what a California customer says she found when she went shopping at Walgreens. [More]

An email supposedly from  Pizza Hut actually contains malware.

Fake Pizza Hut Anniversary Email Won’t Give You Free Pizza, Just Malware

Emails for free pizza might be few and far between, so when one shows up in your inbox you might be tempted to ditch those dinner plans for a few cheesy slices. But even the promise of free pizzas can be too good to be true, that was certainly the case this week when an email purported to be from Pizza Hut didn’t end in free pizza, but dangerous malware. [More]

At Hallmark, Get Halloween Ornaments For Your Halloween Tree

At Hallmark, Get Halloween Ornaments For Your Halloween Tree

Here at Consumerist, we pretend to hate holiday mashups while secretly loving them. Still, we have to admit that we were a little confused when we saw that Hallmark now has Halloween ornaments. Yes, it’s a long-established fact that the gift chain puts its Christmas ornament collection out in July, but we thought they were just that. Christmas tree ornaments. Not so. [More]

Hallmark’s Ornaments Christmas Creep Up On CVS

Hallmark’s Ornaments Christmas Creep Up On CVS

In our years of posting about the retail menace that is Christmas Creep, we have developed a list of situations that are not eligible to be declared Christmas Creep. For example, craft stores know that you’re starting your Christmas crochet projects in mid-August, and Hallmark always introduces its Christmas ornaments in July. Yet Hallmark has taken its ornament collection to CVS, and reader Victoria is not pleased. [More]

The Bastard Child Of Comcast/TWC Merger Gets A Name: GreatLand Connections

If you live in one of those orange dots, you may soon be complaining about the cruddy cable and Internet service from GreatLand instead of Comcast.

While plenty of us are still banging on the church window, trying to break up the impending nuptials of Comcast and Time Warner Cable, the couple, along with their “close friend” (ahem) Charter Communications, have already given a name to the company that will be spun off and left to fend for itself in the wild because there just isn’t enough room for everyone’s kids. That company, which will instantly become the fifth-largest cable operator in the U.S., will have the craptastic name of GreatLand Connections Inc. [More]

Sterling Davis

Here’s What Netflix, Dish & Others Said To The FCC About The Comcast/TWC Merger

The period for leaving a comment about the Comcast/TWC merger with the FCC closed on Monday. Roughly a zillion members of the public — individuals, nonprofits, state and federal politicians, telecom companies, tech trade groups, and consumer advocates — have weighed in, including several big names in pay TV who are staunchly against the deal. [More]

Data from SNL Kagen shows that ESPN is by for the most expensive channel for cable providers to broadcast.

ESPN Accounts For More Than $6 Of Your Cable Bill; Could Soon Top $8

In recent years, cable companies and broadcasters have squared off in nasty, public spats that sometimes result in blackouts for millions of viewers. The broadcasters say they aren’t being paid properly and the cable companies claim they’re on our side, trying to keep costs down (though we always end up paying more). These battles will likely only get worse, with analysts predicting that the cost of content will continue to increase. [More]