(Eric Norris)

Chinese Luxury Car Buyers Shop The Very Unglamorous Gray Market

Here at Consumerist, we’re fascinated with the global gray market: the system of parallel imports that gives us Omega watches from Paraguay at Costco and a pirate Trader Joe’s store in Canada. There are even bigger things that trade on the gray market, though: in Shanghai, there’s a place where luxury car buyers can save money by purchasing cars that haven’t been imported through official channels. [More]

Beech-Nut Nutrition recalled nearly 2,000 pounds of baby food that may be contaminated with small pieces of glass.

Beech-Nut Nutrition Recalls Baby Food That May Contain Pieces Of Glass

That last thing a parent wants to imagine is inadvertently feeding their child a small piece of glass. Unfortunately, that issue was all too real for one baby food manufacturer recalling nearly 2,000 pounds of baby food. [More]

(Frankieleon)

Undercover Investigation Finds Serious Problems With Paid Tax Preparers

With the deadline for filing your annual tax return coming quickly, millions of Americans are putting their 1040s and other forms in the hands of largely unregulated paid tax preparers. But a new undercover report from the National Consumer Law Center finds that many of these preparers either don’t know what they’re doing or are allowing taxpayers to file false information. [More]

How Did The Hot Dog Get Such A Bad Rap?

Watchcaddy

When I was but a wee MBQ, I’d often sit in front of the refrigerator when no one was watching and eat hot dogs straight out of the package. “Gasp!” friends would later say when I recalled that guilty pleasure. “Do you even know what’s in hot dogs?” That widespread urban caveat of hot dogs as tubes of mystery meat has persisted, but is there anything actually scary about the contents of a hot dog? [More]

(funny strange or funny ha ha)

Because Technology Isn’t Going Away, FTC Creates Division Dedicated To Internet Of Things

With technology now touching nearly every aspect of consumers’ lives, the Federal Trade Commission wants to put more focus on privacy, big data and “smart” everything. To ensure it’s capable of protecting consumers from these rapidly evolving innovations, the agency announced the creation of the Office of Technology Research. [More]

No, IKEA Is Not Selling A Rainbow Pillowcase Called “PUTIN”

No, IKEA Is Not Selling A Rainbow Pillowcase Called “PUTIN”

The Internet, while a vast and varied resource rich in information on innumerable topics, is also a rascally son of a boomerang and will often regurgitate fiction as fact. To that end: Though a photo circulating Twitter yesterday appeared to show a rainbow-striped pillowcase called the “PUTIN” on sale at an IKEA store, the company says it doesn’t sell that particular item anymore and oh yeah, it was never named after the president of Russia. [More]

Google To Start Doing Its Mega-Personalized Ad-Serving Thing On TV, Too

Google To Start Doing Its Mega-Personalized Ad-Serving Thing On TV, Too

As dominant as it is and has been for decades, TV advertising is something of a crapshoot. Neilsen ratings are still the gold standard for every network out there, especially since they now finally track time-shifted viewing. But Neilsen still uses their own proprietary tech, and works on a sampling basis. In an age when every set-top box and most of the TVs they’re plugged into are themselves net-connected computers, there’s a more granular and accurate way to measure viewers and to advertise to them — and Google’s taking it. [More]

(me and the sysop)

Big Data Is Here To Stay. So Can We Use It To Make Recalls Actually Work?

Sometimes products are unsafe. From bacteria-filled food to shrapnel-shooting airbags, on occasion even the most conscientious company will find itself needing to recall a product if it turns out to be harmful to consumers. But recalls are a big pain in the butt all around. One of the biggest issues? Actually letting consumers know that the stuff in their hands or on their shelves has, in fact, actually been recalled. [More]

Facebook Clarifies: Bared Nipples, Hate Speech Not Allowed

Facebook Clarifies: Bared Nipples, Hate Speech Not Allowed

Facebook, like a lot of online sharing platforms with a large user base, frequently takes a “shoot first, ask questions later” approach to complaints about supposedly offensive posts. This has led to automated removal of rather innocent images — mothers breastfeeding, photos of nude paintings and sculptures — and other content that may offend some but was not intended to injure anyone. Today, Facebook tried to give users clearer guidelines about what sort of posts actually violate the site’s standards. [More]

(André-Pierre du Plessis)

Fraud Victim’s Impossible Choice: Eat $1,500 In Charges Or Be Banned From PayPal Forever

When a customer’s chargeback scheme left one PayPal customer down $1,500 and without the pricey headphones that they had sold, the person who sold the headphones was understandably upset. It’s wrong to rip anyone off, but they’re an individual seller rather than a faceless corporation. PayPal reduced the amount that this person owed to $700, but that was still $700 more than they really owed anyone. What’s a consumer to do? In this case, post to Reddit. [More]

(afagen)

American Apparel Employees File Complaints Against Company For Alleged Intimidation, Silencing Tactics

It has not been an easy road for American Apparel after firing founder and former CEO Dov Charney last year: Charney announced in December that he’s trying to plan a comeback, and now two complaints filed by workers allege that the company is intimidating its workers and trying to keep them from talking to the media about the company’s troubles. [More]

(sameold2010)

Dunkin’ Donuts Says It Will Remove Controversial Whitening Agent From Powdered Sugar

Dunkin’ Donuts announced today that it’s planning to remove titanium dioxide, a whitening agent often used in toothpaste and sunscreen as well as other products, from all powdered sugar used on its doughnuts. [More]

A diagram from the FTC complaint showing how millions of automated marketing robocalls were made each day under the guise of a political survey.

Telemarketers Accused Of Using Political Robocalls To Pitch Caribbean Cruise Packages

While people at various points on the political spectrum may disagree about many topics, one sentiment many of them share is a distaste for prerecorded phone calls from political organizations. Like them or not, they’re generally legal even if the recipient is on the federal Do Not Call list. But when you use a supposedly political telemarketing call to ultimately shill for a cruise line, you’ve crossed over into the dark side. [More]

(frankieleon.)

DEA Agent Says Legalizing Medical Marijuana In Utah Will Lead To Stoned Rabbits

There are many arguments for and against using marijuana legally in this country, whether for medical use or for fun, but one drug enforcement official’s reason for his stance against legalizing it in Utah is surely one nobody’s about to forget: He says wild bunnies will get high off the stuff. [More]

(C x 2)

Google Reverses Content Policy Prohibiting Adult Content On Blogger Platform

In an abrupt about-face, Google announced early Friday morning that it would reverse a content policy change made just three days earlier that banned the users of the Blogger platform from sharing sexually explicit or graphic nudity on their sites. [More]

What You Need To Know About Tomorrow’s Votes On Net Neutrality And Municipal Broadband

What You Need To Know About Tomorrow’s Votes On Net Neutrality And Municipal Broadband

On Thursday morning, the Federal Communications Commission will sit down to discuss and vote on two big issues — net neutrality and municipal broadband — that the cable and telecom industries have campaigned heavily to defeat and obscure. Because of these industry-backed efforts and the legalese involved, many consumers are having difficulty separating myth from reality. In an effort to cut through that haze, we’ve attempted to answer the most pressing questions about these two topics before tomorrow’s vote. [More]

(Michael G. Chan)

Hungry Shoppers Also Buy More Non-Food Stuff

It’s a long-held belief that shopping while hungry leads to a larger than normal grocery bill. A new study claims that you might want also want to avoid hitting the department store on an empty stomach. [More]

(frankieleon)

Is Your Social Security Number A Public Record? Depends Where You Live

A pile of sensitive personal data from Florida residents is now on the loose online. But it wasn’t leaked from a hack or a breach. It was from a completely legitimate public records dump by the state’s former governor. [More]