The next time you go shopping for a new HDTV, keep in mind that the brightness and contrast settings don’t adjust brightness and contrast, and most of the fancier-sounding image quality controls don’t do anything except possibly degrade the image. Also, motion blur in live video is largely imaginary, which is good because advertised response times are highly exaggerated. And hey, that impressive “dynamic contrast ratio” the manufacturer is crowing about? Most of the extra contrasty goodness happens when there’s no image on the screen. [More]
We busted the trusts! Oil! Rail! Coal! Kapow! You just got Tafted! Yeah, but that was a century ago. Industries have had more than enough time to mutate and adapt, especially when it comes to technology, and figure out new anti-consumer ways to develop and maintain hegemony. You get higher prices, lower product quality, and fewer rights. They get more yachts to waterski behind. In no particular order, here are some of the top 7 legalized ripoffs consumers face today: [More]
Last week we showed you a few ways to spot fake online reviews and asked you to submit yours. We got some really great stuff! Here’s the tips and techniques savvy Consumerist readers use to ferret out the shills, sockpuppets and charlatans when cruising online reviews of products and services. Get yer learn on! [More]
Some “pal” of Mark’s put him down as a reference on a motorcycle loan with Freedom Road Financial and fell behind on his payments. So now the company is making harassing phone calls to Mark and his elderly mom, almost giving her a heart attack, telling them that Mark is in “serious trouble,” that he’s “a party” to the “stolen motorcycle.” They wouldn’t stop even though he told them to, and now an “investigator” identifying himself as “Marshal Davis” is also making calls, threatening to send “people” to his home and office. Mark recorded a conversation with Michelle Peacan at Freedom Road Financial (FRF) and we liked it so much that we added some funny photos, and uploaded it to YouTube. Then we reached FRF for comment. [More]
Advertising is all about optimism, aspiring to a better tomorrow that’s just a barcode scan away. So just because the economy is in the tank doesn’t mean we stop selling dreams, it just means we have to pimp a littler harder, together. For America. Common among this year’s best ads, in my view, is that they acknowledged the retardedness of their medium, and then got really real, or completely ridiculous. Here’s the top 10! [More]
If you’re the type of person who carries debt on your credit card from month to month, you should always have one “clean” credit card in your wallet, says Bob Sullivan of Red Tape Chronicles in his new book, Stop Getting Ripped Off: Why Consumers Get Screwed, and How You Can Always Get a Fair Deal. A “clean” credit card is one that you know can always get paid off in full if you use it, and you only whip it out for emergencies. For some consumers, this results in paying less interest and fewer penalties. In an excerpt he’s sharing with Consumerist readers, Bob explains how it works: [More]
Faster! Leaner! Meaner! Ben Popken rounds up Consumerist.com’s top stories of the week, from psychotic stewardesses to deadly foreclosures. This week we introduce a new feature: printing out the internet and turning it into a puppet show. [More]
Brrrr! It’s getting cold and it’s time to get the ol’ homestead ready so Jack Frost isn’t picking your pocket through your unsealed windows and faulty furnaces. In the comments section on the popular “9 House Fixes To Save $ Before Winter Starts” post you guys left lots of great ideas on how you’re getting prepared this winter, so here’s 28 of the best of them so we can all learn and save together.
Windows 7, Microsoft’s big bucket of bugfixes, hits stores tomorrow. If you had enough foresight to take advantage of Microsoft’s public beta and pre-order discounts earlier this year, you may already have a cheap version of the new OS. If not, here are a few ways to pick up Windows 7 now, without having to hand over $120, the lowest official price for an upgrade.
It’s Consumerist Videodrome #1! Wherein I make several important announcements about new changes coming to the site and show off my new cat.
By Ben Popken and Meg Marco
If you have any broken, ugly jewelry lying around in a drawer somewhere, you’ve probably taken notice of a company called Cash4Gold that promised to pay “top dollar” for your not-so-precious precious metals. If you’re like us, you might have even seen a post on ComplaintsBoard.com by a former employee exposing Cash4Gold.
The whistleblower’s post appeared on ComplaintsBoard last November. We featured it this February, as part of our ongoing coverage of Cash4Gold, after the company raised its public profile with a multi-million dollar Super Bowl ad. The post was indeed written by an ex-employee, Michele Liberis, who is now being sued by the company for defamation. Recently, Cash4Gold added Consumerist and ComplaintsBoard as co-defendants in its lawsuits (PDF) against Liberis and another former employee, Vielka Nephew (PDF), in an attempt to force us to take the information down. Liberis and Nephew have chosen to stand up to Cash4Gold’s legal attack, and so have we.
If you need the straight story on issues of credit card, debit, and banking fraud and security, something more than “we’re taking it seriously,” Avivah Litan, VP and distinguished analyst at Gartner research is your go-to-gal. I recently interviewed her over the phone about consumers can protect themselves in an era where just keeping your mother’s maiden name a secret doesn’t cut the mustard. I learned that you can buy a credit card number for a few cents, losing your Social Security Number is NOT the most dangerous fraud that is likely to happen to you, and how Obama’s helicopter plans got stolen thanks to P2P music-sharing software…
Remember when you could buy barbiturates for the baby? Cover your house with asbestos? Or get heroin from the doctor? Okay, probably not, but thanks to the immortal beauty of advertising, you can take a trip back in time. Here’s our pick of some of the most ironic ads in American history.
We can yuck it up all we want about The Snuggie meme, but how does “the blanket with sleeves!” stand up to Consumer Reports rigorous testing procedures? In this delightful and informative video, Meg Marco and Ben Popken journey to the Consumer Reports labs to find out the straight dope on the fleecy wonder that has captivated the nation.