Kevin Trudeau, a diet and disease cure-all peddler who has a rich history with the FTC, just earned himself a fat 30 days in jail for encouraging his fans and followers to email a U.S. District Judge. Last Wednesday, Trudeau posted a request on his website asking supporters to email the judge who is presiding over an FTC civil suit against him. The idea, apparently, was for Trudeau’s happy customers to convince Judge Robert Gettleman to go easy on the pitchman. Instead, it had the opposite effect. [More]
Laura has a pretty good description of what an anxiety attack feels like to her: “First, your chest starts to feel tight, like you are wearing a corset. You can’t breathe properly, your heart rate starts to skyrocket, causing a pounding feeling. It’s very out-of-body. You can’t figure out what’s going on. It’s like being trapped by your brain into a tight corner.” If the skeptical gate agent for Continental had ever experienced this–or had just been given adequate training for dealing with passengers with disabilities–maybe she wouldn’t have told Laura her doctor’s note looked fake, or asked her to stay put when Laura said she needed to get her meds. [More]
Last week, Daynah wrote about how she was forced to stop writing anything down during a recent shopping trip to the cosmetics store Ulta. At the time, Daynah grudgingly gave in because she really wanted to make a purchase (she tests products for consumers). But once she left the store, she took the fight back to Ulta.
Jay’s parents have gotten quite, uh, spendy with their retirement income, and now they’ve got a lot of debt they can’t pay off. This has become Jay’s problem not because he’s a party to any of the debt, but because they’ve put him down as a reference and now bill collectors are harassing him.
In a world where smartphones can shoot video, snap photos, record audio, scan barcodes, and let you make price comparisons via text message, it’s almost funny to run into a paranoid manager like the one at an Ulta makeup store in Seattle. Well, funny except for that petty tyrant part where she tells you that you’ll have to take your old-school pen and papers out to the car and come back empty handed before she’ll sell you any makeup.
Walmart can try to spin itself as being on the side of good all it wants, but if it ever suspects you of shoplifting, you may find that you’re powerless to fight back. In the case of a couple accused of shoplifting some Bic lighters in Niles, Michigan this past August, Walmart detained them, the police came and cuffed one of them, their two kids were taken to a security room, and—after a review of security footage proved the couple’s innocence—they were banned for life from all Walmarts. To top it off, Walmart’s legal team has sent the couple a letter asking to be reimbursed for 10 times the value of the lighters, even though the police determined no shoplifting had taken place.
It’s probably a bad idea to market to consumers by tricking them with practical jokes. It’s definitely a bad idea to make a consumer fear for her safety over a five day period because she thinks a stalker is coming after her. That’s why a woman in Los Angeles is suing Toyota for $10 million after being on the receiving end of a Punk’d-style stunt to promote the Toyota Matrix.
When a Florida man suffered a heart attack, he needed to leave his job. Between everyday expenses and medical bills, he fell behind on his mortgage and other bills, and debt collectors began calling. And calling. And calling. Eventually, a lawsuit alleges, the stress from the harassing and abusive phone calls led to the man’s death. Frivolous lawsuit? Maybe not.
The New York Attorney General shut down a network of debt collection agencies today that were run by convicted felon Tobias Boyland, who along with his colleagues impersonated police officers, threatened debtors with arrest, and told them they were being sued in civil court. Boyland is also an author and a musician, and he has an awesome website, bagsofmoney.us, which—warning—launches into a street-friendly rap song as soon as it loads.
Back in March, Steve Bierfeldt was pulled aside while going through the security line at Lambert-St. Louis (Missouri) International Airport, taken to a room, and questioned for half an hour about the box of cash he was trying to check through. Bierfeldt, who works for a Ron Paul organization, recorded the conversation. Now with the help of the ACLU he’s suing the TSA.
Tim thought he was entering an innocent giveaway at his local Subway in Warrenton, Virginia earlier this month. Nope. It was just timeshare bait. We wish the Subway would have known better than to allow the dropbox in their store to begin with, but after reading Tim’s story you’ll know what to watch out for should you run into a similar contest.
The IRS has ended a controversial program that allowed private debt collectors to pursue individual debts owed to the government. The private debt collectors, described as “bounty hunters who collect taxes from vulnerable people for profit,” were allowed to keep 25% of any collected debts for themselves. Before we celebrate, let’s all take a moment to join Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa in thinking about those poor private debt collectors who no longer have jobs harassing and abusing people…
Teresa, the reader who was banned from XBOX Live for self-identifying as a lesbian, caused quite a stir on the internet. Joystiq managed to get a statement out of Microsoft regarding the issue. Microsoft says they do not allow expressions of sexuality of any kind in GamerTags or in profiles, and that they take harassment “very seriously.”
The nation’s economic woes make debt collection a topic du jour, but while there are some good bits mixed into the Washington Post’s article, “When Debt Collectors Disrupt Dinner,” it probably should have been titled “What Debt Collectors Would Like You To Say And Do When They Call About The Credit Card.” Read it with a shaker of salt. Read on for the good, the bad, and the lazy reporting, plus what you should actually to protect and exercise your rights as a debtor…
Amanda just had a frightening experience with the woman at the Proactiv kiosk in her hometown of Hattiesburg, Mississippi: “[Mall security] told me to come over and get away from her because she would not stop yelling, and refusing to do anything until I was out of her sight.” [Update: we've received more information on who to contact to resolve this issue. Check out the bottom of the post for details.]
Last week we reported that some types of unwanted robocall telemarketing will soon be banned. If you’re on the receiving end of Leverage Connections’ prerecorded harassment—they frequently operate under the generic names “Consumer Services” or “Credit Card Services”—you’ll finally have a way to formally complain to the FTC about them. Why would you want to complain? Because they’re the scammiest, most obnoxious robocall telemarketing company we’ve seen so far—even though what they do is apparently legal.