In D.C., This Pepsi Machine Dispensed Malt Liquor

In D.C., This Pepsi Machine Dispensed Malt Liquor

Imagine a wonderful, magical world where you could walk up to a soda machine and buy a bottle of malt liquor. That paradise on earth (for the underage) briefly existed in the Trinidad neighborhood of Washington, D.C. Since the booze cost $3, more than at nearby retail outlets, its customer base were all either underage or had exceptionally poor math skills. [More]

Federal Court Shuts Down LimeWire With Permanent Injunction

Federal Court Shuts Down LimeWire With Permanent Injunction

LimeWire, the Gnutella-based peer-to-peer file-sharing service, is no more. Major record labels, also known as file-sharers’ archnemesis the RIAA, obtained an injunction from a U.S. District Court judge in New York City that stops Limewire from distributing their software or facilitating any file-sharing. [More]

FTC: Countrywide Mowed Your Lawn, Marked Up The Cost And Called It A Fee

FTC: Countrywide Mowed Your Lawn, Marked Up The Cost And Called It A Fee

The FTC says that Countrywide (now part of Bank of America) has agreed to pay $108 million to settle charges that the company “collected excessive fees from cash-strapped borrowers were were struggling to keep their homes.” So, what exactly did they do? Well apparently, while acting as a mortgage servicer, the company actually hired vendors to service properties after the homeowners had fallen behind on their mortgages, marked up the cost of the services (lawn mowing and property inspections, for example,) and then passed the cost along as fees. Doesn’t sound legal? It wasn’t. [More]

Man Arrested For Hanging Eight-Story Ad, Held On $1-Million Bail

Man Arrested For Hanging Eight-Story Ad, Held On $1-Million Bail

Los Angeles has had a problem with illegal billboards for a while, but apparently it’s taking a ban on one type of display advertising seriously. “Supergraphics” are giant outdoor ads that stretch across the sides of buildings and are so big they can be seen from the International Space Station. Last month, the city filed a lawsuit involving several supergraphics already on display. A few days later a businessman hung an eight-story tall one on a building on Hollywood Boulevard, in the line of sight of cameras shooting red carpet coverage for the Oscars. He was arrested and held on a $1,000,000 bail. [More]

FTC Shuts Down Multi-Million Dollar Cramming Business Inc21

FTC Shuts Down Multi-Million Dollar Cramming Business Inc21

Inc21 supposedly sells web hosting and other Internet-related services, but the FTC says that in reality it contracted with offshore telemarketers who helped it cram charges onto unsuspecting customers’ phone bills, earning $19 million over the past five years. Customers who complained about the charges said they were either never contacted in the first place, were promised a free trial, were told that the telemarketer was just verifying business information, or explicitly refused Inc21′s offer and were charged anyway. [More]

State Investigators Find All Sorts Of Dirty Tricks At Mercury Insurance

State Investigators Find All Sorts Of Dirty Tricks At Mercury Insurance

This summer Californians will be able to vote on Proposition 17, which if passed will allow insurers to bypass some legal restrictions on how much they can charge for auto insurance. Mercury Insurance Group is a big proponent of the proposition, but maybe that’s because it’s been possibly sidestepping the law in recent years anyway. Hey, making it legal will just prevent another state report like the one Carla Marinucci at the San Francisco Chronicle obtained, which contains findings that Mercury “has engaged in practices that may be illegal, including deceptive pricing and discrimination against consumers such as active members of the military and drivers of emergency vehicles.” [More]

Make Debt Collectors Give You Money By Suing Them

Make Debt Collectors Give You Money By Suing Them

This may not work for everyone, but it worked for Jeff. He tells Consumerist that after he filed Chapter 13 bankruptcy, Sallie Mae representatives continued to call him, which is sort of illegal. So his bankruptcy attorney sued them. And won a $4,000 settlement. [More]

Lawsuit: Debt Collector Harassment Contributed To Man's Death

Lawsuit: Debt Collector Harassment Contributed To Man's Death

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.

Rent A Center Accused Of Illegal Collection Tactics In Washington

Rent A Center Accused Of Illegal Collection Tactics In Washington

There are many, many good reasons why you shouldn’t purchase your home furnishings from rent-to-own outfits, but the state of Washington has discovered an exciting new one: collection tactics from Rent A Center that are so aggressive, they’re illegal.

Rabbis, New Jersey Mayors Arrested In Money Laundering, Kidney Selling Scandal

Rabbis, New Jersey Mayors Arrested In Money Laundering, Kidney Selling Scandal

Wanna buy a human kidney? If so, you should have been talking to Levy Izhak Rosenbaum of Brooklyn, NY. He’s been charged with conspiring to broker a kidney as part of a crackdown on “a corrupt network of public officials who were all too willing to take cash in exchange for promised official action,” according to the New Jersey AG’s office. Yes, you’re reading this correctly. It’s just really weird.

State Department Admits RFID Passports Are Insecure

State Department Admits RFID Passports Are Insecure

The State Department is advising travelers using super-secure RFID-enabled passports to buy a “radio-opaque” holster, because it turns out that RFID chips aren’t so super-secure after all. Don’t fret if “radio-opaque sheath” isn’t on your holiday shopping list, this is thankfully one of those rare problems that you can solve with a hammer…

Isis Bridal Tells Woman With MS To Get Out

Isis Bridal Tells Woman With MS To Get Out

Ooo, you nasty! With your service animal! Get out of here! That’s the new informal slogan of Isis Bridal & Formal in Dallas after news broke that they kicked out a 62-year-old grandmother with multiple sclerosis, because they were worried her service dog would get service dog cooties all over the dresses.

Office Depot Employee Claims He Photoshops Price Tags

Office Depot Employee Claims He Photoshops Price Tags

Who needs to lie about inventory when you can inflate the price directly? LAPTOP has uncovered more dirty secrets of Office Depot employees being dishonest to customers, this time by altering price tags on clearance items to incorporate the cost of an extended service plan.

Verizon Wireless Sues "Velveteen Rabbit" Telemarketers

Verizon Wireless Sues "Velveteen Rabbit" Telemarketers

Hooray for Verizon Wireless! Wait, what? The cellular carrier has just filed a lawsuit against Feature Films For Families for illegally telemarketing. Specifically, they’re accusing the company of using an auto-dialer to cold call hundreds of thousands of Verizon Wireless customers earlier this month, which is illegal according to NJ state laws (where the suit was filed) and the Federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act.

Don't Hack Into The Taco Bell Drive Thru And Yell Obscenities At Customers

Don't Hack Into The Taco Bell Drive Thru And Yell Obscenities At Customers

Sure, we have to admit that it’s kind of funny, but our official position is that you should not use your immense technological skills to modify a radio to broadcast on the Taco Bell drive thru‘s frequency. Sadly, we did not get this important message out to two teenagers in Sedalia, Mo.

Video: Turning Illegally Logged Wood Into A Walmart Toilet Seat

Video: Turning Illegally Logged Wood Into A Walmart Toilet Seat

It’s hard to think of an object that isn’t made of wood or packaged or encounters wood at some point in its journey through the economy. Any number of household items that you can buy at Walmart, like a toilet seat for instance, may very well be made from Russian wood.

Is Volkswagen Violating The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act?

Is Volkswagen Violating The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act?

Tim’s neighbor received a call from VW Credit asking her to walk across the street and leave a note on her neighbors’ front door and VW Bug asking them to call back their creditor. Calls like these are known as block parties, and they are a direct violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

Everything This Farmer Wants To Do Is Illegal

Everything This Farmer Wants To Do Is Illegal

Joel Salatin of Polyface Farm in Charlottesville, Virginia attained a certain moderate level of fame when his operation was featured in Michael Pollan’s book The Omnivore’s Dilemma. Now he’s got a book of his own called Everything I Want to Do Is Illegal.