Earlier this year, the Federal Trade Commission sued T-Mobile, accusing the wireless company of making hundred of millions of dollars off of so-called “premium” text-messaging subscriptions that were often never requested by subscribers. To preempt others from getting involved in illegal “bill cramming,” the FTC is asking carriers to implement policy changes now instead of waiting until it’s too late. [More]
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]
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]
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]
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]
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]
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]
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]
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.
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.
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.
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…
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.
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.
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.
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.