War Declared On Salt!

War Declared On Salt!

Are you tired of the high fructose corn syrup battles? Today the Institute of Medicine, part of the National Academy of Sciences, released a report that said Americans on average eat enough salt every second to kill a humpback whale kraken. I have not actually read the report, but it probably said something like that. It also said that public education campaigns have failed to reduce sodium intake, and voluntary self-regulation by the food industry hasn’t been effective. [More]

Toyota Stops Selling Lexus SUV After Consumer Reports Says "Don't Buy"

Toyota Stops Selling Lexus SUV After Consumer Reports Says "Don't Buy"

It’s a big deal when Consumer Reports awards a “Don’t Buy” rating to a vehicle, and when it announced earlier today that the 2010 Lexus GX 460 should be avoided because of safety risks, the story started popping up all over the web. Now only 12 hours later, Lexus has announced that it is asking dealers to temporarily stop selling the vehicle while it looks into the situation, and that it’s taking the Consumer Reports claim “very seriously.” [More]

FCC Leaks Summary Of National Broadband Plan

FCC Leaks Summary Of National Broadband Plan

The FCC has released a scan (PDF) of the five-page executive summary of the National Broadband Plan that it will present to Congress in two days. Although the summary is packed with recommendations, here’s a couple that a lot of broadband customers might be interested in: the FCC wants to develop “disclosure requirements for broadband service providers” so that consumers can make the best choice for service, and it wants to map broadband services across the country to better identify “specific geographies or market segments” where there’s not enough competition. [More]

Maybe People Are Stealing From Your Drugstore Because You
Only Have One Employee

Maybe People Are Stealing From Your Drugstore Because You Only Have One Employee

I’ve stopped shopping at the two large drugstores in my neighborhood because they’ve put all the antiperspirant behind plastic flaps, like bagels at a supermarket. When you lift the flap to grab a Right Guard or Speed Stick, an alarm goes off that makes it clear to everyone in the store that you’re a potential criminal with stinky pits. My guess has been that this embarrassing anti-theft deterrent is needed because there’s almost no staff at either store anymore, and a new retail survey and a couple of loss prevention experts seem to back that up. [More]

USPS Suggests Cutting Saturday Delivery And Increasing Rates

USPS Suggests Cutting Saturday Delivery And Increasing Rates

The United States Postal Service is continuing its long slide into suckage according to a new report delivered by Postmaster General John E. Potter this morning. People sent far less mail last year (“more than double any previous decline,” says the Washington Post) and labor costs continue to rise, which helped the USPS lose $3.8 billion in 2009. [More]

See Which Retailers Offer Free Shipping

See Which Retailers Offer Free Shipping

The website istobe offers a daily free shipping report for over 500 online retailers, where you can quickly see whether there’s a minimum purchase requirement or if the retailer offers free shipping at all. It’s a good resource to use as you compare prices, and istobe says they update it daily.

Your Credit Report Isn't The Only Report You Should Monitor

Your Credit Report Isn't The Only Report You Should Monitor

When an insurer decides whether to offer you a new policy, or whether to raise rates on a current one, he most likely pulls a CLUE report that lists any homeowner or automobile insurance loss claims (or sometimes even just inquiries) that you’ve made over the past 3-7 years. Hopefully you monitor your consumer credit report for errors, but as you can see, that’s not the only one you should keep an eye on.

Bank Of America Posts $1 Billion Loss In Third Quarter

Bank Of America Posts $1 Billion Loss In Third Quarter

Do you hate Bank of America? Well take today’s earnings report and wallow around in it like Ann-Margret in beans, becuse the bank has posted a loss of $1 billion before dividends to preferred shareholders—”When those dividend payments are included, the loss was $2.24 billion,” reports the New York Times.

Child Labor? In MY Local Store? It's More Likely Than You Think

Child Labor? In MY Local Store? It's More Likely Than You Think

Was anything you own made with forced or child labor? It’s more likely than you think. Last week, the U.S. Department of Labor finally released a long-awaited report on the use of child labor or forced labor worldwide. The unsurprising result: Children and forced laborers work in agriculture, mining, and manufacturing worldwide.

Lexapro's Marketing Plan Shows How Drug Maker Pushes New Drugs

Lexapro's Marketing Plan Shows How Drug Maker Pushes New Drugs

The Senate just released 88 pages of a confidential 270+ page marketing plan by Forest Laboratories, created in 2004 and focused on how to get doctors to prescribe the antidepressant Lexapro over similar but cheaper alternatives such as Celexa. The New York Times notes that the line between marketing and education seems to be heavily blurred, which may not surprise you. There are, however, two interesting notes for consumers who may be taking Lexapro.

Car Dealership Apparently Not Too Keen On Selling Cars

Car Dealership Apparently Not Too Keen On Selling Cars

It’s a tricky business, trying to make the world safe for consumers. Long ago, during my short-lived mystery shopping career, I had the assignment to sign up for a membership at a warehouse club. I was treated so poorly by the staff member registering new members that day that had I been spending my own money and not on assignment, I would have walked out.

AmEx, Discover Ditch Overlimit Fees

AmEx, Discover Ditch Overlimit Fees

American Express and Discover will no longer bill customers who exceed their credit limits, according to company spokespeople. The creditors aren’t eliminating the fees because they care about their customers. No, they’re providing what American Banker calls “the first concrete examples of how a new law will restrict issuers’ abilities to turn a profit.” The new CARD Act that Congress passed in May requires consumers to opt-in before they can exceed their credit limits. Since overlimit fees, which can reach $39, aren’t very profitable for creditors, they decided to ditch the fees altogether.

Hiring Consultant Warns: "No Connection Between Credit History And Job Performance"

Hiring Consultant Warns: "No Connection Between Credit History And Job Performance"

Almost half of all employers use credit reports to judge job applicants, even though credit histories have no relation to job performance. Personal finance goofs are only relevant for jobs that deal directly with money—cashiers, account managers, and the like. For everyone else, negative credit reports keep otherwise capable people from securing a job to help avoid further financial problems. So why do so many companies still ask for credit reports?

Is Bottled Water Safer Than Tap Water? Please…

Is Bottled Water Safer Than Tap Water? Please…

Bottled water isn’t any safer than tap water, and could actually be more dangerous, according to a report from the Government Accounting Office. The big difference lies in the government regulator: tap water is covered by the Safe Water Drinking Act, administered by the aggressive and powerful Environmental Protection Agency, while bottled water falls under the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act overseen by the powerless anything-goes industry-lovers over at the Food and Drug Administration.

The IRS Isn't Sure Who They Hired Or Why Your Sensitive Tax Documents Are Filed In Dumpsters

The IRS Isn't Sure Who They Hired Or Why Your Sensitive Tax Documents Are Filed In Dumpsters

Here are three things you didn’t want to know: 1) The IRS doesn’t always conduct background checks on the employees contracted to handle your sensitive tax documents; 2) Those contracted employees regularly toss your sensitive tax documents into dumpsters without first shedding them; 3) The IRS doesn’t really know who’s in charge of conducting background checks on contracted employees, or who’s responsible for keeping your sensitive tax documents shredded and out of dumpsters. At least that’s what the Treasury Inspector General‘s office uncovered when it audited everyone’s favorite auditors.

Will CVS Ever Pull Expired Medicine, Baby Formula From Their Shelves?

Will CVS Ever Pull Expired Medicine, Baby Formula From Their Shelves?

CVS stores across the nation regularly stock expired medicine, milk, and baby formula, according to a damning union report. This isn’t the first time CVS has been caught stocking dangerous goods. Last year, New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo threatened a suit after his office caught the pharmacy selling goods over a year past their expiration dates. CVS claims that, despite investing over $160 million in a “perpetual inventory management” system, it’s nearly impossible to keep expired items off the shelf because they simply have too much stuff.

FICO Confirms: Reduced Credit Lines For Good Borrowers

FICO Confirms: Reduced Credit Lines For Good Borrowers

A study from Fair Isaac confirms that even the best borrowers are seeing their credit lines slashed as banks move to boost profitability during the recession. 16% of Americans have seen their credit lines reduced by an average of $2,200, and of them, 11% had no late payments or negative marks on their credit report.

http://consumerist.com/2008/12/27/every-other-retailer-in-existence/

Every other retailer in existence may have had an awful holiday season, but Amazon says it was its “best ever.” [MarketWatch]