Relax, Toy Hamsters Not Metalloid Death Bringers After All

Relax, Toy Hamsters Not Metalloid Death Bringers After All

You can dig up that bag of Zhu Zhus from your backyard and re-wrap them for the kids again. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has said that the robot hamsters are not loaded with too much antimony after all, despite claims made by the website GoodGuide. [More]

Mattel, Primary Reason For Toy Safety Law, Gets Exempted From It

Mattel, Primary Reason For Toy Safety Law, Gets Exempted From It

When the CPSIA—the toy safety law that requires independent lab tests on toys—was passed, a lot of smaller toy manufacturers complained that it was really a dirty trick by the big toy companies to increase overhead for the small ones. Now comes word that the government has secretly exempted Mattel from the law’s testing requirements—even though Mattel was responsible for 6 lead-tainted toy recalls in 2007.

Consumer Reports Evaluates Cool Surge Portable Air Cooler, Made By Same Folks Who Brought You The ìAmish Heaterî


The company behind the “Amish man’s new miracle idea”—a heater—is back! Here’s Consumer Reports’ evaluation of the Cool Surge.

Give Yourself A Financial Stress Test

Give Yourself A Financial Stress Test

Why let banks have all the fun? Run the numbers on your own personal finances, suggests a certified financial planner in the Dallas Morning News, and see whether or not you’re prepared for disruptions like a layoff or sudden interest rate increase.

Is It Cheaper To Make Or To Buy? Six Foods Tested

Is It Cheaper To Make Or To Buy? Six Foods Tested

Jennifer Reese decided to make six common food items and then determine whether it was better to go the homemade route or to buy from the store. We briefly considered making our own crackers last month in a fit of anger over how expensive generic saltines have become, so we’re glad someone did the research for us.

http://consumerist.com/2009/02/23/spring-is-coming-consumer-reports/

Spring is coming! Consumer Reports tests scooters and motorcycles for the first time since 1981. [Consumer Reports]

How To Tell If A 'Business Opportunity' Is A Multi-Level Marketing Scheme

How To Tell If A 'Business Opportunity' Is A Multi-Level Marketing Scheme

Kevin’s been invited to his friend’s house to hear about a great new business opportunity! He writes, “I did a quick Google search and… while the company appears to be legit, it seems that their way of marketing their products [is] almost pyramid scheme in nature.” The problem for Kevin, and anyone else researching this sort of thing, is it can be hard to tell how much you should trust any specific page of reviews or feedback. Here’s a clear 5-step evaluation to determine whether or not the next big thing is really a multi-level marketing (MLM) scheme.

Hundreds Confused As Hawaii Transitions To Digital

Hawaii last week became the first state to transition to digital television, leading hundreds of confused locals to call into the FCC’s help center. Though the transition appears to have been a technical success, the new digital signals mays never reach some of the 20,000 Hawaiians who rely on analog service.

Test Your Personal Finance Skills With These Quizzes

Test Your Personal Finance Skills With These Quizzes

Kiplinger has two quizzes named “Financial Truth or Bunk?“, and they go through some of the more popular tips you’ve heard about personal finance, including lines like:

  • You can’t lose money investing in bonds.
  • Stay-at-home moms or dads need life insurance, too.
  • Don’t buy a red car — it’ll cost more to insure.
  • Dollar-cost averaging boosts investment returns.
  • The percentage of stock in your portfolio should equal 100 minus your age.
Update: 41 46 Million Americans Drink Pharmaceutical Waste

Update: 41 46 Million Americans Drink Pharmaceutical Waste

If you weren’t one of the 41 million Americans drinking water contaminated with sex hormones and pharmaceutical waste, welcome to the club! Testing prompted by the AP’s damning investigation has revealed that another five million people, including residents of Reno, Colorado Springs, and Chicago, now sip the potentially dangerous pharmaceutical soup.

Fellow Consumerist Tests Coffee Grounds Tips So You Don't Have To

Fellow Consumerist Tests Coffee Grounds Tips So You Don't Have To

We want to commend hhole for electing himself or herself guinea pig on this morning’s coffee grounds post. Apparently, hhole immediately started rubbing coffee grounds all over his or her body in order to see if it really would work as a facial scrub/hair shiner. (Of course, this only makes us want to come up with some imaginary “use” for, say, kitty litter or corn meal to see whether hhole takes the bait.) Read this intrepid commenter’s first person report below.

Denver TV Station Tests Computer Repair Techs

Denver TV Station Tests Computer Repair Techs

A Denver TV crew unseated a RAM chip and then took it to seven different repair centers for a diagnosis. The resulting displays of incompetence were pretty evenly distributed, with two Best Buy Geek Squads, one Circuit City Firedog, and one locally owned repair center (CTI) all failing miserably (“It’s the motherboard!” they each said). Of the three locations that correctly diagnosed and fixed the problem, Action Computers charged $50, Geek Squad charged $30, and the Firedog tech who hands-down won the challenge “reinstalled the memory cards in less than two minutes, free of charge.”

When Buying A New Cell Phone, Ask About The "Buyer's Remorse" Period

When Buying A New Cell Phone, Ask About The "Buyer's Remorse" Period

Jason bought a couple of new Sidekick phones, but quickly discovered that he and his wife couldn’t live with the abysmal battery life. He called T-Mobile and found out that he had a 14-day window during which he could return the phones for a full refund. Before he sent them back in, however, T-Mobile offered to send him two more batteries via expedited shipping to see if the experience would improve. Jason agreed and tested the new batteries, but still wanted to return the phone. But now he had a problem: he was one day outside his “Buyer’s Remorse” period and T-Mobile wouldn’t let him.

AT&T To Charge $5 For Payments Over The Phone In May

AT&T To Charge $5 For Payments Over The Phone In May

An anonymous AT&T employee who says to call him “Vernon” wrote in to tell us that starting next Tuesday, March 11th, some customers in the Southeast who call in to make a payment will be charged $5, with the fee going nationwide by May. He writes, “I feel this is taking advantage of our customers’ trust, because even when we put it on all of their bills, and let people know, there will be tons of reps that won’t let the customer know they’re being charged for taking their payment.”

Consumer Reports Tests Stainless Steel Cleaners

Consumer Reports Tests Stainless Steel Cleaners

Consumer Reports noticed, as so many of us have, that stainless steel is awesome until you have to clean it. With that in mind, they’ve tested a bunch of stainless steel cleaners and found that they all work just about the same.

The 6 MPH Crash That Costs $8,000 To Repair

The 6 MPH Crash That Costs $8,000 To Repair

Minivan bumpers may not protect much, but they sure do cost a lot to repair, according to the Insurance Institute For Highway Safety. The IIHS smashed six minivans to test their bumpers and found that all racked up repair bills exceeding $5,000. The Nissan Quest was singled out as a “miserable failure,” costing $8,000 to patch-up.

Air Purifiers That Work, And Ones That Don't

Air Purifiers That Work, And Ones That Don't

Consumer Reports tested 40 air purifiers by locking them in a closed room and filling it with smoke and dust—in other words, they recreated this writer’s childhood Christmases when Granny would visit with her angry poodle. Here are Consumer Reports’ selection of the best and worst devices.

Store Says It Can Prove There Is Seaweed In Its Clothing

Store Says It Can Prove There Is Seaweed In Its Clothing

The New York Times recently tested some “Vitasea” seaweed clothing from athletic clothing store Lululemon Athletica and could not find any evidence that there was any actual seaweed in the fabric. Lululemon disagrees.