Chris Rief

The FDA Doesn’t Actually Have The Power To Recall Cosmetics That Harm People

Last month, the Food and Drug Administration announced that it would be investigating claims from consumers that the “cleansing conditioner” Wen, purportedly developed by celebrity hairstylist Chaz Dean, had caused scalp irritation and even made some users’ hair fall out. The FDA looked into the situation after receiving 127 complaints about the product, but didn’t know that the marketer, Proactiv maker Guthy-Renker, had received more than 21,000 complaints about the product that it wasn’t obligated to report to the FDA. [More]

Jason Cook

Department Stores Remember That You Can’t Get Spa Treatments Or Lunch On Amazon

You can now order just about anything online, but there are some things that can’t be delivered in a box on your doorstep. If department stores and their business model are going to survive, experts say, they need to change their offerings and sell more products that can’t be purchased online. [More]

ken fager

The Family That Owns Trader Joe’s Is Having A Frugality War

People all over the world celebrate the companies that run stores under the Aldi brand for their super low prices. Yet the branch of the family that owns Aldi Nord, parent company of Trader Joe’s in this country and the Aldi stores in countries like France and Denmark, is currently having a family feud over frugality that has dragged their business into the public eye, something that the family has avoided for the last half-century or so. [More]

Liz Mochrie

5 Brands Of Curry Powder Recalled Because Of Lead-Contaminated Turmeric

Since turmeric is a key ingredient in curry powder, it was inevitable that the recall of some brands of turmeric for lead contamination would eventually lead to the recall of some curry powder. So far, one company whose powder is sold under five different brands has announced a recall. [More]


Judge Grants Permission For Volkswagen To Test Scrapping Cheating Diesels

What can Volkswagen do with the cars with emissions-cheating diesel engines that it buys back from consumers? The automaker has one proposal that a federal judge approved: even though the vehicles are pretty new, the company has proposed scrapping them to get them and their polluting engines off the roads. [More]

Nicholas Eckhart

Walmart Has A Not-So-Secret Food Lab To Develop New Products

What do frozen stuffed doughnut bites and prepared meals for the Paleo diet have in common? Not very much, other than they’re both coming to Walmart store shelves soon after being developed and tested in the mega-chain’s new test kitchens and sensory lab, which the company uses before launching new products from its suppliers. [More]

J.G. Park

Fashion Brands Don’t Want To Go To Macy’s, Either

We’ve been discussing lately about how customers don’t seem to want to shop in department stores, which means that malls don’t want or need them to draw customers. It turns out that brands have soured on department stores too, since having items inevitably end up on sale cheapens their brands everywhere. Where does that leave department stores? Closing a lot of stores and figuring out how to go forward. [More]


JCPenney Sales Increase Slightly, Still Losing Money

When higher-end department stores like Macy’s and even Nordstrom are struggling, it’s understandable that JCPenney might have another tough quarter trying to bring in new customers, get the ones it has to come in and spend more often, and find things to sell that customers can’t just go buy online instead. [More]

Helmet Company Collects $2.5 Million In Crowdfunding Funds, Doesn’t Ship Helmets, Goes Bankrupt

Helmet Company Collects $2.5 Million In Crowdfunding Funds, Doesn’t Ship Helmets, Goes Bankrupt

The Skully was meant to be the first augmented-reality motorcycle helmet, giving riders information from their GPS in a heads-up display, and even showing a feed from a rear-view camera in their field of vision. Sounds like an amazing product… that will never actually ship, even as excited backers on IndieGoGo put down amounts from $500 to $2,000 for deposits or pre-payment for their helmets. [More]

Consumerist Friday Flickr Finds


Here are nine of the best photos that readers added to the Consumerist Flickr Pool in the last week, picked for usability in a Consumerist post or for just plain neatness. [More]

Nicholas Eckhart

Sports Authority Asks For Smaller Non-Bonuses For 3 Remaining Executives

Perhaps Sports Authority’s attorneys should have anticipated that the public and the chain’s former employees’ reaction to the news that the company wanted to distribute bonuses to some of its executives. Even the judge in the retailer’s bankruptcy case had harsh words about the bonus proposal. The company has filed another motion, though, seeking smaller bonuses and explaining that they are not, in fact, a reward for running the business into the ground. [More]


Uber Driver Arrested, Accused Of Raping 16-Year-Old Passenger

Uber says that it puts all new drivers through checks of their criminal and driving history, and none of what happened in a Boston suburb should have taken place. The prosecutor in Malden, MA says that a local driver had a long and sometimes violent criminal history, and he is accused of tracking down, offering extra rides to, and raping a 16-year-old passenger earlier this summer. [More]

Bottled Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Frappuccinos Will Be Everywhere, Not Just Costco

Bottled Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Frappuccinos Will Be Everywhere, Not Just Costco

Last year, there was exciting news for fans of iced pumpkin spice coffee beverages. Starbucks brought its pumpkin spice brand to pre-packaged chilled beverages, selling its bottled Frappuccino products in pumpkin spice flavor exclusively at Costco. Now, to keep capitalizing on the pumpkin spice mania seizing the nation, Starbucks is bringing the bottled PSF to grocery stores across the country. [More]

Mike Mozart

Walmart Acquisition Could Mean Most Jet Customers Have To Pay Sales Tax

E-commerce companies don’t have to collect sales tax from customers who live in states where they have no physical presence, which could be anything from their headquarters to a distribution center. That’s been one of the advantages that Jet has had in the marketplace over its chief rival Amazon, which has facilities in 28 states, including the most populous ones. Jet customers in most states don’t have to pay sales tax. However, that could change soon, after Walmart’s acquisition of the young e-commerce company. [More]


Quebec Maple Syrup Cartel Increases Quotas To Prevent Black-Market Sales

We’ve told you before about the maple syrup cartel in Canada’s province of Quebec, to which the producers of most of the world’s supply of the sticky amber stuff belong. 72% of the world’s syrup currently comes from cartel members, and the group is about to have members increase their production, which could send maple prices plummeting. [More]


Panera Revamps Kids’ Menu To Remove Additives, Sweeteners, Soda

What should children eat when the family is out dining at a quick-serve establishment? In the latest front in the kids’ meal wars, Panera has announced a change to its menu for sandwich-lovers in training. The company plans to remove additives and extra sweeteners from its menu for children, and taunted its competitors, many of which are still serving up fries and soda.

Melissa Wiese

Why Are There So Many Foods With Metal Pieces All Of A Sudden?

People who pay close attention to food recalls may have noticed a recent increase in reports of food products that have been recalled because there are metal pieces in them. Are they linked? Should we run magnets through all of our food just to be sure? The answers are “maybe,” and “no.” [More]

Laura Northrup

Self-Service Checkouts Turn Us Into Shoplifters Unless We See Ourselves On Screen

Let’s face it, shoppers: self-checkout is a common feature, and generally expanding to more retailers. It’s a global phenomenon, which is why researchers in Britain audited transactions to find out the “shrinkage” rate at self-checkouts in several countries, and how to keep the rate lower. Their goal: to keep people from sneaking items into their bags, but without having to pay security guards or watch shoppers closely. [More]