(Consumerist Dot Com)

Contractor Accepts $7,500 In Payments, Disappears

When you hire a contractor and they do a competent job, you should be able to just hire that contractor again without checking their background and starting the process over. Right? Not so fast, as one person who aspired to have new doors installed in his home learned the hard way. He hired back a contractor he had used in the past without checking any licenses, and paid about $7,500 for his mistake. [More]

Not an actual child's fruit cup, but tasty. (Steve R.)

Federal Program To Feed Poor Kids Fresh Fruit And Vegetables Is Actually Controversial

The federal Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program means that kids in high-poverty schools receive cups of fresh fruits and vegetables every day, starting kids on what program boosters hope will be a lifelong habit of thinking of fresh produce as valid and delicious snacks. Who could possibly object to that? Lobbyists for the frozen, canned, and dried fruit industries. [More]

No, You Shouldn’t Incorporate And Register Your Car Tax-Free In Montana

No, You Shouldn’t Incorporate And Register Your Car Tax-Free In Montana

Car ownership is fun and convenient, but paying sales tax, use tax, or personal property tax on your car is expensive and annoying. What if you could avoid that, and avoid annual car inspections, just by filling out a little bit of paperwork? That’s the premise of companies that offer to help you incorporate in Montana, have your corporation own the vehicle, and pay no taxes. [More]

Supplement-Maker Who Diluted Products With Other Powders Sentenced To 40 Months In Prison

Supplement-Maker Who Diluted Products With Other Powders Sentenced To 40 Months In Prison

When you buy a food product or a dietary supplement, you should be confident that the product’s ingredients are listed on the label, and that you’re getting what you paid for. Federal prosecutors say that one dietary supplement wholesaler in New Jersey spent four years selling products diluted with products like maltodextrin or rice flour, increasing profits but defrauding customers. The company’s owner now must forfeit $1 million in profits and has been sentenced to 40 months in prison and one year of supervised release. [More]

Waze Accused Of Stealing Map Data From Competing Traffic App

Waze Accused Of Stealing Map Data From Competing Traffic App

How do you catch someone who you think is stealing your map data? Just put locations on the map that don’t exist, and then look for those locations to show up on the alleged thief’s maps. That’s what traffic-alerting app PhantomAlert did when it believed that competitor Waze was stealing its location database. Now PhantomAlert is suing Waze, which has since been purchased by Google. [More]

Soft Drink Companies Fund Fitness Programs, Ungrateful Governments Campaign Against Soda Anyway

Soft Drink Companies Fund Fitness Programs, Ungrateful Governments Campaign Against Soda Anyway

Soft drink companies have an important message to get across to the public: their products can be part of a healthy lifestyle when used occasionally, and when you burn off that Mountain Dew with regular exercise. They’ve even been nice enough to fund fitness programs in many cities, and those ungrateful cities respond by proposing taxes and warning labels for their products. [More]

Fox News Anchor Sues Hasbro Over Toy Hamster With Her Name

Fox News Anchor Sues Hasbro Over Toy Hamster With Her Name

Harris Faulkner, an anchor on the Fox News cable network, is a human and has been on TV for decades. Yet the toy company Hasbro sells a tiny plastic hamster as part of its Littlest Pet Shop line which is named Harris Faulkner. How did the hamster get its name? Is it intended to insult or honor Ms. Faulkner, or just a very strange coincidence? She has sued the company for $5 million dollars, either way. [More]

Police Put Up Signs To Remind Motorists How Stop Signs Work

Police Put Up Signs To Remind Motorists How Stop Signs Work

Can a financial incentive make people change their driving habits? One police department in Pennsylvania is taking a slightly passive-aggressive approach to preventing accidents with signs that remind motorists how stop signs work. “Complete Stops: FREE,” the signs say. “Rolling Stops: $128.50. Your choice.” Police in neighboring towns are interested in the signs now, too. [More]

Mail Carrier Wedges Package in Box, Doesn’t Have To Leave Vehicle

Mail Carrier Wedges Package in Box, Doesn’t Have To Leave Vehicle

The weather in Alabama, where reader Alison lives, has been extremely warm lately. If she lived in an old cartoon, mercury would be bursting out of the top of the thermometers. With temperatures of about one hundred degrees every day, she doesn’t really blame her mail carrier for not wanting to get up. However, what takes more work: walking to the porch, or shoving a package in the mailbox so firmly that the customer can’t get it out? [More]

12 States Holding Sales Tax Holidays This Weekend

Were you thinking about doing some shopping this weekend, for back-to-school season or just in general? Find out whether your state is holding a tax holiday, where state sales taxes are waived on certain categories of items: usually clothes, but sometimes also personal electronics, appliances, and hunting supplies, including firearms. Tax holidays and their limits vary regionally and your county or municipality may not be participating; check the rules before you shop. However, make sure that you don’t confuse it for a shopping spree. [Consumer Reports]

DOJ Sues Supplement Makers Over Mislabeling, Failure To Follow Good Manufacturing Processes

DOJ Sues Supplement Makers Over Mislabeling, Failure To Follow Good Manufacturing Processes

When people buy dietary supplements, they do so assuming that the product in the pill, powder, or liquid actually is what it claims to be, and that the amount you’re taking is correct. The U.S. Department of Justice has accused three supplement makers of being careless with what went into their products –– or, in bureaucrat-speak, “misbranding” and “not complying with the FDA’s current good manufacturing practices.” [More]

(Alan Cleaver)

State Of Indiana Does Not Think Senior Center Card Games Are Secret Gambling Den

Last week, the Indiana Gaming Commission contacted a senior center in Muncie to let them know that a popular activity, thrice-weekly games of euchre (a four-player card game) was possibly breaking the state’s gambling law. The seniors shut down their game, not wanting to run afoul of gambling regulations. When the story hit local news, the state government clarified that this type of card game was not really what they had in mind for a crackdown on informal gambling venues. [More]

(Laurice Marier)

Chicago Will Have The Highest Sales Tax In The U.S. At 10.25%

Sales taxes are variable from place to place and very visible, and they’re visible day-to-day as we dig in our pockets for change to pay a coffee tab of $3.14. Starting next year, Chicago will have the highest sales tax in the country, with state, county and city taxes adding up to 10.25%. [More]

Man Behind IRS-Impersonation Scam Sentenced To 14 Years In Prison

Man Behind IRS-Impersonation Scam Sentenced To 14 Years In Prison

One of the more insidious scams of this decade has been the IRS impostor phone scam, where someone posing as a police officer or federal agent calls you up and threatens to arrest you over your tax balance. Of course, that balance is payable immediately by prepaid debit card. A Pennsylvania man who pleaded guilty earlier this year to running such a scam from 2011 until his 2013 arrest has been sentenced to 175 months in prison and $1 million in forfeiture for his crimes. [More]

How big is this jar?

Procter & Gamble Settles With California Over Allegedly Misleading Moisturizer Boxes

When an item is costly by the ounce and comes in very small containers, how can you make the product seem more substantial while also making it harder to steal? Many companies that make expensive things to smear on your face solve this problem by adding a false bottom to jars. Procter & Gamble’s Olay brand was accused of doing this by four California counties, and has agreed to settle the lawsuit by changing the product’s packaging and paying a civil penalty. [More]

SCOTUS Decision: The Financial Benefits For Married Same-Sex Couples

SCOTUS Decision: The Financial Benefits For Married Same-Sex Couples

While most things about marriage have changed throughout human history, one thing remains true. No, not love: marriage for love is a modern innovation. Married couples have always been an economic unit, from ancient farms to modern condos. This morning’s Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriages nationwide will have important effects on the finances of married gay and lesbian couples, whether they live in a state that currently allows them to legally marry or not. [More]

SarahMcGowen

Jury: Company That Collected Workers’ DNA To Solve Fecal Matter Mystery On The Hook For $2.2M

Add this one to the list of things your employer cannot subject you to on the job: A federal jury recently awarded two warehouse workers in Georgia $2.2 million, after a judge ruled that their bosses illegally collected their DNA. But why would your employer want to get hold of your DNA? In this case, management was trying to bust a mysterious pooper who was leaving piles of feces in the company’s warehouses.

[More]

(Christian Schnettelker)

SCOTUS Sides With California Farmer Who Refused To Pay Raisins Into The National Reserve

A few years back we heard the tale of a California farmer who was raisin’ a stink over the government’s insistence that he pay 1.2 million pounds of raisins into the national reserve without paying him for them. Today, the Supreme Court of the United States sided with him, saying the Fifth Amendment requires the government to pay just compensation when it takes personal property (movable property), just as when it takes real property (things like land).

[More]