YouTube Does Everyone A Favor, Kills Off 30-Second Unskippable Pre-Roll Ads

MarkyBoy Toy

You know the moment: You’ve just spent the last few minutes telling your friends how great — nay! — how utterly life-changing this video you watched last night and how they just have to watch it immediately. Your audience primed, you find it on YouTube, hit “Play”… and then everyone is forced to watch a 30-second ad that cannot be skipped. Buzz. Kill. [More]

Mike Matney

Operator Of Foreclosure Rescue Scheme Sentenced To Four Years In Prison

During the housing crisis, consumers in danger of losing their homes were often approached by unscrupulous companies making false promises they could help consumers delay foreclosures or evictions. One such company brought in nearly $3 million, and now the man behind the scenes is headed to prison.  [More]

Matthew DeWaal

Congressmen From California And Georgia Introduce Bill Against Negative Option Billing

Negative option billing is an especially insidious way to make people keep buying things from you, and it’s an especially big problem online. Most products promising a “free trial” use it, and the method sells products like credit monitoring, college financial aid help, skin care products, weight loss supplements and shoes. Canceling these subscriptions can be a huge hassle, and wouldn’t it be easier if opt-out subscriptions just weren’t a thing? [More]

Samuel M. Livingston

Report: Samsung Adding Sony To Lineup Of Battery Suppliers For Galaxy S8

Remember that problem Samsung had with lithium-ion batteries exploding in its Galaxy Note7 devices? Sure you do: They were all (eventually) recalled due to their propensity to burst into flame. In an effort to prevent such a debacle from happening again, Samsung is reportedly throwing a third battery supplier into the mix. [More]

Steven Depolo

Legislation Would Give FDA Mandatory Authority To Recall Drugs

Last month, the Food and Drug Administration confirmed that it had found varying and elevated levels of a potentially deadly toxin in teething tablets sold under the Hyland’s brand. Despite the dangers posed by the tablets, the FDA couldn’t order a recall of the products — and the manufacturer refused to. But that could change in the future, as recently introduced legislation would give the agency the authority to order mandatory recalls of drugs and homeopathic products.  [More]

Ryan Dearth

Pro-Marijuana Lawmakers Form First Ever Congressional Cannabis Caucus

Now that marijuana is legal in some form or another — whether for recreational or medicinal use — in 28 states, a bipartisan group of four lawmakers have joined forces to create the first Congressional Cannabis Caucus, aimed at reconciling federal regulations banning marijuana with states’ laws. [More]

German Officials Tell Parents To Destroy Doll That Records Conversations

German Officials Tell Parents To Destroy Doll That Records Conversations

Late last year, research indicated that certain toys may be collecting audio recording and personal information from children and sending that data to a company that used the information to improve the voice-recognition tools it sells to the military and law enforcement agencies. While consumer advocates quickly filed complaints with federal regulators in the U.S., across the pond, authorities in Germany are now directing parents to get rid of the “My Friend Cayla” doll.  [More]

20th Century Fox Now Realizes Fake News Movie Promos Were A Terrible Idea

20th Century Fox Now Realizes Fake News Movie Promos Were A Terrible Idea

Fake news stories — online items that are outrageous but just plausible enough to make people hit “share” on Facebook — have been a hot and controversial topic since last year’s presidential election. A promotional campaign for a movie opening today used made-up news stories about attention-getters like the President and Lady Gaga, not realizing what a terrible idea this was. [More]

Steve

Man Accused Of Planning To Put Bombs In Target Stores To Drive Down Company’s Stock

It’s not uncommon to hold a grudge against a company for one reason or another, but a Florida man allegedly took his beef a step further with a plot to set off homemade explosives in several Target stores on the East Coast. Why? Authorities say the man wanted to send Target’s stock into a tailspin. [More]

(Jim Perry)

Court: CFPB Has Authority To Request Seven Years’ Worth Of Foreclosure Documents

Back in November, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau filed a lawsuit against one of the nation’s largest providers of seller-financed homes after it failed to comply with a subpoena to turn over documents related to home foreclosures. This week, a judge upheld the Bureau’s authority to request the documents from Harbour Portfolio Advisors.  [More]

Mike Mozart

Kraft Heinz Trying To Buy Unilever, Bring Your Ketchup And Mayo Under One Roof

Once upon a time, there was Kraft, home to blue-boxed mac-and-cheese and several other grocery store favorites. Then there was Kraft Heinz, bringing your ketchup and other condiments together with your cookies and cheese. And now, if Kraft Heinz gets its way, they might be joined by European mega-conglomerate Unilever, tying half your grocery store together under one big corporate umbrella. [More]

5 Home Repairs To Make Now To Avoid Problems Later

eu.phorbia

If you put off fixing a wobbly fence post or squeaky door hinge, it’s probably not going to end in a homeowners insurance claim. Other home repairs, if left unchecked, can quickly domino into major disasters. Water is a factor—if not the primary cause—in the majority of high-risk situations. Here’s how to identify priority home repairs and handle them at their source:

[More]

Thomas Hawk

Consumerist Friday Flickr Finds

Here are seven 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]

(Mike Mozart)

AT&T Updates Unlimited Plans In Wake Of Verizon, T-Mobile Changes

The unlimited data plan wars are heating up. Days after Verizon’s surprise announcement that it was bringing back unlimited data options and T-Mobile’s decision to boost its own plans, AT&T has launched a new — you guessed it! — unlimited data plan.  [More]

SB

Grocery Industry To Let “Sell-By” Labels Expire

Late last year, we observed that while reforming food labels would be a great idea to cut down on food waste, the grocery industry needs no law or prompting from the government to actually make that happen. However, it could create its own standards without the government helping at all. [More]

Adam Fagen

Court Grants Warrant For Samsung Vice Chair’s Arrest Related To Bribery Case

A month after Samsung’s vice chairman avoided arrest in connection with a South Korean bribery case, a court has approved a warrant for Jay Y. Lee’s arrest.  [More]

Jeremy Schultz

NY AG: Please Send Us Your Broadband Speed Tests So We Can Investigate Providers

Some things, you can measure centrally. Some, you can survey with a sample group. But sometimes, what you really need is a giant crowdsourced effort — and that’s what New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is asking Empire State residents to help with. [More]

Jim Perry

State Supreme Court Rules Flower Shop Owner Discriminated Against Same-Sex Couple

Back in 2013, Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson filed a consumer protection lawsuit on behalf of a same-sex couple who claimed their longtime friend and florist refused to provide the flowers for their wedding because of their sexual orientation. Today, that case is being put to rest as the Washington state Supreme Court upheld a lower court’s decision that the florist’s actions violated state laws. [More]