In this iteration of the locksmith ripoff, the shyster told the customer that he has to use a $400 “air jet” device to unlock her car, jacking up the cost to $176. The “special” balloon instrument is actually only $25 and is no rarity, most locksmiths have them. These guys take out big ads in the Yellow Pages and then prey on people’s urgency and ignorance when they show up. KCTV5 reports, “Industry experts recommend that consumers make contact with an actual local locksmith before you need one. Then, you’ll know who to call in an emergency.”
Act mouthwash may look like it comes in two sizes, but according to Mouseprint, the large and small bottles are actually entirely different products. The labeling looks largely the same until you get to the active ingredient. The small bottle contains .05% of sodium fluoride while the large bottle contains .02%. Hit the jump for Act’s sneaky explanation.
That $1,500 Prada bag may have been stitched by an illegal Chinese immigrant slaving away in a Tuscan factory. The tentacles of globalization are starting to snake dirt-cheap foreign laborers into once-protected enclaves known for their quality swag.
iPhone owners using prepaid SIM cards better take extra special care of their pocket trophies. According to Apple and AT&T, prepaid SIM cards are eternally wed without consent to one lucky iPhone, an important caveat reader JD discovered after spending 32 hours trying to activate his replacement iPhone. JD warns:
If you activated an iPhone with a new AT&T prepaid plan, you *must* keep using that iPhone. You *cannot* replace that iPhone with another iPhone. The only way to use a new iPhone with your prepaid account, is to *create a new account with a new phone number,* and have them move your balance over. Period. Apparently this is a “security feature” and the system was “designed that way,” specifically for prepaid iPhone plans.
The discouraging verdict from both Apple and AT&T should make potential iPhone users think twice before using a prepaid SIM card to skirt the confines of a two year contract. JD’s full story, after the jump.
Some calling cards have all sorts of charges hidden in the fine print that like to play PacMan with your minutes. BusinessWeek has five to watch out for and what they really mean:
With the recent fallout about educational institutions accepting all matter of filthy payola in exchange for letting private lenders get exclusive access to students, it’s apparent borrowers need to take Student Loan Shopping 1000. NYT goes into how you can look for a better deal:
Most states prevent totaled cars from re-entering the market without a salvage license, so consumers know that the used car they are looking to buy was once a complete wreck.
What bugs dealers and consumer advocates is that the tangle of state laws makes it possible to move a vehicle across state lines and apply for a “clean” title that makes no mention of its checkered past. The fact that some states don’t even require salvage titles stretches the loophole even wider.
The practice has become so prevalent, particularly in states affected by the 2005 Gulf Coast hurricanes, that Congress is considering a measure that would establish a national database of totaled vehicles. Before you buy a used car, especially in the south, first ask your mechanic to give it a once-over. — CAREY GREENBERG-BERGER
TampaForums member Treysdad received a $7,243.29 bill after subscribing to numerous third-party text packages. By purchasing an unlimited text message plan from Nextel, Treysdad thought he could receive any texts for free.
Much like the pearl buyers in Steinbeck’s The Pearl, Master Spas in Minneapolis sets up a hot tub fair promoted with the line, “15 manufacturer’s compete for your business!” However, the only business actually selling at the convention is Master Spas. KSTP investigates.
This retard bought three playstations for $900. That’s not the in-demand PS3, but the original Playstation, which regularly sells on Ebay for around $20 to $40.
Staying in a hospital can feel like the song in Les Miserables where they charge you if the window sash is down, and charge you if it’s up. Luckily, FiveCentNickle’s got a good writeup on avoiding getting nicked and dimed on your medical expenses.
Some would envy Eilidh, being showered with golden jewelry by a male admirer.
After reading on The Consumerist and elsewhere about a scammer bilking people for NBA Finals tickets, Robbie decided to do something awesome. He called the police. That’s right, if a consumer crime is committed, there is actually something more effective to do than blog about it. Robbie reports the cops seemed receptive to taking the guy out.
Sports fans, beware! You may love this game, but someone out there will be more than happy to steal your lunch money for showing the love