When you buy a new cellphone you have to sign a contract where you give up your right to sue. You agree to what’s called, “mandatory binding arbitration.” This is a bad thing to give to an industry that has high levels of complaints about hidden fees and abusive anti-consumer practices. Because if their crummy customer service fails to remedy an issue, your last resort option is to participate in a kangaroo court system that is paid for out of fees paid by the cellphone companies themselves. So Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Al Franken (D-MN) have today introduced The Consumer Mobile Fairness Act that would ban mandatory arbitration clauses in cellphone contracts.
A judge has ruled that the “guess the next cashier who will be fired” “contest” concocted by a convenience store manager created a hostile work environment. Several of the employees left after it and the judge ruled that their unemployment claims could not be dismissed on the basis of the workers leaving voluntarily. Here is the text of the kooky contest memo:
Since ’91, it’s been illegal for telemarketers to use autodialers and other robot-like devices to call your cellphone. Last week, a bill was introduced to change that. While in the past email hoaxes have gone around saying that your cellphone could be opened up to telemarketers, HR 3035 seeks to let businesses contact your cellphone “for informational purposes.”
In an unprecedented move, the SEC warned S&P that it might be suing it over its rating of a mortgage-backed bond. It’s the first warning a credit rating firm has gotten over its behavior leading up to the financial crisis.
A woman from Berlin Googled for US citizenship application info and thought the site she landed on was an all-in-one place for taking care of all her forms. She forked over $680, and what she got back were forms she could have gotten from the government for free.
Many airlines have inserted “checked baggage limitations of liability” into their contracts which try to act like it’s not their fault if jewelry or gadgets somehow go missing during transit from your luggage. They’re bunkum.
A Wisconsin landlord has been sued by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development after refusing to rent a property to a single mother. The landlord, who is a woman, said it was because the renter didn’t have a man “to shovel the snow.”
If Sprint telemarketed you after you told them not to call you again, you could get $500 for each time they rang you up, thanks to a recent class action settlement.
Banks are none too happy about how the passage of Dodd-Frank has been crimping their style. So they hired a Wall Street lobbyist, former Congressman Steve Bartlett, to lead the well-funded rearguard action by the ” Financial Services Roundtable” to neuter the laws. And darned if those cocktail parties aren’t working.
What makes this Bank of America $410 million class action settlement special is that it’s over a basic consumer banking business practice. For years, banks have been processing your daily transactions in order from highest to lowest, rather than real-time. They say they’re doing us a favor so that if we have a check bounce, it’s the one for the babysitter and not the mortgage payment. But this class action suit claims that Bank of America did this to unjustly enrich itself. It’s one of over 60 lawsuits against various banks for similar practices, and it could reshape the entire industry.
Prosecutors in the case against Lee Farkas, who was convicted of leading a $2.9 billion scheme that wrecked Taylor, Bean & Whitaker Mortgage Corp., have asked the judge in the case to sentence Farkas to at least 50-years in prison, adding that the maximum sentence for his crime is 385 years.
The parents of a teen who died after drinking two Four Lokos and running onto a highway have sued the beverage maker, reports the Chicago Tribune. The lawsuit claims the manufacturer was “careless and negligent” in making a caffeinated alcoholic drink that “desensitizes users to the symptoms of intoxication and increases the potential for alcohol-related harm.”
If you can’t get rid of annoying telemarketers, you can at least make a profit off them. Under Federal law, they have to give you a written copy of their “Do Not Call” policy for free if you ask them to. If they don’t, you can take them to court and sue them for a cool statutory $500. Here’s a sample script for doing this from a guy who has sued several telemarketers over this violation and won.
A woman who says the Belk department store fired her after she refused to wear a Santa hat during Christmas has won a in a $55,000 suit against the company, reports the News & Observer. The worker was a Jehovah’s Witness, and said her religious beliefs prevented her from wearing such a cap. However, she had no problem with fulfilling her job, which was to wrap presents. For Belk to have won, they would have had to have proved that letting her not wear the cap would cause them “undue hardship.” Apparently, they were not able to meet this requirement.
Bills were introduced in both the House and Senate to delay “swipe fee reform” by at least a year and they call for a study of its potential effects. The new rules, scheduled to take effect July 21, would cap the fee banks can charge merchants for processing debit card fees at 12 cents per transaction.
They just wouldn’t stop calling, and now they have to pay. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld a ruling that a debt collection firm will have to pay a former janitor suffering from a head injury $311,000. Quite a turn of events, considering the debt they were hounding him on was only about $3,800.