Improving every day at a casual mobile or computer game might make you feel like you’ve accomplished something, but does it make you smarter? It’s possible, but if recent ads from Lumosity made you wonder how a company can legally claim that playing a simple game can help stave off Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, well, they can’t. As a result, Lumosity must pay $2 million to customers. There is also a court-ordered $50 million penalty involved, but that has been suspended because Lumosity doesn’t have the money to pay it. [More]
Four national retailers will be paying a hefty tab at the register after federal regulators say they continued to deceptively mislabel rayon products as “bamboo,” despite being warned five years ago that this practice violated the law. [More]
When Microsoft teamed up with Machinima to launch a promotion that paid affiliated YouTubers for shilling for the Xbox One console in January 2014, we questioned whether any potential negative publicity and regulatory hassle would be worth it. Turns out, we were right to think the company would face scrutiny from federal regulators, as the Federal Trade Commission says it has cleared Microsoft of wrongdoing and settled charges that Machinima pushed videos of people endorsing the video game without disclosing they had been paid. [More]
If you bought Skechers Shape-Ups shoes and filed with the Federal Trade Commission for a refund, get ready to go shopping for some new sneakers: your check will be in the mail soon. Skechers hasn’t admitted that they did anything wrong, but did reach a $40 million settlement with the FTC for putting out ads that claimed walking around in their shoes is a workout. [Previously]
Sure, all sensible Consumerists know that bottled water is a terrible idea for the planet and for your wallet, and all of the cool kids filter their own tap water at home. Reader Bob is wise enough to know this, and he recently purchased a Pur filtration pitcher that came with an extra filter that can filter 100 additional gallons of water. Or maybe 40. See, unlike the people in charge of writing the copy on boxes of Pur pitchers, Bob knows that 40 is much less than 100.
Noah decided that it’s time to be all grown up and insure his possessions, and so he called up Allstate to take out a pretty basic renter’s insurance policy. He conferred with the salesman first in order to make sure that his valuable watches would be covered under the policy, and not require an extra rider. Yes, Noah was assured, those watches would be covered. Then his policy showed up in the mail. Guess what it doesn’t cover?
Before Jim made a long walk through the snow to trade in his original Xbox accessories at GameStop, he made sure to place a phone call to make sure the store would accept his items. After getting the green light, then double-checking to make sure the woman at GameStop understood what he was asking about, he was turned down once he got to the store.
As an undercover hidden camera investigation recently revealed, not every bearded and overall-wearing guy behind the stand at farmers markets is selling food he grew himself. Some of them just load up a local produce warehouses and sell it to you at a feel-good-about-saving-the-earth premium. So how do you tell who’s real and who’s shoveling you fertilizer?
If you’re in California and need to make a little extra cash, why not buy a bag of baby carrots from the supermarket, throw some potting soil on them, and sell them at your local farmers market as fresh-from-your-farm organic treats? Okay, maybe technically that’s not permitted, but who’s going to stop you? An NBCLA investigation found vendors at several farmers markets were lying to customers about their produce, and sourcing it from local warehouses instead of their own farms.
People with food allergies or sensitivities know that no matter what the colorful claims on the front of a food’s package might be, you still need to chEck the ingredients. Briana writes that her recent experience at Kroger brought this point home. The front of a chicken broth carton declared the product to be “gluten-free,” but the side of the package said “may contain wheat.” Which is it? While food packaging might brag that its contents are gluten-free, such labels aren’t yet regulated by the FDA. In the case of Briana and Kroger, this led to some confusion.
Michael says the first bullet point on the Return Policy plaque at his local Hobby Lobby (and also online) reads, “If for any reason you need to return merchandise purchased at Hobby Lobby, please return the product with the original sales receipt within 60 days of purchase.” That sounds great–you can shop with confidence that they’ll handle returns without too much trouble–but the reality is that the store can and will refuse any return, with or without a receipt, if someone there thinks it might lose them money in the short term.
One of our readers just switched over from T-Mobile to AT&T, but he discovered that pretty much everything the salesperson promised him at the retail store turned out to be a lie. At least, that’s what the angry AT&T customer service rep told his wife when she called in to dispute her first bill.
If you don’t have health insurance, you might hear about a medical discount plan and think that it’s an affordable alternative, but be careful. Some of the plans being sold don’t lower your health care costs at all, and in some cases can even increase them. That’s why the the FTC and 24 states have recently filed a total of 54 lawsuits against companies selling medical discount plans to people who don’t have health insurance.
Last summer, Central Coast Nutraceuticals settled a deceptive practices charge from Arizona’s Attorney General by promising to pay $1.4 million in fines. Now the company, which peddles acai berry and colon cleansing products, has been forced to temporarily stop selling or marketing its wonder products completely under an injunction obtained yesterday by the FTC.
Dave and his wife came into some money and decided it was time to get a professional out to solve their slow draining toilet problems once and for all. Mr. Rooter showed up, and in less than a week the company managed to also solve Dave’s “I just came into some money” problem, by taking all of it. The problem is, Dave isn’t sure that any of the expensive extra work was necessary now that he can see the pipes.
Here’s a perfect example of why you should ignore what’s on the front of a product package and go straight to the nutritional info instead. Kraft’s Wheat Thins now come in a “100% Whole Grain” variety, which you might think translates into more fiber for your digestive tract. It even says on the front that one serving packs 22g of whole grain versus 11g for regular Wheat Thins. It turns out, however, that both crackers provide the same amount of dietary fiber and fat–and the whole grain version also has more sodium and is made with high fructose corn syrup.
Simple Mobile, a reseller of T-Mobile cellphone service, offers a $60 “unlimited everything” plan that includes unlimited data. To no one’s surprise, there is a hard cap on the unlimited data according to Howard Forums and our tipster Eric. Naturally you can’t find that limit anywhere on their website, and if you exceed it you’re asked to pay $10 for an additional 100 MB of data.