In 2004, a “ruby-glass composite”–basically a mixture of ruby and leaded glass–hit the jewelry market. At the time, a jewelry industry watchdog group “concluded that the stones could not be sold as rubies or precious gems under Federal Trade Commission guidelines, since they lacked the durability and value of bona fide rubies.” But Macy’s has been selling them as good old-fashioned rubies, and its salespeople have been neglecting to tell shoppers the truth at the moment they purchase the pieces, writes David V. Johnson of the SF Public Press.
Dana is annoyed that the Fisher Price toy she bought for her baby promised her that batteries were included. They were in the box all right, but they were dead. In fact the manual Fisher Price enclosed with the toy suggests you immediately replace the included batteries with new ones.
Texas’ Attorney General Greg Abbott is going after Bally Total Fitness for the fraudulent “past due” scheme it was using to trick former customers into re-upping with the gym. The AG office says that the gym mailed more than 11,000 fake notices to former customers between last summer and March 2010, and at least 1,000 Texans fell for it and paid the fees.
The next time you go shopping for a new HDTV, keep in mind that the brightness and contrast settings don’t adjust brightness and contrast, and most of the fancier-sounding image quality controls don’t do anything except possibly degrade the image. Also, motion blur in live video is largely imaginary, which is good because advertised response times are highly exaggerated. And hey, that impressive “dynamic contrast ratio” the manufacturer is crowing about? Most of the extra contrasty goodness happens when there’s no image on the screen.
Mike’s mom is one of the fifteen people in the U.S. who doesn’t have a cell phone, so she called him collect from a pay phone in California. Mike and his mom didn’t know it at the time, but they fell into the sarlacc pit that is Custom TeleConnect, a creature that hides in payphones and charges $20 fees for less than half a minute of talking.
Eric signed up for DirecTV and got a couple premium channels for free as a sign-up bonus. He didn’t want the channels and asked to have them removed from his account immediately because he was afraid he’d be billed ahead for them before his trial period expired. Eric says the CSR convinced him to keep the channels, saying he wouldn’t be billed. But sure enough, he was.
The Charter Communications CSR who spoke with Dustin has some pretty astounding news about what’s on the horizon for all of us. It looks like starting May 1st, cable companies will have total, FCC-sanctioned control over streaming video and will take down all competing services.
John Tedesco of the San Antonio Express-News was badgered last week by a telemarketer who wouldn’t take no for an answer. He decided to keep her talking for a while to see how many ways she’d try to get him to hand over his credit card number for a “free” cruise. Here were all the tricks she used during her sales pitch.
Roger is annoyed that the package of Andes mints he bought is much larger than it needs to be. In fact, it looks suspiciously like the company is trying to convince the casual observer that there are more mints inside than there really are. I’m not sure how making a consumer feel disappointed about a candy purchase is good for repeat business, but maybe parent company Tootsie hopes you’ll eat a mint and forget the sadness.
Access America's "Comprehensive Trip Protector" Insurance Isn't Comprehensive, So Enjoy Your Overnight Layover
Mark Smith just got suckered into buying travel insurance that turned out to be worthless to him. There was a huge hole in the middle of the coverage, which meant he and his two kids were stuck overnight in Denver on his own dime. Luckily the policy only cost $40, but that’s $40 that now belongs to Access America in exchange for providing a useless service.
Rick bought a light bulb at Home Depot that turned into more of a geography test. The question it poses: is there anywhere in the world that has an average of three hours of darkness year-round? The answer: no. Which means that the claims on the front of this light bulb package contradict each other.
Kevin Robinson at the blog Chicagoist was curious about a commenter who sounded suspiciously on-message on some recent Walmart posts. Walmart wants to come into Chicago, and Walmart’s opponents are fighting the retailer at the community level to prevent that. In return, a pro-Walmart community group has formed called “Our Community, Your Choice” that argues, “Everyone else but Chatham and the South Side are making the decisions – It’s OUR CHOICE, NOT THEIRS.”
By now you hopefully know that more megapixels don’t necessarily make a better camera. For one thing, you can almost double the megapixels of a camera while only gaining about a 40% increase in resolution. For another thing, it takes a lot more than just sheer number of pixels to produce a decent image. Nevertheless, point-and-shoot cameras with ginormous megapixel stats (now topping 12 MP) continue to hit the market. But Ross at Petavoxel says there’s another reason to avoid huge MP point-and-shoot cameras: something called the Airy disk.
If you bought Tyson chicken from 2007 to 2009, you may want to start keeping tabs on the new settlement being considered by Tyson to settle the class-action suit against it. The agreement was filed earlier this week, and a review is scheduled for tomorrow. If approved, approximately $4.4 million will supposedly be available to disburse to consumers.
Apple just swung the banhammer pretty hard at Molinker, a development company, after a customer named Patrick Timney pointed out that the majority of reviews on Molinker apps were fake. Until yesterday, the company had 1,011 apps on the App Store, mostly easy-to-knock-out travel guides for 99 cents each. Now they’re all gone, and Apple’s VP Phil Schiller told iPhoneography, “Yes, this developer’s apps have been removed from the App Store and their ratings no longer appear either.”
Padding chip bags with air is a pretty well-understood practice by now–supposedly it helps prevent the chips from being crushed. But what’s the purpose of similar packaging tricks in frozen fish, or boxes of instant rice? After a recent Consumer Reports article questioned the amount of air in packages at the grocery store, New York Times reporter Andrew Adam Newman asked two of the manufacturers for an explanation.