Category Archives: Consumers

They say: “It will soon be illegal to punish customers who criticize businesses online” Like No ratings yet.

Consumer Review Fairness Act bans customer gag clauses, awaits Obama signature.

Congress has passed a law protecting the right of US consumers to post negative online reviews without fear of retaliation from companies.

The bipartisan Consumer Review Fairness Act was passed by unanimous consent in the US Senate yesterday, a Senate Commerce Committee announcement said. The bill, introduced in 2014, was already approved by the House of Representatives and now awaits President Obama’s signature.

The Commerce Committee held a hearing on gag clauses a year ago and said it heard “testimony from Ms. Jen Palmer, a plaintiff in Palmer v. KlearGear, where a company demanded the removal of a negative online review or payment of $3,500 in fines because the online merchant’s terms of service included a non-disparagement clause. When the review was not taken down, the company reported the unpaid $3,500 to a credit reporting agency as an outstanding debt, which negatively impacted the Palmers’ credit.”

Palmer beat Kleargear in court, but only after a years-long ordeal. In other cases, a supplements maker, called Ubervita, threatened legal action against customers leaving negative reviews on Amazon, and a jewelry store sued a customer who left a one-star review on Yelp.

The Consumer Review Fairness Act—full text available here—voids any provision in a form contract that prohibits or restricts customers from posting reviews about the goods, services, or conduct of the company providing the product or service. It also voids provisions that impose penalties or fees on customers for posting online reviews as well as those that require customers to give up the intellectual property rights related to such reviews. The legislation empowers the Federal Trade Commission to enforce the new law and impose penalties when necessary.

The bill also protects reviews that aren’t available via the Internet.

(Information continues at: http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2016/11/congress-passes-law-protecting-right-to-post-negative-online-reviews/)

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In America…USPS Warning Customers of Scam Claiming Delivery Failure. Like No ratings yet.

The United States Postal Service is warning customers of an e-mail scam claiming a package delivery failure.

USPS says customers in the Twin Cities Metro and surrounding areas have reported receiving e-mails claiming the postal service was unable to deliver a package to their residence.  The e-mail includes a link to print a delivery label and instructions to take that label to their local post office.

USPS says if you click on the link your computer can become infected with a virus that logs keystrokes and can obtain personal information.

U.S. Postal Inspection Service is asking anyone that has received this fraudulent e-mail to forward it to spam@uspis.gov, and then to delete the e-mail.

USPS says they do not notify customers in this manner and that if you ever have a question about the delivery of your mail to call 1-800-ASK-USPS.

(Info from: http://www.kaaltv.com/news/usps-warning-customers-of-scam-claiming-delivery-failure/4318947/)

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“3 Ways Your Brain Tricks You Into Using the Wrong Credit Cards “ 1 No ratings yet.

3 Ways Your Brain Tricks You Into Using the Wrong Credit Cards (And What You Can Do About It).
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Keeping the wrong credit card at the top of your wallet is like being in a bad relationship: You’re stuck giving more than you get, making the most of the terrible terms and defending your choices to your family and friends. But it can be hard to make a change, even when your card’s a flop.

“We’re all cognitively lazy,” says Brad Klontz, a certified financial planner and associate professor of financial psychology at Creighton University. “Our natural tendency is to stay exactly where we are.”

Mental inertia can cause us to make irrational decisions in all kinds of day-to-day dealings, with long-term costs in well-being. With credit cards, though, the costs are literal. About 1 in 5 cardholders have a card with fees and rewards that are not aligned with their spending habits, according to a recent study from J.D. Power. For many, sticking with the wrong credit card can be incredibly expensive.

Here are three big ways in which your brain snookers you into using the wrong credit card and what you can do about them.
1. The sunk-cost fallacy

What it is: The impulse to invest more resources — time, money, energy — into a situation because you’ve already made an investment and you don’t want it to “go to waste.”

How it tricks you: Suppose you can redeem your credit card miles only for flights with an airline you no longer fly with. You’ve already paid the annual fee for the year, so you feel like you should keep using your card for all of your purchases, even though the miles are now semi-worthless. In trying to “get your money’s worth,” you’re throwing good money after bad, because whether you continue to use the card or not, that fee has been paid, and you’re not getting it back. It’s a sunk cost.

“[People] make up reasons to continue to stick with the thing they’ve already invested in,” says JoNell Strough, a professor of psychology at West Virginia University.  “They say, ‘This card has a good reputation.’ Or ‘There must be some reason I paid that $95 fee.’”

Younger people are especially susceptible to this kind of thinking, according to a 2008 study co-authored by Strough. “Young adults have a bias toward imagining that sticking with a bad choice is going to turn out OK,” she says.

(Info continues from: https://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/credit-cards/3-ways-your-brain-tricks-you-into-using-the-wrong-credit-cards/)

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They say: “Energy drinks linked to hepatitis in new case study.” 1 5/5 (1)

Most of us have consumed energy drinks at one point or another, either because of a looming deadline or during a fun night out. Although energy drinks are often perceived as harmless, a new case report links the beverages to liver damage, after a previously healthy man developed hepatitis from consuming too many.

In the United States, most energy drinks are consumed by young males between 18-34 years of age. Almost one third of teenagers between 12-17 years old consume energy drinks regularly, according to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH).

Between 2007-2011, the number of energy drink-related emergency department visits in the U.S. doubled. Main concerns regard the combined use of energy drinks with alcohol, which leads to excessive binge drinking.

As for the contents of an energy drink, it is believed that caffeine and sugar pose the greatest threat to consumers’ health.

According to a new case report, however, there may be something in energy drinks that can cause liver damage.

The report details a 50-year-old man who was admitted to the hospital for acute hepatitis. The patient had reportedly consumed four to five energy drinks per day for more than 3 weeks.

This is a very rare occurrence; there is only one other case, in which a 22-year-old woman developed acute hepatitis from consuming energy drinks in excess.
Man consumed four to five energy drinks daily for 3 weeks

This latest case – reported by Dr. Jennifer Nicole Harb of the University of Florida College of Medicine and colleagues – was published in the journal BMJ Case Reports.

(Info from: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/313849.php)

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