Common Law - The FindLaw Consumer Protection Law Blog


Researchers at Consumer Reports think they've discovered the source of a deadly E. coli outbreak in the U.S. and Canada last week: romaine lettuce. The outbreak began in November 2017 and has sickened dozens, hospitalized five, and killed at least two people.

While the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention was careful not to link the outbreak to a specific source before further inquiry, the Public Health Agency of Canada was confident in identifying romaine lettuce as the source of the outbreak. So why are people getting sick, what should they do, and can you file a wrongful death lawsuit for E. coli poisoning?

Thousands of products -- from ice cream to car steering wheels -- get recalled every year. And the FDA has a classification for those recalls, based on the injury risk posed by a defective product. Class I recalls are reserved for the most dangerous of defective products: "a situation in which there is a reasonable probability that the use of or exposure to a violative product will cause serious adverse health consequences or death."

That's the type of recall the FDA issued for a heart device made by a Johnson & Johnson subsidiary, claiming to a faulty valve can allow excess blood to leak into the heart or cause embolisms.

Between the gifts you're buying online this holiday season and the ones you might be expecting or hoping to get from friends and loved ones, you're probably expecting an email confirmation or two about those packages being delivered. And you would be understandably upset if you saw an email in your inbox that read "FedEx: Delivery Problems Notification."

If you got one of these emails, we have some good news and some bad news. The good news is, that email is fake. The bad news is, it could infect your computer with malware if you're not careful.

More than ever, people are turning to the internet to find their lawyer. And, sadly, there are more online scams than ever. So it's probably natural that scammers would start impersonating lawyers online.

For years, the Department of Justice has been warning about fraudsters using real attorney names and professional information to set up fake law firm websites to solicit legal work and scam clients out of their money. So both consumers and lawyers need to be aware of the fake lawyer website scam.

We all want to reward our very good dogs. We just don't want choking, vomiting, or diarrhea to be part of that reward. And if you're giving your good dog a "bone treat," according to the FDA, that's exactly what they might get.

"Giving your dog a bone treat might lead to an unexpected trip to your veterinarian, a possible emergency surgery, or even death for your pet," says FDA veterinarian Carmela Stamper. So read this before filling your dog's stocking full of Christmas treats.

Getting something in the mail is awesome. Getting something free in the mail is even better. But getting dozens of packages containing cheap hair ties from China? Even free has its limits.

The more interesting question is why a company, or anyone for that matter, would send you the same thing for free, over and over again? It's called "brushing," and it's illegal, even in China.

If you google 'AARP elder abuse,' your first 30 or so results are pages of the American Association of Retired Persons' efforts to combat the emotional and financial abuse of elderly people. But the same non-profit that touts its efforts to protect elders is now being sued for defrauding them.

A new class action lawsuit filed in California accuses AARP of elder financial abuse, claiming it has been taking kickbacks from UnitedHealth Group for selling AARP-branded health insurance plans, overcharging its members in the process.

For those of us who don't want to be trampled at the door of a box store on Black Friday, there's Cyber Monday, the day we can feed the capitalist consumption machine from the safety of our homes, phones, and cubicles.

And while we may not need to worry as much about our physical wellbeing on Cyber Monday, our online health is at a far greater risk. Shopping scams, Wi-Fi hackers, and data theft can ruin your holiday deal treasure hunt. So before you start getting click-happy this Cyber Monday, here are a few tips to keep your online shopping safe:

The old trope of horror and suspense films -- where the bad guy's call is traced to the same house as the victim -- is taking on a new twist in an effort to scam unwitting answerers. Scam artists, able to spoof caller ID information, can make it look like they're calling from a different place or phone number. And now they've started spoofing your own number, hoping it will make you curious enough to pick up.

Don't.

A shocking recall has just been issued by the CSPC and the largest player in the consumer fire extinguisher market, Kidde. The company is recalling close to 40 million fire extinguishers, some of which may be over a decade old at this point. According to media reports, there have been 16 injuries and one death related to the defective extinguishers.

If you don't know what brand of fire extinguishers you own, it could actually save your life to check to see if you are affected by the recall. The recalled fire extinguishers reportedly can malfunction, or become clogged, effectively making them a serious hazard, and putting your life at risk if you try to use it to fight a fire.

To find out if you're affected by the recall, read on.