Common Law - The FindLaw Consumer Protection Blog

Common Law - The FindLaw Consumer Protection Law Blog

A Colorado study found that children and young adults with cancer were more likely to live near an oil and gas well. The study looked at hundreds of cases and discovered that subjects aged 5 to 24 with acute lymphocytic leukemia were over four times as likely to live among the highest concentrations of oil and gas wells.

At this point the findings indicate a correlation between well proximity and certain cancer rates rather than causation between them, and conclude "further study is clearly needed to substantiate both our positive and negative findings."

We all hear about the massive, multi-million dollar class action settlements. These cases make headlines both for the stunning verdicts, and also frequently for resolving claims for hundreds or thousands of individuals all in one fell swoop.

While many people ignore the class action notices that get sent to them, failing to review these and file your claim could result in you never actually getting your slice of the pie. Below, you'll find general tips on how to claim your slice of the class action pie.

Consumer concerns have clearly shifted since the new administration took office. Recently, the Consumer Product Safety Commission's chairman, Elliot Kaye, stepped down, following other democratic leaders facing pressure from the Republican administration. Although it is unclear why exactly Mr. Kaye stepped down as chairman, he still retains his tenacity as well as his position as a commissioner and key decision maker.

Kaye headed the commission during an exciting time where it finally was able to enforce significant fines against businesses that violate consumer protection laws. Under Kaye, the CPSC was able to achieve numerous multi-million dollar settlements from companies that ignored consumer safety issues. The new chairman, Ann Marie Buerkle, is a former Republican congress woman, and current commissioner as well. However, she opposes the CPSC's new found ability to fine businesses heavily.

The FCC and 'Zero-Rating'

The phrase 'zero-rating' might sounds like the worst news a business can get from customers on Yelp. Instead, recent news coming out of the Federal Communications Commission might be the best that media companies offering sponsored data programs have heard recently.

Zero-rating actually refers to the practice of data carriers not counting certain data usage against their customers' caps, allowing some companies to pay those carriers to exempt their data. While net neutrality advocates and even the former FCC Chairman aren't fans of certain zero-rating plans, it looks like the new FCC won't mind.

There are hearts breaking wide open all over the world. It was recently discovered that the nearly 60-year-old Sophie the Giraffe children's chew/teething toy could potentially be dangerous due to mold. While the moldy chew toy problem is not unique to Sophie the Giraffe, owners of the $25 piece of rubber are up in arms after the recent discovery. The toy has been heralded by celebrities, including Madonna, and was even featured in the Tom Selleck, 80s classic, "Three Men and a Baby."

Basically, toys like Sophie the Giraffe, which have air trapped inside with virtually no air circulation inside, can easily develop mold if water finds it way inside the toy. Frequently, and extremely commonly, anytime you give anything to a baby, they're going to put it into their mouths. If it falls on the floor, parents frequently will wash a toy that gets frequently chewed on. However, all that exposure to water increases the risk of water getting inside and mold forming.

Parents, beware! Those brightly colored, bite-sized laundry pods not only shouldn’t be eaten by your kids, but if your kids play with them, you need to watch out for eye injuries. While most people don’t expect laundry detergent to cause eye burns, those packets of detergent frequently contain stronger chemicals than one might expect. In fact, the detergents are designed to be diluted by water in order to not cause damage to clothing. The detergents frequently react differently when put in contact with skin or eye tissue.

If the packet bursts, the chemical detergent can cause burns on a person’s eyes, even if the liquid does not spill in a person’s face. Frequently, when children break one of these packets, or pods, the detergent is transferred to their eyes from their hands or fingers as a result of rubbing their face or eyes. What is most shocking is that apparently over a quarter of all eye injuries for children aged 3 to 4 are from these pods. 

FCC Rules on Robocalls

In the battle against unwanted sales calls, it's nice to know the government is on your side. The Do Not Call Registry was a good start, but in the age of cell phones, emails, and text messages, regulatory agencies can struggle to keep pace with tech-savvy telemarketers.

So the Federal Communications Commission recently issued some new advice on stopping unwanted calls, texts, and even faxes. (Remember those?) The FCC also published their telemarketing rules, establishing restriction on robocalls. Here's what you need to know:

Altria, née Philip Morris, is probably looking at a big dip in sales following a voluntary recall of some of its smokeless tobacco products after consumers found sharp metal objects in some cans. Although the company insists no users were injured from the foreign metal objects, the recall includes products from some of the corporation's most recognizable brands: Skoal and Copenhagen.

Here's what you need to know:

The world we live in is not always what it seems. Simply put, just answering the phone can expose you to dangers from scam artists. The best we can all do is learn about the dangers so as to be ready to face them on a daily basis.

The "can you hear me" scam is a new scam that essentially uses the simple question in order to elicit the word "yes" from the phone call recipient. A scammer calls someone, and when the person answers, the scammer, who is recording the call, asks: Can you hear me? Once the scammer is able to record a person saying "yes," they will be able to use that recorded answer to potentially push through fraudulent credit charges either via a person's phone bill or credit card.

In our modern times of glasses made by Google, Bluetooth technology, and smart telephones, parents are increasingly wiring their children, and even their babies, up with wearable tech. While most parents and professionals would agree that being able to monitor where your child is via GPS is helpful, there is growing disagreement about wearables for babies. The market for such devices has exploded over the past few years. Now there are socks that measure a baby's pulse, pacifiers with thermometers, onsies that provide breathing a movement data, and a whole host of other types of baby-wearables that push your baby's data onto your smart phone's app.

Generally, there has been no big news story about a baby being injured due to wearable technology. In fact, one such device maker claims that in the 300,000 units his company has sold, he has not heard of a single infant death. Nevertheless, there are currently no wearable tech items for babies that are approved by the FDA. Additionally, numerous studies have been published which discourage the use of wearables for infants.