Common Law - The FindLaw Consumer Protection Law Blog


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.

The class action lawsuit is one of the few tools consumers and the public have against misbehaving large corporations. They've been utilized in environmental protection cases against polluters and consumer safety cases against dangerous products. A proposed new rule would allow similar protections for victims of predatory, deceptive, or unfair business practices by banks and other financial institutions, but that rule was voted down today.

Vice President Mike Pence broke a 50-50 tie in the Senate as Republicans continue to roll back Obama-era policies designed to reign in Wall Street.

We all know that soda is bad for us. The sugar, the high fructose corn syrup, and phosphoric acid (!) can't be too healthy. But diet soda, on the other hand, is better, right? Fewer calories mean diet sodas might actually help us maintain a healthy weight or even lose weight, right?

Wrong, according to three federal lawsuits filed against the three largest makers of carbonated beverages in the U.S. Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, and Dr Pepper Snapple Group, are all being sued for their marketing of diet sodas that plaintiffs claim mislead consumers into thinking those beverages are healthy, or at least healthier than regular soda.

When most of us buy a pet, we like to think we're saving it from a horrible life in a pen, or worse. And animal shelters rely on the good intentions of pet owners to place animals in good homes. But in California, those good intentions have become law.

Governor Jerry Brown this week announced the signing of Assembly Bill No. 485, requiring pet stores to sell only rescue animals. The law is aimed at ending the practice of so-called "puppy mills," and makes the Golden State the first to enact such a law. So what does the new law actually prohibit, and what are the penalties?

After a national tragedy, like the recent mass shooting in Las Vegas at the Route 91 Harvest Festival, you may want to reach deep into your pocketbook to help the victims, or donate to related causes. However, before you decide to donate, you may want to confirm that you're really donating your money to a real charity rather than just giving it to a scammer.

As disgusting as it sounds, some scammers have already tried to capitalize on the mass shooting in Las Vegas. Fake donation pages set up to look like funds would go to victims or victims' families, but in reality, the money was going directly to a scammer. Authorities have already had some scam donation pages taken down.

Let's be honest, most of us aren't reading every word of our warranties, and we're certainly not doing it before we purchase a product. And while that might save us a ton of time, it may cost us our ability to take companies to court if their products don't perform as advertised. That's because more and more manufacturers are tucking mandatory arbitration clauses deep in their warranties.

But the Supreme Court is pushing back on those clauses, handing a small victory to consumers. Here's how.

If you read the name Honey Bucket and first thought of Winnie the Pooh or fried chicken, I have some foul smelling news for you. Honey Buckets are actually portable toilets, the stench from which some neighbors in Pacific, Washington are not too pleased with.

"Hazardous odors, gases, fumes, and contaminants have been and are being released from the Honey Bucket Facility property," their lawsuit claims, "interfering with the use and enjoyment of the Plaintiff's and the Class Members' properties, have substantially impaired the value of their properties, and have caused adverse personal impacts such as annoyance, irritation, discomfort, and other similar physical ailments." That lawsuit was certified as a class action this week, allowing more neighbors to join the case.

Puppy Scams? Yes, Puppy Scams

Is nothing sacred anymore? Can we not even leave pure, innocent animals out of our online scams these days?

Apparently not. The Better Business Bureau is reporting that 80 percent of sponsored advertisements about pets may be fake, leading to hundreds of thousands of dollars lost to pet fraud. Scam artists are posting pictures of puppies, taking payment, and then never producing the pet. These people are monsters.