Common Law - The FindLaw Consumer Protection Law Blog


Where goes any hack or data breach, so comes the scam. Worried your personal information is in the hands of criminals? Give us, who are definitely not criminals, your personal information and we'll check and make sure to keep you safe. The appeal is simple, insidious, and predictable.

So it's not surprising that, following on the heels of what might be the most damaging data breach in history, here comes the Equifax scam.

Of all the hacks and data breaches going around lately, the last place you'd expect or want to get hacked is a credit reporting agency. After all, they're entrusted with an enormous amount of personal information and financial history -- a one-stop-shop for identity theft data.

So you'd hope that one of the largest consumer credit reporting agencies would have the latest and greatest when it comes to data security. You'd also hope that if one of those agencies were hacked, they'd address the issue ASAP. And maybe that addressing the issue wouldn't require victimized consumers to forfeit their right to sue.

Sorry to break it to you, but you're going to have to say goodbye to those hopes and hello to the Equifax hack.

As great man once said, "There's a time and place for everything -- and it's called college." And in a place where anything can happen, not all of those things are good.

From flood damage and pranks gone wrong, to simple theft or misappropriation, some bad things can happen to a college student's dorm room. Does that mean they need to insure those rooms, and their belongings?

We all hate robocalls -- those pre-recorded telemarketing calls that always seem to interrupt dinner, which, in my house, is really the third hour of binging "Cake Boss." But most of us don't hate them enough to file a lawsuit about it. Lucky for us lazy litigants, there's a nifty little thing called the class action lawsuit, where one person can file a suit on behalf of all the other people in the same situation, and we can just ride their coattails to a nice little judgment or settlement.

So by now you're wondering, has there been a class action lawsuit filed over those annoying robocalls from cruise lines? (Yes.) How do I know if I'm a member of the class? (It's pretty easy.) And how much money are we talking about here? (See below.)

Plaintiff Stephen Hadley has filed a lawsuit claiming that the many different Kellogg breakfast products he ate for breakfast were not as healthy as the breakfast maker has claimed. And while Kellogg denies these allegations, the company was not successful in having the case dismissed at the earliest possible stage.

Now, the case can continue on in the Northern District Court of California. Mr. Hadley is seeking to prove that nearly 30 different Kellogg products ranging from cereal bars to breakfast cereals contained more sugar than is actually healthy but nevertheless Kellogg advertised the products as "healthy." Perhaps most shockingly, one of the flagship cereals, Raisin Bran, has had its health benefits called into question, two scoops and all.

Everyone's favorite big box warehouse retailer, Costco, is learning a very expensive lesson in the jewelry business: There's big difference between a "Tiffany" ring, and a ring with a "Tiffany setting." The difference is so great, Costco's going to have pay Tiffany & Co. nearly $20 million.

World famous jeweler, Tiffany & Co., won their infringement case against the retailer on summary judgment by convincingly proving this point. While jewelers across the world use, and advertise certain rings as having, a "Tiffany setting," Costco advertised their rings with the world famous setting as "Tiffany" rings, rather than rings with a "Tiffany setting." When Tiffany & Co. discovered this after Valentine's Day 2013, the case against Costco was filed.

When a person goes into a pharmacy to pick up their prescription, they expect that only having to pay the required insurance co-pay is actually a good deal. Otherwise, what's the point of prescription coverage? But what if instead of a co-pay, you were being charged an "over-pay"?

A recent federal lawsuit filed by a San Francisco man against Walgreens in Northern District Court of Illinois alleges that insured customers are actually being charged more for their medications than those who don't use insurance. In fact, it is alleged that insurance co-pays can be significantly higher than the cash price of the same medication for a person without prescription coverage.

A new enforcement unit within the U.S. Justice Department in Chicago has been formed to fight health care fraud. The new Health Care Fraud Unit was announced around the same time as the announcement of the major $1.2 billion prosecution for a massive health care fraud scheme.

The goal of the unit is to seek out and prosecute the individuals and businesses that engage in all types of health care fraud. Acting U.S. Attorney Joel R. Levin, when announcing the new unit, explained that "Every year, health care fraud causes millions of dollars in losses to Medicare and private insurers" and that "Health care fraud also often exploits patients through unnecessary or unsafe medical procedures."

The kind of case you have on your smartphone has become almost as important as the kind of phone itself. You're not just keeping your iPhone safe from the odd slip or spill; you're making a statement. But what if that statement isn't keeping you safe?

Hundreds of thousands of iPhone cases have been recalled after customers suffered chemical burns when the cases broke, leaking glitter and liquid. How do you find out if you're walking around with one of the dangerous cases in your pocket or purse?

Few things are as terrifying as the thought of a loved one, especially a child, being kidnapped. So when the phone rings and someone says they have your daughter and will kill her immediately if you hang up or fail to wire $10,000, most parents will do whatever is possible to save their child.

That's exactly the kind of compliance scam artists are counting on when they call unsuspecting parents and relatives, a practice that's been on the rise in recent years.