Common Law - The FindLaw Consumer Protection Law Blog


Recently in Consumer Rights Category

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?

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.

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.

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?

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 Federal Aviation Administration is now offering to refund all drone and model aircraft hobbyists that had to register their flying machines and pay the FAA's $5 fee. Over 800,000 people have registered drones since 2015, however, not all drone owners will qualify for a refund.

A recent decision for the Court of Appeals for the Federal District invalidated the drone-hobbyist registration requirement.The decision explained that under a prior law, the FAA was prohibited from making new rules covering model aircrafts, and the registration requirement qualified as a new rule.

Most United States Supreme Court decisions don't make that much of an impact on the day to day lives, or pocketbooks, of most Americans. However, a recent decision about printer ink cartridge patents is way more applicable to everyday Americans (that still use paper or printers) than one might initially think.

The case between Impression Products and Lexmark has finally been decided, and while Impression won the day, consumers were the real winners in the case. The end result is that now consumers and businesses have just a little bit more protection when it comes to selling non-manufacturer refurbished and modified products.

A product that was being marketed as an opiate withdrawal remedy that promised to ease the associated pains has settled claims brought by the FTC against it. The company that makes Withdrawal Ease and Recovery Ease will no longer be able to make claims about the products' health benefits unless the claims are supported by actual evidence.

These products were marketed toward individuals seeking help recovering from the withdrawal symptoms of opiate addiction, and made specific claims that the product was effective, despite there being no scientific evidence to support those claims. In addition to the settlement preventing the company from making certain claims when marketing their products, the settlement also called for a $6.6 million dollar payment. However, the payment has been suspended due to the company's inability to pay.

Last week, the Food and Drug Administration issued multiple warning letters to the manufacturers of several unapproved, deceptively advertised, alleged 'cancer treatments.' The warning letters were issued alongside a public notice which warned consumers of the dangers of buying non-FDA approved products that claim to cure cancer.

Particularly worth noting is that the FDA's warning to consumers advised individuals to be wary of social media advertisements for cancer treatments, particularly if there is not a clear indication that the product has received FDA approval for their claims. The FDA noted a rise in social media advertising for these false cures. Additionally, the warning advised that individuals seeking cancer treatment, or prevention, should seek advice from medical doctors before beginning any course of treatment or action.