Common Law - The FindLaw Consumer Protection Law Blog


Spark Networks USA, the company behind niche online dating sites like Christian Mingle and Jdate, has settled a consumer protection action filed by San Diego, Los Angeles, Santa Clara, and Santa Cruz counties on behalf of customers who were automatically renewed for the service and denied refunds.

The company will pay $500,000 in civil penalties and almost $1 million in restitution, distributed to users and the municipalities, including the city of Santa Monica. Here's a closer look.

What Is the 'Neighbor Spoofing' Scam?

There seems to be a new scam born every minute, and this one is tricky, on so many levels. You may have already experienced it, but didn't know it's name. The neighbor spoofing scam is used by con artists and robocallers that call your phone, seemingly with a local number, but they are not a local business.

In this scam, not only the area code matches the victim's, but also the next three numbers, or prefix, will appear familiar, tempting you to pick up the phone even though you don't know this exact number. A telemarketers biggest obstacle is getting you to pick up that phone, but by deceiving you into thinking the call is coming from someone local, they easily clear that hurdle, and are one step closer to completing their scam.

LaCroix Sued for Alleged Cockroach Insecticide in Drinks

LaCroix's parent company, National Beverage, is being sued for false advertising. LaCroix carbonated beverages claim to be "all natural," but plaintiff Lenora Rice contends the beverage contains linalool, which is a cockroach insecticide, as well as a host of other artificial ingredients. Rice further contends that National Beverage knew about these artificial ingredients, and continued to intentionally market the product as "innocent," "naturally essenced," and "always 100% natural."

The Great Smoky Mountains are gorgeous. So, of course the prospect of a dream vacation in the Smokies is going to appeal to quite a few people. And if you pay for that dream vacation by, say, investing in a Gatlinburg timeshare, you'd like to actually go on that dream vacation.

But according to a recent lawsuit, one Tennessee resort was using high-pressure sales tactics to sell timeshares, and then never allowing buyers to visit.

Ikea Recalls Falling Ceiling Lamp

Frosted glass keeps falling on my head ... that's what owners of Ikea's Calypso frosted ceiling lamps must be humming.

To avoid potentially serious injuries from its falling ceiling lamps, Ikea has now issued a recall.


Most Common Foods Adults Choke On

Choking is no joking matter. It is the third leading cause of death in American homes. Most of us have been eating for decades and have gotten a lot of practice at it! But that's why they call it an accident -- an unfortunate and unplanned event. But is it? Here are the three most common choking food challenges for adults. If you're concerned about a choking hazard, perhaps consider cutting these out, or at least limiting them in certain situations where the risk of choking is higher or if your ability to deal with a choking hazard is compromised. Translation -- these are not the best foods to serve at a cocktail party.

Kind Bars Sued for Misleading Customers With Ingredients

If it tastes too good to be true, or at least "natural," it probably is.

A class-action lawsuit against the makers of Kind snack bars claiming their "non-GMO" and "natural" labeling is false and creating unjust enrichment is currently pending in federal court. Plaintiffs claim that "Pressed by Kind" and "Fruit Pieces" packaging convince the consumers that their ingredients are whole unsweetened fruit, though they are actually processed with sugar prior to the dehydration process.

Virtual Kidnapping Phone Scam Happening in New Mexico, FBI Warns

In yet another phone scam preying on people's fears and emotions, the FBI is warning New Mexico residents to be wary of one more. Dubbed "virtual kidnapping," this one extorts victims by coaxing them into paying a ransom to free a loved one they believe has been kidnapped or is being threatened with violence or death. The calls seem to come from Mexico prisons. A few years ago, these calls were solely targeting Spanish speaking suspects. But now, anyone is fair game.

USDA Lab Sued for Killing Kittens

The Animal Parasitic Disease Lab, a USDA lab in Beltsville, Maryland, has been hit with a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit over its refusal to hand over information regarding its killing of approximately 3,000 two-month-old kittens involved in scientific experiments related to food borne illnesses.

Though it is believed that the kittens were healthy after going through the experiment, they were still euthanized. The Washington D.C. watchdog group, White Coat Waste Project, wants the testing that has been transpiring at this lab for the last 50 years to end, and until it does, the group wants the kittens sent out for adoption.

FDA Ordered to Stop Delaying Graphic Cigarette Warnings

Almost 10 years ago, in 2009, a bipartisan Congress passed the Tobacco Control Act, requiring graphic health warnings on all cigarette packs and ads. Have you seen them? Undoubtedly not, since the FDA never created the necessary guidelines.

In 2016, eight public health and medical groups filed a lawsuit, claiming the FDA has both "unlawfully withheld" and "unreasonably delayed" agency actions on the guidelines, and sought to compel the FDA to issue guidelines immediately. And they just won.