Common Law - The FindLaw Consumer Protection Law Blog


FDA Cracks Down on Use of Word 'Milk'

Milk has become a murky issue. Who knew a simple four letter word could be so misleading. Since the arrival of Soy Milk back in the 1980s, many different non-dairy milk products have come on the market, most notably rice and almond, and now hemp, and quinoa, and everything in between.

They prefer to call themselves "milk" in order to benefit from its halo affect, given the product's wholesome, nutritional public persona. But are these beverages really "milk"?

Look, we're not saying that you cheated on your spouse. We're not even saying that you've thought about it, received a steamy email, or had a stranger's number burn a hole in your smartphone. All we're saying is that some unsavory scam artists are playing the odds that your marital history is less than pristine, and hoping your insecurity will lead you to paying some big bucks to keep them quiet.

The first step to avoiding the scam is obvious: don't cheat. After that, know that the scammers probably don't have any real evidence, and report the incident.

What to Do If You Get Sick From a Salmonella Outbreak?

A recent outbreak of salmonella linked to Kellogg's Honey Smacks cereal led to a recall of 1.3 million boxes, but it is widely believed that there are even more contaminated boxes out in the public. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has made it very clear to consumers -- "Do not eat Kellogg's Honey Smacks cereal of any size package or with any 'best if used by' date." They tweeted it even more bluntly -- "Do not eat this cereal."

So it's clear that we shouldn't be eating nor feeding our loved ones Honey Smacks. But what isn't so clear is what to do if you get sick from a salmonella outbreak.

You may have heard about predatory payday loans, wherein lenders give consumers cash advances based on their payroll and employment records. These loans often come with exorbitant interest rates, leading consumers to borrow more money, diving deeper into debt. But why make cash-strapped consumers come to you with their pay stubs, when you can just mail them a check, hoping they'll cash it and start the spiraling debt cycle themselves?

That's the latest predatory loan scheme, and its backers may be surprising.

What to Know About California's New Online Cancelation Law

In today's busy world, we often overlook a few things, especially if they are not in plain sight. One of those frustrating and costly things is recurring fees for auto-renewal services and recurring purchases. And sometimes those fees could be more than we bargained for, such as "free trial" offers where you get one free month and then a $59/month fee charged automatically to your credit card. Sound familiar?

Perhaps the fees were in small print that wasn't caught. Or perhaps we forgot to put a note in our calendar to cancel the subscription. Now, California has a new law concerning online cancelation. Here's what you need to know.

Consumers may have good intentions by installing solar panels on their homes, but some are reporting that solar companies and their sales representatives aren't making good on their promises. After reports of companies making false guarantees, purposely installing undersized systems, and knowingly signing unbuildable systems, the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) kicked off a consumer education campaign aimed at educating and protecting solar customers from unscrupulous sales and construction companies.

So, if you're interested in installing some solar panels on your house, here's what to look out for and where to turn for help.

Erupting volcanoes (and earthquakes). Massive flooding. The world's deadliest hiking trail. A rash of snorkeling deaths. Few destinations in the world are as picturesque and relaxing as the Hawai'ian Islands. And few places seem as dangerous. And while Americans have been dreaming of a tropical vacation since Elvis strummed a guitar on its shores in 1961, many of them are now wondering if the risk is worth the trip.

The obvious answer is, yes -- you can safely travel to Hawai'i for vacation this summer. But there are a few things you'll want to watch out for, lest your dreams of an island paradise turn into a nightmare holiday.

A salmonella outbreak that spread to 70 cases across seven states has been tied to fruit salad mixes that include pre-cut melons, according to the Food and Drug Administration. At least 34 people have been hospitalized due to the illness, and the FDA is advising consumers to avoid recalled fresh cut watermelon, honeydew melon, and cantaloupe, as well as fruit medley products containing any of these melons.

Ford's Unsafe Touchscreens Class Action Ends in Settlement

These days, there's a touchscreen for everything -- your phone, fridge, soda fountain, restaurant menu. You can even FaceTime your dog while you're at work. And of course, all new cars come equipped with a touchscreen imbedded into the dash. Where you used to turn a knob or press a button, most of your car's functions can only be accessed through the touchscreen's menu options. So, you can see why it might be a problem if that touchscreen freezes. It's hard to defrost the windows in the winter or turn on the AC in summer if those buttons don't work.

These types of issues prompted a number of car owners to sue Ford after their vehicles' touchscreens weren't functioning properly. After years of litigation in the class action lawsuit, Ford has agreed to a settlement regarding its unsafe touchscreens.

Pfizer Fined $24M for Medicare Kickbacks

The pharmaceutical industry is very profitable and highly competitive. Like any industry, its players are always looking for ways to increase those profits. But sometimes they go too far. The Department of Justice says pharmaceutical company Pfizer has done just that by working a scheme to offer Medicare patients kickbacks for using their medicines. Now, the drug giant has agreed to pay nearly $24 million to settle the case.