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Recently in Consumer Rights Category

It's never a good sign when 23 district attorneys are coming after you. But that's what happened when almost two dozen California district attorneys targeted retailing giant Amazon over plastic products labeled as "compostable" or "biodegradable" on its website. Golden State statutes ban such claims without caveats about exactly how long it will take for the product to actually break down. (Somewhere between 450 and 1,000 years.)

But Amazon settled those claims last week, dishing out $1.5 million and agreeing to fund testing of plastic products marketed to consumers as compostable or degradable.

Popular Contraceptive Pulled From US Market

Essure, once sold worldwide as an effective and safe form of permanent birth control, has seen its own product life stunted. Bayer Pharmaceuticals announced that it will pull Essure from the U.S. market, the last to sell the device, by year's end.

Launched in 2002 as the first permanent non-surgical form of birth control, the device has fallen out of favor all over the world. Though Bayer claims the reason it will stop selling Essure is due to declining sales, many believe it is because thousands of women have filed a class-action product liability lawsuit, blaming the device for serious health problems, including constant pain, bleeding, and perforation of the uterus and fallopian tubes.

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"?

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.

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.

Car Insurance Scams

Getting in a car accident is bad enough. You have to deal with insurance companies, car repairs, and sometimes even injuries and medical bills. But what if your car accident was actually part of a car insurance scam? 

Even if you're not involved in the accident, you're likely still paying the price of car insurance scams in the form of higher premiums as companies pass the cost on to consumers. Below are some common forms of this type of fraud and how you can avoid them.

In the wake of the 2007-08 financial crisis, Congress created the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, an agency tasked with protecting consumer rights when dealing with banks, credit unions, debt collectors, mortgage servicers, payday lenders, securities firms, and other financial institutions.

Part of the CFPB's mission is taking, compiling, and tracking consumer complaints in a massive database, a database that, as of this writing, remains publicly viewable, searchable, and even downloadable. But interim CFPB head Mick Mulvaney has indicated the agency may shut down public access to the complaint database.