Archive for March, 2008

Black & white penguins could make kids red all over

Wednesday, March 26th, 2008

Plan Toys of Mountain View, Calif. is recalling about 3,000 wooden penguin spinning toys for tots because the heads can come off and expose sharp parts that can cut.

Details on how to get a refund are here.

Tax-related scams on the rise

Wednesday, March 26th, 2008

With the April 15 tax filing deadline around the corner, the number of complaints about tax-related scams is increasing.

The National Consumer League has details on what to watch out for and some textbook cases of such scams.

The latest scary house scam

Wednesday, March 26th, 2008

It blends ID theft with real estate fraud. Check it out here.

It’s probably too late to sell your Biovail Corp. stock

Monday, March 24th, 2008

The Securities and Exchange Commission says Canadian drug company Biovail
Corp. overinflated earnings estimates and otherwise misled investors.

Details of the charges are here.

A little concrete in your coffee?

Monday, March 24th, 2008

Some time ago a doctor told me using those coffee creamers was like injecting cement into your arteries.

Now comes some information from the Center for Science in the Public Interest that explains why that might not be too great of an overstatement.

Check it out here.

Cantaloupes might spread salmonella

Monday, March 24th, 2008

Some cantaloupes imported to the U.S. might be contaminated with salmonella.

Illness has been reported in 14 states so far, including Ohio.

It’s kind of hard to tell which cantaloupes migbe be affected, but here’s the warning notice from the Food and Drug Administration.

Egg tops and containers have high lead content

Monday, March 24th, 2008

About 13,000 camouflage egg treat containers and egg-shaped spinning tops are being recalled because the paint on them exceeds federal standards for lead content.

Check out the recall notice here.

Yes, we have no bananas

Friday, March 21st, 2008

Some shoppers are paying a premium for bananas at area stores these days, and some stores have unripe or poor quality ones due to a nationwide banana shortage.


Kroger stores have a sign explaining the banana problem, noting that storms in banana republics have produced the shortages. At Kroger today, bananas were 59 cents a pound, about double what might be considered normal.

The high prices and low volumes are due to weather issues throughout Central America and Ecuador, big banana-producing regions.

Some suggest that the shortage only is temporary and prices will recede as production ramps up again. But for now, bananas have appeal for few.

An answer to mail theft?

Friday, March 21st, 2008

Janzer Corp. is touting its new “Ultimate Mailbox” as the answer to worries about mail and ID theft.

The security comes at a price, however. The suggested price for the box is $998.

Check it out here.

Toy puzzle sets have high lead content

Friday, March 21st, 2008

Toy puzzle sets that come with tiny vehicles are being recalled because they exceed the federal standard for lead content.

The sets were sold exclusively through the TV shopping network QVC.

Details are here.

Uncle Sam might owe you money

Friday, March 21st, 2008

Unclaimed refunds totaling approximately $42.5 million are awaiting over 47,000 people in Michigan who failed to file a federal income tax return for 2004, the Internal Revenue Service said. To collect the money, a return for 2004 must be filed with an IRS office no later than April 15.

The IRS estimates that half of those who could claim refunds for tax year 2004 would receive more than $552. In some cases, individuals had taxes withheld from their wages, or made payments against their taxes out of self-employed earnings, but had too little income to require filing a tax return. Some taxpayers may also be eligible for the refundable Earned Income Tax Credit.

In cases where a return was not filed, the law provides most taxpayers with a three-year window of opportunity for claiming a refund. If no return is filed to claim the refund within three years, the money becomes property of the U.S. Treasury. There is no penalty assessed by the IRS for filing a late return qualifying for a refund.

The IRS reminds taxpayers seeking a 2004 refund that their checks will be held if they have not filed tax returns for 2005 or 2006. In addition, the refund will be applied to any amounts still owed to the IRS and may be used to satisfy unpaid child support or past due federal debts such as student loans.

IRS releases stimulus payment schedule

Thursday, March 20th, 2008

The Internal Revenue Service has released a schedule of when those economic stimulus payments will be made, depending your Social Security number and whether you opted for direct deposit or a paper check.

The IRS also has an online calculator to determine if you’re eligible for a payment and how much it might be.

Outdoor light fixtures fall from mounts

Wednesday, March 19th, 2008

Outdoor ceiling-mounted light fixtures made by Progress Lighting have been falling from their mountings.

The lights are being recalled.

More toasters being recalled

Wednesday, March 19th, 2008

Chrome toasters bearing the Hoffritz, Russell Hobbs or Farberware brand names and made by Salton Inc. are being recalled because they can turn on without toast even being in them.

About 12,000 toasters are being recalled on the heels of an earlier toaster recall by QVC in December.

CVS pays fine to settle Medicaid fraud charges

Wednesday, March 19th, 2008

CVS has agreed to pay more than $36 million to settle federal charges that it switched many patients to a more expensive prescription drug so that it would get a larger Medicaid reimbursement.

Details of the allegations can be found here.