Archive for October, 2008

Crackdown on credit repair agencies

Friday, October 24th, 2008

Know anyone who’s used a “credit repair” agency.
They’re probably happy campers, huh?
The feds this week cracked down on a number of credit repair firms across the country that gleefully took customers’ money and laughed all the way to the bank.
Check out the gallery of rogues here.

Patent & Trademark Institute patently deceptive

Friday, October 24th, 2008

The Federal Trade Commission has put the Patent & Trademark Institute, a supposed invention-promotion firm, out of business because of deceptive marketing.
They’ve done this before, but the principals simply reconstituted their business and continued to promise would-be inventors that they would market their designs and help them to success.
It didn’t work that way.
The government’s view is here.

Chicken-basted rawhide chips – yum!

Friday, October 24th, 2008

If you’re a dog, it sounds pretty appetizing, but Hartz Mountain has found salmonella contamination in some bags of its Chicken-Basted Rawhide Chips.
If your dog gets salmonella poisoning, it could die. At the very least, your floors and carpets could get pretty messy.
Check out the recall notice here.
If you read it carefully, you’ll notice it says the product was distributed to “a national retail customer.”
That’s pretty helpful information isn’t it? No wonder some have criticized the FDA for a less-than-vigorous regulatory posture.

FDA has Web site for drug info

Thursday, October 23rd, 2008

The Food and Drug Administration has consolidated all the info related to prescription drugs onto a single specialized Web site.
For a news release about the new site and its address, click here.

Leapfrog game system batteries are burn risk

Thursday, October 23rd, 2008

Rechargeable batteries for the Leapfrog game system for kids can pose a burn hazard if they are inserted improperly. The company already has logged about a dozen complaints about the problem.
For details on the recall, click here.

Shimano bicycle wheels have problem

Thursday, October 23rd, 2008

Shimano Dura Ace Carbon Clincher bicycle wheels have a spoke problem that could end up puncturing the tire. About 275 wheels are affected.
Check out the recall notice here.

Blue Ember grills might be defective

Thursday, October 23rd, 2008

Blue Ember gas grills might end up as a pile of red embers if they’re assembled improperly.
Some 47,000 might have a problem.
The recall notice is here.

Phone scammers invoking DTE name

Thursday, October 23rd, 2008

DTE Energy and its Detroit Edison and MichCon subsidiaries are warning customers to watch out for telephone scams that are being used to obtain personal information about the utilities’ customers.
“DTE Energy has warned customers in the past about con artists who pose as utility workers in order to gain access to homes and personal property,” said Michael Lynch, DTE Energy’s director of corporate security. “Now we’re starting to see some new scams that utilize sophisticated telephone systems to fraudulently obtain personal information from our customers.”
In a recent telephone scheme, some Detroit area residents received recorded phone messages, purportedly from DTE Energy, saying their utility bill was overdue and their electric service would be disconnected. When the residents called the toll-free “800” number provided on the message, they were prompted to enter their name, address and social security number. The callers were then informed that they had received the phone call in error, and that everything was fine.
“This particular automated telephone system was very professional sounding, and even included various menu options to help callers address the alleged billing problem,” Lynch said. “We were able to work with authorities to shut down this phone number, but we wouldn’t be surprised to see a similar scam turn up again.”
While DTE Energy does contact customers by phone for billing and marketing purposes, Lynch said the company never uses computerized telephone calls to obtain personal information from customers.
“Identity theft is a growing problem, and there are con artists out there who are always looking for new ways to victimize innocent people,” Lynch said. “We want customers to know that if they receive a phone call claiming to be from Detroit Edison or MichCon, and they want to verify the authenticity of the call, they should contact DTE Energy at (800) 477- 4747.”

Guitars used with Wii system are faulty

Thursday, October 23rd, 2008

Rage Wireless Guitars used with the Nintendo Wii system have a circuit board defect that can cause batteries to leak and burn consumers if the batteries are installed incorrectly.
A photo and details can be found here.

More than 1.5 million Delta cribs recalled

Thursday, October 23rd, 2008

More than 1.5 million Delta drop-side cribs are being recalled because they have mechanical issues that can cause suffocation or entrapment of infants.
Some need their safety peg springs checked and others have missing safety pegs.

No, you didn’t win the Postcode Lottery

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2008

A reader sends along this bogus e-mail that’s been making the rounds. He fears with the economy in the dumper, desperate people will be tempted to respond to this message, which appears to be one of those scams designed to capture personal financial info:

National Postcode Lottery
Attn: Winner
We bring to your notice the winning letter from Nationale Postcode Lottery
{United Kingdom Promotion Company} held on the 12th of October, 2008 through
Internet ballot System among 10,000 Microsoft users.
Subsequently, your email address attached to ticket number won
contract sum of 800,000.00 Pounds ,winning number 100364,ref number 00786.We
request you to pay serious attention to this notification by contacting the
claims department with claim information and procedures of claim.
Mr. Williams Brown
Congratulations once again from our members of staff and thank you for being
part of our promotional program.
Yours Sincerely,
Mrs. Stefian Smith
National Postcode Lottery


Koala cookies might have melamine

Saturday, October 18th, 2008

Koala March cookies made by Battle Creek-based Lotte USA is recalling a variety of its Koala cookies because they used ingredients from China that might be tainted with melamine, the plastic additive that is causing health problems in China.
Cookies should be discarded and consumers can get a refund. Details are here.

Phony sweepstakes invokes FTC name

Friday, October 17th, 2008

The Federal Trade Commission is not running a sweepstakes, so if someone calls you saying you’ve won and all you have to do is pay taxes to collect the winnings, hang up.
Details of the scam may be found here.

Tot death prompts crib recall

Friday, October 17th, 2008

Playkids is giving refunds for the convertible cribs it sold mainly in New York after a 5-month-old died in one of the cribs.
The recall notice is here.

Gasoline down 25 cents a gallon

Friday, October 17th, 2008

The average gasoline price in Michigan has fallen 25 cents in the past week, settling today at about $2.90, which also happens to be the average in the Monroe area.
This is because of the end of the summer driving season when fuel prices usually retreat and a continued drop in the price of a barrel of oil, which is falling along with other economic indicators.
Prices in the Monroe area ranged from $2.79 at many stations near the I-75 – N. Dixie Hwy. interchange to $2.97.
If you pay the average price for a 20-gallon fill-up, you’ll pay $5 less than you did a week ago.