Archive for December, 2008

Get mad at Madoff

Thursday, December 11th, 2008

If you’ve had dealings with Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities, you’re gonna get sick.
Apparently the investment firm is a MULTI-BILLION-DOLLAR Ponzi scheme — a fat fraud that probably has cost you dearly.
Here’s the ugly truth.

Napoleon fireplace inserts are flawed

Thursday, December 11th, 2008

Napoleon fireplace inserts made by Wolf Steel are being recalled because the glass on the insert can break, injuring the users.
Details can be found here.

Toro Power Sweeps being recalled

Thursday, December 11th, 2008

About 900,000 Toro Power Sweep blowers sold between 2000 and 2002 are being recalled because they have an impeller that can disintegrate and spew plastic projectiles around. There have been a slew of injuries.
A photo and recall notice is here.

Another counterfeit check scam

Wednesday, December 10th, 2008

Counterfeit checks drawn on Suffolk County National Bank in Riverhead, N.Y. are being used as part of a nationwide “mystery shopper” scam that’s bilking consumers nationwide.
Details on the scam may be found here.

Bank has credit tips for the holidays

Wednesday, December 10th, 2008

Monroe Bank & Trust has offered up some tips to help consumers use credit wisely and avoid a holiday hangover.
“Basic holiday expenses can put a strain on consumers’ finances — especially in an already stressed economy,” said Mary Jane Town, MBT’s director of marketing. “Being a savvy spender is key to avoiding the debt of Christmas past and having a financially happy new year.”
The bank encourages consumers to:
Create a realistic budget. Be as detailed as possible. Look at past banking and credit card statements as well as receipts from last year to gauge your holiday spending.
Be a Scrooge. The fewer lines of credit you have, the easier it is to keep track of bills and pay off debt on time. Use caution when you consider applying for additional cards.
Beware of fraudsters or suspicious offers to buy products. Do not enter your credit card number unless you are certain the Web site is trustworthy. Keep receipts and billing statements to check for unauthorized charges. Shred documents that contain personal information.
Understand the terms of your credit card. Credit cards are great financial tools when used with care, but the fine print can have important implications.
Fight the temptation. Holiday shopping can be overwhelming and sale items can make it difficult to say no. Resist impulse shopping and stick to your budget.
Visit www.mbandt.com for more spending and financial management tips. Other tips also are at www.getsmartaboutcredit.com.

Consumer Reports likes LED lights

Monday, December 8th, 2008

Lamp posts around downtown Monroe have been decked out with mini-LED lights because they save energy and are more lasting.
Now Consumer Reports says LEDs are the way to go, though they appear a little bit dimmer than traditional incandescent light strings.
The consumer group also notes that LEDs are pricier to buy and the strings usually are shorter than most traditional light sets.
But the lights use a miserly 1.3 kilowatts of electricity compared to 12 to 105 kilowatts for a typical incandescent string.
Watch the Consumer Reports video report.

Awww crap! What’s next?

Monday, December 8th, 2008

Now it seems that they’re downsizing toilet paper.
MousePrint.org has the details here.

Meijer recalls hat and mitten sets

Monday, December 8th, 2008

Meijer Inc. is recalling about 100 girl’s knit hat and mitten sets because the hats have small magnets inside that can become detached and pose a health threat to toddlers.
A photo and details of the recall may be found here.

Walgreens chocolate bears tainted

Saturday, December 6th, 2008

Walgreens is recalling 9-inch high chocolate teddy bears because some of the bears were found to be contaminated with melamine, that chemical that found its way into the Chinese food system and is showing up in some food products in the States.
Details are here.

Cashing rebate checks could be costly

Saturday, December 6th, 2008

Read the fine print on those rebate forms or the rebate checks you might already have gotten in the mail.
Scads of consumers are learning that the rebate check they cashed recently in connection with a product or store promotion is bouncing because the company that processes the rebate requests has filed for bankruptcy protection.
CMG Marketing, also known as Continental Marketing Group of Tampa Bay, filed for bankruptcy protection in mid-November. It serviced rebate requests for about 500 clients, including big names such as Costco and Home Depot.
Now, with the bankruptcy filing, consumers who cashed rebate checks from the company are finding that the checks have bounced, so they’re not only not getting their rebate, they’re getting stuck with bad-check fees from their own bank.
Some of the stores affected are trying to make good on the rebate offers, but it involves a lot of extra steps and it usually doesn’t solve the problem of a bad check fee.
Here are some details from a story aired by a Las Vegas television station.

FDA, WebMD collaboration on consumer info

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2008

The Food and Drug Administration has formed a partnership with WebMD to provide more consumer health data, including information on product recalls and product safety alerts.
Read about the collaboration here.

Kids stuff has excessive lead levels

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2008

Doll clothing and some Army figures have been found to contain excessive levels of lead.
The clothing sets, made in Indonesia, was sold largely over the Internet.
Here’s the recall notice.
The paint on the Army figures contains lead. The soldiers were sold mainly at dollar stores.
Here’s the recall notice.

State updates home insurance guide

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2008

The State of Michigan has released its updated Buyer’s Guide to Home Insurance, which tells consumers how to shop for the proper coverage, how to cut premiums and otherwise make their insurance dollars do farther.
To augment the Guide is a companion Interactive Guide that lets you get a glimpse of what different insurance companies will charge.

Group publishes healthy toys guide

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2008

The Ecology Center of Ann Arbor has released its second annual guide to healthy toys, just in time for the holiday shopping season.
The group tested about 1,500 toys and found that a third have elevated levels of some toxic chemicals.
Lead was the most common pollutant and its presence exceeded safety levels on many toys.
The guide, which includes a searchable database, may be found here.

Study: TV, video games, Web can harm kids

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2008

Too much TV, video games and Web surfing can cause obesity, smoking and early sexual activity in kids, according to a new study from the National Institutes of Health.
Details may be found here.