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consumer 11 articles

QLaser Fraud Scheme Ends With Prison Sentences

A South Dakota man who made $16.6 million selling fraudulent medical devices called QLasers to the elderly and others with medical problems has been sentenced to prison. South Dakota federal judge Roberto A. Lange sentenced Robert “Larry” Lytle, 83, of Rapid City, to 12 years in prison, followed by two years’ supervised release for organizing and leading the fraud scheme. Mr. Lytle pleaded guilty in January to one count of conspiracy to introduce misbranded medical devices into interstate commerce with the intent to defraud and mislead and one count of criminal contempt. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, Mr. ... Read More

Financial Deregulation Bill Passes House

A bill designed to neuter consumer protections implemented in response to the 2008 financial crisis passed the House of Representatives last week, stoking fears that Republicans are setting the stage for another economic meltdown. The bill, peddled by GOP representatives as the “Financial Creating Hope and Opportunity for Investors, Consumers and Entrepreneurs” (CHOICE) Act, is not expected to pass the Senate, at least in its current form. According to House Speaker Paul Ryan, the CHOICE Act is the “crown jewel” in the Republican Party’s deregulation agenda because it would lift burdensome regulations off of small businesses. However, critics say the ... Read More

ISPs may soon be allowed to collect user data without permission

The United States House and Senate have voted to reverse rules that require internet service providers (ISPs) to receive consumers’ permission before using certain sensitive data they obtain. The resolution, S.J. 34, reverses broadband privacy rules created by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) last year that protect user data like browsing history from being unknowingly obtained by ISPs. It passed Congress Tuesday and now awaits a signature from President Donald Trump. Proposed by Republican Senators led by Jeff Flake (R-Arizona), the bill caused heated debate on in the Senate floor. “How can this happen? What are the rules? Is there going to be any ... Read More

Watson Pharmaceuticals settles fraud allegations with Louisiana for $8.5 million

Watson Pharmaceuticals Inc. has agreed to pay Louisiana $8.5 million to settle allegations that it defrauded the state’s Medicaid program by artificially inflating its wholesale drug prices. The resolution came on Tuesday just before state attorneys were to give opening statements before a 12-person jury in Louisiana’s 19th Judicial District Court. Louisiana Attorney General Buddy Caldwell initiated the complaint against Watson Pharmaceuticals, alleging the company had defrauded taxpayers and the state’s Medicaid program by violating the Louisiana Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Act and Louisiana’s Medical Assistance Programs Integrity Law. “We are prepared to present these fraud cases to ... Read More

New website monitors how corporations, lobbyists are eroding our Constitutional rights

Alarmed by the corporate lobby’s aggressive efforts to undermine the U.S. civil justice system, the American Association for Justice (AAJ) has launched a new website and blog called Take Justice Back. The aim of the website is to keep U.S. citizens informed about how their rights and protections, guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, are being eroded by powerful corporations and lobbying groups trying to escape accountability. Armed with hundreds of millions of dollars, these corporate interests have infiltrated Congress and are using their financial might “scheming up ways to avoid accountability when they hurt someone,” the AAJ says. The “Tort ... Read More

Toyota window-switch safety recall the largest single recall in 16 years

Toyota Motor Co. announced another giant safety recall Wednesday, this time involving 7.43 million vehicles worldwide over the risk of driver’s-side window switches that could catch fire. The recall includes about 2.5 million model-year 2007-2009 vehicles sold in the U.S. under the Toyota and Scion brand. According to Toyota, pressing the driver’s-side power window master switch (PWMS) may create a “notchy” or sticky feel. If commercially available lubricants are used to treat the switch, the switch assembly could melt, potentially leading to vehicular smoke and/or fire. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has received more than 200 reports of ... Read More

Hot Coffee documentary showcasing dangers of tort reform airs June 27

Susan Saladoff’s documentary Hot Coffee, which offers an unsettling glimpse at the tactics many giant corporations use to strip everyday Americans of some basic rights, has been racking up critical acclaim ahead of its premiere on HBO June 27th. Hot Coffee centers on the famous McDonald’s coffee incident that left Stella Liebeck, a 79-year-old Albuquerque, New Mexico, resident with serious burns. Liebeck was a passenger in her nephew’s car when she positioned a cup of coffee between her knees so she could remove the lid and add cream and sugar. The coffee spilled, giving Ms. Liebeck third-degree burns on her ... Read More

Consumer safety complaints to go public in March

The U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission is on schedule to go public with a new online database of consumer complaints in March, facilitating consumer access to the thousands of safety complaints and concerns it receives every year. The http://www.saferproducts.gov/ database will encompass the 15,000 types of consumer products regulated by the CPSC and will not include products such as automobiles, tires, food, cosmetics, tobacco, prescription drugs, and medical devices regulated by other federal agencies. Consumers who have purchased defective and potentially dangerous products can file a complaint with the CPSC. Under the current system, these complaints are shielded from public ... Read More

government pushes pool industry to step up safety awareness

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission announced that it formed a “strategic partnership” with the Association of Pool and Spa Professionals (APSP) in an effort to drive down the number of swimming pool-related deaths and injuries that occur every year, especially to children. The CPSC announced the partnership at the International Pool, Spa, & Patio Expo in Las Vegas. According to Kathleen Reilly, CPSC’s Pool Safely campaign director, the purpose of the alliance is to develop and implement a public safety campaign that it hopes will keep children away from faultily installed or defective drain covers and raise awareness of ... Read More

Like US, EU fights rising tide of dangerous Chinese-made products

RAPEX, the European Union’s rapid alert system for dangerous consumer products (excluding food, pharmaceutical, and medical devices), released its annual report of the most dangerous products flooding the European market, and Chinese-made products top the list. Although this isn’t the first time made-in-China has dominated RAPEX reports, the findings indicate the problem is growing in Europe as rapidly as it is in the United States. It’s no secret that products manufactured in China consistently pose more dangers to consumers than domestically manufactured goods. Poisonous lead paint in children’s toys, toxic cadmium in jewelry, lethal melamine in pet food and baby ... Read More