Archive for the 'Consumer Affairs' Category

LifeLock Doesn’t Work As Well As Advertised

Friday, July 2nd, 2010

SecurityWe’ve all heard the advertisements for LifeLock, where CEO Todd Davis freely gives out his Social Security number because he’s so confident that LifeLock’s service will protect him. Kudos to whoever came up with the idea for such an innovative marketing campaign, but the reality is that Davis’ identity has been successfully stolen 13 times since the ads began airing.

(via Kim Komando)

Why Expensive HDMI Cables Don’t Make Sense

Friday, July 2nd, 2010

DigitalIn the older, analog world of video, any degradation in the signal due to cheap cabling would cause a corresponding degradation in the picture. So super-high-quality, gold plated, and hideously expensive cables made a certain amount of sense. But in the digital world, you can have a severe amount of signal degradation without any loss in picture quality. The $6.00 cable really is just as good as the $250.00 cable. In fact, you may see more degradation from your cable or satellite provider than you’ll ever get from cabling.


How Much Cable Companies Pay For The Channels They Carry

Saturday, April 10th, 2010

TelevisionThe linked article lists how much cable companies pay, per subscriber, for the various channels they carry. Notice the huge gap between #1 (ESPN: $4.08) and #3 (TNT: $0.99). Seeing all that money go for unused channels in package deals reminds me why I’m in favor of an à la carte subscription model.

(via The Consumerist)

Replace Those Wireless Microphones

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

WirelessJune 12th is the US government’s official cutoff date for wireless microphones that transmit in the 700MHz band. Turns out that these microphones, employed by quite a few churches, schools, and sporting venues, have been “squatting” in the upper regions of the UHF television spectrum (specifically channels 52 through 69). As part of the whole DTV transition, those channels are no longer being used for broadcast television, and rights to that part of the spectrum have been sold to various telecom companies. Starting June 12th it will be illegal to use the old microphones, forcing many organizations to purchase new equipment.


Switching One Poison For Another

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

ShopperFrom the article: “An AP investigation has found that, barred from using lead in children’s jewelry, some Chinese manufacturers have substituted cadmium — which is more dangerous.”


Free Music From Amazon — Act Now

Thursday, November 26th, 2009

MusicAmazon has a free promotional code for MP3 downloads, worth $3.00 (essentially three songs). There are no limitations on which songs you can choose, but the code is only valid through November 30th—so use it or lose it.

(via Lifehacker)

Campbell’s Chicken Noodle Soup Put To The Test

Wednesday, November 11th, 2009

SoupCampbell’s has embarked upon an advertising campaign that claims each can of its chicken noodle soup has 32 feet of noodles. A Seattle TV reporter put it to the test, on a football field no less! The linked video shows the result.

(via The Consumerist)

When To Buy Stuff, Part 2

Thursday, October 8th, 2009

Shopping CartThe linked article has the best days and times to buy 14 different products.


Don’t Go to the Grand Canyon Skywalk

Friday, September 11th, 2009

Shopping CartI’ve previously heard bad things about the Grand Canyon Skywalk, but the linked article has a very precise explanation of why you don’t want to go there during your vacation. One item being that it will cost you at least $75 per person. The Consumerist did some followup and verified that it’s as bad as the linked article says.

(via The Consumerist)

Beware of Fake Wendy’s Coupon

Sunday, August 2nd, 2009

ShopperA nice Wendy’s coupon is making the rounds via email, but it’s a fake.


Car Allowance Rebate System

Sunday, July 19th, 2009

CarIf you have an older, less fuel-efficient car and are thinking about buying a new one, then the US government’s CARS program may be for you. It effectively raises the trade-in value of your clunker to either $3500 or $4500, plus whatever you can negotiate for the scrap value. My 1996 S-10 pickup qualifies and is normally worth about $1200, so this program can save some serious money.

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Link #2:…
(via digg)

Update: The program has been suspended as of midnight on July 30th, because the government thinks it may have already run out of funds (based on pending sales).

Update #2: The US House of Representatives has allocated an additional $2 billion for the program. This still has to be approved by the Senate and signed into law. I’m not that impressed, however, considering that it took less than a week to burn through the initial $1 billion.

Update #3: An additional $2 billion has been added to the program. Note that CARS is popularly known as “Cash for Clunkers”.

The Next Salvo in the Internet Sales Tax War

Monday, June 29th, 2009

GovernmentAmazon has an affiliate program where members refer traffic to Amazon for specific products. The members get a percentage of sales made by the referrals. Regular Chad’s News readers will recall that New York state recently decided that an in-state affiliate was sufficient cause to require Amazon to collect state sales taxes on purchases by New York residents. Amazon is challenging this in court as being unconstitutional, but is collecting the tax in the meantime.

Now North Carolina is in the process of changing its tax laws, such that anything purchased through Amazon affiliates in that state would be subject to sales tax. Amazon has preemptively responded to this by shutting down its affiliates in North Carolina. This is an overreaction on the part of Amazon, but the company is very serious about not having to collect sales tax for states in which it doesn’t have a physical presence. State legislatures, however, are reasonably upset over the loss of significant tax revenue to internet retailers. Residents are supposed to voluntarily pay “use taxes” on internet purchases, but that rarely happens.

How this will all end is anyone’s guess. Amazon is up for the fight, however, and the final outcome will be decided in court.

Link #1:…
(via Slashdot)

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(via The Consumerist)

Update: Amazon has banned Rhode Island affiliates as well.