Chicago schools lost $100M by letting Wall Street engineer their finances


In 2007, the school raised $1B, and instead of issuing bonds, it let the bankers who'd been courting it talk it into issuing a floating-rate bond that it swapped into a fixed-rate issue.

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PSA: Escaping from Gogo's roach-motel business model

Last month, during my many-city book tour, I signed up for Gogo's in-flight wifi service. Today I discovered that it's much harder to get shut of it.

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PSA: UK small businesses, don't get ripped off by BT's "PC Security" scam


I cancelled my small business BT account last year when they endorsed the Tory Internet censorship plan -- and to my surprise, they kept sending me bills, but that wasn't nearly so surprising as what I discovered next: a seven-year-long overbilling ripoff that took most of a year to untangle.

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If you don't agree to the new Wii U EULA, Nintendo will kill-switch it

When you bought your Wii U, it came with one set of terms-of-service; now they've changed, and if you don't accept the changes, your Wii seizes up and won't work. That's not exactly what we think of when we hear the word "agreement."

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Right to complain: fighting back against Roca Labs

Pissedconsumer, a website that's being sued by a supplements company called Roca Labs whose diet aids come with terms-of-service that prohibit complaining about them, has filed its opposition to Roca's request for an injunction -- it's quite a read.

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Dietary supplement company sues website for providing a forum for dissatisfied customers

Roca Labs sells dubious snake-oil like a "Gastric Bypass Alternative," and their terms of service forbid their customers from ever complaining; they say that Pissedconsumer.com committed "tortious interference" by providing a place where disgruntled buyers could air their grievances.

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Kleargear's parent company issues hilarious press release about company's future


The shady ripoff merchants are doing so well they're going to start selling through Amazon, and their apparently imaginary bricks-and-mortar sister company Gift World is shutting down.

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Counterfeit money up close

Someone sent Brian Krebs an envelope of counterfeit $100 and $50 bills, apparently manufactured by Mrmouse, the counterfeiter whom Krebs outed for selling his notes openly on Reddit.

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Customer fined $250 for complaining, told "You are playing games with the wrong people"

Public Citizen is helping Cindy Cox sue Accessory Outlet for charging her $250 when she complained that an Iphone case hadn't shipped when promised; the company's rep told her that he'd fine her even more for emailing him to protest, adding an ominous "You are playing games with the wrong people and have made a very bad mistake."

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Kleargear's new street address is also home to notorious ripoff site


Kleargear destroyed the credit of customers who complained about getting ripped off, then disappeared when a court ordered them to pay restitution -- now they have a new US address, shared with a scammy auction site, raising questions about what other ripoffs the company's owners are involved with.

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Comcast: the only reason we're not ripping you off is that you recorded us

Tim David called Comcast to report that his self-installation after a move was running into troubles and was promised a no-charge service call.

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Kleargear must pay $306,750 for trashing a complaining customer's credit


The notorious online retailer Kleargear (previously) has been ordered to pay $306,750 in damages (including punitive damages) as well as legal costs to Jennifer and John Palmer. The Palmers wrote an online complaint when they didn't get their Kleargear order, only to have Kleargear send them a bill for $3500 for violating a "nondisparagement clause" in the company's terms of service; when they didn't pay it, Kleargear damaged their credit rating, which ended up sabotaging a house-purchase for the couple. Kleargear claims to be based in France, and refused to participate in the case against them.

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Copyright trolls cut and run at suggestion that they're a front for disgraced firm Guardaley

Now that evidence has surfaced suggesting that Guardaley, a disgraced firm of German copyright trolls, is secretly behind the legal actions of notorious US trolls like Malibu Media, the US plaintiffs are running scared, asking judges to dismiss their cases before they can be dragged into a discovery process that might confirm the link.

Guardaley is seriously toxic in the USA, and any suggestion that they were pulling the strings of US plaintiffs would likely be enough to get any case booted -- and possibly result in sanctions for the lawyers representing the trolls.

The defendants in a case over downloading the B-movie Elf-Man has presented evidence that not only links Guardaley to the suit, but also suggests that Guardaley was one of the seeders of the Elf-Man bittorrent file. In other words, they were sharing the file while acting as representatives for the copyright holders, making the downloads they're suing over authorized, and not infringing.

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FCC Chairman's competition promise means nothing


Cable lobbyist turned FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has tried to "balance" his attempt to nuke Net Neutrality by promising to override state laws that prohibit cities from setting up their own broadband networks. But it's a largely meaningless gesture: practically every big city in America is locked into a decade-long contractual "franchise" arrangement with a big cable company.

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Turn on your data for one minute, AT&T sticks you with a $750 international roaming charge


Jeff writes, "I learned this week that it's possible to run up a $750 international data roaming bill in one minute on AT&T. I managed to convince AT&T to forgive the charges after two days and 40 minutes of phone calls but the best guess at how this happened is kind of alarming. It seems that AT&T's billing system sometimes bundles US traffic with international traffic." Jeff was driving in the Pacific northwest, near the Canadian border.

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