A hard-sell con that cleaned out its desperate victims: behind the $25,000,000 Trump University settlement

trumpu

Victims of the Trump University con were roped in by an initial free class endorsed by "the most celebrated entrepreneur on earth" that would, in Trump's words, "turn anyone into a successful real estate investor, including you." Read the rest

John Oliver shreds multi-level-marketing pyramid schemes

050-056c026d-1c66-4d42-9fae-a8

Oliver's 30+ minute investigative piece on Mary Kay, Amway, Herbalife, Avon, Rodan and Fields and the rest of the MLM basket of deplorables shows how the Facebook era has supercharged these semi-criminal enterprises, entrapping thousands of people in a cycle of debt and deception that is fuelled by celebrity endorsers, including Madeline Albright. Read the rest

Canadians are getting "blackmailed" by US copyright trolls

050-056c026d-1c66-4d42-9fae-a8

Copyright trolls like LA-based CEG TEK are exploiting Canada's "notice-and-notice" copyright system to force ISPs to pass on extortion letters to their customers, threatening them with dire consequences unless they pay hundreds of dollars to settle unsubstantiated accusations of copyright infringement. Read the rest

Donald Trump weaponized fine-print to make it impossible to sue Wall Street for fraud

trump_taj_mahal_2007

In 1993, Donald Trump won a lawsuit brought by his investors that alleged he had defrauded them by lying in a prospectus; his defense was that his "perfect prospectus" contained lies, but it also contained enough fine-print cautioning investors about the possibility of lies that it was their own fault that he cheated them. Incredibly, the judge (a pre-Supreme Court Samuel Alito!) bought this. Read the rest

Al Franken and FCC commissioner Clyburn want limits on forced arbitration

5531690427_222654e8a7_b

Arbitration was conceived of as a way to allow giant corporations to avoid costly court battles by meeting with a mediator and talking things out: but since the Supreme Court ruled (in a series of mid-1980s cases) that companies could force their customers and employees into arbitration by adding "binding arbitration" clauses to the fine print in take-it-or-leave contracts, the US justice system has gone dark, which an ever-larger proportion of legal action disappearing into the opaque bowels of the arbitration system, where the richest participant usually wins. Read the rest

Harry Shearer sues studio over Spinal Tap, says he's received $98 in royalties over 30 years

giphy

Shearer's $125 million lawsuit against Studio Canal and Vivendi enumerates a parade of horribles that the entertainment companies have visited upon him, from ripping him off with crazy, corrupt accounting practices to allowing the Spinal Tap trademarks to lapse but still charging him royalties to perform as his character from Tap. Read the rest

Ex-Wells employees who were fired for NOT committing fraud launch $2.6B lawsuit

050-056c026d-1c66-4d42-9fae-a8

When four named whistleblowers came forward to reveal that they'd been illegally fired from Wells Fargo for reporting that the company was experiencing widespread fraud, it was deja vu all over again: Wells also punished whistleblowers who sounded the alarm during the subprime crisis, and was thus so totally compromised that they needed a $36B taxpayer bailout. Read the rest

Whistleblowing Wells Fargo loan officer describes years of fraudulent, criminal culture in the bank

storm_clouds

Beth Jacobson was a Wells Fargo loan officer who blew the whistle on the bank's predatory, racist loan-fraud in the runup to the 2008 financial crisis, which tanked the world's economy and nearly wiped out Wells Fargo (they were rescued with a $36B taxpayer-funded bailout). Read the rest

Wells Fargo fired the whistleblowers who reported massive fraud, and that's a crime

animation-14-300x227

CNN Money has found multiple whistleblowers from Wells Fargo who were willing to go on the record and report that they were fired in retaliation for coming forward to report the massive fraud in which Wells Fargo employees opened up 2,000,000 fake accounts in their customers' names, raiding their real accounts to open them, then racking up fees and penalties, and trashing their customers' credit ratings. Read the rest

Support the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's action against predatory payday lenders

payday_notice_blog.original

The predatory payday lending industry -- "'legalized loan sharks collect 75 percent of their fees from people stuck in more than 10 loans a year by charging 300 percent APR" -- is lobbying hard to kill the proposed Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's proposed "debt trap" rule, "that would require lenders to determine whether borrowers can afford to pay back their loans and cut off repeated debit attempts that rack up fees and make it harder for consumers to get out of debt." Read the rest

Wells Fargo fires 5,300 employees for opening 2M fake accounts in customers' names

2011-11-22_Wells_Fargo_ATMs_lit_at_night

5,300 Wells Fargo employees created 2 million phony bank accounts and racked up huge fees, raking in commissions from their employer for being such great salespeople for the bank's services; meanwhile, the fees associated with the 2 million fake accounts created the appearance of much greater earnings for the bank, which it trumpeted to its investors. Read the rest

Ridiculously expensive disposable razors are a betrayal of Gillette's original socialist principles

razor-gillette

Everyone knows that shaving razors are a ripoff, with vastly overpriced blade systems being all one can easily find in stores. Malcolm Harris writes that the practice is not only sleazy, but a direct betrayal of the industry's founder, King Camp Gillette.

Gillette was a starry-­eyed utopian socialist. In 1894, he published “The Human Drift,” a book that, among other things, envisioned most of the population of North America living in a huge metropolis powered by Niagara Falls. ... His blade was a model socialist innovation: Gillette replaced toilsome sharpening labor with the smallest, most easily produced part imaginable. The very existence of the Gillette Fusion is an insult to his memory.

You don't have to even pay a dollar for a shave. Get a Merkur Safety Razor for twenty bucks (though first learn about the options) and 100 blades for $10 and you're sorted for at least a year. Once you've found a blade you like, you can order a box of 1000 and remain the best-shaven motorcycle bandit a full decade into the post-Trump apocalypse. Read the rest

Even the woo industry thinks Gwyneth Paltrow's "smoothie dust" ads are too much

dusts

Gwyneth Paltrow is patient zero in many epidemics of terrible health ideas (remember the time she told women to steam their vaginas, a practice that can lead to burns [duh] and bacterial imbalances, and which provides none of the claimed benefits?) but finally, she and her lifestye site Goop have gone too far, prompting even the National Ad Division (the self-regulating arm of the unregulated "supplement" industry) to tell her knock it off. Read the rest

Illegal "Warranty Void If Removed" still ubiquitous: they're on the Xbox One S

056c026d-1c66-4d42-9fae-a8e96df290c5-1020x1154

The tamper-evident "Warrant Void If Removed" stickers violate the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act of 1975, which allows device owners to take their gadgets for service at independent depots without voiding their warranties. Read the rest

Lawsuit: Getty Images copyfrauded 47,000 photos from indie press agency Zuma

oilers-copy-640x342

Photographer, public domain enthusiast, and national treasure Carol M Highsmith is suing Getty Images for $1B because they took the photos she'd donated to the Library of Congress and started asking people who'd used them to pay for them (they even sent Highsmith an invoice!); now it turns out that Highsmith is not alone: independent news agency Zuma is suing Getty for doing the same thing with 47,000 of their images. Read the rest

How to pay no taxes at all! (if you're Apple, Google or Facebook)

animation

In only 7 minutes, Australian comedy show The Undercurrent explains exactly how companies like Apple, Google and Facebook use offshore registration, transfer payments, debt loading and tax havens to get a lower tax rate than nurses, starving their host countries like Australia of so much money that they're cutting schools, medicare, public broadcasting, climate change and indigenous services. Read the rest

Surprise: Copyright trolls rip off the rightsholders they supposedly "represent"

2458e-dallas-buyers-club20131

The copyright troll business-model: a sleazy lawyer gets copyright holders to one or more films (often, but not always, porn) to deputize them to police those rights; then the lawyer's company uses sloppy investigative techniques to accuse internet users of violating those copyrights; they use deceptive notices to get ISPs to give them contact details for those users (or to get the ISPs to pass notices on to the users); then they send "speculative invoices" to their victims, demanding money not to sue -- usually a sum that's calculated to be less than it would cost to ask a lawyer whether it's worth paying. Read the rest

More posts