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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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)

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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"

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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

Phishing for Bitcoin with fake 0-days

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Arriving in my inbox at a steady clip this morning: a series of phishing emails aimed at Bitcoiners, promising that the sender has found a bug in "the Bitcoin client" and promising "Pay 0.07 BTC today, get 10 BTC for 15 hours." Read the rest

To understand the Trump campaign, study real-estate developer hustle

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Thomas H Crown's Twitter rant about the Trump campaign compares it to the real-estate developer playbook, which is based on inveigling others into putting up all the capital for a high-risk venture that is sold on the basis of the developer's confidence and force of personality. Read the rest

Donald Trump, deadbeat

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USA Today builds on its excellent work tracking the staggering volume of litigation that Der Drumpf is embroiled with by focusing in on the hundreds of entities -- salaried workers, family businesses, lawyers -- who've had to sue Trump, singly and in bunches, to get the money he owed them. Read the rest

Tumblr's shoplifting community is organized, politically conscious, and at war with weightlifters

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"Liftblr" is the informal, amorphous community of shoplifters who post their hauls to Tumblr using pseudonymous accounts, offering each other support and encouragement. Most seem to be young women, and their community's discourse often circles back to class war, politics, gender and consumerism. Read the rest

German publishers owe writers €100M in misappropriated royalties

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In Germany, media that can make or store copies (drives, copiers, blank optical discs) is subject to a "private copying levy" that is meant to compensate rightsholders for the works that will be copied to it (in return, the levy confers a limited right to make those copies to the purchaser). Read the rest

Teavana Tea cheats you twice

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Have you ever had a sample of tea in a Teavana store? I have, and I loved it. I bought some based on how much I liked the taste. But when I got home and followed the directions, the tea tasted weak. I figured I just didn't know how to brew the tea as well as the expert teenagers who work at the Teavana store.

But it turns out Teavana's in-store samples use up to "three times as much as the instructions for brewing at home," according to the Consumerist. That's why it was so strong and flavorful. If I wanted to make the same strength of tea at home, I'd have to use a tablespoon, not a teaspoon, effectively tripling the price of the already expensive tea.

I stopped buying Teavana, but on Monday I saw a can of Teavana Royal English Breakfast Loose-Leaf Black Tea at Starbucks for $9. It was a pretty big can so I thought it was a good deal. I bought it. When I opened the can at home, I found a small plastic bag stuffed in the bottom of the can, containing the tea. In the photo above, you can see how much tea was in the can. It fills about 1/3 of the can.

I like the tea, but there's no way I'll get 20 cups from the can, as the label suggests. Read the rest

Fellow opens a $700 battery pack, finds a large sponge and a little $30 battery inside

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The lithium battery pack for a Nagra 6 digital recorder costs $700. Markus Fuller opened one and found out it has a small battery in it (with 6 cells worth a total of $30), and a large sponge. It must be an awesome sponge! As he opens it, he gives an interesting and entertaining lesson on the history of lithium batteries.

Caveat emptor: Nagra sells a more expensive battery pack, which contains more batteries, so you won't get as much of the magical sponge if you buy it.

Fuller has a good video about capacitors, too:

[via] Read the rest

American Airlines is suing Gogo over its crappy Wi-Fi

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The first time I used Gogo's expensive inflight Wi-Fi, it was horrible. Web pages wouldn't load, email wouldn't send or receive. I decided to give them another chance a couple of months later and it was equally horrible. Gogo controls 80% of the in-flight Wi-Fi market, and they have a lot of nerve charging people for something that doesn't work. They owe me $25.

It turns out I'm not the only one who thinks Gogo is awful. American Airlines is suing Gogo, claiming the Wi-Fi provider has violated the terms of their contract, which requires Gogo's Wi-Fi service to be as good or better than Wi-Fi service on American Airlines' competitors.

Gogo issued the following statement:

"[Gogo has] no comment on the merits of this litigation, but we would like to note that American is a valued customer of ours and that we look forward to resolving the disagreement regarding contract interpretation that led to this declaratory judgment action.”

If you'd like another reason to dislike Gogo, Buzzfeed has one for you:

Separately, Gogo has been criticized for unwittingly drawing some customers into monthly subscriptions that can’t be canceled from its website. A proposed settlement has been reached in a class-action lawsuit over such subscriptions, which may result in some users receiving Gogo day passes.

Gogo's stock price fell over 30% on Tuesday. Read the rest

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