Cut the cord NOW: Cable bills are up 50% since 2010

My local cable monopoly is Spectrum, part of Charter, and I refuse to get anything except internet service through them (alas, my city, Burbank, will not sell me access to our amazing, 100GB/s fiber network, which runs directly under my house, because they have a deal with Charter not to connect any non-commercial-zoned properties to our muni fiber). Read the rest

US Customs is seizing refurbished Apple batteries and calling them "counterfeits"

Louis Rossman is one of the highest-profile independent Apple repair technicians, famous in part for fixing devices that Apple has declared to have reached their end-of-life, diverting these devices from landfill and keeping them in the hands of the people who paid good money for them. Read the rest

Apple investigated by CBC news for overpriced repair charges

Canada's CBC News went into Apple Stores with hidden cameras and discovered that the Geniuses there were especially smart when it came to ripping off customers who brought their equipment in for repair. In some cases the Geniuses told customers that they should buy a new computer, phone, or iPad rather than fix their broken one, even though the repair was a lot cheaper. In this video, we see an Apple Genius tell a reporter that a repair would $1100 and $100 in labor. The reporter took the computer to an independent repair technician, who removed the case and fixed the computer by straightening a bent pin. Read the rest

Predatory journals aren't just a scam: they're also how quacks and corporate shills sciencewash their bullshit

Inside the Fake Science Factory (German/English subtitles) documents Svea Eckert and team's years of investigation into predatory journals and the criminals behind them. Read the rest

Florida's prisons change tech providers, wipe out $11.2m worth of music purchased by prisoners

For seven years, Florida state inmates could buy a $100 MP3 player from Access Corrections, the prisons' exclusive provider, and stock it with MP3s that cost $1.70 -- nearly double the going rate in the free world. Read the rest

AT&T stands to make $800,000,000 more by sneakily tripling a bullshit "administrative fee"

When the DoJ greenlit the merger of AT&T and Time-Warner, they blessed a union that would see one of technology's most notorious monopolists get even bigger, with the presumption that scaling up to unimaginable size would curb a terrible company's worst abuses. Read the rest

It's often cheaper to pay cash for your prescriptions rather than the co-pay, but the pharmacy is legally prohibited from suggesting it

America's health care is totally screwed up, Part Ten Gazillion: in many cases, the medicines your doctor prescribes are cheaper than the co-pay your health insurance charges, which means that if you just buy the meds instead of charging them to insurance, you save money. Read the rest

Woman accidentally tipped cafe $7,732 and she can't get her money back

Olesja Schemjakowa of France enjoyed coffee and cake at a cafe in Switzerland. Her bill was $23.76. When it was time to settle the bill, she accidentally entered her PIN code (7686) as the tip on the cafe's terminal device. She didn't realize her mistake until she was back home and got her bank statement in the mail and saw that she'd been charged $7,732 for the snack.

She called her credit card company and asked them to reverse the charges but they told her they wouldn't help her because the charge was not fraudulent. She asked the police department in the town where the cafe was located but they told her it wasn't a "criminally relevant" matter. She then called the cafe owner, who agreed to refund the money, but soon stopped communicating with her. Schemjakowa then learned that the cafe owner had filed for bankruptcy and shut down the cafe.

From Oddity Central:

At this point, there doesn’t seem to be anything else she can do to get her money back.

“I just can’t understand how the cafe owner can just keep the money, and I can not do anything about it,” Schemjakowa told [Swiss newspaper] Blick. “That’s just not fair!”

The unemployed woman added that she could live comfortably for a few months in France with that money, so getting it back is a big deal. Unfortunately chances of that happening are very slim.

“I’ve been told there may still be a one percent chance that I’ll see my money back,” the woman said.

Read the rest

Art on Old Navy designs looks exactly like illustrator's work

Illustrator Lili Chin noticed that Old Navy was selling clothes with her art on it. When she asked them to compensate her, they told her to go pound sand.

From her blog:

My art gets stolen all the time.

I have been through many copyright infringement cases - some have been resolved amicably, and there are ones that have taken more work. This case against Old Navy (Gap) is not getting resolved right now because Old Navy is denying copyright infringement.

They are being totally unapologetic, and have said that it would be a “bad business decision” for me to expect to be reasonably compensated for the use of my art. Instead of compensating me, they have chosen to pay a large law firm to fight me, and have even asked the judge to order me to pay THEIR legal fees.

When a company as large and mainstream as Old Navy steals my art and profits from it, and is unapologetic about it, I cannot afford NOT to fight this. My lawyers and I will be fighting this for as long as it takes.

From Paragraph 7 of Chin's legal filing:" The six dog illustrations on the Infringing Product are clearly shoddy copies of Dogs of the World Illustrations, as shown below."

Old Navy's response: "7. Deny the allegations of paragraph 7 of the Complaint."

Come on, Old Navy. Are you really expecting a judge to believe these aren't copies of Chin's work? Read the rest

T-Mobile fined $40m for scamming rural users with Potemkin ring-tones

T-Mobile didn't want its rural users to know how shitty its service was, so when the company couldn't connect a call, it would play fake "ring tones" to the caller that made it sounds like the person on the other end wasn't picking up. It did this "hundreds of millions of times" per year. Read the rest

Wisconsin clears the way for Foxconn by bulldozing working peoples' homes and paying them pennies on the dollar

Last July, Wisconsin's far-right state government declared victory for its "free market" agenda when it announced that it would transfer $3,000,000,000 in taxpayer-funded corporate welfare to Foxconn, in order to tempt the company to open a factory in the state -- despite the company's long history of broken promises and outright lies about the jobs and spending in other places that had welcomed it in. Read the rest

FTC orders manufacturers to cut it out with the unenforceable "Warranty Void if Removed" stickers

Since the passage of the 1975 Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, "Warranty Void if Removed" stickers and other policies that put restrictions on third party repairs have been unenforceable in America, but that doesn't stop companies from putting deceptive tamper-evident stickers on their equipment in an effort to trick or intimidate their customers into going to a manufacturer-authorized service depot. Read the rest

Dashcam reveals lazy, lying mechanics

Daniel Sheikhan dropped his car off at a dealership for service. He was billed $700 for transmission work, but as his dashcam shows, the mechanics didn't do anything but put the car on a jack for 11 minutes and then take the car to buy ice cream, during which the driver drove over a curb and cracked a rim. The service technician even says on the camera that he didn't read the work order.

From his YouTube description:

S63 AMG Transmission Service - Customer Dashcam Video Paid Over $700 for transmission service and it wasn’t even done! Car was on the Hoist for 11 minutes! And charges for Over 90 minutes labour!! MercedesBenz Service Scam!! They don’t do what they charge you for!!

Read the rest

Quaker Apples & Cinnamon has "35% less sugar" because they've cut the portion size by 35%, while the price remains 100%

Ever since I read Michael Pollan's advice to avoid any food whose packaging makes any nutritional claims, I've been a happy man -- but never so much so as I realize that this rule means I would never fall prey to the latest shitty scam from the Quaker oats people. Read the rest

Equifax's dox of America: Sign up for "free" monitoring, get billed forever

Equifax dumped dox on 143 million Americans (as well as lucky Britons and Canadians!), sat on the news for five weeks, let its execs sell millions in stock, and then unveiled an unpatched, insecure WordPress site with an abusive license agreement where you could sign up for "free" credit monitoring for a year, in case someone used the immortal, immutable Social Security Number that Equifax lost control over to defraud you. Read the rest

Amazon scammers' new trick: shipping things to random widows in your town

Ziemowit Pierzycki bought a $1500 used lens from an Amazon seller who turned out to be a scammer with an ingenious trick: the crook researched a recently widowed person across town and sent them a parcel with a couple of baking mats addressed to the deceased "or current resident." Read the rest

How the "tech support" scam works

Security researchers at Stony Brook deliberately visited websites that try to trick visitors into thinking that their computers are broken, urging them to call a toll-free "tech support" number run by con artists that infect the victim's computer with malware, lie to them about their computer's security, and con them out of an average of $291 for "cleanup services." Read the rest

More posts