Category Archives: Consumer Protection

Still Using Windows XP? Worried? Stay Secure with PC Matic

New virus leaves Windows XP users vulnerable

Microsoft’s discontinuation of its Windows XP operating system has left XP users running the Internet Explorer web browser vulnerable to all sorts of nasty things, like viruses and malware. Changing web browsers could help protect you to a degree, but experts warn that you shouldn’t be accessing the Internet on an XP computer at all. PC Matic is a bold and innovative product that can give you piece of mind—and save you from having to buy a whole new system or trying to update to a newer operating system on an outdated device.

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Is Proactiv Better than Cheaper Drugstore Acne Products?

Young women treating their acne

What exactly are you paying for?

Proactiv has become the go-to acne treatment for today’s young adults. Guthy Renker, the company that markets Proactiv and Proactiv+, spends $200 million a year to run TV commercials convincing pimply youth that Proactiv is more effective than drugstore products like Clearasil or Stridex. Instead, they’re shelling out big bucks for Proactiv’s three-part “system” that sure seems to work for the acne-free celebs who shill for the product. Continue reading

Pitchman Kevin Trudeau’s Stuff Headed to Auction

infomercial king kevin trudeau
Troubled infomercial king Kevin Trudeau

Disgraced infomercial pitchman Kevin Trudeau’s personal belongings are to be auctioned off to help pay off a $38 million fine from a civil case related to his current federal case.

Auctioneers estimate the sale will bring in just $100,000. Items include an elaborate chandelier and gilt-framed portraits of Gen. George S. Patton and Winston Churchill, reports the Chicago Sun-Times.

In a Facebook post, Trudeau calls the gaudy items from his former California vacation home “priceless,” and that they “have my energy infused in them. They are all like amulets.”

Trudeau had previously claimed he was broke, and was accused by authorities of hiding assets. The cases center on false claims he made while marketing the book The Weight Loss Cure ‘They’ Don’t Want You To Know About.

‘Reader’s Digest’ Reviews: As Seen on TV

Reader’s Digest staff members recently did a hands-on test of 10 As Seen on TV products, and delivered their honest critiques. For “As Seen on TV: What Not to Buy,” writer Perri O. Blumberg enlisted colleagues at the magazine to help “separate the scams from the saviors” of 10 “products we all secretly want.”

The magazine recommends buying six of the 10 products, with the NutriBullet receiving a score of 4 out of 4 (“Order overnight!!”). The lowest-ranking products were Lint Lizard, with a zero out of 4 (“Need we say more?”), and the Twist n Clip, with a 0.5 out of 4 (“Practically a gag gift”).

Here are all 10 products Reader’s Digest reviewed, with their score, recommendation and retail price in quotes.

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Pro Tip: Choose Spanish Customer Service Option

customer service rep
Choose the Spanish language option for better, quicker customer service.

This brilliant, if counterintuitive, tip from Lifehacker suggests choosing the Spanish-language customer service option—even if you don’t know Spanish!

Quicker service, better English

Here’s why Lifehacker says this is a better option:

  • Companies don’t usually hire reps who speak only Spanish, so your chances of reaching a bilingual rep who also speaks English are good.
  • Spanish-speaking reps often handle overflow calls in English.
  • Spanish-speaking reps are uncommon in India, where most call centers are located, so the rep is likely to be based in the United States, enabling you to get past the sometimes awkward language barrier.
  • Wait times are often shorter.

FDA Considers Ending Drug Commercials’ Long Drug-Risk Lists

Long risk lists may “reduce consumer comprehension”

The Food and Drug Administration is embarking on a study that could lead to major changes in how TV commercials for prescription drugs communicate health risks from using them. The FDA is concerned that those endless lists of warnings of insomnia, nausea, suicidal thoughts and diarrhea could reduce consumers’ ability to discern the most important, or actionable, risks, reports the New York Daily News.

The FDA is worried these lengthy risk lists are “often too long” and may “reduce consumer comprehension” to possible side effects. So it plans to survey 15,000 adults online by having them respond to four versions of a drug commercial.

 

Guilty: TV Execs as Much to Blame as Infomercial King Kevin Trudeau

Infomercial king Kevin Trudeau is currently cooling his heels in prison for attempting to hide assets from the feds in his fight against the Federal Trade Commission related to his late-night infomercials for the book The Weight-Loss Cure “They” Don’t Want You to Know About

Trudeau not the only guilty party in late-night TV fraud

But Trudeau, who spent two years in federal prison in the early 1990s for fraud, isn’t the only guilty party here, opines editorial writer Phil Mushnick of the New York Post.

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Don’t Buy These 5 Things at Drugstores

Photo of a Savvy Shopper
Be a savvy shopper.

Big-box retailers and grocery stores have better deals

MarketWatch offers a handy guide for what not to buy at the corner Walgreens and other convenient ripoff shops. Chain drugstores’ ever-surging revenues—estimated to have reached $160 billion in 2013—are buoyed by huge markups on common items. Here are a few things you should be buying at big-box and grocery stores, whose prices are almost always lower.

Drugs

Consumer Reports found that both prescription and over-the-counter drugs are cheaper at stores like Wal-Mart and Target, reports MarketWatch.

Food

A pint of Ben & Jerry’s is priced at an average $5.52 at drugstores, but just $4.42 at grocery stores, a 25 percent difference. “Every item we looked at was more expensive at the drugstore,” MarketWatch quoted consumer lawyer Edgar Dworsky, who founded ConsumerWorld.org.

Makeup

Many popular makeup products have been found to cost $1 to $4 more at drugstores than other retailers.

Cleaning products

Drugstores generally charge more for laundry and dishwashing detergent, spray cleaners and other cleaning products than other retailers.

Office and gift supplies

Head to a dollar store to save up to 70 percent on gift-wrap, greeting cards and office stuff. Office supply stores also offer better deals than drugstores.

Infomercial King Kevin Trudeau to Remain Locked Up

Pitchman Trudeau pleads for mercy

Product pitchman Kevin Trudeau will remain behind bars for his cat-and-mouse asset-hiding scheme, despite his throwing himself at the mercy of a court.

“I would even submit myself to water-boarding.”

“I will do anything to get this over with,” Trudeau said at a federal hearing in Chicago. He even offered to undergo torture: “I don’t want to spend another day in prison more than I have to. I would even submit myself to water-boarding.”

Trudeau will spend at least another six weeks in jail. He was first put away in November 2013 for contempt as he battled the Federal Trade Commission, which had accused him of scheming to avoid payment of a $37.6 million sanction. The FTC went after him for making false claims in late-night infomercials for the book The Weight-Loss Cure “They” Don’t Want You to Know About.