Drug Company Whistleblower Exposes Serious Problems at Plant that Makes Generics

November 6, 2013

A drug company whistleblower who exposed serious problems at the company that makes popular drugs used in the United States is telling his story to CBS News.  Kinesh Thakur worked for major, drug manufacturer Ranbaxy which made generic versions of drugs like Lipitor and antibiotics at plants in India.  He revealed disturbing problems with data the company was required to provide to the FDA to show the effectiveness of the drugs it produced.  It’s a cautionary tale for all Americans, particularly when you consider that 80-percent of all drugs prescribed in the U.S. are generics.  Click here to watch this report by CBS News Correspondent John Miller.

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Taxpayers are Paying for For-Profit Colleges

September 20, 2013

If there’s one thing all taxpayers want it’s value for their money, but there’s a big question about whether we’re actually getting it with for-profit colleges.

Many have been accused of predatory recruiting practices, providing substandard education and even falsifying job placement data.

But still, the U.S. government provides a whopping $30 billion a year in federal financial aid dollars to these schools.  It makes up nearly 90-percent of their total revenue. So why are we paying for it?

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Do Non-Profit Hospitals Give as Much as They Get?

April 30, 2013

Many hospitals in your community no doubt enjoy tax exempt status because they are designated as non-profit.  But what does that really mean?  It’s not that they don’t make a profit, because they most likely do. The difference is these corporations are supposed to give back to their communities. Reporter Marni Jameson took a fascinating look at the issue in a front page story in the Orlando Sentinel.  Click here to learn more about what she discovered.

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Fight Back! File a Complaint When You Have a Problem

April 9, 2013

If you’ve been ripped off or are fed up with the run around and bad service, fight back!  The head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau wants you to file a complaint when you have a consumer problem.  We often feel powerless as consumers to effect any change, but if you don’t take that extra few minutes to make people who CAN make change aware of a problem, nothing will ever improve.  CFPB Director Richard Cordray told TODAY.com he wants to hear from you.  Take him up on it!

The CFPB is already taking complaints about problems with credit cards, mortgages, banks and private student loans.  They’ve logged some 90,000 consumer complaintS, so far.  The CFPB will start taking complaints about debt collection later this year.  Cordray says the complaints make it possible to see patterns of problems so they can take action to do something about it.

Right now you can file complaints with the CFPB on these issues:

  • Bank account or service
  • Credit card
  • Credit reporting
  • Money transfer
  • Mortgage
  • Student loan
  • Vehicle or consumer loan

Click here to read more on Cordray’s interview with TODAY.com.

 

How Wall Street Escaped Prosecution in the Mortgage Crisis

January 24, 2013

Slapping a pair of handcuffs on wealthy executives can be a major deterrent to crime, but remarkably, Wall Street big wigs have been able to completely avoid jail time in the mortgage crisis that sent our country into a financial tail spin from which it has yet to fully recover.

In a fascinating new documentary, PBS’s Frontline investigates why Wall Street leaders have escaped prosecution for any fraud related to the sale of bad mortgages.  Click here to watch this compelling report which takes a hard look at the actions of prosecutors and why they fell short.

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How to Deal with a Medical Bill Mistake

August 28, 2012

Navigating the ever-confusing medical system is enough to leave you frustrated and exhausted these days.  One of the biggest pains is getting an improper medical charge fixed. A recent study by the American Medical Association found that  one in 10 bills paid by private health insurance have mistakes. That’s means you need to be extra diligent when you receive a doctor’s bill or Explanation of Benefits from your health insurance company.  The Today Show took a look at how to handle a bad charge on a medical bill on its LifeInc.com website.

A few key tips:

1. Understand your insurance coverage. Knowing your deductibles and co-pays — things you should check before you receive treatment (if possible) — will help you spot when something might be amiss, according to the Healthcare Billing & Management Association.

2. Keep track of what services you have received and what you’ve paid and keep the records.

3. When you receive an “Explanation of Benefits” form from your insurer, don’t just file it or toss it in the trash.  Be sure to read it, and if something is not being paid for, find out why. Otherwise, you could be financially responsible.

4. Don’t just pay a bill if you think something should be covered by your insurance. Some medical offices send out statements that look like bills, before receiving an insurance payment.  Check any statements against your Explanation of Benefits.

Click here to read more in the full article on LifeInc.

 

 

 

Make Telemarketing & Robocall Madness Stop!!

August 24, 2012

By Angie Moreschi:

There’s nothing more annoying than getting one of those automated robocalls where all you hear is a pre-recorded sales message from a telemarketer.  Okay, even worse, is the telemarketing call that starts as a recording, then if you finally do answer out of sheer frustration, you hear a few seconds of silence, before a live person finally answers.  Of course, if you try to ask them who they are and where they’re calling from, you find they are rude and obnoxious and usually hang up. **Click here to learn more and hear some tips from the Federal Trade Commission on what you should do to make the madness stop.

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Is Tipping the Waiter a Policy or Law?

May 18, 2012

By Darrin Clouse:

By now, the workers at the La Fisherman restaurant in Houston, Texas are probably wishing they would have just let the whole thing go.  But they didn’t, and now the story has been splattered all across the internet.

In case you missed it, a family went into the establishment for dinner and decided that the service they received was not worthy of the required 17% tip for parties over five. When Jasmine Marks informed the waiter that she wasn’t going to pay the gratuity, the staff responded by locking the doors and calling the police.

Is it Illegal Not to Tip?

Marks wanted to know if it was against the law not to tip, but when the HPD arrived, even they didn’t know what to do.

In the end, Marks took the high road and paid the bill, gratuity included, just to end the stand-off.

Obviously, the folks of La Fisherman forgot that we’re living in a world of immediate and widespread news…thank you very much internet !

Regardless of who’s in the wrong, this couldn’t have been a positive PR move for the headstrong restaurant.

Rewarding Bad Service is a Bad Idea

Personally, it’s hard not to side with the consumer here.  If you’re going to assume that a mandatory, predetermined tip amount is necessary, then you better make sure your service is up to that expectation.

Marks claims the wait staff messed up their orders and were rude in the process. So fine, losing track of what someone ordered is one thing , but the rudeness needs to be addressed, and most certainly shouldn’t be rewarded.

The opposition will claim that a business has the right to enforce it’s own policies, and if you don’t like it , eat somewhere else, but is that really the point ?

What’s the Point of Tipping?

Tipping used to be defined as a social custom, and voluntary, depending on how you felt about the service provided to you.

I understand that in the present economy, those working in the customer service business are feeling the same strains that we all are feeling, and most likely, many waiters and waitresses are working for far less than they should.                                                                                                                                      

The flip side is , consumers are more careful with spending, and less likely to pay for something they don’t feel is deserving of their hard earned money.

So what about the cops ? Well, although the law was unclear in Houston, the Bethlehem Township police department in Pennsylvania had a different interpretation of the law in 2006 when they arrested a couple for denying a mandatory tip due to their dissatisfaction in service.

What was the charge ? Theft.

Eventually, the case would be dropped by the police department, but the young couple still got to experience being handcuffed and booked for their trouble.

Should there be a price to pay in the form of a tip, even for bad service ? Feel free to let us know what you think at The Consumer Warning Network.

Reader Comments:

Walter in FL:
any tipping should always be related to the quality of service provided. I will never accept a \”pre-imposed %\”by anybody. I rather walk away. Which I have done before. Both restaurants that i did it, are no longer in business. .what incentive does a waiter have to serve you properly when he knows that no matter how bad or good he serves you he still going to get the same tipping. Also I will not cruise in any line that charges you up front for tips, unless I have a choice.

Douglas in CA :

I personally hate seeing local, state or federal government sticking their noses in where they are neither wanted nor needed. But some sensible rules may be needed here, on the subject of mandatory tipping. Restaurant workers WORK at their craft FOR A WAGE. They are paid to be there and to serve the patrons the food they have ordered. Anything else is a gratuity for a job well done – NOT something to be expected as a RIGHT in the food service industry. And most certainly, NOT an item to be included in ANY law.
IMHO – Just my 18%, or 15%, 0r 10% 0r 5% or 20% – MY CHOICE.

Garrett in NH :
A tip is a gratuity. Although understood usually customary and expected… never was mandatory or solicited
The very meaning of gratuity means a gift.
A gift can not be forced or mandatory otherwise it must be called a specified and required service fee.
I will not eat in a restaurant which has such a policy (except for a banquet perhaps).
I will accept a suggested gratuity of 17% with the establishment\’s promise to offer excellent service (which if it is excellent & pleasant i often give more than that… also if we take up the table for a longer that reasonable time).

Elly in FL :

Tipping is something you earn, period! The way I so it, though, is the following: 20% any time you (the waiter/waitress) have been courteous and nice and pleasant, possibly even fantastic. (If I can afford 25%, I do it for utmost service, regardless of the tab). This is my common tip.
If you have been barely acceptable, and I am not too happy with the way you acted, I will give you the customary bare bones 15% or thereabout.
If you have been ugly or rude, be happy to receive 10%. This has happened a couple of times.
The only reason why I tip anyway, regardless of the service is because, in Florida, waiters live off of their tips. they do not receive minimum wage bit a meager pay for their time. Therefore it is my way to compensate them for it. However, in states where I know they are paid for their work, even if it is minimum wage, I only tip really well for correct and excellent service and I don’t or leave a few coins for despicable service.
This being said, a waiter is allowed a bad hair-day.They are people just like us. When that happens I try to be extra nice with them and do my best to make them smile and relax…. Most of the time, it does the trick so, no bad feelings from either party by the end of the meal.

Remember, it\’s a 2-way street and we are to treat them with respect and kindness as well.

Hope this helps.

The Filter Bubble: Putting You in a World of Isolation

May 16, 2012

By Terry Smiljanich:

When you search on Google for something you want to know more about, your search results reflect those sites that everyone on the internet has collectively decided are the most useful sites regarding that subject – right?  Wrong. Your search results are instead personalized for you, showing you what you are most likely to click on. Another person searching on the same term may very well get completely different search results.

At first glance, that might seem helpful, but truly what’s happening is that you are being isolated from information that may not fit your current beliefs and interests. These filters, based on your past habits, are making your world smaller and in the process promoting the polarization of society.

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Don’t be fooled by “1st One’s Free!”

May 12, 2012

Have you ever wanted to buy one of those precious, gotta-have, collector’s items?  You know.  The kind that advertise: “First one free!! No obligation!!”?  Well, before you do, click here to watch CWN’s Terry Smiljanich explain why you should be careful.

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