Insurer Warns Consumers: Be Aware of Sandy-Damaged Vehicles for Sale

GEICO is warning consumers to be careful not to unwittingly purchase a car that was ravaged by Superstorm Sandy.

The company explains that it worked with state and local agencies and the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) to tag cars that were the most severely damaged in the storm by entering VIN numbers into national and state databases. “The whole idea is to protect consumers from costly hidden problems and to prevent fraud,” said Rick Hoagland, vice president of GEICO claims. Since it can be hard to recognize some of the damage caused by flooding, GEICO suggests potential buyers take these steps to ensure they won’t be getting ripped off, The Auto Channel writes. Continue reading Insurer Warns Consumers: Be Aware of Sandy-Damaged Vehicles for Sale

U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention Says Reports of Food Fraud Up 60 Percent in the Last Year

The results of a new food fraud study were released on Wednesday by the U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention (USP).

The group–a scientific nonprofit organization that helps set standards for food and medicines–maintains a database of food fraud reports at foodfraud.org. Nearly 800 new records were added to the database this year, a 60 percent increase over last year. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) defines food fraud as “the fraudulent addition of nonauthentic substances or removal or replacement of authentic substances without the purchaser’s knowledge for economic gain to the seller.” The USP’s most recent records show that olive oil, milk, saffron, honey, and coffee are some of the most commonly fraudulent foods, along with pomegranate juice and tuna, according to Fox31 Denver. Continue reading U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention Says Reports of Food Fraud Up 60 Percent in the Last Year

Class Action Filed Against Estee Lauder Over Misleading Advertising

Estee Lauder has been accused of using false advertising to promote the benefits of its Clinique anti-aging products in a class action lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey.

According to the complaint, the plaintiff claims that she and thousands of other consumers were duped by Estee Lauder into thinking that certain Clinique beauty products would provide them with anti-aging benefits. The company claims that its Clinique Youth Surge Night Age Decelerating Moisturizer contains “youth conserving agents” and works “quite like a fountain of youth.” The lawsuit also points out that because Estee Lauder products are sold over-the-counter at department stores, instead of in drugstores and supermarkets, consumers don’t have the opportunity to compare packaging side-by-side with other products, and must rely on the products’ advertising, Class Action Central explained. Continue reading Class Action Filed Against Estee Lauder Over Misleading Advertising

Lawsuit Filed Against Subway Over Length of Footlong Sandwiches

A lawsuit has been filed on behalf of two New Jersey men who say the fast-food chain, Subway, has been shortchanging them by selling them “Footlong” sandwiches that are shorter than advertised.

The suit, filed this week in Superior Court in Mount Holly, is thought to be the first legal action filed against Subway since a photo was posted on the company’s Facebook page of a “Footlong” sandwich and a measuring stick showing that the sandwich was only about 11 inches long. Subway responded by saying “Footlong” is just the name of the sandwich, and does not refer to an actual measurement. The company also said that sandwich sizes can vary slightly when franchises don’t bake strictly according to corporate standards, the Associated Press (AP) reported. Continue reading Lawsuit Filed Against Subway Over Length of Footlong Sandwiches

Fake Ingredients in Food on the Rise

The U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention (USP) says fake ingredients are showing up in popular food items found on grocery store shelves in increasing numbers.

The USP warns consumers, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and manufacturers that they uncovered a 60 percent jump in food fraud this year. For example, pomegranate juice was often found to be diluted with grape juice or pear juice. There have even been reports of “synthetic” pomegranate juice, which contained no pomegranate at all. Other commonly adulterated food items included olive oil, tea, spices, milk, honey, coffee, and syrup. Seafood was also high on the list. Escolar, a type of oily fish known to cause stomach upset, is commonly mislabeled as white tuna and albacore, and is frequently sold on sushi menus, according to ABC News. Continue reading Fake Ingredients in Food on the Rise

Subway Says “Footlong” Is a Name, Not a Measurement of its Subs

The next time you order a “Footlong” sub from Subway, keep in mind that, according to the restaurant chain, “Footlong” is just a name–Subway is not referring to the actual measurement of the sandwich.

Subway made the “clarification” on Tuesday after Perth, Australia teen, Matt Corby, ordered a Footlong Subway sandwich and measured it, discovering it was only 11 inches long, not one foot long, as the name of the sub might lead one to think. Corby posted the photo of himself, the sandwich, and a tape measure to Subway Australia’s Facebook page with the message, “subway pls respond.” Before long, the photo got over 100,000 “likes,” the Huffington Post reported. Continue reading Subway Says “Footlong” Is a Name, Not a Measurement of its Subs

FTC Agrees With Judge’s Ruling: POM Wonderful Used Deceptive Advertising

A judge’s decision that POM Wonderful made deceptive health claims about its pomegranate products has been upheld by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

A federal administrative judge ruled in May that POM Wonderful’s claims that its pomegranate juice, POMx pills, and liquid extract could prevent heart disease, prostate cancer, and other illnesses amounted to deceptive advertising. The FTC originally filed its complaint against POM and its parent company, Roll International Corp. in September 2010. POM Wonderful and its owners requested that the FTC overturn the original ruling, and argued that the Commission’s actions violated their First Amendment right to free speech, and their Fifth Amendment right to due process, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. Continue reading FTC Agrees With Judge’s Ruling: POM Wonderful Used Deceptive Advertising

GAF Materials Corp. Will Face Class Action Over Defective Shingles

A South Carolina judge will not allow roofing materials manufacturer GAF Materials Corp. to escape a punitive class action accusing it of making defective shingles. The judge ruled that the plaintiff was correct when she alleged that GAF’s express warranty was unfair and unreasonable.

U.S. District Judge J. Michelle Childs dismissed Kathleen Erickson’s claims for fraud and negligence, however, Judge Childs ruled that North Carolina’s six-year statute of repose excluded those allegations. Erickson purchased the shingles in 1999. The warranty claims survived and have been consolidated with 10 other similar complaints targeting GAF’s Timberline Ultra shingles for allegedly containing a hidden defect that made them prematurely crack, according to Law360. Continue reading GAF Materials Corp. Will Face Class Action Over Defective Shingles

Champagne or Sparkling Wine–Intentionally Confusing the Two Considered Consumer Fraud

There is a difference between sparkling wine and champagne and touting sparkling wine as champagne is considered fraud.

WineIndustryInsight.com wants to make sure consumers understand what they are buying when they purchase Champagne or sparkling wine. The two are not the same, and mislabeling them is a potentially fraudulent move that might mislead consumers. Continue reading Champagne or Sparkling Wine–Intentionally Confusing the Two Considered Consumer Fraud

Many Energy Drinks Are Inaccurately Labeled

More than half of caffeinated dietary supplements have inaccurate labels, according to a recent study.

The study, posted in the online version of JAMA Internal Medicine, found that 25 percent of the excessively caffeinated products they studied had caffeine amounts that “varied widely from chromatographically determined levels, with ranges from 27% to 113% of the labeled quantity.” Caffeine was listed as an ingredient in another 30 percent, which contained between 210 and 310 mgs of caffeine per serving, but the label did not show how much was contained in the beverages, according to the Food Poisoning Bulletin. Continue reading Many Energy Drinks Are Inaccurately Labeled