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Consumer Confidential: Jessica Alba, telemarketers, heater recall

January 18, 2012|By David Lazarus
  • Jessica Alba, seen here in the film "Meet Bill" with Logan Lerman, is getting serious about business.
Jessica Alba, seen here in the film "Meet Bill" with Logan Lerman,…

Here's your wind-beneath-my-wings Wednesday roundup of consumer news from around the Web:

--You know Jessica Alba the movie star. But what about Jessica Alba the Internet entrepreneur? After giving birth to a new baby, Alba has launched an e-commerce company at Honest.com (named after her 3-year-old daughter Honor) to sell eco-friendly and toxic-free baby products and household items for a monthly subscription. She says the idea was born after she learned that toxic chemicals are in widely used, everyday products. Alba, 30, decided the best solution was to make available the kinds of products she would buy. To make a purchase, consumers sign up on Honest.com and choose from subscription packages for products including diapers, shampoo and laundry detergent. The products are then delivered monthly to the buyer's door. (Associated Press)

--If you're of a mind to sue a telemarketer, the federal court system is your friend. The Supreme Court is keeping telemarketers and other businesses on the hook for nuisance phone calls, letting those annoyed by the disruptions sue in federal as well as state courts. The high court's decision involves a lawsuit claiming a debt collector harassed a man with repeated recorded calls. He sued for violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, passed by Congress to ban invasive telemarketing practices. Mims' lawsuit was thrown out by the U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, which said that Congress did not explicitly give permission for federal lawsuits in the legislation, although it does say people can file in state courts. The high court said in a unanimous opinion that federal lawsuits are allowed under the law. (Associated Press)

--Heads up: If you're using a heater during these chilly SoCal evenings, Honeywell is recalling about 19,000 Surround Select Portable Electric Heaters sold under the Honeywell name but manufactured by Ningbo SMAL Electrics of China. The heater’s internal housing, including the fan, heating element and circuitry, can detach, posing a burn hazard to consumers. Best Buy and Wal-Mart sold the heaters nationwide from July 2011 through December 2011 for between $50 and $70. If you have one, immediately unplug it and stop using the heater. Contact the distributor, Kaz USA, for a full refund. (ConsumerAffairs.com)

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