October 24, 2013 |
Bill's daughter recently purchased a house, and it came with a home warranty. Then the trouble started. She took a shower and discovered that water was seeping out of the walls. Yow! Bill's daughter contacted the warranty provider and was told the policy didn't cover plumbing. ASK LAZ: Smart answers to consumer questions Bill asks: Is that how these things usually work? And the answer is: No. Most home warranties cover plumbing, along with most other major systems and appliances.
January 10, 2014 |
Businesses have the tools and know-how to keep our personal information safe. They just don't do it. "It's expensive," said Nick Mancini, a partner at Tech Consultants, a Woodland Hills information technology firm. And that, in a nutshell, is why big companies that should know better routinely issue red-faced notices that they've been hacked and that customers' confidential info is on the loose. Target took it on the chin again Friday when it revealed that up to 110 million customers - not just the 40 million it originally reported - may have had their names, addresses, credit and debit card numbers and other information stolen.
August 22, 2013 |
Patent trolls are a widely reported problem for big business and technology makers. They are companies that exist primarily to buy up patents and then collect money, in the form of licenses or lawsuit settlements, from alleged infringers of those patents. Trolls take advantage of a patent system with serious flaws, and their abuse of the system is creating, as a White House fact sheet recently put it, a "drain on the American economy. " And, as it turns out, a drain on you, the ordinary consumer.
March 17, 1985 |
When R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. took a picture of a pyramid off its Camel cigarette pack in 1958, loyal Camel smokers steamed. "They were furious. They insisted we changed the product, even though we hadn't touched it," an R. J. Reynolds spokesman said of the company's attempt to update the package. After thousands of angry complaints and a hefty drop in sales, the company restored the brown triangle and hasn't tampered with it much since. Package design, whose importance the Winston-Salem, N.C.
December 19, 2013 |
Your personal information isn't safe. That doesn't apply only to the 40 million Target shoppers whose credit and debit card numbers may now be in the hands of hackers. It's a trend that's been clear for many years: The stewards of consumers' personal info - businesses, hospitals, government agencies - are woefully negligent when it comes to safeguarding data. Too often, sensitive computer files are unencrypted or left on laptops that get stolen. Aggressive moves by hackers are met with only the most cursory security upgrades.
June 5, 2013 |
NBCUniversal has hired Russell Hampton, a former top consumer products executive at the Walt Disney Co., to help bolster merchandising and mobile content strategies for the Comcast Corp.-owned media company. Hampton, who until a year ago served as president of Disney Publishing Worldwide, steps into the newly created position of executive vice president of franchise management and global consumer products. He becomes the second major hire of Lauren Zalaznick who earlier this year became digital innovation strategist for NBCUniversal Chief Executive Steve Burke.
December 10, 2013 |
Godfrey is fed up with those subscription cards that come tumbling out of magazines. Why do publishers bother using them? The publishing industry calls these things "blow-in" cards, and they've been around for years as a way to attract new subscribers. ASK LAZ: Smart answers to consumer questions In 2009, the New York Times reported that blow-in cards appeared to be falling out of favor as digital distribution grew. But there's not much evidence to back that up. So why does this pesky practice persist?
December 3, 2013 |
Kya sells ceramic masks online. A buyer recently instructed her to cash his check and then allow him to pick up his mask later. Kya asks: Is this some kind of scam? Answer: Probably. ASK LAZ: Smart answers to consumer questions It sounds like a variation of a relatively common scam involving bogus checks -- a racket that the Federal Trade Commission says has become a fact of life online. For details of the scam and my advice for not getting duped, check out today's Ask Laz video.
February 14, 2001 |
The government released rollover risk ratings for 30 more vehicles on Tuesday, giving low marks to eight sport-utility vehicles and high grades to four cars. The ratings of the 2001 vehicles are based on a mathematical formula for measuring the vehicle's center of gravity and width. SUVs and pickup trucks are more top-heavy and thus more likely to get lower marks than a car or van.