Interesting recall recently—a wireless personal panic device that fails to panic when you need it to. In fact, according to the Consumer Products Safety Commission report, the device can fail to operate altogether in times of crisis, so it “fails” to send a signal to the security system to which it is presumably linked, in case of an emergency. That certainly sounds helpful.
The description is very polite and clearly not meant to cause panic “The wireless personal panic devices can fail to operate, which could result in the device not communicating with the security system if activated in the event of an emergency.” You practically have to read this sentence twice to get the drift. Not alarming at all. (pardon the pun).
So what’s the deal? Does it freeze with fear? Major crises are not in its contract? Who knows. Suffice to say it’s all quite worrying, really. In fact, it could be enough to send you clean over the edge if you’re having or about to have a crisis. It’s also enough to send anyone who purchased one of these for an elderly relative into a state of serious concern. Not good. There you are—or your loved one—in the dark, alone, no way to get to a phone, or contact a passerby or neighbor and the device you purchased in good faith to support you this time of crisis goes: “ah, NO, sorry—not my job.” You can imagine, knowing how completely absorbing all this wearable technology is, that should this thing fail when you need it, you could become more obsessed by trying to get it to work than by the actual event that should have triggered its response.
Never mind the burglar, the chest pain, the mudslide, the 10 car pile-up on your front lawn, the creek that’s turned to class five rapids in your back yard—whatever it may be—the wrist-mounted Interlink device is giving the silent treatment or some kind of error message. And you’re wondering, “did I charge it properly—did I charge it at all? What if I turn it off then on again, or shake it? Oh, but now it won’t turn off, why is it so slow…no wait—there it goes. OMG—why is it so slow?”
Then your thought process is interrupted by the other reality. The emergency. Oh yeah, forgot about that. But maybe distraction is helpful? In any event, there you are in the dark, cold, silence. Just you, and your worthless, wireless personal panic device and the crisis, which presumably is now in full unfold mode. And you didn’t notice.
What are you going to do? Summon the Force? Wait and see if anyone comes? Hope someone else called 911?
Don’t panic—at least there’s the recall, and the fix. If you own one of these Interlogix® wireless personal panic devices, and apparently 67,000 of these devices have been sold across the U.S., the recommendation is that “Consumers should immediately contact their professional security system installer or monitoring company for a free inspection of their personal panic device and a free replacement device for those that fail inspection.” Probably best not to do this immediately—you might want to finish the crisis at hand before embarking on a new one with customer service.
Consumers should contact: Interlogix® at 800-394-4988 Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. PT, email at email@example.com, or online at www.interlogix.com and click on Customer Service for more information. These devices were sold, through professional security installers and distributors nationwide from May 2014 through January 2016 for about $35 to $50.
Travel Insurance Woes…A consumer fraud complaint against American Airlines took off this week, alleging the airline markets travel insurance as a pass-through charge paid to a third party but doesn’t disclose its profits.
Filed by Kristian Zamber, the multi-million dollar complaint asserts American Airlines misled its customers about its interests in selling the insurance policies and that it aggressively marketed travel insurance sold through its website.
The American Airlines lawsuit is seeking class certification, a jury trial and injunctive and equitable relief for alleged unjust enrichment and violations of Florida’s consumer protection statutes prohibiting companies from posing as revenue conduits.
According to the complaint, Zamber paid roughly $24 to purchase travel insurance in April for a domestic flight from Tampa to Pennsylvania. American Airlines stated the policy had no affiliation with the airline, but instead came from Allianz Global Assistance, with plans underwritten by Jefferson Insurance Co. or BCS Insurance Co. But in reality, the policy sales contributed to a “hidden profit center” for the Fort Worth, Texas-based airline, the complaint states.
The complaint also claims the airline forces customers to choose whether or not to purchase trip insurance policies before allowing them to complete online ticket purchases. Yup—been to that destination….
Touch Disease has Spread North of the border. Apple is facing a defective products class action lawsuit in Canada over allegations that it’s iPhone 6 and 6 Plus models have a defect which effectively results in the smartphone freezing or not responding to touch commands.
Following on from a similar defective products lawsuit filed in the US, the Canadian lawsuit claims Apple was aware of the problem but failed to take action to remedy it.
Filed at the Court of Queen’s Bench for Saskatchewan, the Canadian iPhone complaint would include all Canadian iPhone 6 and 6 Plus customers. It alleges that Apple was negligent because it supplied a defective phone, “knowingly and intentionally concealed” from customers the defect and failed to provide a proper remedy.
According to attorneys who filed the Canadian complaint, Apple has so far only offered its customers around $300 as compensation.
Shortly after the product was launched in 2014, one of the plaintiffs in the class action alleges she bought the iPhone 6 for around $200, hundreds of dollars less than the regular price because she locked into a two-year phone plan contract. Then, a few months after the warranty had expired on her phone, it began to intermittently freeze up and failed to respond to touch commands.
The lawsuit alleges that that the underlying problem is the touchscreen controller chips in the phone’s motherboard, which are not properly secured and can malfunction with regular use.
Here’s a whopper—but then the size of the Volkswagen defeat device scandal is, likely, unprecedented. A $1.2 billion settlement has been reached between Volkswagen AG and 650 US VW franchise dealerships, ending litigation brought by the dealerships over the VW emissions scandal. Specifically, the dealerships alleged that the value of their businesses had decreased as a result of Volkswagen’s attempts to cheat on vehicle emissions tests through its so called “defeat devices.” According to documents filed Friday in California federal court, the deal will provide an average payout of $.185 million to each Volkswagen-branded franchise dealer in the US.
Additionally, the VW settlement provides for VW buying back from its franchisees, affected vehicles that can’t be put into emissions compliance, using the same terms granted to car owners as part of the tentative consumer settlement.
“This recovery to the franchise dealer class is outstanding, particularly given the immediate need for cooperation among Volkswagen and its franchise dealers to effectuate the terms of the $10 billion-plus consumer class action settlement that is presently pending approval before this court,” the motion states. “Without any obvious deficiencies, the settlement agreement readily meets the standards for preliminary approval.”
Further, there will be no claims process, as dealerships that don’t opt out of the settlement will automatically receive a cash payment based on a formula of 71 times the monthly support payment VW made to dealers in November 2015. Take it or leave it? Almost.
The MDL is In re: Volkswagen “Clean Diesel” Marketing, Sales Practices and Products Liability Litigation, case number 3:15-md-02672, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.
Well, that’s a wrap for this week. See you at the Bar!
So where do you start? Perhaps where the disease was first reported, to the best of our knowledge, that is. That might be a good place. Initially, that was among American users, now Canadians are jumping on the defective products bandwagon. If I’m not mistaken, it has also been reported in Europe. I am, of course, referring to the iPhone 6 and 6+ Touch disease. It’s changing the way Apple fans feel about their appendages. And not for the better. Seriously folks.
Touch disease. An interesting term. But how else would you describe a complete non-response from an object that basically functions by touch? It’s a slave to the stroke, swipe and tap. Granted, calling it a disease might be taking things a little too far. But let’s roll with it.
The symptoms? Basically, no matter how often or how fondly you fondle your iPhone, it doesn’t respond. So, you can’t answer your calls, send texts, emails or anything else for that matter. The iPhone has had enough, wants a divorce, and half of the asset base. No, wait, I’m getting confused.
Maybe 6 and 6+ just want some time off, feel used, or perhaps, they want to be made properly. According to the lawsuits, the underlying problem—the cause of Touch disease—is the touchscreen controller chips in the phone’s motherboard. Allegedly, they aren’t properly secured and can malfunction with regular use.
As one tech journalist explains it, in his article entitled “The hell of owing an iPhone 6 with Touch disease” (ok, we are not talking the plague here, just to be clear) … “touch disease” is an iPhone 6 Plus flaw related to “bendgate” in which the two tiny “Touch IC” connectors, which translate touchscreen presses into a machine input, become unseated from the phone’s logic board. It can be recognized by flickering gray bars along the top of the phone, and is associated with intermittent or total touchscreen failure,” (Jason Koebler, Motherboard.com)
This catastrophe could result in thousands of people scouring the streets in search of pay phones (best of luck there), and reading newspapers on the subway to work. It’s also possible that spontaneous conversations between strangers may be reported as becoming more common. Parents may remember to put their children in the car before they leave to drive them to school. Book sales could increase, and Jeopardy could find itself inundated with contestant applications.
Or, Samsung Galaxy could corner the market. But then they have their own problems. Let’s not go there just yet.
Whatever happens, Apple could find itself in hot water over this one. Touch disease apparently presents with symptoms almost as soon as the warranty has expired. Not surprisingly, class action lawsuits have been filed in the US and also in Canada.
The allegations including freezing or not responding to touch commands. I wonder if yelling at it works…
The lawsuits claim that Apple was aware of the problem but, yes you guessed it, did nothing to remedy the problem. What’s that saying—if it’s broke don’t fix it, just keep calm and carry on? Something like that. Looks like that is the strategy here, hence the lawsuits.
So keep calm and carry on folks—join a lawsuit, buy a different phone, get a newspaper subscription—maybe by iPhone 15 Apple will have worked out all the kinks. Holding your breath is not advised.
Ford Losing Its Touch? Ford Motor Co. got hit with a defective products class action lawsuit filed by customers who allege the automotive maker sold vehicles with faulty touchscreen systems. Great! The last thing you want to try and figure out while you’re driving…why the technology isn’t working as advertised.
The Ford class action lawsuit, which represents no less than nine classes, alleges the defect resulted in the failure of safety functions such as rear view cameras and functioning navigation systems.
U.S. District Judge Edward M. Chen has certified nine different classes of Ford owners, divided by state: California, Colorado, Massachusetts, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Texas, Virginia and Washington. Each class brings its own set of claims related to breach of warranty, unfair trade practices, fraudulent concealment and other various other allegations.
According to plaintiffs, the MyFord Touch infotainment touchscreen systems often crash or freeze while the vehicle is in motion. The systems were introduced into Ford vehicles in 2010 with the promise of touch screen operating of audio and navigation systems, the ability to make phone calls, manage climate systems and play music from their smartphones. However, the systems have encountered a lengthy list of problems. In 2010, according to the lawsuit, Ford reported roughly 400 problems for every 1000 vehicles, which was an improvement from earlier numbers. The systems add about $1,000 to the cost of a Ford vehicle, according to the plaintiffs.
The case is In re: MyFord Touch Consumer Litigation, case number 3:13-cv-03072, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.
New Meaning To ‘Loyalty’? LoyaltyOne is facing a consumer fraud class action in Canada, over “unfair and unilateral” changes to its airmiles program’s terms and conditions.
Here’s the skinny. According to the allegations, LoyaltyOne, which owns Airmiles—an airmiles rewards program—is accused of not giving adequate notice of the changes to its customers about the expiration of their airmiles, including miles earned before December 31, 2011 that expire at the end of this year. The AirMiles lawsuit also accuses LoyaltyOne of failure to give adequate notice that miles collected after that date will expire five years after they are earned. Got all that? Oh yes, the complaint also asserts that the company has made it difficult for miles to be redeemed before their expiration.
“The net result is that Air Miles’ conduct will result in a large number of the class members’ miles expiring, resulting in a significant loss to the class, and a corresponding large windfall for Air Miles,” the claim states.
According to the complaint, some 10 million Canadian households belong to the Air Miles program. The award miles are earned by shopping at participating retailers and are meant to be exchanged for flights and other rewards.
According to the claim, users wanting to redeem points before they expire have had problems doing so because of “unduly long” wait times on the phone. As well, it says the website displayed reward items users did not have enough miles to purchase, but not those that were within reach.
Need a vacation after reading all that!
Lifelock Locks Up $68 Million Settlement. The deal has received final approval, ending a consumer fraud class action lawsuit pending against it. The lawsuit alleged that LifeLock made false statements about its services and failed to follow through on promised that it would alert consumers of potential identify theft immediately.
Specifically, the class alleged that LifeLock would not pay any losses directly to the consumer and does not cover consequential or incidental damages to identity theft. It also alleged the guarantee is limited to fixing failures or defects in the LifeLock services and paying other professionals to attempt to restore losses. LifeLock illegally placed and renewed fraud alerts under consumers’ names with credit bureaus. However, under the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act, corporations such as LifeLock are not allowed to place fraud alerts on a consumers’ behalf, in fact, the law was written to specifically bar credit repair companies from improperly using fraud alerts.
In the LifeLock Settlement, U.S. District Judge Haywood Gilliam Jr. also approved attorneys’ fees of $10.2 million and a payment of $2,000 to each of four class representatives. Distribution of the remaining funds works out to $20 per class member, with members of a subclass receiving funds on a pro rata distribution of a cordoned off subclass fund. The class starts from September 2010 and the subclass period begins in January 2012.
In July, 2015 the FTC accused LifeLock of “failing to establish and maintain a comprehensive information security program to protect its users’ sensitive personal data, including credit card, social security, and bank account numbers [and of] falsely advertising that it protected consumers’ sensitive data with the same high-level safeguards as financial institutions.”
The case is Ebarle et al. v. LifeLock Inc., case number 3:15-cv-00258, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.
Well, that’s a wrap for this week. See you at the Bar!
Heads up—literally… for anyone who’s used SoftSheen-Carson Optimum Amla Legend No-Mix, No-Lye Relaxer. A defective products class action lawsuit has been filed by two women in the US against L’Oréal alleging the hair relaxer kits causes hair loss and scalp burns. Ouch!
While the advertising claims it helps Afro-Caribbean hair to feel fuller and silkier through the inclusion of amla oil from the Indian amla super fruit, the plaintiffs allege that thousands of women who bought and used the product have suffered distressing injuries including hair loss and breakage, and scalp irritation, blisters and burns.
According to the SoftSheen Relaxer complaint, despite not listing lye as an ingredient, the inclusion of lithium hydroxide can cause damaging effects like those experienced by the women who used the product. Further, it’s also not clear as to whether the product truly is a ‘no-lye’ relaxer as the retail lists sodium hydroxide in the products’ ingredients online.
Dorothy Riles, one of the key plaintiffs behind the lawsuit, claims that when she used the product she was left with bald patches, burns and scabs forcing her to wear a wig.
Another key plaintiff claims that when using the product she immediately experienced scalp irritation and, after washing it out, she saw “significant” hair loss.
The plaintiffs are demanding that L’Oréal is tried by jury and are seeking compensation on the grounds of false advertising, unfair competition, consumer fraud, deceptive business practices, breach of express warranty, breach of implied warranty of merchantability, unjust enrichment, fraud and negligence.
Shrinking Credibility at School? A $11.2 million settlement in a consumer fraud class action lawsuit pending against The Chicago School of Psychology has received final approval. The lawsuit was brought by students who alleged they were provided with misleading information regarding the school’s accreditation and their job prospects after completing their courses.
The Chicago School settlement will provide financial recovery for 87 students who are class members. The average payout will be $95,000 per student.
Plaintiff Miranda Joe Truitt and other students filed the complaint in November, 2012 claiming they invested in a worthless education. They wanted to study at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology and were encouraged to attend classes at the graduate university’s Los Angeles campus, which was falsely promoted to them as being prestigious and accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA).
According to the settlement documents, the plaintiffs were “either negligently lured” to enroll at the Los Angeles campus or were caused to stay “by a series of statements or omissions allegedly made, issued or approved by defendants.” In 2013, Tara Fischer filed a similar class action which was later consolidated with the Truitt’s complaint.
According to Truitt’s complaint, the administration of the Chicago School of Psychology led the Los Angeles campus students to believe that they would get APA approval before their graduation.
The case is Miranda Jo Truit et al v. The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, number BC495518, in the Superior Court of the State of California for the County of Los Angeles.
Domino’s Pizza drivers got a delivery this week …in the form of a $995,000 award in a wage and hour lawsuit in Georgia. The action was brought against Domino’s franchisees Cowabunga Inc. and Cowabunga Three LLC, by drivers who alleged the franchisees shorted their drivers on vehicle expenses, resulting in the drivers’ pay going below below minimum wage in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
The named plaintiff, Chadwick Hines, will receive a $7,500 service award. The final approval of the settlement ends the lawsuit filed against Cowabunga in 2015. Cowabunga, one of the largest singly owned Domino’s franchises in the U.S.
A total of 565 Cowabunga delivery drivers opted into to the case. The drivers will receive damages from the $995,000 settlement in exchange for waiving their wage and hour claims against Cowabunga. The average award per driver is $1,138.
Well, that’s a wrap for this week. See you at the Bar!