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Generally, when you buy a car and are promised a feature—like air conditioning, satellite radio, or navigation—you expect that feature to continue to work/exist AFTER you take your car off the lot. Well, this expectation seems not to be shared by the people over at Mazda, as 2016 Mazda vehicle owners recently found out.

When consumers purchased a 2016 Mazda vehicle, real-time navigation software was one of the features of the vehicle they were buying (or at least that’s what they were led to believe). In early 2016, however, that very same software stopped functioning for all Mazda vehicles. Or, to hear 2016 Mazda owners tell it:

Wife and I picked up a 2016 CX-F about a month or so ago, I’ve noticed that the navigation is having a lot of problems keeping a lock on the car. I drove about 10 or 15 miles to my doctors office this morning and the whole time the nav was shoing me either 2 or 3 miles off the interstate or it was thinking I was on a different road completely. It did this the whole way there, even going on a long straight on the interstate it would suddenly jump me off the road and took minutes to lock back on. I checked the GPS information and it was showing 7 or 8 locked sats on me and at high accuracy. Continue reading

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Has your plumbing gone awry? Do any of your home appliances use water supply lines from EZ- FLO International, Inc.? Well, that may not be just a coincidence. According to a number of consumers, EZ-FLO water supply lines—the flexible tubing that is either covered with braided stainless steel or brass, or non-braided plastic, used to supply water to faucets, dishwashers, toilets, ice makers and other household fixtures—have been at the center of leaks around the country­­. These water supply lines often look like this:

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Considering the number of different places EZ-FLO water supply lines can be located throughout our homes, this is important information for any consumer! Comments for dishwasher supply lines include:

 

It has only been installed for 5 months and already the water line is leaking just before the connector. It was a slow drip and ruined our wood floors.

All 6 water supply lines that came leaked and had to be replaced by new ones bought at [L]owes, products were cheap but are not I got what I paid for, I wish I could return just the water lines but I don’t think amazon will allow me to do that. Don’t buy this product unless you only need the power cord.

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Have you installed Rhino Deck composite decking in your outdoor area?  If so, like many consumers, you were probably looking for a low maintenance alternative to wooden decking.  And you may have been sorely disappointed.

Homeowners around the country are reporting that Rhino Deck products are failing despite proper installation.  Worse, the manufacturer, Master Mark Plastic, is generally refusing to stand behind its product.

Here is what people are saying:

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Trim boards can be great, particularly on the outside of a home.  They add detail and elegance at a relatively low cost.  Homes throughout the country sport them, but that also means that trim board often is exposed to heavy rain, snow, wind and sunlight, all of which can cause wood to rot, decay, swell and, ultimately, develop mold.  Once rot sets in, you can almost push your finger through the board, which has probably become as soft as a wet sponge to the touch.  And rotting trim boards will do little to improve your home’s look or value.

Trim board manufactured by WindsorOne appears to be a prime culprit.  Homeowners have reported that WindsorOne begins to warp, swell and rot shortly after installation and within the warranty period:

Windsor Mill guarantees WindsorONE’s end and edge-gluing for 10 years and its primer for 5 years. Windsor Mill will replace, without charge, any WindsorONE product that is installed according to directions and fails to meet this warranty within that time. Such replacement is the exclusive remedy for breach of warranty with no consequential or other damages recoverable. Continue reading

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Relaxer products are notorious for containing lye – a caustic ingredient that can burn skin and damage hair.  So hundreds of thousands of consumers took the bait when L’Oréal introduced its “NO-LYE” product known as SoftSheen-Carson Optimum Amla Legend No-Mix, No-Lye Relaxer.

L’Oréal’s relaxer is prominently labeled “NO-LYE” to target consumers seeking a gentler alternative.  The Amla Legend line is promoted as a collection of nourishing products infused with Amla oil, a luxurious oil “derived from the Indian Amla superfruit known as the Gooseberry, a powerful antioxidant rich in vitamins, essential fatty acids and minerals.”  L’Oréal markets the Amla Legend relaxer as a “Rejuvenating Ritual” which will provide “fuller, silkier hair” and “respect for hair fiber integrity.”

Large numbers of women big to differ.  Dissatisfied customers from around the country have posted their grievances online.  For example, when we at the Blog last checked, more than 70% of reviewers at Amazon.com gave L’Oréal’s Amla Legend relaxer the lowest possible rating of one star.  Comments included:   Continue reading

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About a year ago we at the Blog notified you that CitiMortgage and other mortgage servicing companies may have been charging so-called “Property Inspection Fees” in violation of the law.  Indeed, several class action lawsuits against Citi and other mortgage servicing companies are currently proceeding in federal court in California.

But those lawsuits don’t focus on you – the high-rise condominium owner.  Is your condo above the first floor in a secure building?  Would property inspectors be able to get to your floor without your permission?  If you answered yes and then no, then the so-called property inspection fees on your monthly statement may be improper.

Here’s how it works.  You miss a few payments, go into default, and suddenly you have a monthly mortgage statement littered not only with late fees, but also a variety of new charges for “default services” including property inspections.  Codes like INVO may appear on your paperwork or in your mortgage records.     Continue reading

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You may have heard about the recent $100 million settlement reached between Uber and its drivers:  http://fortune.com/2016/04/21/uber-drivers-settlement/.  In that class action lawsuit Uber’s “driver-partners” claimed that they should be classified as employees, rather than independent contractors.

But there is another class action and it may impact you and other people who use Uber to get around town.  That lawsuit, Spencer Meyer v. Travis Kalanick, was filed in federal court in the Southern District of New York in 2015.  The plaintiff, an Uber rider (rather than an Uber driver), just notched a pair of significant victories.

First, on March 31, 2016, United States District Judge Jed Rakoff denied the defendant’s motion to dismiss:  http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-03-31/uber-antitrust-lawsuit-over-pricing-green-lighted-by-judge.  The plaintiff alleges that Uber’s smartphone app allows drivers all over the country to agree with Uber and with each other to charge only the prices set by Uber.  Judge Rakoff agreed that these allegations are plausible, stating:  “The advancement of technological means for the orchestration of large-scale price-fixing conspiracies need not leave antitrust law behind.”      Continue reading

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As loyal readers know, we here at The Blog are quite skeptical when it comes to hard-to-believe advertising claims.  The XHose? Too good to be true.  The FlexBelt? Looks like another fibber.  And now ….. the 5 Second Fix.  If you’re like us and watch even a few minutes of late night TV weekly, you’ve probably come across an ad for the 5 Second Fix – a supposed upgrade over traditional superglues that is “welded” with an ultraviolet light shortly after application, allowing you to “fix, fill and seal … in 5 second or less” and achieve a “durable permanent bond” and “everlasting repair.”  But don’t listen to us; hear it from the manufacturer itself:

I mean, you can’t argue with that ad? 5 Second Fix couldn’t actually be a scam or ripoff, right? I mean, look how well it works in that commercial?  But what if 5 Second Fix doesn’t work? Does that mean that 5 Second Fix’s marketing claims are completely bogus?  Unfortunately, our investigation suggests that 5 Second Fix simply doesn’t work as advertised and will not create a permanent bond.  In short, 5 Second Fix likely is a scam product intended to rip off customers for their hard-earned dollars.

As is often the case, Amazon.com tells most of the story.  48& of Amazon’s reviews for 5 Second Fix are ONE STAR.  ONE. STAR.  And although 28% of reviewers gave it 5-stars, other reviewers indicate that rating may be inflated by customers who provide a good review on Amazon in exchange for free, additional tubes of 5 Second Fix.  In other words, 5 Second Fix is using customers unaware they have been ripped off by a product that does not work in order to scam new customers with the exact same defective product!  Just look at some of these reviews: Continue reading

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For many consumers, warranty coverage is one of their primary concerns when spending thousands of dollars on a new mattress. Due to the expense involved—memory foam mattresses cost upwards of $5,000, and even traditional pillow-top mattresses retail for over $1,000—consumers want to know that they can depend on the manufacturer to repair or replace a mattress under warranty for years following purchase. Tempur-pedic and Sleep Number offer twenty-five-year warranties to entice consumers to purchase their products. Serta and Simmons—both of which are owned by the National Bedding Company—also offer long warranties ranging anywhere from 3 to 30 years and include no charge for replacements within the first 10 or so years of ownership.  These long-term warranties should give consumers as much comfort as the mattresses themselves!

Consumers report in droves, however, that Simmons and Serta routinely deny warranty coverage due to the presence of any stain, no matter how small or harmless, on a defective mattress. Don’t believe us? Just listen to some of the incredible stories from affected consumers (postings from www.consumeraffairs.com):

  • After owning a Serta “Beautyrest World Class Recharge Shakespeare Luxury Plush Pillow top Mattress” for about two years, and paying over $2000, the mattress was sagging. So I called Serta, and they send you a “sleep set inspection kit” where you have run a string across the dips in the mattress and take photos from different angles. After doing all this they agreed to replace the mattress. When their team arrived they said that they couldn’t take the mattress because of a small stain!! I called Serta, and was told that the stain voided the warranty because it wasn’t sanitary for their inspection team to open the mattress up and see where the mattress failed. The product was an inferior product with a huge manufacturers defect, and because of a small stain (barley visible) which had nothing to do with the sagging, was a loophole they used to void the warranty. I WILL NEVER BUY ANOTHER SERTA PRODUCT BECAUSE THEY DON’T STAND BEHIND IT!!!
  • We purchased this mattress between 2 and 3 years ago. It has not held up. There are sags and dips plus a back ache to people sleeping on it. It should be covered by a warranty issue except a small stain gets the Beautyrest folks off the hook. Never, never, would I buy from this manufacturer again. This was in our bedroom and we moved it to a guest room buying a replacement. Please note the Beautyrest replaced a mattress which had been in our room over 25 years. Since putting it in the guest room, two different guests mentioned waking up with a back ache. There are other options… Select one.

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As mobile smartphones have become more advanced, they have also become more fragile (the author does not remember being particularly worried when she dropped her Nokia 3310).  With each advancement in security, screen quality, data speed, and so forth, something else is sacrificed—durability, size, and/or battery life.  Most people with smartphones, such as Apple’s iPhone, have probably experienced an issue with their mobile phones at some point during ownership.  Speaking from experience—the author of this blog post has cracked the screen of every smartphone she has ever owned.

Upon damaging their phone, many consumers look to third parties to conduct repairs, as such repairs are often significantly cheaper than repairs through the manufacturer.

One issue for which consumers have sought third party support is Touch ID sensor issues related to the iPhone 6 and 6s.  For example, many have speculated that the Touch ID sensor feature on the new Apple iPhone 6 and 6s are prone to causing phone issues, such as the touch screen becoming unresponsive, the fingerprint sensor not registering when users are attempting to use it, and the home and lock buttons failing to work as expected.

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