Feb 27, 2010

Dial Vs digital: Somes dial bathroom scales off as much as 11 pounds

My letter to the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association about questionable ads

In recent years, some radio people have been troubled by questionable advertising on their stations around the state.

As a member of the Wisconsin broadcasting community, I am embarrassed by two types of commercials. One implies there is a government bailout for consumers with credit card debt. The other claims you can quit your job and earn big time money at home.

After 40 years of investigating consumer complaints, it's my opinion that these companies will most likely take your money immediately and give you very little in return. They take advantage of our desperate neighbors afraid of losing everything and mothers who long to stay at home with their babies.

Wisconsin broadcasters and local businesses provide invaluable contributions to our local communities and keep local advertising honest. If a local business misleads, local consumers soon catch on and the business suffers. But take-the-money-and-run out-of-staters may not care about their reputations.

In my opinion these advertisers not only hurt consumers, they are also bad for local businesses. How would you like your paid commercial to run next to someone claiming they can settle IRS debt for pennies on the dollar?

These are challenging times for radio, TV and newspapers as well as consumer protection agencies and this kind of advertising may get worse.

What can we do to protect consumers and the credibility of broadcasters?

If radio stations can not screen ads, they should be running public service announcements saying:

Wisconsin broadcasters urge consumers to be skeptical of
Debt settlement companies demanding up-front money;
Work-at-home offers;
Get-rich-quick schemes, and
Miracle cures

I initiated a similar warning for TV infomercials running on a number of Wisconsin TV stations.

Thank you for all of the wonderful public service projects of the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association. Please let me know if I can be of any help.

New annual fees for some credit cards

Feb 23, 2010

Dolphin therapy is booming despite concerns about efficacy and animal cruelty


These are not dolphins, but I has fun as a TV reporter feeding and petting dolphins at Sea World in Orlando. The photo shows killer whales. Sea World killer whale handlers encouraged me to put my arm into the mouth of one and stroke his tongue. Some TV reporters will do anything when the camera is on.

Feb 19, 2010

You have until the end of February to get on the WI No Call List issued in April

No Call sign up
The WI No Call List is the most popular consumer protection program in the history of the state with 2,130,000 telephone numbers registered--40% are cell phones. Sign up details to the left.

Do those products you see on TV really "work like a miracle"?

I'm retired from Consumer Protection now but I'm still busy with this blog, doing media appearances and giving talks like this one to UW Madison Retired Educators.
(Iowa AG's lawsuit against "See Clearly Method.")

WKOW-TV's investigation of Wisconsin Consumer Protection

Part 2
Part 3

I admire WKOW-TV's reporting, but I also appreciate the hard work of my friends at Consumer Protection which has lost many positions. Madison is a better community because of WKOW-TV's investigations, but let me assure you Consumer Protection:
Helps thousands of Wisconsin consumers
Gets millions of dollars back for them
And over all gets favorable feedback from them.

Bottom line: To stay vital and responsive to the public, all government agencies should fasten their safety belts and welcome and help aggressive reporters like Dan Cassuto who ask tough questions and peek into dark places.

Kohl's Made Me Miss Its Sale Because I Was Too Slow At Shopping Online


PleaseRobMe.com Warns of Dangers of Posting Your Location to Foursquare iPhone App - AOL News

AOL News

It's Probably A Bad Idea To Cash A Check For A Stranger - The Consumerist


America’s most brazen, vicious or plain klutzy insurance crooks

2009 Insurance Fraudsters Hall of Shame

Why $19.99 Roses Online Really Cost Nearly $40


Feb 13, 2010

I-Team Tests Money Wire Services

KGTV San Diego
Consumers in Wisconsin and the rest of the country are losing millions of dollars to scammers who use wire services to get their money. The wire companies also make money when this happens.

Census scam scares Wisconsin consumer

This top rated video I made a year ago, warns about fake census takers. You have to supply information when census takers call or knock, but they do not threaten to arrest you if you refuse. If you are uncomfortable with questions, you can always check up on them by asking for the caller's name, telephone number, and supervisor's number. Don't be pressured into disclosing information before you are ready to give it.

Toyota Dealers Pull ABC TV Ads; Anger Over Excessive Stories on Toyota Safety Problems

ABC News
As a TV consumer reporter, I had major car dealers in town join together to drop a million dollars in advertising because of my stories. The same thing happened to a newspaper in California. When this happens reporters should contact the Federal Trade Commission because it may be a law violation. In the meantime, I think this country should carefully think over using taxpayer money to help car companies.

Consumers Are Shockingly Uninterested In Buying A Toyota Right Now


Feb 5, 2010

WI man out $21,000 in coin scam

A WI man is out more than $21,000 after buying coins from the operators of a New York coin company accused of defrauding hundreds of senior citizens across the country.
The Wisconsin consumer was told if he invested in pre 1964 half dollars--which have a high silver content--he could sell them later at an auction for hundreds of thousands of dollars in profit.
The alleged scammers called him back over and over, citing dramatic increases in his investments and sold him more coins.
When he called about the auction-- which the scammers said had been postponed several times--no one answered the phone.
What did he get for his $21,000? 280 half dollars with a face value of $140 and a silver value $1200.
While this victim doesn’t want to be identified he wants to warn others not to be scammed this way.

America's Biggest Rip-offs