Category: Consumer Protection

Facebook Blocks Complaints About Its Own Misleading Ads

By , March 18, 2012

Facebook’s advertising system has always had one nice feature for consumers: if you mouse over the right margin of any ad, an “X” appears, and if you click on the “X” you can ask not to see that ad in the future. In addition, you can “report” your reason, designating whether you simply find the ad “uninteresting,” or you can flag the ad as “misleading” or “sexually explicit” (among other options).

But Facebook has exempted its own ads from this “opt-out” system, and has deliberately prevented users from complaining about misleading ads by Facebook itself.

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On the Web, Nobody Knows You’re a Crook ( scam)

By , January 5, 2012

“Somebody should do something about that.”  It’s a common refrain, and it’s meaningless. And sometimes, there’s just nothing that anyone can do.

While researching “giveaway” marketing strategies recently, I found a web site ( promoting a wide range of attractive free prizes.  Superficially, the site seemed legitimate, but it’s now clear that it’s a scam.

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AT&T Punishes Me for Switching to VOIP

By , August 12, 2010

AT&T has disabled my phone for a week, as punishment for my attempt to change to a different carrier. I will never again do business with AT&T.

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Product Lifetimes and Support for Software and Computers

By , July 26, 2010

I’ve been annoyed many times over the past 20 years when software and hardware makers renounce their own products, claiming that they are “no longer supported.”

Sometimes it’s designed to force customers to spend more money to buy upgrades, even if customers don’t need any new features.  However, there’s also a reasonable limit to how long a company can be expected to train its staff to work with customers using older software versions (often on antiquated computers and operating systems).

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Increased Pressure to Cheat Customers?

By , May 29, 2010

Several recent events are making me wonder: how many businesses are adopting unethical, illegal practices to survive during the recession? Read more »

Just Say No to “Gurus”

By , August 1, 2009

Do not pay money to a “guru.” Ever.

The word “guru” implies a blind faith which many embrace in their religions, but it iisn’t appropriate for business.

Don’t buy a “course” or “system” or even an ebook about “How to Make Money from AdSense” or “Internet Success Secrets” or “Money Machines” or any other gimicky name.

And don’t pay money to buy “secrets.”  There really are no “secrets” about how to make money. There are strategies, of course, which can often work when properly applied — but they aren’t secrets. Read more »

Honesty in Marketing and Blogging

By , August 1, 2009

Online marketeers should pay attention to two recent legal developments: Read more »

Dell On Call Scam: No Service at Any Price

By , December 11, 2008

(December 11, 2008) — I’ve spent the past two weeks trying to obtain support from Dell for my Dimension 5150 (e510) computer. I’ve finally concluded that Dell will not provide support, for any price. Read more »

LensCrafters’ Bait-and-Switch Scam: AVP

By , October 6, 2008

October 6, 2008 — I’m angry today, because I’ve just wasted two trips to LensCrafters, and now must start over from scratch looking for new eyeglasses.

I wanted to buy new glasses. I knew what I wanted, and I had my prescription (written by the nice lady at the EyeExam office inside LensCrafters, for the bargain price of just $59.95). However, the salespeople I spoke with (and the general manager) kept trying to pitch me on “upgrades” — featherweight lenses, anti-reflective coating, and the “new thing” called AVP (for “Advanced View Progressive,” not “Alien Vs. Predator”). Read more »

T-Mobile Fraud (proprietary WiFi)

By , September 7, 2007

September 7, 2007 — Last week, my wife and I changed our cell-phone service and bought Nokia 6086 phone from T-Mobile, because of their offering of WiFi calling capabilities.

What they told us (and today, telephone sales AND in-store staff repeated this) was that these phones would work with any WiFi router using the 802.11 standards. Our experience was quite different: most of our calls were “dropped,” and we could not reliably connect to our WiFi network. Read more »

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