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News in February 2001

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    Mongoose, MGX and Roadmaster Bicycles Recalled

    WASHINGTON, Feb. 23, 2001 -- By Us International Co. Ltd., of Taiwan, is recalling about 40,000 Ballistic front suspension forks installed on certain mountain bicycles. The forks on these bicycles can break apart, causing riders to lose control and fall.

    By Us previously announced the recall of 13,500 of these forks in May 2000. The firm has since disclosed that more of these forks are included in the recall.

    There have been 26 reports of forks on these bicycles breaking resulting in nine riders, including teenagers, suffering serious head and bodily injuries, abrasions, bruises and chipped teeth.

    The recall is being conducted in cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

    The recalled forks were installed on Mongoose S-20 and MGX S-20 bicycles, which are orange, and the Roadmaster Ridge Rider bicycles, which is red. The forks on these bikes are black with decals that read "BALLISTIC" and "105" on the sides of the suspension fork legs.

    Discount department stores, including Wal-Mart, and toy stores sold the bicycles with these forks nationwide from June 1998 through June 2000 for between $125 and $150.

    Consumers should immediately stop using these bicycles and call the firm to determine if the fork on their bike is part of the recall. Consumers should have the serial number of the forks available. The serial number is located on the inside of the suspension fork leg. Consumers with recalled forks will receive a free replacement fork and free installation. For more information, call (877) 211-3525 toll-free between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. CT Monday through Friday, or visit their web site at

    The recalled bikes have the following serial numbers.

    98025001 through 98030000
    98031051 through 98033050

    BA10021201 through BA10029200
    BA10044001 through BA10049000
    BA10050001 through BA10051000
    BA10052001 through BA10053000
    BA10054001 through BA10058000
    BA10059251 through BA10067750
    BA10067791 through BA10069390
    BA10069703 through BA10077102

    BAX0001251 through BAX0006750
    BAX0006781 through BAX0007080

    Mongoose, MGX and Roadmaster Bicycles Recalled...

    Simmons Little Folks Cribs Recalled

    WASHINGTON, Feb. 21, 2001 -- Simmons Juvenile Products is voluntarily recalling more than 68,600 cribs for repair. Bracket hooks that are used to position the height of the mattress can break, causing the mattress to collapse. Babies can become trapped and suffocate when this happens.

    In the past four months, Simmons has received more than 800 reports of bracket hooks breaking. In one case, a 6-month-old hit his chin on the side rail when the mattress dropped.

    The recall is being conducted in cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

    Simmons is offering a free repair kit, which includes replacement brackets and instructions. The repair can be made easily in the home.

    Most of the recalled Simmons cribs were made in 1998. Those sold at Sears were made in 1998, 1999 and 2000. Only "98" cribs of all models are recalled, except for Sears cribs. For Sears cribs (which are model numbers 025260 and 065060), the years "98" "99" and "00" are recalled because the problem bracket hooks were used all three years. The brackets on all other Simmons cribs except for Sears changed to different type attachments after 1998.

    The cribs were sold under the name "Little Folks". Simmons and the two-digit year of manufacture are written on a label affixed to the crib's headboard. The year is the two-digit number following the model number. "Little Folks" is on another label affixed to the headboard. The cribs are constructed of maple or ash, and are painted or stained in more than a dozen different colors, including natural, golden and white. "Simmons" is written on the top rail. Simmons will help consumers identify if their crib is recalled.

    Discount, mass merchandise, juvenile product and department stores, including Sears, sold the cribs nationwide from January 1998 through December 2000 for between $200 and $600.

    Consumers should stop using these recalled cribs immediately and contact Simmons to receive free replacement brackets by overnight mail. Consumers can contact Simmons anytime at (800) 421-2951 or at

    Simmons Little Folks Cribs Recalled...

    Consumer complaints about Collect Call Scams and ZPDI

    February 18, 2001
    Officials in Southern California are looking into complaitns from hundreds of consumers who got stuck with large phone bills after accepting collect calls from imposters who claimed to be their relatives.

    The Los Angeles Times reported that more than 500 persons have called the offices of Assemblyman Lou Correa (D-Anaheim), who called it "the perfect crime."

    "You go to Mexico, get the Southern California white pages and start dialing away," Correa told the Times.

    The California Attorney General's Office and the Federal Communications Commission said they were also looking into the complaints, although a spokesman for the Attorney General said the probe was still in the early stages.

    The complaints echo those made earlier to In most cases, an operator calls and announces a collect call from someone with the same last name. The recipient assumes the caller is a relative and takes the call. After talking briefly the recipient hangs up but by then, the call has been billed at rates of $11 per minute or more. In some instances, the recipient refuses the call but is charged anyway.

    The calls show up on the recipient's bill as "billed by Zero Plus Dialing Inc. (ZPDI)."

    ZPDI Chief Operating Office Jacquelene Mitchell told the Times the complaints about her company were unfounded, saying ZPDI is only a billing agent. Mitchell said the carrier in some instances was OCI, Oncor Communications of Dallas, which operates pay telephones in Mexico and elsewhere.

    An Oncor spokesman said the company has shut off pay phones in Tijuana, where most of the calls originated. The pay phones are privately owned and are placed at stores and other businesses that make a commission from each call.

    Oncor said it charges $57 for a call that lasts up to five minutes and then charges for each minute thereafter.

    Consumer complaints about Collect Call Scams and ZPDI...

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      Maryland Seizes Assets of Bankcard Group Inc. and ATM Group Enterprises

      February 11, 2001
      Maryland officials have gone to court to shut down a company that allegedly raised $3 million by promising investors nearly risk-free, guaranteed investments in automated teller machines.

      The state Attorney General charged that Bankcard Group Inc. and its executives were running an unregistered and fraudulent investment program and that at least 130 investors had already been bilked. Investigators said that the company had sold more than 200 ATMs but that only 44 had been delivered and installed.

      The complaint said that investors were sold an interest in an ATM for $250 to $2,500. They were promised a fee for each ATM transaction and monthly payments of about $250. Some investors paid as much as $6,000 to $10,000 for an entire ATM machine, the complaint said.

      Bankcard Group CEO Andrew H. Williams denied the allegations, which he called "absolutely false." Nevertheless, a Prince George's County Circuit Judge granted the state a temporary injunction and appointed a receive to take control of the company, which also uses the names Bankcard Group 1 Inc. and ATM Group Enterprises LLC.

      Williams said the company has installed machines in New York City, Chicago, Ocean City, MD, and Myrtle Beach, SC. He admitted that some machines had not yet been placed but said the company was working on it.

      The Attorney General's complaint charged that Williams has been paid more than $165,000 from account containing investors' money while another executive was paid $329,000.

      Consumer complaints about Maryland Seizes Assets of Bankcard Group Inc. and ATM Group Enterprises...