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      Model year 2012-2015 Prius Plug-in Hybrids recalled

      The hybrid battery contains an Electric Vehicle fuse that may fracture

      Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing is recalling 39,915 model year 2012-2015 Prius Plug-in Hybrids.

      The hybrid battery contains an Electric Vehicle (EV) fuse that may fracture after repeated high-load driving conditions such as climbing long hills.

      The failed fuse may cause the hybrid system to shut down resulting in the loss of power.

      Loss of power while driving at higher speeds can increase the risk of a crash.

      What to do

      Toyota will notify owners, and dealers will replace the EV fuse, free of charge.

      The recall is expected to begin January 8, 2018.

      Owners may contact Toyota customer service at 1-800-331-4331. Toyota's number for this recall is H0R.

      Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing is recalling 39,915 model year 2012-2015 Prius Plug-in Hybrids.The hybrid battery contains an Electric Vehicle...
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      Ford recalls model year 2017 F-150s with ten-speed transmissions

      The transmission may not respond to movement of the shift lever

      Ford Motor Company is recalling 11,783 model year 2017 F-150s equipped with ten-speed transmissions.

      The pin that attaches the transmission shift linkage to the transmission may come out, preventing the transmission from responding to movement of the shift lever.

      The disconnected linkage may cause the vehicle to not move forward or backward as selected by the driver with the shift lever.

      Additionally, despite selecting 'Park', if the parking brake is not applied, the vehicle may roll. Either situation increases the risk of a crash.

      What to do

      Ford will notify owners, and dealers will replace the roll pin with an updated part, free of charge.

      The recall is expected to begin December 11, 2017.

      Owners may contact Ford customer service at 1-866-436-7332. Ford's number for this recall is 17S36.

      Ford Motor Company is recalling 11,783 model year 2017 F-150s equipped with ten-speed transmissions.The pin that attaches the transmission shift linkag...
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      Xerox unit fined for erroneous credit report information

      CFPB says over one million consumers were affected

      The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has fined Conduent Business Services, formerly known as Xerox Business Systems, $1.1 million for erroneous information it sent about consumers to the three credit bureaus.

      The CFPB said the company's software errors resulted in the incorrect information being placed on one million consumers' credit reports, which lowered their credit scores and could have impacted their ability to borrow money.

      The company was also cited for its failure to tell all of its auto loan clients about the problem in its software. In addition to agreeing to the fine, Conduent has agreed to fix the software and explain the problem to its clients, CFPB said.

      “We have entered into a consent order with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau stemming from a 2014 investigation," a company spokesman said in an email to ConsumerAffairs. "We are focused on maintaining open communications with customers regarding any changes our partners make to their software that may impact their reporting.”

      Flawed software

      The government's complaint alleges that Conduent used "flawed, unreleased loan-servicing software" that resulted in inaccurate and incomplete information about consumers being sent to credit reporting agencies.

      In some cases, CFPB said consumers’ credit files were missing the date of the borrowers’ first delinquent payment, or had an incorrect date. Other missing or incorrect information included the amounts of payments and past due amounts.

      Mistakes on credit reports have plagued consumers for years. Often consumers don't learn of incorrect information in their credit reports until they apply for a loan.

      Now easier to correct errors

      However, attorneys general from 31 states reached a settlement with the three credit reporting agencies in 2015 to make it easier for consumers to correct errors in their credit reports.

      The investigation examined how the credit reporting agencies investigate consumer disputes about errors on credit reports and increased accountability for the companies that provide credit information, known as data furnishers.

      The agreement required the credit bureaus to hold data furnishers to higher standards, provide greater protections for consumers who dispute information on their credit reports, limit the kinds of information that can go on a credit report, and provide additional consumer education.

      Consumers can review their credit reports from all three credit agencies once a year at no charge by going to www.annualcreditreport.com.

      The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has fined Conduent Business Services, formerly known as Xerox Business Systems, $1.1 million for erroneous...
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      Trafon Group recalls chicken and pork products

      The products did not undergo import inspection

      Trafon Group of Puerto Nuevo, P.R., is recalling approximately 297,828 pounds of chicken and pork products.

      The products were not presented at the U.S. point-of-entry for inspection.

      The following ready-to-eat pork and chicken and raw intact pork items, produced between April 26, 2017 and Sept. 27, 2017, by multiple Canadian establishments, are being recalled:

      • 12-oz. vacuum-packed packages containing 10 franks of “Harvest Creek CHICKEN FRANKS” with “Best by/Use by” dates of 12/07/2017 with lot code 93023.
      • 12-oz. vacuum-packed packages containing 10 franks of “Harvest Creek CHICKEN FRANKS” with “Best by/Use by” dates of 12/10/2017 with lot code 93023.
      • 48-lb. cases containing 8 6-lb. logs of “OLYMEL PLUS IMPORTED PORK SHOULDER PICNIC AND HAM” with lot codes of 71160.
      • 24-lb. cases containing 2 12-lb. logs of “Polean Fully COOKED Imported Ham” with lot codes of 727025.
      • Cartons containing 4 plastic wrapped frozen pork loins with random weights.
      • Cartons containing 4 plastic wrapped frozen pork loins with random weights and case codes of Cert. 828131/Canada 80.
      • Cartons containing 4 plastic wrapped frozen pork loins with random weights and case codes of Cert. 828132/Canada 80.
      • 2.29-lb packages containing center cut pork chops labeled "CHULETA DE CERDO CORTE CENTRO CANADA" with "Best by/Use by" dates of 10/31/2018.

      The recalled items were shipped to retail, hotel, restaurant and institutional locations in Puerto Rico.

      In addition, the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is issuing a public health alert regarding roughly 6,907 pounds of chicken products produced by Productos Dany of Hatillo P.R., that may contain products that have been recalled because they contain previously recalled ingredients.

      These products were imported by the Trafon Group, but were not presented for FSIS re-inspection and are subject to recall.

      The following not ready-to-eat chicken items, produced and packaged from October 30, 2017, through November 7, 2017, are subject to the public health alert:

      • 6.72-lb. plastic wrapped cases containing 24-count of individually wrapped “Productos Dany Inc., Cheese Dog” with lot code(s) 302, 303, 304, 305, 306, 309 or 310.
      • 9.10-lb. plastic wrapped cases containing 24-count of individually wrapped “Productos Dany Inc. Doggie Pizza” with lot code(s) 302, 304, 305, 306, 309 or 310.

      The products, bearing establishment number “P-45932” inside the USDA mark of inspection, were shipped to retail locations in Puerto Rico.

      There are no confirmed reports of adverse reactions due to consumption of any of these products.

      What to do

      Consumers who have purchased the above products should not consume them, but throw them away or return them to the place of purchase.

      Consumers with questions may contact Javier Pietrantoni at (787) 342-7272 or at Javier.pietrantoni@trafongroup.com.

      Trafon Group of Puerto Nuevo, P.R., is recalling approximately 297,828 pounds of chicken and pork products.The products were not presented at the U.S....
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      Toyota recalls C-HR and Prius Plug-In Hybrid vehicles

      The vehicles have parking brake and electronic issues

      Toyota Motor North America is recalling about 28,600 model year 2018 C-HR vehicles and 39,900 model year 2012 - 2015 Prius Plug-In Hybrids.

      C-HR

      There is a possibility that the electronic parking brake (EPB) in the C-HR vehicles may not operate properly, causing the parking brake to not disengage after it is applied or prevent it from being applied.

      If the electronic parking brake cannot be applied, this could result in a potential noncompliance with a federal safety standard.

      What to do

      Toyota dealers will update an electronic control unit’s software to correct the EPB issue at no cost to customers. All known owners will receive a notification by first-class mail starting in late-November.

      Prius Plug-In Hybrid

      The Prius Plug-In Hybrids contain an Electric Vehicle (EV) fuse that may malfunction if the vehicle is repeatedly operated in EV mode under high-load driving conditions, such as during a long hill climb.

      If the fuse malfunctions, warning lights and warning messages will illuminate. In some cases, the vehicle can be driven, but with reduced power. In other cases, the hybrid system could shut down, resulting in the loss of motive power. Power steering and braking will not be affected.

      Loss of motive power while driving at higher speeds can increase the risk of a crash.

      What to do

      Toyota dealers will replace the fuse with an improved one at no cost to customers. All known owners will receive a notification by first-class mail starting in January 2018.

      Owners with questions regarding either recall may call Toyota customer service at 800-331-4331.

      Toyota Motor North America is recalling about 28,600 model year 2018 C-HR vehicles and 39,900 model year 2012 - 2015 Prius Plug-In Hybrids.C-HRTher...
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      Ford Transit vehicles with trailer tow module recalled

      Water can enter the tow modules and corrode the wiring

      Ford Motor Company is recalling 65,206 model year 2015-2017 Ford Transit vehicles, equipped with a trailer tow module.

      Water can enter the tow modules and corrode the wiring causing issues such as rapidly flashing turn signals, loss of instrument panel display, an electrical short and possibly the deployment of seatbelt pretensioner.

      An electrical short can increase the risk of a fire, while turn signal, instrument cluster or seatbelt pretensioner problems can increase the risk of a crash.

      What to do

      Ford will notify owners, and dealers will add a drainage hole in the driver's door stepwell and incorporate a fuse into the vehicle's wiring harness, free of charge.

      Interim notices informing owners of the safety risk are expected to be mailed in November 2017. Owners will receive a second notice when the remedy becomes available.

      Owners may contact Ford customer service at 1-866-436-7332. Ford's number for this recall is 17S34.

      Ford Motor Company is recalling 65,206 model year 2015-2017 Ford Transit vehicles, equipped with a trailer tow module.Water can enter the tow modules a...
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      Consumers increasingly satisfied with pay TV providers

      Study finds consumers are a little less willing to 'cut the cord'

      Consumers are increasingly satisfied with their pay TV providers, according to a new study by J.D. Power and Associates. The findings run counter to the prevailing wisdom that consumers are abandoning pay TV in favor of so called "over the top" video streaming services like Netflix and Hulu.

      J.D. Power researchers discovered that consumers are increasing their consumption of both types of video content. Satisfaction with the overall streaming video service experience improved slightly over last year.

      At the same time, consumers are spending nearly an hour more per week watching regularly scheduled television programming than they did two years ago.

      Peter Cunningham -- Technology, Media, and Telecommunications Practice Lead at J.D. Power -- says the typical household is watching an average of 17.4 hours of regularly scheduled programming in a typical week, up from 16.6 hours in 2015.

      Economic issue?

      Several years ago the economy was still struggling to recover. Cunningham says "cord cutting" -- the trend of people giving up pay TV for streaming services like Netflix -- was largely an economic issue. Now that the economy is recovering, consumers are less likely to cut the cord and more likely to obtain content from a variety of sources.

      "Our study finds the vast majority of people paying for traditional TV services also subscribe to streaming services," Cunningham told ConsumerAffairs. "So when economic times are tougher, they sometimes are willing to give up the more expensive pay TV services."

      When consumers can afford both pay TV and video streaming services, they are more likely to use both.

      Technology drives satisfaction

      AT&T/DIRECTV scored highest in customer satisfaction among pay TV providers. On a regional basis, Verizon was highest in the East; Dish Network leads the South and North Central Regions; and AT&T DIRECTV took top honors in the West.

      Cunningham notes that increased satisfaction with pay TV might have as much to do with technology as content. As an example, he cites Comcast's X1 service, which has a voice activated remote and intuitive menu.

      "What we see is customers are much less likely to cut the cord if they have a good experience engaging with a provider's technology and the set top box experience," Cunningham said. "What customers care about the most is just making sure the product works. They just want to make sure the network itself is solid."

      Satisfaction with streaming services can also often be influenced by consumers' satisfaction with their internet service providers (ISP). In the East, J.D. Power found ISP satisfaction is highest for Verizon. In the North Central region, AT&T/DIRECTV has the most satisfied customers. Cox Communications ranks highest in the West.

      Consumers are increasingly satisfied with their pay TV providers, according to a new study by J.D. Power and Associates. The findings run counter to the pr...
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      C class Mercedes-Benz vehicles recalled

      The driveshaft could fail, resulting in a loss propulsion

      Mercedes-Benz USA (MBUSA) is recalling 2,098 model year 2015-2016 C63 AMG, model year 2015-2017 C63S and model year 2017 C63S AMG Coupe and C63 AMG Cabrio vehicles.

      The rear axle differential mounting flange may fracture from repeated aggressive launches.

      A fractured rear axle mounting flange can cause the rear differential to become misaligned, possibly resulting in failure of the driveshaft and a loss of propulsion, increasing the risk of a crash.

      What to do

      MBUSA will notify owners, and dealers will update the vehicle's stability system software and chassis control unit software, free of charge.

      The recall is expected to begin in December 2017.

      Owners may contact MBUSA customer service at 1-877-496-3691.

      Mercedes-Benz USA (MBUSA) is recalling 2,098 model year 2015-2016 C63 AMG, model year 2015-2017 C63S and model year 2017 C63S AMG Coupe and C63 AMG Cabrio...
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      Volkswagen recalls Audi A4 Sedans, A4 allroads and A5 Sportbacks

      The aluminum trim on the front and rear doors can come loose

      Volkswagen Group of America is recalling 31,323 model year 2017-2018 Audi A4 Sedans and A4 allroads, and model year 2018 A5 Sportbacks.

      The aluminum trim on the front and rear doors can come loose from around the door speakers, leaving sharp edges exposed increasing the risk of injury to vehicle occupants.

      What to do

      Audi will notify owners, and dealers will replace the speaker cover aluminum trim, free of charge.

      The recall is expected to begin in November 2017.

      Owners may contact Audi customer service at 1-800-253-2834. Volkswagen's number for this recall is 70G6.

      Volkswagen Group of America is recalling 31,323 model year 2017-2018 Audi A4 Sedans and A4 allroads, and model year 2018 A5 Sportbacks.The aluminum tri...
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      Model year 2017-2018 Infiniti QX30s recalled

      The driver's air bag could inadvertently deploy

      Nissan North America is recalling 17,507 model year 2017-2018 Infiniti QX30s.

      The driver's air bag may unexpectedly deploy due to insufficient grounding of the steering components if an electrostatic discharge occurs and the air bag clockspring is broken.

      If the driver air bag inadvertently deploys, it can increase the risk of injury and a crash.

      What to do

      Nissan will notify owners, and dealers will add sufficient grounding to the steering components, free of charge.

      The recall is expected to begin December 18, 2017.

      Owners may contact Infiniti customer service at 1-800-622-6200, option 7.

      Nissan North America is recalling 17,507 model year 2017-2018 Infiniti QX30s.The driver's air bag may unexpectedly deploy due to insufficient grounding...
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      Survey shows millennials don't always understand their life insurance policies

      Here are some things you should know

      A Canadian survey has uncovered some gaps in what millennials know about life insurance. The poll of young adults in Ontario, between the ages of 25 and 35, found that fewer than half said they fully understand their life insurance policies.

      "I cannot imagine the U.S. market being much different," Bob Bland, CEO of online life insurance marketplace LifeQuotes, told ConsumerAffairs.

      Bland says these knowledge gaps are likely due to the complexity of certain life insurance products and the fact that the industry has changed so much that consumers never talk to a salesperson when they buy insurance.

      However, he says millennials who are starting families need to understand life insurance and how it fits into their lives.

      Term life insurance and income replacement

      "The purpose of life insurance is to replace the income of the family breadwinner," Bland said. "That includes not only the person earning the money but a spouse who is taking care of young or old family members at home. In this day and age, we absolutely recommend that a stay-at-home parent have life insurance."

      But how much life insurance coverage do you really need? Bland says financial planners typically recommend 10 to 15 times your annual earnings. If you earn $50,000 a year, that means $500,000 in coverage is a good starting point.

      Bland advises young families to consider term life insurance, which he says is very inexpensive. But just how inexpensive it is will depend on the amount of coverage, the term, and the health and lifestyle of the policyholder.

      Term insurance can be taken out for a specified term -- usually 10, 20, or 30 years. Most of these policies don't require a medical exam and, best of all, the rate stays the same over the life of the policy.

      "It's easy to understand, it covers death by any cause, at any time, at any place, except for suicide in the first two policy years," Bland said.

      Option to convert to permanent insurance

      At the end of the term, a policyholder may choose to convert the policy to permanent insurance. The premiums will be significantly higher than for the term policy, but Bland says many conversions can be done without a medical exam, an important detail if the policyholder has developed a chronic illness.

      The Canadian survey, conducted by the Financial Services Commission of Ontario, found only 47 percent of older millennials have life insurance. Anatol Monid, a commission director, says most people don't want to think about what might happen, but it's important to ask questions so you can make good financial decisions.

      Bland agrees, saying the more you know how life insurance works, the better protected you will be. You can start by comparing reviews of life insurance companies here.

      A Canadian survey has uncovered some gaps in what millennials know about life insurance. The poll of young adults in Ontario, between the ages of 25 and 35...
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      Heating and air conditioning issue prompts huge BMW recall

      The heating and air conditioning system may overheat, posing a fire risk

      BMW of North America is recalling 672,775 model year 2006-2011 323i, 325i, 325xi, 328i, 328xi, 330i, 330xi, 335i, 335xi and M3, 2007-2011 328i xDrive, 335i xDrive and 335is and 2009-2011 335d vehicles.

      The wiring and electrical connectors for the system that controls air flow for the heating and air conditioning system may overheat.

      Wiring that overheats could cause the electrical connectors to melt, and increase the risk of a fire, even when the vehicle is unattended.

      What to do

      BMW will notify owners, and dealers will replace the wiring and electrical connectors, free of charge.

      The recall is expected to begin December 18, 2017.

      Owners may contact BMW customer service at 1-800-525-7417.

      BMW of North America is recalling 672,775 model year 2006-2011 323i, 325i, 325xi, 328i, 328xi, 330i, 330xi, 335i, 335xi and M3, 2007-2011 328i xDrive, 335i...
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