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    Democratic hopeful targets treasury secretary’s ties to Sears

    Sen. Elizabeth Warren singles out Steve Mnuchin for criticism in the retailer’s woes

    Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) is putting some heat on Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, citing his time on the board of directors of Sears Holdings, as the retailer sold off assets in a bid to stay afloat.

    Mnuchin served on the Sears board until 2016, when he resigned to assume a post in the incoming Trump administration. Prior to that, Mnuchin had a close friendship with Sears Chairman and CEO Eddie Lampert and had been Lampert’s college roommate.

    Warren accuses Lampert of mismanaging the company and selling off assets when it did not serve the interests of stakeholders. In a letter, Warren, along with freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y), accused the corporate leadership of responding to alleged mismanagement by closing more than 3,500 stores and selling some of the company’s most valuable assets.

    2018 bankruptcy

    After Sears declared bankruptcy in late 2018, Lampert’s hedge fund, ESL Investments, was the successful bidder in gaining control of the retailer’s remaining assets. Lampert stressed that he planned to keep 400 Sears and Kmart stores open but Warren was not impressed.

    “While ESL Investments had operational control of the Sears Holding Corporation, the company engaged in questionable financial engineering and other managerial decisions that enriched executives while decimating Sears' long-term growth and sustainability- ultimately resulting in Sears' bankruptcy and tens of thousands of lost jobs,” she wrote.

    Warren claims Lampert loaded Sears with large amounts of debt, contributing to its inability to adapt to a changing retail environment. She notes that in Fiscal Year 2005, the company had a net debt-to-equity ratio of -0.04, and by Fiscal Year 2013, the ratio had ballooned to 1.48-1.

    Last month Sears Holdings sued Lampert and former board members, accusing them of “stripping Sears of billions of dollars as it collapsed into bankruptcy." The lawsuit accused the members of the board of "assisting" Lampert in "transferring billions of dollars of the Company's assets to its shareholders" at the expense of the company as a whole.

    Cites lawsuit

    "In their recent lawsuit, Sears creditors accuse you and five other members of the Sears board of 'assisting' Lampert in 'transferring billions of dollars of the company's assets to its shareholders' at the expense of the company as a whole," the lawmakers said in their letter. "In your current role as treasury secretary, you have had the opportunity to intervene on behalf of Sears and in favor of Lampert's interests."

    Warren said she is deeply concerned about what she called the “financial engineering” and “potentially illegal activity” that took place at Sears Holding Corporation during Mnuchin’s tenure on the corporate board.

    Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) is putting some heat on Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, citing his time on the board of...
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    Lawmakers introduce bill to prevent hot car deaths

    The bill calls for a safety alert that would tell the driver when a passenger is still in the car

    A group of lawmakers are pushing for legislation that would mandate “a distinct auditory and visual alert” to prevent parents and caretakers from leaving children in hot vehicles.

    U.S. Rep. Timothy Ryan (D - Ohio), who co-sponsored the bipartisan proposal, said the deployment of the safety feature would help reduce preventable hot car deaths.

    “Our cars can already alert drivers when they leave their keys in the car, their lights on or their trunk open — none of which are life threatening. It is not unusual for the government to mandate safety features to protect lives,” Ryan said in a statement.

    “Cars are mandated to have seat belts, interior trunk releases and rear backup cameras. Our legislation would move us one step closer to getting this inexpensive technology in every car on the road to help save the lives of children nationwide,” he continued.

    Preventable deaths

    There have been 906 heat stroke-related deaths among children in cars in the U.S. alone since 1989, according to the website KidsAndCars.org, a nonprofit organization dedicated to preventing deaths of young children and pets in and around vehicles. Almost 50 of those deaths occurred last year.

    “In the vast majority of those cases, the adult did not realize the child was inside the car. It’s not enough to educate parents about the risks. Even the most attentive parent can get distracted, so we need safety features built into our vehicles,” said Congresswoman Janice Schakowsky (D - IL).

    “A simple alert can save lives. You get a warning when you leave keys in the car. You should get a warning if you leave a child in the car. As Chair of the Consumer Protection and Commerce Subcommittee, making cars and roads safer is a top priority. And it starts with this bill.”

    The HOT CARS Act is expected to be introduced in the next few weeks after its language is finalized.

    "The government can work, it can do things it can make life safer and better for its citizens if we come together in a bipartisan way like we're doing here, we’re going to get this done we're going to save lives," said Ryan.

    A group of lawmakers are pushing for legislation that would mandate “a distinct auditory and visual alert” to prevent parents and caretakers from leaving c...
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      Trump Administration pledges $16 billion to farmers affected by trade dispute

      The government plans to start sending money directly to farmers starting this summer

      President Trump on Thursday unveiled a $16 billion commitment to help American farmers who have been impacted by the U.S. trade war with China. About $14.5 billion in cash payments will be dispersed to farmers starting as soon as July.

      “The package we’re announcing today ensures that farmers will not bear the brunt of those trade practices by China or any other nation,” Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue told reporters in a briefing on Thursday.

      Rather than blaming the Trump administration’s trade policies for farmers’ financial hardships, Perdue blamed China’s actions.

      "Frankly, all of this would have been moot if China would have acted appropriately and fairly in many of the areas regarding intellectual property theft and nontariff barriers that they have put up for many years,” he said.

      County-by-county amounts

      USDA officials said the payments farmers receive will be based on acres of production and trade damage in each county.

      "We look at the trade damage each county is feeling," USDA Under Secretary Bill Northey said. "Then we divide that by the acres planted within the county, and then have a single-payment, no matter which of those crops you plant.”

      The government is also planning $1.4 billion in purchases of produce and other food products hit hard by tariffs. The food purchased would be sent to food banks, schools, and other food aid programs.

      Republican Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas, chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, said that although “farmers want trade, not aid,” the farm aid program “will be helpful.”

      “The $16 billion of funds will keep our farms thriving and make clear that no country has a veto on America's economic and national security,” Trump said.

      President Trump on Thursday unveiled a $16 billion commitment to help American farmers who have been impacted by the U.S. trade war with China. About $14.5...
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      Bi-partison retirement bill sails through the U.S. House

      The Secure Act is intended to help small businesses set up company plans so consumers can save for retirement

      The U.S. Congress celebrated one of its rare once-in-a-blue-moon moments on Thursday when a bipartisan retirement bill made its way through the House of Representatives -- and in less than 60 days, too.

      The bill is called the Secure Act -- the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act of 2019 -- and, if it can clear the Senate and get President Trump’s signature, it would make life much easier for small businesses that would like to set up retirement plans.

      “With passage of this bill, the House made significant progress in fixing our nation’s retirement crisis and helping workers of all ages save for their futures,” said Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard E. Neal (D-MA).”

      “The legislation closes loopholes and makes it easier for small business employees, home care workers, and long-term part-time workers to save for retirement. I’m also proud that we were able to incorporate a much-needed fix to reverse unfair and unexpected high taxes on Gold Star families, low-income scholarship recipients, and children of fallen first responders, among others.”

      The only possible roadblock might be Senate bill S.2526 or RESA -- the Retirement Enhancement and Savings Act of 2018. However, short of differences like an increase in the age for Required Minimum Distributions (RMD) and the requirement that companies provide 401(k) access to part-time workers, its provisions are close enough to the Secure Act that a quick melding of the two bills might grease the skids for Senate passage.

      The nitty gritty

      More specifically, the bill would allow small businesses to join forces in creating 401(k) plans and do away with the maximum contribution age on individual retirement accounts (IRA). At present, that age is 70.5 years.

      With respect to employer-provided retirement plans, the bill modifies current requirements regarding:

      • Multiple employer plans;

      • Automatic enrollment and nonelective contributions;

      • Tax credits for small employers that establish certain plans;

      • Loans;

      • Lifetime income options;

      • The treatment of custodial accounts upon termination of section 403(b) plans;

      • Retirement income accounts for church-controlled organizations;

      • Required minimum distributions;

      • Nondiscrimination rules;

      • Minimum funding standards for community newspaper plans; and

      • Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation premiums for CSEC plans (multiple employer plans maintained by certain charities or cooperatives); and

      • The eligibility rules for certain long-term, part-time employees.

      Regarding the eligibility rules for part-time employees, the current law allows employers the option to exclude part-time employees (less than 1,000 hours per year) when providing a contribution plan to their full-time employees. Given the fact that women are more likely to hold down part-time jobs than men are, the committee felt those rules “can be quite harmful for women” who might be preparing for retirement.

      The bill also includes provisions that:

      • Treat taxable non-tuition fellowship and stipend payments as compensation for the purpose of an IRA;

      • Repeal the maximum age for traditional IRA contributions;

      • Treat difficulty of care payments as compensation for determining contribution limits for retirement accounts;

      • Allow penalty-free withdrawals from retirement plans if a child is born or adopted;

      • Reinstate and increase the tax exclusion for certain benefits provided to volunteer firefighters and emergency medical responders;

      • Increase penalties for failing to file tax returns; and

      • Require the Internal Revenue Service to share tax information with U.S. Customs Border Protection to administer the heavy vehicle use tax; and

      • Expand the purposes for which qualified tuition programs (commonly known as 529 plans) may be used.

      That last provision offers a particularly nice touch for consumers who are helping their kids through school. Inside that package is an expansion of education savings accounts to cover the costs associated with registered apprenticeships; homeschooling; up to $10,000 of qualified student loan repayments (including those for siblings); and private elementary, secondary, or religious schools.

      The U.S. Congress celebrated one of its rare once-in-a-blue-moon moments on Thursday when a bipartisan retirement bill made its way through the House of Re...
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      Fed survey finds many consumers still in fragile economic condition

      While conditions are improving, many consumers couldn’t weather a large, unexpected expense

      The economy is doing well and unemployment is low, but many consumers still find themselves in a fragile economic condition and unable to handle most large, unexpected expenses.

      That’s the conclusion of the Federal Reserve’s annual Report on the Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households, which tracks the economic stability of Americans. The results were a little better than for 2017, but they still leave a lot of room for improvement.

      On the positive side of the ledger, many families show substantial gains since the survey began in 2013, as might be expected with the nation's ongoing economic expansion. When survey-takers asked about their overall economic well-being, 75 percent of adults said they were "doing okay" or "living comfortably." That’s an increase of 12 percent from 2013.

      Unexpected $400 bill

      Each year, the survey asks consumers how they would pay for an unexpected expense of $400. This year, 61 percent said they would have no problem, either paying with cash, savings, or a credit card paid off at the next statement.

      The rest would have some difficulty. Twenty-seven percent said they would borrow the money or sell something. Twelve percent said they would not be able to cover the expense.

      In last year’s survey, the Fed found that four in 10 adults couldn’t fund a $400 emergency expense without either borrowing from a friend or carrying a credit card balance, so the latest result shows a slight improvement.

      Despite the improvement, the Fed survey pinpoints several areas of financial vulnerability and distress. There also continues to be wide variations in financial security based on race, education level, and, in some cases, geography.

      Demographic breakdown

      White consumers are much more likely to say they are doing okay financially than black and Hispanic consumers. Among those with a bachelor's degree or higher, 87 percent were doing at least okay, compared with 64 percent of those with a high school degree or less. City-dwellers appear more secure than those in rural areas.

      "As this report shows, we continue to see the growing U.S. economy supporting most American families," said Federal Reserve Board Governor Michelle W. Bowman. "At the same time, the survey does find differences across communities, with just over half of those living in rural areas describing their local economy as good or excellent compared to two-thirds of those living in cities. Across the country, many families continue to experience financial distress and struggle to save for retirement and unexpected expenses."

      Of those who would struggle to pay that hypothetical $400 expense, income stability appears to be a significant factor. Three in 10 adults had household income that varied from month to month.

      One in 10 said they struggled to pay their bills at some point in the prior year because of monthly changes in income. Financial support from family or friends to make ends meet was also common, particularly among young adults.

      The economy is doing well and unemployment is low, but many consumers still find themselves in a fragile economic condition and unable to handle most large...
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      Memorial Day weekend gas prices are headed lower

      An increase in supply is keeping price hikes at bay

      Consumers hitting the road for the Memorial Day weekend may find slightly lower gasoline prices than a week ago.

      The AAA Fuel Gauge Survey shows the national average price of regular gas is $2.84, down nearly two cents from last Friday. That’s more than 11 cents less than at this time a year ago.

      The average price of premium is $3.41, down about two cents from last week. The average price of diesel fuel is $3.10, less than a penny more than a week ago.

      Gasoline prices nationwide have moderated in the last few weeks because consumer demand has softened. At 228.7 million barrels, total gasoline inventories in the U.S. are 5.2 million barrels less than they were in mid-May 2018. A big drop in U.S. gasoline exports led to the increase, which AAA says may not last.

      China trade a factor

      Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy, says he thinks consumers could see more declines at the gas pump in the weeks ahead.

      “Typically, June features mostly downward movement thanks to refineries boosting supply, having completed their maintenance,” DeHaan told ConsumerAffairs. “Obviously, we're watching the US-China trade deal. If there's a deal gas prices may rise, but for now things are mostly quiet and we are expecting more downward movement than upward.”

      One reason gasoline stocks have risen is the U.S. has imported a lot more gasoline than usual, doubling imports to 1.35 million barrels a day. Even so, AAA says increased gasoline stocks amid robust summer demand may help to keep prices at the pump from rising.

      This week price movement state-to-state was minor. Some starts registered a small price increase while others saw a very small price decline.

      The states with the most expensive regular gas

      These states currently have the highest prices for regular gas, according to the AAA Fuel Gauge Survey:

      • California ($4.02)

      • Hawaii ($3.64)

      • Washington ($3.54)

      • Nevada ($3.48)

      • Alaska ($3.47)

      • Oregon ($3.43)

      • Idaho ($3.20)

      • Utah ($3.19)

      • Arizona ($3.14)

      • Pennsylvania ($3.00)

      The states with the cheapest regular gas

      The survey found these states currently have the lowest prices for regular gas:

      • Alabama ($2.45)

      • Louisiana ($2.45)

      • Mississippi ($2.45)

      • South Carolina ($2.48)

      • Arkansas ($2.50)

      • Tennessee ($2.54)

      • Missouri ($2.54)

      • Texas ($2.56)

      • Oklahoma ($2.57)

      • Virginia ($2.58)

      Consumers hitting the road for the Memorial Day weekend may find slightly lower gasoline prices than a week ago.The AAA Fuel Gauge Survey shows the nat...
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      Revelate Designs recalls bicycle seat bags

      The straps that fasten the bag to the bike seat can detach

      Revelate Designs of Anchorage, Alaska, is recalling about 1,250 bicycle seat bags.

      The straps that fasten the bag to the bike seat can detach and get tangled in the rear wheel of the bike, posing crash and injury hazards to the rider.

      The firm has received one report of the bag becoming unfastened and entangled in the rear wheel.

      This recall involves Revelate Designs 2019 Terrapin System 14L model bicycle seat bags.

      The seat bags have a pair of straps with hooks on the top rear of the bag and 4 red loops which the hooks connect to.

      The bags have Revelate Design logos on the left and right sides and were sold in black, blue, purple and camouflage.

      The nylon bags measure about 18 inches by 7 inches

      The bags, manufactured in the U.S., were sold at REI stores and bicycle shops nationwide and online at www.revelatedesigns.com from December 2018, through April 2019, for about $160

      What to do

      Customers should immediately stop using the seat bags and contact Revelate Designs for repair instructions.

      Consumers may contact Revelate Designs toll-free at (833) 732-8224 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (PT) Monday through Friday, by email at info@revelatedesigns.com or online at https://www.revelatedesigns.com and click on “Recall Notice” near the bottom of the page for more information.

      Revelate Designs of Anchorage, Alaska, is recalling about 1,250 bicycle seat bags.The straps that fasten the bag to the bike seat can detach and get ta...
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      Toyota recalls model year 2019 Siennas

      Certain airbags may malfunction

      Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing is recalling 274 model year 2019 Siennas.

      The passenger front door may have incorrect welds inside, possibly affecting the airbag sensor readings for the passenger side front seat and curtain shield airbags.

      The incorrect sensor readings could cause the airbags to unintentionally deploy or not deploy when intended, increasing the risk of a crash and/or injury.

      What to do

      Toyota will notify owners, and dealers will replace the passenger side front door sub assembly with a new one free of charge.

      The recall is expected to begin June 10, 2019.

      Owners may contact Toyota customer service at 1-888-270-9371. Toyota's number for this recall is K1G /K0G.

      Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing is recalling 274 model year 2019 Siennas.The passenger front door may have incorrect welds inside, possibly af...
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      Aurora Packing Company, recalls beef products

      The products may be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7

      Aurora Packing Company of North Aurora, Ill., is recalling approximately 62,112 pounds of raw beef products.

      The products may be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7

      A list of raw beef products packaged on April 19, 2019, and subject to recall may be found at https://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/wcm/connect/c639fdf0-d073-4822-8d70-d668cd548359/057-2019-List-of-Recall-Products.pdf?MOD=AJPERES

      The recalled products. bearing establishment number “EST. 788” inside the USDA mark of inspection, were shipped nationwide for further distribution and processing.

      What to do

      Institutions that purchased the recalled products should use them, but discard or return them to the place of purchase.

      Consumers with questions about the recall may contact David Stewart at (630) 897-0551.

      Aurora Packing Company of North Aurora, Ill., is recalling approximately 62,112 pounds of raw beef products.The products may be contaminated with E. co...
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      Honda recalls model year 2019 CR-Vs

      The driver's airbag may deploy without warning

      American Honda Motor Co., is recalling 118,598 model year 2019 CR-Vs.

      The metal core of the steering wheel may have burrs which can damage the harnesses routed within, potentially disabling the driver's air bag or causing it to deploy without warning.

      In the event of a crash, a disabled air bag would increase the risk of injury. An uncommanded deployment of the driver's air bag also increases the risk of injury and a crash.

      What to do

      Honda will notify owners, and dealers will install a protective cover on the steering wheel core and replace clockspring and the harnesses within free of charge.

      The recall is expected to begin July 8, 2019.

      Owners may contact Honda customer service at 1-888-234-2138. Honda's number for this recall is R4S.


      American Honda Motor Co., is recalling 118,598 model year 2019 CR-Vs.The metal core of the steering wheel may have burrs which can damage the harnesses...
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      FAA head says no firm date for returning the 737 MAX to the air

      International aviation officials are holding a meeting today on the next steps

      The head of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) says there is no hard-and-fast date for the Boeing 737 MAX jetliners to return to the air.

      The aircraft type, used by airlines around the world, has been grounded since March 13 following two similar crashes by Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines, occurring five months apart.

      “It takes as long as it takes,” Acting FAA Administrator Dan Elwell told the Seattle Times. “The 737 MAX will fly again when we have gone through all of the necessary analysis to determine that it is safe to do so.”

      Elwell, in Dallas to meet with international aviation officials to discuss the grounded jet, held out the possibility the airplane could remain grounded for as much as a year if that’s how long it takes to address safety issues.

      “I’m not tied to a timeline,” he told the newspaper.

      International meeting

      The meeting today will allow aviation officials to discuss what is needed before the 737 MAX can fly again. U.S. officials say they would like a concerted effort so that the plane gets clearance from all nations simultaneously.

      An FAA spokesman told the newspaper that the agency has a general understanding of how Boeing plans to address the issue, but it isn’t clear on how long it will take to implement and re-certify the aircraft.

      While investigations into the two crashes remain ongoing, their similarities have strongly  suggested a common cause. An angle-of-attack sensor, located on the plane’s fuselage, sends a signal to the flight control system if it determines the plane is climbing at too steep an angle, which could lead to a stall.

      In both instances, investigators believe the sensor may have transmitted faulty information to the flight control system during takeoff, triggering an automated response that pointed the nose of the plane down when it should have been climbing.

      Complicating summer travel

      The grounding of the 737 MAX jets most likely will affect U.S. travelers through the busy summer vacation season. Three U.S. carriers -- Southwest, American, and United -- use the aircraft type and have had to replace their planes or cancel flights.

      Both American and Southwest initially canceled flights using the 737 MAX aircraft through June 5, but last month they pushed the deadline back to August. In light of the FAA’s current position, even that fall-back date is beginning to look doubtful.

      The FAA says Boeing’s steps to address the safety issues are taking significantly longer than initial estimates. Elwell said the manufacturer had first committed to deliver the software fix before the end of March. It withdrew that commitment after a company review found other issues that needed to be fixed.

      The head of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) says there is no hard-and-fast date for the Boeing 737 MAX jetliners to return to the air.The air...
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      Spotify to resets some user passwords citing security concerns

      The music streaming giant said it detected ‘suspicious activity’

      Some Spotify users received an email saying that their password had been reset due to “suspicious activity” within the platform, according to TechCrunch. The company didn’t elaborate further on the security issues it uncovered.

      “As part of our ongoing maintenance efforts to combat fraudulent activity on our service, we recently shared a communication with select users to reset their passwords as a precaution,” Spotify spokesperson Peter Collins told TechCrunch.

      “As a best practice, we strongly recommend users not to use the same credentials across different services to protect themselves,” Collins said, implying that the activity was a stuffing attack.

      However, some users claimed to have been using strong, unique passwords across different websites, with one being unique to Spotify. If that’s true, then Spotify could have suffered a breach.

      TechCrunch noted that two users who commented on this thread said their passwords were unique to their Spotify account, “casting doubt on the veracity of a credential stuffing attack."

      Some Spotify users received an email saying that their password had been reset due to “suspicious activity” within the platform, according to TechCrunch. T...
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      Apple vows to inform consumers if an update will slow down their iPhone

      The company has pledged to be ‘clearer and more upfront’ with users

      Last year, Apple faced criticism and numerous lawsuits after it came to light that it failed to inform owners of older iPhones that a software update might slow down their devices.

      Now, Apple has promised UK watchdog Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) that it will “be clearer and more upfront” with users about whether a software update could affect the performance of their iPhone.

      The group noted that Apple has "already started to be more upfront with iPhone users” in the wake of the iPhone slowdown controversy, but yesterday’s pledge "locks the firm into formal commitments always to notify people when issuing a planned software update if it is expected to materially change the impact of performance management on their phones,” the CMA said Wednesday.

      Greater transparency

      Additionally, Apple has vowed to give iPhone owners easier access to information about battery health and unexpected shutdowns, as well as guidance on how they can optimize the health of their phone’s lithium-ion battery.

      “This could help people improve the performance of their own handset after a planned software update by, for example, changing settings, adopting the low power mode or replacing the battery - rather than resorting to having their phone repaired or replaced,” CMA explained. “The firm has agreed to do this both for current and future iPhones.”

      Apple has maintained that the performance management feature introduced with iOS updates 10.2.1 and 11.2 was meant to “improve customers’ user experience” by prolonging the life of their aging phone battery.

      In early 2018, Apple apologized for the way it handled the update and then took several steps to mitigate consumer frustration. Those steps included dropping the price of out-of-warranty battery replacements and adding a new Battery Health menu in iOS 11.3 to “further assist our customers and help extend the life of their iPhones.”

      The CMA said on its website that Apple has now agreed to “improve the information it provides to people about the battery health of their phones and the impact performance management software may have on their phones” in order to comply with consumer law.

      Last year, Apple faced criticism and numerous lawsuits after it came to light that it failed to inform owners of older iPhones that a software update might...
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      Video streaming providers start to fight back in the binge-and-cancel game

      Will the service with the most exclusive shows win? That’s where it appears to be headed

      With cable and satellite video providers playing carrot-and-stick with their “introductory price” scheme and then walloping the consumer with a more costly “regular” rate after the introductory period is over, consumers are doing the same thing back to the providers by playing the “binge-and-cancel” game.

      On Thursday, Axios laid out a new study showing that more than 30 percent of all consumers are likely to cancel a subscription streaming service after the show or series they are watching has ended. A more timely data point came out of that Axios/Harris poll, which revealed that 16 percent of HBO subscribers say they planned to cancel their subscriptions once “Game of Thrones” completed its run.

      Not all consumers play this game, but evidence is growing that most people plan to hang onto subscription services for less than 6 months after their original sign-up. The bulk of those gamers are from Gen Y millennials at 44 percent. Those numbers drop off slightly with older millennials (41 percent), baby boomers (34 percent), and Gen Xers (30 percent).

      An interesting side note in Axios’ research is that the subscription service game is less likely to occur when consumers primarily rely on cable as their primary source. The reasons are logical: consumers don’t want to go through the hassle of rewiring their system and returning the cable box. Signing up or cancelling streaming services can be done online without having to talk to anyone who begs you to stay or offers an “if you’ll stay” deal.

      Where this game is headed

      Streaming services are onto the binge-and-cancel game and are doing their best to plug the dike. Many are tossing in additional services -- like Spotify recently offering free Hulu with a subscription. Others -- like Amazon Prime -- are creating cultural events like the pop-up delicatessen it rolled out in an effort to buoy its comedy series “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.”

      This game is going to take a while to play out, so buckle up. Companies are already wheeling and dealing like crazy. Only last week, ConsumerAffairs wrote about the NBCUniversal-Disney-Comcast swap meet.

      This week came news that  WarnerMedia is launching its own streaming video subscription service later this year. That one alone could be a disrupter, simply from the fact that it has the rights to fan favorites like Friends, Seinfeld, and The Big Bang Theory.

      With cable and satellite video providers playing carrot-and-stick with their “introductory price” scheme and then walloping the consumer with a more costly...
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      Healthy eating at work translates into overall healthy eating habits

      Eating unhealthy meals at work may put consumers at great risk

      Following a healthy diet often comes with temptations when birthdays or special occasions roll around, and now researchers are exploring how workplace eating habits could affect consumers’ diet outside of work.

      Based on a new study, researchers have found that making unhealthy food choices at work correlated with employees having a higher risk of cardiovascular disease, a greater likelihood of developing obesity, and making unhealthy choices when they’re not at work.

      “Employer-sponsored programs to promote healthy eating could reach millions of Americans and help to curb obesity, a worsening epidemic that too often leads to diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer,” said researcher Dr. Anne N. Thorndike.

      Every choice counts

      To come to their conclusions, the researchers observed the eating habits of over 600 hospital workers from Massachusetts General Hospital, keeping tabs on the food items employees bought in the hospital’s cafeteria. The researchers also had the hospital workers report on their dietary habits when they’re not at work to gain a better understanding of what their typical daily food intake looks like.

      The team found that those who made unhealthier purchases in the hospital cafeteria were also more likely to make unhealthier choices when they weren’t at work, and they were also at a greater risk of becoming obese and developing high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity.

      Though this study focuses solely on hospital workers, the findings hold weight for consumers regardless of where they work. It’s important for consumers to have healthy habits in place that they can rely on throughout the course of the work day that can help contribute to their overall health when they’re not at work.

      It’s been made clear from this study that our choices at work affect the choices we make during leisure time. In order to lead healthy lifestyles, consumers need to be able to make the most informed decisions possible.

      The researchers hope that employers will work harder to implement company-wide wellness programs that employees can utilize to improve their overall health.

      “Workplace wellness programs have the potential to promote lifestyle changes among large populations of employees, yet to date there have been challenges to developing effective programs,” said Dr. Jessica L. McCurley. “We hope our findings will help to inform the development of accessible, scalable, and affordable interventions.”

      Workplace benefits

      A recent study revealed that 50 percent of workplaces across the country offer their employees health and wellness programs.

      Over 90 percent of bigger companies had wellness programs, while under 40 percent of smaller companies offered the same. Moreover, not all health programs offer a full range of benefits, and many lacked the educational and outreach a lot of employees were looking for.

      “Most American adults work, and many spend half or more of their waking hours at work,” said researcher Laura Linnan. “Where we work, how long we work, the conditions of our work, who we work with -- all of these factors impact our health.”

      Following a healthy diet often comes with temptations when birthdays or special occasions roll around, and now researchers are exploring how workplace eati...
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