PhotoOnce upon a time, Polaroid was  known as a maker of instant cameras. But that image faded and the name was sold to a new company that now slaps it on TVs. 

Sad to say, the cameras produced a better picture.

“My three-year new Polaroid 32-inch flat screen TV was working perfectly until last night, when the screen went black, there was a sizzle noise and smoke poured out of the back of the TV,” Paula, of Columbus, Ohio, told “It is now fried, toast, roached, history. Ironically eight days post warranty. Can you say class action lawsuit?”

Actually, there are plenty of Polaroid TV owners who have already acted on that thought. Earlier this month consumers filed a class action suit against Polaroid, claiming its TVs are a fire hazard.

Holding cell phone companies accountable

Unless you have a pre-paid cell phone account, you probably have a contract with one of the major carriers. That contract is for two years, and automatically renews for another two years any time you make a change to your account, including the purchase of a new phone. The cell phone company will hold you to the terms of that agreement, and you will be required to pay an early termination fee if you break it.

But what about holding the cell phone companies to their end of the deal? It's a question posed by Scott, of North Myrtle Beach, S.C., who recently switched from Verizon Wireless to Sprint and claims Sprint violated the terms of the contract.

“I bought the phones but never received the promised rebates,” he said. “The service is terrible, all phone calls go to voice mail and some show up five days late.”

Fed up, Scott paid $360 in early termination fees to get out of his contract but doesn't see why he should have to pay, since he didn't cause the problem.

“As far as I am concerned, they did not provide the service and were in default on the contract,” he told

It's an interesting idea, but unfortunately Scott probably won't get very far with it if he decides to take it to court. In April the Supreme Court upheld a cell phone company's right to force complaints into arbitration.


Cindy, of Tracy's Landing, Md., says she has a frustrating computer problem, and blames Verizon Fios.

“When linking or searching for a webpage, Verizon's Search Assistant keeps popping up claiming 'sorry, the term we received,, couldn't be resolved. Did you mean: contest sandy puc?' These are legitimate websites which I am being directed away from to Verizon's search assistant,” Cindy said. “We have Fios in our office and this just started today. Not sure why, but it is making it hard to use the computer efficiently.”

There are ways to fix this but it's a little too lengthy to go into here. Sandy needs to change her DNS settings to Google's Public DNS

No relief

Peggy, of Adelanto, Calif., decided she needed some help with her creditors, and signed up with New Life Financial Services, a company that promised to make arrangements with four creditors – for an upfront fee.

“They have taken money out of my checking account for two months and have not made any arrangements with the four creditors,” Peggy told “I have left numerous phone messages to call me and have heard nothing. The creditors were caught up when I signed now they are behind and telling me they will sue me. I suspect this company isn't that great and I want my money back and out of the contract.”

Hiring a company to work things out with a creditor almost never turns out well for the consumer. In Peggy's case, if the company sold her debt relief services over the phone, they may be in violation of the law. Last year the Federal Trade Commission adopted an amendment to the Telemarketing Rule, banning companies promising debt relief from collecting a fee before they had done any work. She should file a complaint with the FTC and California Attorney General Kamala Harris.