Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘corporation’


An interesting article below. Just another way we all get ripped off and the government allows it.
========================================================
When a rebate isn’t a rebate — it’s a ripoff
Mitch Lipka Sep 28th 2009 at 12:00PM

Filed under: Ripoffs and Scams, Shopping, Consumer Ally
They call them “rebate” cards. But they’re hardly a rebate. Instead, they are a mechanism to take millions of dollars due to consumers and give them back to the companies.

“Rebate cards are a colossal ripoff because sellers who long ago figured out how to make rebates difficult to obtain have now found a clever way to make them difficult to spend too,” said consumer advocate Edgar Dworsky, who runs the web site ConsumerWorld.org. “These are just inherently deceptive the way they are advertised.”

They are considered so deceptive that Canada recently issued guidelines to stop companies from using the word rebate when issuing consumers a card instead of a check.

Use of rebate cards is growing rapidly. In 2008, more than $4 billion worth were issued — up more than 50 percent over 2007, according to CreditCards.com.

Not only are these cards not actual rebates — although a handful of companies allow consumers to draw cash from them at ATMs — they come with hurdles that will keep all but the most industrious users from spending the full amount
.

“The consumer has to go to the web site of the issuer and put in the password and find out how much money is left. If you go to the retailer without knowing the exact amount on the card they can’t take the card,” said Barbara Anthony, undersecretary of the Massachusetts Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation.. “We are leaving money on the table that belongs to us because some retailers make it very difficult to find out what’s left on the cards. Millions of people across the country have these cards.”

Little government action has been taken so far about the cards in the U.S. partly because of how silently the money is drained away from the consumer and back to the company.

Mitch Katz, a spokesman for the FTC said, said his agency is aware of the issue and welcomes any consumer complaints about problems with the cards.

AT&T, which issues the cards in certain offers with its wireless phones, took a hit earlier this year when New York Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo announced he had reached a $2.63 million agreement with the company over “a misleading and deceptive sales promotion involving rebate offers that were fulfilled with onerous and condition-laden rebate cards.”

Massachusetts’ Anthony is particularly concerned, because of the growth in the use of these cards at the expense of the time-honored rebate — the actual return of money by check or deduction at the register. At first glance, these cards might seem like a reasonable alternate way to get back the promised money, but once you get one it’s pretty clear it isn’t.

Anthony has been hearing increasing complaints from consumers about these cards. Unlike store gift cards, which show you a balance remaining on your receipt, the balances on these cards cannot be seen or determined at the store.

So, if you have $25 left and try to spend $25.01 the card will be rejected. No mechanism is offered to allow the $25 to go through and the consumer pay the penny difference. To add insult to the insult, the cards often carry fees that can be drawn from them without the consumer’s knowledge and can expire in as little as 120 days, as AT&T’s do.

“It’s hard to take a lot of money from people – but it’s very easy to take small amounts of money from millions of people,” Anthony said.

WalletPop used one of the cards and found just the situation Anthony described. It is nearly impossible to drain the card of its full value. Two other consumer officials told WalletPop that they, too, were stuck with these cards in their wallets. The trick to using them is going to a store, such as Target, that allows so-called split tender transactions. You need to know the value of what’s left on the card and apply that first, then pay whatever else is left by another method. Otherwise, the transaction will get rejected.

” When most people think about rebates they don’t really think about a debit card,” Anthony said. “They’re thinking cash. This is something that has been fixed in our minds for generations.”

That same sort of thinking led the Canadian government this month to let companies know that they don’t consider the cards to be rebates and should not be marketed as such.

“We felt that gift cards couldn’t be considered to be a rebate because they were not applicable to the end price of the product for which the rebate is being offered,” said Madeleine Dussault, an assistant deputy commissioner in Canada’s Competition Bureau — similar to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission.

The issue over the cards in Canada stemmed mostly from trying to protect consumers from being misled, she said. A rebate, Dussault said, should involve the reduction of the price of a product either at the register or later by check. Companies can issue the cards, she said, they just can’t call them a rebate. They are gift cards, she said, and should be called that.

Some companies, such as Cooper Tire, explain in their rebate ads that Canadians will be issued checks, and U.S. customers will get the cards.

Source

Tags: att, Competition bureau, CompetitionBureau, consumer affairs, consumer ally, ConsumerAffairs, ConsumerAlly, consumerworld, federal trade commission, FederalTradeCommission, ftc, massachusetts, prepaid debit, PrepaidDebit, rebate, rebate card, RebateCard

See full article from WalletPop: http://srph.it/c9AoV6

Advertisements

Read Full Post »


The article below I found interesting and wanted to share with anyone who is concerned about happenings in our world today.
We should all be worried about this company and the stuff they are “genetically engineering” that appears to be killing us a little at a time every time we eat something. I’m glad the Obama administration is at least investigating them and the FDA needs to get off of their asses and check into this. It always seems the government, who we rely on to protect us, is always the last ones to act on something. One can only hope the media will get in on this and report it to the public using every media outlet. Yeah, right.
===========================================================================================

Monsanto: The evil corporation in your refrigerator
Bob Cesca Feb 4th 2010 at 7:30PM

When we consider the rogue’s gallery of devilish, over-sized, greedy and disproportionately powerful corporations, we generally come up with outfits like Microsoft, Bechtel, AIG, Halliburton, Goldman-Sachs, Exxon-Mobil and the United States Senate. Yet somehow, Monsanto, arguably the most devilish, over-sized, greedy and disproportionately powerful corporation in the world has been able to more or less skulk between the raindrops — only a household name in households where documentaries like Food Inc. are regarded as light Friday evening entertainment. My house, for example. But for the most part, if you were to ask an average American for their list of sinister corporations, Monsanto probably wouldn’t make the cut.

It should.

Founded by Missouri pharmacist John Francis Queeny in 1901, Monsanto is literally everywhere. Just about every non-organic food product available to consumers has some sort of connection with Monsanto.

Anyone who can read a label knows that corn, soy and cotton can be found in just about every American food product. Upwards of 90% of all corn, soybeans and cotton are grown from genetically engineered seeds, also known as genetically modified organisms (GMOs). These genetically enhanced products appear in around 70% of all American processed food products. And Monsanto controls 90% of all genetically engineered seeds. In other words, Monsanto controls — and owns patents on — most of the American food supply.

When you consider, as Walletpop originally reported, that one-in-four food labels is inaccurate, that the F.D.A.’s testing is weak at best, then how can we trust one corporation to have so much control over our produce? The answer is, we can’t.

Recently, a study by the International Journal of Biological Sciences revealed that Monsanto’s Mon 863, Mon 810, and Roundup herbicide-absorbing NK 603 in corn caused kidney and liver damage in laboratory rats. Scientists also discovered damage to the heart, spleen, adrenal glands and even the blood of rats that consumed the mutant corn. A “state of hepatorenal toxicity” the study concluded.

This hasn’t slowed down Monsanto’s profit machine. In 2008, Monsanto cleared over $2 billion in net profits on $11 billion in revenues. And its 2009 is looking equally as excellent.

Author and food safety advocate Robyn O’Brien told me, “Monsanto is expecting gross margins in Q2 2010 of 62%, its corn and soy price mix to be up 8-10% and its glyphosate revenue to expand to an estimated $1 billion in gross profit by 2012, enabling Monsanto to further drive R&D into seeds and to price those seeds at a premium – further driving price increases on the farm and in the grocery stores.”

This, O’Brien says, in the same year when farm income declined by around 34%.

Because Monsanto claims that its GMOs create higher yields and therefore comparatively higher revenues per acre for struggling American farmers, they’re certainly a tempting option. On the surface, that is. Monsanto controls its seeds with an iron fist, so even if you happen to own a farm next to another farm upon which Monsanto seeds are used, and if those seeds migrate onto your land, Monsanto can sue you for royalties.

Additionally, if you use seeds from crops grown from Monsanto seeds, a process known as “seed cleaning,” you also have to pay royalties to Monsanto or it will sue you. All told, Monsanto has recovered $15 million in royalties by suing farmers, with individual settlements ranging from five figures to millions of dollars each.

Back in 2004, farmer Kem Ralph served eight months in jail and was fined $1.3 million for lying about Monsanto cotton seeds he was hiding in his barn as a favor to a friend. They weren’t even his seeds (yeah, that’s what they all say!). By way of comparison, the fine in Ralph’s home state of Tennessee for, say, cocaine possession, is $2,500.

In keeping with the Orwellian nature of modern marketing, one of the first phrases you see on the front page of the Monsanto website is “we help farmers.” Funny. In a cruelly ironical way, that is.

In fairness, the argument in support of Monsanto is generally “it makes more food for lower prices.” Of course this is a red herring. Basic economics proves that choice and competition create lower prices. Not monopolies. This applies not only to American grocery stores, but also in terms of feeding developing nations where food is scarcer. Moreover, stronger Monsanto herbicides, compatible with herbicide resistant seeds, are giving rise to mutant Wolverine-ish super weeds that have adapted and are rapidly spreading through the air to farms that don’t use Monsanto GMOs, destroying obviously vulnerable crops. Say nothing of the inevitable mutant bugs that will adapt to the pesticides that are implanted into the Monsanto Mon 810 genetic code. And if further studies indicate similar organ damage in humans, the externalized costs to health care systems will begin to seriously out-weigh the benefits of cheaper food.

Ultimately, there are better, healthier ways to make cheaper food. Until then the best thing we can do is to demand further investigations and buy organic products whenever practical.

And if you can’t afford to buy organic, O’Brien recommends, “A great first step, given how pervasive these ingredients are in processed foods that often use these ingredients to extend shelf life, is to reduce your exposure to processed foods and stick with pronounceable ingredients and foods that your grandmother would have served her kids.”

Meanwhile, let’s endeavor to make Monsanto a household name. But not in a good way.

On January 15, the Obama Justice Department launched an anti-trust investigation against the corporate behemoth over its next generation of genetically modified “Roundup Ready” soybean seeds. The very next day, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear the case Monsanto v. Geertson Seed Farms, which challenges the safety of genetically modified agricultural products — the centerpiece of the Monsanto empire. If the investigation fails, farmers will have to switch over to the next generation of Roundup Ready seeds in 2014. And the cycle of corporate abuse and monopolization will continue.

Source

Read Full Post »