Suddenly, it's not so bad being the owner of a Volkswagen TDI “clean diesel” car. The settlement announced this week by VW will reward owners handsomely, a...

Suddenly, it's not so bad being the owner of a Volkswagen TDI “clean diesel” car. The settlement announced this week by VW will reward owners handsomely, according to an analysis by Autolist.

Thousands of U.S. consumers have been stuck with vehicles they assumed were good for the environment. But VW admitted last fall that the onboard computer adjusted the diesel emissions when it sensed an emissions test was taking place.



During the tests, the emissions were reduced to within standards. The rest of the time, the cars gave off emissions well above legal standards.

As a result, VW agreed to a more than $14 billion settlement, requiring it to buy back affected vehicles and terminate leases, as well as pay consumers cash reparations.

After studying the details of the deal, Autolist concludes consumers will come out ahead. The company reports nominal vehicle value has gone down an average of $2,017 because of the diesel emissions cheating scandal.

Owners, meanwhile, are getting $5,100 to $10,000 settlement reparations payments alone. That's 250% to 500% more than the loss.

At the same time, the anticipated market value of scandal and non-scandal vehicles has recovered to 4.8% and 1.5% below expectations, respectively. That's sharply higher since March.

Despite the recovery, however, it still takes a long time to sell a Volkswagen. Time on the market is up to all time highs, even for cars not involved in the scandal. Autolist.com says brand perception damage and the lack of a real fix for the scandal-affected cars may hurt sales for months to come.

According to Edmunds.com's projections for June auto sales, VW sales are expected to be down only 2.1% from June 2015, before the scandal broke. Even more encouraging for the brand, VW sales are expected to rise 0.4% from May.

Amazon.com is releasing a few details about its second annual Prime Day, a July 12 shopping event that is designed to get consumers doing their Christmas s...

Amazon.com is releasing a few details about its second annual Prime Day, a July 12 shopping event that is designed to get consumers doing their Christmas shopping in the middle of the summer.

The company says the special shopping day will feature over 100,000 items, with new deals announced every five minutes throughout the day. As was the case last year, consumers must be Prime members in order to take advantage of the bargains.

“Prime Day is a unique opportunity to discover new items and great deals, on top of our already low prices,” said Greg Greeley, Vice President of Amazon Prime. "Following last year’s record sales, we have dramatically increased the inventory behind many deals.”

Amazon racked up record sales on last year's Prime Day, but Phil Dengler, principal at Jones-Dengler Marketing and operator of the website BestBlackFriday.com, says the retailer has plenty of room for improvement.

“Shoppers were largely disappointed with Prime Day last year because of the sheer number of irrelevant items — beard growers, toilet paper, lighter sleeves and other items that no one really wanted,” Dengler told ConsumerAffairs. “While there were some great deals, ones that were comparable or even better than Black Friday, they sold out within a matter of minutes.”

Amazon has already promised the deal inventory of TV sets in the promotion will be nearly twice the number available on Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined. Dengler says that means consumers should be able to snag some pretty good deals, if last year's prices are any indication. In fact, he says consumers with TVs on their holiday list might do well to shop in July, rather than November.

“Last year, they sold a 32" HDTV for $75 and a 40" HDTV for $115,” Dengler said. “Both of those prices were better than the top Black Friday prices at the time.”

But he says its unlikely TV deals will be available throughout the day, so consumers will have to pay close attention.

Dengler says Prime Day looks promising so far, and will even get consumers better deals from Amazon's competitors. He notes that Walmart has announce a 30-day free trial of its free two-day shipping service. He expects Walmart will also roll out some serious deals of its own on July 12 as well.

But what if you aren't a Prime member? Dengler says it probably pays to take advantage of Amazon's 30-day free trial.

“If someone signs up for a Prime trial and finds that the service is not what they are looking for, they can simply cancel after 30 days and still be able to take part in Prime Day,” he said.

The bottom line, Dengler says, is Amazon's Prime Day should serve as a profitable way for consumers to get a head start on holiday shopping.

How are Jeeps and Mickey Mouse alike? Consumers regard them both as highly patriotic, that's how. In fact, Jeep and Disney tied for first place in a new Br...

How are Jeeps and Mickey Mouse alike? Consumers regard them both as highly patriotic, that's how. In fact, Jeep and Disney tied for first place in a new Brand Keys ranking of most patriotic brands, both hitting the 98% mark. Levi Strauss was second at 96% and Ralph Lauren third at 95%. 

"“Election years, and holidays like Independence Day, give marketers opportunities to help citizens celebrate –and brands to leverage– particular emotional values," said Brand Keys founder Robert Passikoff. "In this instance, brand advertising and social outreach typically features patriotic flag-waving and red-white-and-blue motifs, all in the cause of increased sales."” In the study, a national sample of 4,750 consumers, 16 to 65, were asked to evaluate which of the 248 brands included this year were most resonant when it comes to “patriotism.” Consumers identified the following brands as leading 2016’'s patriotism parade. Percentages indicate brands’ emotional engagement strength for the individual value of patriotism. 

1 Jeep/Disney (98%)  2 Levi Strauss (96%) 3 Ralph Lauren (95%) 4 Ford (94%) 5 Coca-Cola/Jack Daniels (93%) 6 Harley Davidson/Gillette (92%) 7 Apple/Coors/Sam Adams (91%) 8 Gatorade/Amazon (90%) 9 Zippo/Hershey’s/Kellogg’s (89%) 10 American Express/Wrigley’s (87%)  11 Colgate/Starbucks (88%)  12 Coach/New Balance (86%) 13 AT&T/Google (85%) 14 Marlboro/Converse (84%)  15 L.L. Bean/Facebook/J. Crew (83%) 16 McDonald’s/Kraft/KFC (82%) 17 John Deere/Louisville Slugger/Walmart/ABC TV/Nike / (81%)  18 Craftsman Tools/GE/Wells Fargo (80%)  19 49ers/Cowboys/NFL/Patriots/MLB/NY Yankees/Wrangler/Wilson Sporting Goods/Old Navy (79%)

“"When it comes to engaging consumers, waving an American flag and having an authentic foundation for being able to wave the flag are entirely different things, and the consumer knows it,”" added Passikoff.

He said "believability and authenticity" are the keys to emotional engagement. The more engaged a consumer with a particular emotional value and the associated brand, the more likely they'’ll act positively on that belief.

Now that British voters have decided to leave the European Union, the shock on the financial markets has begun to wear off. Cooler heads are pondering what...

Now that British voters have decided to leave the European Union, the shock on the financial markets has begun to wear off. Cooler heads are pondering what it means for the future.

For U.S. consumers, the implications are mostly positive, according to financial experts who have been offering up opinions over the last few days.

For the average person with his or her retirement savings in a 401(k) or other retirement account, it was probably unsettling to see the stock market sell off Friday and Monday the way it did. But by Tuesday, stocks were bouncing back and there are plenty of indications stock prices could go even higher from here.

What about savers with money in Treasury bonds? Actually, those consumers have done okay and are poised to do even better in the future. That's because since the Brexit vote, the yield on newly issued T-bills has plunged, making older bonds paying even the miserly rate of 1.8% more valuable.

Here's why: appearing on CNBC Thursday, Hilltop Securities' Mark Grant predicted the yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury bond would fall to below 1%. A bond with a 2% yield would be worth a lot more than its face value should the holder want to sell.

Grant predicts the worst impact of the Brexit vote will be felt in the European Union, which he predicts won't survive. With other central banks around the world now paying no yield, Grant predicts money will pour into the U.S. market, keeping U.S. rates low.

For consumers who don't own stocks or bonds but who would like to buy a home, this development would be helpful. Mortgage rates are based on the 30-year Treasury bond – the lower the yield falls the lower mortgage rates go. So already-low mortgage rates should go even lower in the next few weeks, making homes slightly more affordable.

That's bad for U.S. businesses that rely on exports because it makes their goods and services more expensive overseas. But for American consumers, a strong dollar means imported goods will be cheaper. Consumers who travel outside the U.S. will also find their money goes farther.

Additionally, since oil is priced in dollars, a strong U.S. currency will tend to keep oil prices in check.

With the passage of several days, many experts have tempered their original dire outlook. Billionaire investor George Soros, who was among the most alarmed by the Brexit vote, has told the European Parliament he no longer views Brexit as having a “tragic” outcome for Europe.

While an element of risk and uncertainty remains, the Brexit vote also has short-term positive implications for Wall Street. There is now near-universal agreement among economists that the Federal Reserve will refrain from the previously expected interest rate hike for the next few months. The low interest rate environment has been a major factor in the stock market's long rally.

Making sure a child grows up in a safe and supportive environment is of the utmost importance to many parents. But oftentimes, the need to protect and nurt...

Making sure a child grows up in a safe and supportive environment is of the utmost importance to many parents. But oftentimes, the need to protect and nurture our young can be taken too far. When this happens, parents can become too controlling or overly involved -- not allowing their children any freedom to grow and learn on their own. This is often referred to as “helicopter parenting.”

While the actions of these kinds of parents might come with the best of intentions, new research concludes that it might actually be detrimental in the long-run. A study conducted at Florida State University (FSU) shows helicopter parenting can lead to feelings of inadequacy and depression for young people entering into adulthood.

“Helicopter parents are parents who are overly involved. . . They mean everything with good intentions, but it often goes beyond supportive to intervening in in the decisions of emerging adults,” said Kayla Reed, a doctoral student at FSU.

For the purposes of the study, researchers surveyed over 460 college students between the ages of 18 and 25 to gauge how involved their mothers were in life decisions; the researchers focused primarily on mothers because, traditionally, they act as primary care givers.

Additionally, the students were asked to self-assess their own ability to handle difficult situations, as well as factors like depression, life satisfaction, anxiety, and physical health.

Participants were asked how their mothers would respond to various hypothetical situations. For example, they asked how mothers of participants would react to knowing that their child was having a fight with a roommate.

Responses varied, with some mothers encouraging their children to resolve the conflict on their own and others taking a direct hand and talking to the roommate themselves.

After analyzing responses from each participant, the researchers found that those who reported higher levels of autonomy from their parents also said they had greater life satisfaction, better physical health, and more confidence in their own self-efficacy.

On the flip side, children of helicopter parents were more likely to report low levels of life satisfaction and self-efficacy, as well as higher levels of anxiety and depression. Physical health was also generally worse for these young adults.

“The way your parents interact with you has a lot to do with how you view yourself. . . If parents are simply being supportive, they are saying things like ‘you can manage your finances, you can pick out your classes.’ It changes if they are doing that all for you,” said Mallory Lucier-Greer, assistant professor of Family and Child Sciences at FSU.

“I think there are good intentions behind these helicopter behaviors, but at the end of the day you need to foster your child’s development,” she concludes.

Being uprooted during childhood may impact a person’s mental health well into adulthood, according to a new study. Researchers followed 1.5 million Dan...

Does $10 sound about right for getting delivery of online purchases by drone in one hour? Seventy-three percent of consumers say they would pay that and 79...

Does $10 sound about right for getting delivery of online purchases by drone in one hour? Seventy-three percent of consumers say they would pay that and 79% say they would choose drone delivery if it was available.

It's quite a leap from just a few decades ago, when it seemed like an amazing bargain to get next-day delivery of documents via Federal Express for only $35. Now we want the stuff we buy when we want it ... and when we want it is now.

We won't have to wait long. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is expected to approve commercial drone delivery by 2019 and a recent study by Walker Sands hints that's none too soon.

The study, dubbed Future of Retail 2016, surveyed 1,433 U.S. adults and found that 40% of consumers expect that they will receive their first package delivered by drone within the next two years.

There are some lingering concerns, however, with 13% saying they don't trust the idea of drone delivery; 72% expressed fears that the packages would be damaged. 

But in general, the study finds that consumers are generally beginning to accept the premise and possible value proposition of drone delivery, although they're not quite clear how drone delivery will fit into their daily routine. 

Kids don’t have to be sitting at a desk to experience a boost in brain power. In fact, time spent out of the classroom may actually help kids get better gr...

Kids don’t have to be sitting at a desk to experience a boost in brain power. In fact, time spent out of the classroom may actually help kids get better grades.

According to new research, exercise and physical activity can help improve kids’ academic performance. Additionally, it has been shown to improve physical health and brain development in 6 to 18-year-old children.

The research, which comes in the form of a statement from the University of Exeter, shows that just about any form of physical activity can have a positive impact on kids' brains. 

A single session of moderate exercise has immediate positive effects on brain function and academic performance, according to the panel of experts who contributed to the statement.

And it doesn’t matter whether the activity is structured or unstructured or if it takes place in school or out of school; the simple act of gaining a mastery of basic movements is what helps the brain.

In light of this finding, experts say educators shouldn’t hesitate to incorporate physical activity into every aspect of school life. Doing so not only helps kids' developing brains, it can improve their overall health and well-being. 

Heart disease and type two diabetes are two health risks that can be kept at bay via vigorous physical activity during childhood, according to the statement. But even non vigorous activity has been shown to improve kids’ health.

Frequent sessions of low- to- moderate level exercise can improve children’s heart health and their metabolism -- which can, in turn, help stave off a number of other health conditions.

Engaging in regular physical activity with peers may also give children’s self-esteem a boost, which may help bolster their confidence, strengthen their relationships, and improve their overall sense of wellbeing.

All in all, there's no downside to allowing kids to take a break from school to engage in physical activity. On the contrary, experts say time taken away from lessons is time well spent.

It's become a cliché that Asian families are ardent in their pursuit of education. The downside of that worthy pursuit is that it creates opportunities for...

It's become a cliché that Asian families are ardent in their pursuit of education. The downside of that worthy pursuit is that it creates opportunities for scam artists and con men, said New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman, who recently settled with Xpeed Learning Academy. 

Schneiderman said Xpeed used false advertising to lure Chinese-speaking parents to enroll their children in a summer enrichment program. Xpeed, its parent company Global Elites Network, and its owner, Maverick Bian, will pay $60,000 in restitution to parents of children in the program. The settlement also requires the company to cease its deceptive advertising of the program and to make changes to the company’s refund policy. 

“This company took advantage of parents’ natural desire to go the extra mile to help their children achieve academic success,” said Attorney General Schneiderman.  “These devoted parents spent thousands of dollars to try to help their children succeed. But Xpeed was a company that touted empty promises, squandering parents’ hard-earned money and their children’s limited academic time. I am pleased that we have been able to secure restitution for these affected families, while also sending a message that this type of conduct will not be tolerated.”

Xpeed advertised in Chinese-language media, promising that its 2015 summer program would boost children’s academic level by three grade levels in just eight weeks; transform poor-performing students into top students; enable children to complete high school by the age of 10; and even turn all children into “child prodigies” using a special new learning methodology and one-on-one tutoring.  Xpeed also promised intensive SAT tutoring for high school students. 

But an investigation by Schneiderman's office found that the company was unable to provide substantiation for the miraculous results promised in its advertisements. Moreover, the 2015 summer program failed to provide the promised one-on-one tutoring at the start of the program, and provided virtually no SAT tutoring at the largest Xpeed site, in Flushing, Queens. In addition, the program failed to provide any group instruction. 

Schneiderman also said that children at the program’s six sites were told to spend hours engaged in “independent-study” using haphazardly-chosen educational computer “apps.” The college students hired as “tutors” were provided with virtually no training in any special “learning methodology.”

Parents typically paid more than $3,000 for the 2015 summer program, and some parents paid as much as $8,000. 

If you are a parent of a child who was enrolled in the 2015 Xpeed summer program and you have not already filed a complaint with Schneiderman's office, you can file a complaint online.

A new breakthrough in brain cancer research has shed light on how fatal brain tumors grow and has introduced a new drug target for treatment of the disease...

A new breakthrough in brain cancer research has shed light on how fatal brain tumors grow and has introduced a new drug target for treatment of the disease. Findings suggest that instead of growing through sugar consumption, glioma – a type of malignant brain tumor – are fueled by fats.

Researchers hope that the discovery will enhance the scientific community’s understanding of tumor behavior and allow for more precise treatments to emerge.

“Our results provide new insight into the fundamental biochemistry of cancer cells, with exciting implications for patients in the future,” said Dr. Elizabeth Stoll, lead author of the study.

The study, which was conducted at Newcastle University in the United Kingdom, utilized tumor tissue from both patients undergoing surgery and mouse models. The tissues were treated with a drug called etomoxir, which inhibits cells' ability to make energy by using fatty acids.

The researchers found that the tumors grew much more slowly after being treated with etomoxir. This suggests that targeting fatty-acid metabolism may provide an additional therapeutic avenue that doctors can take advantage of in the future.

“Most cells within the adult brain require sugars to produce energy and sustain function. Interestingly, we have discovered that malignant glioma cells have a completely different metabolic strategy as they actually prefer to break down fats to make energy,” said Stoll. “Our finding provides a new understanding of brain tumour biology, and a new potential drug target for fighting this type of cancer.”

The researchers hope that they will be able to conduct studies with clinical partners so that a new drug can be developed in the future. The full study has been published in journal Neuro-Oncology.

Lionsgate and Starz, who together are responsible for much of the video entertainment you watch on cable and internet, are joining forces.Lionsgate has...

Lionsgate and Starz, who together are responsible for much of the video entertainment you watch on cable and internet, are joining forces.

Lionsgate has announced a deal to purchase Starz for $4.4 billion and creating what the companies call a “global content powerhouse” with unlimited growth opportunities.

According to Lionsgate, the combination will greatly increase the combined enterprise's ability to create and distribute movies and TV programs across all consumer platforms – movie theaters, cable and satellite TV providers, mobile and broadband. It means it could make deals with content providers as well as grow the two companies' own over-the-top (OTT) distribution services.

It also demonstrates some new thinking in the executive suite, since Starz famously refused to renew its contract with Netflix in early 2012 over concern Netflix posed a threat to its bigger, and more lucrative cable clients. For its part, Netflix adapted by streaming more TV series and producing original content – two moves that have greatly influenced the evolution of digital entertainment.

Now, the combined Lionsgate-Starz will be the 800-pound gorilla in the room, in a stronger position if and when it wants to cut deals with Netflix and other platforms. Lionsgate points out the combined assets of the two companies include a 16,000-title film and television program library, along with an independent television business that has 87 original series on 42 U.S. networks. The feature film business has generated over $7 billion in global box office in the last four years.

"The combination of Lionsgate and Starz brings significant scale to our portfolio of content and distribution assets and will enable us to compete successfully in today's rapidly evolving global entertainment marketplace," said Dr. Mark H. Rachesky, Lionsgate's chairman.

The industry trade Deadline Hollywood reports Liberty Media's John Malone, Starz's controlling stockholder, was the driving force behind the deal. He reportedly felt the need to get bigger in order to stay competitive with the likes of Netflix and HBO.

Consumers loosened up their purse strings a bit last month.The Commerce Department reports personal consumption expendi...

The Commerce Department reports personal consumption expenditures (PCE) increased by $53.5 billion, or 0.4%. Personal income, by the way, also rose -- $37.1 billion, or 0.2% -- and disposable personal income (DPI), what you have left after the government gets its cut, was up by $33.9 billion, or 0.2%.

Most of the income increase came from a rise of $14.7 billion in wages and salaries, well below $40.4 billion advance in April. Private wages and salaries were up $11.8 billion, while government wages and salaries inched up $2.9 billion.

Personal outlays, which is made up of PCE, personal interest payments, and personal current transfer payments, rose just $57.0 billion in May, after a surge of $144.6 billion in April.

Personal saving -- DPI less personal outlays -- was $730.6 billion last month, pushing the personal saving rate down 0.1% to 5.3%.

After falling sharply in the preceding week, first time applications for state unemployment benefits jumped a bit in the week ending June 25.

The Department of Labor (DOL) reports initial jobless applications rose by 10,000 to a seasonally adjusted 268,000. The previous week's level was revised down by 1,000.

It's now 69 consecutive weeks that the initial claims level has been below 300,000 -- the longest streak since 1973.

The four-week moving average, considered a more accurate gauge of the labor market as it lacks the weekly tally's volatility, was unchanged from the previous week at 266,750.

Volkswagen Group of America is recalling model year 2008-2009 Audi A4, A5, and Q5 vehicles, in which the airbag control units may corrode and fail. ...

Volkswagen Group of America is recalling model year 2008-2009 Audi A4, A5, and Q5 vehicles, in which the airbag control units may corrode and fail.

If the air bag control unit fails, the air bags may not deploy in the event of a crash, increasing the risk of occupant injury.

Audi will notify owners, and dealers will replace the air bag control unit, free of charge. The manufacturer has not yet provided a notification schedule.

Owners may contact Audi customer service at 1-800-253-2834. Volkswagen's number for this recall is 69O1.

Eillien's Candies of Green Bay, Wis., is recalling various snack products containing Roasted-Salted Sunflower Kernels and Roasted-Unsalted Sunflower Kernel...

Eillien's Candies of Green Bay, Wis., is recalling various snack products containing Roasted-Salted Sunflower Kernels and Roasted-Unsalted Sunflower Kernels.

Customers who purchased any of the recalled products should dispose of or return them to the place of purchase for a full refund.

Consumers with questions about the recall may contact Eillien's Candies customer service toll free at 800-448-1556, Monday Through Friday 6:00 AM to 5:00 PM (CT).

Fresh Express Incorporated is recalling 7.6-oz. net weight Fresh Express Caesar Salad Kits. The product may contain walnuts, an allergen not listed...

Customers who purchased the recalled product should discard it. A refund is available at the place of purchase or by contacting the Fresh Express consumer response center toll-free at (800) 242-5472 from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. (ET).

Since skyrocketing student loan debt became a major cause for concern, there has been some debate on the value of an expensive college education. Higher ed...

Adopting a diet that is rich in fruits and vegetables is beneficial from a general health standpoint, but a new study suggests that it may also reduce the ...

Adopting a diet that is rich in fruits and vegetables is beneficial from a general health standpoint, but a new study suggests that it may also reduce the risk of contracting type 2 diabetes.

Researchers from the Institute of Health and Society and the Human Nutrition Research Centre at Newcastle University have found that these foods reduce biomarkers of inflammation and oxidative stress, which are major risk factors for the disease.

“This research points towards the importance of improving our understanding of the relation between diet as a whole and chronic disease outcomes such as type 2 diabetes,” the researchers stated.

The study utilized over 1,500 responses from the National Diet and Nutrition Survey (NDNS), an annual survey that evaluates food consumption and nutritional status in the United Kingdom. Within this sample, the researchers tested two specific blood biomarkers that were taken from participants.

The two biomarkers that were tested were a serum C-reactive protein, which can be used to measure inflammation, and a plasma carotenoid, which measures oxidative stress in the body. They found that people who consumed higher amounts of fruits and vegetables had lower levels of these biomarkers, which put them at reduced risk of having type 2 diabetes.

Going forward, the researchers say that they want to find out which specific foods had the greatest impact on lowering inflammation and oxidative stress. They also want to test to see if certain combinations of foods can provide greater benefits.

“Though we know that individual foods may reduce inflammation and oxidative stress, we know little of how foods interact together and in relation to nutrients to achieve a desired health outcome,” they said.

They also hope to garner more information in the future in order to “understand even more how the diet of people with undiagnosed or diagnosed diabetes differs from people who do not have diabetes.”

Does a forecasted thunderstorm leave you in anticipation of a night spent trying to calm your anxiety-ridden pooch? If so, you might be interested to l...

Does a forecasted thunderstorm leave you in anticipation of a night spent trying to calm your anxiety-ridden pooch?

If so, you might be interested to learn of a new drug by Zoetis called Sileo: the first medication approved by the FDA to treat noise aversion in dogs.

Noise aversion affects an estimated 40 percent of dogs, new research shows. And the condition can be as stressful for dogs as it is for their human parents.

Fear reactions are most commonly seen as a response to fireworks (81%) or thunderstorms (73%), but some pet owners report that gunshots, construction noises, or even doorbells send their pups into panic mode.

Common signs of noise aversion include trembling or shaking, hiding, whining, whimpering, or barking. But in some cases, dogs may actually run away due to fear. Experts say it’s no coincidence that July 5th is the busiest day of the year for shelters.

Many dogs end up at shelters as a result of their fear of loud noises, whether they experienced a flight response caused by fireworks or because their owners surrendered them due to behaviors caused by noise aversion.

“Many pet owners don’t recognize noise aversion as a medical condition, but it is important to get treatment early because if left untreated, noise aversion can progress to a more severe state,” said Sharon Campbell, DVM, MS, DACVIM, Veterinary Specialist, Medical Lead, Analgesia, Sedation, Anesthesia for Zoetis in a statement.

Now, the first medication developed specifically to treat this serious medical condition has become available.

Sileo is a flavorless calming gel that can be prescribed by your veterinarian and administered at home. And unlike some calming agents, it doesn’t involve sedation.

Instead of masking symptoms, as sedatives do, the drug attempts to tackle the phobia itself by inhibiting norepinephrine -- a brain chemical associated with anxiety and fear. 

The gel, which is measured in a syringe ($30), is squeezed between the dog’s cheek and gum. While drugs like Prozac may take up to six weeks to begin calming a nervous dog, Sileo is absorbed within 30 minutes. It then lasts for several hours.

Tests have shown that the treatment works in the majority of cases. Three-quarters of pet parents said their dogs’ response to fireworks was “good to excellent” after being given the drug.

Given the choice between more money or more time, which would you choose? Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Califor...

Uber will be looking even more closely over its drivers' shoulders as its latest app rolls out -- it will be monitoring its drivers' behavior on the road, ...

Uber will be looking even more closely over its drivers' shoulders as its latest app rolls out -- it will be monitoring its drivers' behavior on the road, measuring speed, braking and other data through the motion sensor in the drivers' smartphones.

"We believe that technologies like Uber provide an incredible opportunity to improve road safety in new and innovative ways — before, during and after every ride," said Joe Sullivan, Uber's chief security officer.

Starting today, Uber said drivers in four cities will be shown a summary after each trip that shows how smooth their driving was, with separate scores for acceleration, braking, and speed.

The apps won't wait until the trip is over to warn drivers about their speed; it will alert them immediately if it detects that they are going over the speed limit.

There are, of course, many metro areas where the speed limit is barely observed at all, and anyone driving at the posted speed is likely to be tailgated and harrassed, so it remains to be seen how well that feature plays out in practice. 

Uber is also crediting itself with reducing drunken driving incidents. As the July 4th holiday looms, Uber studied drunken driving arrests in Atlanta and found that the number of arrests has gone down in nearly direct proportion to the number of Uber rides.

Warm weather has arrived for the summer in much of the U.S.. and so have the mosquitoes. Whether any of them carry the Zika virus, which has triggered a he...

Warm weather has arrived for the summer in much of the U.S.. and so have the mosquitoes. Whether any of them carry the Zika virus, which has triggered a health crisis in Latin America, is unknown, but chances are that some of them do.

Meanwhile, federal funding to combat the disease has become a political football in Washington, with Democrats and Republicans taking turns blocking a funding bill over unrelated provisions added to the legislation.

This week, Senate Democrats balked at a $1.1 billion funding measure after Republicans in the House added provisions benefiting their favorite causes. The Washington Post reports passage this summer of any kind of Zika funding is unlikely.

Meanwhile, scientists in the lab are reportedly making progress. Researchers have tested two Zika vaccines on mice and found they provide “complete protection.” Whether they will work on humans will have to be demonstrated in clinical trials, which of course take time.

Kansas State University's Biosecurity Research Institute is also working on the issue, studying mosquitoes to understand how they become infected with Zika virus in the first place. The institute's director, Stephen Higgs, says the key to Zika prevention probably lies in controlling mosquitoes.

Since the Zika virus was first reported in Brazil last year, there have been more than 700 cases in the U.S., nearly all from people returning home after international travel. Over the summer, health officials are concerned about the virus being spread through mosquitoes, as well as by person-to-person contact.

Fit Organic, which produces organic consumer products, has compiled a list of the top 10 Zika zones in the U.S., highlighting metro areas where residents may be most at risk. They are:

Until there is a vaccine, the best way to protect yourself from contracting the Zika virus is to avoid mosquitoes and to use insect repellent when you are outdoors.

The Zika virus is very similar to other mosquito-borne illnesses, such as dengue fever, with one important exception. Pregnant women who become infected may give birth to children with a severe birth defect.

A new method for treating cancer may provide hope to children and patients with inoperable forms of the disease. The technique, which has been patented by ...

A new method for treating cancer may provide hope to children and patients with inoperable forms of the disease. The technique, which has been patented by UTSA associate professor Matthew Gdovin, kills cancer cells through a combination of injections and light radiation which forces the harmful cells to die off.

The method may have some far-reaching implications due to its ability to fight a wide variety of cancers. Gdovin says that every form of the disease can be affected by it.

“Even though there are many different types of cancers, the one thing they have in common is their susceptibility to this induced cell suicide,” he said.

At its most basic form, the new method, called photodynamic cancer therapy, relies on making cancerous cells very acidic so that they can no longer persist. This may seem ironic, Gdovin says, because changing acidity is one tool that cancer uses to thrive.

“All forms of cancer attempt to make cells acidic on the outside as a way to attract the attention of a blood vessel, which attempts to get rid of the acid. . . Instead, the cancer latches onto the blood vessel and uses it to make the tumor larger and larger,” he explains.

To test the technique, Gdovin used it on a form of triple negative breast cancer, which has historically been one of the most aggressive and difficult forms of cancer to treat; as a result, prognosis for it is generally very poor. After one treatment, Gdovin found that his photodynamic therapy had stopped tumors from growing in mouse models, effectively doubling their chance of survival.

Although changing acidity may not be a new idea as far as cancer therapies go, this new method allows for a high degree of accuracy because it can solely target tumors. Also, because it only requires an injection and use of ultraviolet light, it is much less invasive than other treatment methods. This is especially important to patients who can no longer receive regular chemotherapy, as well as children who otherwise might experience permanent damage as a result of radiation.

Going forward, Gdovin intends to test his method on drug-resistant cancer cells to see if he can make further improvements. He also has begun development on a nanoparticle that can be injected into metastasized cancer cells and activated by certain wavelengths of light.

“There are so many types of cancer for which the prognosis is very poor. . . We’re thinking outside the box and finding a way to do what for many people is simply impossible,” he said.

Crowdsourcing is a way for charities and public interest causes to quickly raise money. Companies like GoFundMe and Kickstarter have been game-changers, al...

Crowdsourcing is a way for charities and public interest causes to quickly raise money. Companies like GoFundMe and Kickstarter have been game-changers, allowing groups to quickly raise needed cash.

But like any good thing, scammers have figured out how to exploit it. By setting up a bogus campaign based on a lie, a scammer can quickly raise thousands of dollars from well-intentioned people, and pocket all of it.

"Technology has enhanced our lives in many positive ways, but it has also made it very easy for unscrupulous people to take advantage of those seeking to help others or contribute positively to a cause," said Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen.

Jepsen recently urged consumers in his state to do some homework about a campaign before supporting it financially.

Jonathan Harris, Connecticut's Consumer Protection Commissioner, says the basic first step is to check a charity's registration information. Scammers usually don't bother to register.

Ask plenty of questions if it is an unfamiliar cause, and use a search engine to research the campaign or the organization. If it is a scam, chances are there will be some warnings about it online.

“Collect any relevant background information before giving, even if it means foregoing donating immediately, and donating later," Harris said.

Remember, a reputable charity will be transparent about its plans and will not use high-pressure tactics to solicit a donation. If you have questions, you deserve and should expect honest answers.

It would be a mistake to assume that an organization running a funding campaign has been vetted. You need to do your own research and feel completely comfortable before giving.

Here's a tip for organizations running a crowdsourcing campaign: Jepsen says you should disclose up front how much of the donation will be retained by the crowdsourcing site. Also, encourage donors to learn more about your organization but to do their research outside of the crowdsourcing site.

People convicted of sexual predator crimes go on a national list so that others are aware of the potential danger they may pose.A member of Congress ha...

People convicted of sexual predator crimes go on a national list so that others are aware of the potential danger they may pose.

A member of Congress has proposed a similar list for those convicted of running scams. Rep. Gwen Graham (D-FL) says such a list is needed to help protect senior citizens from fraud and abuse.

“Florida has a reputation as the best place in America to retire,” Graham said. “Unfortunately, that reputation is under threat by an increase in elder abuse and fraud targeting seniors.”

Graham has introduced legislation to create a national registry of people who have been convicted of abusing or scamming seniors, to make them more easily identified.

Using state of Florida data, Graham estimates that there were more than 2,500 cases of scams directed against seniors last year in her state alone. She says these crimes have risen by 74% over the last five years.

Under her proposal, the Justice Department would design a registry that states could use as a guide to develop their own lists of offenders. The lists would be public and searchable, identifying people found guilty of committing both physical and financial crimes against older people.

She notes that a few states already have such a registry. If the Justice Department created the model, she says, more states would provide the service.

Once all the states created lists, Graham said the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) could then compile all the information and make it accessible through a national database.

Access to warnings and information about scams and scammers could help consumers avoid being victimized, officials say. While technology has made consumers more vulnerable to scams, technology may also hold the key to prevention efforts.

Last month Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear launched a text messaging service that notifies consumers in his state when a new scam surfaces or an old one picks up intensity.

Through the program, Beshear has warned consumers in his state of a student loan debt relief scam, a Publishers Clearing House Sweepstakes scam, and a scam targeting previous scam victims.

Beshear notes that seniors are a major target of these schemes, losing nearly $37 billion a year nationwide.

After three straight months of increases, pending home sales have suffered a decline.The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reports its Pending Hom...

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reports its Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI), a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings, fell 3.7% in May to 110.8. While the index reading is still the third highest in the past year, it's down year-over-year (-0.2) for the first time since August 2014. I

“With demand holding firm this spring and homes selling even faster than a year ago1, the notable increase in closings in recent months took a dent out of what was available for sale in May and ultimately dragged down contract activity,” said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. “Realtors are acknowledging with increasing frequency lately that buyers continue to be frustrated by the tense competition and lack of affordable homes for sale in their market.”

Yun said that despite mortgage rates hovering around three-year lows for most of the year, scant supply and swiftly rising home prices -- which surpassed their all-time high last month -- are creating an availability and affordability crunch that’s preventing what should be a more robust pace of sales.

“Total housing inventory at the end of each month has remarkably decreased year-over-year now for an entire year3,” adds Yun. “There are simply not enough homes coming onto the market to catch up with demand and to keep prices more in line with inflation and wage growth.”

Regarding the second half of the year, Yun says the fallout from the U.K.’s decision to leave the European Union breeds both immediate opportunity as well as potential headwinds for the U.S. housing market.

“In the short term, volatility in the financial markets could very likely lead to even lower mortgage rates and increased demand from foreign buyers looking for a safer place to invest their cash,” he said. “On the other hand, any prolonged market angst and further economic uncertainty overseas could negatively impact our economy and end up tempering the overall appetite for homebuying.”

Despite last month's decline in contract signings, existing-home sales are still expected to be around 5.44 million this year -- a 3.7% surge from 2015.

After accelerating to 6.8% a year ago, national median existing-home price growth is forecast to moderate to between 4 and 5%.

Mortgage applications were lower last week for the second time in three weeks.According to the Mortgage Bankers Association,  applications were down 2....

According to the Mortgage Bankers Association,  applications were down 2.6% in the week ending June 24.

The Refinance Index fell 2%, while the refinance share of mortgage activity inched up to 58.1% of total applications from 57.7% a week earlier. The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity increased to 5.9%, the FHA dropped to 10.6% from 11.7%, the VA share was 12.2% and the USDA share of total applications rose to 0.7% from 0.6% the week prior.

A nice comeback for consumer confidence in June.After falling nearly two points in May -- to 92.4 -- The Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index® ...

After falling nearly two points in May -- to 92.4 -- The Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index® shot up more than five points this month to 98.0. The Present Situation Index jumped from 113.2 to 118.3, while the Expectations Index rose to 84.5 from 78.5.

“Consumers were less negative about current business and labor market conditions, but only moderately more positive, suggesting no deterioration in economic conditions, but no strengthening either,” said Conference Board Director of Economic Indicators Lynn Franco. “Expectations regarding business and labor market conditions, as well as personal income prospects, improved moderately. Overall, consumers remain cautiously optimistic about economic growth in the short-term.”

Consumers’ appraisal of current conditions improved in June. Those who said business conditions are “good” inched up from 26.1% to 26.9%, while those holding the opposing view dropped from 21.4% to 17.7%.

The assessment of the labor market was mixed. Consumers who think jobs are “plentiful” slipped from 24.5% to 23.4%. At the same time, those who believe jobs are “hard to get” also decreased -- from 24.5% to 23.3%.

Optimism regarding the short-term outlook improved in June. Those who expect business conditions to improve over the next six months rose from 15.0% to 16.8%, while those looking for conditions to get worse was down to 11.4% from 11.7%.

Consumers’ outlook for the labor market was more favorable than in May. The percentage anticipating more jobs in the months ahead increased from 12.5% to 14.2%, while those saying there will be fewer jobs decreased dipped from 18.2% to 17.9%.

The proportion of consumers who expect their incomes to increase advanced to 18.2% from 16.5%, while the proportion expecting a reduction fell 1.1% -- to 11.5%.

The monthly Consumer Confidence Survey®, based on a probability-design random sample, is conducted for The Conference Board by Nielsen, a provider of information and analytics around what consumers buy and watch. The cutoff date for the preliminary results was June 16.

GNP Company of Cold Spring, Minn., is recalling approximately 55,608 pounds of chicken products. Sand and black soil were found in some of the prod...

Sand and black soil were found in some of the products. The source of the contamination is currently under investigation.

The recalled products bear establishment number “P-322” inside the USDA mark of inspection and were shipped for food service and retail distribution nationwide.

Customers who purchased the recalled products should not consume them, but throw them away or return them to the place of purchase.

Polaris Industries Inc., of Medina, Minn., is recalling about 43,000 Polaris Ranger 570 ROVs. The ROVs can overheat during heavy engine loading, sl...

The ROVs can overheat during heavy engine loading, slow-speed intermittent use and/or high outdoor temperatures and catch fire.

The company has received seven reports of the recalled ROVs overheating and catching on fire. No injuries have been reported.

This recall involves 2015 and 2016 model year Polaris Ranger 570 recreational off-highway vehicles (ROVs). They have either two or four seats and a rear box. “Ranger” is printed on the rear box and “570” is printed on the hood. “Polaris” is stamped onto the front grill. The ROVs were sold in several colors.

The ROVs, manufactured in Mexico, were sold at Polaris dealers nationwide from August 2014, through June 2016, for between $10,000 and $12,500.

Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled ROVs and contact Polaris to schedule a free repair. Polaris is contacting all known purchasers directly.

Consumers may contact Polaris at 800-765-2747 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. (CT) Monday through Friday, or online at www.polaris.com and click on “Off-Road Safety Recalls” on the main page for more information.

Integrated Food Service (IFS), is recalling certain ready-to-eat sandwiches because that may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes. No illnes...

Integrated Food Service (IFS), is recalling certain ready-to-eat sandwiches because that may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.

The recalled products were distributed nationwide directly to a number of school districts and to foodservice distributors that serve school districts. No retail products are affected by this recall.

A list of recalled products and districts that received the products being recalled may be found on the IFS website.

Any school district that believes it may have product still in frozen storage that is affected by this recall may contact the IFS recall coordinator at (800) 560-9999 between 8AM and 5PM (PDT) Monday through Friday, or at by email at recall@integratedfoodservice.com for return or disposal instructions.

National Frozen Foods Corporation is voluntarily recalling a limited quantity of Not-Ready-To Eat frozen green peas and frozen mixed vegetables. Th...

National Frozen Foods Corporation is voluntarily recalling a limited quantity of Not-Ready-To Eat frozen green peas and frozen mixed vegetables.

The following product, distributed in retail stores nationwide between September 2, 2015, and June 23, 2016, are being recalled:

Customers who purchased the recalled products should not consume them, but return them to the place of purchase for a full refund.

Consumers with questions may contact the company at 1-800-253-8269 Monday – Friday 8.am to 5 p.m. (Pacific Time).

Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., is recalling about 482,000 model year 2010 - 2012 Prius; 2010 and 2012 Prius Plug-In Hybrids; and 2011 and 2012 Lexus CT 200h v...

Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., is recalling about 482,000 model year 2010 - 2012 Prius; 2010 and 2012 Prius Plug-In Hybrids; and 2011 and 2012 Lexus CT 200h vehicles.

The recalled vehicles are equipped with curtain shield air bags (CSA) in the driver and passenger side roof rails that have air bag inflators composed of two chambers welded together. Some inflators could have a small crack in the weld area joining the chambers, which could grow over time, and lead to the separation of the inflator chambers. This has occurred when the vehicle is parked and unoccupied for a period of time.

If an inflator separates, the CSA could partially inflate, and, in limited circumstances, one or both sections of the inflator could enter the interior of the vehicle. If an occupant is present in the vehicle, there is an increased risk of injury.

All known owners of the recalled vehicles will be notified by first class mail. Toyota and Lexus dealers will install retention brackets on the curtain shield air bag inflators at no cost. The retention brackets are designed to prevent the inflator chambers from entering the vehicle interior if separation occurs.

Information about automotive recalls, including but not limited to the list of involved vehicles, is subject to change over time.

The $14.7 billion settlements agreed to by Volkswagen today provide buyback and lease termination deals for nearly 500,000 consumers who bought the company...

The $14.7 billion settlements agreed to by Volkswagen today provide buyback and lease termination deals for nearly 500,000 consumers who bought the company's TDI "Clean Diesel" cars. However, the deals will not be available until this fall.

The affected vehicles include 2009 through 2015 Volkswagen TDI diesel models of Jettas, Passats, Golfs, and Beetles, as well as the TDI Audi A3.

Volkswagen will offer consumers a buyback and lease termination for nearly 500,000 model year 2009-2015 2.0 liter diesel vehicles sold or leased in the U.S., and spend up to $10.03 billion to compensate consumers under the program. 

In addition, the companies will spend $4.7 billion to mitigate the pollution from these cars and invest in green vehicle technology.

The settlements require Volkswagen to offer owners of any affected vehicle the option to have the company buy back the car and to offer lessees a lease cancellation at no cost.

Volkswagen may also propose an emissions modification plan to EPA and CARB, and if that plan is approved, it may also offer owners and lessees the option of having their vehicles modified to reduce emissions instead of taking a buyback.

Under the U.S./California settlement, Volkswagen must achieve an overall recall rate of at least 85% of affected 2.0 liter vehicles under these programs or pay additional sums into the mitigation trust fund. The FTC order requires Volkswagen to compensate consumers who elect either of these options. 

Volkswagen must set aside, and could spend up to, $10.03 billion to pay consumers in connection with the buyback, lease termination, and emissions modification compensation program. The program has different potential options and provisions for affected Volkswagen diesel owners depending on their circumstances:

Volkswagen must offer to buy back any affected 2.0 liter vehicle at  their retail value as of September 2015 -- just prior to the public disclosure of the emissions issue.

Consumers who choose the buyback option will receive between $12,500 and $44,000, depending on their car’s model, year, mileage, and trim of the car, as well as the region of the country where it was purchased.

In addition, because a straight buyback will not fully compensate consumers who owe more than their car is worth due to rapid depreciation, the FTC order provides these consumers with an option to have their loans forgiven by Volkswagen. 

Consumers who took out third party loans have the option of having Volkswagen pay off those loans, up to 130 percent of the amount a consumer would be entitled to under the buyback (e.g., if the consumer is entitled to a $20,000 buyback, VW would pay off his/her loans up to a cap of $26,000).

The settlements also allow Volkswagen to apply to EPA and CARB for approval of an emissions modification on the affected vehicles, and, if approved, to offer consumers the option of keeping their cars and having them modified to comply with emissions standards.  

Under this option, as part of an agreement with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), consumers would also receive money from Volkswagen to redress the harm caused by VW’s deceptive advertising. 

Consumers who sold their TDI vehicles after the VW defeat device issue became public may be eligible for partial compensation, which will be split between them and the consumers who purchased the cars from them as set forth in the FTC order.

Eligible consumers will receive notice from VW after the orders are entered by the court this fall. Consumers will be able to see if they are eligible for compensation and, if so, what options are available to them, at VWCourtSettlement.com and AudiCourtSettlement.com.

They will also be able to use these websites to make claims, sign up for appointments at their local Volkswagen or Audi dealers, and receive updates. 

Consumer payments will not be available until the settlements take effect if and when approved by the court, which may be as early as October 2016.

“Today’s announcement shows the high cost of violating our consumer protection and environmental laws,” said FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez. “Just as importantly, consumers who were cheated by Volkswagen’s deceptive advertising campaign will be able to get full and fair compensation, not only for the lost or diminished value of their car but also for the other harms that VW caused them.”

The FTC sued Volkswagen in March, charging that the company deceived consumers with the advertising campaign it used to promote its supposedly “clean diesel” VWs and Audis, which falsely claimed that the cars were low-emission, environmentally friendly, met emissions standards, and would maintain a high resale value.

The settlements use the authorities of both the EPA and the FTC as part of a coordinated plan that gets the high-polluting VW diesels off the road, makes the environment whole, and compensates consumers.

A few days ago, it was reported that Volkswagen would pay $10 billion to settle charges that it rigged more than 400,000 TDI "clean diesel" cars with softw...

UPDATE: Details of the proposed settlement -- with important information for VW diesel owners -- are now available here. 

A few days ago, it was reported that Volkswagen would pay $10 billion to settle charges that it rigged more than 400,000 TDI "clean diesel" cars with software to fool emissions tests. Today, the figure looks more like $15 billion.

A settlement is to be filed today (Tuesday) in U.S. District Court in San Francisco and reports say the company will agree to buy back vehicles at pre-scandal prices and compensate consumers as much as $10,000 per car. The cost of that is said to come to about $10 billion.

On top of that, the company will pay $2.7 billion in fines to federal and California state agencies, as well as $400 million to New York and other states, reports said, as well as other assorted penalties and payments that push the total to about $15 billion.

The estimates rose over the last few days, reports say, as negotiators revised their estimates of what it will take to get VW diesel owners to turn in their cars for repairs or buybacks. This reflects a little-noticed element in the Dieselgate scandal -- namely, that VW diesel owners tend to love their cars and don't want them modified in a way that would reduce their excellent gas mileage or peppy acceleration. 

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), the ranking member of the Senate Commerce, Science & Transportation Committee, said VW's scheme "was one of the most egregious examples of corporate fraud in recent history.”

“Today’s settlement is not only a victory for American consumers but hopefully it will serve as a deterrent to those who seek to intentionally deceive the public,” said Nelson, who lasst September pressed the Federal Trade Commission to seek compensation for consumers who relied on VW's false "Clean Diesel" advertising to make purchase decisions.     

The $15 billion will exceed by far any comparable U.S. settlement with a carmaker, but it won't spell the ends of VW's troubles. The company still faces lawsuits by consumers, dealers and governments in other jurisdictions. 

Assuming the proposed settlement is approved by Judge Charles Breyer,  owners will have to surrender their cars or agree to have them retrofitted to meet emissions standards.

The problem with that is that neither the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) nor the California Air Resources Board has approved the various fixes proposed by VW. Judge Breyer may agree to give the company another year or two to find a solution, sources said.

While some owners of VW diesels want to park their cars and never see them again, others like Ken Reed, an instructor at UC-Irvine, think the issue has been overblown.

"EPA has already fined VW. Now they're screwing the owners," he said in a comment on an earlier ConsumerAffairs story. "Let the fines stand and let the owners off the hook. I don't want to be forced to sell, and most VW owners would agree with me. EPA is screwing us as much as VW."

Looking for a parking space? Google may soon know where they are. It probably knows where you are too, so maybe it would make sense to put those data point...

Looking for a parking space? Google may soon know where they are. It probably knows where you are too, so maybe it would make sense to put those data points together.

That's apparently the thinking behind a secretive project involving Sidewalk Labs, a subsidiary of Google's parent corporation Alphabet, and the city of Columbus, Ohio.

The Guardian reports that Sidewalk Labs wants to "radically overhaul public parking and transportation in American cities" and is starting with Columbus, where it is working on a plan to improve parking and public transit.

Perhaps Sidewalk Labs is already thinking of pursuing transit solutions on a higher plane as well. Anyone familiar with the TSA's screening methodologies might welcome someone like Google or Amazon taking over the job of spotting possible terrorists and other troublemakers on passenger manifests.

We heard recently from a consumer who wears leg braces for a neurological condition and also has artificial, titanium knees. Although she is a Global Entry/TSA Pre-check member, she is never able to board a flight without a lengthy and humiliating examination and explanation of why she uses these devices to get around.

You would think this information would be included in TSA's profile of its Pre-check passsengers, but it's apparently not. It's hard to imagine Google being that bone-headed, so this may be a case where privatization is beneficial. 

Back on solid ground, Sidewalk Labs is making its cloud software called Flow available to Columbus, which recently won a $50 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation to be used in improving its transportation options.

Sidewalk Labs has been looking at ideas which include a system that would identify available parking spaces within a few blocks of one's destination. Besides making life more convenient, that might help reduce traffic congestion, since studies have shown that more than 30 percent of city traffic consists of drivers looking for a place to park.

Flow would use car-mounted cameras to keep track of parking availability, perhaps sticking a camera on every publicly-owned vehicle in the city.

“Only Google or Apple are in a position to track parking occupancy this way, without expensive sensors on poles or embedded in the tarmac,” said Alexei Pozdnoukhov, director of the Smart Cities Research Center at the University of California at Berkeley, according to the Guardian article.

Sidewalk is also looking at something called Flow Transit, which would integrate route and payment information for nearly every form of transport into Google Maps. You could enter a destination and get times and prices for everything from buses and taxis to Uber, Lyft, Zipcar, and even bike shares, the Guardian said.

Sidewalk Labs was spun out from Google last June with a mission to “improve city life for everyone.” Since then, it was part of a consortium that deployed several hundred free Wi-Fi kiosks in New York.

For consumers spending tens of thousands of dollars to send a son or daughter to college, and maybe going into debt to do so, this may come as a shock: you...

For consumers spending tens of thousands of dollars to send a son or daughter to college, and maybe going into debt to do so, this may come as a shock: your child may have one or more part-time professors.

A U.S. government report on “The Condition of Education” found that, between 1993 and 2013, the number of part-time faculty at the nation's colleges and universities increased by 104%.

It may not be a coincidence that during roughly the same period, part-time jobs proliferated throughout the U.S. economy as the number of full-time jobs declined. Many employees who wanted and needed full-time work had to settle for part-time hours.

As a result of the growth in part-time faculty, the report found part-time workers now make up 49% of the total college faculty workforce.

Colleges and universities have been moving toward more part-time faculty for three decades or more, and it is unclear what effect, if any, recent economic turmoil has had on the trend.

Other research has shown that many of the part-time faculty are clustered in community colleges, which often draw on professionals who can offer real-world experience.

The Condition of Education, published each year by the National Center for Education Statistics, analyzes education from preschool to the postgraduate years. The report covers everything from enrollment numbers to financial aid.

Of students enrolling in a bachelors degree program in 2008, only 60% had completed it six years later. Women did a better job of graduating than men – 62% to 57%.

Colleges are awarding more degrees. From 2003-2004 to 2013-2014, associate’s degrees increased by 51%, bachelor’s and master's degrees both increased by 34%, and doctoral degrees rose by 41%. Bachelor’s degrees were the most prevalent, with 1.9 million awarded in 2013-2014.

For-profit schools, which have been under regulatory pressure lately, generated $19,480 per student in 2013-2014, a 34% increase from 2008-2009.

While that's expensive, it's still less than the $20,293 generated by private, non-profit schools. But that figure only constituted a 6% increase, compared to a 17% increase in costs at public colleges and universities.

Somewhere between the nausea and fatigue, pregnant women may find themselves struck by a food craving.An estimated 50 to 90 percent of all pregnant wom...

Somewhere between the nausea and fatigue, pregnant women may find themselves struck by a food craving.

An estimated 50 to 90 percent of all pregnant women experience a food craving at some point in their pregnancy. But should moms-to-be always heed their body’s advice when it comes to food cravings?

According to a new study, maybe not. New research suggests that pregnant women who frequently succumb to cravings may be hurting their health rather than helping it.

Keeping your body -- and by extention, your growing baby -- healthy is the number one goal during pregnancy. But gaining too much weight during pregnancy should be avoided, as it can lead to health problems such as gestational diabetes, high blood pressure, and postpartum weight retention.

Cravings may be one culprit to blame for excessive weight gain. A study, published recently in the journal Appetite, has found that the more often women give into cravings, the more likely they are to gain too much weight during their pregnancy.

Between 40 to 60 percent of women put on too many pounds while they’re renting out a womb, studies show. But whether it’s due to frequently indulging those cravings or the mindset that you're “eating for two," gaining more weight than is recommended for your BMI can be harmful.

The most common pregnancy cravings were for fast food and sweets, the researchers discovered. Chocolate, pizza, ice cream, and cookies were the most craved foods. And the more often women experienced each craving, the higher the chance that they would give in to it.

In light of these findings, the researchers suggest coming up with skills and strategies that can keep cravings from sabotaging a pregnant woman’s efforts to maintain a healthy weight.

So what can pregnant women do to stifle the urge to hit the drive through or pick up a pint of ice cream?

As of now, the Federal Trade Commission bans certain types of payment methods by telemarketers, as part of an effort to reduce scammers' and con artists' a...

As of now, the Federal Trade Commission bans certain types of payment methods by telemarketers, as part of an effort to reduce scammers' and con artists' access to consumers' cash.

Under an amended FTC rule that went into effect this month, it is illegal for telemarketers to ask consumers to pay for goods or services using:

“Con artists like payments that are tough to trace and hard for people to reverse,” said Jessica Rich, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “The FTC’s new telemarketing rules ban payment methods that scammers like, but honest telemarketers don’t use.” The banned payment methods make it easy for unscrupulous telemarketers to debit bank accounts without consumers’ permission, and can make it difficult to reverse the transactions with consumers’ banks.

Any telemarketer requesting payment using these methods is a scammer because the payment method is illegal, the FTC said.

Businesses that want to be sure that they are on the right side of the law should consult a new guidance document available online. 

In recent years there has been plenty of research suggesting that there are health benefits that come with moderate alcohol consumption. Here's a study sug...

In recent years there has been plenty of research suggesting that there are health benefits that come with moderate alcohol consumption. Here's a study suggesting older consumers, in particular, should avoid it – or at least limit their consumption.

Brenda J. Curtis, Ph.D., a research assistant professor at the University of Colorado in Denver, says as people age their immune system becomes less functional and infections are more severe and harder to cure.

Drinking alcohol, she says, damages the immune system and organs. The effects can be worsened by some prescription and over-the-counter medications, which seniors tend to take. As a result, seniors often are vulnerable to infections like pneumonia much more than their younger peers.

“Our laboratory has been studying inflammatory and immune responses in the aged for well over a decade,” said Curtis. “We know that even healthy elderly individuals have an elevated basal inflammatory state, known as ‘inflamm-aging.’”

It's hard enough for the body to recover from inflammation when you are old, she says. Adding alcohol just compounds the problem.

“Our research suggests that alcohol intoxication perturbs the immune system of the aged both throughout the body and in local regions, like the lung,” said fellow researcher Elizabeth J. Kovacs. “Aged individuals also have decreased lung function and cough strength, which further escalates the risk for developing pneumonia.”

The research may take on added significance in light of recent research which shows that alcohol consumption has increased among the older population. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) produced the video below to highlight the rise in older Americans with alcohol dependency.

NIH warns that drinking too much alcohol can make some existing health problems worse, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, congestive heart failure, liver problems, and memory problems.

Health officials in New York call alcohol abuse among the elderly “a hidden epidemic.” The New York Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse reports that about 10% of the population abuses alcohol, but that as many as 17% of Americans over 65 have an alcohol problem.

A midday snooze may be just the energy boost you need to power through the rest of your day. But napping for too long may have a negative impact on health....

A midday snooze may be just the energy boost you need to power through the rest of your day. But napping for too long may have a negative impact on health.

New research finds that those who regularly take naps longer than 40 minutes may be at an increased risk for metabolic issues, including high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and carrying excess fat around the waist.

Naps lasting 90 minutes or longer were found to increase the risk of developing type two diabetes by 50%.

Catnaps are still in the clear, however. Scientists found a slight decrease in the risk of metabolic syndrome among those who took naps lasting 30 minutes or less. 

Tomohide Yamada, M.D., Ph.D. led the study, which involved over 300,000 participants from around the world.

Yamada, who is a diabetologist at the University of Tokyo, believes that shedding light on the relationship between naps and metabolic disease is important, especially as the rates of metabolic disease have continued to increase around the world.

“Sleep is an important component of our healthy lifestyle, as well as diet and exercise,” Yamada said in a statement. “Short naps might have a beneficial effect on our health, but we don’t yet know the strength of that effect or the mechanism by which it works.”

Excessive daytime sleepiness was also found to increase the risk of developing type two diabetes. For the one in three adults who do not get enough sleep here in the U.S., this finding could be especially important. 

Future research would delve deeper into how people’s sleep habits influence metabolic and cardiovascular disease.

If the precise nature of the relationship between long naps, daytime sleepiness, and metabolic syndrome were to be discovered, Yamada believes clinicians might be able to use patients’ nap habits as a predictor of health.

Can't do without that daytime nap? The National Sleep Foundation says that's perfectly fine -- just don't overdo it. To experience improved alertness without the grogginess, keep naps limited to 20 or 30 minutes.

California has a water problem. Maybe that's something of an understatement.The state has been under drought conditions for well over four years and be...

The state has been under drought conditions for well over four years and been under a drought state of emergency since January 2014.

But scientists at Stanford University report a potential solution to California's water problems may lie thousands of feet below the surface. Their study suggests that a large aquifer below California's Central Valley holds as much as 2700 cubic kilometers of fresh groundwater – much more than previously estimated.

“California’s Central Valley alone has close to three times the volume of fresh groundwater and four times the volume of USDWs (underground sources of drinking water) than previous estimates suggest,” the authors wrote. “Therefore, efforts to monitor and protect deeper, saline groundwater resources are needed in California and beyond.”

The California drought has produced statewide limits on water use, with public officials levying fines against consumers and businesses that do not take part in water conservation efforts.

But the drought also has effects beyond the state's borders, since a large portion of the U.S. food supply is produced there.

Still, the researchers say their discovery is a hopeful development, even though the risks of tapping the resource have yet to be fully measured. They concede that pumping huge amounts of water from aquifers can have impact on the surface of the land, causing the ground to sink in some areas.

The water may also be vulnerable to contamination by industrial activity, such as oil and gas exploration.

The report may also be greeted with some skepticism by other scientists. The Washington Post interviewed researchers who said the groundwater in question may have already been used for other purposes and contain contaminants that are not easily removed.

Groundwater extracted from deep levels may also have a high salt content. One water resource expert, Peter Gleick, president of the Pacific Institute, told the Post there are still a lot of unresolved issues before the parched state can begin pumping the newly discovered water.

Costco's troubled switch from American Express to Visa has left untold thousands of consumers adrift, as they find themselves without a usable credit card ...

Perhaps feeling the financial impact of its well-documented foodborne illness problems in late 2015, Chipotle Mexican Grill has launched an aggressive summ...

Perhaps feeling the financial impact of its well-documented foodborne illness problems in late 2015, Chipotle Mexican Grill has launched an aggressive summer promotion, offering loyal customers free food.

The Chiptopia Summer Rewards campaign kicks off Friday, July 1, and runs through September. During that time, the more consumers eat at Chipotle, the more free food they get.

While many rewards programs – the airlines,' most notably – reward consumers based on the amount of money they spend, Chipotle is making a point of basing its system on frequent visits.

Customers rack up rewards points based on the number of visits to a Chipotle Mexican Grill location where they make a qualifying purchase. The program has three different status levels – Mild, Medium, and Hot.

Make four visits with a qualifying purchase and a participant achieves Mild status. That earns the participant a free entree.

Someone who dines at Chipotle regularly might earn Hot status in all three months this summer. He or she would then be entitled to up to nine free entrees during the summer and, as a bonus, could receive a $240 “Catering for 20” reward.

To qualify as a paid visit, customers will have to spend a minimum of $6, excluding tax. Over the course of July, August and September, a customer’s fourth, eighth and 11th visit and entrée purchase earns a reward for one free entrée and elevates the customer to the next status level.

Even the entrees a consumer gets by redeeming rewards will count as a purchase toward reaching the next status level.

“We created Chiptopia to reward our most loyal customers who continue to support our efforts to cultivate a better world,” said Chipotle executive Mark Crumpacker. “While Chiptopia Summer Rewards lasts just three months, we will be carefully listening to our customers and using what we learn as we consider the design of an ongoing rewards program.”

Those who sign up in the first month, the company says, will get a free chips and guacamole with their first entrée purchase of $6 or more and will be eligible for bonus rewards.

Chipotle Mexican Grill has struggled to regain its footing after last fall's E. coli outbreak that forced a number of restaurants in mostly western states to close temporarily. Once a Wall Street darling, the company's stock is down nearly 50% from its 52 week high.

House prices rose in value across the U.S. in April, but at a slower pace on both a year-over-year and month-over-month basis.According to the S&P;/Cas...

House prices rose in value across the U.S. in April, but at a slower pace on both a year-over-year and month-over-month basis.

According to the S&P/Case-Shiller National Home Price Index (HPI), which covers all nine U.S. census divisions, prices posted a 5.0% annual gain, compared with an advance of 5.1% the previous month. The 10-City Composite was up 4.7%, versus 4.8% in March, and the 20-City Composite reported a year-over-year gain of 5.4% -- from 5.5% from the prior month.

Portland led the way with a year-over-year price increase of 12.3%, followed by Seattle at 10.7% and Denver with a 9.5% gain. Nine cities reported greater price increases in the year ending April 2016 versus the year ending March 2016.

The HPI recorded a month-over-month gain of 1.0% in April, with the10-City Composite up 1.0% and the 20-City Composite rising 1.1%.

”The housing sector continues to turn in a strong price performance with the S&P/Case-Shiller National Index rising at a 5% or greater annual rate for six consecutive months,” said David M. Blitzer, Managing Director and Chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices. “The home price increases reflect the low unemployment rate, low mortgage interest rates, and consumers’ generally positive outlook.”

Blitzer notes, however, that the outlook is not without a lot of uncertainty and some risk. “Last week’s vote by Great Britain to leave the European Union is the most recent political concern while the U.S. elections in the fall raise uncertainty and will distract home buyers and investors in the coming months,” he said.

In addition, a closer look at home price data also hints at possible softness. According to Blitzer, “Seasonally adjusted figures in the report show that three cities saw lower prices in April compared to only one city in March. Among the 20 cities, 16 saw either declines or smaller increases in monthly prices in the seasonally adjusted numbers.”

The third time was the charm when it comes to growth in the economy.The Commerce Department has taken its third and final look at how things were going...

The Commerce Department has taken its third and final look at how things were going in the first quarter and determined that real gross domestic product (GDP) -- the value of the goods and services produced by the nation’s economy less the value of the goods and services used up in production -- expanded at an annual rate of 1.1%.

That's somewhat better than the 0.8% rate in the second estimate, but slower than the 1.4% rate chalked up in the final three months of 2015.

The increase in the first quarter comes from contributions from consumer spending, residential fixed investment, state and local government spending, and exports. Those were offset by declines in nonresidential fixed investment, private inventory investment, and federal government spending. Imports, which are a subtraction in the calculation of GDP, were lower.

The slowdown in real GDP from the fourth quarter reflected a deceleration in consumer spending, a larger drop in nonresidential fixed investment, and a downturn in federal government spending that were partly offset by advances in state and local government spending and exports and an acceleration in residential fixed investment.

The price index for gross domestic purchases, which measures prices paid by U.S. residents, rose 0.2% in the first quarter, half the increase seen in the fourth.

The core rate, which excludes the volatile food and energy categories, was up 1.4%, versus a 1.0% increase in the final quarter of last year.

Profits from current production rose by $34.7 billion in the first quarter, after declining $159.6 billion in the fourth.

Taxes on corporate income increased $4.4 billion in the first quarter, in contrast to a decrease of $32.2 billion in the fourth.

Earnest Eats is recalling 6.2-oz. cartons of Earnest Eats Dark Chocolate Almond Bars. The product may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes....

The following product, distributed nationwide online and to retail stores between March 1 and June 17, 2016, is being recalled:

Earnest Eats 6.2-oz. Dark Chocolate Almond Chewy Granola Bars – 5-ct carton with Product UPC Codes:

Customers who have purchased the recalled product should not consume it, but dispose of it or return it to the place of purchase for a full refund.

Consumers with question may contact the company at at 1-888-264-4599 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. (PST) Monday through Friday or by email at support@earnesteats.com.

Green Cuisine is recalling Pesto Pasta Salad with Arugula that may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes. There have been no reported illness...

Green Cuisine is recalling Pesto Pasta Salad with Arugula that may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.

The recalled product, packaged in 7.4-oz clear plastic containers with the name “Whole Foods Pesto Pasta Salad w/Arugula,” UPC code 857898004333 and “best by” date of 6/20/16, was sold in Whole Foods Markets in Southern California, Nevada and Arizona June 15 – 16, 2016.

Customers who purchased the recalled product should discard it and bring their receipt back into the store for a full refund.

Consumers with questions may call Green Cuisine’s customer service line at 818-837-7774 between 8am – 4pm (PST) Monday through Friday.

HP Inc., of Palo Alto, Calif., is recalling about 48,100 HP lithium-ion batteries in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. The battery packs can overheat, p...

HP Inc., of Palo Alto, Calif., is recalling about 48,100 HP lithium-ion batteries in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

The company has received seven reports of battery packs overheating, melting or charring, including four reports of property damage of about $4,000 total.

This recall involves lithium-ion batteries containing Panasonic cells that are used in HP notebook computers. The batteries are compatible with HP, Compaq, HP ProBook, HP ENVY, Compaq Presario, and HP Pavilion notebook computers.

The black batteries measure about 8 inches long, 2 inches wide and about 1 inch high. The battery bar code is printed on the back of the battery. “HP Notebook Battery” and the model number are printed on the battery.

The batteries included in this recall have the following barcodes: 6BZLU, 6CGFK, 6CGFQ, 6CZMB, 6DEMA, 6DEMH, 6DGAL and 6EBVA.

The batteries, manufactured in China, were sold at Best Buy, Wal-Mart, and Costco and authorized dealers nationwide and online at www.hp.com from March 2013, through August 2015. The batteries were sold with notebook computers for between $300 and $1,700. The batteries were also sold separately for between $50 and $90.

Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled batteries, remove them from the notebook computers and contact HP for a free replacement battery.

Consumers may contact HP toll-free at 888-202-4320 from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. (CT) Monday through Friday or online at the HP Battery Recall website directly at www.HP.com/go/batteryprogram2016 or www.hp.com and click “Recalls” at the bottom of the page for more information.

Budgets are to money as maps are to roads -- which is to say, they’re an integral part of helping you see where you’re going. But while you might think...

Budgets are to money as maps are to roads -- which is to say, they’re an integral part of helping you see where you’re going.

But while you might think you’ve got your money all mapped out and each area of your life budgeted for appropriately, no one is immune to the possibility of being hit by an unforeseen expense.

An unexpected expense can leave even the most well thought out budget in shambles. But preparing for the unexpected may help you keep your budget in tact.

The experts at Quicken Loans suggest setting aside some cash for the following expenses in order to deter their budget-busting effects.

So we have all these new backup cameras in cars, but we're still backing into people and things. Why?The obvious answer is that we're not paying attent...

So we have all these new backup cameras in cars, but we're still backing into people and things. Why?

The obvious answer is that we're not paying attention to the images in the cameras, or to our rear-view mirrors or, for that matter, the view over our shoulder. 

But federal safety offiicials would like to find a more scientific explanation. They're upset because the backup cameras were supposed to reduce the annual toll of deaths and injuries caused by so-called backover accidents. Such mishaps are often especially tragic because they tend to involve children, often the driver's children or grandchildren.

The Washington Post recently reported that the number of new cars with backup cameras more than doubled between 2008 and 2011, partly because of a new federal rule. Yet the number of injuries from backover accidents fell by less than 10 percent during that time. 

The fatality rate dropped by 31 percent during those years, but the number of accidents increased, suggesting that cameras alone won't do the job. The same, of course, is true of all safety equipment; seat belts do no good if you don't wear them. 

Ninety-four percent of new cars being sold this year will be equipped with backup cameras, it's estimated, and all new cars will have them by 2018.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) expects 58 to 69 lives to be saved each year when all cars have the cameras. But the results from recent years suggest it may take more than simply adding cameras.

A recent NHTSA study suggests that, rather than ignoring the cameras, drivers may be focusing too much attention on the camera and ignoring their surroundings, including objects (like running dogs or children) approaching quickly from the side. 

Some experts speculate that automatic braking may have to be added to the safety arsenal -- providing a system that would stop the car whenever it detects either a stationary object or one closing at a speed that would put it in harm's way.

Until then, keep your neck nimble and glance over that shoulder now and then. You never know what you may see. 

The number of people in the U.S. who suffer from asthma has steadily been climbing in recent years. According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, a...

The number of people in the U.S. who suffer from asthma has held steady after climbing in recent years. According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (AAAAI), about 20 million people, or about 7% of the U.S. population, were affected by it in 2001. That number had increased to 25 million people by 2009.

Now, researchers at the University of Queensland (UQ) are working with a new drug that has the potential to slow or completely reverse the development of asthma. It is able to achieve this by suppressing a protein called IL-33, which many believe is a root cause of asthmatic symptoms.

“While IL-33 is well known for causing bronchial inflammation in asthmatics, our research demonstrated for the first time that it also weakens the ability of asthmatics to fend off respiratory viral infections, a common trigger for asthma attacks,” said UQ associate professor Simon Phipps.

Originally, researchers at UQ conducted a study that attempted to shed some light on how respiratory viruses and allergens were the driving force behind the development of asthma. When they tested these two factors, they found that they caused the release of IL-33, which made health conditions worse.

“The excess IL-33 protein was found not only to hinder recovery from the virus but also to promote the development of more severe and persistent symptoms of the disease,” said Dr. Jason Lynch, one of the lead authors of the study.

With this information, the researchers have begun conducting trials with a drug produced by Pfizer, an international pharmaceutical company. This drug is designed to target IL-33 production to see if asthmatic symptoms can be reduced or eliminated.

“Our aim is to eventually come up with better treatment therapies that will reverse or slow down the progression of asthma rather than just ease the symptoms,” said Rhiannon Werder, a PhD student at UQ.

Spirit Airlines is sort of the airline people love to hate for all kinds of reasons. New CEO Bob Fornaro hopes to remedy at least one of those reasons -- i...

The plastic toys strewn across your child’s bedroom floor may be harboring harmful viruses, new research suggests. Researchers at Georgia State Univers...

The plastic toys strewn across your child’s bedroom floor may be harboring harmful viruses, new research suggests.

Researchers at Georgia State University recently discovered that viruses, such as influenza, can cling to some toys for up to 24 hours -- long enough to increase a child’s risk of infection.

Experts say the lasting effect of viral contamination could be of particular concern in places where children share toys, such as daycare centers, doctor’s offices, and homes.

Previous studies have found that viral contamination is a risk in locations where toys are shared. But until now, scientists did not know how long viruses could survive on inanimate objects.  

Lead author Richard Bearden II of Georgia State University, says children’s tendency to put objects into their mouths makes them more vulnerable contracting infectious diseases from toys.

This tendency, combined with the fact that kids' immune systems aren't fully developed, puts them at an increased risk of coming down with a toy borne infection.

“People don’t really think about getting viruses from inanimate objects,” Bearden said in a statement. “They think about getting them from other people.”

But toys may be more likely than people to spread viruses, especially in places where toys are shared. 

Researchers used an enveloped bacteriophage, a virus that infects bacteria, to mirror survival times in humans. The virus was placed on the toy in controlled humidity environments at 22 degrees celsius, at either 40 or 60 percent humidity.

Twenty-four hours later, 1% of the virus remained infectious on the toy at 60% relative humidity. But Bearden believes contamination could stick around even longer.

“It's likely the research team could have retrieved infectious virions beyond 24 hours,” he said.

“I think the main focus should be for parents, daycare facilities, doctor’s offices and other places where children share toys to implement some type of strategy for decontamination to make sure those toys aren’t a reservoir for disease,” he said.

Consumers with private health insurance are paying more out of pocket when they check into a hospital, and the amount has risen in just the last few years....

Consumers with private health insurance are paying more out of pocket when they check into a hospital, and the amount has risen in just the last few years.

A study in the JAMA Internal Medicine says even consumers with a “good” benefits policy could end up paying $1,000 or more in out-of-pocket expenses, an increase of 37%.

Researchers at the University of Michigan Institute for Healthcare Policy looked at the billing records for more than 50 million U.S. consumers over a four year period. All of the subjects had health benefit packages offered by four major companies.

Deductibles – what you pay out-of-pocket before the insurance company begins to pay – went up 86%. Co-insurance – the percentage of the hospital stay that patients must pay – rose 33%.

“It shows that even people with the most comprehensive insurance are paying thousands of dollars, at a time when they need hospital care and may not have time to shop around,” said first author Emily Adrion.

The period under review is 2009 to 2013 and focuses solely on private insurance plans and those offered through employers. It does not include plans offered under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which tend to have even larger deductibles than private health plans.

It suggests that health plans were beginning to shift more costs to the patient even before the ACA went into effect. The percentage of patients paying deductibles and co-insurance went up by more than 5% during the study period.

Co-payments for hospital stays actually went down during the study period – about the only cost to consumers that declined.

There were also pronounced differences in the expenses paid by people with “consumer-directed” health plans, which are usually the least costly on a premium basis, and people who bought individual private plans.

People with consumer-directed plans paid, on average, $1,200 out-of-pocket for a hospital stay. But for people who had purchased individual private plans, the out-of-pocket expense averaged $1,800.

The researchers say the results underscore the importance of reading the fine print when you choose a health care plan, and understanding what your financial obligation will be if you have to check into a hospital.

Much of the discussion of retirement revolves around how much money you need to save for a successful retirement.That number, of course, is different f...

Much of the discussion of retirement revolves around how much money you need to save for a successful retirement.

That number, of course, is different for everyone for a variety of reasons. One of the overriding factors is the cost of living where you happen to live. In some areas, $50,000 a year would mean barely getting by. In others, it could be a comfortable income.

In recent years retirees have considered more than climate when thinking about relocating. To stretch dollars, they have also looked at housing costs, taxes, and the ease of getting around.

Bankrate.com reports smaller cities and suburbs rank highest among retirees as places where they retire. In its latest rankings, it picks Arlington, Va., a Washington, DC suburb as number one, followed by Franklin, Tenn., a Nashville suburb, and West Des Moines, Iowa.

But Arlington is one of the more costly housing markets in the country, suggesting  that unless you already live there, it would cost a lot to relocate there.

In fact, relative housing costs are a major consideration of whether retirees decide to move, and if so, where. Someone retiring from a major metropolitan area might sell a home and walk away with several hundred thousand dollars in cash. By moving to a low-cost housing market, he or she could purchase a comfortable home with half the cash and bank the rest.

The south and Midwest probably offer some of the most affordable housing for someone seeking to relocate in retirement. Here are five you might consider:

Fishers, Ind., is a suburb of Indianapolis. According to Zillow, the median home price in Fishers is $207,000.

Fishers' proximity to Indianapolis, the state capital, provides plenty of entertainment, education, and cultural amenities. The downside, of course, are those chilly Hoosier winters.

Tuscaloosa, Ala., is a college town, home to the University of Alabama. A charming, tranquil city, Tuscaloosa housing prices are very affordable.

According to Zillow, the median home value in Tuscaloosa is $142,900. Interestingly, Zillow reports the median price has declined 1.6% in the last year but is projected to rise nearly 4% in the coming year.

Cumberland, Md., is one of the cheapest housing markets in the country. According to Trulia, the median home value in Cumberland is just $65,000.

Located in the western part of Maryland, Cumberland is a small city in a picturesque spot and about three hours away from both Pittsburgh and Washington, DC.

Las Vegas was one of the hardest hit housing markets after the real estate meltdown. As a result, homes there lost much of their value.

According to Zillow, the median home price in Las Vegas is $196,000, making it affordable for someone retiring from an expensive housing market. Las Vegas, of course, offers a desert climate and doesn't lack for entertainment.

Pensacola lies in the Florida Panhandle and is often overlooked by retirees who head farther south. It offers white sandy beaches on the Gulf of Mexico and has a metro population of less than half a million.

According to Zillow, the median home value in the Pensacola metro is $119,600. Because it's a tourist destination, there are always plenty of activities and amenities.

If you are traveling this Independence Day weekend – and the odds say you will be – you can expect some crowded highways.According to the latest projec...

If you are traveling this Independence Day weekend – and the odds say you will be – you can expect some crowded highways.

According to the latest projections from AAA, some 43 million Americans will travel over the weekend – a record for July 4th – about five million more than traveled over the Memorial Day weekend.

Marshall Doney, CEO of AAA, credits historically low gasoline prices for the increase in travel. It also helps that Independence Day this year falls on a Monday, making for a natural three-day weekend.

Doney estimates U.S. drivers have pocketed about $20 billion in savings on gasoline so far this year compared to the same period in 2015. He expects they are now ready to spend some of it.

“We are well on our way for 2016 to be a record-breaking year for summertime travel,” he said. “This trend is welcome news for the travel industry and a sign that Americans are taking to our nation’s highways and skies like never before.”

Despite the expected increase in gasoline demand, consumers may continue to enjoy soft prices at the pump for a while. Gasbuddy senior petroleum analyst Patrick DeHaan Tweeted over the weekend that the Brexit vote last week has already pushed the wholesale gasoline price down six cents a gallon.

The AAA Fuel Gauge Survey shows the national average retail price of self-serve regular started the week at $2.30 a gallon and is likely to be even lower by the weekend. Today's price is down three cents from a week ago and is 47 cents lower than this time last year.

South Carolina has the nation's lowest average gasoline price, right at $2 a gallon. California has the highest, with prices rising in recent days to an average of $2.90 a gallon.

Most of this coming weekend's travelers will be on the nation's highways. According to AAA, 84% of travelers will drive to their destinations, a 1.2% increase over last year.

With lower-than-usual airfares, air travel is projected to rise 2.2% over last year's numbers, with 3.3 million people crowding U.S. airports.

With home prices rising and inventory shrinking, the homeownership rate in the U.S. has hit its lowest point in nearly 50 years.That's the conclusion o...

With home prices rising and inventory shrinking, the homeownership rate in the U.S. has hit its lowest point in nearly 50 years.

That's the conclusion of the 2016 State of Housing Report from the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies, which found that a lack of first-time homebuyers entering the market is the primary reason for the fall in homeownership.

In the immediate aftermath of the financial crisis, lenders significantly tightened lending standards. At the same time, young people launching careers had difficulty finding jobs, while struggling under student loan debt. Faced with rapidly rising rents, they have had trouble in the intervening years saving up for a down payment.

As a result, homeownership rates for older, wealthier age groups have risen, but those increases have been more than offset by the decline in first-time buyers.

“The good news for the owner-occupied housing market is that these constraints should ease as the mortgage market continues to wrestle with the fallout from the housing crash and adapts to a new regulatory environment,” the authors write. “There are already indications from the Federal Reserve’s Senior Loan Officer Opinion Survey that credit standards may be loosening, particularly for loans backed by the government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs). The upturn in real income growth among younger households should also help.”

But these buyers could well face additional headwinds in finding a house that suits their needs and that they can afford. In its most recent market report, Zillow found the prices of entry level homes have been rising faster than other segments of the market.

While prices for homes near the top of the market appear to have stabilized this year, the prices of the least-expensive homes continue to grow by about 8% per year.

It's really a tale of two markets. Consumers shopping for homes in the top price ranges will find more homes to choose from and will be able to negotiate down from the listing price. But first-time buyers, looking at entry level homes in the lowest price ranges, will find fewer properties for sale and will have to compete against other buyers. That could mean having to pay the asking price, or in the case of multiple offers, even more than the asking price.

“The housing market is much more forgiving for current homeowners looking to move into a bigger, more expensive home,” said Zillow Chief Economist Dr. Svenja Gudell. “These buyers can be a bit more selective, and may even get a good deal."

But there are still fewer homes for sale in all price categories. The Zillow report shows the smallest decline in inventory among the top third of the housing market. In the bottom third of the market, first-time buyers are facing a nearly 9% drop in available homes.

Volkswagen Group of America is recalling 11 model year 2016 Golf R vehicles manufactured March 17, 2016 to March 23, 2016. The recalled vehicles ma...

Volkswagen Group of America is recalling 11 model year 2016 Golf R vehicles manufactured March 17, 2016 to March 23, 2016.

The recalled vehicles may be equipped with a Federal Certification Label that lists an incorrect rear axle weight limit. As such, these vehicles fail to comply with the requirements of 49 CFR Part 567, "Certification."

The listed weight limit is low enough that the vehicle owner may ignore the weight limits and overload the vehicle and exceed the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR), thereby increasing the risk of a crash.

Volkswagen will notify owners, and dealers will install a corrected certification label, free of charge. The recall was expected to begin in June 2016. Volkswagen's number for this recall is 01B5.

Essential Foods of Seattle, Wash., is recalling four flavors of Globespun Gourmet wraps. The products may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogen...

The recalled Globespun Gourmet wraps were distributed to grocery outlets and corporate cafeterias in Washington and Oregon to grocery outlets and corporate cafeterias.

The following products, which come in 8-oz, plastic wrapped, ready to eat form, and were distributed to grocery outlets and corporate cafeterias in Washington and Oregon, are being recalled:

Customers who purchased the recalled products should return them to the place of purchase for a full refund.

The Kroger Co. has expanded its earlier recall of several products containing sunflower seeds that may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes. ...

The Kroger Co. has expanded its earlier recall of several products containing sunflower seeds that may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.

The expanded recall includes all code dates of Kroger Sunflower Salad Toppers, Kroger Sunflower Kernels, and Kroger Cranberry Delight Trail Mix:

Stores operating under the following names are included in the recall: Kroger, Jay-C, Dillons, Bakers, Gerbes, King Soopers, City Market, Fry's, Ralphs, Food 4 Less, and Smith's.

Products can be found in stores in the following states: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

Stores operating under the following names are included in this recall: Kroger, Jay-C, Dillons, Bakers, Gerbes, and Food 4 Less (Mid-West only).

Products can be found in stores in the following states: Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia.

Stores operating under the Fry's and Smith's names in Arizona, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming are included in this recall.

Customers who purchased any of the recalled products should not consume them, but return them to a store for a full refund or replacement.

Consumers with questions may contact Kroger at 1-800-KROGERS, Monday through Friday 8:00 am to 12:00 am (EDT) and Saturday through Sunday 8:00 am to 9:00 pm (EST).

U.S. consumers awoke Friday morning to some shocking news. Voters in the UK voted Thursday to withdraw from the European Union (EU), a political and econom...

U.S. consumers awoke Friday morning to some shocking news. Voters in the UK voted Thursday to withdraw from the European Union (EU), a political and economic union of 28 European countries.

The so-called Brexit issue has been in the headlines for weeks, though most consumers have probably ignored it. It didn't seem to affect us. Some likened it to a big fuss over nothing, similar to the Y2K hysteria of 1999.

As voting day approached, the polls all signaled growing strength on the side favoring to remain in the EU. The global political and economic establishment all favored Britain remaining a part of the EU, so when the forces advocating a break prevailed with 52% of the vote, it was a shock.

The first impact was a massive drop in global stock markets. Japan's Nikkei Stock Exchange plunged nearly 8% with stocks opening sharply lower on Wall Street. And consumers who have retirement assets in stocks might be the most affected, at least in the short term.

Markets price based on certain assumptions, and stocks have risen over the last couple of weeks on Wall Street due to the strong belief that Britain would remain a part of the EU. Because the opposite has happened, stock values are being repriced.

But plenty of market analysts are pointing out today that, just as the market's value yesterday was unrealistic, a drastic drop in prices might also be an over-reaction to events.

"The reaction we're seeing in markets today is far more exaggerated and far more pronounced because it was so unexpected," Kristina Hooper, U.S. investment strategist at Allianz, told CNBC.

So what kind of reaction should U.S. investors have? That's a matter for investors to discuss with a financial adviser, because each individual is different.

For consumers who haven't been following events across the Atlantic until today, here are some key points:

The ink is not yet dry, but reports say Volkswagen is agreeing to pay owners of its TDI "clean diesels" up to $7,000 and fund a grant program to reduce air...

The ink is not yet dry, but reports say Volkswagen is agreeing to pay owners of its TDI "clean diesels" up to $7,000 and fund a grant program to reduce air pollution.

Consumers would get between $1,000 and $7,000, depending on their car's age and other factors, according to reports in the Wall Street Journal, which quoted sources close to the negotiations. The talks are taking place under the supervision of U.S. District Court Judge Charles Breyer, who has issued a gag order prohibiting participants from discussing the negotiations publicly.

VW is not expected to be able to repair all of the cars to meet federal clean air regulations and might have to buy back some of them, or make extra payments to the environmental fund. Former owners might also get some compensation and, reports say, VW will not be allowed to resell or export the cars it buys back.

The environmental fund is intended to partly compensate for the damage done by the 480,000 diesel cars, which emitted more than 40 times the legal amount of pollution under certan circumstances.

Volkswagen has admitted it rigged the cars to pass emissions tests, using software that reduced emissions when tests were being conducted but allowed much higher levels of emissions when the tests were over and the cars were being driven on public highways.

Two members of the U.S. Senate – a Republican and a Democrat – are taking cable TV providers to task for failing to provide refunds to consumers who have b...

Two members of the U.S. Senate – a Republican and a Democrat – are taking cable TV providers to task for failing to provide refunds to consumers who have been overcharged.

Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) and Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) conducted a year-long probe of cable and satellite TV providers. Portman, Chairman of the Senate Permanent Investigations Subcommittee, says the panel looked at thousands of documents and interviewed a number of witnesses about the consumer practices of Comcast, Charter, Time Warner Cable, Dish Network, and DirecTV.

At a hearing Thursday, the lawmakers focused on the companies' billing and customer-service practices.

“Our joint report outlines troubling findings about the practices of two cable companies that have consistently failed to provide refunds to customers who they know they have overcharged, including thousands of people in my home state of Ohio,” Portman said.

The two offenders, he charged, are Charter Communications and Time Warner Cable, which recently merged. While all the companies have systems in place to track customer overcharges, Portman said not all act on the information.

“During the time period examined by the Subcommittee, Time Warner Cable and Charter Communications made no effort to trace equipment overcharges they identified and provide refunds to customers,” Portman charged. “Instead, their practice has been to just pocket the past overcharges.”

In a statement supplied to ConsumerAffairs, Charter Communications said it had invested $7 billion since 2012 in network improvements and added more than 7,000 jobs to improve customer relationships.

“An audit of our set-top boxes charges over the last nine months found them to be over 99% accurate,” the company said. “To move us closer to 100% accuracy and permanently resolve this issue, we have installed new controls to ensure discrepancies are caught and eliminated on a daily basis. Charter customers who were incorrectly charged for set-top boxes are being notified and given a 12-month credit for these fees.”

Portman said the subcommittee asked Time Warner Cable for specific information about overcharges in the lawmakers' home states. He said that during just the first five months of 2016, Time Warner Cable overbilled up to 11,000 customers in Ohio a total of $108,000. He said last year alone, Time Warner estimated it overbilled 40,000 Ohio customers to the tune of $430,000.

“And rather than correct the mistake by refunding the overcharges, the company just kept the money,” Portman said. "In my view, that is a rip-off of Ohio consumers.”

McCaskill knows about the issue first hand. She recently had a testy 26-minute conversation with her cable provider's customer service rep, trying to remove an unauthorized charge from her bill. She's posted a 15 minute excerpt from that conversation on her Senate website.

“Consumers in every corner of the country share common experiences about fending for themselves against customer service and billing practices by TV providers that are at best confusing, and at worst deceptive,” McCaskill said.

The Missouri lawmaker said some companies apply unnecessary fees that can be removed from your bill if you know to call and ask. She said even when directly asked, a customer service representative may not inform you of the lowest price available.

Based on data provided to the Subcommittee, Portman estimates Time Warner Cable will overbill its customers nationwide an estimated $2 million for equipment charges in 2016, and will not offer refunds.

What happens now? Portman says one answer is for consumers to have more options when it comes to television service, so when one provider proves unsatisfactory, it will be easy to go to another.

They say that memory is one of the first things to go when you get older, but that saying might be going out the window if the scientific community has its...

They say that memory is one of the first things to go when you get older, but that saying might be going out the window if the scientific community has its way.

A recent study conducted by researchers at the University of California, Irvine and the University of Queensland has investigated how memories are formed. They found that adding a certain class of chemicals, called methyl groups, to RNA could potentially strengthen a person’s memory.

The process of adding methyl groups to RNA is called methylation, and it affects how the RNA functions within our cells. Normally, enzymes within cells reduce the level of methyl groups. However, after removing these inhibitive enzymes, the researchers found that memory formation in mice was improved.

For the purposes of the study, Timothy Bredy, an associate professor at UCI, and his colleagues searched the entire genome of mice to see where methylated RNA could be found in the brain tissue. They found extensive changes to one particular epigenetic mark, called N6-methlyadenosine (m6a), when new memories were created.

Epigenetic marks, or processes, are what link our genetic activity with the world around us, like when we learn something new.

The discovery of m6a has allowed the researchers to understand something about memory that they did not know before -- namely, that the formation of memories occurs on multiple genetic levels.

“Our findings show that memory processing is not just influenced by epigenetic control over our DNA but also occur at the level of RNA, variations in which act like a messenger in our cells,” said Bredy. “m6a shows enormous potential because the process can rapidly fine-tune our gene function and expression, which is often impaired in a variety of neurological disorders.”

While the discoveries are promising, the researchers admit that there is more work to be done before this new information can be validated. They say that their next step will be to test how memories are formed under various learning conditions, and determine how memory-related disorders and trauma affects this process.

There’s a lot to dig about gardening. The simple act of spending time outdoors already comes with a number of mental health benefits, but gardeners may exp...

There’s a lot to dig about gardening. The simple act of spending time outdoors already comes with a number of mental health benefits, but gardeners may experience some other perks.

As a physical activity, gardening can help strengthen important muscles, nourish vital organs, and burn hundreds of calories. In fact, a new infographic by AXA PPP Healthcare shows that just one hour of gardening can positively impact the health of your whole body.

Read on to learn why you should pat yourself on the back (after taking off those dirt-covered gardening gloves, of course) for spending an hour sprucing up the yard.

The raking, weeding, and other physical demands of gardening can improve your overall health in a number of ways, studies show. Here's how different parts of the body are impacted:

Gardeners often work up a sweat. But just how many calories do gardening chores end up burning? As it turns out, quite a few. Here are the estimated number of calories burned by each activity:

Despite persistent signs of economic weakness, consumers continue to shrug off concerns in two areas – housing and cars, admittedly the two biggest purchas...

Despite persistent signs of economic weakness, consumers continue to shrug off concerns in two areas – housing and cars, admittedly the two biggest purchases most consumers make.

As we reported earlier this week, sales of existing homes surged last month, posting the strongest increase since before the housing meltdown.

Now there are indications that new car sales, which have set records month after month, will post another extremely strong month when June's final numbers are tallied.

Automotive site Edmunds.com projects that consumers purchased or leased1,528,812 new cars and trucks in June. That would make for a Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate (SAAR) of 16.9 million.

That would be down slightly from May but an increase of 3.8% from June 2015. In fact, if the Edmunds numbers hold, it would be the strongest June for auto sales since 2005.

Looking at the first half of 2016, which ends at the end of this month, Edmunds projects total sales of more than 8.6 million units, up 1.6% from the first half of last year, which turned out to be a record-setting year for car sales.

"The industry may not be growing as fast as in recent years but, at the halfway point of 2016, it's still on pace to set another annual sales record," said Jessica Caldwell, Edmunds' Director of Industry Analysis.

Caldwell says that as long as unemployment remains low and consumers have easy access to credit, the auto industry should be in a strong position through the busy summer sales months.

According to Edmunds' projections, GM will enjoy sales that are 6.5% above last month's total, but down 1.3% from last June. Ford, meanwhile, is expected to beat last month's total by 1.6% and June 2015 sales by 6.2%.

Volkswagen, meanwhile, continues to struggle in the wake of the diesel emissions cheating scandal, with projected U.S. sales in June of 47,676. That's down 0.2% from May but oddly, 3.8% better than June 2015, before the scandal broke.

Summer isn’t an ideal time to be wearing a fur coat. For this reason, a hot summer day can feel even hotter to a dog. Overheating and dehydration are j...

Summer isn’t an ideal time to be wearing a fur coat. For this reason, a hot summer day can feel even hotter to a dog.

Overheating and dehydration are just a few of the health scares that could happen if dogs spend too much time in the sun. But there are a few steps that pet owners can take to prevent pets from suffering.

Protecting your dog from the heat doesn’t have to mean sitting him on the sidelines. Your dog can join the rest of the family for a day at the beach or park. A few thoughtful considerations, however, can help reduce the risk of your pooch becoming overheated, dehydrated, or sunburned.

Will your pup be tagging along on your next summer outing? If so, there a few things you can do to make a hot summer day a little more comfortable for your fur-covered friend.

If you have been shopping for a home in recent months, it's likely you've encountered a puzzling situation. Home prices keep going up, yet you and many of ...

If you have been shopping for a home in recent months, it's likely you've encountered a puzzling situation. Home prices keep going up, yet you and many of your fellow home shoppers haven't seen much in the way of raises.

The reason is a continuing decline in inventory of available homes over the last four years. With fewer homes on the market, the competition to buy them is greater. Therefore, sellers are asking for, and getting, higher prices.

Oddly, this situation has not led to an increase in homebuilding, which has remained fairly static since plunging in the wake of the housing crash. Real estate experts are concerned that this situation, if prolonged, will turn off potential buyers.

In fact, real estate marketplace Trulia says there are some markets where this is already happening. It points to Columbia and Charleston, S.C., where buyers are disappearing at a faster rate than homes being removed from the inventory.

Of particular concern, Trulia says the number of available starter homes for first-time buyers is dropping at double digit rates. That means it is harder for renters to get into the housing market.

At the high end, Trulia reports the decline in inventory is much slower for premium homes. They may be selling at a slower rate because fewer homeowners are selling their starter homes and moving up.

Here's a major take-away from the Trulia report: national home inventory at the beginning of the summer is down 6% year-over-year, meaning homeowners will have a harder time finding a home and will have to pay more for it.

In the starter home segment, the decline is even more pronounced. The number of these homes with for sale signs in the front yard dropped by more than 12%.

Trulia estimates someone buying a starter home this summer will need to allocate an additional 1.3% of their income toward their purchase.

Despite this discouraging outlook, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) had some brighter news this week, reporting a big jump in May home sales. NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun says, ironically, that it may have been rising prices that are responsbile for the jump.

With more homeowners realizing they now have more equity in their homes, thanks to rising prices, Yun says more of these homeowners may be finally ready to move up. He says May's numbers suggest that's the case. It will take a few more months to determine if this is a real trend.

Getting a coupon on your phone while browsing in a store is one thing. Having a salesperson stroll up and address you by name is quite another, a new study...

Getting a coupon on your phone while browsing in a store is one thing. Having a salesperson stroll up and address you by name is quite another, a new study finds.

The "Creepy or Cool" study, conducted by RichRelevance, found that shoppers, especially Millennials, expect to use their smartphones as part of the shopping experience, but they get a little creeped out by things like facial recognition. 

“[T]he study finds that shoppers think it is cool to get digital help finding relevant products and information – on their own terms when they choose to engage,” said Diane Kegley, CMO of RichRelevance. “However, they are creeped out by digital capabilities that identify and track without a clear value offered in return.”

Millennials generally had stronger opinions both pro and con and were also the most likely to say they use their phones regularly when shopping in stores.

General Motors has joined Volkswagen and Mercedes-Benz in the Dieselgate scandal. A class action lawsuit alleges that GM misled consumers who paid $2,000 e...

General Motors has joined Volkswagen and Mercedes-Benz in the Dieselgate scandal. A class action lawsuit alleges that GM misled consumers who paid $2,000 extra for a "clean diesel" version of the Chevy Cruze.

The suit argues that, like VW, GM used emissions-cheating software to make the Cruze look clean-burning when undergoing emissions testing while allowing it to pollute at higher than legal levels the rest of the time.

Volkswagen is expected to pay $10 billion or more to consumers who bought its TDI cars and to an environmental protection fund. The Merecedes-Benz case is still pending and the company has denied the allegations.

“Diesel emissions fraud didn’t stop with Volkswagen or Mercedes – GM has proven that it too placed greed and profits ahead of thousands of owners who paid premium prices for what they thought were clean diesel cars,” said Steve Berman, managing partner of Hagens Berman, one of the law firms that is also representing plaintiffs in the VW and Mercedes cases.

The complaint states that recently, a German environmental group issued a report indicating that GM’s Opel model uses a "defeat device" to evade emission limits on nitrogen (NOx). The lawsuit alleges the same, or a similar, device is used on the Cruz diesels sold in the U.S. 

The suit says plaintiffs have used a Portable Emissions Measurement System (“PEMS”) and found that the Cruze fails to meet the U.S. NOx limit of 70 mg/mile.

NOx contributes both to ground-level ozone and fine particulate matter, both associated with illness and premature death.

“In order to appeal to environmentally conscious consumers, GM marketed its Cruze diesel technology as a process that ensured emissions resulted in a ‘clean diesel’ and that its emissions were ‘below strict U.S. environmental standards.’ These representations are deceptive and false,” the suit alleges.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, seeks buyback and reimbursement for vehicle owners for the premium that they paid for a Clean Turbo Diesel, as well as compensation based on any “fix” and extended warranties that will go unused.

A new safety test may be in the works at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) -- one that would rate passenger-side protection as part of the ...

A new safety test may be in the works at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) -- one that would rate passenger-side protection as part of the small overlap crash test.

While drivers can expect to be protected well in a front crash involving the left corner of the vehicle, a new study shows that good protection doesn't always extend across the front seat to the passengers sitting next to them.

The Institute conducted 40 mph passenger-side small overlap tests on seven small SUVs with good driver-side small overlap ratings. Only one -- the 2016 Hyundai Tucson -- performed at a level corresponding to a good rating; the others ran the gamut from poor to acceptable.

"This is an important aspect of occupant protection that needs more attention," said Becky Mueller, an IIHS senior research engineer and the lead author of the study. "More than 1,600 right-front passengers died in frontal crashes in 2014."

IIHS currently conducts its tests for front ratings with a driver dummy and with the barrier overlapping the driver side. The reason is simple: every vehicle on the road has a driver, but there isn't always a passenger riding along.

"It's not surprising that automakers would focus their initial efforts to improve small overlap protection on the side of the vehicle that we conduct the tests on," said David Zuby, IIHS executive vice president and chief research officer. "In fact, we encouraged them to do that in the short term if it meant they could quickly make driver-side improvements to more vehicles. As time goes by, though, we would hope they ensure similar levels of protection on both sides."

The recent passenger-side tests show how big the differences can be. In the group of small SUVs that was tested, most didn't perform as well when they were crashed into a barrier on the right side instead of the left. That was even true of models that appeared symmetrical after removing bumper covers and other external components.

"When structural improvements are visible only on the driver side, there are large differences in performance," Mueller says. "But the inverse is not true. Some vehicle structures look the same on both sides, but they don't perform the same. That's why we can't rely on visual analysis but need to monitor this issue and possibly begin rating vehicles for passenger-side protection."

The IIHS passenger-side small overlap testing program could start next year and make it a requirement for one of its safety awards as early as 2018.

HelloFresh of New York, N.Y., is recalling frozen peas that have the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes. No illnesses or cust...

HelloFresh of New York, N.Y., is recalling frozen peas that have the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.

The peas were included in HelloFresh recipe kits delivered the week of June 11-15, 2016 and the weeks of March 12-25, 2016.

The peas were delivered by a third party delivery service in Colorado, New Mexico, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Missouri, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, Florida, and Georgia, as part of the meals "Summer Vegetable Salad with Seared Chicken, Garlic Croutons, and Mustard-Chive Vinaigrette" (June 11-15, 2016), "Lemony Pan-Seared Chicken with Pesto Potato Salad and Peas" (March 12-18, 2016), and "Seared Steak with Spring Veggie Succotash and Mint-Chive Pesto" and "Nir's Lamb-Stuffed Zucchini with Spiced Lentil Stew" (March 19-25, 2016).

The peas would have arrived in a portion cup inside a kit box labeled with the recipe names described above.

Customers should discard the entire kit box, and not eat any of the ingredients from that recipe. Following the cooking preparation instructions printed on each individual case will effectively reduce the risk of exposure to this bacterium.

Consumers with questions may call HelloFresh 1-800-733-2414 from 6am to 11pm (EST) Monday through Friday and 6am to 7:30pm (EST) Saturday and Sunday.

Kashi Company is amending the date codes for Kashi GOLEAN® Honey Pecan Baklava Bars and Bear Naked® Soft Baked Granola, Cinnamon + Sunflower Butter that we...

Kashi Company is amending the date codes for Kashi GOLEAN® Honey Pecan Baklava Bars and Bear Naked® Soft Baked Granola, Cinnamon + Sunflower Butter that were recalled earlier.

The date codes can be found on the top of the box of the Honey Pecan Baklava Bars, and at the bottom of the pouch of the Bear Naked Granola.

Consumers with questions may contact the company at 1-877-747-2467, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. (ET) or online at https://www.kashi.com/contact-us.

Crescent Specialty Foods of Everett, Wash., is recalling 6-oz. bags of Crescent Pistachio Raw. The product may be contaminated with Salmonella....

The product, packaged in a 6-oz. clear, plastic bag with Crescent Nuts & Dried Fruits Pistachio Raw label attached and UPC code 8 95296 00103 5, was distributed to retail stores and on-line stores in Oregon and Washington from October 21, 2015 – May 2, 2016.

Consumers with questions may contact the stores where they purchased the product, or email the company at info@csf1.com.

The Land of Nod of Morton Grove, Ill., is recalling about 550 Octo-rattles. The fabric discs on the tentacles of the octopus rattles can detach, po...

The fabric discs on the tentacles of the octopus rattles can detach, posing a choking hazard to young children.

The firm has received five reports of the rattle’s fabric discs detaching. No injuries have been reported.

This recall involves The Land of Nod’s Octo-rattles, sold individually or as part of a gift bag set. The knit fabric rattles are yellow and shaped like an octopus with multi-colored felt discs sewn into the tentacles. The rattles measure about 9 inches tall, 4 inches wide and 3 inches deep and can attach to strollers or activity gyms.

“The Land of Nod,” “Morton Grove, IL 60053,” “951-3072461,” “Made in India” and SKU number 502882 are printed on a label attached to the underside of the rattle.

The rattles, manufactured in India, were sold exclusively at The Land of Nod stores nationwide and online from September 2015, through April 2016, for about $30 for the individual rattle and for $150 as part of a gift bag set.

Consumers should immediately take the recalled rattles away from children and contact The Land of Nod to receive a full refund.

Consumers may contact The Land of Nod at 800-933-9904 from 8:30 a. m. to 5 p.m. (CT) Monday through Friday or online at www.landofnod.com and click on Product Recalls at the bottom of the page for more information.

Zupan's Markets is recalling its Macaroni Salad with Cheddar Cheese which may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes. There have been no repor...

Zupan's Markets is recalling its Macaroni Salad with Cheddar Cheese which may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.

The recalled product, packaged in a 5-lb. net weight plastic bag, with listed item #23070 and the UPC 8 87241 80712 0, was distributed to four Zupan's Markets locations in Portland and Lake Oswego, Ore., between April 9 and June 14, 2016.

It was sold both in Zupan's Markets service deli salad case, sized to order, and available in prepacked round plastic containers (8, 12 & 16-oz.) in its Grab & Go area. Scale label on the bottom of the product container reads Macaroni Salad with Cheddar Cheese with code 394.

Customers who purchased the recalled product should not consume it, but destroy, discard it or return it to the store for a full refund.

Consumers with questions may call Duck Delivery Produce at 503-288-9380 Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (PT).

Fiat Chrysler (FCA) is stepping up its recall of 1.1 million Jeeps and other models with a gear shifter that has been blamed for the death of actor Anton Y...

Fiat Chrysler (FCA) is stepping up its recall of 1.1 million Jeeps and other models with a gear shifter that has been blamed for the death of actor Anton Yelchin and injuries to at least 41 others. 

“Fifty years ago, Ralph Nader described the Chevy Corvair as ‘unsafe at any speed,’ but these cars are unsafe in any driveway,” said Steve Berman, managing partner of HagensBerman, a consumer law firm that has said it is investigating the problem.

Most auto safety recalls are leisurely by any standard, often taking a year or more to be completed, but Yeltsin's death has seemingly spurred FCA to move a bit faster than usual.  

The company sent a letter to owners of the affected models in April announcing the recall but said it did not yet have a fix available. Now, FCA says it will begin notifying consumers later this week about a software update intended to remedy the problem. 

Yelchin's death brought some unwelcome attention to the gear-shift issue, and to Chrysler's less than enviable record, particularly its lengthy attempts to head off recalls of older Jeep Cherokees implicated in fires that safety advocates say have killed nearly 300 people. FCA agreed last year to pay $105 million for delays in nearly two dozen recalls.

Yelchin was killed in his own driveway when his 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee rolled away and pinned him against his brick mailbox. FCA has received more than 700 complaints about the issue, including reports of 200 crashes and 41 injuries.

The problem is rooted in the vehicles' ZF eight-speed electronic shifters, which provide insufficient feedback to the driver to indicate whether the car has been placed in “park” and do not have a safety override that automatically puts the car in “park” when the driver gets out, allowing it to unexpectedly roll away.

“Clearly the design of the shifter in these affected Jeep, Chrysler and Dodge vehicles is far from safe,” Berman said. “Fiat Chrysler’s competitors, like BMW, which use a similar shifter, have safety overrides in place that automatically put the car in ‘park’ when the driver’s door is opened and pressure taken off the foot brake."

Berman said there is "no good reason" why the Chrysler products should have been sold without such an override. 

Besides the 2014-2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee, FCA models with the troublesome shifted are the 2012-2014 Chrysler 300 and 2012-2014 Dodge Charger.

Increasingly, consumers are opting not to have the monthly expense of a landline telephone, but rather relying solely on their cell phones.While it doe...

Unfortunately, many people think that big drug companies and the government know how to cure common illnesses but keep the solution secret to protect drug...

Unfortunately, many people think that big drug companies and the government know how to cure common illnesses but keep the solution secret to protect drug company profits. That makes them perfect foils for pitchmen with a convincing line of patter.

One such super-salesman is Kevin Trudeau, currently serving a ten-year prison term for making phony claims about his best-selling book, “The Weight Loss Cure ‘They’ Don’t Want You to Know About.” 

The Federal Trade Commission is now mailing checks totaling about $6.3 million to consumers who bought the book. In 2009, a federal judge ordered Trudeau to repay millions of dollars to consumers after he violated a 2004 FTC stipulated order by misrepresenting the book’s content.

"For years, Trudeau fought the FTC’s efforts to collect the money he owes consumers, including repeatedly denying that he had any money and hindering efforts to find his money," the FTC said in a statement. 

During one court proceeding, he “took the Fifth” hundreds of times rather than answer questions about where his money was. At one point, the judge jailed Trudeau for not cooperating. 

The court appointed a receiver, who eventually tracked down some of Trudeau's money, which the FTC is now using to partially repay consumers.

Consumers should deposit or cash checks within 60 days of the mailing date. Those who deposit or cash their checks may receive future proceeds if funds become available.

Do not pay money or give personal information to anyone who says you must pay a fee to receive your refund. The FTC never requires consumers to pay money or to provide information before refund checks can be cashed.

Consumers who receive checks and have questions can contact the FTC’s refund administrator, Analytics, at 844-828-4437. Learn more about this refund program at ftc.gov/trudeau.

Although young children and picky eaters often turn their nose up at it, broccoli is one of the most nutritious superfoods out there. And now, it looks lik...

Although young children and picky eaters often turn their nose up at it, broccoli is one of the most nutritious superfoods out there. And now, it looks like researchers are taking steps to make it even better.

A study conducted by scientists from the University of Illinois has identified certain candidate genes that control the amount of phenolic compounds found in broccoli. These compounds, along with certain flavonoids, are associated with lower risk of heart disease, type II diabetes, asthma, and a variety of cancers.

By cross-breeding particular strains of broccoli, the researchers believe that they can create new strains of the vegetable that have “mega-doses” of phenolic compounds.

Experts have long known that phenolic compounds go a long way towards promoting health, but it is their interaction with inflammation that is most notable.

“Phenolic compounds have good antioxidant activity, and there is increasing evidence that this antioxidant activity affects biochemical pathways affiliated with inflammation in mammals. We need inflammation because it’s a response to disease or damage, but it’s also associated with initiation of a number of degenerative diseases,” said Jack Juvik, a geneticist at the University of Illinois.

“People whose diets consist of a certain level of these compounds will have a lesser risk of contracting these diseases,” he adds.

The researchers note that promoting the accumulation of phenolic compounds does not have to be limited to broccoli alone. They are also investigating other Brassica vegetables, such as kale and cabbage, to see how susceptible they are to the promotion of phenolic compounds.

While they hope that these and other vegetables can develop mega-doses of phenolic compounds, they recognize that it may take some time before that happens.

“This work is a step in that direction, but it is not the final answer. We plan to take the candidate genes we identified here and use them in a breeding program to improve the health benefits of these vegetables. Meanwhile, we’ll have to make sure yield, appearance, and taste are maintained as well,” said Juvik.

You only want the best for your child, so it’s only natural that you would want them to get the best grades. But could your high expectations be setting th...

You only want the best for your child, so it’s only natural that you would want them to get the best grades. But could your high expectations be setting them up to become overly self-critical?

A new study suggests that parents may want to ease up on their academic expectations for kids. The five-year study of elementary school aged children found that kids with intrusive parents are more likely to have high levels of self-criticalness.

And this nagging sense of perfectionism instilled by mom and dad can snowball as kids get older, leading to symptoms of depression and anxiety.

Assistant Professor Ryan Hong, who led the study, says intrusive parents can signal to children that what they do is never good enough.

Consequently, he adds, “The child may become afraid of making the slightest mistake and will blame himself or herself for not being ‘perfect’. Over time, such behavior, known as maladaptive perfectionism, may be detrimental to the child’s well-being as it increases the risk of the child developing symptoms of depression, anxiety and even suicide in very serious cases.”

During the first year of the study, which began in 2010, games were used to sniff out parental intrusiveness. Parents watched as their 7-year-old children attempted to a solve puzzle within a time limit; they were told that they could help the child whenever necessary.

Highly intrusive parents would interfere -- for example, by retracting a move made by the child -- even if a child didn’t need or request assistance. 

Are you prone to hijacking a school project? Do you go ballistic at the sight of a 'B'? If so, how can you rein in your tendency to impose expectations? 

It’s common to harbor some high expectations with regard to a child's academic performance. After all, it's your child -- and your child has had limitless potential since the day they was born. But parents should be mindful not to push children over the edge, says Hong.

“Children should be given a conducive environment to learn, and part of learning always involves making mistakes and learning from them. When parents become intrusive, they may take away this conducive learning environment,” he said in a statement.

In addition to being tolerant of mistakes, Hong says parents should consider changing the way they phrase certain school-related questions.  

Instead of asking, “Did you get full marks on your test,” parents can ask, “How did you do on your test?” Taking the expectation element out of the question can help send the message that mistakes are okay.

If mistakes were made, try not to hone in on them right away. Instead, Hong recommends praising a child's acheivements before jumping into the experience of helping them learn from their mistakes. 

Consumers who purchase a new car this year can expect fewer problems and improved quality over any vehicle they might have purchased last year.That's t...

Consumers who purchase a new car this year can expect fewer problems and improved quality over any vehicle they might have purchased last year.

That's the bottom line in J.D. Power's 2016 Initial Quality Study, which found the quality of 2016 models improved 6%, compared to only a 3% increase in 2015. It's the biggest increase since 2009.

Korean automaker Kia led all contenders, earning the top spot in initial quality, the first time in 27 years a so-called non-premium brand finished first. Porsche was second, followed by Hyundai, Toyota, and BMW.

The rankings are based on problems with a car that might crop up during the first 90 days of ownership. The J.D. Power rating is determined by the number of problems per 100 vehicles – the lower the score, the higher the quality.

What is notable about the latest rankings is quality improved across all the categories J.D. Power measures, with 21 of the 33 brands showing improvement and one holding steady at last year's rate.

Renee Stephens, vice president of U.S. automotive quality at J.D. Power, says carmakers are now turning out some of the highest quality products the industry has ever seen. She says it hasn't happened by accident.

"Tracking our data over the past several years, it has become clear that automakers are listening to the customer, identifying pain points, and are focused on continuous improvement. Even as they add more content, including advanced technologies that have had a reputation for causing problems, overall quality continues to improve," Stephens said.

Among the major take-aways from the report, domestic brands had fewer problems than international carmakers, with the “Detroit Three” all posting year-over-year quality gains. It was the first time domestic models did better than imports since 2010.

At the same time, non-premium brands performed better than premium nameplates, although their margin was slim.

For carmakers, giving new owners a trouble-free 90 days pays off when it is time for a trade-in. J.D. Power reports 54% of owners who don't experience a problem in the first 90 days of ownership buy another model of the same brand.

For its part, Kia says its number one ranking is no surprise. It notes it entered the top 10 in 2013 and placed second in the rankings last year.

Planning on selling your home? If so, it might be time to break out the paint bucket and rollers; a new survey finds that homes with white walls sell for l...

Planning on selling your home? If so, it might be time to break out the paint bucket and rollers; a new survey finds that homes with white walls sell for less.

According to an analysis by Zillow Digs, homes with kitchens that are painted yellow or green can sell for as much as $1,300 more.

Two shades in particular -- wheat yellow and sage green -- resulted in homes going for as much as $1,360 more than expected. Dove gray was also a common thread in the site’s top-performing listings.

Homes with dark walls, such as those painted slate gray or terracotta, sold for as much as $1,100 less than expected.

The absence of a paint color also didn’t do any favors for a home’s ultimate sale price; white or eggshell-colored kitchens tended to go for less than expected.

Tastefully painted walls can often help potential buyers see your home as their future home. But in order for this tactic to work, experts say it’s best not to let your personal style have too much influence on your color choice.

You might be smitten with bright turquoise, but there’s no guarantee that your home’s future inhabitants will be. To improve the odds of your painting effort paying off, steer clear of style-specific colors and go for the guaranteed crowd pleasers.

Colors with mass appeal include warm neutrals like yellow or light gray, says Svenja Gudell, Zillow chief economist, in a statement.

These colors, Gudell adds, can help signal that the home is well cared for. Additionally, clean and stylish wall colors can help convince buyers that the previous owners had an eye for design that may translate to other areas within the home.

Not sure what to color to choose? Check out these examples of paint colors and their impact on a home’s expected value. Zillow has broken down the list by room type, paint color, and how much more or less it caused the homes to sell for.

One of the most basic principles of contract law is that both parties must be competent adults, meaning that children can't enter into or be bound by contr...

One of the most basic principles of contract law is that both parties must be competent adults, meaning that children can't enter into or be bound by contracts.

You would think that companies like Amazon, Google, and Apple would know that and respect it, but you'd be wrong. Google and Apple have already paid more than $50 million in refunds to parents whose children ran up big in-app charges online. It seems Amazon will be next, now that a federal judge has granted the Federal Trade Commission’s request for summary judgment in the agency’s lawsuit against the company.

Summary judgment is what laypersons might refer to as "open and shut." It simply means the judge had heard enough and rendered a verdict without sitting through an entire trial. 

The judge’s order in the case finds that Amazon received many complaints from consumers about surprise in-app charges incurred by children, citing the fact that the company’s disclosures about the possibility of in-app charges within otherwise “free” apps were not sufficient to inform consumers about the charges.

“We are pleased the federal judge found Amazon liable for unfairly billing consumers for unauthorized in-app purchases by children,” said FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez. “We look forward to making a case for full refunds to consumers as a result of Amazon’s actions.”

The court will now gather evidence to calculate how much Amazon will have to return to the wrongfully charged parents.

The student loan debt crisis has been well documented. Millions of young Americans have gotten educations with the expectation it would make their lives be...

The student loan debt crisis has been well documented. Millions of young Americans have gotten educations with the expectation it would make their lives better, only to be saddled with tens of thousands of dollars in debt.

People that are early in their careers have been faced with paying off student loans the size of a small mortgage. As a result, they haven't taken out actual mortgages because they have been unable to buy homes.

In recent years many employers have recognized the problem it has caused with hiring the right people and retaining them. According to EdAssist, it's created changes in the way businesses and organizations are structuring employee benefits.

EdAssist helps organizations develop these tuition assistance programs that offer help to employees who are struggling to pay back student loan debt. It currently managed more than $420 million in tuition reimbursement a year for more than 120 clients.

In a recent study of millennials, who now make up the largest segment of the U.S. workforce, EdAssist found one in three workers said employers should help to repay their student loans.

IonTuition.com, an education-fintech company specializing in helping borrowers monitor and manage their student loans, found much the same thing. Only it looked at the employer side, and found a strong recognition of the need to include student loan repayment assistance as part of the employee benefits package.

In a survey of more than 400 middle managers, the company found that most employers recognize value in helping employees manage their student loan debt. Further, they appear willing to offer plans that reduce some of that stress.

The survey found nearly universal belief that employees with student loan debt would take advantage of a student loan repayment benefit should one be offered. Employers also strongly believed that relieving some of this stress would improve morale, productivity, and general well-being.

A generation ago, childcare assistance and retirement savings accounts were the highly-prized employee benefits. While today's young workers undoubtedly could use those benefits, there's a growing consensus that they need help paying off their loans even more.

In late April, we reported what, at the time, appeared to be a routine recall: CRF Frozen Foods of Washington state was recalling 15 frozen vegetable items...

In late April, we reported what, at the time, appeared to be a routine recall: CRF Frozen Foods of Washington state was recalling 15 frozen vegetable items. At the time, it was reported that the items might be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.

Since then, the vegetables have been strongly suspected of causing a multi-state outbreak of the foodbourne illness, underscoring the inter-connectedness of the U.S. food supply.

The problem is at least 350 products use the vegetables, which are distributed to retailers in all 50 states and four Canadian provinces. When a tainted product is used as an ingredient in other products, the damage is spread across a wide spectrum of the food chain, complicating things for investigators.

A few years ago there was another ingredient-driven outbreak linked to contaminated pine nuts that were used in pesto, salads, and baked goods, and another more recently associated with sunflower seeds found in a variety of trail mixes.

In 2009, peanuts contaminated with Salmonella got into the ingredient chain, contaminating everything from peanut butter to ice cream. It sickened more than 700 people and may have led to at least nine deaths. According to the PEW Charitable Trust, that outbreak led to the Food Safety Modernization Act, giving the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) more authority to protect the food supply.

In the current frozen vegetable outbreak, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says the strain of Listeria has been showing up since 2013, and that it has been working with various states to pin down the source since March, a month before the vegetable recall.

“Epidemiologic and laboratory evidence available at this time indicates that frozen vegetables produced by CRF Frozen Foods of Pasco, Washington and sold under various brand names are one likely source of illness in this outbreak,” the CDC said in a recent update. “Investigations are ongoing to determine if food sources used to manufacture CRF Frozen Foods products could explain some of the illnesses.”

The investigation into contaminated frozen vegetables is still underway, with the food company working with regulators, trying to protect consumers from getting sick. Meanwhile, new prevention-based rules for food-processing facilities – part of the Food Safety Modernization Act – begin to go into effect in September.

May was a tough month for sales of new single-family houses.The Commerce Department reports sales dropped 6.0% last month to a seasonally adjusted annu...

The Commerce Department reports sales dropped 6.0% last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 551,000, following April's surge of 16.6%. Even with the decline though, sales are 8.7% higher than they were in May 2015.

The median sales price of new houses sold in May was $290,400, up $3,000 from a year earlier. The average sales price was $358,900, a year-over-year gain of $18,100. The median is the point at which half the homes sold for more and half for less.

The seasonally adjusted estimate of new houses for sale at the end of May was 244,000, which works out to a supply of 5.3 months at the current sales rate.

May's decline was led by the Northeast, where sales were down 33.3% from the month before. Sales in the West were off 15.6%, while the South saw a dip of 0.9%. The only gain -- 12.9% -- was registered in the Midwest.

The latest report from the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) shows house prices scored a small advance during April....

The latest report from the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) shows house prices scored a small advance during April.

The FHFA's monthly House Price Index (HPI) was up 0.2% on a seasonally adjusted basis. At the same time, March's previously reported 0.7% increase was revised to reflect an increase of 0.8%.

On a year-over-year basis. house prices were up 5.9%. Since last October, the national HPI level has surpassed the prior peak reached in March 2007.

For the nine census divisions, seasonally adjusted monthly price changes ranged from -0.7% in the Middle Atlantic division to +1.4% in the New England division.

The 12-month changes were all positive, ranging from +1.7% in the Middle Atlantic division to +8.6% in the Pacific division.

The FHFA monthly HPI is calculated using home sales price information from mortgages sold to, or guaranteed by, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

The Department of Labor (DOL) reports initial jobless claims plunged by 18,000 in the week ending June 18, to a seasonally adjusted 259,000. This makes 68 consecutive weeks of initial claims below 300,000 -- the longest streak since 1973.

The four-week moving average, which is less volatile and seen as a more accurate gauge of the job market, was down 2,250 from the previous week to 267,000.

G & M Co., of Newark, N.J., is recalling approximately 3,586 pounds of beef products that may be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7. There have been...

G & M Co., of Newark, N.J., is recalling approximately 3,586 pounds of beef products that may be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7.

The following bulk beef cuts and trimmings items, produced on June 8, 9, and 10, 2016, are being recalled:

3,586-lbs. - Various box sizes ranging from 30-195 lb. containing plastic wrapped bulk beef cuts and trimmings marked only with plant identifier “M5476.”

The recalled products bear establishment number “M5476” inside the USDA mark of inspection, and were shipped to retail locations in New Jersey and New York.

Customers who purchased the recalled products should not consume them, but throw them away or return them to the place of purchase.

When it comes to raising kids, are you a die hard disciplinarian or a laid back libertarian? Whatever your parenting style, studies show it can have a big ...

When it comes to raising kids, are you a die hard disciplinarian or a laid back libertarian? Whatever your parenting style, studies show it can have a big impact on the way your kids turn out.

Like most parents, you probably want your child to grow into a happy, educated adult with a high-paying job. But a new study has found that some parenting styles may be more conducive to creating this type of adult than others.

A new survey -- conducted by a research group led by Nishimura Kazuo, project professor at the Kobe University Center of Social Systems Innovation -- has found that the way a person was raised can greatly influence their level of happiness and professional success in adulthood.

Earlier this year, the team surveyed 5,000 men and women to obtain information about their relationships with their parents during childhood. Participants responded to such questions as, “My parents trusted me,” and “I felt like my family had no interest in me.”

Based on responses, the research team was able to identify four key parenting factors -- (dis)interest, trust, rules, and independence -- and sort parenting methods into the following six categories:

The team found that positive attention and care from parents was the most effective parenting method -- at least when it came to producing adults who were both happy and successful.

Adults who reported being raised by “supportive” parents were more likely to have high incomes, high happiness levels, academic success, and a strong sense of morality.

Strict upbringings, however, tended to produce an entirely different type of adult. Although they reported high salaries and academic success, participants with parents who paid them high levels of attention combined with strict discipline became adults with lower happiness levels and increased stress.

As we have reported a number of times that, since the financial crisis of 2008, more consumers have struggled to save money.There are many reasons for ...

As we have reported a number of times that, since the financial crisis of 2008, more consumers have struggled to save money.

There are many reasons for that, including stagnant wages and rising rents. Many complain that it's hard enough meeting day-to-day expenses, let alone building up a nest egg.

It's been suggested by many personal finance experts that just starting to save something – anything – on a regular basis is a great way to begin saving money. While that may be true, there is another important step to take before making that commitment to yourself.

Seeing a list of all your income and expenses on a single sheet of paper will help you see exactly what resources you have coming in each month and where it's going. If you have no money left at the end of the month, this sheet of paper will show you why.

To start, you might want to print out this handy budget worksheet from a the Institute for Financial Literacy. The space at the top of the first sheet is where you add up all your sources of income. For a majority of consumers it will be a paycheck. But others may have additional income, so make sure you list all of it.

The next section is where you list all the taxes you pay. Most people probably don't think much about taxes because they are taken out of your paycheck. But they are real expenses and should be listed. You may have to consult a recent pay stub to get that information.

After subtracting taxes from income, you have your net income – the total amount of money you have to spend each month.

The second page is where you start listing all your monthly expenses, broken down as “fixed,” “variable,” and “periodic.” Then there are all the “discretionary” expenses, like entertainment, gifts, and subscriptions.

You may have to consult bank records and credit card statements to assemble the list, but try not to leave anything out. If you made several ATM transactions during the month, try to remember what you bought with the cash.

After adding up all the expenses, subtract it from your total income. If you're lucky, it will show a positive balance at the end of the month. That is the amount of money you should be able to put into saving each month and still make ends meet.

You'll notice that the place where you list expenses has a column marked “Current” and one marked “Revised.” If you need to carve some money out of your current spending, look for areas where you can reduce spending and enter the revised amount.

You might not think you are wasting money, and truthfully, you probably aren't. But that doesn't mean there aren't areas where you can economize and start saving.

Since the first successful surgery in 1967, researchers have worked tirelessly to perfect the process behind heart transplants. While there is still more w...

Since the first successful surgery in 1967, researchers have worked tirelessly to perfect the process behind heart transplants. While there is still more work to be done, these procedures have given years back to the people who need them.

However, the number of people on the transplant list vastly outnumbers the amount of available organs. Medical professionals have high standards for the hearts that they accept, but a new study shows that some of the organs they reject aren’t necessarily unusable.

A new study shows that the blood tests that determine the usability of hearts may not be a good predictor of whether or not the transplant will succeed or fail. Specifically, the researchers say that rejecting hearts based on the levels of troponin I – which is currently common practice – is unnecessary.

Troponin I is a protein found in heart muscle which finds its way into the bloodstream after the heart sustains some kind of damage. This could include damage done by heart disease or from an event like a heart attack. Currently, if medical professionals find high levels of the protein in the blood stream of a donor, then their heart is no longer considered viable for transplantation.

“If the heart looks okay but troponin I is elevated, many centers will reject the organ out of concern that this marker indicates dysfunction of the heart that will become evident after the stress of the transplant process,” explains Dr. Snehal R. Patel, senior author of the study and assistant professor of medicine at the Montefiore Medical Center at Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

To find out if high levels of the protein truly make a difference, Patel and his team conducted a study that analyzed the outcomes of nearly 11,000 heart transplants. Within this sample, they found that high levels of troponin I had no bearing on whether death occurred within the first year after surgery.

In fact, high levels of the protein made no significant difference in survivability rates over the first 30 days, year, three years, or five years after the transplant took place. There was also no association with complications like graft failure within the first 30 days or the proportion of people who developed allograft vasculopathy, a rapid form of heart disease.

The researchers hope that their findings will help increase the number of hearts available for transplant so that people who need them have a greater chance of survival.

“Heart transplantation is an incredible therapy for patients with end-stage heart failure, but there are only 2,000 – 2,400 transplants each year. A lot of focus has been on finding ways to sign up more people as organ donors, but there is a also a problem in that only an average of one in three donor hearts are placed,” said Patel.

“Our research shows that transplant centers should not exclude donor hearts based solely on elevated troponin I if the organ is otherwise suitable. At our institution it has already changed how we evaluate donors, and I think this data will lead to changes nationwide,” he added.

There are many things that can derail a vacation, leading to some hefty expense for those with non-refundable reservations. That's why many consumers choos...

There are many things that can derail a vacation, leading to some hefty expense for those with non-refundable reservations. That's why many consumers choose to purchase travel insurance.

But a new report from CardHub, a credit card comparison site, finds a handful of credit cards provide pretty good insurance coverage, if used to purchase the trip. They don't cover all contingencies, but some you might not expect.

The CardHub study found that travel insurance perks by credit card companies can reimburse customers when a trip gets cancelled, when a connecting flight is missed, when damage is lost or delayed, and even in the event of death.

The coverage varies from card to card, so the study compared 57 personal and 23 business credit cards to evaluate the coverage.

Nearly 93% of the cards in the study offer travel accident insurance, providing an average of $352,000 in coverage. Chase Sapphire Preferred was judged to be the best, providing $500,000 in coverage.

Almost 43% of cards will compensate travelers when luggage is lost, with an average of $2,500 included in the coverage. The Sapphire Preferred and Citi Prestige Card tied for best, with $3,000 in coverage. They both also pay up to $500 per trip for delayed bags.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred also wins in the category of best trip delay/cancellation coverage, paying $10,000 per trip. That beats the card average of $3,300, offered by 33% of cards in the study.

Not surprisingly, the Chase Sapphire Preferred also wins in the category of best overall card for travel insurance.

Among business credit cards, the Chase Ink Plus swept all categories as the best card to protect business trips. It achieved an overall score of 93%, compared to its nearest competitor, the Chase Ink Cash, at 84%.

Consumers using these cards do not have to register or sign up to receive the coverage. They simply have to contact their credit card company if they want to file a claim.

Parents often spend hours pouring over baby naming books and websites in an effort to find just the right name for their little one.It’s an important d...

Parents often spend hours pouring over baby naming books and websites in an effort to find just the right name for their little one.

It’s an important decision with lasting consequences. After all, it’s the name you’ll spend a lifetime calling out and the moniker your child will likely be saddled with for the rest of their life.

But these days, new moms and dads are finding baby name inspiration in some strange places. Instead of picking a name from a list or book, parents are tapping into their patriotic spirit for inspiration. Some are even going so far as to shell out thousands of dollars to have a professional name their baby. 

Ahead of the upcoming presidential election, a few names seem to have taken up permanent residence in the headlines. Those names also seem to have ended up on the noggins of parents tasked with naming their new baby.

BabyCenter analyzed over 15,000 names registered on its site and found that politics may be responsible for casting the spotlight on several newly popular names.

The name Hillary has risen 142% since this time last year, and Bill has seen a 113% increase in popularity. Trump and his family have also inspired baby names, although to a lesser extent. The name Donald rose 8%, Melania by 36%, and Ivanka saw a 4% increase in popularity.

Not much happening on the Bernie front, however. The name Bernard fell by 50% and there have been no boys or girls named Bernie in the past six months, according to the site.

Choosing a baby's name is a big decision. But is it a decision worth hiring a professional to help with? According to some parents, the answer is yes.

More parents are enlisting the help of professional baby namers, whose services can cost a pretty penny. In fact, one firm in Switzerland charges roughly $29,000 to devote several weeks and 100 hours to naming your baby, Bloomberg reports.

In addition to dedicating staggering amounts of time to the decision, professional baby namers also screen names for other qualities, such as whether the name has been trademarked or whether it has “an aggravating past.”

But professional baby naming experts also realize that a name is personal. That’s why baby namers like Sherri Suzanne, owner of New York’s My Name for Life, also make sure a name fits with a family’s background.

"While some criteria, like name popularity, can be measured and ranked objectively, I find that other qualities, like morality of a name or likelihood for success, are very subjective and vary from person to person, community to community and particularly generation to generation," she told Bloomberg.

We all do it. At the first sign of illness we head for the the internet and Google our symptoms.What we find, of course, could be almost anything. Cred...

What we find, of course, could be almost anything. Credible medical information is often mixed in with some highly questionable advice – advice that may not be vetted or from a credible source. Sometimes these questionable sites rank higher than those from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) or other trusted sources.

Back in 2014, researchers at the University of Florida published an interesting study that broad topic searches, such as “ear infection,” produced a search string in which more credible sources ranked higher.

But a search for more specialized and esoteric topics, like vaccines for newborns, produced a string where blogs and forums on the topic ranked higher. Most of the people posting opinions hadn't gone to medical school.

The Mayo Clinic is taking steps that it hopes will place its advice in a more prominent position. In cooperation with Google Mobile Search, the Clinic is having its experts write concise descriptions and advice for a wide range of specific medical issues to be disseminated through a new feature called Google Symptom Search.

A symptom search using ordinary, non-medical terms will show a list of related conditions. A search for “headache” will show an overview, and provide links to self-treatment options and advice on when it is a good idea to seek help from a healthcare professional.

Mayo Clinic has enlisted teams of doctors and expert clinicians to assemble and vet the information. The goal is to get good information to consumers quickly, using the way they are most likely to seek it.

The Clinic says Google will navigate searchers to the information that may include details about how common a condition is, risk factors, and suggestions on when to seek medical care.

“Providing reliable and accessible health information at the digital consumers' initial point of need — such as through Google search — is a natural extension of Mayo Clinic and our health information website, MayoClinic.org,” said Sandhya Pruthi, M.D., chief medical editor, Mayo Clinic Global Business Solutions.

For its part, Google reviewed the information provided by Mayo Clinic and verified it with independent medical authorities.

The new feature also comes with a disclaimer. Mayo Clinic says the information it provides online is not intended to be medical advice or a diagnostic tool, and it is presented for informational purposes only.

Mark Zuckerberg made news this week when he posted a picture of himself at his desk. The news was supposed to be Instagram's announcement of 500 million ac...

Mark Zuckerberg made news this week when he posted a picture of himself at his desk. The news was supposed to be Instagram's announcement of 500 million active users.

But what made news was the laptop computer in the background, presumably Zuckerberg's, that appeared to show a piece of tape over the built-in camera. Why would Zuckerberg do that, if indeed he did?

Perhaps because of the pervasive and growing presence of malware threats, some of which are capable of taking over a device's camera and microphone. If Zuckerberg taped over his camera, he's not alone. Plenty of high-profile people do – and for good reason.

Hackers are more sophisticated and actively target high profile people. Also this week, Bloomberg News reported that Russian hackers appeared to have targeted the Clinton Foundation computer network, as well as systems operated by the Democratic National Committee.

The news agency says the data breach was first discovered last week. It reported the Clinton Foundation had not been officially notified and had no comment.

The headlines from a single week serve to underscore vulnerabilities of an inter-connected world, from major institutions to a single consumer checking email at home.

These days, computer users large and small fear the threat of ransomware. When a hacker tricks someone into opening an attachment or clicking on a link, this software can take over a computer or network and lock it down.

The only way for the victim to regain use of his or her files is to pay a ransom to the hackers. In recent months, ransomware hackers have targeted hospitals, with some measure of success.

“The threat of ransomware is very real and IT professionals are increasingly realizing traditional solutions are failing,” said Stu Sjouwerman, CEO of KnowBe4. “IT pros agree that end-user security awareness training is one of the most effective security practices to combat these ransomware threats.”

KnowBe4 has just released a study covering two years, measuring awareness and concern of the ransomware threat. It found that 79% of organizations it surveyed are “extremely concerned” about ransomware threats.

What was more eye-opening, the survey found that 38% of the organizations in the survey had already been hit by ransomware.

Meanwhile, Sophos, a security software firm, says older malware threats are still prevalent and might even been more dangerous than ransomware. Writing in its Naked Security blog, the company notes that when you're hit with ransomware, you know it right away.

But if a hacker tricks you into downloading a keylogger, it might be weeks before you discovered it. Since a keylogger records keystrokes on a computer, a hacker can then get access to log-ins and passwords to bank accounts and other sensitive information.

McAfee, another security software company, reports a rise in a nasty little thing called Pinkslopbot, a backdoor trojan with worm-like abilities that also targets passwords. The company said it believed the malware was defeated in 2013, but that it has returned with a vengeance.

The best defense against these threats might ultimately be some healthy paranoia – the type Zuckerberg may have displayed this week. Be extremely careful about handling attachments – even from known sources.

It's also never a good idea to click on links in emails. If you want to visit a site, it's much safer to navigate to it yourself, either by typing in a url or by using a search engine.

You have to go back nearly a decade to find a time when previously-owned owned homes were selling at a faster pace than they did in May.According to th...

You have to go back nearly a decade to find a time when previously-owned owned homes were selling at a faster pace than they did in May.

According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), total existing-home sales -- completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops -- rose 1.8% last month a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.53 million.

Sales are now up 4.5% from the same period last year and are at their highest level since February 2007.

May marks the third consecutive month of rising sales. "This spring's sustained period of ultra-low mortgage rates has certainly been a worthy incentive to buy a home, but the primary driver in the increase in sales is more homeowners realizing the equity they've accumulated in recent years and finally deciding to trade-up or downsize," said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun.

"With first-time buyers still struggling to enter the market, repeat buyers using the proceeds from the sale of their previous home as their down payment are making up the bulk of home purchases right now."

The median existing-home price for all housing types in May was $239,700, up 4.7% from May 2015, surpassing the peak median sales price of $236,300 set last June. May also marked the 51st consecutive month of year-over-year gains. The median is the point at which half the homes cost more and half cost less.

Total housing inventory was up 1.4% to 2.15 million existing homes available for sale at the end of May, but is still 5.7% lower than a year ago (2.28 million). That translates to a 4.7-month supply at the current sales pace.

"Existing inventory remains subdued throughout much of the country and continues to lag even last year's deficient amount," noted Yun. "While new home construction has thankfully crept higher so far this year, there's still a glaring need for even more, to help alleviate the supply pressures that are severely limiting choices and pushing prices out of reach for plenty of prospective first-time buyers."

Mortgage applications last week have rebounded from the previous week's decline.Data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s Weekly Mortgage Applicatio...

Data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey show applications were up 2.9% for the week ending June 17.

The Refinance Index shot up 7%, pushing the refinance share of mortgage activity to 57.7% of total applications from 55.3% a week earlier.

The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity increased to 5.7% of total applications, the FHA share dipped to 11.7% from 11.8% the week prior, the VA share was unchanged at 11.1%, and the USDA share of total applications held steady at 0.6%.

Sony Electronics of San Diego, Calif., is recalling about 1,700 Panasonic battery packs used in Sony Electronics laptop computers in the U.S. and Canada....

Sony Electronics of San Diego, Calif., is recalling about 1,700 Panasonic battery packs used in Sony Electronics laptop computers in the U.S. and Canada.

This recall involves Panasonic lithium-ion battery packs installed in 18 models of Sony’s VAIO Series laptop computers. The Panasonic battery packs were also sold separately and installed by Sony as part of repairs.

Panasonic battery packs included in this recall have model number VGP-BPS26 and part numbers 1-853-237-11 and 1-853-237-21. Panasonic battery pack model and part numbers are printed on the back of the battery pack.

The battery packs, manufactured in China, were sold at Best Buy, Sony retail stores, other consumer electronic stores nationwide and online at www.store.sony.com and other websites from February 2013, through October 2013, for between $550 and $1,000 as part of Sony VAIO laptops and for about $170 for battery packs sold separately.

Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled battery packs, power off the laptop, remove the battery and follow instructions to obtain a free replacement. Until a replacement battery pack is received, consumers can use the laptop by plugging in the AC power only.

Consumers may contact Sony Electronics toll-free at 888-476-6988 from 8 a.m. to 12 a.m. (ET) Monday through Friday or 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. (ET) Saturday and Sunday or online at www.sony.com, click on “Support” and then “Support Alerts” for more information.

Nissan North America is recalling 28,182 model year 2014-2016 Infiniti Q50s manufactured December 26, 2012, to December 11, 2015, and Infiniti Q50 Hybrids ...

Nissan North America is recalling 28,182 model year 2014-2016 Infiniti Q50s manufactured December 26, 2012, to December 11, 2015, and Infiniti Q50 Hybrids manufactured December 10, 2012, to December 17, 2015.

The Direct Adaptive Steering system may experience an error at vehicle start up altering the steering responsiveness and turning radius.

Nissan will notify owners, and dealers will reprogram the Direct Adaptive Steering ECU software, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin by August 9, 2016.

The death of Star Trek actor Anton Yelchin attracted a lot of attention, but it is only one of hundreds of rollaway incidents involving Jeeps and other Chr...

The death of Star Trek actor Anton Yelchin attracted a lot of attention, but it is only one of hundreds of rollaway incidents involving Jeeps and other Chrysler products.

Yelchin was killed June 18 when his 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee pinned him against his mailbox, an accident that's unfortunately all too common because of confusion over the monostable gear selector on certain Chrysler models.

"Yelchin’s death is unfortunately the latest example of industry and government incompetence in the face of vehicle safety defects," the Center for Auto Safety charged.

On April 22, 2016, Chrysler issued a recall of 2014-2015 Grand Cherokees, as well as 2012-14 Chrysler 300s and Dodge Chargers, in order to add an additional part to enhance the Jeeps’ monostable gear selector.  

The design of the monostable gear selector has been the source of much confusion for Chrysler owners, resulting in hundreds of rollaway incidents reported to both Chrysler and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Chrysler said that as of April 12, 2016 it knew of 212 crashes, 41 of them involving injuries. NHTSA has been investigating the situation since August 20, 2015.

The problem is that the electronic gear selector used in the affected models works differently from the mechanical models consumers are used to. To change gear, the driver moves the lever to P, D, R or whatever, the transmission shifts, and the lever returns to its default position.

The system works, but it is easy for drivers to forget which gear they are in, critics say, and especially easy for them to get out of the car when it is not in Park. This could occur when someone wants to jump out for a minute to -- for example -- check the mailbox, and may be what happened to Yelchin. 

When it announced the recall, Chrysler sent a letter to owners promising to find a fix to the problem by the fourth quarter of 2016 but didn't say when that fix would actually become available.

"Given Chrysler’s recent recall efforts in fire-prone Jeeps, owners would be potentially subject to lengthy delays when seeking a remedy," said Clarence Ditlow, executive director of the center.

Commercial drones can get ready to line up on the taxiways. The Federal Aviation Administration today released its final rule on drones, cheering business ...

Commercial drones can get ready to line up on the taxiways. The Federal Aviation Administration today released its final rule on drones, cheering business backers but outraging privacy advocates.

“We are part of a new era in aviation, and the potential for unmanned aircraft will make it safer and easier to do certain jobs, gather information, and deploy disaster relief,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “We look forward to working with the aviation community to support innovation, while maintaining our standards as the safest and most complex airspace in the world.”

The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), which had earlier sued the agency, said the FAA had ignored nearly 180 comments submitted during the rulemaking process which addressed the privacy risks posed by commercial drones. 

"The FAA has repeatedly acknowledged the privacy risks of drone deployment, but has so far refused to adopt any privacy safeguards," EPIC said. 

The new rule, which takes effect in late August, offers safety regulations for unmanned aircraft drones weighing less than 55 pounds that are conducting non-hobbyist operations.

According to industry backers, the rule could generate more than $82 billion for the U.S. economy and create more than 100,000 new jobs over the next 10 years, Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) said.

“Unmanned aerial systems have the potential to totally revolutionize our economy and way of life, on a scale similar to that of the invention of the wireless cell phone," Warner said. "We need to be looking at how we can safely integrate drones into American airspace, both right now and for the future, and I applaud the FAA for moving the ball forward today."

Far from endorsing EPIC's position, Warner said the U.S. lags behind many other countries in adopting drone technology.

"I encourage the FAA to continue to work with stakeholders and industry to ensure that the United States stays globally competitive in fully embracing the potential of new innovation in unmanned technology,” Warner said.

Today's rule, however, will not let Amazon drop packages at your door. Although companies will not need to have a licensed pilot to operate drones, they must still maintain a visual line of sight with the drone at all times and can only fly one mission at a time. 

EPIC filed suit against the FAA after more than 100 groups and experts petitioned the agency to conduct a rulemaking on drone privacy. EPIC also recommended the FAA implement a national database detailing the surveillance capabilities of commercial drones.

In its earlier filings with the FAA, EPIC argued that drones "are capable of conducting persistent surveillance at a distance, collecting a great deal of detailed and sensitive personal data."

“With special capabilities and enhanced equipment, drones are able to conduct far more detailed surveillance, obtaining high resolution picture and video, peering inside high level windows, and through solid barriers, such as fences, trees, and even walls,” all without being detected, EPIC said.

Getting a credit card isn't nearly as hard as getting a mortgage these days, but face it – lenders aren't just handing out plastic to anyone, like they did...

As people age, many have a tendency to write off exercise as something meant for younger people. After all, if you’ve made it to your senior years relative...

As people age, many have a tendency to write off exercise as something meant for younger people. After all, if you’ve made it to your senior years relatively intact, then you must have been doing something right.

But a new study shows that regular exercise is still very important as we grow older – especially for seniors who may be at greater risk of injury. Researchers have found a connection between physical exercise and the amount of time it takes for muscles to repair themselves in the elderly. Those who exercised more were able to recover much more quickly and regained more muscle mass compared with those who didn’t.

The study, which was conducted in part by researchers from McMaster University in Canada, found that exercise provided a level of pre-conditioning that was very important for older bodies. This is especially important because older people can tend to be more sedentary.

“Exercise pre-conditioning may improve the muscle repair response in older adults to stimuli such as acute periods of atrophy/inactivity and/or damage. . . Exercise-conditioning rescues delayed skeletal muscle regeneration observed in advanced age,” said Dr. Gianni Parise.

The researchers observed these benefits by conducting an experiment on three groups of mice. The groups were made up of old mice who were not exercise-trained, old mice who were exercise-trained, and young mice who were not exercise-trained. After injecting the mice with venom meant to induce muscle injury, the researchers observed the recovery periods for each group.

The researchers found that the speed of muscle recovery was higher in the group of mice that had been exercise-trained. They posit that the recovery speed was directly linked to the health of muscle satellite cells, which are responsible for healing.

“This is a clean demonstration that the physiological and metabolic benefits of exercise radiate to skeletal muscle satellite cells, the adult stem cells responsible for repair after injury, even in senescent animals. . . Strikingly, even as the contractile elements of muscle tissue wane with age, the capacity of the satellite cells to respond to exercise cues is maintained. This aging-resistant retentive property could be added to the list of features that define adult stem cells,” said Dr. Thoru Pederson.

The "Doctor Trusted" certification program used to peddle all kinds of products on more than 800 websites was bogus, the Federal Trade Commission charged, ...

The "Doctor Trusted" certification program used to peddle all kinds of products on more than 800 websites was bogus, the Federal Trade Commission charged, and its backers have agreed to pay $603,000 to settle the commission's complaint.

SmartClick Media LLC and its owner Robert Vozdecky, also known as Bill Anderson, also agreed to settle charges that several of their websites, such as betterlivingjournal.org, were deceptively formatted to appear to be independent lifestyle blogs or health-product review sites.

“Consumers should be able to rely on seals and certificates for accurate information on how products are tested and evaluated,” said Jessica Rich, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “Unfortunately, in this case, they were completely misled by the sellers of the ‘Doctor Trusted’ program.”

According to the FTC’s complaint, the defendants marketed and sold the“Doctor Trusted” seal and certification program to websites that hawked dietary supplements and other supposed health products.

When consumers clicked on the seal, they were shown a pop-up box that displayed the “Doctor Trusted” certificate, which stated that the products on the site were “carefully evaluated by an independent medical doctor who reviewed its medical information, claims, products, terms of service, and policies,” and who deemed them “trustworthy and safe for purchase.”

In fact, said the FTC, the seals and certificates were meaningless. The defendants hired two freelance doctors who superficially reviewed the products on the websites. However, the doctors did not actually evaluate the products, or determine whether the advertising claims for the products were supported, according to the complaint.

The FTC also charged that the defendants operated lifestyle blog and review websites that claimed to offer unbiased advice and information about various medical products, programs, health issues, and scientific breakthroughs. In reality, these sites were advertising vehicles, and the defendants received a commission whenever a consumer clicked on them or bought an advertised product.

You might assume that one or two would be a more sanity-preserving number of children. But if it’s happiness you’re after, you might want to consider addin...

You might assume that one or two would be a more sanity-preserving number of children. But if it’s happiness you’re after, you might want to consider adding a few more to your brood.

A new study by Redbookmag.com finds that, when it comes to kids, the more you have the happier you’ll be.

In a survey, 558 self-identified stay-at-home moms were asked to rate their level of happiness. Surprisingly, moms of four or more kids were most likely to consider themselves “very” or “extremely” happy.

The four-or-more theory begins to make more sense when you consider the fact that, as the writer points out, “managing four or more children will mellow all but the most stubborn of perfectionists.”

The survey also examined other aspects of stay-at-home motherhood, including how many SAHMs work and why they stay at home. It may not surprise you to learn that moms are pretty close to being actual superheroes. 

Busy stay-at-home moms do so much more than take care of the kids. The survey found that almost two-thirds of SAHMs contribute to their household income; 25% said they ran a business from home.

And most moms, it seems, would appreciate a little more respect for what they do. Seventy-two percent of SAHMs said society doesn’t understand how much they do. Moms also said they deserved a salary of $50,000.

If you work at a mid-size to large company, benefits likely make up an important part of your compensation package.But in the last 20 years, the items ...

Hot and humid summer weather can trigger asthma symptoms, which can quickly turn an afternoon on the playground into an evening in the emergency room. ...

The fallout from Volkswagen's admitted diesel emissions cheating scandal is increasing in courtrooms around the world.But the latest action doesn't con...

If someone contacts you, claiming they have technical expertise and can see that your computer has problems, look out. If you don't hang up right away, you...

If someone contacts you, claiming they have technical expertise and can see that your computer has problems, look out. If you don't hang up right away, your problems could just be beginning.

The Federal Trade Commission (FCC) and Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi have reached a settlement with Vast Tech Support, after charging that the company scammed consumers nationwide out of millions of dollars by selling them phony technical support services.

The settlement stipulates that Vast Tech Support, LLC and OMG Tech Help, LLC, along with their CEO Mark Donohue, may no longer mislead consumers about the nature of the products they sell or market. It also requires they refrain from deceptive telemarketing.

The settlement also bars Vast Tech Support and OMG Tech Helpfrom advertising, promoting, or selling any tech support products or services.

The complaint, filed back in 2014, claims the defendants employed software to trick consumers into believing their computers were infected with malware or had other problems. It's accused of directing consumers to boiler rooms where telemarketers subjected consumers to high pressure sales pitches until they agreed to purchase the unnecessary tech support.

Both the FTC and state of Florida charged that the companies had violated the Telemarketing Sales Rule and the FTC Act, along with the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act.

Bondi says the Vast Tech Support and OMG Tech Support defendants have agreed to pay more than $27 million in a judgment and will give up all assets to a court-appointed receiver. The receiver will then liquidate assets and dissolve the companies.

The federal and state complaints allege that Vast Tech Support heavily promoted a registry software product called PC HealthBoost, claiming it could speed up computers and protect against errors and crashes.

Investigators say that once consumers downloaded a free version of the software, a system scan allegedly misled them to believe that their computer had hundreds or thousands of errors in need of repair. In most cases, the computers were error free.

Enter Boost software, another defendant in the case, urged consumers to spend $29.97 to purchase a copy of PC HealthBoost to fix the non-existent errors.

Global property information provider CoreLogic reports completed foreclosures across the country fell 15.8% in April -- to 37,000 from 43,000 a year earlie...

Global property information provider CoreLogic reports completed foreclosures across the country fell 15.8% in April -- to 37,000 from 43,000 a year earlier. Since the peak of 117,813 in September 2010, completed foreclosures are down 68.9%.

In addition, the foreclosure inventory was down 23.4% from April 2015. Completed foreclosures reflect the total number of homes lost to foreclosure, while the foreclosure inventory represents the number of homes at some stage of the foreclosure process.

Since the financial meltdown began in September 2008, there have been approximately 6.2 million completed foreclosures nationally, and since homeownership rates peaked in the second quarter of 2004, there have been approximately 8.3 million homes lost to foreclosure.

As of this past April, the national foreclosure inventory included approximately 406,000, or 1.1% percent, of all homes with a mortgage. A year earlier, it was 530,000 homes, or 1.4%. The April 2016 foreclosure inventory rate is the lowest for any month since September 2007.

The number of mortgages in serious delinquency -- 90 days or more past due including loans in foreclosure or Real Estate Owned -- dropped 21.6% from April 2015 to April 2016, with 1.1 million mortgages, or 3%, in this category. The April 2016 serious delinquency rate is the lowest since October 2007.

“The recovery in home prices and improved labor market have contributed to the drop in seriously delinquent rates,” said Dr. Frank Nothaft, chief economist for CoreLogic. “Over the 12 months through April, the CoreLogic Home Price Index for the U.S. rose 6.2 % and the labor market gained 2.6 million jobs. We also found that the seriously delinquent rate fell by about three-quarters of a percentage point.”

Honey Bunchie is recalling a limited number of Honey Bunchies Gourmet Honey Bars The product contains sunflower kernels that may be contaminated wi...

The following product, distributed directly to distributors, retailers and online consumers between August 05, 2015, and March 15, 2016, is being recalled:

Customers who purchased recalled products are urged not to consume them, but and return them to the place of purchase for a full refund.

Consumers with questions may contact the company at (303) 808-3351 or by email at customercare@honeybunchies.com.

Asian Jade Customs Brokerage of Springfield Gardens, N.Y., is recalling approximately 762 pounds of imported sausage products that were not presented at th...

Asian Jade Customs Brokerage of Springfield Gardens, N.Y., is recalling approximately 762 pounds of imported sausage products that were not presented at the U.S. point of entry for inspection.

The following heat-treated, shelf-stable, ready-to-eat dried pork sausage items, imported on June 3, 2016, are being recalled:

The recalled products bear the Polish establishment number PL 30090201 WE, and lists the use by date “18/08/2016” and lot numbers “61391 61411 13,” “61391 61451 29,” or “61391 61411 22” on the back of the package.

The products were produced between May 18 and 20, 2016, in Poland and shipped to a distributor and retail locations in New Jersey and New York.

Customers who purchased these products should not consume them, but throw them away or return them to the place of purchase.

Consumers with questions about the recall may contact Cathy Chiu Lam of Asian Jade Customs Brokerage at (718) 995-5030.

The Hershey Company is recalling three products sold under the SoFit brand. The products may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes. T...

BMW of North America is recalling 21,493 model year 2011 X5 xDrive 35i, xDrive50i, X5 M, X6 xDrive35i, X6 xDrive50i, and X6 M vehicles manufactured April 5...

BMW of North America is recalling 21,493 model year 2011 X5 xDrive 35i, xDrive50i, X5 M, X6 xDrive35i, X6 xDrive50i, and X6 M vehicles manufactured April 5, 2010, to November 20, 2010; 2011 X5 xDrive35d diesel vehicles manufactured April 7, 2010, to November 20, 2010; and 2011 X6 Active Hybrid vehicles manufactured April 15, 2010, to November 17, 2010.

The recalled vehicles have a front driveshaft universal joint that may not seal out water and debris from getting in and damaging the joint, which could lead to its failure.

If the front universal joint fails, the front wheels would not be driven, affecting vehicle traction. Additionally, continued driving of the vehicle with a broken front universal joint may damage other components. Either condition may increase the risk of a crash.

BMW will notify owners, and dealers will replace the front driveshaft, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin on July 1, 2016.

What's in your wallet? If it's an American Express card and you're on your way to Costco, you may want to turn around and head for Walmart or Target. This ...

A group of public interest groups, while generally applauding proposed federal rules to rein in payday lending, say the proposed rules should not be watere...

A group of public interest groups, while generally applauding proposed federal rules to rein in payday lending, say the proposed rules should not be watered down.

After analyzing the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's (CFPB) proposed rule to limit payday and car title lending, the groups have issued a detailed critique, saying there are loopholes that would allow some lenders to continue making harmful loans with business as usual.

The groups include the Center for Responsible Lending, the National Consumer Law Center, U.S. PIRG, and others.

The groups say they are in favor of what they call the CFPB's “common sense principle” that lenders must determine whether a potential borrower has the ability to pay back the loan before agreeing to lend any money.

The purpose is to make sure that once the loan becomes due in two weeks, the borrower doesn't have to take another loan to pay it back.

So far, so good the groups say. But they have a problem with some exemptions that have been proposed to this standard. They say those exemptions would allow payday and car title lenders to continue making predatory loans that trap consumers in a a cycle of debt.

The groups also cite new CFPB data that they say shows borrowers who get payday loans without proving they have the ability to repay default at high rates. In some cases, they say the default rates were as high as 40%.

“A 40% failure rate for products such as cars, electronics, or others would not be considered safe, and the same is true here,” the groups said in a statement emailed to ConsumerAffairs. “And the default rate is only the tip of the iceberg, leaving out loans that trigger overdraft fees and difficulty meeting other expenses.”

The groups also worry that exemptions approved by a federal agency would undermine the efforts of several states to crack down on predatory lending. There are 14 states, as well as the District of Columbia, where a cap on interest makes payday lending unprofitable.

In short, the groups say there would be no exemptions to the “ability to repay” standard in the final rule. The public can comment on the proposed rule before September 14.

Zillow is sort of the Google of real estate. It wasn't long ago that real estate agents and their powerful lobbying organizations had realty listings prett...

Zillow is sort of the Google of real estate. It wasn't long ago that real estate agents and their powerful lobbying organizations had realty listings pretty well locked up. If you were looking for a home, there were few sources of information other than Realtors, as they insist on calling themselves. 

Zillow broke the market for real estate information wide open with its Big Data approach, indexing and displaying information on 110 million homes, just as Google made data scattered around the internet accessible to all. Suddenly, you didn't have to submit to the clutches of a real estate salesperson to get an idea of what the market was like in a given area. You could find listings and all kinds of neighborhood data just by firing up your browser.

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) was not too happy about this, as it loosened agents' hold on information. Neither was Dow Jones, publisher of the Wall Street Journal.

That's because Dow Jones in 2014 bought Move.com for $950 million. Besides operating its own site, Move operates the listings site Realtor.com for the NAR, in a cozy little arrangement that combines journalism and home hucksterism. 

Zillow, which bought competitor Trulia for $2.5 billion in 2015, broke up the cozy arrangement between real estate agents and the Dow Jones/NAR oligopoly, making it possible for consumers to get unfiltered data. Suddenly they could look at listings on their own, find neighborhood stats on everything from schools to taxes to walkability and even list their own property, all without the intercession of a real estate agent.

Realtors and Dow Jones got a small bit of revenge earlier this month when Zillow agreed to pay $130 million to settle a lawsuit that charged it had stolen trade secrets by hiring executives from Move, which initially claimed damages of $1.8 billion. The court later reduced that to about $1 billion.

The NAR issued a statement saying it was "pleased" with the outcome. Zillow denied wrongdoing and said the settlement would allow it to focus on continued growth and innovation.  

"Move will receive the bulk of these funds; it is NAR’s hope that they will invest this money in initiatives that enhance the consumer experience on realtor.com® and benefit our members in support of the Realtor® brand," NAR said, just about exhausting its supply of those little encircled "R" things. 

Maybe so, although it will take a lot of work. The Move.com and Realtor.com sites are poor seconds to Zillow, as the illustration above shows.

That email you got from Ticketmaster offering free tickets? Don't delete it -- it's not a scam. The emails went out to millions of Ticketmaster customers a...

That email you got from Ticketmaster offering free tickets? Don't delete it -- it's not a scam. The emails went out to millions of Ticketmaster customers as part of the settlement of a 13-year-old lawsuit. 

The settlement affects customers who bought tickets on the Tickermaster site between October 1999 and February 2013 and who paid an "Order processing fee." A class action lawsuit filed in 2003 alleged the fee was "excessive and deceptive."

The company denies wrongdoing but says it settled to avoid further litigation. The settlement includes $45 million worth of tickets, discounts and cash to customers covered by the lawsuit.

Consumers covered by the settlement will get at least one ticket code in their account. The code can be redeemed for two general admission to tickets to "selected events."

Live Nation, Ticketmaster's parent company, will decide which events the vouchers are good for and said they'll be handed out on a first-come, first-served basis. 

There have been many concerns over the past few months about the emergence of the Zika virus. Many experts have cautioned that the virus, which has been sh...

There have been many concerns over the past few months about the emergence of the Zika virus. Many experts have cautioned that the virus, which has been shown to cause birth defects like microcephaly, could migrate north to the U.S. during the warm summer months.

So, with the clock ticking, researchers have been trying to learn more about it so that it can be stopped. And, fortunately, there may be some good news on that front.

A recent study conducted at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis has identified several genetic pathways that is crucial for transmission of Zika virus and other flaviviruses like it. The researchers say that shutting down these pathways would render the virus incapable of moving to other cells, greatly impairing its infection ability.

Narrowing down the number of genetic pathways that the virus could take was the primary hurtle for the researchers, but doing so has allowed them to see which avenues are crucial for Zika virus to survive.

“We wanted to find out if we could identify genes present in the host cells that are absolutely required by the virus for infection. Out of about 19,000 genes that we looked at, we only found nine key genes that the virus relies on for infection or to spread. All of them are associated with an important part of the cell that processes viral particles, which is essential to spreading infection,” said Dr. Michael Diamond, senior author of the study.

Diamond and his colleagues were able to pinpoint these pathways by using a piece of gene editing technology called CRISPR. With this tool, the researchers were able to shut down individual genes and see if they played a primary role in the virus’ survival.

One problem that the researchers ran into was figuring out the potential side effects of disabling genes. While shutting one down might cease the spread of Zika virus to other cells, it could also come at a cost, including cell death. Fortunately, not all of the genes that were identified carried such a risk.

Of the nine genes that the researchers found, one stood out as a particularly good drug target for future trials. This gene, called SPCS1, not only shuts down the transmission pathway for Zika when it is disabled, but it also does so with no adverse effect to the host’s cells.

Additionally, they found that disabling this gene not only contained infection rates for Zika virus, but for other types of flaviviruses. Researchers found similar results when they tested for dengue, yellow fever, Japanese encephalitis, and hepatitis C viruses, giving hope that therapies focused on this genetic pathway could be widely beneficial.

“Flaviviruses appear to be uniquely dependent on this particular gene to release the viral particle. In these viruses, this gene sets off a domino effect that is required to assemble and release the viral particle. Without it, the chain reaction doesn’t happen and the virus can’t spread,” said Diamond.

If you're a big reader, watch your mail and check your online e-book accounts closely. Apple and five big publishers are dishing out $400 million to consum...

Despite not receiving an invitation, mosquitoes are often the first guests to show up to a backyard party or gathering. And they sure have a knack for maki...

Despite not receiving an invitation, mosquitoes are often the first guests to show up to a backyard party or gathering. And they sure have a knack for making other guests feel uncomfortable.

Bug sprays and citronella candles may help make people a less attractive target to mosquitoes, but there are other ways to keep pests at bay. In fact, your entire yard can join the fight against mosquitoes. All you have to do is select the right plants.

Certain plants produce a natural mosquito repellent that works as a defense against deer and other hungry animals. But plants aren’t the only ones who can benefit from this natural repellent. People, too, can see the effects of mosquito-repelling plants.

A few years ago, you might have guessed that Apple would be the top brand in the world but today it's Google, followed by Amazon and Samsung, according to ...

A few years ago, you might have guessed that Apple would be the top brand in the world but today it's Google, followed by Amazon and Samsung, according to a report released by IPG Mediabrands during a conference in Cannes, France. Apple doesn't even show up in the top ten.

The study finds Google is the top brand poised to succeed in the future. It was conducted by IPG in partnership with Jonah Berger, Associate Professor, The Wharton School at The University of Pennsylvania.

The report queried global consumers about which brands are well-rounded in both traditional metrics and newer influences across social media.

"We applied a rigorous and comprehensive methodology that showcases which brands are driving the future," said Berger. "Ultimately, it is not about being relevant today; it’s about being transformative tomorrow.” 

Apple came in at 22, which Berger says is largely the result of the tech brand's poor engagement across social media. Apple is not very responsive to its consumers, he said. Uber also fared poorly in this area, coming in at 82.

At its core, the research shows that the world has fundamentally changed, Berger said. Being the largest and oldest brand used to guarantee continued success. Today it requires responding to the four elements listed above.

The report queried more than 10,000 consumers across four global regions in five major markets including the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, China, and India.

Could you be watering your lawn with toxic lead and phthalate chemicals? According to new data, the answer may be yes. Researchers at the Ann Arbor-bas...

It seems not a week goes by without another medical study singing the praises of blueberries. The tiny fruit, rich in antioxidants, is credited with a mult...

It seems not a week goes by without another medical study singing the praises of blueberries. The tiny fruit, rich in antioxidants, is credited with a multitude of health benefits, from slowing the aging process to improving memory and vision.

The problem is, not enough consumers know about it. At least that's the conclusion of a researcher at the University of Florida, who quizzed a wide range of people about their blueberry knowledge.

The researcher team talked to more than 2,000 people in 31 states – mostly on the East Coast and in the Midwest – about their understanding of the health benefits of blueberries. Most had heard that blueberries were effective in warding off cancer and could help lower the risk of heart disease.

But the study also found a knowledge gap among socio-economic groups. In particular, low-income consumers were less aware of blueberry health benefits.

“People being more familiar with blueberries as deterrents for cancer and heart disease may be related to the high general awareness of these two diseases,” said researcher Shuyang Qu. “The fact that cancer and heart diseases are the leading causes of death in America may have led to more personal research related to preventing the diseases, leading to the respondents being exposed to these findings more than other benefits.”

In fact, blueberries have been credited with a wide range of health benefits over the years. Here are a few:

A main purpose of the Florida research is to demonstrate to Florida blueberry growers that they could be moving a lot more product if they did a better job of promoting it. For consumers, the takeaway might be that adding blueberries to their diets could carry some long-term health benefits.

Lumber Liquidators in cooperation with the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has agreed to not continue sales of laminate wood flooring that it had...

Lumber Liquidators in cooperation with the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has agreed to not continue sales of laminate wood flooring that it had imported from China.

In addition, as part of a recall program that affects consumers who purchased Chinese-made laminate flooring during a three-year period, the company also agreed to continue conducting a comprehensive testing program.

The company has pledged to remedy issues that consumers may face with their Chinese-made laminate flooring if it is emitting elevated levels of formaldehyde.

The announcement is not intended to cause consumers to pull up Chinese-made laminate flooring installed in their homes, CPSC said. Doing that could expose residents to increased formaldehyde levels. Instead, consumers should contact Lumber Liquidators to take part in the testing program.

Lumber Liquidators has tested the air quality in more than 17,000 consumer households and has utilized third-party certified laboratories to conduct further formaldehyde emissions testing for an additional 1,300 consumer floors. However, none of those floors has tested above the remediation guideline.

From 2011 to May 2015, Lumber Liquidators estimates that approximately 614,000 consumers purchased Chinese-made laminate flooring from its shelves. However, the company suspended sales of the products after reports surfaced about dangers connected to formaldehyde. This left the company with around 22 million board feet of flooring they couldn't sell. As part of an agreement with CPSC, any future sale, disposal, or transfer of the product can only take place with the agency's approval.

Lumber Liquidators will continue its program to test for formaldehyde emissions in consumers’ homes. Consumers who purchased Chinese-made laminate flooring from the company from February 2012 through May 2015 are encouraged to request a free badge kit and screening test.

Lumber Liquidators will contact consumers who have elevated levels of formaldehyde in their homes for more extensive testing of their laminate flooring. Based on these test results, the company has agreed to work with consumers to reduce the formaldehyde emissions levels and improve the indoor air quality of the home.

If those efforts are unsuccessful, the company has pledged to pay for a certified industrial hygienist to examine the home and suggest an additional remedy for the homeowner. The additional remedy would be free to the consumer and could include replacement of the flooring or repairs to the home.

Consumers may contact Lumber Liquidators to request a free testing kit at 800-366-4204 between 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. (EST) Monday through Friday, between 9:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. (EST) on Saturday, or between 11:00 a.m. through 7:00 p.m. on Sunday; or online at http://www.lumberliquidators.com/ll/testkit.

In the same week the U.S. Labor Department released its May Consumer Price Index (CPI), showing a slight rise in prices, Adobe issued its Digital Price Ind...

In the same week the U.S. Labor Department released its May Consumer Price Index (CPI), showing a slight rise in prices, Adobe issued its Digital Price Index (DPI) showing prices are continuing to fall.

Can both be right? They can, because it appears that in this economy there are always some things that cost people more, while some things cost less. Depending on what it is you are buying, you could encounter inflation or deflation.

Adobe's DPI tracks billions of actual online transactions to gather its data. The government's CPI is based on consumer surveys that are designed to approximate sales in each product category.

Adobe says its DPI reveals deflation – prices that are going down, not up – in most of the tracked consumer goods. In May, Adobe found prices for appliances, computers, flights, furniture, sporting goods, TVs, and toys went down in price by as little as 2.8% or as much as 19.7%.

The government's official statistics, the CPI, reported year-over-year deflation between 0.3% and 16.1% for these categories. It also found airfares went up 0.4%.

Consumer electronics prices went down 1.4%, led by a 3.7% price decline for tablets. Sporting goods prices fell by 0.4%. But it you travel a lot, you likely encountered higher prices. Air travel cost 4.1% more in May than in April and hotel rooms cost 0.7% more.

Adobe looks at other digital data to draw conclusions on other aspects of the economy, and its picture is somewhat different than the one drawn by the government.

For example, the DPI suggests more people are looking for jobs. It draws that conclusion from counting visits to employment search sites. The latest analysis shows an increase from April to May in those job site visits and points to potentially higher unemployment rates than reported.

It also measures the housing market. By tracking two billion visits to real estate marketplace sites in the last year, the DPI found that online searches for housing purchases and rentals have slowed.

The DPI also tracks price movements within categories, breaking it down between high priced items and low priced items. In May, Adobe said most consumer categories saw the biggest price declines among lower priced models.

“This tremendous amount of data reveals further deflation, higher unemployment, and more weakness in the housing market than current reports suggest,” said Adobe VP Mickey Mericle.

That's not necessarily good news. While consumers like low prices, economists worry that deflation shows a lack of demand in the economy, which can signal the onset of a recession.

Just in time for the official start of summer, gasoline prices are headed lower again. After steadily rising since March, the national average of self-serv...

Just in time for the official start of summer, gasoline prices are headed lower again. After steadily rising since March, the national average of self-serve regular appears to have peaked.

The AAA Fuel Gauge Survey reports that the national average price is $2.33 a gallon, down about four cents from a week ago. Prices are falling even faster in parts of the Midwest.

In fact, the dramatic price declines in Michigan and Ohio may be mostly responsible for pulling the national average price lower. The statewide average price of gasoline in Ohio is down 18 cents in the last seven days. It's 14 cents lower in Michigan.

And prices in the region may go even lower. Over the weekend, Gasbuddy senior petroleum analyst Patrick DeHaaan Tweeted advice to motorists not to fill their tanks just yet.

“ALERT: Motorists in Great Lakes should AVOID filling their tanks completely as #gasprices in MI/IN/OH/WI should fall 10-30c over next 2 wks,” DeHaan wrote.

In truth, prices in the Midwest had raced far ahead of the national average after there were reports of refinery issues in Michigan. Whatever problems there were got quickly resolved, so supply issues did not materialize.

However, AAA notes that before they began their dramatic decline, gasoline prices in the Midwest were rivaling averages typically experienced by drivers on the West Coast.

Also putting downward pressure on prices at the pump is a recent decline in crude oil prices. After nudging past $50 a barrel, oil prices were down about 2% last week.

Demand has risen steadily and the huge glut of both oil and gasoline has gotten smaller, but supplies are still plentiful and U.S. production, which has been suspended amid falling prices, can quickly resume.

Gasoline prices are following recent seasonal patterns. After rising at the end of the winter, as refineries perform maintenance and switch over to summer gasoline blends, prices usually begin falling again as the Independence Day holiday approaches. That appears to be what is happening this year as well.

According to the latest from AAA, the cheapest gasoline in the nation can be found in South Carolina, where the statewide average is $2.03 a gallon. The most expensive fuel is still found in California, where the statewide average is $2.85 a gallon.

Whirlpool’s new connected ovens may be the non-skilled home cook's recipe for success. The appliance manufacturer recently announced its upcoming line ...

The sights, smells, and sounds of summer are perhaps best enjoyed on a patio or deck. But if your outdoor space is looking lackluster, it may be time to sp...

Post Consumer Brands is recalling a limited quantity of its Great Grains Protein Blend – Honey, Oats & Seeds cereal. The products may be contaminat...

Post Consumer Brands is recalling a limited quantity of its Great Grains Protein Blend – Honey, Oats & Seeds cereal.

The following items, identified by a “Best when used by” code printed on the top of the box, are being recalled:

Customers should not consume these products, but return them to the place of purchase for a refund, or discarded.

Consumers with questions may contact the company at 1-800-431-7678, Monday through Friday, 9:00AM – 5:00 PM (ET) or online at www.postconsumerbrands.com/greatgrains. 

Creative Snacks of Greensboro, N.C., is expanding its earlier recall of specific lot codes of bulk and packaged sunflower seed products. The produc...

Creative Snacks of Greensboro, N.C., is expanding its earlier recall of specific lot codes of bulk and packaged sunflower seed products.

The following products, distributed to retailers nationwide and sold in a variety of formats including plastic rigid containers, small re-sealable bags and in bulk, are being recalled:

Best before dates can be found on bottom lower right corner of rigid containers and the back lower right corner of re-sealable snack bags.

Customers who purchased the recalled products should not consume them. But return them to the place of purchase for a full refund.

Consumers with questions may contact the company at 336-668-4151 Monday through Friday, 8:00 am to 5:00 pm (EST).

Southeast Toyota Distributors (SET) is recalling 2,520 model year 2016 Toyota Camry and Highlander, 2015-2016 Toyota Tundra, Scion FR-S, and tC vehicles....

Southeast Toyota Distributors (SET) is recalling 2,520 model year 2016 Toyota Camry and Highlander, 2015-2016 Toyota Tundra, Scion FR-S, and tC vehicles.

The Load Carrying Capacity Modification Label may not reflect the correct added weight of the installed accessories. As a result, these vehicles fail to comply with the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard number 110, "Tire Selection and Rims for Passenger Cars."

SET will notify owners, and provide a corrected label for placement over the inaccurate label, free of charge. The recall will begin on July 14, 2016.

NoGii is recalling its Nuts About Berries Paleo Bars. The products may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes The company says it has ...

The recalled product may have been sold as a single 1.4-oz. (42-g) bar UPC # 856513002259 or in a pack of 9 UPC #856513002273 nationwide through retail stores and numerous online websites. The lot number B.B 03APR17 F3 3375 is located on the back side of the package flap above the nutritional facts.

Customers who purchased this product should not eat it, but return it to the store where purchased for an exchange or full refund.

Consumers may can contact NoGii at 704-995-4541 between 9 am and 5 pm (EST) for by emailing the company at info@nogii.com

General Motors is recalling 18,780 model year 2015-2016 Chevrolet Sonic and Trax, and 2013-2015 Spark vehicles equipped with a Bring Your Own Media radio....

General Motors is recalling 18,780 model year 2015-2016 Chevrolet Sonic and Trax, and 2013-2015 Spark vehicles equipped with a Bring Your Own Media radio.

The radios may fail to provide an audible warning chime when the driver fails to fasten the seatbelt or leaves the key in the ignition. As such, these vehicles fail to comply with the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) numbers 208 "Occupant Crash Protection" and 114 "Theft Protection."

Without audible indicators, the driver may not fasten the seatbelt, increasing the risk of injury during a crash.

GM will notify owners, and dealers will update the radio software, free of charge. The manufacturer has not yet provided a notification schedule.

Owners may contact Chevrolet customer service at 1-800-222-1020. GM's number for this recall is 45340.

Bounce USA of Bend, Ore., is recalling Bounce Apple Cinnamon Protein Punch Energy Balls (newly named Apple Cinnamon Protein Energy Balls). The prod...

Bounce USA of Bend, Ore., is recalling Bounce Apple Cinnamon Protein Punch Energy Balls (newly named Apple Cinnamon Protein Energy Balls).

The following products, distributed nationwide through retail stores and on-line through Amazon.com between November 4, 2015, and June 6, 2016, are being recalled:. No other Bounce products are affected:

Consumers with questions may contact the company at 855-441-8966 Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm (PST) or by email at feedbackusa@bouncelifestyle.com.

Two weeks before our cruise to Australia and New Zealand, my husband realized we forgot to purchase travel insurance. We had booked through a new travel ag...

Two weeks before our cruise to Australia and New Zealand, my husband realized we forgot to purchase travel insurance. We had booked through a new travel agent and she had not reminded us. We kept our fingers crossed we would not need to cancel and were relieved to arrive safely in New Zealand.

On the third day of our cruise, a fellow traveler shared that he was frantically packing to leave the ship. On their way to breakfast that morning his wife missed a step, fell, and broke her hip. She would be in a hospital in Tauranga, New Zealand for at least one week. Belatedly we realized we were not safe; we could have a mishap at any time during the trip and all we had was our medical insurance.

We were lucky and so was a friend. She purchased travel insurance for the very first time prior to a vacation in India. She got sick; the hotel called a doctor who accompanied her to the hospital for a CT scan which revealed a life-threatening intestinal blockage. The hospital was in such bad condition my friend chose to fly home to seek emergency surgery.

Her travel insurance paid her medical bills and trip interruption, but would not reimburse the change in airfare. The fine print of the policy stated they would only cover medivac transportation.

Travel agents, tour companies, and cruise-line agents all sell insurance and they will suggest it. Travel insurance is a billion-dollar industry and travel agents and other tour companies get a commission for selling policies. Here are some things to consider:

No matter what you are booking, get a copy of the cancellation policy and read it carefully.  Ask questions, ensuring that you fully understand the restrictions.

Do you already have insurance? Check to see if your health, auto, or life insurance or homeowner’s policy gives you coverage. Credit cards are another source of protection. Review and document all your actual coverage.

Evaluate the airfare and the restrictions. Some will allow you to cancel and re-book for a small fee or even refund your miles if you are using your frequent flyer program. If you choose a nonrefundable airfare, accept the risks.  

When booking a total package, for example -- a guided tour or a river cruise, consider cancellation policies carefully. The trips can be expensive and depending on the cancellation and emergency, you may risk losing a lot of money.

If purchasing travel insurance, consider building in extra days for departure and return; schedules may change and you want to make sure the coverage is in effect for your total trip.

Evaluate all the risk factors when considering travel insurance, including pre-existing conditions. Feel free to get a quote from your travel agent or tour provider and then do some homework.  

The website www.travel-insurance-review.toptenreviews.com compares travel insurance carriers for you. Another site, InsureMyTrip.com, provides coverage comparisons based on your trip specifics for over 20 major carriers. You can then choose a carrier and speak directly to a sales agent. With information in hand, you are in a position to make an informed decision.

Traveling these days is loaded with risk. Whether you are willing to forfeit your deposits and payments may well determine whether travel insurance is right for you.

Nearly all advertising skims over certain unpleasant details, and a study by Northeastern University suggests that T-Mobile's description of Binge On falls...

In the wake of the horrific massacre at an Orlando gay nightclub, Democrats in the Senate mounted a filibuster to force a vote on gun control legislation....

In the wake of the horrific massacre at an Orlando gay nightclub, Democrats in the Senate mounted a filibuster to force a vote on gun control legislation.

But in something of an irony, a dependable Democratic Party constituency was heading for gun shops to arm themselves. Media reports from around the country suggest gays and lesbians are buying guns and learning to use them in the wake of Sunday's deadly attack.

Fox 31 in Denver interviewed the owner of a gun shop who is among those welcoming new customers. The station also interviewed Mike Smith, who conducts firearms training courses, and who confirmed a sudden surge in gays and lesbians arming themselves.

“I think right now because of what happened, people are looking for answers,” Smith told the station. “You walk into a gun shop and you expect to see people, frankly, who look like me. I think we forget we’re a country of all people, not just people who fit that predetermined mold.”

The Pink Pistols is a LGBT gun rights group that reportedly saw its membership ranks swell from 1,500 to 3,500 since the deadly attack.

The Los Angeles Times reports posters suddenly appeared in West Los Angeles this week, bearing the rainbow flag, a coiled rattlesnake, and the inscription #shootback. The Times says the signs were plastered on electric boxes, light poles, trash cans, and other surfaces throughout the area. It said several appeared near the Abbey Food & Bar, a popular gay lounge.

The Times quoted West Hollywood Councilman John Duran, who is gay, as saying the signs were upsetting and “not the right message for the gay community.”

Meanwhile, guns sales are surging since Sunday's mass shooting, carried out by a gunman who pledged his allegiance to ISIS and allegedly expressed hatred for gays and lesbians. Coincidentally, Smith & Wesson stock surged this week after the gun maker reported impressive earnings for its latest quarter.

According to Yahoo Finance, the stock rose because analysts believe the company, when it gave its forward guidance, was conservative in its estimate of revenue and profit, not taking into account the hordes of new customers heading to gun shops this week.

Philadelphia has become the first major city to impose a tax on beverages, a measure aimed at raising revenue as much as it is at resolving health issues....

Philadelphia has become the first major city to impose a tax on beverages, a measure aimed at raising revenue as much as it is at resolving health issues.

The council voted 13-4 to impose a 1.5 cents per ounce tax on any sweetened beverage, including diet sodas using no-calorie artificial sweeteners, according to Philly.com. That means a diet drink with no calories would be taxed but a container of milk or 50% fruit juice, which contain calories but no added sweetener, would not be taxed.

The American Beverage Association fought the proposed ordinance and said it unfairly singles out beverages, including those that don't contain calories.

“But most importantly, it is against the law, the association said in a statement. “So we will side with the majority of the people of Philadelphia who oppose this tax and take legal action to stop it.”

Philadelphia's mayor projects the tax will raise about $91 million per year in revenue, which would be used to fund a number of anti-poverty and education programs. The tax goes into effect January 1.

The American Beverage Association said it believes it will prevail in court, and in the court of public opinion.

“The fact remains that these taxes are discriminatory and highly unpopular - not only with Philadelphians, but with all Americans,” the association said. “Similar tax proposals have been rejected 43 times across the country in the past eight years, including twice in Philadelphia.”

It may not have passed a tax, but the San Francisco City Council passed an ordinance requiring warnings on sugary beverages last month. The warning states that “drinking beverages with added sugar contributes to obesity, diabetes, and tooth decay.”

Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg famously imposed a ban on the sale of super-size soft drinks in 2012, only to have a judge overturn his edict a year later.

According to the judge, the regulations were "fraught with arbitrary and capricious consequences," partly because they would have barred restaurants, food carts, delis, theaters and stadiums from selling sugary drinks in containers larger than 16 ounces while supermarkets and convenience stores would not have been affected.  

Parents with teenagers know very well that they can be moody at times, but is that grumpy attitude being caused by lack of sleep? Researchers from the Amer...

Parents with teenagers know very well that they can be moody at times, but is that grumpy attitude being caused by lack of sleep? Researchers from the American Academy of Sleep think this might be the case.

In a new study, the researchers found that adolescents who don’t get enough sleep are more susceptible to sudden changes in mood and energy. Specifically, they say that feelings of sadness and anger, along with low energy and sleepiness, are increased when sleep is restricted.

The researchers examined 97 health adolescents between the ages of 14 and 17 for the study. Participants were put on two different sleep cycles in a randomized, counterbalanced order. Five nights of this schedule included restricted sleep of 6.5 hours in bed, while the other five nights included extended sleep, or 10 hours in bed. A two-night “wash-out” period was placed in between each sleeping condition.

Each participant was asked to report on their feelings throughout the study to see what impact sleep had on their mental and emotional state. Specifically, they asked about factors like sadness, anger, nervousness, energy, fatigue, ability to concentrate, and sleepiness each day.

Of these factors, the researchers found that restricted sleep led to more variability in sadness, anger, and sleepiness compared to periods of extended sleep. They also found that a worsened mood due to restricted sleep had a negative impact on the following night’s sleep.

The researchers believe that these results might explain some of the real problems that adolescents face on a day-to-day basis.

“These results are important because variability in mood and emotional dysregulation can interfere with social, school, and behavioral functioning, and may contribute to the development of more severe psychopathology,” said Dr. Dean Beebe, senior author of the study.

“The promising aspect of this finding is that sleep can be modified and by promoting healthy sleep we could potentially prevent the development and/or maintenance of more serious mental health problems for some teens.”

The study’s abstract has been published in the journal Sleep, but the researchers will be presenting the full study at SLEEP 2016, an annual meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies LLC (APSS).

Vitamin D is sort of like Mom, apple pie, and so forth. But a new Canadian study finds there's little scientific evidence to back up all the claims made fo...

Vitamin D is sort of like Mom, apple pie, and so forth. But a new Canadian study finds there's little scientific evidence to back up all the claims made for the popular vitamin.

We get vitamin D from the sun, of course, but many people also pop it in the form of tablets as well, thinking it helps with depression, multiple sclerosis, and other maladies.

But according to Michael Allan, director of Evidence Based Medicine at the University of Alberta's Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry, much of that belief isn't validated by science.

"Wouldn't it be great if there was a single thing that you or I could do to be healthy that was as simple as taking a vitamin, which seems benign, every day? There is an appeal to it. There is a simplicity to it. But for the average person, they don't need it." says Allan.

Allan is the lead author of a review published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine that examines the evidence for 10 common beliefs about vitamin D. His team wanted to know if it really can reduce falls and fractures, improve depression and mental well-being, prevent rheumatoid arthritis, treat multiple sclerosis, and lessen incidences of cancer and mortality.

The verdict: there's little evidence that supplementation with the vitamin has much of an effect at all. Vitamin D supplementation does seem to have a "minor impact" in reducing falls among the elderly, but that's about it.

"If you were to take a group of people who were at higher risk of breaking a bone -- so had about a 15 percent chance of breaking a bone over the next 10 years -- and treated all of them with a reasonable dose of vitamin D for a decade, you'd prevent a fracture in around one in 50 of them over that time," Allan said.

"Many people would say taking a drug for 10 years to stop one in every 50 fractures is probably not enough to be meaningful. And that's the best vitamin D gets as far as we know now."

Allan says many of the previous studies that claimed benefits for the supplement simply weren't well done. The bottom line, he says, is that while moderate vitamin D supplementation won't cause harm to the average healthy person, it won't heal either.

"The 40 year old person is highly unlikely to benefit from vitamin D," says Allan. "And when I say highly unlikely, I mean it's not measurable in present science."

Students have come up with a million different strategies for remembering information for an important test or presentation, but new research shows that ma...

Students have come up with a million different strategies for remembering information for an important test or presentation, but new research shows that maybe all they had to do was take a trip to the gym.

In a new study conducted at the Donders Institute at the Radboud University Medical Center in the Netherlands, researchers found that engaging in physical exercise after learning something new helped participants retain the information. However, the timing of the exercise is important; researchers say that going to the gym four hours after learning something new is the time to shoot for.

“Our results suggest that appropriately timed physical exercise can improve long-term memory and highlight the potential of exercise as an intervention in educational and clinical settings,” they said.

Guillén Fernández, who led the study, and his colleagues began the study to see what, if any, benefits physical exercise could have on memory consolidation and long-term memory. They held a 40-minute learning period where they asked 72 participants to memorize 90 picture-location associations.

After this initial period, the researchers split the participants into three groups -- the first group exercised immediately after learning the information; the second group exercised four hours after learning the information; and the third group did not exercise at all.

The exercise was designed to be rigorous, but not completely exhausting. Participants took part in 35 minutes of interval training on a bike and aimed to reach 80% of their maximum heart rate. After the exercise period, participants were excused and asked to come back after 48 hours to be re-tested.

The results of the second testing showed that those who exercised four hours after the first testing were able to better retain the information. In addition to better test scores, the researchers measured brain activities for all participants and found that the delayed exercise group had more precise representations in the hippocampus – the brain area most responsible for memory and learning.

While Fernández and his colleagues cannot pinpoint how or why this group performed better, they believe that it has something to do with chemicals such as dopamine and norepinephrine that are found in the brain. Previous studies have shown that they help with memory consolidation, but they are produced at a higher rate when an individual is exercising.

Teenagers are finding jobs this summer, but not as many as they used to. According to an analysis of the latest government data by outplacement firm Cha...

From a financial standpoint, this is not a bad time to be taking out a mortgage. Home loan rates have fallen once again and haven't been this low in three...

From a financial standpoint, this is not a bad time to be taking out a mortgage. Home loan rates have fallen once again and haven't been this low in three years.

Bankrate.com's weekly national survey found the 30-year fixed rate mortgage at an average 3.69%, the lowest point since May 2013.

The 30-year fixed on a jumbo is even lower – 3.67%. The average 15-year fixed mortgage is now below 3%, at 2.94%. That's lower than the five and seven year ARMs, which are 3.05% and 3.23% respectively.

Borrowers can thank the bond market for their good fortune. Mortgage rates are keyed to bond yields, and with money from overseas pouring into the U.S. Treasury market lately, bond yields have fallen below 1.6%.

Bankrate attributes falling yields to investor uncertainty over next week's vote in the UK on whether or not to exit the European Union, the so-called Brexit vote. Yields on long-term German government bonds actually fell into negative territory this week and worldwide, there is now more than $10 trillion in debt with a negative yield.

Thats why so many international investors are moving money into U.S. bonds – the yield may be tiny, but at least they're earning something. The more demand there is for U.S. government bonds, the less interest the Treasury Department has to pay investors.

Despite the near record low mortgage rates, fewer consumers are taking advantage of them. The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) reported this week that applications fell 2.4% from the previous week, which included an adjustment for the Memorial Day holiday.

MBA separates refinance from purchase loan applications. In the latest week it found purchase applications fell more than those from current homeowners who are refinancing.

At the current average 30-year fixed mortgage rate of 3.69 percent, the monthly principal and interest payment for a $200,000 loan is $919.44.

Ally Bank has issued a new rewards credit card. The Ally CashBack Credit Card joins the ranks of other cards that reward customers by returning a percentag...

Ally Bank has issued a new rewards credit card. The Ally CashBack Credit Card joins the ranks of other cards that reward customers by returning a percentage of purchases in the form of cash or other perks.

The new card will provide a 2% cash back reward when the card is used for eligible gasoline and grocery purchases. It provides 1% cash back on all other purchases.

However, the new credit card features an additional 10% bonus if cash back rewards are deposited into an Ally Bank non-IRA savings, interest checking, or money market account.

Ally says another feature of the card is the rewards are not capped, as they are with many credit cards, and they never expire, as long as the account remains open and in good standing.

"As we evaluated options to expand our product offerings, adding a credit card to our portfolio was a logical move since it has been a frequent request of our Ally Bank customers," said Diane Morais, CEO and president of Ally Bank.

Morais is particularly pleased with the 10% reward for deposits in bank accounts, saying it is consistent with the bank's philosophy to help customers maximize savings opportunities.

Ally Bank, formerly GMAC Capital, has been a completely online financial institution since 2010. The bank, headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., has no brick and mortar branches.

The company said it launched this new product after studying consumer preferences in credit cards with a focus on looking at the best way to use rewards. It conducted a survey of customers who use credit cards and found 58% preferred cash back rewards over travel rewards, store promotions, and introductory interest rates or bonus rewards.

The survey also found 80% said they would like to have multiple financial products with the same bank – bank accounts, loans, and credit cards – if they earned rewards for doing so.

"The savviest consumers not only know what cards to pick, but how to maximize their rewards," Morais said. "When stacked against all the credit cards available to consumers, the Ally CashBack Credit Card is a highly competitive product."

A bit of a slowdown last month for the home construction industry.The Commerce Department reports ground-breaking for privately-owned housing dipped 0....

The Commerce Department reports ground-breaking for privately-owned housing dipped 0.3% in May to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,164,000. Even with the decline though, the pace of construction is 9.5% ahead of the same month last year.

Housing starts for single-family homes were up 0.3% from April and 10.1% from a year ago to a rate of 764,000. The rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 396,000, up 1.3% from the month before and 10.0% from May 2015.

Looking ahead, building permits for privately-owned housing units rose 0.7% from April but plunged 10.1% from the same month the year before to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,138,000.

Single-family authorizations posted a 2.0% month-over-month decline in May to a rate of 726,000, while permits for units in buildings with five units or more were at a rate of 381,000 -- up 5.7% from April.

Taylors Candy of Alsip, Ill., is recalling Stuckey’s bags of Sunflower Kernels. The product may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes. ...

The recalled product comes in a 5.5-oz., peg bag package with a code date of 1 1036 stamped on the front of the bag. It was distributed to retail stores in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.

Customers who purchased the recalled product should not consume it but and either return it to the place of purchase or discard it.

Consumers seeking information may contact the company call at 708- 371-6144 between 8 A.M. and 4 P.M. (CST) Monday through Friday or by email at info@taylorscandy.com.

Rucker’s Wholesale and Service Co. of Bridgeport, Ill., is recalling Sunflower Kernels, Sweet & Salty Mix, and Cajun Hot Mix. The products may be c...

Rucker’s Wholesale and Service Co. of Bridgeport, Ill., is recalling Sunflower Kernels, Sweet & Salty Mix, and Cajun Hot Mix.

The following products, packaged in clear bags with a variety of private labels and pack sizes, and distributed nationwide to retail farm stores and outdoor sporting good stores, are being recalled:

Consumers wishing to receive a refund for unused portions or with questions may contact the company at 618-945-2411 or 800-663-1857, Monday – Friday from 7:30AM – 4:30PM (CST), or by email at customerservice@ruckerscandy.com.

Grand Rapids Chair Company of Byron Center, Mich., is recalling about 2,300 Sadie Chairs and barstools. The back leg of the chairs can bend and the...

Grand Rapids Chair Company of Byron Center, Mich., is recalling about 2,300 Sadie Chairs and barstools.

The back leg of the chairs can bend and the seat tabs or screws on the seat can loosen. When loose, pinch points between the seat and steel frame are created, posing a risk of injury.

The firm has received three reports of finger injuries including a finger laceration, bruise and fracture.

This recall involves Grand Rapids Chair Company Sadie chairs (model 837) and barstools (model 837S). The model number is printed on the underside of the chair, on the care and use instruction label.

The chairs have a seat height of 18.5” and overall width of 22.5”, and the barstools have a seat height of 30” and overall width of 22.5”. The Sadie chairs have a steel frame of various colors with a wood seat base and seatback. The Sadie barstools have a steel frame of various colors, with a footrest and a wood seat base and seatback.

The chairs and barstools, manufactured in the U.S., were sold exclusively by Grand Rapids Chair sales representatives and distributors, both directly to end users and in the company’s commercial showrooms in Byron Center, Mich., and Chicago, Ill., from June 2014, through January 2016, for between $150 and $200.

Consumers should immediately stop using these recalled chairs and barstools and contact Grand Rapids Chair Company to schedule a free repair.

Consumers may contact Grand Rapids Chair Company toll-free at (866) 453-4748 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (ET) Monday through Friday, by email at quality@grandrapidschair.com or online at http://grandrapidschair.com/ for more information.

Ford Motor Company is recalling five model year 2016 Lincoln MKX vehicles manufactured September 24, 2015. An incorrect seat back trim cover was in...

Ford Motor Company is recalling five model year 2016 Lincoln MKX vehicles manufactured September 24, 2015.

An incorrect seat back trim cover was installed on the affected vehicles, blocking the child seat tether anchors in the second row center seating position. As such, these vehicles fail to comply with the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard number 225, "Child restraint anchorage systems."

Ford will notify owners, and dealers will replace the seat back trim cover and tether cover bezel on the second row, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin on June 13, 2016.

What are we to take away from the Federal Reserve's unsurprising decision this week not to raise interest rates?That seven years of easy money at histo...

What are we to take away from the Federal Reserve's unsurprising decision this week not to raise interest rates?

That seven years of easy money at historically low interest rates has done little to spur economic growth.

Interest rate hikes are usually initiated to slow inflation, but inflation has barely moved for years. Falling prices have been a greater fear.

So why did the Fed raise its key interest rate a quarter point back in December and suggest that there could be several more increases this year? That now appears to have been based largely on hope. Policymakers dearly want to “normalize” rates so they will be able to lower them again in case of a financial crisis.

The very real problem, however, is that raising rates amid economic weakness threatens to make the economy even weaker. In its statement, the Fed said it sees signs of strength as well as things that give it pause.

On the plus side, household spending has increased slightly; the housing sector has improved, and exports have made gains. On the minus side, improvement in the job market has slowed; inflation is less than 2%, and low energy prices, while helpful to consumers, have created severe recessionary conditions in parts of the U.S.

“Against this backdrop, the Committee decided to maintain the target range for the federal funds rate at 1/4 to 1/2%, the Fed statement said. “The stance of monetary policy remains accommodative, thereby supporting further improvement in labor market conditions and a return to 2% inflation.”

Though the statement didn't mention it, Britain's vote next week on whether to leave the European Union – the so-called Brexit vote – was likely another big concern. Should Britain vote to leave, as current polls suggest it will, it could lead to economic uncertainty in Europe and possibly a recession.

The Fed left the door open to rate hikes later this year, but made clear it needs to see more evidence of economic strength – notably, improvement in the job market and inflation of at least 2%.

Screengrab from http://www.avasflowers.net/This is prime time for flowers. Between Mother's Day, Father's Day, and all the graduations and spring wed...

This is prime time for flowers. Between Mother's Day, Father's Day, and all the graduations and spring weddings, the petals are flying furiously.

Unfortunately, they don't always land in just the right place, leaving frustrated consumers on both ends of the transaction and causing a big spike in review submissions to ConsumerAffairs, with more than 120 flower-related reviews in just the last three days. Avas Flowers has been on the receiving end of many recent complaints.

"I called Avas Flowers the day before Mother's Day, understanding it might take a little longer," said Sam of Apache Junction, Ariz., in a ConsumerAffairs review. "They were not delivered on Sunday. By 5 pm on Tuesday they still had not received them, so I called Ava's to cancel the order."

But, Sam said, it wasn't that simple. He said he made 27 telephone calls and sent three emails, all requesting that the order be canceled, with no luck. 

"Finally on Wednesday, they texted me and said the plant was delivered on Tuesday at 4:30ish. I called mom to verify this and that was the only true thing they told me. Later that week I called to have them go and pick them up, as I wanted a full refund. The idiot on the phone explained 'They had been delivered. You won't get a refund.'"

"I ordered red roses for my dying grandmother. I clearly stated I wanted the red roses and they said yes and they delivered carnations," said Lee of Kailua Kona, Hawaii. "They then argued with me and said they were roses when clearly they were carnations."

Olivia of Ocala, Fla., also had a problem with the selection. "They sent whatever they wanted!!! Not even close to what I purchased for $103.00. They said they were local... THEY ARE NOT!"

"I was called this afternoon (Tuesday) and told that the flowers were not delivered but they could send a nice arrangement to another address. They stated that they miscalculated the distance to the funeral home," Kiki said. "I spent close to an hour trying to speak to someone to get a refund. I was disconnected, or repeatedly sent to a Customer Service Expert who gave me the same story each time. While on hold, a recorded voice told me that Avas is locally owned and operated. Each time I called, I got through to a call center."

Avas, headquartered in Mahwah, N.J., claims to have been in business for 30 years, much of it as a brick-and-mortar floral shop. It now takes orders nationwide, sending them on to local florists for fulfillment.

While all flower delivery services have their problems, especially at busy times of the year, Avas has lately seen the brunt of many reader complaints. As with any vendor, consumers should carefully review Avas' cancellation and refund page before placing an order: 

In the unlikely event you are unhappy with your product(s), please notify us within 24 hours of delivery and you may return the arrangement for a refund, request an exchange of products, or receive store credit.

To receive a refund, non-perishable products may be returned unused and in its original state within 7 days of delivery for a full refund of the cost of the item, less any service fees. Hand-delivered floral product or perishable goods may be returned in its original state within 24 hours of delivery and may be subject to a 50% restocking fee of the cost of the product.  

To receive an exchange of goods, notify us within 24 hours of the issue with the delivered arrangement and we will pick up and re-deliver another product(s) of equal or greater value at no additional cost to you. We will need to be provided the opportunity to pick up the product(s) you are dissatisfied with prior to processing a redelivery. 

If you have a complaint about a delivered product but do not want or cannot provide an opportunity for us to pick up the original delivered arrangement, we will provide you with a courtesy store credit for future use.

Refunds or credits given for orders that have already been delivered or have had an attempted delivery will only be for the partial or full cost of the arrangement(s), less any service, handling, or restocking fees.

It's not only ConsumerAffairs that has a big collection of negative reviews about Avas. The Better Business Bureau gives Avas an "F" rating, citing a high number of complaints, a high number of unresolved complaints, and delays in responding to some complaints. 

Losing weight can be difficult for a number of different reasons. If you’re just starting out, it can be difficult to make certain necessary life changes, ...

Losing weight can be difficult for a number of different reasons. If you’re just starting out, it can be difficult to make certain necessary life changes, such as getting more sleep, exercising more, or eating smaller amounts.

Eating less, in particular, may be one of the more challenging adjustments to make because of how easy it might be to comfortably overeat. In fact, one new study has shown that eating too much in one sitting actually makes it easier to keep eating after a certain point.

Researchers have found that when the stomach senses too many calories, a certain hormone that makes you feel full is suppressed, enabling you to eat even more.

The study, which was conducted by researchers at Thomas Jefferson University, actually began due to findings in earlier studies focusing on colon cancer. Researchers observed that uroguanylin, a hormone that sends signals to the brain to convey fullness, was present in non-obese mice, but it disappeared in models that were obese.

To investigate, researchers analyzed mice who were overfed and found that their small intestines stopped producing the hormone after a high number of calories were consumed. The receptors that were meant to receive those signals were still intact, they just weren’t getting any.

The researchers hypothesized that overeating was the cause of the disruption and set out to see if they could manipulate uroguanylin production. They found that when the mice were put on a diet, production of the hormone resumed.

“What’s interesting is that it didn’t matter whether the mice were lean and overfed, or obese and overfed – uroguanylin production stopped in both groups of animals when they got too many calories,” said Dr. Scott Waldman, one of the leaders of the study. “Here, it’s not the obese state that’s causing the problem but rather it’s the calories.”

While the researchers are not yet completely certain what causes uroguanylin to stop being produced, they strongly suspect that it has to do with the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) of cells in the small intestine. The ER produces many of the body’s proteins and hormones, but its function can be disrupted when it is stressed.

As a test, the researchers applied a chemical to the ER to stress it – a replication of what would happen if the mice were overfed. They observed that when the ER was stressed, it stopped producing uroguanylin. When another chemical was applied to de-stress the ER, production of the hormone went back to normal.

The researchers believe that this series of experiments show that high calorie consumption can stress the small intestines and cause people to stop feeling full after eating too much. However, what they don’t know is how important uroguanylin is in the grand scheme of obesity.

“Like in cancer, there are many steps on the way to becoming obese that aren’t easily reversed. While the uroguanylin hormone pathway appears to be one of those steps, we don’t yet know whether it’s important early on in the process, or later, and how much of a role it plays. But in combination with other approaches, hormone replacement of uroguanylin may become an important component of therapy to reverse obesity,” said Waldman.

Prepared foods are all the rage these days, with many consumers paying big bucks to grab take-out dinners at the supermarket. While it can be a time-saver,...

Prepared foods are all the rage these days, with many consumers paying big bucks to grab take-out dinners at the supermarket. While it can be a time-saver, prepared food can also be a health risk if the store doesn't maintain top-notch sanitation practices.

Whole Foods is currently in hot water with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which recently sent a sternly worded letter to the company, citing numerous sanitation issues at a Whole Foods processing plant near Boston.

The letter charges that during inspections in February, the FDA found that Whole Foods "failed to manufacture, package and store foods under conditions and controls necessary to minimize the potential for growth of microorganisms and contamination."

The letter gives Whole Foods 15 days to respond in writing with details of what it plans to do to prevent similar problems in the future.

It's the latest in a string of embarrassing incidents for the upscale market chain. Last year, the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs charged Whole Foods with "routinely" overcharging customers, leading to a $500,000 fine.

The company has also been struggling to maintain market share as other supermarket chains, including giants Walmart and Kroger continue to expand their selection of organic foods and fresh produce. 

Differing political views can put a strain on any relationship, but romantic partnerships may struggle the most under the weight of a political divide. ...

Differing political views can put a strain on any relationship, but romantic partnerships may struggle the most under the weight of a political divide.

Heated debates and politics-related tension may leave couples wishing they could have preemptively directed cupid’s arrow to a more politically compatible match. Now, a new dating app may be able to help singles do just that.

CandiDate, a multi-platform app by HelpsGood, can help couples lay the groundwork for a harmonious partnership by ensuring their political beliefs are aligned from the beginning.

The dating app's main goal is to help those looking for love find someone in their area who shares their views on important issues like gun reform, abortion, gay rights, environmental issues, and the economy. 

By helping singles choose someone with a compatible belief system rather than an eye-catching profile photo, the app seeks to create couples who are a better match over the long haul. 

In addition to helping you find someone whose passions and politics match your own, the app can help you hone your political beliefs. Using questions sourced from Vote Smart, the app will show you which politicians’ voting records are in line with your views.

"We're excited to launch candiDate on mobile devices and online in the midst of this very unique presidential election cycle," Michael Bellavia, CEO of HelpsGood said in a statement. "All around the world, Republicans, Democrats and Independents, Millennials and seniors, are using candiDate to find their own running mate and feel the burn of love."

Currently there is no cure for Alzheimer's disease (AD), a progressive neurological disease that is ultimately fatal.However, there have been a number ...

Currently there is no cure for Alzheimer's disease (AD), a progressive neurological disease that is ultimately fatal.

However, there have been a number of promising developments in treatment. One of the latest comes from a very small study carried out jointly by the Buck Institute for Research on Aging and the UCLA Easton Laboratories for Neurodegenerative Disease Research.

What's remarkable is the results from quantitative MRI and follow-up testing reveal improvements in 10 patients with the early stage of the disease. The findings are written up in the journal Aging.

The researchers say their work is the first time it has been objectively shown that memory loss can be reversed. What's more, they say the improvement was maintained using a strict program of dietary changes, brain stimulation, physical exercise, sleep optimization, and drug treatments.

“All of these patients had either well-defined mild cognitive impairment (MCI), subjective cognitive impairment (SCI) or had been diagnosed with AD before beginning the program,” said author Dr. Dale Bredesen.

One of the most hopeful results was patients in the study who had to leave their jobs because of their memory loss problems were able to return to work. Those still working but struggling because of their condition saw an improvement in on-the-job performance.

While it is true that the study sample is extremely small, Bredesen says the results were truly dramatic and cannot be dismissed.

For example, a 66-year old professional entered the study with hippocampal volume, the part of the brain closely associated with memory, only in the 17th percentile for his age. After 10 months undergoing the therapy, follow-up testing showed his hippocampal volume increased to the 75th percentile.

In another instance, researchers say a 69-year old entrepreneur was in the process of shutting down his business when he went on the protocol. After six months, he regained lost mathematical abilities.

What may be particularly noteworthy is nine of the 10 patents carried at least one copy of the APOE4 allele gene, meaning they are at higher risk of developing AD. Bredesen said people should be tested for the gene so they can begin the protocol at an earlier stage, as a preventive measure.

Is this the long-sought magic bullet to finally dispatch Alzheimer's disease once and for all? Bredesen isn't ready to say that.

“The magnitude of improvement in these ten patients is unprecedented, providing additional objective evidence that this programmatic approach to cognitive decline is highly effective,” Bredesen said.

But the fact remains it was a small study and the results need to be replicated on a larger scale, he says. Plans for larger studies are underway.

Here's the good news for coffee drinkers: the World Health Organization (WHO) has concluded it doesn't cause cancer. But the bad news is that very hot beve...

Here's the good news for coffee drinkers: the World Health Organization (WHO) has concluded it doesn't cause cancer. But the bad news is that very hot beverages probaby cause cancer of the esophagus. 

“These results suggest that drinking very hot beverages is one probable cause of esophageal cancer and that it is the temperature, rather than the drinks themselves, that appears to be responsible,” said Dr. Christopher Wild, director of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), a WHO agency.

This is perhaps like saying it's not the fall that kills you but the concrete. But it's an improvement from 25 years ago when the WHO said that coffee was a possible contributor to bladder cancer. 

Now the agency says that not only does coffee not contribute to cancer, it may even help reduce the risk of certain cancers, including those of the liver and uterus. The findings are being published today in The Lancet Oncology.

The conclusion that drinking very hot beverages contributes to cancer of the esophagus was based on evidence from epidemiological studies in places such as China, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Turkey, and South America, where tea or maté is traditionally drunk very hot (at about 70 °C), which found that the risk cancer increased with the temperature at which the beverage was drunk.

In experiments involving animals, there was also limited evidence for the carcinogenicity of very hot water.

“Smoking and alcohol drinking are major causes of esophageal cancer, particularly in many high-income countries,” said Wild. “However, the majority of esophageal cancers occur in parts of Asia, South America, and East Africa, where regularly drinking very hot beverages is common and where the reasons for the high incidence of this cancer are not as well understood.”

Esophageal cancer is the eighth most common cause of cancer worldwide and one of the main causes of cancer death, with approximately 400,000 deaths recorded in 2012 (5% of all cancer deaths).

For purposes of the study, “very hot” refers to any beverages consumed at a temperature above 65 °C.

Hearing the words “It’s a girl” at your 20-week ultrasound may do more than just seal the fate of the nursery wall color; it may determine how much you wil...

We normally think of employment in terms of how much we get paid. But have you ever stopped to calculate just how much it costs to have a job?The folks...

The end may be near for the organization that issues accreditations to for-profit universities. Department of Education staff members who have been investi...

The end may be near for the organization that issues accreditations to for-profit universities. Department of Education staff members who have been investigating the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS) have recommended cutting ACICS' federal recognition. 

“The staff recommendation is to withdraw recognition, which would mean the agency could not remedy its compliance issues,” the staff report said, charging that the ACICS had ignored warning flags at Corinthian Colleges, allowing billions of dollars of federal aid to flow to the now-defunct schools.

The report follows calls for action from consumer advocates, educators, and state attorneys general, including California's Kamala Harris who earlier this month said the accrediting group's actions hurt thousands of students. 

"The predatory scheme devised by executives at Corinthian Colleges, Inc. was unconscionable. And despite enforcement actions by the California Department of Justice and the federal government against Corinthian, ACICS continued to accredit Corinthian, hurting thousands of students in the process,” Harris said. “Students relied on Corinthian’s accreditation status, believing they were obtaining a high quality-education with real job prospects."

The staff report found “extensive and pervasive deficiencies” at ACICS and recommended to the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity (NACIQI) that it terminate the organization’s federal recognition.

But the wheels grind slowly in federal agencies, and final action is still likely to be at least 18 months away, a DOE official said. A federal advisory body will discuss the staff report next week and additional reviews will follow.

ACICS currently accredits 243 institutions, most of them for-profit schools. If the Education Department finally denies recognition to ACICS, those schools will be unaccredited and ineligible for federal aid.

In a blog posting, Matt Lehrich, communications director at DOE, said students at ACICS-accredited schools shouldn't panic.

"The chain of events that plays out next will take – at minimum – more than 18 months. That means that many of the students who already have started at one of these schools will be able to complete their certificates or degrees before there is a chance of anything changing," Lehrich wrote.

"Generally speaking, if you’re near the end of your program or you’re preparing to transfer to another college or university, this news probably won’t interrupt your program."

Still coping with the aftermath of its diesel emissions cheating scandal, Volkswagen has announced a major shift in direction – away from diesel and gasoli...

Still coping with the aftermath of its diesel emissions cheating scandal, Volkswagen has announced a major shift in direction – away from diesel and gasoline powered vehicles and toward what it calls “sustainable mobility,” another way of saying electric vehicles.

The company calls the initiative “Together – Strategy 2025.” It has announced plans to introduce more than 30 purely battery-powered electric vehicles over the next 10 years. Eventually, it expects electric vehicles to account for around 25% of its global market.

While such a major push into electric vehicles would be a major gamble for most automotive companies firmly tied to the internal combustion engine, VW may see it as less risky. It was badly tarnished by revelations that its on-board software on clean diesel models was programmed to fool emissions test equipment.

One way to recover and improve its image is to transform VW from a company closely associated with diesel power to one more aligned with battery propulsion.

Beyond that, VW CEO Matthias Müller said the company is convinced shifting to electric cars will align Volkswagen with the future of automotive technology. In other words, its just good business.

“This will require us – following the serious setback as a result of the diesel issue – to learn from mistakes made, rectify shortcomings and establish a corporate culture that is open, value-driven and rooted in integrity," Müller said.

Part of the strategic shift also includes development of a mobility solutions business that will develop and acquire new businesses in transportation. Specifically, that initiative is looking at ride sharing and car sharing.

To achieve goals in that area, Volkswagen said it plans to provide the necessary resources to experiment with autonomous driving and artificial intelligence. The objective to have a competitive self-driving car by the end of the decade.

While other traditional automotive manufacturers have made investments in electric propulsion, perhaps none has done so to the extent VW has laid out. The Volkswagon program will put it in direct competition with the much smaller Tesla, which has a several year head start and produces only battery powered vehicles.

Volkswagen, meanwhile, is still trying to put the diesel emissions cheating scandal behind it. In April the company announced it would fix or buy back up to a half million cars involved in the scandal.

VW has also agreed to establish a fund to address environmental damage caused by the excess emissions emitted by its clean diesel cars.  

Builder confidence is rising again after holding steady for the past four months.The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB)/Wells Fargo Housing M...

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB)/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI), which measures confidence in the market for newly constructed single-family homes, rose two points in June to a level of 60. That's the highest reading since January.

“Builders in many markets across the nation are reporting higher traffic and more committed buyers at their job sites,” said NAHB Chairman Ed Brady. “However, our members are also relating ongoing concerns regarding the shortage of buildable lots and labor and noting pockets of softness in scattered markets.”

The HMI gauges builder perceptions of current single-family home sales and sales expectations for the next six months as "good," "fair" or "poor." The monthly survey asks builders to rate traffic of prospective buyers as "high to very high," "average" or "low to very low." Scores for each component are then used to calculate a seasonally adjusted index where any number over 50 indicates that more builders view conditions as good than poor.

All three HMI components posted gains in June. The component gauging current sales conditions rose one point to 64, the index charting sales expectations in the next six months increased five points to 70, and the component measuring buyer traffic climbed three points to 47.

Looking at the three-month moving averages for regional HMI scores, the South rose two points to 61 and the West rose one point to 68. The Northeast dropped two points to 39 and the Midwest fell one point to 57.

“Rising home sales, an improving economy and the fact that the HMI gauge measuring future sales expectations is running at an eight-month high are all positive factors indicating that the housing market should continue to move forward in the second half of 2016,” said NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz

Photo (c) mybaitshop - FotoliaThe cost of living crept upward in May, with energy prices moving higher for a third straight month.The Bureau of L...

Auldey Toys North America of Quincy, Mass., is recalling about 325,000 Sky Rover toys. The USB charging cords sold with the toy can overheat, posin...

This recall involves yellow USB charging cords sold with Aero Spin and Aero Cruz Sky Rover remote-controlled flying toys. The toy is shaped like ball with two blades on top, wings on the side and measures about 3 ½ inches tall by 5 inches wide. They are operated by a small one-channel remote control unit.

The following item numbers are included in the recall: YW859110-2, YW859110-3, YW859110-5, YW859110-6 or TTYW859110-5. The item number is printed on a white sticker on the toy’s packaging. They were sold in red, orange and citron green. Only yellow USB charging cords are included in this recall.

The toys, manufactured in China, were sold at Walmart and other mass merchandisers and independent toy stores nationwide and online at Amazon.com from January 2015, through January 2016, for between $11 and $15.

Consumers should immediately stop using the USB cords and contact the firm for instructions on obtaining a free replacement charge cord.

Consumers may contact Auldey Toys toll-free at 844-303-8936 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (ET) Monday through Friday, by email at aeroproducts@auldey.us or online at http://www.AuldeyToys.us and click on “Safety Recall” at the bottom of the page banner for more information.

First Source of Tonawanda, N.Y., is expanding its earlier recall of various products containing sunflower kernels. The products may be contaminated...

First Source of Tonawanda, N.Y., is expanding its earlier recall of various products containing sunflower kernels.

The recalled items were sold in retail stores in Indiana, Louisiana, Massachussetts, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey. New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia. West Virginia and South Carolina between June 4, 2015, and May 31, 2016.

Consumers with questions may contact the company at 1-716- 389-0264, Monday – Friday, 8am - 5pm, (ET).

Rucker’s Makin’ Batch Candies Bridgeport, Ill., is recalling specific batches of Dollywood Cajun Mix. The product may be contaminated with Listeria...

Rucker’s Makin’ Batch Candies Bridgeport, Ill., is recalling specific batches of Dollywood Cajun Mix.

The recalled product is packaged in 9-oz. clear bag with Dollywood Theme Park label, and the UPC code 4900005033302. The packages with best by codes ranging from January 23 – November 11, 2016 were distributed at Dollywood Theme Park in Pigeon Forge, Tenn.

Consumers who wish to receive a refund or have questions may contact Rucker’s at 618-945-7778 or 888-622-2639 Mon. – Fri. 8:00 am – 4:00 pm (CST), or by email at ericf7@ruckerscandy.com

Subaru of America is recalling 135,696 model year 2003-2004 Legacy, Outback; 2006-2008 Impreza, Tribeca; 2006 Saab 9-2x; and 2003-2006 Baja vehicles origin...

Subaru of America is recalling 135,696 model year 2003-2004 Legacy, Outback; 2006-2008 Impreza, Tribeca; 2006 Saab 9-2x; and 2003-2006 Baja vehicles originally sold or that have ever been registered in Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, District of Columbia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia, or "Zone B."

These vehicles may be equipped certain air bag inflators assembled as part of the passenger front airbag modules, and used as original equipment or replacement equipment. In the event of a crash necessitating deployment of the front air bags, these inflators may rupture due to propellant degradation occurring after long-term exposure to absolute humidity and temperature cycling.

An inflator rupture may result in metal fragments striking the vehicle occupants resulting in serious injury or death.

Subaru will notify their owners. General Motors will notify Saab owners. Dealers will replace the passenger front air bag inflator, free of charge. A notification schedule has not yet been provided.

Owners may contact Subaru customer service at 1-856-488-8500. Subaru's number for this recall is TKB-16. 

The mass murder in Orlando Sunday morning, the worst mass shooting in U.S. history, has once again aroused popular anger, but also touched popular compassi...

The National Rifle Association is a powerful lobbying organization. But it may be outgunned by the American Medical Association, which Tuesday declared gun...

The National Rifle Association is a powerful lobbying organization. But it may be outgunned by the American Medical Association, which Tuesday declared gun violence "a public health crisis" requiring a comprehensive public health solution.

At its annual meeting, just days after the worst mass shooting in American history, the AMA resolved to actively lobby Congress to overturn NRA-backed legislation that for 20 years has blocked the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) from researching gun violence.

As if on cue, Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) launched a talking filibuster on the Senate floor, trying to pressure Republicans into accepting legislation that would deny suspected terrorists from purchasing firearms and require universal background checks.

“I’m going to remain on this floor until we get some signal, some sign ... that we can get a path forward on addressing this epidemic in a meaningful, bipartisan way,” Murphy vowed.

In its resolution, the AMA said it is time for Congress to stop blocking vital research into the causes of gun violence and possible means of reducing it. 

"With approximately 30,000 men, women and children dying each year at the barrel of a gun in elementary schools, movie theaters, workplaces, houses of worship and on live television, the United States faces a public health crisis of gun violence," said AMA President Steven J. Stack, M.D. "Even as America faces a crisis unrivaled in any other developed country, the Congress prohibits the CDC from conducting the very research that would help us understand the problems associated with gun violence and determine how to reduce the high rate of firearm-related deaths and injuries."

"An epidemiological analysis of gun violence is vital so physicians and other health providers, law enforcement, and society at large may be able to prevent injury, death and other harms to society resulting from firearms," Stack said.

While the horrific Orlando shooting sparked the latest action, the AMA has numerous, long-standing policies that support increasing the safety of firearms and their use, and reducing and preventing firearm violence.

AMA policy also supports stricter enforcement of present federal and state gun safety legislation, and the imposition of mandated penalties for crimes committed with the use of a firearm, including the illegal possession of a firearm.

CDC research into gun violence has been prohibited since 1996, when then-Rep. Jay Dickey (R-Ark.) intoduced what has come to be called the Dickey Amendment, with heavy lobbying support from the NRA.

The number of gun-related deaths has skyrocketed since then, and there have been endless calls from physicians, scientists, and family members of gun violence victims for the amendment to be repealed.

Even Dickey has said he regrets introducing the amendment. He reversed his policy following the mass shooting at an Aurora, Colo., movie theater, saying he was sorry he had served as "the NRA’s point person in Congress." 

“I wish we had started the proper research and kept it going all this time,” Dickey told the Huffington Post in a 2015 interview. “I have regrets.”

President Obama tried to have the amendment repealed in 2012 but was blocked by NRA backers in Congress.

One feature of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is to make health coverage available to all Americans. Another was to keep it affordable.While availabilit...

One feature of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is to make health coverage available to all Americans. Another was to keep it affordable.

While availability is not an issue, affordability may be, according to an analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation. The organization projects benchmark silver plan premiums may increase by 10% next year in 14 major metro areas.

The foundation reached its conclusion after analyzing proposed rate filings in 13 states and Washington, DC. It focused on how premiums for silver plans, the middle of three categories, would change in 2017.

That doesn't mean premiums are going up everywhere – 10% is just the average of the 14 metros. Premiums are projected to go down 13% in Providence, R.I., while the highest projected increase is 18%, in Portland, Ore.

About two-thirds of consumers with an ACA policy choose a silver plan. However, Kaiser says most of the marketplace customers who receive premium subsidies under ACA could escape the premium hikes if they simply switch to one of their marketplace's lowest cost plans.

In fact, the report's authors say the main takeaway is the importance of shopping around each year during the open enrollment period and making a change if it will save money. The analysis finds that each year there is a significant shift among insurers, and a plan that is lowest in cost one year in a particular marketplace won't be the next.

The savings can add up. The report found in nine of the 14 major metros, at least one coverage provider with one of the two lowest-cost silver plans in 2016 didn't make the cut for the lowest cost plans for 2017.

“Consumers receiving tax credits in those plans may need to change plans to avoid paying a larger share of their income on premiums,” the authors write.

The report also finds that consumers will likely have fewer choices for 2017. The number of benefit providers in half the 14 metros will remain the same, or even increase. But in the rest, Kaiser projects fewer choices, mainly because of United Health Care's withdrawal from participation.

Kaiser notes that complete 2017 rate information for all metros and states is not yet available and final rates may be different from the projections.

Photo (c) Aspire BariatricsWe all know that the way to lose, or at least control, weight is to eat less. That's easier said than done for most people...

We all know that the way to lose, or at least control, weight is to eat less. That's easier said than done for most people. But a new treatment makes it possible to reverse your food intake ... literally.

It's called the AspireAssist system. It was recently approved by the FDA and is being presented as an alternative to bariatric surgery, which involves putting a band around the stomach to literally make it smaller and thus able to hold less food.

Instead of making your stomach smaller, AspireAssist basically gives food another way out. Here's how it works:

A doctor uses an endoscope to place a thin tube into your stomach.  The tube is connected to a small button on the outside. After each meal, you use a handheld device, about the size of a smartphone, that pumps a third of the meal out through a tube and into a nearby toilet. The procedure takes about five to ten minutes and removes the food before it can be absorbed by the stomach.

The manufacturer, Aspire Bariatrics, says that because only a third of the meal is removed, the body still receives the calories that it needs and you still get the full feeling that satisfies your hunger while shedding about a third of the calories that would otherwise be ingested.

AspireAssist is intended for use by adults with a Body Mass Index of 35 to 55 for whom more conservative weight loss therapies haven’t worked. (The Centers for Disease Control considers a BMI of 30 or higher to be “obese”).  The company says its studies show patients lost an average of 46 pounds after using the system for a year.

The manufacturer says its device is implanted in a 15-minute outpatient procedure, which is fully reversible and doesn’t alter your internal anatomy. The system is intended for long-term use and is designed to be used in conjunction with diet, exercise counseling, and close medical monitoring.

“With less than 1% of the 25 million Americans with BMIs over 35, availing themselves of bariatric surgery each year, there is clearly a need for a non-surgical weight loss procedure that is effective, safe, and reversible,” says Dr. Christopher Thompsoon of the Harvard Medical School.   “AspireAssist therapy satisfies this need and additionally offers a lower cost solution to the healthcare system.”

Those who suffer from migraines know the excruciating pain that they can bring, but could they also be indicative of greater health problems? One study, le...

With kids home for the summer, parents might soon find themselves drowning in a sea of sentences starting with, “I’m bored.”Indeed, it can be difficult...

With kids home for the summer, parents might soon find themselves drowning in a sea of sentences starting with, “I’m bored.”

Indeed, it can be difficult to conjure up a kid-friendly day without leaving one’s city or town. But a new app called Winnie is here to help with this dilemma.

With Winnie, finding good places to go with your kids is taken a step further than a Google search. The iOS app can help parents find local restaurants, activities, and locations that have been deemed kid-friendly by other parents.

The app is a social networking tool that allows parents to get feedback from other parents who have taken their kids to a particular spot, such as a museum or playground.

Winnie makes it possible for parents to know, prior to loading up the minivan, the answers to such questions as, “Is there stroller access?”

Users will find recommendations, details, and stories from other parents describing their own family's experience at a certain restaurant, park, or location.

“We are building a platform for all parents -- single parents, transgender parents, families with disabilities, parents on a budget -- so that no one has to go on this journey alone,” said Winnie CEO Sara Mauskopf in a Medium post.

More locations are being added daily to Winnie’s 100,000 locations. Winnie is currently available for iOS, for free, on the app store.

Impulsive spending habits should surely accompany that infamous millennial sense of entitlement, right? Maybe not. Reckless spending isn’t a money mana...

If you travel, go to a ball game or concert, or spend time shopping, chances are you will frequent a public restroom every once in a while. Admittedly, som...

Physicians are compassionate people, and when their patients are in pain, they naturally want to provide them with as much relief as possible.When powe...

Physicians are compassionate people, and when their patients are in pain, they naturally want to provide them with as much relief as possible.

When powerful opioid-based prescription painkillers became available, doctors naturally prescribed them in large doses, thinking they were helping.

But amid escalating opioid abuse and overdose deaths and injuries, doctors – as well as health policymakers – are rethinking this. And here's some more ammunition to help them make a case for scaling back the use of these powerful drugs.

A survey by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health suggests that more than half of patients who get opioids don't use them all for the prescribed pain relief. The leftover pills linger in medicine cabinets or are used for recreational purposes.

The authors, writing in JAMA Internal Medicine, also found that nearly half of patients getting opioid prescriptions did not receive information about how to store them. The importance of keeping them out of the hands of children, or those who might misuse them, was also rarely explained.

Only about 7% of patients with leftover pills reported disposing of them through law enforcement-sanctioned programs.

Study leader Alene Kennedy-Hendricks says health care professionals failed at every level to understand how powerful these medications are. She contends the number of prescriptions, and the number of pills in the prescriptions, have contributed to the opioid epidemic.

“It’s not clear why so many of our survey respondents reported having leftover medication, but it could be that they were prescribed more medication than they needed,” she said.

The death of pop music star Prince on April 27 was ultimately ruled an accidental overdose of the opioid drug fentanyl, which he had been taking for back pain. But his death, while focusing attention on the danger of opioid drugs, is just one of many in recent years.

New York state officials report prescription opioid drug overdose deaths hit a record 1,008 in 2014, four times the number who died in 2005. But even rural states like Indiana and Maine have struggled with opioid addiction and overdose.

In March, Maine Attorney General Janet Mills reported that 272 residents of her small state died from opioid overdose deaths in 2015, an increase of 31% over 2014.

Also in March, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) urged doctors to reconsider prescribing powerful opioids, saying the risks often outweigh any benefit to the patient.

Meanwhile, patients have to do their part, too. Colleen Barry, senior author of the Hopkins study, says she was alarmed to see that patients are sharing their leftover prescription painkillers at such high rates, calling it a big concern.

“It’s fine to give a friend a Tylenol if they’re having pain but it’s not fine to give your OxyContin to someone without a prescription,” she said.

First, the good news. Most consumers understand the basics of credit scores and how they work.An annual survey by the Consumer Federation of America (C...

An annual survey by the Consumer Federation of America (CFA) shows about 80% of Americans know that credit scores are important and are a major factor in whether people get a mortgage or a credit card.

But the survey also reveals some significant knowledge gaps. For one thing, consumers very often underestimate the cost of having a low credit score. Just 22% of respondents knew that a low score could increase the cost of a 60 month auto loan of $20,000 by up to $5,000.

More than half were unaware that credit scores are also used by businesses and organizations that are not in the business of extending credit. Businesses like insurance companies.

In an independent study, the personal finance site WalletHub found that consumers with absolutely no credit rating paid 53% more on average for car insurance than someone with an excellent credit score. In some states the rate spread was as high as 122%.

The study found that Farmers Insurance relies on credit scores the most in setting auto insurance rates. Geico relies the least on credit data.

WalletHub said it obtained quotes for two hypothetical consumers who were identical, expect for credit score. One had no credit score while the other possessed an excellent credit profile.

While it is important for a consumer with a poor credit history to know which companies place the most importance on credit scores, WalletHub said that information is more accessible from some companies more than others. It found Travelers to be the most transparent about its use of credit information when setting rates. It said State Farm is the least transparent.

In addition to insurance rates, CFA says credit scores are often used by utility companies to determine whether a new customer is required to place a deposit for service. Cellphone providers and landlords also consider credit information when evaluating a potential customer or tenant.

“The good news is that consumers understand the basics of credit scores, such as the importance of making loan payments on time,” said Stephen Brobeck, CFA’s executive director. “The bad news is that this knowledge is limited and, each year, can cost them hundreds of dollars in fees on services and additional interest on consumer loans.”  

The cost of living one step shy of the retail level rose in May for the second straight month.The Department of Labor (DOL) reports the Producer Price ...

The Department of Labor (DOL) reports the Producer Price Index (PPI) for final demand jumped 0.4% last month on top of April's increase of 0.2%. For the 12 months ended in May, the PPI is down 0.1%.

Over 60% of the May advance is due to an increase of 0.7% in prices for final demand goods. The cost of final demand services inched up 0.2%.

A large chunk of the increase in good prices came from the cost of energy, which surged 2.8%, thanks to a 6.6% jump in the cost of gasoline. Prices for diesel fuel, iron and steel scrap, fresh and dry vegetables, jet fuel, and oilseeds were higher as well. The cost of beef and veal fell 5.2%, and prices for electric power and for carpets and rugs also decreased.

The rise in prices for services was due largely to the 3.6% rise in the cost for machinery and equipment wholesaling. Apparel, jewelry, footwear, and accessories retailing; inpatient care; residential property brokerage fees and commissions; flooring and floor coverings retailing; and legal services costs also increased. Prices for loan services (partial) declined 3.0%, and the costs for food retailing and airline passenger services also moved lower.

Prices for final demand less foods, energy, and trade services – the “core rate” of inflation -- dipped 0.1% in May, but it is up 0.8% for the 12 months last month.

Mortgage applications moved lower in the week that included an adjustment for the Memorial Day holiday.According to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s ...

Mortgage applications moved lower in the week that included an adjustment for the Memorial Day holiday.

According to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey, applications dropped 2.4% for the week ending June 10.

The Refinance Index was down 1%, although the refinance share of mortgage activity rose to 55.3% of total applications from 53.8% the week before. The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity increased to 5.3% of total applications.

The FHA share of total applications fell to 11.8% from 13.0% the prior week, the VA share slipped to 11.1% from 11.5%, and the USDA share of total applications was down to 0.6% from 0.7%.

Hy-Vee, Inc. of West Des Moines, Iowa, is recalling one of its salad toppings and additional trail mix products across its eight-state region. The ...

Hy-Vee, Inc. of West Des Moines, Iowa, is recalling one of its salad toppings and additional trail mix products across its eight-state region.

Customers who purchased any of these products should discard them or return them to their local Hy-Vee store for a full refund.

Consumers with questions may contact Hy-Vee customer care representatives 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-800-772-4098.

Subaru of America is recalling 88,131 model year 2003-2004 Legacy, Outback, and Baja vehicles originally sold or that have ever been registered in Alaska, ...

Subaru of America is recalling 88,131 model year 2003-2004 Legacy, Outback, and Baja vehicles originally sold or that have ever been registered in Alaska, Colorado, Connecticut, Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, New York, North Dakota, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming, or "Zone C."

These vehicles may be equipped with certain air bag inflators assembled as part of the passenger front airbag modules, and used as original equipment or replacement equipment. In the event of a crash necessitating deployment of the front airbags, these inflators may rupture due to propellant degradation occurring after long-term exposure to absolute humidity and temperature cycling.

An inflator rupture may result in metal fragments striking the vehicle occupants resulting in serious injury or death.

Subaru will notify owners, and dealers will replace the passenger front air bag inflator, free of charge. The manufacturer has not yet provided a notification schedule.

Owners may contact Subaru customer service at 1-856-488-8500. Subaru's number for this recall is TKC-16. 

Hyundai Motor Company is recalling 81,000 model year 2016 Tucsons manufactured May 19, 2015 to March 14, 2016. If the primary hood latch has been r...

Hyundai Motor Company is recalling 81,000 model year 2016 Tucsons manufactured May 19, 2015 to March 14, 2016.

If the primary hood latch has been released, and the vehicle is driven, the secondary hood latch may not hold adequately secure the hood to prevent it from opening while the vehicle is in motion.

If the primary hood latch is inadvertently released and the secondary latch cannot secure the hood, the hood may unexpectedly open while driving, increasing the risk of a crash.

Hyundai will notify owners, and dealers will replace the secondary hood latch, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin July 15, 2016.

Owners may contact Hyundai customer service at 1-855-371-9460. Hyundai's number for this recall is 145.

Publix Super Markets is recalling nut, seed and raisin mix that may be adulterated with Listeria monocytogenes. There have been no reported cases o...

Publix Super Markets is recalling nut, seed and raisin mix that may be adulterated with Listeria monocytogenes.

The containers of prepackaged nut, seed and raisin mix were sold at Publix retail produce departments in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama, Tennessee and North Carolina with a UPC of 000-41415-08886, 002-25143-00000, 004-00002-10396, and include all date lots.

Customers who purchased the recalled products may return them to their local store for a full refund.

Consumers with questions may contact the company's consumer relations department at 1-800-242-1227 or online at www.publix.com.  

Mazda North America Operations is recalling 236,280 vehicles in two zones. The first is “Zone A” and includes model year 2009-2011 Mazda6, 2007-201...

The first is “Zone A” and includes model year 2009-2011 Mazda6, 2007-2011 CX-7 and CX-9 vehicles, originally sold, or ever registered, in Alabama, California, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands (Saipan), and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Additionally, unless included in "Zone A" above, Mazda is recalling model year 2007-2008 CX-7 and CX-9 vehicles, originally sold, or ever registered, in Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, District of Columbia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia, or "Zone B."

These vehicles are equipped with certain airbag inflators assembled as part of the passenger front airbag modules, and used as original equipment or replacement equipment. In the event of a crash necessitating deployment of the front airbags, these inflators may rupture due to propellant degradation occurring after long-term exposure to absolute humidity and temperature cycling.

An inflator rupture may result in metal fragments striking the vehicle occupants resulting in serious injury or death.

Mazda will notify owners, and dealers will replace the passenger frontal air bag inflator, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin July 15, 2016.

Owners may contact Mazda customer service at 1-800-222-5500. Mazda's number for this recall is 9516E.

Atkins Nutritionals is recalling limited lot codes of certain bar products that may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes. There have been no...

Atkins Nutritionals is recalling limited lot codes of certain bar products that may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.

Consumers should destroy the recalled products and contact Atkins Nutritionals e at 855-201-4611 or by email atkins@inmar.com Monday through Friday during the hours of 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. EST to request a coupon towards a free replacement product.  

BMW of North America is recalling 188,668 model year 2011-2017, X3 sDrive28i, X3 xDrive28i and X3 xDrive35i, vehicles manufactured July 2, 2010 to April 14...

BMW of North America is recalling 188,668 model year 2011-2017, X3 sDrive28i, X3 xDrive28i and X3 xDrive35i, vehicles manufactured July 2, 2010 to April 14, 2016; 2015-2017 X3 xDrive28d vehicles manufactured March 10, 2014 to March 31, 2016; and 2015-2017 x4 xDrive28i, X4 xDrive35i and X4 xDriveM40i vehicles manufactured March3, 2014 to April 15, 2016.

The affected vehicles have lower anchor bars for securing child restraint seats that may become damaged when using the European-ISOFIX-type, rigid-style connector, child restraint system.

BMW will notify owners, and dealers will weld a reinforcing bracket to the lower anchor bars and the vehicle body, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin on July 12, 2016.

A federal appeals court has turned aside an industry challenge, upholding the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) Open Internet Order – also known as...

A federal appeals court has turned aside an industry challenge, upholding the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) Open Internet Order – also known as Net Neutrality.

The justices ruled that the FCC acted within its proper authority when it reclassified broadband internet access as a telecom service under law, and it may be regulated as such.

The principal of Net Neutrality is that internet service providers (ISP) cannot discriminate among internet content, charging more for some than others, or slowing some content down, a practice known as “throttling.”

ISPs generally oppose the concept of Net Neutrality, saying some content – such as streaming video – costs more to distribute than others. The industry said it should be allowed to charge more for that kind of content.

The Obama administration moved over a year ago to reclassify broadband internet access as a telecom service, under its Title II authority. The move was aimed at preventing ISPs from blocking, censoring, throttling, or degrading online content, services, and applications.

“Today’s ruling is a great victory for the millions and millions of internet users who have fought for years for Net Neutrality,” said Craig Aaron, CEO of Free Press, one of the public interest groups that intervened in the case.

Aaron said the court spoke loudly and forcefully in support of the FCC's authority to prevent “interference” with consumers' internet service.

“Today’s ruling proves the FCC chose the correct legal path to protect internet users from discrimination by AT&T, Comcast, Verizon and other broadband providers,” Aaron said. The agency can now stay focused on safeguarding the open communications networks that power our democracy and our economy and on promoting broadband competition privacy and affordable internet access for everyone.”

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler also praised the ruling, calling it a victory for consumers and innovators. In a statement, Wheeler said the issue has been debated for a decade but is now settled.

“Today’s ruling affirms the Commission’s ability to enforce the strongest possible internet protections – both on fixed and mobile networks – that will ensure the internet remains open, now and in the future,” he said.

Many consumers carry both a debit card and one or more credit cards. They are both plastic and they both can be used to make purchases.But when should...

Many consumers carry both a debit card and one or more credit cards. They are both plastic and they both can be used to make purchases.

But when should you use one but not the other? Some might use them interchangeably, but they shouldn't.

First, an important distinction: a debit card debits money directly from a bank account. It's similar to writing a check. The money for the purchase comes out of the account almost immediately.

When using a credit card, you are actually borrowing the money from a bank to make the purchase. You don't withdraw the money from your bank account to pay for the purchase until the monthly credit card bill arrives.

If you pay the entire balance that's due, it has cost you nothing to borrow the money. For that reason, credit card companies often refer to customers who pay their bill in full each month as “deadbeats.”

The credit card companies hope you'll accumulate a balance, since they can then charge interest. And credit card interest, outside of loan sharks and payday lenders, is about the highest there is.

The danger of accumulating a large credit card balance is the primary reason to avoid using a credit card. Using a debit card is a pay-as-you-go system, and for that reason many people prefer it.

But by exercising strict discipline, and paying the balance in full each month, there are financial benefits to using a credit card instead of a debit card. However, it requires having a credit card that offers a generous cash back or rewards system. We've profiled some of these kinds of cards here and here.

The important thing, of course, is to make sure you can pay for everything you've charged when the bill arrives. Otherwise, interest charges will eat away at any rewards.

At the same time, some bank accounts will offer depositors rewards and incentives for using debit cards to make purchases. These incentives may include interest on the money in the account and reimbursement of ATM fees, but they require that you make a certain number of debit card purchases each billing cycle.

That said, the issue of security should always remain a consideration. With a fraudulent credit card purchase, the consumer's liability is limited to $50 or less, if the fraud is promptly reported.

But if a criminal gets access to your debit card information, he can clean out your bank account. While some banks have fraud protection, not all do.

For that reason, consumers should be careful where they use a debit card. A good rule of thumb is to never let a debit card out of your sight. If the waiter is taking your check and payment from the table, best to use a credit card.

Purchasing gas at a pump with an odd-looking card reader, better not to use a debit card, since card “skimmers” have become a more common threat.

Most everyone knows how important sleep is to infants and children, but there are still many adults out there who only get a few hours of sleep per night. ...

Most everyone knows how important sleep is to infants and children, but there are still many adults out there who only get a few hours of sleep per night. While these same people might reach for coffee in the morning to counteract a poor night’s sleep, a new study shows that caffeine can only help so much.

In a double-blind, placebo-controlled study, researchers found that caffeine was only able to help improve alertness and performance in adults for two consecutive days before lack of sleep took over.

The researchers utilized 48 individuals who were restricted to five hours of sleep per 24-hour period over the course of five days. Participants were split into two groups for the study – one group received 200 mg of caffeine twice daily while the other received a placebo.

Over the five-day period, all participants also took part in a range of tests to measure their alertness and overall cognitive performance. The researchers found that while the group receiving caffeine did better on these tests over the first two days of the trial period, the lack of sleep eventually caught up with them and their scores suffered over the final three days.

“We were particularly surprised that the performance advantage conferred by the two daily 200 mg doses of caffeine was lost after three nights of sleep restriction,” said Dr. Tracy Jill Doty, lead author of the study.

The results indicate that caffeine may not suffice if a person is repeatedly not getting enough sleep at night. For consumers who need to stay alert during their waking hours, which pretty much includes everyone for one reason or another, this could mean prioritizing sleep in the future.

“These results are important, because caffeine is a stimulant widely used to counteract performance decline following periods of restricted sleep. The data from this study suggests that the same effective daily dose of caffeine is not sufficient to prevent performance decline over multiple days or restricted sleep,” said Doty.

The abstract for this study has been published in the journal Sleep, but the research team plans to present their full findings on June 14 at SLEEP 2016, an annual meeting of members of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies LLC (APSS).

Anyone who has been in the presence of a fussy, tired kid or a sleep-deprived teen knows just how much sleep can impact a child’s state. Irritability i...

Anyone who has been in the presence of a fussy, tired kid or a sleep-deprived teen knows just how much sleep can impact a child’s state.

Irritability is one common byproduct of an inadequate amount of sleep, but other aspects of a child's development can also be affected by sleep. Studies have shown that toddlers with bedtimes before 10 p.m. have improved motor function, language, and social skills.

But while it's no secret that kids need their rest, it can be difficult to pinpoint exactly how much rest a kid should be getting. Now, new guidelines backed by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) are clueing parents in on exactly how much sleep kids need at each age.

Sleep experts recommend the following hours of sleep, including naps, for every 24 hours, CBS News reports.

The AAP does not offer recommendations for babies younger than four months as there is no real “normal” when it comes to a newborn’s sleep patterns.

Kids who regularly get the right amount of sleep for their age are likely to see benefits, including better behavior, attention span, learning, memory, emotional regulation, and overall quality of life, says consensus paper author Dr. Lee Brooks, an attending pulmonologist at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

"We should get away from the idea that sleep is for slackers. It's something important to make you function during the day… we need to respect that," Brooks told CBS News.

Today’s fathers seem to be taking on a bigger role in the household. More dads than ever are handling the child care, tackling the grocery runs, and taking...

Have you bought a new smartphone lately? Chances are, the answer is no. Fewer consumers, it seems, feel the need to constantly update their devices.Tha...

Have you bought a new smartphone lately? Chances are, the answer is no. Fewer consumers, it seems, feel the need to constantly update their devices.

That wasn't the case just a few years ago. Then, manufacturers were racing to add new features and capabilities to their phones.

That gave consumers a reason to go out and buy the latest product on the market. As added incentive, the major cell phone carriers subsidized the cost in exchange for a two year service agreement.

In a report, Gartner, Inc. says worldwide smart phone sales peaked six years ago, when sales increased a staggering 73% year-over-year. This year, the company projects sales will grow a paltry 7%, hitting single digit growth for the first time.

"The smartphone market will no longer grow at the levels it has reached over the last seven years," said Roberta Cozza, research director at Gartner.

In the U.S., as well as much of the developed world, the smartphone market has reached 90% penetration. Because a two or three year old smartphone is still pretty good, consumers are in no rush to replace it, especially since they now have to pay the full cost.

"In the mature markets, premium phone users are extending life cycles to 2.5 years, which is not going to change drastically over the next five years," Cozza said.

Apple hopes to buck the trend by offering upgrade programs that provide consumers with new hardware after only 12 months. But Cozza cautions that these programs are not for everyone. Most users, she says, are happy to hold onto their phone for two years or longer than before.

“They do so especially as the technology updates have become incremental rather than exponential," she said.

Exactly. Remember when consumers used to stand in line outside a cell phone store in order to be the first to buy a new phone? They did it because of the “wow” features the device possessed. Now, no one wants to stand in line for a slightly better camera or one or two cool new apps.

"Consumers everywhere are getting savvy about how and where they buy their smart phones, and this is opening up new doors for OEMs and causing some traditional channels to lose some control of the hardware flow," said Ryan Reith, an executive with IDC, which also forecasts a sharp slowdown on smart phone sales this year.

More phones are being sold through eTailer channels rather through brick and mortar stores. Reith says these sales grew 65% last year and are expected to make up about 12% of total smart phone sales this year.

Which platform will feel the most pain? IDC says it's Apple, projecting Apple will experience its first-ever drop in iPhone sales this year.

It was show and tell day for Apple, as the company previewed the latest wrinkles in iOS 10 for developers attending the annual World Wide Developers Confer...

It was show and tell day for Apple, as the company previewed the latest wrinkles in iOS 10 for developers attending the annual World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC) in San Francisco.

In years past, the WWDC witnessed the dramatic unveiling of new products like the iPod and iPhone. This year, the emphasis was on system enhancements to existing hardware.

Apple says it has made major upgrades to Messages, redesigned a number of apps, and expands what Siri can do.

“iOS 10 is our biggest release ever, with delightful new ways to express yourself in Messages, a native app for Home automation, and beautifully redesigned apps for Music, Maps, and News that are more intuitive and more powerful, making everything you love about your iPhone and iPad even better,” said Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering.

In iOS 10, Apple has extended Siri into new areas to work with existing apps. For example, developers will now be able to use Siri to interact with apps using just voice commands. New areas of interaction include photo search, ride booking, personal payments, and workouts.

The Maps app in iOS 10 has also gotten a makeover. Apps like OpenTable will be able to book reservations into Maps, and ride-sharing apps can be accessed through Maps as well.

Apple says Maps has even been upgraded with intelligence to figure out where you might want to go next, based on the appointments in your calendar and where you have gone in the past – a feature some might find a little creepy.

Siri has also been given new capabilities to help you watch TV. Teamed with Apple TV, users will be able to use Siri to search for video content by topic or theme. Later this month Siri will start searching YouTube for specific types of content.

“The future of TV is apps, and Siri on Apple TV has changed the way we interact with our television and these expanded features will continue to deliver viewers what they want to watch even faster,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services. “There are over 6,000 apps to enjoy on your Apple TV including over 1,300 video channels, which are even more fun to watch with the new Siri features combined with single sign-on.”

Apple also announced upgrades for Apple Watch, the company's offering in the increasingly crowded wearable tech field. It said WatchOS 3 will be able to instantly launch favorite apps and will have enhanced health and fitness capabilities.

Among the new Apple Watch apps is Breathe, which will encourage users to take periodic breaks throughout the day for breathing exercises.

Consumers continued to spend in May, sending retail sales up for a second consecutive month.The Census Bureau reports sales were up 0.5% last month tot...

The Census Bureau reports sales were up 0.5% last month totaling $455.6 billion. That's a gain of 2.4% from the same month a year ago.

May's month-over-month advance was led by sales at gas stations (+2.1%), nonstore retailers and sporting goods (+1.3%), hobby, book, & music stores (+1.3%), and food services and drinking places (+0.8%). On a year-over-year basis, sales soared at nonstore retailers (+12.2) and health & personal care stores (+8.3).

Last month's losers include building material & garden equipment & supplies dealers, with a sales decline of 1.8% from April, and miscellaneous store retailers, where sales were down 1.2%.

Air travelers, it appears, were a pretty content bunch in early spring.According to the Department of Transportation's (DOT) Air Travel Consumer Report...

The American Honda Motor Co. is recalling 2,701 motorcycles in two zones. The first is “Zone A” and includes model year 2006-2010 Honda GL1800 (Gol...

The first is “Zone A” and includes model year 2006-2010 Honda GL1800 (Gold Wing) motorcycles manufactured February 8, 2006, to May 14, 2009, originally sold, or ever registered, in Alabama, California, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands (Saipan), and the U.S. Virgin Islands, or "Zone A."

Unless included in "Zone A" above, Honda is recalling model year 2006-2008 Honda GL 1800 (Gold Wing) motorcycles manufactured May 10, 2007, to May 14, 2009, originally sold, or ever registered, in Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, District of Columbia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia, or "Zone B."

Motorcycles not originally sold or ever registered in either Zones A or B are not subject to this safety recall.

These motorcycles are equipped with an air bag inflator assembled as part of the air bag module, used as original equipment or replacement equipment. In the event of a crash necessitating deployment of the air bag, these inflators may rupture due to propellant degradation occurring after long-term exposure to absolute humidity and temperature cycling.

An inflator rupture may result in metal fragments striking the rider resulting in serious injury or death.

Honda will notify owners, and dealers will replace the air bag module containing the inflator, free of charge. The manufacturer has not yet provided a notification schedule.

Butterfield Foods of Noblesville, Ind., is recalling approximately 15,966 pounds of broccoli salad dressing products The products may be adulterate...

Butterfield Foods of Noblesville, Ind., is recalling approximately 15,966 pounds of broccoli salad dressing products

The recalled products bear establishment number EST. 6945 inside the USDA mark of inspection and sell-by dates from December 10, 2015, through June 23, 2016. They were shipped to retail locations in Indiana and Ohio and used to make prepared salad products further distributed to consumers at grocery delicatessens.

Customers who purchased prepared salad products containing the recalled product from grocery delicatessens should not consume them, but throw them away or return them to the place of purchase. If you are unsure whether or not the recalled product was used in your prepared salads, consult store management.

Subaru of America is recalling 159,274 model year 2003-2004 Legacy, Outback; 2009-2011 Legacy, Outback Forester; 2006-2011 Impreza, Tribeca; 2003-2006 Baja...

Subaru of America is recalling 159,274 model year 2003-2004 Legacy, Outback; 2009-2011 Legacy, Outback Forester; 2006-2011 Impreza, Tribeca; 2003-2006 Baja; and 2006 Saab 9-2x vehicles originally sold or that have ever been registered in Alabama, California, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands (Saipan), and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

These vehicles may be equipped with certain air bag inflators assembled as part of the passenger front air bag modules, and used as original equipment or replacement equipment. In the event of a crash necessitating deployment of the front air bags, these inflators may rupture due to propellant degradation occurring after long-term exposure to absolute humidity and temperature cycling.

An inflator rupture may result in metal fragments striking the vehicle occupants resulting in serious injury or death.

Subaru will notify their owners. General Motors will notify Saab owners. Dealers will replace the passenger front air bag inflator, free of charge. A notification schedule has not yet been provided.

Owners may contact Subaru customer service at 1-856-488-8500. Saab owners may contact GM at 1-800-955-9007. Subaru's number for this recall is TKA-16.

Nu Life Market of Scott City, Kan., is recalling approximately 300 jars of its three flavors of Sun Life brand Sunflower Spread. The product may be...

Nu Life Market of Scott City, Kan., is recalling approximately 300 jars of its three flavors of Sun Life brand Sunflower Spread.

The following products, which come in a 12-oz. clear plastic jar with a brown plastic lid and was distributed in retail stores in Kansas and through online sales between September 15, 2015, and May 17, 2016, are being recalled:

Customers who purchased the recalled products should discard them or return them to the place of purchase for a full refund.

Consumers with questions may contact the company at 1-866-962-5236 Monday through Thursday, 8:00 am – 5:00 pm (CDT) or by email at contactus@sunlifespreads.com.

Mazda North American Operations is recalling 495,348 vehicles in three zones. The first is is "Zone A" and includes model year 2004-2011 RX-8; 2004...

The first is is "Zone A" and includes model year 2004-2011 RX-8; 2004-2006 MPV; 2003-2008 Mazda6; and 2006-2007 Mazdaspeed6 vehicles, originally sold, or ever registered, in Alabama, California, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands (Saipan), and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Mazda is also recalling model year 2004-2008 RX-8; 2004-2006 MPV; and 2003-2008 Mazda6 vehicles, originally sold, or ever registered, in Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, District of Columbia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia, or "Zone B."

Lastly, Mazda is recalling certain model year 2004 Mazda RX-8 and MPV; and 2003-2004 Mazda6 vehicles originally sold, or registered, in Alaska, Colorado, Connecticut, Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, New York, North Dakota, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

These vehicles are equipped with certain air bag inflators assembled as part of the passenger front airbag modules, and used as original equipment or replacement equipment. In the event of a crash necessitating deployment of the front airbags, these inflators may rupture due to propellant degradation occurring after long-term exposure to absolute humidity and temperature cycling.

An inflator rupture may result in metal fragments striking the vehicle occupants resulting in serious injury or death.

Mazda will notify owners, and dealers will replace the passenger front air bag inflator, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin July 15, 2016.

Owners may contact Mazda customer service at 1-800-222-5500. Mazda's number for this recall is 9416E.

Catching a cold can be something of a pain for adults who work on a busy schedule, but as you get older it can become a serious medical issue. The human im...

Catching a cold can be something of a pain for adults who work on a busy schedule, but as you get older it can become a serious medical issue. The human immune system has a tendency to slow down as we age, and its ability to fight viruses, bacteria, and infection becomes seriously hampered as a result.

However, a new study from the University of Arizona Sciences Department of Immunobiology shows that this trend does not necessarily need to be set in stone. The researchers found that stimulating a certain subset of white blood cells may be able to boost the immune system of older individuals and help protect them from pathogens and infection.

The study focused primarily on one type of T cell – a white blood cell that fights infection – called a naïve T cell. Naïve T cells are different from normal T cells in that they have not yet been exposed to a virus or infection. Because of this, they cannot actively fight a virus or infection, unlike other T cells that are tailored by their interactions to fight certain pathogens.

“When there is an infection, like an influenza virus, for example, a small cohort of these naïve T cells – only those that have special molecules on their surface that will bind to fragments of influenza – are deployed in a very targeted manner,” explains principal investigator Dr. Janko Nikolich-Zugich.

When these naïve T cells are deployed, they change their nature and become effector T cells, which are “armed” to fight. After clearing the virus, many of these T cells end up dying off, but those who don’t stay behind and act as “memory cells” that help fight off the virus if it comes back.

While investigating these naïve T cells, the researchers found that they could force them to begin making an anti-viral molecule by stimulating them with pieces of virus. This interaction caused naïve T cells to turn into another sort of memory cell, with the result being that they began to actively fight pathogens in the body.

Specifically, these new cells began attacking cytomegalovirus (CMV) – a virus that nearly everyone is infected with but which is generally only dangerous to those with compromised immune function, such as the elderly. These findings reveal a complexity to naïve cells that scientists were not aware of in the past.

“So our new discovery is that there is more diversity than we realized within naïve cells, and that some have committed to dealing with CMV and other really persistent infections, and others are really, truly naïve,” said Nikolich-Zugich.

The next step for the researchers will be trying to figure out how to predict the number of these naïve cells are within the human body. In general, the amount of T cells in a person begins to decline as they age, but these naïve cells may provide a way to protect these individuals from sickness and infection.

“The biggest challenge for us going forward is to measure the status of the immune system, including these new cells, and actually show, in an average person, if you are below a certain level of a T cell population, or a certain cytokine or a certain antibody, what is your risk of infection or poor response to vaccination. And if you are at risk, how can we work to help you and your immune system,” said Nikolich-Zugich.

The annual increase in feline breeding is accompanied by what is known as "kitten season" -- a time in which animal shelters become flooded with homeless a...

The annual increase in feline breeding is accompanied by what is known as "kitten season" -- a time in which animal shelters become flooded with homeless and newborn cats.

Several organizations seek to highlight the issue of cat-related overcrowding in shelters, including the American Humane Association with its Adopt-A-Cat Month and the ASPCA with its Adopt A Shelter Cat Month.

Both events take place in June, at the height of kitten season. Their mission is not only to ease overcrowding in shelters, but to find more loving homes for cats in need. Many local animal shelters even mark these events by offering special adoption deals and discounts.

But while giving a shelter cat a forever home can do a lot to help ease the burden of overcrowding in animal shelters, it isn’t the only way to make a difference. Those who can’t adopt a pet, whether because of a lack of room in the house or a non-pet friendly lifestyle, can help the cause as well.

Can't offer a permanent home to a shelter cat? No problem. You can still participate in Adopt a Shelter Cat month by doing any of the following:

Back in 2012, Facebook introduced a photo syncing feature and promised "unlimited" automatic photo uploads from smartphones into a private album, similar t...

Back in 2012, Facebook introduced a photo syncing feature and promised "unlimited" automatic photo uploads from smartphones into a private album, similar to Google Photos and Apple's iCloud Photos.

But unlimited means different things at different times, and right now, it means the photos will be deleted if you don't install Moments, Facebook's new dedicated photo-sharing app by July 7.

This is basically the same thing Facebook did when it introduced its messaging app. It required everyone to install a dedicated messaging app if they wanted to continue sending messages. The app quickly grew to 900 million users.

Moments was released in June 2015 and Facebook stopped supporting automatic syncing of photos from the main app, forcing users to install the Moments app.

Now it is turning up the heat and saying that existing photos will be zapped into oblivion for users who don't add the Moments app to their smartphones.

The deletion of synced photos won't affect photos or videos shared on Facebook separately from the synced albums.

Facebook hasn't said anything publicly about the change but has been notifying users with messages like this one, sent to a user in the U.K.: 

“Photos you privately synced from your phone to Facebook will be deleted soon. Earlier this year, they were moved to Moments, a new app from Facebook. If you want to keep these photos, download and log into Moments before 7 July. If you don’t want Moments, download these photos directly to your computer from your Facebook profile before 7 July.”

It's not so much that Moments needs an extra push. It's already the third most popular free ap on iOS and second most popular on Google Play in the U.S. 

Buying a home in California is pretty expensive. Seven of the ten hottest real estate markets happen to be in that state.Rising prices returned billion...

The rose is a classic flower whose bright pop of color is sure to add vibrancy to whatever garden it graces. Roses are undoubtedly easy to love, but th...

The rose is a classic flower whose bright pop of color is sure to add vibrancy to whatever garden it graces. 

Roses are undoubtedly easy to love, but they’re also easy to grow. Roses will thrive in just about any garden -- but to get the most out of roses, gardeners will need to take care when choosing and caring for the bloom-adorned bush.

To help you enjoy the roses in your garden year after year, the experts at Weeks Roses have rounded up a few helpful tips.

Roses aren’t a one-size-fits-all plant; different varieties (of which there are over 2,000) have different needs. Some, for example, may prefer to grow in containers, while others might appreciate the extra legroom found in your garden.

Selecting a rose solely for its particularly pretty blooms isn’t the best idea, rose experts say. Instead, head to the garden center or nursery with a mind to consider certain factors such as bloom time, hardiness, and disease resistance. You’ll also want to consider which variety will work best with your garden’s climate.

Roses are hardier than many might think, but drawing forth the natural hardiness of roses will require planting it under the right conditions.

Roses will produce the most blooms when planted in locations that receive six to eight hours of sunlight daily. Good soil is also a must.

Take note of whether you’ve got a once-blooming or repeat blooming rose variety on your hands. A once-blooming rose (such as antique rose varieties) will produce many blooms all at once during a growing season before abruptly calling it quits. Repeat bloomers will flower continuously throughout the growing season.

For once-blooming roses: prune after they flower. For repeat bloomers: prune in early spring before they bloom.

Overwatering, not underwatering, is the leading cause of rose plant death. Once a rose has gotten comfortable in its plot, it should only need to be watered once or twice a week.

Water roses deeply to encourage healthy root growth. Also, avoid watering with sprinklers or hoses as wet leaves are an open invitation for powdery mildew and diseases such as black spot.

Roses are hungry plants that will need to be fertilized, but experts caution against overdoing it. Using too high a concentration of fertilizer can damage plants. Instead, gardeners should try alternating between compost and a balanced fertilizer.

Walgreens has dropped the curtain on its alliance with Theranos, a Silicon Valley start-up company that once promised to be a major disruptor in the medica...

Tribune Media and Dish Network have gone to war over fees and, as always in such cases, consumers are the losers. Tribune's 42 local TV stations and its WG...

Tribune Media and Dish Network have gone to war over fees and, as always in such cases, consumers are the losers. Tribune's 42 local TV stations and its WGN America cable channel have gone dark on Dish.

Five million Dish subscribers in 33 markets have lost access to local Tribune stations and about 7 million can't watch WGN America. In an unusual move, Dish is offering free over-the-air antennas to customers so they can continue to watch their local Tribune stations while the dispute rolls on. 

“Tribune is demanding an unreasonable rate increase for channels that are available for free over the air,” said Warren Schlichting, DISH executive vice president of Programming. “Actions like Tribune’s are what drive price increases and feed customer frustration for our industry. With DISH’s free antenna, customers will continue to receive Tribune channels for free over the air, along with dozens of other broadcast channels not normally available to pay-TV customers.”

Tribune blames the standoff on Dish and says it was Dish that broke off negotiations and pulled the plug on the stations. 

“We want to reach an agreement, just as we have with every one of our other cable, satellite and telco distributors, but Dish refuses to reach an agreement based on fair-market value,” said Gary Weitman, Tribune Media’s senior vice president for corporate relations.  “We want to keep servicing our local communities and we have repeatedly offered Dish a lengthy extension to continue negotiations—unfortunately, Dish rejected these offers.”

Schlichting said that besides fees, Tribune wants Dish to force customers to receive WGN America, a channel that Dish says has been steadily shedding viewers after losing access to Chicago Cubs baseball. 

DISH viewership data reveals that viewership on WGN America is down on average more than 20 percent since the channel’s launch as a cable network. Many of the shows available on WGN America are available on other channels carried by Dish, Schlichting said.

Tribune Media, no longer affiliated with the Tribune chain of newspapers (now known, oddly enough, as "tronc") has been trying to rebrand WGN, which until recently programmed mostly reruns and Cubs games. Its stated goal is to produce original programming that will make WGN America competitive with channels like FX and AMC.

Microsoft is buying LinkedIn for about $26 billion, the companies announced today. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said LinkedIn will "retain its distinct bran...

Microsoft is buying LinkedIn for about $26 billion, the companies announced today. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said LinkedIn will "retain its distinct brand, culture and independence," with Jeff Weiner remaining as CEO.

“The LinkedIn team has grown a fantastic business centered on connecting the world’s professionals,” Nadella said. “Together we can accelerate the growth of LinkedIn, as well as Microsoft Office 365 and Dynamics as we seek to empower every person and organization on the planet.”

The transaction has been unanimously approved by the boards of both LinkedIn and Microsoft and is expected to close this year.

LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network with more than 433 million members. About two-thirds of its revenue comes from its talent solutions divison, used by corporate recruiters to identify prospective employees.

“Just as we have changed the way the world connects to opportunity, this relationship with Microsoft, and the combination of their cloud and LinkedIn’s network, now gives us a chance to also change the way the world works,” Weiner said. “For the last 13 years, we’ve been uniquely positioned to connect professionals to make them more productive and successful, and I’m looking forward to leading our team through the next chapter of our story.”

It is said that the stock market “climbs a wall of worry,” meaning stock prices usually go up when there is a lot of negative sentiment in the market.T...

There are plenty of over-the-counter (OTC) medicines to treat heartburn and upset stomach, but the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) suggests choosing one...

Chrysler (FCA US LLC) is recalling 4,322,870 vehicles in three zones. The first is is "Zone A" and includes model year 2004-2008 RAM 1500; 2005-200...

Brown & Haley of Tacoma, Wash., is expanding its earlier recall to include one additional lot of Mountain Thins “Trail Mix” flavor. The product con...

Brown & Haley of Tacoma, Wash., is expanding its earlier recall to include one additional lot of Mountain Thins “Trail Mix” flavor.

The following product, distributed to select retail stores nationwide between March 4, 2016, and April 25, 2016, is being recalled:

Customers who purchased the recalled product should not consume it, but take it back to the store where purchased for a refund, or simply discard it.

Consumers seeking information may contact the company at 1-800-426-8400 ext. 3085, Monday – Friday, 8:00 AM – 4:00 PM (PT) or by email at sweets@brown-haley.com.

Nissan North America is recalling a total of 402,450 vehicles in three zones. The first is is "Zone A" and includes model year 2005-2008 Infiniti F...

MaraNatha of Lake Success, N.Y., is recalling a limited number of retail lots of MaraNatha® All Natural Sunflower Seed Butter. The product may be c...

MaraNatha of Lake Success, N.Y., is recalling a limited number of retail lots of MaraNatha® All Natural Sunflower Seed Butter.

The following product, distributed across the U.S. and Mexico from September 25, 2015 thru April 18, 2016, and available for purchase on the internet, is being recalled:

Consumers may contact MaraNatha at 1-800-958-3772 between 9:00 AM and 7:00 PM (EST) for information and/or a refund.

American Honda Motor Co. is recalling 2,720,390 vehicles in two zones. The first is “Zone A” and includes model year 2009-2011 Acura TSX; 2011 TSX ...

Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing (Toyota) is recalling a total of 1,654,713 vehicles in two zones. The first is "Zone A" and includes model...

Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing (Toyota) is recalling a total of 1,654,713 vehicles in two zones.

The first is "Zone A" and includes model year 2008-2011 Scion xB and Lexus IS F; 2009-2011 Toyota Corolla and Corolla Matrix; 2006-2011 Toyota Yaris, Lexus IS250 and Lexus IS350; 2010-2011 Toyota 4Runner, Lexus IS250C, Lexus IS350C and Lexus GX460; 2011 Sienna; 2007-2011 Lexus ES350; and 2009-2010 Pontiac Vibe vehicles, originally sold, or ever registered, in Alabama, California, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands (Saipan), and the U.S. Virgin Islands,.

Unless included in "Zone A" above, Toyota is recalling model year 2008 Scion xB and Lexus IS F; 2007-2008 Toyota Yaris; 2006-2008 Lexus IS250 and Lexus IS350; and 2007-2008 Lexus ES350 vehicles, originally sold, or ever registered, in Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, District of Columbia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia, or "Zone B."

These vehicles are equipped with certain air bag inflators assembled as part of the passenger frontal air bag modules, and used as original equipment or replacement equipment. In the event of a crash necessitating deployment of the front air bags, these inflators may rupture due to propellant degradation occurring after long-term exposure to absolute humidity and temperature cycling.

An inflator rupture may result in metal fragments striking the vehicle occupants resulting in serious injury or death.

Toyota will notify the Toyota and Lexus owners. General Motors will contact the Pontiac owners. Depending on the model, dealers will replace the passenger frontal air bag inflator or the air bag assembly, free of charge. An interim notification to owners will be mailed by July 22, 2016.

Owners may contact Toyota customer service at 1-800-331-4331. Toyota's numbers for interim notification for this campaign are G1P (Toyota Zone A), G1R (Toyota Zone B), G2G (Lexus Zone A), and G2H (Lexus Zone B). Toyota's numbers for final remedy for this campaign are G0P (Toyota Zone A), G0R (Toyota Zone B), GLG (Lexus Zone A), and GLH (Lexus Zone B).

Carrying a lot of cash is dangerous. Criminals may take it and so may the cops, who increasingly view having a lot of cash ...

Carrying a lot of cash is dangerous. Criminals may take it and so may the cops, who increasingly view having a lot of cash as evidence of wrongdoing. But now, police have added a new twist -- they've started using a scanner that lets them swipe the money right off prepaid cards.  

The device is called an ERAD -- Electronic Recovery and Access to Data machine, and Oklahoma's state police began using 16 of them last month. Hundreds of other police departments around the country are also using the device but haven't fessed up to it. 

It's all pretty simple. If a state trooper or other police officer suspects you are tied to some type of crime, he can scan your prepaid cards and seize the money on them. No formal charges, no trial, no due process.

It's an extension of a long-standing practice of shaking down anyone police think is suspicious. All too often, as the Washington Post demonstrated in a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigation a few years ago, all you need to do to look suspicious is have a lot of money.

"We're gonna look for different factors in the way that you're acting,” Oklahoma Highway Patrol Lt. John Vincent said, according to a Washington Post report. “We're gonna look for if there's a difference in your story. If there's some way that we can prove that you're falsifying information to us about your business."

Of course, when Lt. Vincent says police will "prove" you're falsifying information it doesn't mean they'll prove it in court, where you can confront the witnesses and challenge the evidence. And that's what has critics upset.

State Sen. Kyle Loveless (R-Oklahoma City) said he will introduce legislation in the next session of the state legislature that will require a conviction in a court of law before anyone's assets are seized.

"If I had to err on the side of one side versus the other, I would err on the side of the Constitution,” Loveless said. “And I think that's what we need to do."

Loveless said there have been too many documented cases of abuse in Oklahoma to allow police to continue treating citizens as criminals without benefit of trial.

"We've seen single mom's stuff be taken, a cancer survivor his drugs taken, we saw a Christian band being taken. We've seen innocent people's stuff being taken. We've seen where the money goes and how it's been misspent," Loveless told a local television station.

As for what happens to the money seized with ERAD, 7.7% of it goes to the ERAD Group, a Texas-based company. The rest? Oklahoma Watch, an investigative journalism organization, says records show that in one recent year, 70% of all forfeiture amounts were used to fund salaries for law enforcement. 

Oklahoma law currently allows police and prosecutors to keep the money they take from citizens, even those who are never convicted or indicted, so those victimized by modern-day highway robbers basically have no recourse.

The Post's series caused a stir when it was published, but progress in cleaning up the practice has been slow. New Mexico, Montana and New Hampshire recently passed laws requiring a conviction before property can be forfeited, although the Post says New Mexico police routinely ignore the law.

The ERAD devices, by the way, can strip money off prepaid cards, but they can also decipher quite a bit of information from the magnetic strips on credit and debit cards, information police could conceivably use to track down and swipe additional assets.

"Each year, there are about $120 billion dollars moved to Mexico, Iran, Colombia, China as well as others as a result of illicit activity in the US," ERAD says on its website. "Prepaid debit cards are becoming the preferred process to move funds for pick up in these countries."

ERAD CEO T. Jack Williams claimed recently at a conference that American citizens have no right to privacy when it comes to magnetic encoding on their cards, Oklahoma Watch reported.

“Prepaid cards are cash, they are not bank accounts,” Williams said. He claimed that prepaid cards are not protected by the Bank Secrecy Act and are not protected by the Constitution's Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable search and seizure.

Brady Henderson, legal director for ACLU Oklahoma, says that's debatable and predicted Oklahoma's Department of Public Safety will find itself facing legal challenges to warrantless search and seizures using ERAD.

The situation is not unique to Oklahoma. The ERAD devices are in use around the country by "hundreds" of police agencies, Williams said, although he refused to give an exact number or name any of the police departments using the devices. 

The British medical journal Lancet has published some startling – but welcome – news. A clinical trial of a high-risk treatment for multiple sclerosis (MS)...

Psoriasis – a condition that causes itchy, dry, red skin – affects approximately 3 percent of the world’s population. The symptoms can cause quite a lot of...

Psoriasis – a condition that causes itchy, dry, red skin – affects approximately 3 percent of the world’s population. The symptoms can cause quite a lot of discomfort for those who suffer from it, but a new drug could prove to be effective at eliminating it.

The drug, called ixekizumab, has been tested in three large, long-term clinical trials on participants who had moderate to severe psoriasis. The results from these trials look extremely promising, with the vast majority of participants having the disease completely, or almost completely, cleared.

“This group of studies only shows very high and consistent levels of safety and efficacy, but also that he great majority of the responses persist at least 60 weeks,” said Dr. Kenneth Gordon, first author of the study and professor of dermatology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

The three studies utilized a combined 3,736 participants from 21 different countries. Everyone who was enrolled in each study displayed moderate to severe symptoms of psoriasis, meaning that the disease covered 10 percent or more of their bodies.

Participants were divided into two groups to test the potency of the drug, with one group receiving doses of ixekizumab and the other receiving a placebo. Participants received injections for over a year, with researchers recording changes to the severity of symptoms and any adverse effects that developed.

By the 12th week of the study, 76.4 – 81.8 percent of participants who received doses of ixekizumab had their psoriasis classified as “clear” or “minimal” – a huge improvement from the beginning of the study period. Only 3.2% of participants who took the placebo experienced the same recovery.

After 60 weeks, 68.7 – 78.3 percent of participants who received the drug were able to maintain the improvement to their symptoms. The researchers believe that these results could translate to very high responses to the drug if it is introduced to the general public.

“Based on these findings, we expect that 80 percent of patients will have an extremely high response rate to ixekizumab, and about 40 percent will be completely cleared of psoriasis,” said Gordon.

While the results of the drug are surprising, the participants who took it did experience some side effects. These included yeast infection, inflammatory bowel disease, and slightly higher rates of neutropenia – or low white blood cell count. The researchers say that the effects of taking the drug for longer than 60 months will have to be monitored going forward.

Still, the results do indicate a bright future for the drug. After the conclusion of the trials, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gave the drug its approval, and the researchers believe that it might be capable of doing what they previously thought was impossible.

“Ten years ago, we thought complete clearance of this disease was impossible. It wasn’t something we would even try to do. Now with this drug, we’re obtaining response levels higher than ever seen before,” said Gordon.

Our nation’s capital boasts spectacular art museums, and many of them are free. But don’t let an admission charge discourage you from visiting these three ...

Our nation’s capital boasts spectacular art museums, and many of them are free. But don’t let an admission charge discourage you from visiting these three gems. All are housed in what were the private residences of their benefactors, designed by world-renowned architects. The residences and grounds showcase their art and sculpture collections.

This private, non-profit art museum is the former residence of David Kreeger, an art collector, philanthropist, and a former chairman of Geico, and his wife Carmen. The museum houses Kreeger’s collection of 19th and 20th century paintings, including Monet, Picasso, Renoir, Cezanne, Chagall, Miro, and Stella, as well as other prominent works. The museum includes sculpture-filled gardens.

Hours: Museum: Tuesday through Thursday: open only for tours at 10:30 and 1:30, reservations required.

This private art museum was founded by Duncan Phillips and his mother, whose father was a banker and co-founder of Jones and Laughlin steelworks. The museum combines the original family home, an 1897 Georgian Revival house in Washington's Dupont Circle neighborhood. with extensive new galleries. The collection includes impressionist and modern works by Renoir, Rothko, Bonnard, O'Keeffe, van Gogh, and Diebenkorn.

Besides its permanent collection, the museum holds special exhibits, including an upcoming retrospective of “William Merritt Chase - A Modern Master,” from June 4 through September 11, 2016. It hosts special events year-round including concerts, lectures, and “Phillips after 5” on the first Thursday of the month, an opportunity to mix art, food, and music. There is a gift shop and café.

This estate, museum, and gardens comprise the former residence of Marjorie Merriweather Post, a businesswoman, socialite, philanthropist, and collector. She was the only child of Charles William (C.W.) Post who founded the Post cereal empire. She inherited the $20 million cereal company at the age of 27.

The former Merriweather Post residence now houses the most comprehensive collection of Russian imperial art outside of Russia, a distinguished 18th-century French decorative art collection, and includes twenty-five acres of lushly landscaped gardens.

Hillwood hosts special events year-round and has a gift shop, full-service dining café, and a Sunday Afternoon Tea. Reservations are recommended.

Active Military and their families are free from Memorial Day through Labor Day, as Hillwood is a Blue Star Museum participant.

Tesla is sort of the Donald Trump of the automotive world. It responds with over-the-top condemnation to any mildly negative criticism or assertion.Cur...

Tesla is sort of the Donald Trump of the automotive world. It responds with over-the-top condemnation to any mildly negative criticism or assertion.

Currently, what has Tesla's dander up is a mild rebuke from federal safety regulators. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) called it "troublesome" that Tesla reportedly asked some customers to sign a nondisclosure statement when the company picked up out-of-warranty repairs.

Translation: Tesla asked the customers not to tell NHTSA about problems with the suspension on some of its cars, according to a report in the Daily Kanban, a blog that follows matters automotive. Tesla labeled the claim "preposterous" and issued a lengthy response saying it has "high confidence" in its suspensions.  

“The agency immediately informed Tesla that any language implying that consumers should not contact the agency regarding safety concerns is unacceptable, and NHTSA expects Tesla to eliminate any such language,” NHTSA spokesman Bryan Thomas said. 

“NHTSA always encourages vehicle owners concerned about potential safety defects to contact the agency by filing a vehicle safety complaint at SaferCar.gov,” Thomas added.

The Daily Kanban report was published following numerous postings in Tesla forums, including one in which a consumer said the suspension in his 2013 Model S failed with only 70,000 miles on it.

The Tesla owner, whose user id is gpcordaro, said he was driving down a back road near his Connellsville, Pa., home at about five miles per hour.

"The road was rough so my air ride was at it max lift. As I was proceeding down a steep hill I heard a snap and felt my steering wheel pull to the left. I stopped the car for further inspection only to discover that my left front hub assembly separated from the upper control arm," gpcordaro said. "Thank goodness I was not traveling at a high rate of speed. This could of [sic] been a tragic accident causing injury or even death."

Tesla initially refused to fix the suspension under warranty, saying the problem was caused by normal wear-and-tear, gpcordaro said. It later relented and agreed to pay half the $3,100 cost if the consumer agreed to sign a nondisclosure agreement, a document Tesla chooses to call a "Goodwill agreement." 

NHTSA said is conducting a "pre-investigatory" examination of the gpcordaro incident. Such actions can lead to a full-scale investigation, which in turn can lead to a recall.

Finally, it is worth noting that the blogger who fabricated this issue, which then caused negative and incorrect news to be written about Tesla by reputable institutions, is Edward Niedermayer. This is the same gentle soul who previously wrote a blog titled “Tesla Death Watch,” which starting on May 19, 2008 was counting the days until Tesla’s death. It has now been 2,944 days. We just checked our pulse and, much to his chagrin, appear to be alive. It is probably wise to take Mr. Niedermayer’s words with at least a small grain of salt.

Tesla's tendency to go ballistic over incidents traditional automakers routinely shrug off or simply ignore sometimes backfires. The company's shares fell 2.6% after the nondisclosure reports surfaced yesterday, tumbling to $229.36, the biggest drop since May 9, according to Bloomberg  

Universal Pictures’ “The Secret Life of Pets,” a comedy about the lives our pets lead when we’re not home, is poised for big success at the box office this...

Universal Pictures’ “The Secret Life of Pets,” a comedy about the lives our pets lead when we’re not home, is poised for big success at the box office this summer. And PetSmart is getting in on the hype.

On June 13, the pet product chain will begin airing two 30-second animated commercials that will tell the story of what happens when pets visit a PetSmart store without human supervision.

During the two-month long marketing campaign, the chain will also be the exclusive seller of “The Secret Life of Pets” products, which will include toys, pet apparel, custom packaging, and discounts on doggy day camp sessions.

The campaign is the result of a collaboration with Illumination Entertainment and Universal Pictures. And just like the upcoming film, it is an effort to speak to pet owners’ desire to see their pets humanized.

Last year, Americans spent more than $60 billion on pets and pet products, according to the American Pet Products Association. That number is expected to be even higher this year.

Customers' willingness to spend more on their pets could be due to the growing trend of treating pets as people, experts say.

"The humanization of pets is a tremendous trend and much of what we do is based on that," Eran Cohen, chief customer experience officer at PetSmart, told Ad Age.

Indeed, more retailers are jumping in on the pets-as-children trend by embellishing grooming menus and expanding day care options. PetSmart's "Secret Life of Pets" deal will also be aligned with the trend.

“Our exclusive partnership with PetSmart is a critical component of our strategy to engage more directly with consumers whose pets are an enormous part of their families,” said Jamie Stevens, executive vice president of global retail development for NBCUniversal Brand Development Group in a statement. “We are excited to collaborate with PetSmart to expand our reach and bring The Secret Life of Pets to life.”

Before you co-sign for a loan, consider this: in a new study, 38% of the people co-signing on a loan had to pay some or all of the debt because the princip...

Before you co-sign for a loan, consider this: in a new study, 38% of the people co-signing on a loan had to pay some or all of the debt because the principal borrower was unwilling or unable to.

When you co-sign on a loan, you are essentially a second borrower. You are guaranteeing the loan will be repaid, and have as much responsibility for paying it as the primary borrower.

The study, by CreditCards.com, also showed that 28% of co-signers suffered a dent in their credit score as a result of helping out a friend or family member. Not surprisingly, 26% of co-signers said the experience ended up damaging their relationship with their co-borrower.

The study found consumers rarely co-sign loans for friends. In most cases it is a family member, such as a child or step-child.

"With a 38% chance of losing money and a 26% chance of damaging a relationship, co-signing doesn't sound like a very good bet," Matt Schulz, CreditCards.com's senior industry analyst, said in a statement. "If you absolutely have to co-sign, then at least be aware there's a sizable chance you'll lose some money and or get your feelings hurt."

Here's what you should know before co-signing a loan. If you have a good credit score and your co-borrower does not, the lender will look more favorably on the application, with a good chance it will be approved. But if the co-borrower has a lousy credit score, you need to understand the reason for that.

Is there a history of missed payments or irresponsible spending? It is important to know that because, if you co-sign and the other person misses a payment or two, the amount of the debt and the missed payments can become part of your credit history.

CreditCards.com found only about 17% of consumers report having co-signed on a loan – most likely because of a heightened awareness of the pitfalls. Those who do are most likely trying to help a family member take a big financial step, such as purchasing his or her first car.

If you do decide to co-sign for a family member, it is important to stay in close contact with that person. Without being obtrusive, stay clued in to his or her financial situation.

Before agreeing to co-sign, have a frank conversation with the co-borrower, making clear that you have a very real stake in a successful outcome and urging your co-borrower to let you know right away if there is any danger he or she will fall behind in the payments.

It’s no secret that some of the most popular cereals marketed to kids contain more than just a scant amount of sugar. What may be surprising to learn, howe...

It’s no secret that some of the most popular cereals marketed to kids contain more than just a scant amount of sugar. What may be surprising to learn, however, is just how much damage sugary cereal can do on a yearly basis.

One bowl of pre-sweetened cereal per day could add five to nine pounds of sugar to a child’s diet each year, according to a new EWG analysis. It’s a startling figure, but it’s one that could be changing soon.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration believes that if nutrition labels on cereal boxes reflected the sugar content in a “real world” serving size, parents could get a clearer picture of what’s actually going into their child’s body.

The EWG is giving the Big Three cereal makers -- General Mills, Kellog’s, and Post -- two years to update the nutrition information on their labels to reflect larger, more accurate serving sizes.

Ahead of the impending deadline, the FDA recently announced that the cereal makers must update the Nutrition Facts on their websites to reflect the new standards as soon as possible.

“Breakfast cereals are the fifth-highest source of added sugar in the diets of children under 8,” said Dawn Underraga, EWG nutritionist in a statement.

She explains that current labels are based on what the average American ate in 1977. Parents should know that their kids could be eating up to twice as much sugar as the labels on cereal might lead them to believe.

The FDA’s new standard serving size will be 40 grams -- a modest estimate of what kids today are actually eating. When the new standards are put into place, none of the 10 most widely advertised children’s cereals will meet the industry’s own limit on sugar in cereals.

“Cereal makers face a decision in 2018,” said Undurraga. “Will they reduce the sugar in their products or raise their self-imposed limit on brands marketed to children and continue to spend hundreds of millions to promote the likes of Cinnamon Toast Crunch as part of a healthy diet?”

Undurraga says the FDA’s new rule is an important step toward giving parents more accurate information about how much sugar their kids get in cereal.

She also believes that cereal makers can (and should) take the new regulations a step further by reducing the amount of sugar in their products and decreasing their marketing of sugary cereals to kids.

Subway remains the champ of sandwich shop brands while there's a new contender in the fast casual Mexican category.The annual Harris Poll of consumers ...

Subway remains the champ of sandwich shop brands while there's a new contender in the fast casual Mexican category.

The annual Harris Poll of consumers about their fast and fast-casual restaurant preferences shows which brands are resonating. For a sixth straight year, Subway was declared the top sandwich shop brand.

“Year after year, Subway has proven that it has equity staying power,” said Lisa Recoussine, vice president, client solutions at Nielsen, which owns The Harris Poll.

Recoussine said Subway is benefiting from getting ahead of the fitness curve and being one of the first chains to use a celebrity fitness tie-in with The Biggest Loser.

In the fast casual Mexican category, Moe's Southwest Grill was the consumer favorite, edging out Chipotle Mexican Grill, which struggled last year with food safety issues.

“In Moe’s case, the restaurant’s aggressive expansion and growth, combined with their focus on fresh, likely factored into their equity rise,” Recoussine said.

Pizza Hut was the top choice among pizza restaurants, In-And-Out Burger claimed burger restaurant honors, and Chick-Fil-A was named best chicken restaurant.

Subway and Chick-Fil-A also made strong showings in another consumer ranking last month. The two restaurant chains took top honors in the 2016 Temkin Experience Ratings, an annual ranking of companies based on a survey of 10,000 U.S. consumers.

The Harris Poll found consumers favoring IHOP as the top casual dining restaurant and Olive Garden as the best Italian restaurant brand.

Recoussine said what all the winners have in common is renewed emphasis on freshness and a core of die-hard, extremely loyal customers who are nearly obsessed with the brands.

“Brands who recognize and acknowledge these fans will remain relevant and stay top of mind with consumers’ active brand consideration set, meaning not only do these brands have high familiarity and quality ratings, but they are able to breakthrough and drive consumer behavior,” Recoussine said.

Chipotle has its share of obsessed fans but didn't make the list. While it remains to be seen whether the restaurant's well-publicized difficulties last year put a dent in consumer enthusiasm, Wall Street appears to have lost that loving feeling.

Barron's reported this week that same store sales for May are expected to disappoint and the stock has suffered sharp declines. The company's stock is down nearly 9% since midweek.

There is a lot of worry among financial planners about Americans' lack of retirement saving.The advice is usually straightforward: take advantage of ta...

The advice is usually straightforward: take advantage of tax-deferred savings accounts, especially if your employer will contribute to it.

No one is suggesting you shouldn't be socking money away for retirement, but writing in Kiplinger, Michael Reese, with Centennial Wealth Advisory, makes a case against deferring taxes on retirement savings.

With a traditional IRA or employer-sponsored 401(k) account, contributions to the account are tax deductible. So are any capital gains or income the account produces.

However, at age 70 and a half, the account holder must begin withdrawing the funds and paying taxes on the money as ordinary income. If the account holder dies before the funds are withdrawn, his or her heirs must withdraw all the money and pay taxes on it.

Reese argues savers would be better off socking the money away in a regular investment account, forgoing any tax deduction and then paying taxes on any gains or income at the end of each year.

“Think about it this way,” he writes. “Let’s say you are saving $18,000 per year in your 401(k) or 403(b). You are deferring income tax on $18,000 each year you deposit the money. But when you retire, you may have built up an account worth $1 or $2 million. That is $1 or $2 million that has never been taxed! And you, or your heirs, will pay tax on every penny of it.”

Reece says you might have avoided paying some tax on the seed, but you will owe quite a bit on the harvest.

The conventional thinking about tax deferred retirement accounts stems from the idea that people will be in a higher tax bracket during their working years and in a lower bracket during retirement, so the tax bite won't be as big when they withdraw the funds.

Reece says that isn't usually the case. Retirees have not lowered their living standard after their working years, and if they've saved and invested wisely, they haven't lowered their income.

If your employer will contribute to your IRA, Reece says you should take advantage of it, but only contribute the minimum. Don't make it your primary source of retirement savings.

A Roth IRA might be an attractive option. Contributions are not tax deductible, so withdrawals aren't taxed.

The important thing is that you are putting money away for retirement. How you do it is something you should discuss with your accountant or financial adviser.

Home prices were up again in April, on both a year-over-year and month-over-month basisCoreLogic reports prices across the country -- including distres...

ACH Food Companies of Memphis, Tenn., is recalling Durkee® Salad Topping, Food Club® branded Salad Topping and Hy-Vee® Garden Style Salad Topping. ...

ACH Food Companies of Memphis, Tenn., is recalling Durkee® Salad Topping, Food Club® branded Salad Topping and Hy-Vee® Garden Style Salad Topping.

The Durkee® Salad Topping and the Food Club Salad Topping can be identified by the “Best By” date and the Hy-Vee product can be identified by its lot code -- information is printed in black ink on the bottom of the plastic product container.

Customers who purchased the recalled products should not consume them, but discard them or return them to the place of purchase for a full refund.

Consumers with questions may ACH at 1-800-328-6013 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. (CST) Monday through Friday.

Far East Brokers and Consultants of Jacksonville, Fla., is recalling about 6,000 children's chairs and swings. The screen-printing on the fabric of...

Far East Brokers and Consultants of Jacksonville, Fla., is recalling about 6,000 children's chairs and swings.

The screen-printing on the fabric of the chairs and swings contains excessive levels of lead, which is a violation of the federal lead paint standard.

This recall involves Leisure Ways® pink butterfly themed children’s camp chairs, moon chairs, and swings. The chair and swings have a metal frame with large red butterfly images and other colorful images on the pink polyester fabric.

“Distributed by: Far East Brokers and Consultants, Inc.” and “Tracking # November/2015” are printed on the tracking label sewn into the seat of each chair.

The chairs and swings, manufactured in China, were sold at Weis Markets, wholesale distributors, grocery and drug stores nationwide from January 2016, through April 2016, for between $10 and $50.

Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled chairs and swings, take them away from children and return them to the place of purchase for a full refund.

Consumers may contact Far East Brokers toll-free at 888-753-9040 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (ET) Monday through Friday or online at www.fareastbrokers.com and click on “Product Recalls” at the right of the page for more information.

Hickory Harvest Foods is again expanding its recall of products that may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes. No illnesses have been report...

Hickory Harvest Foods is again expanding its recall of products that may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.

The additional products were packaged at, or distributed from Hickory Harvest between June 22, 2015, and May 31, 2016, and were shipped to Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Sought Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

The following items, sold in packaged bags and deli tubs and marked with Best By Dates located on the front or back of the packages, are being added to the recall:

Customers who purchased the recalled products should not consume them, but take them back to the store where purchased for a refund, or simply discard them.

Consumers with questions may contact the company at 1-877-237-4374 Monday through Friday, 8:00am to 5:00pm (ET) or by email at askus2@hickoryharvest.com.

Kwik Tek of Denver, Colo., is recalling about 4,200 Hammerhead sleds. The front handle bar assembly can break, posing a crash hazard. No in...

This recall involves Hammerhead sleds, which were sold in blue, green, orange and yellow. The front handle bars have a steering system with polycarbonate skis. The rear HDPE skis are attached to the main aluminum frame.

The units measure 23 inches wide by 9 inches high by 51 inches deep and weigh about 10 pounds. “Hammerhead Pro” is written on the top of the sled.

The sleds, manufactured in China, were sold at LL Bean, Yukon Charlie’s nationwide and online at Amazon.com, EMS.com, LLBean.com, SharperImage.com and YukonCharlies.com from June 2014, to June 2016, for about $180.

Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled sleds and contact Kwik Tek for a free replacement front end.

Consumers may contact Kwik Tek at 800-624-1297 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. MT Monday through Friday or online at yukoncharlies.com and click on “Warranty” in the upper right-hand corner for more information.  

Focus Bicycles USA of Carlsbad, Calif., is recalling about 80 Focus Spine bicycles. The bicycle seatstay or linkage component parts used to connect...

The bicycle seatstay or linkage component parts used to connect the seat tube and rear axle dropouts can be incorrectly sized which can cause the frame to collapse, posing a fall hazard to the rider.

This recall involves four models of 2016 Focus Spine mountain bicycles. The Spine C (carbon) 0.0, Factory, Pro and SL were sold in three colors: black/white, grey/orange and green/light green/yellow. “Focus” is printed on the bicycle’s down tube and “Spine” is printed on the top tube.

The bicycles, manufactured in Germany, were sold at independent specialty bicycle stores nationwide from October 2015, through April 2016, for between $4,000 and $8,000.

Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled bicycles and contact Focus Bicycles to schedule a free inspection and repair.

Consumers may contact Focus Bicycles toll-free at 877-753-4480 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (PT) Monday through Friday, or online at www.focus-bikes.com and click on “Spine Recall” for more information.

Southeast Toyota Distributors (SET) is recalling 7,749 2005-2011 4Runner, Highlander, Sequoia, and Sienna, 2005-2010 Avalon and Tundra; 2006-2008 Camry Sol...

The Quaker Oats Company has expanded its earlier recall of all Quaker® Quinoa Granola Bars.. The products may be contaminated with Listeria monocyt...

The decision to expand the recall comes as a result of further sunflower kernel contamination found by ingredient supplier SunOpta.

Customers who purchased the recalled products should dispose of them or return them to the place of purchase for a full refund.

Consumers with questions may call 800-856-5781, Monday – Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. (EST), or find more information at www.quakeroats.com.

Add California to the list of states where you can ask your doctor to help you end it all. The End of Life Option Act goes into effect today and allows ter...

Add California to the list of states where you can ask your doctor to help you end it all. The End of Life Option Act goes into effect today and allows terminally ill patients of sound mind to ask for aid-in-dying medication, making California the fifth state to provide the option.

Not only is it legal to help those who qualify, their insurance companies will in most cases be required to pay for the treatment.

"Terminally ill patients in California now have a choice when facing end-of-life decisions and do not have to worry that the choice will cause them to lose their life or health insurance or annuity policy," said state Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones.

"Many of the health care services someone would seek at the end of life under the new law are considered basic health care services that are required to be covered in most health insurance policies sold today," Jones said.

“We have always, up till now, been able to say we will never hasten a death,” said Dr. Neil Wenger of the UCLA Health Ethics Center, according to the Los Angeles Times. “Suddenly, that bright line is not so bright.”

Wenger notes that the Hippocratic Oath not only says doctors shouldn’t harm patients, it specifically forbids them from providing poison to kill those in their care. 

Like many doctors in California, Wenger says he accepts that it is now legal to help patients die but does not plan to do so himself because of ethical concerns.

Jones is confident, however, that patients determined to die will be able to do so. He notes that existing law requires most health insurance plans to cover all FDA-approved outpatient prescription drugs.

"So I expect that many health insurance policies and health plans will cover drugs that physicians may prescribe to patients for aid-in-dying," Jones said. "This law will make it possible for those who meet the protections in the new law to have the option to obtain a prescription for an aid-in-dying drug from their physician."

Jones is no newcomer to the question. He co-authored an earlier aid-in-dying bill when he served in the State Assembly in 2007. At the time he recounted his experience in caring for his terminally ill grandfather, who was suffering from cancer and wanted to die on his own terms but was not able to do so.

Jones also addressed the question of whether life insurance policies will have to pay up when policyholders take advantage of the new law.

"Under the new law, if a terminally ill Californian, who meets the criteria in the law, chooses to take the medication to end their own life, the law is clear that this is not a suicide, so life insurance policy exclusions for suicide do not apply," Jones said.

Doctors note, however, that the law does not require them to provide death-on-demand services and many do not plan to do so. Many physicians and social services experts argue that, when properly administered, palliative end-of-life care can help patients achieve a dignified and pain-free death.   

If you’re a consumer who loves burning the midnight oil and staying up late, you’re obviously going to be hitting the hay at a later time than most. While ...

If you’re a consumer who loves burning the midnight oil and staying up late, you’re obviously going to be hitting the hay at a later time than most. While you may not be sacrificing sleep to keep up this habit, researchers say that you should be careful; it turns out that going to sleep late might be affecting your health.

A new study shows that, among adults who average 6.5 hours of sleep per night, those who have a later sleep timing are more likely to consume higher amounts of fast food, eat fewer vegetables, and take part in physical activity less often.

The study used a group of 96 participants between the ages of 18 and 50 who slept an average of 6.5 hours at night or more. Participants were asked to wear a wrist actigraphy device and SenseWear arm band so that their sleep and physical activity could be measured. They were also charged with keeping a food diary so that researchers could track their caloric intake and dietary patterns.

After controlling for a variety of factors, including age, sex, sleep duration, and sleep efficiency, the researchers found that those who chose to stay up later were much more likely to have a poorer quality diet.

In particular, they found that fast food consumption was much higher and vegetable intake was much lower. Physical activity also happened less frequently for these individuals.

The researchers believe that their results could provide insight into how sleep timing relates to health outcomes, though further study will be needed to verify their results.

“Our results help us further understand how sleep timing in addition to duration may affect obesity risk. . . It is possible that poor dietary behaviors may predispose individuals with late sleep to increased risk of weight gain,” said Dr. Kelly Glazer, principal investigator of the study.

An abstract of the study has been published in an online supplement of the journal Sleep, but the researchers plan to present their findings in full on June 12 at SLEEP 2016, an annual meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies LLC that takes place in Denver.

The internet may be a little less congested today. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has taken action against 4,402 websites that it says are sel...

The internet may be a little less congested today. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has taken action against 4,402 websites that it says are selling potentially dangerous, unapproved prescription drugs to U.S. consumers.

The agency sent formal complaints to domain registrars requesting the suspension of the 4,402 websites. Included are 110 websites that sell the chemical 2,4-Dinitrophenol (DNP) as a weight-loss product. DNP is most often used as a dye, wood preserver, and herbicide and has never been approved by the FDA for use as a drug.

DNP is highly toxic. Exposure can cause nausea, vomiting, sweating, dizziness, headache, and weight loss. It can be fatal in high doses and chronic use can cause cataracts, skin lesions, and effects on the bone marrow, central nervous system, and cardiovascular system, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The National Institutes of Health reports that there have been 62 known fatalities resulting from DNP. Some have been from occupational exposure, but most have involved consumers trying to lose weight. The drug is popular with bodybuilders who want to lose fat while retaining muscle. 

The DNP round-up was part of Operation Pangea IX, a global effort led by INTERPOL and involving law enforcement agencies around the world. 

“Preventing illegal internet sales of dangerous unapproved drugs is critical to protecting consumers’ health,” said George Karavetsos, director of the FDA’s Office of Criminal Investigations.

The FDA said a recent task force investigation into the distribution of DNP resulted in a May 9, 2016 guilty plea from Adam Alden of Bakersfield, California, for introducing an unapproved drug into interstate commerce.

A Rhode Island customer who purchased DNP via the internet from Alden, among other sources, died in October 2013 as a result of DNP ingestion.

Besides the shutdown requests for the 4,402 websites, warning letters were sent to 53 other sites and FDA and Customs inspectors seized 797 parcels suspected of containing illegal drug products in San Francisco, Chicago, and New York.

Preliminary findings of the seized parcels found that U.S. consumers had purchased certain unapproved drug products from abroad to treat depression, narcolepsy, high cholesterol, glaucoma, and asthma, among other diseases.  

FDA cautions consumers against buying drugs online unless they are certain the pharmacy is legitimate and licensed in the United States. The agency publishes guidelines for consumers.

A cloud-based health records company violated patients trust by soliciting "incredibly sensitive" information that it then made public as part of an attemp...

A cloud-based health records company violated patients trust by soliciting "incredibly sensitive" information that it then made public as part of an attempt to build a consumer review site that rated doctors, the Federal Trade Commission charged.

Practice Fusion, which provides electronic record-keeping to doctors, sent emails to the patients of its clients, inviting them to rate their physicians. It did so without fully disclosing that the reviews would be publicly displayed and might reveal patients' personal medical information, the FTC said.

“Practice Fusion’s actions led consumers to share incredibly sensitive health information without realizing it would be made public,” said Jessica Rich, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “Companies that collect personal health information must be clear about how they will use it – especially before posting such information publicly on the Internet.”

Practice Fusion has agreed to settle the FTC's charges by saying it will not make deceptive statements about the privacy or confidentiality of the information it collects from consumers.

The FTC said the emails, which were sent out beginning in April 2012, were made to appear as though they were coming from the patient's doctor and said the ratings would "help improve service."

According to the FTC's complaint, the survey included a text box where patients could enter any information they wished within a set character limit.  Because patients likely thought the information was only shared with their provider, many of them included in the text box their full name or phone number along with personal health information inquiries. For instance:

Practice Fusion claims to be "the #1 cloud-based electronic health record (EHR) platform for doctors and patients in the U.S., with a mission of connecting doctors, patients and data to drive better health and save lives."

"Market research opportunities are available to survey these users on their views of healthcare trends, products, conditions, or a topic of your choice," the company's website says. 

Summertime, with its abundance of opportunities to be outside, means you might soon find yourself stocking up on sunscreen. But not every member of the fam...

Summertime, with its abundance of opportunities to be outside, means you might soon find yourself stocking up on sunscreen. But not every member of the family should be slathered in sunscreen; infants require a different approach when it comes to sun protection, experts say.

Babies have thinner, more delicate skin that reacts differently to sunscreen. Namely, it absorbs the active, chemical ingredients in sunscreen more easily than older kids, which could increase the risk of allergic reaction or inflammation.

Ideally, babies should be kept away from direct sun exposure altogether if possible, explains Dr. Jay Joo, UCLA Health pediatrician. But if a midday trip to the beach with your little one is inevitable, certain guidelines should be followed.

In addition to avoiding direct sun exposure (especially during the hours of 10 AM to 2 PM), parents with babies younger than six months should follow these tips:

Technology can increase productivity in the workplace, but it can also lead employees to become distracted -- especially in the case of smartphones. Th...

Your credit card can get you more than cash back on purchases and points toward perks. Most provide some basic rental car insurance. Some coverage is bette...

Your credit card can get you more than cash back on purchases and points toward perks. Most provide some basic rental car insurance. Some coverage is better than others.

But to make it pay, a cardholder first needs to know it exists, and then what it covers. Progressive Insurance has found that about 20% of rental car customers always pay for the damage waiver, with another 20% doing so occasionally. But since all rental car payments are made with credit cards, it is very likely most of those purchases are unnecessary.

The credit card review site CardHub has analyzed credit cards, choosing the ones that provide the most coverage for rental cars. Among individual cards, it found the cards issued by CitiGroup provide the most extensive rental car coverage.

Citi cards achieved a score of 95.5%, with American Express' 89.5% being the closest competitor. Chase cards are third, with a score of 87.5%.

Cards in the MasterCard network provide the best coverage, but all four networks are ranked fairly close together in their coverage.

The top ranked cards don't require you to sign up for the coverage. It is activated when you decline the rental car company's damage loss waiver. The best cards cover costs stemming from damage to or theft of rental vehicles, up to $100,000.

Like any insurance policy, there are some exclusions. Here's where it pays to have one of the higher-rated cards, because they have fewer exceptions to their coverage.

The average card won't cover a truck, open-bed vehicle, exotic or antique car, or even a large van or full-size SUV. The best cards do cover those vehicles, but draw the line at off-road vehicles. Another common exclusion is tire and rim damage. CardHub found that more than 60% of cards don't cover it.

Almost 40% of cards only cover domestic rentals for up to 15 days, but the best cards will extend coverage up to 31 days.

You're safe with just about any card if you are renting in the U.S., but only Citi and Discover cards provide global coverage. Ireland, Israel and Jamaica are the most common exclusions among other issuers.

There is something else to understand about rental car coverage. Neither the company's damage loss waiver nor your credit card's coverage will protect you from liability in the case of an accident. You'll need to buy a liability supplement or rely instead on your personal auto insurance policy.

It should cover you but not all policies do. It is a good idea to call your insurance provider before renting a car and asking.

For consumers, the last two years have been “the good old days” when it comes to gasoline prices. A growing glut of oil on the world markets led to huge pr...

There is often spirited debate over whether it is cheaper to own a home or rent it. Usually, it will depend on a particular metro area. Some markets are ch...

There is often spirited debate over whether it is cheaper to own a home or rent it. Usually, it will depend on a particular metro area. Some markets are cheaper places to rent, but in others it makes economic sense to buy.

If you are trying to decide which is better for you, it is important to understand all the costs of owning a home. It isn't simply limited to your monthly mortgage payment.

Using data from the U.S. Census’ American Housing Survey, Angie's List recently crunched the numbers on homeownership, measuring not just principal and interest, but utilities, real estate taxes, property insurance, maintenance, and repairs. It broke down the results for 54 major metro areas as well as every region of the country.

The results show a wide variation, with the most expensive costs of owning a home in major metro areas of the Northeast and West Coast and lowest costs in the Southeast and Midwest.

A good way to measure overall housing costs is to determine what percentage of your overall income they represent. The lower the percentage, the better.

By that measure, Oklahoma City has the most affordable housing costs, taking just 16% of monthly income. Birmingham Ala., Buffalo, N.Y., Houston, Louisville, Nashville, and Richmond, Va., are right behind at 17%.

On the other end of the scale, owning a home in Riverside, Calif., will require 28% of your monthly income and Los Angeles homeowners pay 27%.

In fact, the seven most expensive places to own a home are in California, and include Anaheim, Sacramento, San Diego, Oakland, and San Jose.

Keep in mind, this list doesn't rank the most expensive homes, but takes into consideration average wages, looking at the percentage of that income required to own and maintain a home.

Utility bills can be an overlooked housing cost. The study finds the highest average monthly utility bills are in Fort Worth and Dallas, Tex., primarily due to very expensive electricity costs.

The cost of maintenance can be another overlooked homeownership cost. Boston has the highest monthly home repair cost at an average of $83, followed by New York at $67. Las Vegas and Phoenix have among the lowest, at $25 a month.

As a rule of thumb, however, you can count on spending at least 1% of your home's total value each year.

Since the housing bubble popped, it has become more of a challenge to buy a home. For that reason, home sales plunged in 2009 and 2010.But the market h...

Since the housing bubble popped, it has become more of a challenge to buy a home. For that reason, home sales plunged in 2009 and 2010.

But the market has recovered. Sales are up and so are prices. But not all renters think they are able to make the leap to homeownership, even though a California Association of Realtors (CAR) survey shows they would like to.

The results may not be all that surprising, given that California has some of the hottest real estate markets in the nation. The median home price in San Jose is approaching $1 million.

The survey shows the desire is there. Nearly half of renters in the survey said they plan to buy a home at some point. Most, however, admit they aren't quite ready financially.

First, they need to save for a down payment, find an affordable house they like, and improve their overall financial picture.

Of the 28% of renters who don't plan to buy in the future, half of them said affordability is the main issue. Only 20% said they would rather rent a home than buy one.

In the wake of the housing meltdown, there was some speculation that a large portion of the population – primarily Millennials – would become permanent renters. The survey – along with more recent housing data – suggests that isn't the case.

Nearly four in 10 renters said they expect to purchase a home in the same county where they are renting. Twenty-three percent said they would look for a home in the same neighborhood. Most who said they would buy elsewhere said they would leave the area because homes are too expensive.

According to Freddie Mac, there are certain important steps a consumer can take to prepare for buying a home. The first is the simplest – improve your credit score. You can do that by paying all your bills on time, and by establishing credit and using it wisely.

Next, decide how much you can afford to spend on a house. Remember that you will be required to put at least 3% down and have the resulting monthly payments be affordable. And it's not just principal and interest you have to consider, but taxes and insurance as well.

Begin saving money for a down payment. Make sure you save enough to cover moving expenses and any deposits required for services.

Before beginning your search, get pre-qualified for a mortgage. A mortgage loan officer will review your income, expenses, and credit score, and make an estimate of the amount of money you might be able to borrow.

This is not a guarantee you will get the loan, but a pre-qualification letter will tell sellers and their agents that you are a serious buyer.

Finally -- some respect!According to the annual National Retail Federation (NRF) survey, consumers plan to spend more than ever on Father’s Day this ye...

According to the annual National Retail Federation (NRF) survey, consumers plan to spend more than ever on Father’s Day this year.

The survey conducted by Prosper Insight and Analytics, shows shoppers will spend an average of $125.92 for the holiday -- up more than $10 from last year, with total spending expected to reach $14.3 billion.

While that's the most in the survey’s 13-year history, it's a far cry from the Mother’s Day total of $21.4 billion.

The survey finds consumers plan to spend $3.1 billion on special outings such as dinner, brunch, or other types of a “fun activity/experience” (given by 47%). Clothing (43%) and gift cards (41%) are tied at just under $2 billion each, while consumer electronics (20%) follow at $1.7 billion.

As with Mother’s Day, greeting cards are the most commonly purchased gift at 65% but account for only $833 million of projected spending. Other popular gifts include personal care, automotive accessories, books, music, home improvement/gardening supplies and sporting goods.

In addition, 22% of shoppers say they'll opt for a “gift of experience” such as tickets to a concert or a sporting event. Two in five millennials are planning to give an experience, significantly higher than older generations.

Thirty-eight percent of consumers will head to department stores in search of the perfect gift, 32% will shop online, and 27% will check out a discount store. Another 24% will go to a specialty store and 17% will do their shopping at a local small business.

Among smartphone owners, 30% will use them to research gift ideas, but only 16% will actually buy something. Tablets are used more frequently both to research (32%) and buy (19%).

More than half of those surveyed plan to buy for their father or stepfather (53%), while others will shop for their husband (28%) or son (9%).

The survey of 7,200 consumers, conducted May 2-10, has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.2 percentage points.

There wasn't a lot of change in the labor market during April.The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the number of jo...

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the number of job openings was fairly steady during the month at 5.8 million. At the same time, the number of hires edged down to 5.1 million while separations were little changed at 5.0 million.

The job openings rate was 3.9% as the number of openings showed little change for total private and for government. Large increases occurred in wholesale trade (+65,000), transportation, warehousing, and utilities (+58,000), durable goods manufacturing (+46,000), and real estate and rental and leasing (+41,000). Openings in the professional and business services sector were down by 274,000. The number of job openings was little changed in all four regions.

With a hires rate of 3.5%, the number of hires for total private and for government edged down 31,000. Hires were little changed in all industries in April and decreased in the Midwest region.

Total separations includes quits, layoffs and discharges, and other separations. The category is referred to as turnover. The total separations rate in April was 3.5%. The number of total separations was little changed for total private and for government, and all industries experienced little change in total separations over the month.

Over the 12 months ending in April, hires totaled 62.4 million and separations totaled 59.7 million, yielding a net employment gain of 2.7 million. These totals include workers who may have been hired and separated more than once during the year.

Separately, the  Department of Labor (DOL) reports first-time jobless claims came in below 300,000 last week for the 66th consecutive week -- the longest streak since 1973.

In the week ending June 4, initial applications for state unemployment benefits totaled a seasonally adjusted 264,000, down from the previous week's revised level of 268,000.

The four-week moving average, seen as a more active gauge of the labor market because it's not as volatile as the weekly compilation, fell 7,500 from the previous week's revised total -- to 269,500.

SunOpta is expanding for a second time its recall of certain sunflower kernel products. The products may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogene...

This expanded recall includes certain sunflower kernel products originating from SunOpta’s facility in Crookston, Minn., between May 31, 2015, and January 31, 2016.

The recalled retail sunflower kernel items were sold in clear printed plastic packages and are marked with Best By Dates located on the front or back of the packages. Recalled snack bars were sold in boxes of 12 units.

The recalled products were distributed to distribution centers in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, Wisconsin and Canada, and may have been redistributed elsewhere.

Customers who purchased these products should not consume them, but take them back to the store where they were purchased for a refund, or simply discard them.

Consumers seeking information may email contactus@sunopta.com or call 1-888-886-4428 Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (CDT).

Depression – it’s a condition that has affected millions of people all around the world, and it can manifest itself in so many different ways. However, one...

It sounded either brilliant or dumb, depending on your point of view -- Keurig Kold, a countertop machine that would make Coca-Cola, Dr. Pepper and other c...

You may not see them in any of those freeway chases for which LA is famous, but the Los Angeles Police Department is putting 100 all-electric BMW i3s on th...

You may not see them in any of those freeway chases for which LA is famous, but the Los Angeles Police Department is putting 100 all-electric BMW i3s on the streets, using them primarily for non-emergency purposes.

The Los Angeles Times said the LAPD also tested Tesla's high-end Model S P90D but settled on the smaller, less powerful i3 instead. It will be leasing the little cars for three years for $387 per car.

“We should be thinking green in everything we do — and these new EVs show how local government can lead,” said Mayor Eric Garcetti. “Our sustainability plan pushes L.A. to speed adoption of greener practices and technologies, which also save money and resources.”  

The LAPD will be getting 100 Level 2 chargers and four DC fast chargers to keep the cars charged up and ready for action. Some of the cars may also be equipped with BMW's range extender known as REx, a small gas generator that is supposed to kick in when the battery is out of juice.

REx is the subject of a recent class action lawsuit, however, which alleges that the range extender fails to live up to its billing and sometimes causes the i3 to suddenly shift into "limp" mode, slowing to 15 miles per hour. 

Nevertheless, BMW executives and Los Angeles city officials were all smiles as they announced the deal, emphasizing the cars' economy and its ConnectedDrive system, which includes a number of fleet management features.

“The attributes of the BMW i3 position it to excel as the ideal vehicle for municipal organizations. The performance and technical capabilities, such as the BMW i3‘s acceleration, and its ConnectedDrive integration, are perfectly suited to transform the future mobility of the Los Angeles Police Department while also reducing their carbon footprint,” said Ludwig Willisch, President and CEO of BMW of North America.   

The BMW i3 has a base MSRP of $42,400 and the range-extender model starts at $46,250, before any federal or applicable state incentives.  

An over-the-counter drug that's used to treat diarrhea is also being used by opioid addicts to get high and to relieve the symptoms of opioid withdrawal, w...

More than half of all shopping now takes place online, according to a new study by UPS. The delivery giant'...

More than half of all shopping now takes place online, according to a new study by UPS. The delivery giant's fifth annual "Pulse of the Online Shopper" study found that 51% of purchases made by its respondents took place online.

“This year’s UPS study revealed that 45 percent of online shoppers love the thrill of hunting for and finding great deals, and that physical stores continue to play an important role in that experience. The challenge is how to best engage with shoppers to fulfill their desires,” said Teresa Finley, Chief Marketing Officer at UPS. 

The study found that avid online shoppers -- those who make two or more purchases online in a typical three-month period -- are shopping more with their smartphones and demanding a more seamless experience between virtual and physical stores.

It also found that 17 percent of consumers plan to shop less in store, shifting time to their electronic devices.

Social media’s influence on purchasing decisions is up nine points (to 34%) in the last year with nearly a quarter of respondents (23%) having made purchases through social media sites.

The study found that marketplaces -- huge online shopping centers like Amazon and eBay -- are increasingly where shoppers are starting their search. Thirty-five percent of online shoppers now begin their searches at marketplaces.

Perhaps most significantly, consumers are shopping online even when they are in stores -- using their smartphones to look up product reviews (29%), read product details (28%), compare prices (27%), and access coupons for in-store redemption (27%) regularly (often or most of the time).

Just 31 percent of shoppers are aware of in-store beacons. A quarter (26%) of smartphone users are receptive to in-store mobile messaging with urban shoppers (37%) and millennials (36%) being even more receptive.  However, more than four in ten smartphone users are neutral toward the idea of in-store mobile messaging.

Remo MORE, an app that helps parents protect and monitor kids’ online safety, recently announced the addition of an update called “controlled access mode.”...

Remo MORE, an app that helps parents protect and monitor kids’ online safety, recently announced the addition of an update called “controlled access mode.”

Previously, the app focused on giving family members the ability to control kids’ online activity, maintain devices remotely, monitor device usage, and locate family members. Now, parents and guardians will also be able to block apps and internet usage using the Remo MORE app.

The software company says the feature was frequently requested by parents concerned that their child was spending too much time using devices.

With Remo MORE’s Controlled Access Mode, parents can block installed apps, games, and internet on a child’s devices indefinitely or for a specific amount of time.

The new feature is “like a switch which will turn the device mode from smart to useless,” Omer Faiyaz, CEO of Remo Software, said in a statement.

Research shows that 82% of parents feel guilty about not being around to monitor their child's online activity.

Remo hopes to empower parents to protect kids from the potential dangers of devices and the internet -- and the Remo MORE app is one way to do so.

The app's new Controlled Access Mode aims to help parents address some of the issues surrounding parenting in the age of technology, such as device overuse and keeping kids away from unsafe places on the internet. 

If you were to choose a credit card solely for use to pay travel expenses, CreditCards.com recommends the Chase Sapphire Preferred card.The credit card...

If you were to choose a credit card solely for use to pay travel expenses, CreditCards.com recommends the Chase Sapphire Preferred card.

The credit card website says the Chase Sapphire Preferred came out on top in its latest rankings. It won points for the 50,000 points cardholders get just for opening an account.

It also won praise for ease in cashing in those points and its collection of rewards the judges described as “user friendly.”

There is no doubt the Sapphire Preferred is a popular card. Back in March it ranked very high when ConsumerAffairs rated the best reward cards, singled out for its many travel-related perks.

We pointed out that to earn the 50,000 bonus points, new customers needed to charge $4,000 on the card in the first three months the account is open. Those points are good for $625 toward airfare and lodging when you redeem them through Chase Ultimate Rewards.

On the downside, the card carries a $95 annual fee, but it is waived the first year. After that it costs you nearly $100 to carry this card, so you have to take advantage of the rewards to make it pay.

The CreditCards.com judges were also impressed that customers who dine out frequently can easily rack up extra bonus points.

"The Chase Sapphire Preferred card has hit the sweet spot for the frequent but not constant traveler," says CreditCards.com Editor-in-Chief and travel card judge Daniel Ray.

He notes the sign-up bonus provides a generous head start and a frequent traveler can easily accumulate valuable points.

Placing second in the competition is Capital One's Venture Rewards card. It gained points for its low interest rates and consumer-friendly redemption policy.

Coming in third was the Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard. It impressed judges by granting cardholders two miles for every dollar they spend. On top of that, it comes with a generous 40,000-mile bonus.

If you've ever ridden in the passenger seat of a tractor-trailer truck, you probably felt pretty secure, sort of like being in an Escalade on steroids. But...

If you've ever ridden in the passenger seat of a tractor-trailer truck, you probably felt pretty secure, sort of like being in an Escalade on steroids. But in fact, anyone in a moving vehicle is in danger of being killed if they're not belted in.

Hoping to remedy that, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) had adopted a new rule that requires passengers riding in large commercial trucks to use seat belts.

The department cited a study that found that in 2014, 37 big-rig passengers who weren't buckled up were killed in highway accidents; approximately a third of them were killed when they were ejected from the truck cab.

“Seat belts save lives – period,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “Whether you’re a driver or passenger, in a personal vehicle or large truck, the simple act of wearing a safety belt significantly reduces the risk of fatality in a crash.”

A seat belt usage study by FMCSA found that only 73 percent of passengers in commercial vehicles use seat belts, compared with 84 percent of truck drivers.

Truck drivers have long been required to wear seat belts, but there was no specific provision for passengers. 

Coffee is perhaps best known for its ability to inject a little pep into an otherwise sluggish morning routine. But waking up with a cup of joe may have ev...

Coffee is perhaps best known for its ability to inject a little pep into an otherwise sluggish morning routine. But waking up with a cup of joe may have even more benefits for those who exercise in the morning.

The energy-imbuing elixir helps your mind and body work harder during a workout, says Heidi Skolnik, M.S., a sports nutritionist and owner of Nutrition Conditioning, Inc.

"Caffeine is a stimulant that acts on the central nervous system, the heart, and possibly the 'center' that controls blood pressure," Skolnik told the Daily Burn.

She adds that coffee can also help you enjoy the workout more, since it can increase the release of feel-good neurotransmitters like dopamine, which affects mood and pain receptors.

Studies have also found that pre-workout coffee drinkers consume 72 fewer calories later in the day and have an easier time resisting the urge to succumb to food cravings.

But before you decide to swing by the coffee shop on your way to the gym, be advised that timing can play a role in how coffee impacts your workout performance.

Skolnik explains that drinking a cup of coffee about an hour before you hit the gym is optimal, as the body wastes no time putting the caffeine to work.

"Caffeine is quickly absorbed from the stomach within 15 to 45 minutes of consumption, but it hits its peak stimulatory effects between 30 and 75 minutes," Skolnik says.

But while coffee is a fluid, Skolnik emphasizes that a 250-300 mg cup of coffee isn’t enough fluid to get your body ready for a workout. In addition to drinking coffee, she recommends drinking at least seven to 12 ounces of water during the hour or two before your workout.

Indeed, staying hydrated is key -- and water is usually best. A recent study found that attempting to rehydrate with soft drinks may actually increase dehydration.

Consumers continued a strong pace of borrowing money in April, but at a slower rate than March.The Federal Reserve reports consumer credit grew by more...

The Republican chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, Rep. Jeb Hensarling of Texas, has proposed replacing Dodd-Frank, the sweeping regulatory...

The Republican chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, Rep. Jeb Hensarling of Texas, has proposed replacing Dodd-Frank, the sweeping regulatory legislation passed in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis.

In a speech to the Economic Club of New York, Hensarling branded Dodd-Frank a disaster, blaming it for an absence of strong growth in the post-crisis years. He said it creates regulations that limit businesses without helping consumers.

“Accountability is at the heart of our Republican reform plan,” Hensarling said. “If we are to successfully protect consumers and grow our economy, we must demand greater accountability from both Washington and Wall Street.”

Hensarling said his plan actually toughens penalties to better protect consumers and strengthen markets.

The legislation, which Hensarling said would be introduced in the House before the end of the month, would end taxpayer-funded bailouts of large financial institutions. At the same time, it would relieve banks that agree to be strongly capitalized from what he called “growth-strangling regulation.”

“This plan is designed to do one thing: put the special interests back in the drivers’ seat and let them steer us back down the same road that led us smack into the Great Recession,” the Stop the Debt Trap Campaign said in a statement emailed to ConsumerAffairs.

In particular, the group expressed concern for the future of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), the consumer watchdog agency that was created by Dodd-Frank.

Hensarling said his proposal would put an end to taxpayer-funded bailouts and “too big to fail.” It would accomplish that, he said, by creating a new subchapter of the Bankruptcy Code to deal with the failure of large, complex institutions.

In fact, the House has already approved bipartisan legislation that would establish a new bankruptcy process for financial institutions with assets of $50 billion or more.

However, since Dodd-Frank was signature legislation passed in the first year of the Obama administration by a Democratically-controlled Congress, a proposal to undo it appears to have little chance of passing this year.

The trend has been undeniable for at least three decades. Americans are increasingly overweight and even obese.A report published in the Journal of the...

The trend has been undeniable for at least three decades. Americans are increasingly overweight and even obese.

A report published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) shows more women and children are now classified as obese, with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 and above.

More distressing for health researchers, one-third of adults are overweight, meaning that they have a BMI of between 25 and 30. People who are overweight are at risk of becoming obese.

By the study's accounting, fewer than a third of all adults in the U.S. have a normal, healthy weight.

This latest study finds women have been putting on weight faster than men, at least they have recently.

“For women, the prevalence of overall obesity and of class 3 obesity showed significant linear trends for increase between 2005 and 2014,” the authors wrote. “There were no significant trends for men. Other studies are needed to determine the reasons for these trends.”

Analyses of data from 2013-2014 found that for both men and women, the likelihood of obesity varied by race. For men, it also varied by smoking status. Men who smoked cigarettes were less likely to be obese, compared to those who never smoked. For women, there were no significant differences by smoking status. However, women who had attended college were significantly less likely to be obese.

The report, compiled by researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is more pessimistic than last year's annual obesity assessment from the Robert Woods Johnson Foundation. It found obesity had increased in isolated spots, but had held steady in the country overall.

Health researchers have spent a lot of time and effort trying to pinpoint the cause for the unhealthy surge in obesity. Some have pointed to a much more sedentary American lifestyle. Others point to high calorie diets, in particular, diets heavy on processed food.

Health advocates are trying to reduce America's obesity rate, since the added weight can lead to a whole host of conditions, from diabetes to heart disease.

To see whether you are normal weight, overweight, or obese, use this BMI calculator from the National Institutes of Health.

A surge in mortgage applications last week.The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) reports applications jumped 9.3% in the week ending June 3, with an a...

The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) reports applications jumped 9.3% in the week ending June 3, with an an adjustment for the Memorial Day holiday taken into account.

Refinance applications shot up 7%, although the refinance share of mortgage activity fell to 53.8% of total applications from 54.3% the previous week.

The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity held steady at 5.0% of total applications, the FHA share rose to 13.0% from 12.5%, the VA share of total applications was down 0.5% to 11.5%, and the USDA share of total applications was unchanged at 0.7%.

The MBA Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey covers over 75% of all U.S. retail residential mortgage applications.

Forest River is recalling 77 model year 2007-2014 Solera, and Coachmen Prism vehicles, built on Mercedes-Benz and Freightliner Sprinter chassis. Up...

Forest River is recalling 77 model year 2007-2014 Solera, and Coachmen Prism vehicles, built on Mercedes-Benz and Freightliner Sprinter chassis.

Upon deployment of the driver's front air bag, excessive internal pressure may cause the inflator to rupture.

In the event of a crash necessitating deployment of the driver's front air bag, the inflator could rupture with metal fragments striking the vehicle occupants potentially resulting in serious injury or death.

Forest River will notify owners, and either Mercedes-Benz or Freightliner dealers will replace the driver front air bag inflator, free of charge. Parts are not currently available. Interim notices will be sent beginning June 28, 2016. A second notice will be sent when remedy parts are available.

Owners may contact Forest River customer service at 1-877-496-3691 or may call the Sprinter/Takata hotline at 1-877-496-3691. Forest River's number for this recall is 51-04262016-0182.

Clif Bar & Company recalling its CLIF BAR® Nuts & Seeds energy bars, CLIF BAR® Sierra Trail Mix energy bars, and CLIF® Mojo® Mountain Mix® trail mix bars....

Windy Acres Candy & Nut Company is recalling Windy Acres No Salt Sunflower Seeds, Windy Acres Fruity Trail Mix & Jungle Jim’s Roast No Salt Sunflower Seeds...

Windy Acres Candy & Nut Company is recalling Windy Acres No Salt Sunflower Seeds, Windy Acres Fruity Trail Mix & Jungle Jim’s Roast No Salt Sunflower Seeds.

The following products, distributed between February 23 and May 24, 2016, in Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio, are being recalled:

Customers should not consume these products, but return them to the store where purchased for a refund, or simply discard them.

Consumers with questions may email Jason@windyacresonline.com or call 937-382-8057 Monday through Friday, 8:00am to 5:00 pm (EST).

June 20 is fast approaching. That's the date when Costco will stop accepting American Express cards and start insisting that customers use Visa credit or d...

The Atlantic hurricane season is underway and insurance executives will be biting their nails for the next several months, following an updated report that finds more than 6.8 million homes on the Atlantic and Gulf coasts are in danger of hurricane storm surge damage.

The CoreLogic report calculates the total cost for reconstruction of the homes located in 19 states and the District of Columbia at more than $1.5 trillion. There is a little good news in the report, which is that the number of homes in the extreme danger zone is down slightly from last year.

“Using more granular-level data has given us an even clearer picture of which homes are at risk of storm surge damage,” said Dr. Tom Jeffery, senior hazard risk scientist for CoreLogic. “Despite the overall increases in risk, we were glad to see that the number and value of homes in the most extreme, and dangerous, category actually declined. It just goes to show the power of how advanced data can improve risk assessment at the property level.”

At the state level, Florida, Louisiana, and Texas consistently have more homes at risk than other states. Florida ranks first with 2.7 million at-risk homes across the five risk categories.

At the regional level, the Atlantic Coast has just under 3.9 million homes at risk of storm surge and the Gulf Coast has just over 2.9 million homes at risk.

Here is CoreLogic's list of the 20 states (and D.C.), showing the total number of homes at risk in each:

1 Florida 2,731,626 2 Louisiana 800,521 3 Texas 531,169 4 New Jersey 468,823 5 New York 458,730 6 Virginia 403,613 7 South Carolina 338,640 8 North Carolina 244,712 9 Massachusetts 161,394 10 Georgia 148,718 11 Maryland 130,872 12 Mississippi 100,166 13 Pennsylvania 83,251 14 Connecticut 67,602 15 Delaware 54,154 16 Alabama 50,965 17 Rhode Island 26,593 18 Maine 18,351 19 New Hampshire 9,516 20 District of Columbia 768Total 6,830,184

Besides the rising cost of homeowners' policies, consumers in hurricane-prone regions are already wrestling with constantly rising premiums for flood insurance, although a recent report says Congress could take action to address the issue.

Jamie Gregory, deputy chief lobbyist for the National Association of Realtors, said the Flood Insurance Market Parity and Modernization Act, passed in the House, would clarify that property owners may satisfy the mandatory flood insurance purchase with either a federally-guaranteed policy or private insurance, ensure that consumers can move freely between federal and private insurance coverage without penalty, maintain the federal program as a viable choice, and maintain important consumer disclosures.

“This is not a silver bullet to solve the problem of increasing flood insurance rates but it is a first step to move private insurance into the market to determine if it will work,” Gregory said.

At the beginning of the year, health officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that antibiotic resistance was a major concer...

At the beginning of the year, health officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that antibiotic resistance was a major concern going into 2016. After all, diseases that are able to adapt to drugs that are currently used to treat them are very dangerous.

Now, a new study shows that some of the preconceived notions that the scientific community had about antibiotic resistance were misinformed, and it doesn’t bode well for the rest of us.

Up until now, many scientists believed that antibiotic resistance came at a cost for the bacteria that had it; namely, they believed that bacteria that had this trait were weaker. However, new findings show that this may not be true.

“Recent findings revealed a complicated love story between antibiotic resistance and bacterial virulence. There was an ancient paradigm about the ‘fitness cost of antibiotic resistance,’ but the emergence of new technologies of high-throughput sequencing has changed the field, allowing researchers to study bacterial pathogenesis at the genome scale,” said senior author Dr. David Skurnik.

So what does being able to look at these bacteria more closely mean in the long run? Well, it seems that closer examination reveals that bacteria with antibiotic resistance aren’t necessarily weaker than other strains. In fact, the opposite may be true.

“This new, unbiased approach has revealed that unfortunately the worst case scenario of antibiotic resistant bacteria being more fit and virulent was not uncommon, particularly during infection,” said Skurnik.

With this in mind, researchers and medical professionals will need to adapt to fight bacterial diseases that have antibiotic resistant traits. Coming up with new therapies, in particular, will be an important step going forward.

“We need now, more than ever before, new antibacterial therapeutics to by-pass the infernal circle linked to antibiotic resistance that starts when an antibiotic is prescribed,” said Skurnik.

Father’s Day (Sunday, June 19) is fast approaching, which means you may have begun to think about what type of gift to get the dad in your life.Dads ca...

Father’s Day (Sunday, June 19) is fast approaching, which means you may have begun to think about what type of gift to get the dad in your life.

Dads can be tough to shop for. Not only are they the first to insist that they don't need or want anything, it can be nearly impossible to find a gift that hasn't already been given. 

Tracking down a gift that is both useful and uniquely suited to dad's interests can be a challenge, but this list may help.

If you’re looking to skip the tie in favor of something a little more unique, check out these gifts.

A couple of Florida companies allegedly used hacked email accounts to bombard consumers with bogus weight-loss claims, including phony endorsements by cele...

A couple of Florida companies allegedly used hacked email accounts to bombard consumers with bogus weight-loss claims, including phony endorsements by celebrities, the Federal Trade Commission charges.

“These defendants used a variety of deceptive tactics to sell their bogus diet pills,” said Jessica Rich, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “But we have a clear message for them – we want their illegal practices to stop and we want to give people back the money they took.”

The FTC’s complaint alleges that Colby Fox, Christopher Reinhold, and their companies, Tachht, Inc. and Teqqi, LLC, paid for e-mails to be sent to consumers from hacked email accounts, making it appear to consumers that the messages came from their family members, friends, or other contacts.

The emails tried to lure consumers into clicking on links that led to websites selling unproven weight-loss products, including Original Pure Forskolin and Original White Kidney Bean.

The e-mails linked to “fake news” websites that imitated reports by independent consumer reporters rather than a paid advertiser.

The sites also falsely represented that the products for sale had been featured or endorsed by Oprah Winfrey or the hosts of the television show “The Doctors.” 

The defendants paid their affiliate marketers a commission whenever consumers clicked through from one of their sites and bought one of the supplements, the complaint alleges.

Recently implemented banking regulations have cut down on bank overdraft charges. Now if you make a debit card purchase without sufficient funds in your ac...

Recently implemented banking regulations have cut down on bank overdraft charges. Now if you make a debit card purchase without sufficient funds in your account, the transaction is denied, unless you have opted-in to the bank's overdraft coverage.

Previously, the transaction always went through. In return for covering your purchase, the bank assessed a fairly hefty fee. If you spent the day shopping, making five or six overdraft purchases, you would get socked with five or six overdraft fees.

But overdraft charges have not disappeared. If you write a check that bounces, you can be certain that you'll pay a fee. And, if for some reason you have agreed to opt-in to the bank's overdraft coverage, you are right back paying overdraft fees for every debit card purchase not covered by adequate funds in your account.

A study by NerdWallet of Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) data shows college students tend to pay the most overdraft fees, especially if they have accounts at university-affiliated banks. The study looked at university-affiliated checking accounts at 20 of the largest schools in the country.

It found that when schools partnered with banks, giving preferred access to new customers, students tended to pay for it. Not that the university-affiliated banks provided bad products. The study found the accounts it examined were no worse than the national standard.

Even though the schools are profiting from the arrangement, the authors say it could be argued that banking services on campus are often needed. It's just that students need to be careful.

“History tells us that when schools and banks get together to jointly market products like campus checking accounts, credit cards or student loans, students can pay a steep price,” said Seth Frotman, assistant director for the Office for Students and Young Consumers at the CFPB.

The NerdWallet authors have come up with some simple advice. Before signing up for a checking account at the university-affiliated bank – or any bank for that matter – do some investigating.

Find out the amount of the overdraft fee. Is there a limit on the number of overdraft fees that can be charged in a single day? If you do not opt-in for overdraft coverage, can you still incur a fee?

Most banks will encourage you to opt-in for overdraft coverage, but there is really no good reason to do so, and a lot of good reasons not to. Having your purchase declined for insufficient funds is not the worst thing in the world, especially if it spares you a $35 fee.

Since the Supreme Court’s ruling in favor of marriage equality, wedding planning has changed for same-sex couples in the U.S.The historically significa...

Since the Supreme Court’s ruling in favor of marriage equality, wedding planning has changed for same-sex couples in the U.S.

The historically significant change in the legal landscape has brought with it some differences in the way same-sex couples mark and celebrate their union, according to a new survey.

In fact, the change has been so rapid as to make the same-sex wedding trends of just four years ago non-applicable to today’s same-sex couples, according to Kathryn Hamm, Publisher of GayWeddings.

“Understanding the real story of what's happening in the wedding market requires the comprehensive, nuanced, and comparison-based look included in this report,” Hamm said of the 2016 research, in a statement.

So how has wedding planning and execution changed for same-sex and queer-identified couples since the SCOTUS ruling? A new nationwide survey, which built upon research from 2013, highlights some key changes.

A survey of over 1,400 respondents, conducted by Community Marketing & Insights in partnership with WeddingWire, GayWeddings, and the Gay Wedding Institute, found that:

You can now consider it a travel trend. American Airlines has joined the club, following competitors United and Delta in adjusting its loyalty program to e...

You can now consider it a travel trend. American Airlines has joined the club, following competitors United and Delta in adjusting its loyalty program to emphasize spending rather than distance.

Last fall American made a similar adjustment to its frequent flyer program. The latest tweak makes all rewards, including minor perks, based on dollars spent.

The new system rewards not only consumers who fly most frequently, but also those who spend the most per ticket. From the airline's point of view, the consumer flying in coach with a super-saver fare should not earn the same rewards as the customer in first class, even though they are flying the same number of miles.

The new system also benefits the consumer who booked at the last minute and, as a result, is paying a higher fare than someone who bought a ticket weeks in advance.

The AAdvantage program, one of the industry's oldest loyalty programs, will also introduce a new elite level in 2017.

“American Airlines is evolving AAdvantage to continue our tradition of having the best loyalty program in the world by rewarding our most loyal customers with the benefits they value the most,” said Andrew Nocella, American’s Chief Marketing Officer.

When travelers begin racking up rewards based on their spending, Elite members will earn even more miles based on their status level.

AAdvantage members will earn five miles per dollar spent, but Gold members will get seven miles. Platinum members will receive eight miles per dollar spent and Executive Platinum will get 11 miles.

The rewards for travel on flights marketed by partner airlines will be based on a percentage of the flight distance and the booking code purchased.

Before the end of this month American customers will be able to go online to view an estimate of their miles and elite credits.

On January 1, 2017, the AAdvantage program will add a fourth elite level, the Platinum Pro. It will include complimentary upgrades on eligible flights and will earn nine award miles per dollar spent, placing it between the Platinum and Executive Platinum levels. Customers will also get two free checked bags.

Also starting January 1, American says members of the rewards program will be able to reach elite status by reaching the elite qualifying dollars (EQD) threshold, giving customers added flexibility.  

Rent takes a big bite out of your paycheck each month, but the size of the bite depends on where you live. Where you live also determines what you get in r...

Gasoline prices have been low for nearly two years now but in recent weeks have been creeping up again. No one thinks they're going back to the way they we...

The non-manufacturing, or services sector of the economy continued to grow in May, although pace of expansion was slower.The Institute for Supply Manag...

LaRose Industries of Randolph, N.J., and Target Corp. of Minneapolis, Minn., are recalling about 175,000 Cra-Z-Jewelz Gem Creations. The “Slider Br...

LaRose Industries of Randolph, N.J., and Target Corp. of Minneapolis, Minn., are recalling about 175,000 Cra-Z-Jewelz Gem Creations.

The “Slider Bracelet” in the jewelry making kit contains high levels of lead, which is toxic if ingested by young children and can cause adverse health issues.

This recall involves the following two models of LaRose’s Jewelz Gem Creations jewelry making kit and one refill product:

The UPC code is printed on the outside of the product box and on the bottom of the “Gem Machine.”

The kits, manufactured in China, were sold at Kmart, Toys R Us, Walmart. Other retailers sold the Shimmer N’ Sparkle Cra-Z-Art Cra-Z-Jewelz Gem Creations Ultimate Gem Machine from August 2015, through April 2016, for $30.

Toys R Us, Walmart and other retailers sold the Shimmer N’ Sparkle Cra-Z-Art Cra-Z-Jewelz Gem Creations Gem Charm and Slider Bracelets from August 2015, through April 2016, for $10.

Target stores sold the My Look Cra-Z-Art Cra-Z-Jewelz Gem Creations Ultimate Gem Machine from August 2015, through April 2016, for $30.

Consumers should immediately take these recalled products away from children and contact LaRose for instructions to receive a full refund.

Consumers may contact LaRose Industries toll-free at (855) 345-4693 between 8:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. (ET) Monday through Friday, by email at recall@laroseindustries.com or online at www.laroseindustries.com and click on the Recall tab for more information.

Chrysler Group is recalling 53 model year 2016 Jeep Cherokees manufactured September 30, 2015, to October 2, 2015. The left halfshaft may have been...

Chrysler Group is recalling 53 model year 2016 Jeep Cherokees manufactured September 30, 2015, to October 2, 2015.

The left halfshaft may have been incorrectly manufactured causing it to fracture without warning. A fractured halfshaft may disconnect from the drive axle, increasing the risk of a crash.

Chrysler will notify owners, and dealers will replace the left halfshaft, free of charge. The manufacturer has not yet provided a notification schedule.

Kashi Company is recalling Kashi® Trail Mix Chewy Granola Bars and Bear Naked® Soft Baked Granola, Cinnamon + Sunflower Butter. The products contai...

Kashi Company is recalling Kashi® Trail Mix Chewy Granola Bars and Bear Naked® Soft Baked Granola, Cinnamon + Sunflower Butter.

The products contain ingredients made from sunflower seeds that may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.

Consumers with questions may contact the company consumer hotline at 1-877-747-2467, Monday through Friday, 6 a.m. – 3 p.m. (PST) or online at www.consumeralert.kashi.com.

Chrysler (FCA US LLC) is recalling 99 model year 2016 Dodge Grand Caravan and Chrysler Town and Country vehicles manufactured March 16, 2016, to March 17, ...

Chrysler (FCA US LLC) is recalling 99 model year 2016 Dodge Grand Caravan and Chrysler Town and Country vehicles manufactured March 16, 2016, to March 17, 2016.

The nuts on the third row seatbacks were incorrectly torqued and may become loose. If the third row seatback becomes loose, it may separate from the seat frame, increasing the risk of injury.

Chrysler will notify owners, and dealers will re-torque the third row seatback nuts, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin June 30, 2016.

Owners may contact Chrysler customer service at 1-800-853-1403. Chrysler's number for this recall is S37.

Mercedes-Benz USA (MBUSA) is recalling 199,705 model year 2008-2011 C300 Sedans, C300 4matic Sedans, C350 Sedans, C63 AMG Sedans; 2010-2011 GLK350, GLK350 ...

Mercedes-Benz USA (MBUSA) is recalling 199,705 model year 2008-2011 C300 Sedans, C300 4matic Sedans, C350 Sedans, C63 AMG Sedans; 2010-2011 GLK350, GLK350 4-Matics and E350 Coupes; 2011 SLS AMGs, E350 Convertibles, E550 Coupes and E550 Convertibles originally sold, or ever registered, in Alabama, California, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands (Saipan), and the U.S. Virgin Islands, or "Zone A."

Additionally, unless included in "Zone A" above, MBUSA is recalling model year 2008 C300 Sedans, C350 Sedans, C63 AMG Sedans and C300 4-Matic Sedans originally sold, or ever registered, in Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, District of Columbia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia, or "Zone B."

These vehicles are equipped with certain air bag inflators assembled as part of the passenger front air bag modules, and used as original equipment or replacement equipment. In the event of a crash necessitating deployment of the front air bags, these inflators may rupture due to propellant degradation occurring after long-term exposure to absolute humidity and temperature cycling.

An inflator rupture may result in metal fragments striking the vehicle occupants resulting in serious injury or death.

MBUSA will notify owners, and dealers will replace the passenger front air bag modules, free of charge. Parts are not currently available. Owners will be sent an interim notification in July 2016. A second notice will be mailed when remedy parts are available.

BMW of North America is recalling 91,806 model year 2007-2011 X5 xDrive30i, X5 xDrive35i, X5 xDrive48i, X5 xDrive50i and X5M vehicles; 2009-2011 X5 xDrive3...

BMW of North America is recalling 91,806 model year 2007-2011 X5 xDrive30i, X5 xDrive35i, X5 xDrive48i, X5 xDrive50i and X5M vehicles; 2009-2011 X5 xDrive35d vehicles; 2008-2011 X6 xDrive35i, X6 xDrive50i and X6 M vehicles; and 2010-2011 X6 ActiveHybrid vehicles originally sold, or ever registered, in Alabama, California, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands (Saipan), and the U.S. Virgin Islands, or "Zone A."

Additionally, unless included in "Zone A" above, BMW is recalling model year 2007-2008 X5 xDrive30i, X5 xDrive35i, X5 xDrive48i, X5 xDrive50i and X5M vehicles; and 2008 BMW X6 xDrive35i, X6 xDrive50i and X6 M vehicles originally sold, or ever registered, in Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, District of Columbia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia, or "Zone B."

These vehicles are equipped with certain air bag inflators assembled as part of the passenger front air bag modules, and used as original equipment or replacement equipment. In the event of a crash necessitating deployment of the front air bags, these inflators may rupture due to propellant degradation occurring after long-term exposure to high absolute humidity and temperature cycling.

An inflator rupture may result in metal fragments striking the vehicle occupants resulting in serious injury or death.

BMW will notify owners, and dealers will replace the passenger front air bag inflator or air bag module, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin July 18, 2016.

It's hard to annoy everyone at the same time, but VRBO.com and HomeAway.com seem to have done so with a new service fee that both renters and property owne...

Instead of checking in with a primary care provider, busy millennials often consult WebMD or Google before heading to a retail clinic or urgent care center...

Instead of checking in with a primary care provider, busy millennials often consult WebMD or Google before heading to a retail clinic or urgent care center.

This mode of addressing a health concern is used by more than half of millennials, according to a recent survey by FAIR Health. Its primary allure: convenience

The internet savvy, digital natives often take matters into their own hands when it comes to tracking down health-related information, explains William Curry, M.D., University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine Associate Dean or Rural and Primary Care. But this plan can backfire.

Consulting the internet or heading to an urgent care clinic when faced with an illness may be less demanding in the short-term -- but in the long run, this line of defense isn't nearly as effective as seeing a primary care provider.

“I see them sometimes assuming all that information is equally reliable when it is not,” Curry said in a statement. He notes that millennials sometimes believe they can find simpler alternatives online, including dietary regimens or natural remedies -- which may or may not be helpful.

In any case, while online remedies and urgent care clinics may be convenient, Curry says they shouldn’t take the place of medical screening and prevention.

“It’s important to realize they cannot take the place of a primary care provider for the screening, prevention and long-term follow-up that we all need, customized to each of us,” he says.

Younger people, who are especially prone to believing everything is fine (until it’s not), are less likely than other generations to believe primary care is important. To this end, Curry highlights the advantages of building a personal relationship with a primary care provider.

Why is it important to take the time to find a primary care provider? Here are a few of the reasons, according to Curry:

When it comes to choosing a primary care provider, Curry recommends finding someone you feel comfortable with. He also notes that it's important to ask such questions as: 

Drug costs have increased significantly in recent years, at times even`becoming a political issue. The drugs that seem to increase the most are specialty d...

The stigma of young people listening to loud music is one that stretches back for decades, but new research shows that it may be contributing to serious he...

The stigma of young people listening to loud music is one that stretches back for decades, but new research shows that it may be contributing to serious hearing problems.

Canadian researcher Larry Roberts says that young people who listen to loud music are increasingly being affected by tinnitus, a condition signified by a constant ringing in the ears. The development of tinnitus signifies the potential for permanent hearing damage.

“It’s a growing problem and I think it’s going to get worse. My personal view is that there is a major public health challenge coming down the road in terms of difficulties with hearing,” he said.

Roberts and his fellow researchers came to this conclusion after conducting a study utilizing 170 students between the ages of 11 and 17. They found that nearly all of the participants engaged in some sort of risky listening habit – whether it was listening to loud music at parties or events or on some sort of personal device.

Additionally, they found more than 25% of participants were already experiencing symptoms of tinnitus. Participants reported hearing a constant ringing or buzzing sound in their daily life, a condition that usually doesn’t affect someone under the age of 50.

The researchers noted that having symptoms of tinnitus did not affect how well participants could hear; although this select group of students displayed symptoms of tinnitus, they were able to hear just as well as their peers. However, this same group was found to have a reduced tolerance for loud noises, a sign that Roberts says is indicative of hidden permanent hearing damage.

Roberts and his fellow researchers are confident that their research is able to provide a glimpse into what they consider to be a growing health problem for young people.

Although prolonged exposure to loud music or noises can cause constant tinnitus, experiencing it for short stretches should act as a warning sign, he says. For example, young people who experience symptoms of tinnitus for a day or so after listening to loud music should be cautious about their listening habits moving forward.

In the battle against childhood obesity, many health advocates point to the over consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages as a significant contributor. Man...

In the battle against childhood obesity, many health advocates point to the over consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages as a significant contributor. Many health advocates would like to see a warning label added to these beverages, cautioning parents.

Baltimore, Maryland, is the latest city to consider a warning to parents about the health consequences of too much sugar-sweetened drinks.

Earlier this year an online survey showed participating parents were 20% less likely to choose a sugary beverage for their children if they encountered such a health warning. The study was published in the journal Pediatrics.

While the results do show a significant drop in the number of parents who would choose the calorie laden beverage, it should also be noted that nearly half of the parents – after being warned that too much of the product might make their child obese – would buy the product anyway.

The study was funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) through its Healthy Eating Research program. The researchers concluded that health warning labels may sway parents’ perceptions about the healthfulness of sugar-sweetened beverages. What's less clear, however, is whether the parents would eliminate or purchase less of the product.

RWJF notes that its study is among the first to test the effectiveness of warning labels on changing behavior. Other studies of the effectiveness of providing consumers with additional health information have shown mixed results.

A case in point is the recent move by fast food restaurants to post calorie information on menus. A study last year by researchers at Arizona State University is not encouraging to those who believe information is the key to changing behavior.

The researchers surveyed McDonald's customers who, at the time, had been exposed to calorie data on menus for three years. They determined that 60% of the customers had seen the calorie information, but only 16% used the information in deciding what to order.

In other words, they might have noticed a particular burger and fries combination had nearly 1,000 calories, but they ordered it anyway, instead of the salad.

The study found that customers with higher incomes were twice as likely to notice the calorie labels and three times more likely to use them.

The author of the RWJF study, Christina Roberto, PhD, of the University of Pennsylvania, is testifying at a Baltimore City Council public hearing this week, commenting on the sweetened-beverage ordinance. 

The measure would require businesses that sell or advertise sugar-sweetened beverages to post health warning labels indicating that the drinks contribute to tooth decay, obesity, and diabetes.  

The age at which your baby takes those first wobbly steps is worth taking note of; it could predict bone health later in life, scientists say.A new UK ...

The age at which your baby takes those first wobbly steps is worth taking note of; it could predict bone health later in life, scientists say.

A new UK study has found that toddlers who can walk, run, and jump by the time they are 18 months old may have stronger bones when they’re older.

Following the examination of data from 2,327 children who took part in a lifelong study of health and wellbeing called "Children of the 90s," researchers concluded that children who could control movements such as walking, running, and jumping at 18 months had stronger bones as teenagers compared to children who walked later.

The link between early movements and stronger bones in adolescence could aid in identifying those who are at an increased risk for developing osteoporosis, thinning bones, or fractures, suggests lead researcher Dr. Alex Ireland of the Manchester Metropolitan School of Healthcare Science in England.

Ireland says the findings reveal a link which was not previously understood -- one that could help medical practitioners “devise prevention and coping strategies.”

Ireland and his colleagues explain that more activity as a toddler translates to stronger muscles and, subsequently, stronger bones later in life.

“Being more active gives you stronger muscles which can then apply bigger forces to the bones as we walk, run or jump, helping to strengthen bones as we grow older,” Ireland said in a statement.

He adds that the likelihood of attaining movement skills early could be improved by parent-led walking practices at home.

The study assessed each participant’s movement at 18 months of age, then measured the size, shape, and mineral density of their hip and shin bone at 17 years of age.

Upon finding that the association between early walking and stronger bones was more pronounced in males, the authors surmise that early movement may not play a significant role in female bone strength.

Hackers are a special breed -- smart, resourceful, and often thinking outside the box. Unfortunately, they cost businesses billions of dollars and can make...

Hackers are a special breed -- smart, resourceful, and often thinking outside the box. Unfortunately, they cost businesses billions of dollars and can make consumers' lives difficult when they steal their identities.

British researchers wondered what makes hackers different from other smart technology experts and what makes them do what they do. Their study, published in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, focuses on a characteristic called “systemizing,” which they say provides insight into what makes and motivates a hacker.

"We found a positive association between an individual's drive to build and understand systems -- called 'systemizing' -- and hacking skills and expertise," said Dr. Elena Rusconi of Abertay University in Dundee, UK, "In particular, we found that this drive is positively and specifically correlated with code-breaking performance."

Admittedly, it's hard to recruit outlaw hackers to take part in a scientific study. So the researchers recruited a number of “ethical” hackers, who don't break the law but help business and government institutions improve the security of their systems by showing how they can be compromised.

Rusconti's team found that the “ethical” hackers recruited for the study performed far above average when asked to break a series of sophisticated codes.

The actual test was designed to assess systemizing skills. The participants also self-reported characteristics that suggested a strong tendency towards systemizing.

The team went a step further, profiling participants for autistic-like behaviors and skills. They did so on a hunch, since systemizing is a common trait among people with autism.

None of the participants were autistic, but many displayed higher scores for attention to detail, another trait associated with autism. However, people with stronger systemizing scores were better at code breaking. Those scoring higher in attention to detail did better on detail-oriented tasks.

What's the point? Rusconti says the results could be helpful in training programs, job candidate profiling, and predictions of job performance. It might help security companies obtain better insight into who is likely to excel in a security career. She says it could even open up new career opportunities for people with autism.

"We are finding evidence that the positive traits of autism can predict better performance in security tasks," Rusconi said.

She notes that a National Autistic Society estimate indicates only 15% of autistic people have full-time employment, even though a large number are both willing and able to work.

A gold broker that advertised heavily on Fox News, Fox Business Network, and CNN has been accused of bilking consumers out of millions of dollars. The Fede...

A gold broker that advertised heavily on Fox News, Fox Business Network, and CNN has been accused of bilking consumers out of millions of dollars. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is trying to recover the money from Discount Gold Brokers.

“The losses in this case are significant, particularly to those who lost their retirement savings,” said Jessica Rich, the Federal Trade Commission’s Director of the Bureau of Consumer Protection. “The FTC will not rest until it has recovered as many of these lost funds as it possibly can for consumers.”

The defendants marketed gold and silver as investments, but often failed to deliver the goods, the FTC's complaint charges. Discount Gold Brokers offered gold and silver “at discounted prices,” with “zero commissions, fees, or expenses,” and at “zero percent above dealer cost.”

Many consumers used their retirement savings to buy the precious metals, with individual orders ranging from $1,000 to $300,000.

The company touted gold and silver as a safe retirement investment on its website, using purported articles such as “Gold as a Hedge against a Declining U.S. Dollar and Rising Inflation.” The complaint alleges that the defendants required upfront payment via check or wire and some consumers used their family trust or retirement accounts to pay.

According to the FTC, the defendants told consumers to “allow a minimum of 2-4 weeks” for delivery and told consumers who called to ask about delivery dates that their orders would “ship soon,” without providing a definite shipment date or reason for the delay. After paying thousands of dollars, hundreds of consumers said they never received their orders.

Brick and mortar retailers continue to lose business to Amazon.com, which works to make the buying process easy and seamless. You search for a product, it...

Brick and mortar retailers continue to lose business to Amazon.com, which works to make the buying process easy and seamless. You search for a product, it pops up in the buy box, and you add it to your cart.

But if it is too easy, you may not be getting the best price. At least, that's the conclusion of marketing researchers at Northeastern University.

Keep in mind that not everything you buy comes directly from Amazon. The company works with many third-party sellers to provide products, especially for specialty items.

When you search for a product, what pops up first might not carry the lowest price. The study, led by Northeastern's Christo Wilson, discovered that Amazon is much more likely to feature sellers in the buy box who adjust prices using an automated system called algorithmic pricing. And a consumer should not assume this seller has the lowest price because Wilson says, more often than not, it doesn't.

"For example, we found that 60% of sellers using algorithmic pricing have prices that are higher than the lowest price for a given product,” Wilson said.

He admits the price will not be much higher. In fact, 70% of the time the price in the buy box was only a dollar higher. The rest of the time, though, other sellers had the same product $20 to $60 cheaper.

To find the lowest price, Wilson says you have to take the extra step of clicking through the “other sellers on Amazon” button under the “add to cart” button.

More companies are using algorithmic pricing than you might think, and they don't have to be all that large and sophisticated. For a relatively small fee, any independent seller can obtain the services of a firm that will adjust its prices in real time.

The Northeastern team found these third party sellers have access to a number of different pricing strategies that include finding the lowest price offered by competitors and going above it by a set dollar amount or percentage.

"Amazon has a relatively low number of algo sellers--from 2% to 10%," Wilson said. "But they cover almost a third of the best-selling products offered by outside merchants, so the impact is large."

Amazon has its own system for selecting companies whose products get featured in the buy box, but Wilson says consumers can't assume the product has the lowest price. The chief take away from the study, he says, is that consumers need to take the time to look through the other seller options and consider them carefully.

Celebrities supplement their income quite nicely by doing endorsements for consumer products, especially food and drink items aimed at kids. How many of th...

Celebrities supplement their income quite nicely by doing endorsements for consumer products, especially food and drink items aimed at kids. How many of these are healthful?

Practically none, according to researchers at NYU Langone Medical Center, who say celebrity-driven advertising is contributing to the alarming rise in childhood and teen obesity.

Soda and other sugary drinks, fast food, and sweets are among the most common products endorsed by famous music personalities, according to the study, being published today in Pediatrics.

Not surprisingly, none of the stars identified in the study endorsed fruits, vegetables, or whole grains. Only one endorsed a natural food that's considered healthy -- pistachios.

"Because of our nation's childhood and teenage obesity public health crises, it is important to raise awareness about how companies are using celebrities popular with these audiences to market their unhealthy products," said Dr. Marie Bragg, who is also a faculty member at the NYU College of Global Public Health. "Research has already shown that food advertising leads to overeating, and the food industry spends $1.8 billion per year marketing to youth alone."

The study is believed to be the first to use a rigorous nutritional analysis to evaluate healthfulness of food and drinks marketed by music stars, reviewing dozens of advertisements over a 14-year period.

Food & beverage companies spend $2 billion a year on youth-targeted ads, with American children seeing approximately 4,700 ads each year and teens viewing 5,900 ads per year, according to Institute of Medicine research quoted in the study.

There were about 313 million views of the YouTube video versions for food and beverage endorsements associated with celebrities in the study's sample. Celebrity food endorsements promote higher product preference, and exposure to any kind of food advertising is linked to "excessive consumption," according to research.

"These celebrity endorsement deals are often worth millions of dollars each, suggesting companies find them critical for promoting products," said Dr. Bragg.

Celebrities should use their influence to promote more healthful marketing and encourage consumption of healthy foods, the researchers suggest.

"The popularity of music celebrities among adolescents makes them uniquely poised to serve as positive role models," said Alysa N. Miller, MPH, study co-author, and research coordinator in the Department of Population Health. "Celebrities should be aware that their endorsements could exacerbate society's struggle with obesity -- and they should endorse healthy products instead."

Jaguar Land Rover North America is recalling 34,334 model year 2007-2011 Land Rover Range Rovers originally sold or ever registered, in Alabama, California...

Jaguar Land Rover North America is recalling 34,334 model year 2007-2011 Land Rover Range Rovers originally sold or ever registered, in Alabama, California, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands (Saipan), and the U.S. Virgin Islands, or "Zone A."

Additionally, unless included in "Zone A" above, Land Rover is recalling certain model year 2007-2008 Land Rover Range Rovers originally sold, or ever registered, in Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, District of Columbia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia, or "Zone B."

Vehicles not originally sold or ever registered in either Zones A or B are not subject to this safety recall.

These vehicles are equipped with certain air bag inflators assembled as part of the passenger front airbag modules, and used as original equipment or replacement equipment. In the event of a crash necessitating deployment of the front airbags, these inflators may rupture due to propellant degradation occurring after long-term exposure to absolute humidity and temperature cycling.

An inflator rupture may result in metal fragments striking the vehicle occupants resulting in serious injury or death.

Land Rover will notify owners, and dealers will replace the passenger frontal air bag assemblies, free of charge. Parts are not currently available. Owners will be sent an interim notification around July 31, 2016. A second notice will be mailed when remedy parts are available.

Owners may contact Land Rover customer service at 1-800-637-6837. Land Rover's number for this recall is P081.

General Motors is recalling 1,400,000 model year 2007-2011 Cadillac Escalades, Escalade ESVs and Escalade EXTs, Chevrolet Avalanches, Silverado 1500s, Subu...

Traxxas LP of McKinney, Texas, is recalling about 5,000 X-Maxx Monster Trucks and 140 VXL-6 electronic speed controls in the U.S. and Canada.Vehicl...

The recalled VXL-6s electronic speed control #3365 is sold installed in the Traxxas X-Maxx Monster Truck, model 77076-04, and is also sold separately.

The electronic speed control is the electronic control module that manages the throttle control (speed), directional control (forward or reverse) and braking of the drive motor in the truck.  

The truck is 30 inches long, 22 inches wide and 4 inches above the ground and comes in red and blue. It weighs approximately 20 pounds. The electronic speed control is located near the center of the truck in a vented blue case approximately 2 inches wide, 2 inches long and 2 inches tall. Traxxas XMaxx is displayed on the side of the truck.

The trucks and speed controls, manufactured in Taiwan, were sold at HobbyTown and other hobby stores and Traxxas dealers nationwide from November 2015, through January 2016. The X-Maxx truck sold for about $840. The electronic speed control sold for about $250.

Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled trucks and return their electronic speed control to their dealer for a free firmware upgrade and installation of a new fusible link, or contact Traxxas customer support to return the electronic speed control and have a firmware upgrade and free fusible link installation.

Consumers may contact: Traxxas toll-free at 888-872-9927 from 8:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. (CT) Monday through Friday or online at www.Traxxas.com, then click on “Support” and then “Repair-Exchange” for more information.

Chrysler Group is recalling 1,029 model year 2016 Jeep Cherokees manufactured October 3, 2015, to March 22, 2016.  The right halfshaft may have bee...

Chrysler Group is recalling 1,029 model year 2016 Jeep Cherokees manufactured October 3, 2015, to March 22, 2016.

The right halfshaft may have been incorrectly manufactured causing it to fracture without warning. A fractured halfshaft may disconnect from the drive axle, increasing the risk of a crash.  

Chrysler will notify owners, and dealers will replace the right halfshaft, free of charge. The manufacturer has not yet provided a notification schedule.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's (CFPB) proposed regulations for payday lenders produced a strong reaction from the short-term loan industry....

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's (CFPB) proposed regulations for payday lenders produced a strong reaction from the short-term loan industry.

Put them out of business, the industry warns, and people with lousy or no credit and no savings will have no place to turn when they need emergency cash.

It's true that these consumers have almost no options in an emergency. What can be debated, however, is if a vulnerable class of consumers is well served by loans for just two weeks at triple digit interest rates. Who, after all, can be expected to repay a loan in just two weeks if he or she doesn't have the money today?

"So often, people are forced into a situation to get a payday loan in order to survive between paychecks, and the payday lenders know the consumers will not be able to pay back the loan," said James Garvey, co-founder and CEO of the start-up Self Lender.

The reason consumers go to a payday lender, more often than not, is they don't have a credit card. If they did, they could put the unexpected car repair bill on plastic and pay for it over a period of several months. They might pay 16% or more interest, but that would be a lot less than a payday loan that is due in two weeks.

The problem is that consumers with lousy credit can't get a credit card or any other type of unsecured loan. So Garvey believes the best course of action is to help people improve or establish credit.

Self Lender is an online source of credit builder loans which have been around for decades and are available from banks and credit unions. It isn't a quick fix, and consumers need a year to reap its benefits, but here's how it works:

A consumer with bad or no credit who works through a bank – or in this case Self Lender – takes out a loan for $1,000. But the consumer doesn't get access to the funds. The money goes into an interest-bearing CD.

For 12 months, the consumer makes payments of less than $100 a month on the loan. After 12 months, the loan has been repaid.

The point is that those 12 monthly payments are reported to the three credit agencies. If the consumer has no credit history, he or she does now – and if the payments have been made on time, that credit score should be pretty good. As a bonus, the consumer also has over $1,000 in savings.

With a decent credit score, the consumer's chances of getting a credit card are now pretty good. If the consumer is careful, only using the card for emergencies, he or she will have no need to take out a payday loan.

Garvey believes there is a huge market for this service. He says 20% of U.S. adults don't even have a credit score. Of the rest, he says half have subprime scores, making it difficult to obtain reasonably-priced credit.

"The majority of U.S. adults aren't able to take advantage of low interest rates if they need to borrow money," said Garvey. "Poor credit history can cost a person tens, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars in interest and fees over a lifetime."

River cruises are a fast-growing segment of the cruise industry, but they offer a very different cruise experience than ocean cruising. While one is not be...

River cruises are a fast-growing segment of the cruise industry, but they offer a very different cruise experience than ocean cruising. While one is not better than the other, you should have an understanding of the differences so you’ll know what to expect.

It’s no surprise that river cruises offer itineraries appropriate for specific rivers, but they also use a ship that is designed to navigate that river. This means that one particular river cruise line may have a variety of ship types since each river is unique.

Cities and towns often grew up around rivers, so one of the best features of a river cruise is the ability to dock in or near the city or town center. Your ship will stop in a port at least once a day. Most ships travel mainly in the evening and at night, leaving little daytime cruise time.

Some river cruises are all-inclusive, meaning most of your meals, alcoholic drinks onboard, excursions, and gratuities are included. Read the fine print when comparing different lines and itineraries so you are evaluating the same inclusions.

River cruise rates vary. When lines are all-inclusive, river cruising can be expensive, but if you have to pay extra for excursions, meals, and alcohol, rates increase from those advertised.

Cabins are usually small unless you book a large cabin or suite, which will significantly increase the cost of your cruise. One caveat: you are not in your cabin often.

River cruising provides a more social experience and the atmosphere is usually convivial. Table assignments in the dining room are rare, so you get to meet and converse with many of your fellow passengers.

While there aren’t as many meal options, most river cruises offer one main restaurant and the meals are often good. Because you are in port every day, chances are the ship will purchase food items along the way so the meals should be seasonal and reflect the itinerary.

Don’t expect a lot of evening entertainment. There is often a pianist that plays in the lounge, or on larger ships there could be a DJ. Entertainment can have a local flavor whether it is a lecture or local performers.

A river cruise provides a multitude of sightseeing opportunities. There might be several tracks, depending on your desired activity level. Some options are walking tours, bicycle tours, and hiking.

Plan for lots of sightseeing and walking. There will be buses to take you to the outskirts of towns. You will see a great deal, but you won’t have a lot of free time to venture out by yourself. You may be allotted time for lunch on your own, and you might have to squeeze in your shopping.

The major river cruise lines include: AmaWaterways, A-Rosa, Avalon Waterways, CroisiEurope, Crystal, Emerald Waterways, Grand Circle Travel, Luftner, Scenic, Tauck, Viking, Uniworld, and Vantage.

Check out their individual websites and carefully review their itineraries. Consult your friends for referrals and a travel agent. Also check out ConsumerAffairs' Top 9 River Cruise Lines.

Whether you are a river cruise novice or have cruised one line multiple times, do your homework to ensure you are choosing a cruise line and itinerary that meets your goals and expectations.

Travelers who enjoy a fixed itinerary and knowing exactly what to expect day-to-day are well-suited to river cruising. If you like to plan your own trips and scripted travel is not to your liking, river cruising may not be your cup of tea.

As many suspected, Prince Rogers Nelson, an iconic pop performer who simply went by “Prince,” died from an overdose of an opioid painkiller. He was found d...

As many suspected, Prince Rogers Nelson, an iconic pop performer who simply went by “Prince,” died from an overdose of an opioid painkiller. He was found dead at his home in the Minneapolis area April 27.

His death is one of thousands of overdose injury and deaths in the U.S., but is high-profile enough that it may serve to focus increased efforts on curtailing both the use and misuse of these addictive narcotics.

The Carver County, Minnesota Sheriff's office is continuing its investigation, but the autopsy report stated Prince died of a self-administered dose of fentanyl, a painkiller described as more potent than morphine.

There is no indication that the entertainer was taking the drug for recreational use. Rather, he had been treated for back pain and apparently developed a dependency.

This class of drug has claimed victims who became addicted through medical use, as well as those using the drug illicitly. Opioids include powerful prescription medication, like fentanyl, as well as illegal drugs like heroin.

As we reported back in December, nearly half a million Americans died from an opioid overdose between 2000 and 2014, with deaths rising an alarming 14% in 2014.

“The opioid epidemic is devastating American families and communities,” CDC Director Tom Frieden said at the time.

The problem of opioid addiction and overdose has been particularly acute in rural states with little history of dealing with drug epidemics. Maine has been especially hard hit in recent years.

Maine Attorney General Janet Mills recently reported that 272 state residents died of an opioid drug overdose in 2015, a surge of 31% over the year before, which until last year had been a record.

“These figures are shocking,” Mills said. “Maine averaged more than five drug deaths per week. That is five families every week losing a loved one to drugs. We must use every effort to intervene in these people’s lives before it is too late.”

A first step might be one of the most simple: simply reduce the strength of opioid prescriptions. Opioid overdose experts from the University of Michigan Medical School and Veterans Administration (VA) Ann Arbor Healthcare System analyzed the records of 221 veterans who died from accidental opioid painkiller overdoses and an equal number of veterans who took the drug but did not die from an overdose.

They found that veterans getting a smaller dose of drugs were less likely to die from an overdose. Those taking larger doses were more likely to die.

Opioid strength is measured in morphine-equivalent milligrams, or MEM. The average daily prescribed dose in the group that overdosed was 98 MEM, compared with about 48 MEM among those who did not overdose.

Becoming physically active is a big part of maintaining your health, but one single approach won’t necessarily work for everyone. A new study from The Dart...

Becoming physically active is a big part of maintaining your health, but one single approach won’t necessarily work for everyone. A new study from The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice and Dartmouth's Geisel School of Medicine says that women, especially, have a variety of different factors that keep them from being physically active.

The results indicated that barriers to physical activity for women stretched across several different categories; these barriers included physical, psychological, social, resource, time, and activity reasons. But, interestingly, the researchers found that a higher body mass index (BMI) correlated with much higher levels of physical inactivity. The reason, it seems, is that many women are unable to perform certain physical activities at higher BMI levels.

“What we see is that a woman with a higher BMI can face a double-bind of challenges to being more physically active,” said lead author Anna Adachi-Mejia.

For the purposes of the study, researchers analyzed women from all across the BMI spectrum – ranging from a normal BMI range (18.5 – 24) to obese class III (40 or greater). Participants were given two separate ways of illustrating the barriers they faced for physical activity.

The first approach allowed participants to answer pre-worded surveys, wherein individuals based their answers off of options that best fit their unique situation. The second approach was open-ended, meaning that participants could write down the barriers they faced in their own words for a greater degree of accuracy.

The answers to these approaches corresponded to the six aforementioned barrier categories – physical, psychological, social, resource, time, and activity. But, when answers from the various BMI ranges were separated, physical impediment stood out as the clear problem for women with higher BMI’s. Injury, in particular, stood out as a major physical barrier.

The researchers did not anticipate these results before conducting the study, but they do believe that the culture of promoting physical activity will need to adapt to help all women participate.

“I was surprised to hear about how often women wrote about physical impediment as being a barrier to physical activity,” said Adachi-Mejia. “In those cases women don’t need to hear more messages about their need to be more active. Instead, they need help with working through how to be more active in spite of having impairment.”

“I hope that in future interventions we can integrate more physical rehabilitation and/or occupational therapy to help people work towards greater ability to be more active,” she concluded.

Heading to work means leaving your dog on the other side of the closed door, left to its own devices. But exactly what do dogs do all day in a human-less h...

If you hate your job, no doubt you're looking forward to retirement. But plenty of people like what they do.That fact, a longer life expectancy, and a ...

If you hate your job, no doubt you're looking forward to retirement. But plenty of people like what they do.

That fact, a longer life expectancy, and a need to earn income longer is leading roughly one out of four of U.S. employees to say they don't expect to retire until they are 70 years old. The difference is, some are happy about it – others aren't.

The Global Benefits Attitudes Survey of nearly 5,100 U.S. employees, conducted by the firm Willis Towers Watson, found another 5% of employees don't ever expect to retire. Even a large number of those who expect to retire at 65 say there's a 50-50 chance they'll still be working by age 70.

“Although their financial situation has improved over the past few years, many workers remain worried about their long-term financial stability,” said Steven Nyce, a senior economist at Willis Towers Watson.

Nyce says he thinks most of those who plan to work longer aren't doing so voluntarily. He chalks it up to inadequate savings or higher-than-expected expenses later in life. He also says a surprising number of employees are counting on their employers helping by providing some early retirement incentives.

People generally are living longer and are in better health, so it might not be unusual that more people expect to work until 70. But the survey shows those who plan to keep working past 65 are less healthy, more stressed, and more likely to not like their jobs.

It may be true that a growing number of employees feel they must keep working beyond 65, but there are also plenty who are doing it voluntarily. Social Security provides an incentive to do so, paying the largest benefit to those who wait until age 70 to begin drawing it.

In recent years, financial planners have made a point of advising people to wait as long as possible before tapping into benefits, pointing out that waiting until age 70 would increase benefits 32% than at age 66.

And they appear to be doing it. The survey found that, over the last two decades, the percentage of men in the U.S. who are working past age 65 has grown from 15% to 22%.

California Attorney General Kamala Harris thinks the largest national accrediting agency for degree-granting institutions should lose its accreditation....

California Attorney General Kamala Harris thinks the largest national accrediting agency for degree-granting institutions should lose its accreditation.

Harris has written the U.S. Department of Education, urging it to revoke federal recognition of the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS), which among its other accomplishments accedited the now-defunct Corinthian Colleges, Inc., which left tens of thousands of students with useless degrees and millions of dollars in debts.

“The predatory scheme devised by executives at Corinthian Colleges, Inc. was unconscionable. And despite enforcement actions by the California Department of Justice and the federal government against Corinthian, ACICS continued to accredit Corinthian, hurting thousands of students in the process,” Harris said. “Students relied on Corinthian’s accreditation status, believing they were obtaining a high quality-education with real job prospects."

ACICS boasts of accrediting more colleges than any other agency but a quick perusal of its roster finds that most of them are small vocational training institutions, offering certificates and associate degrees in such fields as dental assistance and office management. 

Harris joins 13 other state AGs who are opposing the renewal of ACICS as an accreditation agency. Harris and 10 other AGs are also calling for tougher standards for college recruiters on military bases.

Parents magazine recently teamed up with Edmunds.com to come up with their 10 “Best Family Cars of 2016” list. Together, the parenting and automotive exper...

The price of oil has approached $50 a barrel in recent days, a recent high but only half of what it was nearly two years ago.In that time, consumers an...

The price of oil has approached $50 a barrel in recent days, a recent high but only half of what it was nearly two years ago.

In that time, consumers and businesses have enjoyed low fuel prices, reducing the cost of a fill-up, as well as drastically reducing businesses' transportation costs.

Oddly, the expected benefit from that to the economy hasn't shown up. Consumer spending has ticked up slightly, but much of that is attributed to a belated rise in wages.

Now, an economic team at Citigroup has issued a report saying it is hard-pressed to find evidence of lower oil prices benefiting businesses. In a note quoted by Bloomberg News, Citigroup Chief Global Equity Strategist Robert Buckland and Strategist Mert Genc said that even though companies are spending less on energy, it isn't helping the bottom line.

"Investors were hoping that lower oil prices would boost earnings expectations in other consumer-oriented sectors, even if with a lag," the team wrote. "But these upgrades never really came through."

Airline profits have been among the strongest, helped no doubt by lower fuel costs. But industry analysts have attributed the strength to heavier passenger loads, as well as fees that continue to supplement fares.

With more money in consumers' pockets, there was some expectation that retail and consumer discretionary businesses would thrive. But retail profits have struggled and consumer spending hasn't lived up to expectations.

What are consumers doing with the money they save at the gas pump? The Citigroup analysts point out that the savings rate has increased in recent months, suggesting consumers are using the break to build up their rainy day funds.

One sector of the economy does appear to be attracting some of the dollars consumers are saving on fuel: the auto industry. At the end of last year Kelley Blue Book's Karl Brauer noted that car and truck sales had surpassed recovery mode and moved into record territory.

While some predicted car sales would level off in January, they continued to rise each month until May, when they dipped slightly.  

On the surface, the report looks good when you consider that the unemployment rate dropped 0.3% last month to 4.7%.However, the economy created just 38...

Osprey Child Safety Products of Cortez, Colo., is recalling about 31,000 child backpack carriers.A cut in the plastic buckle on the shoulder strap can ...

A cut in the plastic buckle on the shoulder strap can cause the shoulder strap to release, posing a fall hazard to a child in the carrier.

This recall involves the Poco AG, Poco AG Plus and Poco AG Premium model child backpack carriers. These nylon carriers come in seaside blue, ivy green and black, with a metal frame and a gray padded child’s seat inside. The back of the carrier also has an upper zippered pocket and a lower zipped compartment, along with a stretch pocket in the middle.

The production date code identifying when the carrier was manufactured is stamped on a black label sewn in the interior of the large lower zippered compartment in the back of the carrier. Recalled carriers have a production date code of S16SB03, S16SB04, S16SB05, S16SB06 or S16SB07. “Osprey” is printed on the back at the top of the carrier. The model name is printed on the back at the bottom.

The carriers, manufactured in Vietnam, were sold at REI and specialty outdoor retailers nationwide and online at amazon.com and rei.com from January 2016, through May 2016, for between $250 and $330.  

Consumers should immediately inspect the buckles on both straps of the carrier harness to determine if there is a cut in the plastic buckle on one or both straps. If the buckle is cut, consumers should immediately stop using the carrier and contact Osprey for a free replacement or full refund.

Consumers also may contact Osprey and return the carrier for inspection. If the buckle is cut, consumers will receive a replacement or full refund.  

Consumers may contact Osprey at 800-303-1350 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (MT) Monday through Friday, by email at pocosupport@ospreypacks.com or online at www.ospreypacks.com and click on “Poco AG Safety Notice” for more information.

Volkswagen Group of America is recalling 217,000 model year 2004-2008 Audi A4, and 2005-2011 Audi A6 vehicles originally sold, or ever registered, in Alaba...

Volkswagen Group of America is recalling 217,000 model year 2004-2008 Audi A4, and 2005-2011 Audi A6 vehicles originally sold, or ever registered, in Alabama, California, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands (Saipan), and the U.S. Virgin Islands, or "Zone A."

Additionally, unless included in "Zone A" above, Volkswagen is recalling certain model year 2004-2008 Audi A4, and 2005-2008 Audi A6 vehicles originally sold, or ever registered, in Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, District of Columbia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia, or "Zone B."

Lastly, unless included in "Zone A" or "Zone B" above, Volkswagen is recalling model year 2004 Audi A4 vehicles originally sold, or registered, in Alaska, Colorado, Connecticut, Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, New York, North Dakota, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

These vehicles are equipped with certain air bag inflators assembled as part of the passenger frontal airbag modules, and used as original equipment or replacement equipment. In the event of a crash necessitating deployment of the front air bags, these inflators may rupture due to propellant degradation occurring after long-term exposure to absolute humidity and temperature cycling.An inflator rupture may result in metal fragments striking the vehicle occupants resulting in serious injury or death.

Audi will notify owners, and dealers will replace the passenger frontal air bag inflator, free of charge. The manufacturer has not yet provided a notification schedule.

Burger’s Ozark Country Cured of  California, Mo., is recalling approximately 150 pounds of pulled pork products.The product package has the correct lab...

Burger’s Ozark Country Cured of  California, Mo., is recalling approximately 150 pounds of pulled pork products.

The product package has the correct label on the front, but an incorrect label for a beef brisket product on the back.

The recalled product bears establishment number “EST. 1161” inside the USDA mark of inspection and contains case code P816W with a use by/freeze by date of August 13, 2016, and was shipped to retail locations in Missouri.

General Motors is recalling 500,000 model year 2007-2008 Cadillac Escalades; Escalade ESVs;, Escalade EXTs; Chevrolet Avalanches; Silverado 1500s; Suburban...

General Motors is recalling 500,000 model year 2007-2008 Cadillac Escalades; Escalade ESVs;, Escalade EXTs; Chevrolet Avalanches; Silverado 1500s; Suburbans; Tahoes; GMC Sierra 1500s; Yukons; and Yukon XLs originally sold, or ever registered, in Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, District of Columbia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia.

Vehicles not originally sold or ever registered in these states are not subject to this safety recall.

These vehicles are equipped with certain air bag inflators assembled as part of the passenger frontal airbag modules, and used as original equipment or replacement equipment. In the event of a crash necessitating deployment of the front air bags, these inflators may rupture due to propellant degradation occurring after long-term exposure to absolute humidity and temperature cycling.An inflator rupture may result in metal fragments striking the vehicle occupants resulting in serious injury or death.  

Owners may contact Cadillac customer service at 1-800-458-8006, Chevrolet customer service at 1-800-222-1020, or GMC customer service at 1-800-462-8782. GM's number for this recall is 49152.

Troyer Cheese is recalling a limited number of products that may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes. No illnesses have been reported to da...

Troyer Cheese is recalling a limited number of products that may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.

The following products, sold in packaged bags and marked with Best By dates located on the front or back of the packages, are being recalled:

The products were packaged at Amish Wedding Foods distributed by Troyer Cheese between May 6 and May 24, 2016 in Alabama, Arkansas Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, North Carolina, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Wisconsin and West Virginia.

Customers who purchased these products should not consume them, but take them back to the store where they were purchased for a refund or simply discard them.

Flying in the face of determined and well-heeled opponents, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is proposing a new rule aimed at protecting cas...

Flying in the face of determined and well-heeled opponents, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is proposing a new rule aimed at protecting cash-strapped consumers from falling into endless cycles of payday loan debt.  Put simply, the rule would require short-term lenders to be sure consumers will be able to pay back the loans they take out.

It sounds pretty basic, but consumers often end up paying hundreds or even thousands of dollars in interest when they're not able to pay back their payday loans on time. Also, they frequently wind up with huge bank charges when their accounts go into overdraft as lenders repeatedly debit their accounts, a practice that would be prohibited under the new rule. 

A recent study by the CFPB found that half of all the borrowers studied were charged an average of $185 in bank fees, usually for overdrafts or insufficient funds. That's in addition to the sky-high interest rates -- often reaching 390 percent.

 “Too many borrowers seeking a short-term cash fix are saddled with loans they cannot afford and sink into long-term debt," said CFPB Director Richard Cordray. "It’s much like getting into a taxi just to ride across town and finding yourself stuck in a ruinously expensive cross-country journey. By putting in place mainstream, common-sense lending standards, our proposal would prevent lenders from succeeding by setting up borrowers to fail.”

Besides payday loans, the rule would cover auto title, deposit-advance loans, and other high-cost installment and open-end loans. The CFPB is also launching an inquiry into other products and practices that may harm consumers facing cash shortfalls. 

As we reported a few days ago, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), the Democratic National Committee chairwoman, is among nine Democrats co-sponsoring a bill that would prohibit the CFPB from regulating payday lenders in states that have their own laws in place.

Allied Progress, the liberal advocacy group that "outed" Wasserman Schultz, says many other Congressional representatives are in the pocket of payday loan interests.

"Payday lenders have spent millions of dollars currying favor with powerful Washington politicians and they will do whatever it takes to keep this extremely lucrative predatory racket humming along," said Karl Frisch, the group's director. 

“It’s time for our Representatives in Congress to speak up and let us know where they stand," Frisch said. "Do they support the CFPB’s proposed rule, or not? Will they champion the needs of their constituents and those caught in the payday lending debt trap or that of the predatory lenders who fill many of their campaign bank accounts?”

Frisch's organization is one of hundreds collecting consumer comments for submission to the CFPB on a special website, StopPaydayPredators.org.

The Pew Charitable Trusts also opposes the measure, but for different reasons. It says it doesn't go far enough.

“Payday loan reform is urgently needed, but without changes, the CFPB’s draft regulation misses the mark. Pew’s research shows that borrowers want three things: lower prices, manageable installment payments, and quick loan approval. The CFPB proposal goes 0 for 3," said Nick Bourke, director of Pew’s small-dollar loans project.

“The rule will help by pushing lenders to make installment loans instead of requiring full payment at the next payday. That will represent a major improvement, but it is not enough to make these loans safe. A $400 payday installment loan, for example, will still cost a typical borrower more than $350 in fees."

Bourke said the CFPB is "missing an historic opportunity to save millions of borrowers billions of dollars." He said banks would offer more affordable loans if given a clear product safety standard.

“There is still time for the CFPB to fix the proposal," Bourke said. "The agency needs to ensure that the final rule includes clear product safety standards, such as limiting each installment loan payment to five percent of a borrower’s paycheck and giving borrowers up to six months to repay. These are the two essential safeguards that research shows are needed in the small-dollar loan market.”

The problem with payday loans -- beyond the high interest rates, fees, and risks of overdrafts -- is that they generally require repayment in full in just a week or two, usually on the borrower's next payday, instead of setting up a schedule of smaller payments over time.

Consumers facing a cash emergency today are not usually going to be in better shape in a week or two, forcing them to take out yet another short-term loan, starting a cycle that seldom ends well.

“The CFPB's proposed rule presents a staggering blow to consumers as it will cut off access to credit for millions of Americans who use small-dollar loans to manage a budget shortfall or unexpected expense," said Dennis Shaul, CEO of the Community Financial Services Association of America (CFSA), a payday loan industry group.

“By the bureau’s own estimates this rule will eliminate 84 percent of loan volume thereby creating financial havoc in communities across the country. Thousands of lenders, especially small businesses, will be forced to shutter their doors, lay off employees, and leave communities that already have too few options for financial services," Saul said.

Consumers have already seen two states raise the legal age for buying tobacco products this year; Hawaii became the first state to raise the age limit to 2...

Consumers have already seen two states raise the legal age for buying tobacco products this year; Hawaii became the first state to raise the age limit to 21 in January, and California followed suit shortly after that. Now, a new survey shows that consumers in other states wouldn’t mind seeing similar changes.

The survey, which was conducted by researchers from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and East Carolina University, shows that a majority of adults are in favor of increasing the legal age for purchasing tobacco products. These findings represented consumers from all nine regions of the U.S., from both sides of the political spectrum, and for both smokers and non-smokers.

“What we found was really an overall trend of broad support for this policy,” said Dr. Adam O. Goldstein, a professor in the UNC School of Medicine Department of Family Medicine.

The study used 4,880 adults who were aged 18 years or older from across the U.S. Participants were asked if they supported raising the minimum age for buying tobacco products; if so, they were asked if 19, 20, 21 was the appropriate age.

In all regions of the country, participants were in favor of raising the minimum age for buying tobacco products. The level of support ranged from 59.6% in seven states in the Midwestern region to 73.1% for four states in the Southern region. In terms of the appropriate age, most respondents said that 21 would be the best age to change the policy to.

The researchers point out that even regions that have historic connections to the tobacco industry were in favor of the change.

“Even in regions with historically strong ties to tobacco growing and manufacturing, a strong majority of the public, including smokers, is in favor of raising the minimum legal age of tobacco sales,” said Dr. Joseph G. L. Lee.

Experts believe that raising the smoking age to 21 could have a huge impact on consumer health. The researchers quote a 2015 National Academy of Medicine report that states that healthcare costs would likely plunge as a result and that smoking prevalence would decrease by 12% nationally.

“By restricting tobacco use to people 21 and older, the compelling evidence is that you have less people who end up using it. They don’t end up taking up smoking and tobacco. And if you cut down on adolescents using tobacco, you’ll ultimately cut down on how many adults use tobacco, and then you cut down on tobacco-related diseases like heart disease and cancer,” said Goldstein.

The researchers also point out that the widespread support of this policy change might make it easier for politicians to get behind it.

“With these findings, policy makers and public health advocates can move forward knowing that people in their states support raising the minimum legal age for selling tobacco products, and that this is an issue that is not viewed as partisan,” said Goldstein. “It seems to cross political lines, and it is one policy measure that the majority of those surveyed can agree on.”

The researchers hope that their work may act as a catalyst for raising the legal age for buying tobacco products across the country. They point out that the strength of their data is something that cannot be ignored.

 “With the strong support indicated in our data, I think we will continue to see strong momentum. It appears likely that increasingly, lawmakers are going to be interested in doing this,” said Goldstein.

Annual exams are one way for women to make sure everything is functioning as it should in the women’s health department. But if one of the stealthier healt...

Annual exams are one way for women to make sure everything is functioning as it should in the women’s health department. But if one of the stealthier health conditions crops up between exams, problems could arise.

Soon, however, women may be able to use a "smart tampon" to perform an at-home test for cervical cancer and other asymptomatic issues.

While still in the early testing phases, entrepreneur Ridhi Tariyal and scientist Stephen Gire hope the device will help women take charge of their own reproductive health.  

The early detection and treatment of diseases like endometriosis cervical cancer is crucial; failure to do so could interfere with fertility or even cause death. But tracking vaginal health without the help of a medical professional can be difficult. That’s where smart tampons come in.

"You can pick up a disease any time, and letting it sit there for a year until your next visit can have consequences downstream that you don't want," Tariyal tells Fast Company. "The system has to change."

Tariyal and Gire hope to change the system from reactive to proactive by making early diagnosis a possibility, even if a woman is between annual exams.

Seed funding for the duo’s startup, NextGen Jane, has been secured and clinical trials have begun on the smart tampons, which would collect blood samples that could be tested right in a woman’s own home. The devices could even help monitor long-term risks, Fast Company reports.

"Our vision is to manage reproductive health from menarche to menopause," said Tariyal. "We're thinking about all the ways that women could find data about their bodies useful."

In addition to checking for diseases like endometriosis and cervical cancer, smart tampons might also be able to track fertility levels and check for cysts, growths, infections, and STDs.

It could be a while before the technology hits the market, as it will require the development of a variety of tests. But the team hopes to have a working prototype completed in the next year or so, according to NextGen Jane’s website.

Forget about the Kardashian derrieres for a moment. Let's talk lips. Lip enhancement is all the thing these days for those looking for a perkier pucker or ...

Forget about the Kardashian derrieres for a moment. Let's talk lips. Lip enhancement is all the thing these days for those looking for a perkier pucker or a prettier pout.

And now the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has added a puffy new weapon to dermatologists' quiver -- Juvederm Vobella XC. It's been widely used in Europe since 2011 and now will be coming to these shores.

Juvederm Volbella XC uses a filler called Vycross, which can be used for lip enhancement, to correct volume loss in the cheeks, and to smooth perioral rhytids, the lines and wrinkles that form around the mouth, according to a report by Rx411.

Collagen was once the most common substance used to plump the skin, but it’s not used as much today -- nor are fat injections. Besides Juvederm Vobella XC, there are several other fillers, all containing hyaluronic acid, or a similar substance. Once injected, the gel in the filler supports and shapes the tissues. 

It might sound exotic, but the American Society of Plastic Surgeons reports about 2.4 million dermal filler procedures were performed in 2015.  It’s #2 (after Botox injections) on the Society’s list of minimally invasive procedures and costs anywhere from $400 to $800.

The procedure takes only 15 minutes to an hour. Injection sites are marked, numbered, and then the drug is injected. The patient's face may be puffy and numb, but that usually lasts less than a day.

A new report by RealtyTrac, a site specializing in marketing foreclosures, shows that buying and selling properties for profit – a practice known as “flipp...

A new report by RealtyTrac, a site specializing in marketing foreclosures, shows that buying and selling properties for profit – a practice known as “flipping” – is increasing.

The company reports that 6.6% of single-family and condo sales in the first quarter of the year qualified as “flips,” meaning they were bought and sold within a 12 month span. That's a 20% increase from the fourth quarter of last year and is up 3% from the first quarter of last year.

Daren Blomquist, senior vice president at RealtyTrac, says flipping dipped a bit in 2014 but has been increasing since then.

“While responsible home flipping is helpful for a housing market, excessive and irresponsible flipping activity can contribute to a home price pressure cooker that overheats a housing market, and we are starting to see evidence of that pressure cooker environment in a handful of markets,” he said.

Flipping has been made popular by a number of cable TV reality series, some making it look like an easy way to make money. But if you don't know what you're doing, you can easily lose money.

One of the biggest risks is buying a property that needs more expensive renovation that you planned on. This often happens when someone buys a foreclosure that they have not been able to fully inspect. Once they take possession, they often find structural issues that weren't immediately apparent but must be addressed before the property is resold.

Another risk is financing the flip with borrowed money, with the house taking much longer to sell than anticipated. That was a bigger risk a couple of years ago, but less so now, because of declining inventories.

While flipping is on the increase, it has a long way to go before reaching the record level hit in 2006, just before the housing market crashed. In 2006, 9% of home sales were flips.

It's true in every language -- you can't win a sweepstakes you didn't enter. But that didn't stop two Dutch companies from allegedly scamming elderly Ameri...

It's true in every language -- you can't win a sweepstakes you didn't enter. But that didn't stop two Dutch companies from allegedly scamming elderly Americans out of millions of dollars by telling them they had won valuable prizes and needed to pay a small fee to collect their winnings.

According to a Justice Department complaint, U.S. residents received fraudulent direct mail solicitations that falsely claimed that the individual recipient had won -- or would soon win -- cash, valuable prizes, or would otherwise come into great fortune. 

The victims then sent payments through the U.S. and international mail systems to defendants Trends Service in Kommunikatie B.V. and Kommunikatie Service Buitenland B.V., both in Utrecht, Netherlands, and both owned and operated by defendant Erik Dekker, 54, of Langbroek, Netherlands.

As the U.S. was filing its case, Dutch law enforcement agents executed search warrants on the business address used by both companies and on Dekker’s home address. The Dutch authorities also took control of the Dutch P.O. boxes used by the defendants to receive victim funds. 

“Schemes targeting elderly victims are increasingly international in scope, but geographic distance will not prevent us from seeking justice and holding bad actors accountable,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Benjamin C. Mizer, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Division. “Dutch authorities have done a great service to U.S. residents and elderly victims worldwide by addressing fraud facilitated within their borders."

“No one should ever be told they must pay a fee, or make a worthless purchase, to collect a prize,” said Inspector in Charge Regina L. Faulkerson of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service’s Criminal Investigation Group.  “When that happens, it’s fraud - plain and simple - and Postal Inspectors work to keep those falsehoods out of the U.S. mail.”

Moms-to-be take all sorts of measures to protect the health of their unborn baby, from cutting out alcohol and sushi to popping prenatal vitamins. But coul...

Moms-to-be take all sorts of measures to protect the health of their unborn baby, from cutting out alcohol and sushi to popping prenatal vitamins. But could eating more fruit during pregnancy actually create a smarter child?

A new study suggests so. Researchers at the University of Alberta found that mothers who consumed more fruit during pregnancy gave birth to children who performed better on developmental testing at one year of age.

Interested to see what factors affect a child’s cognitive development, lead author Piush Mandhane used data from the Canadian Healthy Infant Longitudinal Development (CHILD) Study. Mandhane and his team found that a mom’s fruit intake during pregnancy had a big influence on a child’s IQ.

"The more fruit moms had, the higher their child's cognitive development,” said Mundhane of the study, which examined data from 688 Edmonton children.

Pregnant women who ate six or seven servings of fruit or fruit juice a day gave birth to babies who placed six or seven points higher on the IQ scale at age one.

"It's quite a substantial difference -- that's half of a standard deviation," Mandhane said in a statement. "We know that the longer a child is in the womb, the further they develop--and having one more serving of fruit per day in a mother's diet provides her baby with the same benefit as being born a whole week later."

Subsequent experiments attempted to build upon these findings by looking at the way prenatal fruit intake affects fruit flies.

Mundhane teamed up with Francois Bolduc, a researcher of the genetic basis of cognition in humans and fruit flies, to further examine the effects. Similar to the effect in human babies, Buldoc discovered that fruit flies born after being fed increased prenatal fruit juice had significantly better memory ability.

But even in light of these findings, Mundhane cautions against overdoing it in the fruit department. Researchers say too much fruit could create complications such as gestational diabetes and high birthweight, so consult your doctor before filling up on sugary fruit.

Alaska Airlines has made a couple of benefit changes to its Visa Signature Card. The credit card no longer carries foreign transaction fees, and bonus mile...

Alaska Airlines has made a couple of benefit changes to its Visa Signature Card. The credit card no longer carries foreign transaction fees, and bonus miles for new customers have been increased to 30,000, as long as the new cardholders meet the qualifying spending level.

"As we continue to expand our global partnerships and add to our growing list of more than 800 partner destinations worldwide, eliminating foreign transaction fees is the right thing to do for our world-traveling cardholders,” said Sangita Woerner, Alaska's vice president of marketing.

The expanded perks are in addition to the other benefits the card carries, including a free checked bag for the cardholder and six others included in his or her party; three times the miles on Alaska Air purchases; and an annual companion fare for $121.

Alaska Air's mileage plan currently features 17 international and domestic airline partners, flying to more than 800 global destinations. Alaska Air says its mileage plan was rated number one among airline rewards programs by U.S. News.

It should be noted that an airline credit card is probably not the best choice for people who rarely travel by air. While there are other rewards associated with the cards, the most lucrative are associated with air travel.

For example, the Frontier Airlines Credit Card is another attractive choice. Right off the bat, new cardholders earn 40,000 bonus miles after spending $500 the first 90 days the account is open. Those 40,000 bonus miles are good for two round-trip domestic tickets, subject to availability.

Customers earn double miles per $1 spent on Frontier Airlines purchases and one mile per $1 spent on all other purchases.

Customers earn a $100 Frontier Airlines flight discount voucher after spending $2,500 or more in purchases during the card membership year.

For consumers who do not travel by air that much, a rewards card with a generous cash back feature is the better choice. Here are some options to consider.

Auto leases made up 31.1% of vehicle transactions in the first quarter of the year, the largest percentage on record.The statistics, contained in the l...

Auto leases made up 31.1% of vehicle transactions in the first quarter of the year, the largest percentage on record.

The statistics, contained in the latest report from Experian Automotive, suggest more consumers are turning to leases as the only affordable way to obtain a new car. The average new vehicle transaction price is closing in on $34,000.

Consumers aren't just leasing new cars. The report shows that used vehicle leases rose 2.1% in the first quarter.

"The continued rise in new vehicle costs have kept many consumers exploring options to keep their monthly payments affordable," said Melinda Zabritski, Experian's senior director of automotive finance. "As long as vehicle prices continue to rise, we can expect leasing rates to grow along with them.”

However, Zabritski says consumers should understand the nuances of their lease agreements and make sure that leasing fits their needs. The biggest factor is mileage. Most leases have mileage allowances of 12,000 miles per year or less. If you drive 20,000 to 30,000 miles per year, a lease will probably be more costly than purchasing the vehicle.

The Experian report also identified a shift by prime borrowers who purchased a used car instead of a new one. Prime borrowers bought a used car 54% of the time in the first quarter, up 4.8% from a year ago.

While new car leases rose in the first quarter, so did purchases – just not as much. The report shows financing, as opposed to leasing, was up 1.6% from 2015.

The average loan amount hit another all-time high – $30,032. The average loan amount on used vehicles was $20,723.

The average interest rates were still relatively low. The rate on the average new vehicle loan was between 4.79% and 7.81% for the average used vehicle.

Another hurricane season has begun, and homeowners along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts will keep a watchful eye on the sky during the next few months.Th...

Another hurricane season has begun, and homeowners along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts will keep a watchful eye on the sky during the next few months.

The risks to homes in coastal areas include wind and water damage, with water being the bigger threat. In its 2016 Storm Surge Report, CoreLogic estimates that more than 6.8 million homes could be impacted by a hurricane's storm surge. The company puts the cumulative reconstruction value at $1.5 trillion.

The company finds coastal areas of 19 states and the District of Columbia could be in the path of a hurricane this year. Atlantic Coast states have nearly 3.9 million homes at hurricane risk. States along the Gulf Coast have just over 2.9 million lying in the path of a potential storm.

Florida and Texas have the longest coastlines, but states like Louisiana, with less coastal exposure but more low-lying areas inland, also have a large number of at-risk residential properties.

Homeowners whose property lies in a designated flood zone have seen their flood insurance costs skyrocket over the last couple of years. In addition, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has expanded many flood zones, so that more homes now fall within their boundaries.

Some people purchasing homes in coastal areas have been shocked to learn that they must purchase flood insurance, at a cost of several thousand dollars a year. If you want to know what flood insurance will cost, you need to talk to an insurance agency. However, the National Flood Insurance Program offers this calculator to give you an estimated cost.

Homeowners who don't live in a flood plain may also suffer severe damage from a major storm. Keep in mind that your homeowners insurance policy will not provide coverage from flood damage.

Bankrate notes that you don't have to live in a flood plain in order to get flood insurance. Any homeowner can obtain it. And it won't just cover you against a hurricane storm surge, but also an overflowing creek.

Storms can cause all kinds of damage, not just flooding. From high winds to falling trees, these destructive storms can cause massive damage that may or may not be covered by your homeowners insurance policy.

U.S.-based employers pulled back sharply in trimming their workforces in May.Outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas reports announced jo...

Outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas reports announced job cuts totaled 30,157 last month -- down 53% from April and the lowest number of terminations since last December.

So far this year, employers have announced 275,218 job cuts -- up 13% compared to the first five months of 2015.

“May could be the start of a summer slowdown in the pace of job cutting as companies take a pause following the period of heavy downsizing that started the year,” said John A. Challenger, chief executive officer of Challenger, Gray & Christmas. “In general, oil prices have improved somewhat since the beginning of the year, though they are still less than half of what they were at oil’s recent peak. However, the recent gains may be enough to at least temporarily slow job cuts in the sector.”

Monthly job cuts were led by the energy sector, though the May total was down significantly from previous months. Firms in the sector announced another 7,572 terminations in May -- 60% fewer than in April.

Most industries saw job cuts decline in May. Among the most significant was the computer industry, where they plunged 83% from April. Reductions also occurred in the financial sector (-68%), and retailing (-75%).

“Of course, not every summer brings a slowdown in job cuts,” said Challenger. “Last July saw announced layoffs soar to a four-year high of 105,696. However, last year’s spike was due primarily to massive troop and civilian cuts in the military. Being an election year, it is unlikely that we will see any major workforce changes at the federal level of the government.”  

While the economy managed to crank out new jobs in May, the pace of job creation continues to slow.The ADP National Employment Report, which is produce...

For the third time in as many months, the manufacturing sector of the economy was expanding in May.The Institute for ...

By offering good protection in a small overlap front crash and a superior-rated, standard front crash prevention system, the redesigned Audi A4 has earned ...

The TJX Companies of Framingham, Mass., is recalling about 5,200 foldable lounge chairs The chairs can collapse unexpectedly, posing a fall and inj...

The company has received 15 reports of injuries from collapsing chairs. Injuries included back and tailbone injuries, one report of a fractured finger, three reports of stitches to fingers and reports of cut, bruised or swollen fingers.

This recall involves T.J. Maxx and Marshalls foldable weatherproof lounge chairs. The chairs are made of an acacia wood frame and striped fabric in two styles: a natural oiled wood frame with red and white stripe fabric or a white gloss frame with blue and white stripe fabric.

The chairs measure about 30 inches high by 42 inches long when unfolded. The style number is printed on the hang tag attached to the chair. “MADE IN VIETNAM” is printed on a label on the bottom of the chair frames.

The chairs, manufactured in Vietnam, were sold at T.J. Maxx and Marshalls stores nationwide during March 2016 for about $40.

Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled foldable chairs and return them to any T.J. Maxx or Marshalls store for a full refund.

Consumers may contact T.J. Maxx at 800-926-6299 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. (ET) Monday through Friday or online at www.tjmaxx.com then click on Product Recalls at the bottom of the page or Marshalls toll-free at 888-627-7425 or online at www.marshallsonline.com and click on Customer Service at the bottom of the page.

Ford Motor Company is recalling 1,896,443 model year 2007-2011 Ford Rangers; 2006-2011 Ford Fusions, Mercury Milans and Lincoln Zephyr/MKZs; 2007-2010 Ford...

C. J. Dannemiller Co. is recalling Sun Opta Roasted Sunflower kernels – roasted and salted, and Sun Opta Roasted No Salt. The products may be conta...

C. J. Dannemiller Co. is recalling Sun Opta Roasted Sunflower kernels – roasted and salted, and Sun Opta Roasted No Salt.

The recalled products come in a 50-lb. white paper bag marked with the lot codes: 8B6M17, 8D6M12, 8D6M11, with the lot code located on the top center of the bag; or in a 30-lb. brown corrugated case with MFG DATE of 3/21/16 or 3/28/16. MFG DATE is on the product label.

They were distributed between February 22, 2016, and May 17, 2016 in Arkansas, Virginia, Indiana and Michigan.

Customers who purchased the recalled products should return them to the place of purchase for a full refund.

Consumers with questions may contact the company at 1-800-624-8671 Monday – Friday from 8:00 am – 5:00 pm. (EST).

Hed Cycling of Roseville, Minn., is recalling about 380 bicycle rims. The rims can cause the brake pads to wear out unexpectedly, posing a crash ha...

This recall involves Ardennes Black and Jet Black rims manufactured between January 1, 2016, and March 15, 2016. Serial numbers beginning with 0116, 0216 or 0316 are printed near the valve hole on the rim.

The rims, manufactured in the U.S., were sold at authorized Hed dealers nationwide and online from January 2016, to March 2016, for between $700 for an individual wheel and $2,400 for a set of wheels.

Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled rims and contact HED Cycling for replacement instructions.

Consumers may contact HED Cycling toll-free at 888-246-3639 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (CT) Monday through Friday or online at www.HedCycling.com and click on the “Recall Notice” button for more information.

Hickory Harvest Foods is expanding its earlier recall of sunflower kernel products. The products may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes....

The following products, sold in packaged bags and deli tubs and marked with Best By Dates located on the front or back of the packages, are being recalled:

The recalled products were shipped to Arkansas, Arizona, California, Connecticut,, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, North Carolina, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas and Virginia.

Consumers should not consume the recalled products, but take them back to the store where they purchased them for a refund or simply discard them.

Consumers with questions may contact the company at 1-800-448-6887 Monday through Friday, 8:00am to 5:00 pm (ET) or by email at askus2@hickoryharvest.com.

Nissan North America is recalling 79,853 model year 2013-2014 Pathfinders manufactured June 20, 2012, to June. 13, 2013. The brake light switch may...

Nissan North America is recalling 79,853 model year 2013-2014 Pathfinders manufactured June 20, 2012, to June. 13, 2013.

The brake light switch may have been installed incorrectly causing the relay to remain in the "ON" position and the brake lights to remain illuminated even when the brakes are not applied. Additionally, the brake light switch may interfere with the brake-shift interlock, allowing the driver to exit the vehicle without the transmission in the "PARK" position.

If the brake lights remain illuminated, other drivers may fail to stop when the vehicle actually brakes, increasing the risk of a crash. If the driver exits the vehicle without the transmission in the "PARK" position, the vehicle may roll away, increasing the risk of injury.

Nissan will notify owners, and dealers will inspect the brake light switch and, as necessary, replace the relay, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin on July 25, 2016.

Whether it is a cell phone company or a cable TV provider, if it is in the communications business, chances are consumers have a complaint or two about it....

Whether it is a cell phone company or a cable TV provider, if it is in the communications business, chances are consumers have a complaint or two about it.

The American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) measures consumer attitudes about the various products and services they use. The good news for telecommunications companies is their significant slide stopped in 2016.

The latest results for the telecommunications sector, which covers pay television service, internet service providers (ISP), land line telephone service, wireless telephone service, and companies that make the phones, show a 1.9% gain to 70.1 on a 100-point scale. All five categories saw at least some improvement.

Subscription TV services may have the most work to do. A year ago, Comcast and Time Warner Cable (TWC) experienced the two largest declines in customer satisfaction. This year, the two cable providers got something of a bounce but remain among the weakest companies in the survey.

Overall, pay TV providers climbed 3.2% as a sector, scoring a 65. When Charter Communications completes its acquisition of TWC, ACSI predicts TWC will drag down Charter's satisfaction rating, at least in the short term.

“It’s not too hard for cable companies to improve when their starting point is the cellar,” said ACSI Managing Director David VanAmburg. “But for Charter Communications, its challenge will be to keep satisfaction levels from falling in the wake of a merger because ACSI data show that there tends to be a drop in customer satisfaction as companies combine operations and customer accounts.”

What sort of things do consumers not like about their TV providers? A quick look at ConsumerAffairs' reviews provides a few clues.

“Constant runaround, bill wrong, on hold for 20 minutes, get transferred, call gets dropped, started over, same thing... Hold... Hold... Hold,” Peter, a TWC customer from Maine, wrote in a ConsumerAffairs post last week.

In fairness, it should be noted that similar complaints are lodged against just about every TV provider. The providers getting the best ACSI scores are Verizon Fios and AT&T U-verse.

The survey shows ISPs also managed to improve their scores somewhat, but they hold the dubious honor of being the lowest rated sector in the survey. And while consumers can cut the cord and rely on the internet for video programming, they have fewer options if they want to ditch their ISP.

“High-speed Internet access is a must-have in the digital age, making ISPs and wireless companies critical providers for the workplace as well as the home,” said Claes Fornell, founder and chairman of ACSI. “With relatively few options, consumers have limited means for punishing companies for poor service.”

Which may lead to increased consumer frustration when things go wrong. Meanwhile, there appears to be markedly less frustration with both wireless providers and phone manufacturers.

“Now that contracts are becoming a historical relic, wireless companies are doing more to attract and retain customers in an environment where switching from one provider to another has never been easier,” VanAmburg said. “The challenge for wireless carriers is finding a balance between cutting prices to attract new customers and investing in faster, more reliable network infrastructure to keep them.”

In other words, there's nothing like a little competition to make companies work harder to keep consumers happy.

Americans are a salty bunch, consuming nearly 50 percent more sodium each day than experts recommend. As a result, one in three of us have high blood press...

Americans are a salty bunch, consuming nearly 50 percent more sodium each day than experts recommend. As a result, one in three of us have high blood pressure, a major risk factor for heart attacks and strokes, experts say.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is trying to make a dent in salt consuption, issuing new voluntary guidelines for food processors, restaurants, and consumers. The goal is to cut average daily sodium intake from its current 3,400 milligrams per day to 2,300 mg/day.

“Many Americans want to reduce sodium in their diets, but that’s hard to do when much of it is in everyday products we buy in stores and restaurants,” Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell said. “Today’s announcement is about putting power back in the hands of consumers, so that they can better control how much salt is in the food they eat and improve their health.” 

The FDA is especially targeting food manufacturers whose products tend to be salt-laden -- think soups, deli meats, bakery products, snack foods, and pizza -- and national restaurant chains. The agency estimates that less than 10 percent of packaged foods account for more than 80 percent of sales.

The FDA's guidelines could help prevent tens of thousands of premature deaths annually from heart attacks and strokes and tens of billions of dollars in medical costs, according to the Center for Science in the Public Interest, which sued the agency last October, alleging it was not moving quickly enough to regulate salt. 

In addition to issuing its draft guidance, the FDA formally denied CSPI’s petition that asked for mandatory, instead of voluntary, standards.

“While this is a voluntary approach as opposed to the mandatory approach we asked for and that the Institute of Medicine endorsed, it provides clear goals by which companies can be held accountable. And, it helps level the playing field for those companies that are already trying to use less salt in their foods,” said CSPI president Michael F. Jacobson. 

As our loved ones grow older, sometimes hard decisions need to be made about what is the best living situation for their quality of life. While some famili...

As our loved ones grow older, sometimes hard decisions need to be made about what is the best living situation for their quality of life. While some families have the ability to take care of elderly relatives, limited space and amenities can often force consumers to consider nursing homes as an option.

But are these nursing homes providing the type of care that we should expect? While reviews on these facilities are mixed, a recent study has found that quality of care can decline drastically if your loved one is obese.

What many consumers may not realize is that not all nursing homes are equipped to handle residents who are obese. These individuals often require much more staff attention than non-obese members, usually because they may need help completing daily tasks that they can’t do on their own.

The nursing homes may also need certain equipment to cater to obese members’ needs, such as specialized beds or lifting equipment. These specifications can really limit the number of nursing home choices that obese, older consumers have to work with.

With this in mind, the researchers set out to see if there was any disparity in the quality of care between nursing homes that accepted obese individuals versus those who did not. Over the course of two years, they examined over 164,000 records of obese individuals over the age of 65 who were admitted to a nursing home. Quality of care was measured by the number of deficiency citations that each nursing home received.

After examining the data, the researchers concluded that nursing homes that admitted obese members had a lower overall quality of care. These facilities were most likely to have a higher number of deficiencies.

The statistics also revealed the degree of obesity had an impact on care. The researchers found that nursing homes that admitted members who were morbidly obese (having a BMI of 40 or more) were the most likely to have severe deficiencies in care.

The research team hopes that their work will raise awareness for the quality of care in nursing homes, as well as start the conversation on giving equal opportunity to obese, elderly consumers who are looking to gain access to a nursing home.

A class action lawsuit charges that the BMW i3 electric city car turns range anxiety into sheer panic when its optional range extender kicks in, causing th...

A class action lawsuit charges that the BMW i3 electric city car turns range anxiety into sheer panic when its optional range extender kicks in, causing the car to go into "limp mode," slowing suddenly to 15 miles per hour.

The range extender -- called "REx" -- is a small two-cylinder engine that acts as a generator, helping to keep the battery charged when it falls below 6.5 percent. 

But lead plaintiff Dean Rollolazo says that instead of extending the little car's range, REx turns it into something more like a golf cart than a car capable of running safely in freeway traffic, Courthouse News Service reported.

BMW sells the optional range extender to relieve drivers' fear that their battery will give up the ghost when they're miles from home. But Rollolazo's suit says the range extender instear produces a "sudden, severe and dangerous loss in power because the range extender does not produce enough power for the vehicle to maintain normal performance."

The suit cites an article -- "Why I'm returning my BMW i3 after three months" -- in autoconnectedcar.com written by a woman identified only as Madame X who said her i3 took too long to charge and did not have sufficient range for her to motor around the sprawling Los Angeles area. 

"I’m paying $600 a month on the lease and $125 a month for charging at various stations around town, plus the charging situation is always producing range anxiety," she said. "The last straw came when I was driving back from the Inland Empire, I was in a fast lane on the freeway. I ran out of battery power and the gasoline extension engine started.

"I couldn’t keep up with traffic I had to pull over and drive in the slow lane which produced even more anxiety," Madame X said. 

In its documentation, BMW states that the REx is designed only as an emergency back-up: "The range extender is not intended for daily use. It’s for situations when the driver needs to extend the range of the vehicle to reach the next charging station.” 

Fast food companies are well aware that hungry customers don’t enjoy waiting in long lines. For this reason, a growing number of fast food chains are comin...

Fast food companies are well aware that hungry customers don’t enjoy waiting in long lines. For this reason, a growing number of fast food chains are coming out with apps that feature the ability to skip the lines by ordering ahead.

Chick-Fil-A is one such chain. The beef-averse company announced its new Chick-fil-A One app today, which will replace the restaurant’s previous app. The app will offer a wider range of customizable meal choices, as well as the ability to order and pay in advance.

The main goal of the app, it would seem, is to keep valuable time in the days of busy millennial parents and others who are pressed for time.

A recent survey commissioned by the chain revealed that 82% of millennial parents would do almost anything to avoid long lines at fast food restaurants when they are with their children. Forty-eight percent of those surveyed said they would rather not eat at all than stand in a line.

The Chick-fil-A One app seeks to ameliorate the problem of lines by speeding up the process of waiting at the counter or drive-through.  

Users of the app will also get access to its membership program, which offers freebies based on your taste preferences and previous orders. Customers can use the app to track how close they are to their next free offering -- which may not be so far away.

Those who download or update the app (which is available on the App Store or Google Play) before June 11 will receive an offer for a free sandwich.

As the grill covers start to come off for summer, many panting pups may begin eagerly awaiting a fallen scrap or two of meat. But not all of our foods -- o...

As the grill covers start to come off for summer, many panting pups may begin eagerly awaiting a fallen scrap or two of meat. But not all of our foods -- or backyard barbeque behaviors -- are safe for dogs.

Many popular grilling foods shouldn’t be given to four-legged family members. Additionally, there are other hidden risks of a cook-out that pet owners should look out for in the interest of keeping Fido healthy.

Here, we’ll take a look at the not so pet-friendly side of a backyard barbeque so that you can keep your dog safe.

Dogs love meat -- that’s a given. But while it may be tempting to indulge his adoration for animal protein by tossing him a few scraps or a bone, it may not be safe.

Ribs and other meats on the bone can do serious internal damage, and grapes, avocado, chocolate, corn on the cob, and fruits containing pits could cause choking. The ASPCA has also declared onions, garlics, leeks, chives, and other related foods unsafe for dogs, as they are known to cause red blood cell damage and gastrointestinal upset.

Hot dogs, on the other hand, can be a great treat for dogs when cut up into bite-sized pieces and given in moderation. 

Mosquito-repelling candles and bug spray may be your go-to for keeping mosquitos away from guests, but the chemicals included in these products may be harmful to pets.

Citronella candles should be placed in areas high enough that the dog can’t reach, even if he jumps. Gasoline for barbeques and insecticides (including bug sprays with DEET) should be stored in closed cabinets, out of paw’s reach.

It’s a myth that dogs don’t need sunscreen, according to the pet experts at DogVacay. On hot summer days, dogs should be protected not only from overheating and dehydration but also from sunburn.

White dogs, hairless dogs, and dogs with light colored fur are most susceptible to sunburn. To keep your dog’s sensitive skin protected, apply sunscreen to the areas most likely to get sunburned, including the nose, underbelly, tips of the ears, around the mouth, and eyelids.

Roaming around the backyard during a family cookout may just be your dog's idea of the perfect day -- but all that roaming could get him into trouble.

Keep an eye on your pup to help ensure he stays out of the trash, away from the grill, and safely inside the gated area. If your dog is less social (or more prone to getting into trouble), indoors might be the safest, most relaxing place to be during a cook-out. 

Tell a young person you want to help them improve their financial literacy and you might receive a glazed stare. Offer them a Marvel comic book and you mig...

Tell a young person you want to help them improve their financial literacy and you might receive a glazed stare. Offer them a Marvel comic book and you might get a much more enthusiastic response.

Because of that, Visa says it has teamed with Marvel Custom Solutions to release a new comic, “Guardians of the Galaxy: Rocket's Powerful Plan.” Just don't mention that the comic also teaches the fundamentals of money management.

Taking the conspiracy one step further, Visa has arranged to place the comic in public libraries throughout the country.

"At Visa we believe that financial education is most effective when the public and private sectors work together," said Hugh Norton, Visa's head of financial education. "Our partnership with Marvel and the Public Library Association allows us to make financial education entertaining and engaging, while also offering educators a resource that introduces basic money management concepts to the classroom."

This isn't the first time Visa has gone the comic book route to try to reach young people before they develop bad financial habits. It teamed with Marvel in 2012 to produce an educational tool in the form of a comic book that was translated into nine languages, with a total distribution of 497,000 copies.

Darren Sanchez, Marvel Custom Solutions Editor, says the new comic will also get international distribution and will be translated into 16 languages.

"Working on this comic was a unique opportunity that enabled us to introduce core concepts about finance and savings using the Guardians of the Galaxy and Ant-Man in a fun, action-packed story," Sanchez said.

Guardians of the Galaxy, a team of superheroes, appeared in a 2014 Disney film that made $773.3 million worldwide and became the highest-grossing superhero film of 2014. It also finished as the third highest-grossing film in North America of 2014.

Ant-Man appeared on the silver screen a year later, pulling in $519 million worldwide. Both franchises are well known to a global youth audience, not just from the films but also the Marvel comics.

While comic books are not normally found in public libraries, Felton Thomas, Director of the Cleveland Public Library, is happy to make the exception.

“This comic provides personal finance lessons in a way that excites children, and public libraries are the ideal place to make a resource like this available," Felton said.

Over the last couple of weeks, a number of Federal Reserve insiders, in speeches and other policy statements, have suggested the time is right for another ...

Over the last couple of weeks, a number of Federal Reserve insiders, in speeches and other policy statements, have suggested the time is right for another hike in the Fed's key interest rate.

After all, the Fed signaled a policy of rising rates back in December, but has only hiked the Overnight Discount Rate once – in December. Surely June is the time for another rate hike.

Don't count on it, says Rajeev Dhawan of the Economic Forecasting Center at Georgia State University’s J. Mack Robinson College of Business. Dhawan says the Fed may wait nearly an entire year, until March 2017, before hiking rates.

“The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) dot charts are of interest to the press for their noise potential,” Dhawan wrote in his quarterly “Forecast of the Nation,” released May 26. “These are submitted weeks in advance of the meeting and as such are purely opinions and not policy projections, resulting in confusion.”

Dhawan says there is plenty of evidence to suggest the Fed will wait. He singles out comments in the April FOMC minutes that contradict the idea of a June rate hike.

“The FOMC said consumer sentiment was high, which is true, but it has been moderating since last fall,” Dhawan said. Combined with extreme volatility in the stock market and the political uncertainty surrounding the presidential primaries and upcoming elections, “the momentum indicator for confidence is not up, but down.”

In the past, the FOMC moved to hike rates when economic indicators suggested the economy was heating up. The purpose of the rate hike was to tap on the brakes. Dhawan argues that improvements in the economy are about half the size of those before the Great Recession.

The fact that auto sales continue at a record pace is not a good indicator, Dhawan said. Spending on cars diverts money from other things.

“This is bad news for shopping malls and retail centers because consumers are scrimping on discretionary spending to service their auto loans in the face of less than stellar income gains,” he said.

The fact is, he says, it is a subpar recovery. Since the Fed normally hikes rates to show things down a bit, Dhawan says there is absolutely no reason the Fed should want to slow economic activity now.

So why would a rate hike even be on the table? Many a pundit has suggested the Fed is desperate to raise rates, only so it would be able to lower them in the future when the economy goes over a cliff, as it did in late 2008.

All of this makes Friday's May employment report from the Labor Department more important than usual. Strong job growth would suggest improving economic conditions that might give Fed policymakers an added incentive to hike rates later this month.

But increasingly Dhawan's view seems to be the prevailing one. A June rate increase – or anytime this summer – is by no means certain.

It may be a seller's real estate market, but that doesn't mean you can't do things to make a house sell faster and for a higher price.The Texas Associa...

It may be a seller's real estate market, but that doesn't mean you can't do things to make a house sell faster and for a higher price.

The Texas Association of Realtors recently issued some guidance that may be good advice for anyone trying to sell their home.

The first step is to keep your home squeaky clean. Not only do you need to declutter, but the kitchen and bathrooms need to be spotless.

Since a showing can come at any time, consider investing in a professional cleaning service for the time the house is on the market. The house will always be ready for a prospective buyer and there will be less stress and worry on the seller.

Second, get organized. A potential buyer will want a lot of information. Try creating a simple three ring binder with utility bills, before-and-after photos of the improvements upgrades you’ve made, and other relevant property resources a potential buyer would want to know about.

Third, look for creative ways to showcase your home's charms. If you have a flower or vegetable garden, create an attractive display with a note explaining where it came from.

Bake some cookies and leave them arranged on a platter for visitors, allow with copies of the recipe visitors can take with them. A note next to the platter should explain how easy it was to prepare the cookies in your gourmet kitchen.

The last thing a seller should ever do is be present when a potential buyer is looking at the house. It would be an intimidating presence that would make a sale much less likely.

However, by taking these steps, a homeowner can be an unseen and unobtrusive presence during a home tour. It says to the potential buyer that the house has been a nurturing and appreciated home and has been well cared-for by the present owners.

The payoff could come in the form of fewer days on the market and an offer closer to the asking price.

There is an assumption among parents that once the children leave home, they'll have a few years to sock money away for retirement. If they haven't saved e...

There is an assumption among parents that once the children leave home, they'll have a few years to sock money away for retirement. If they haven't saved enough early on, they can make up for it later.

A new report from the Boston College Center for Retirement suggests that isn't happening, at least not to the extent many retirement planners have assumed. The report finds parents haven't cut back that much on their spending and, as a result, aren't saving a lot more for retirement.

The authors begin with the assumption that when children leave the household, parents have more disposable income. What they do with this money is important for two reasons, they argue.

If parents save the extra money, they not only build up their retirement savings, they also keep their standard of living in check, meaning they will need less money to support it during retirement.

However, if they spend the money, they not only reduce the amount of money available at retirement, they have increased the standard of living they will need to support during retirement.

“The results in this brief suggest that when the kids leave, households do increase their saving through their 401(k)s, but just slightly,” the authors write. The size of the increase is more consistent with research that suggests roughly half of households do not have enough savings for retirement than with the optimal savings research.”

The report does not speculate on how parents spend their money. It does note, however, that other research has shown that parents often provide financial assistance to their children, even after they leave home.

This was often the case in the years immediately following the financial crisis, when unemployment was high and wage increases were non-existent.

Last year the Pew Research Center issued a report that found 61% of seniors had provided financial support to an adult child in the previous 12 months.

Ameriprise, a financial services firm, issued research showing that 23% of Americans said their retirement planning had been disrupted by the financial help they were providing their offspring.

Applications for mortgages continue to yo-yo, falling this past week after rising the week before.According to the Mortgage Bankers Association, applic...

According to the Mortgage Bankers Association, applications dropped 4.1% during the week ending May 27.

The Refinance Index fell 4%, although the refinance share of mortgage activity increased to 54.3% of total applications from 53.7% the previous week.

The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity was down to 5.0% of total applications from 5.7% a week earlier, the FHA share slipped to 12.5% from 12.7%, the VA share rose to 12.0% from 11.5% a week earlier, and the USDA share was unchanged at 0.7% the week prior.

First Source of Tonawanda, N.Y., is recalling the following items that may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes: 15 LBS Alpine Valley Fitness ...

First Source of Tonawanda, N.Y., is recalling the following items that may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes:

The recalled items were distributed between March 11 and May 21, 206 in retail stores in Indiana, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia and South Carolina.

Consumers with questions may contact the company at 1 (716) 389–0264, Monday – Friday, 8am – 5pm (ET).

Ferrari North America is recalling 2,820 model year 2009-2011 Ferrari Californias manufactured February 16, 2009, to July 8, 2011, and model year 2010-2011...

Ferrari North America is recalling 2,820 model year 2009-2011 Ferrari Californias manufactured February 16, 2009, to July 8, 2011, and model year 2010-2011 458 Italias manufactured March 5, 2010, to July 29, 2011.

These vehicles are equipped with airbag inflators assembled as part of the passenger front airbag modules, used as original equipment or replacement equipment. In the event of a crash necessitating airbag deployment, the inflators may rupture due to propellant degradation occurring after long-term exposure to absolute humidity and temperature cycling.

An inflator rupture may result in metal fragments striking the vehicle occupants resulting in serious injury or death.

Ferrari will notify owners, and dealers will replace the passenger frontal air bag assembly, free of charge. The manufacturer has not yet provided a notification schedule.

Owners may contact Ferrari customer service at 1-866-551-2828. Ferrari's number for this recall is 60.

E S Foods of Woodbury, N.Y., is recalling 3700 cases of Meal Breaks items containing individually packed Sunrich Natural Sunflower Kernels (Roasted & Salte...

E S Foods of Woodbury, N.Y., is recalling 3700 cases of Meal Breaks items containing individually packed Sunrich Natural Sunflower Kernels (Roasted & Salted).

The recalled products are packed in a master case containing the product code number, product description, “Best Used By” Date, and lot code. They were distributed in California, Kansas, Kentucky, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin to foodservice distributors, food banks and school meal programs between April 21 and May 13, 2016.

Customers who purchased any of the recalled products should contact E S Foods to arrange for product retrieval.

Box Components of Anaheim, Calif., is recalling about 4,100 bicycle forks. The steer tube can become loose in the crown of the fork, posing a fall ...

This recall involves Box Components’ carbon fiber BMX bicycle forks. The forks are black with “BOX” printed in white on the side. The model numbers are printed in white letters on the front face of fork crown. The affected models have one of the following three serial numbers printed above the crown: 140508, 140606 or 140702.

The bicycle forks, manufactured in China, were sold at independent bike shops and online at www.danscomp.com and www.jrbicycles.com from July 2013, through April 2015, for about $300.

Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled forks and contact Box Components for a free replacement bicycle fork.

Consumers may contact Box Components toll-free at (888) 279-9691 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (PT) Monday through Friday, or online at www.boxcomponents.com for more information.  

Chrysler (FCA US LLC) is recalling 16,549 model year 2013-2016 Fiat 500e vehicles manufactured March 22, 2012, to January 29, 2016. The power inver...

Chrysler (FCA US LLC) is recalling 16,549 model year 2013-2016 Fiat 500e vehicles manufactured March 22, 2012, to January 29, 2016.

The power inverter module (PIM) may experience voltage spikes which can cause the propulsion system to shut down and loss of motive power, increasing the risk of a crash.

Chrysler will notify owners, and dealers will update the PIM software, free of charge. Interim notices will be sent to owners in June 2016. Owners will receive a second notice when remedy software become available.

Owners may contact Chrysler customer service at 1-800-853-1403. Chrysler's number for this recall is S26.

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