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EMERITUS NEWS CONSUMER

FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION SUES AT&T OVER MISLEADING UNLIMITED TEXT OPTION / AGENCY CLAIMS CUSTOMERS GET REDUCED WEB PERFORMANCE

More from the LA Times, click here - 10/28/2014

SENATORS DEMAND RECALL FOR ALL CARS AFFECTED BY DEFECTIVE AIR BAGS / PROBE INTO AIRBAG DEFECTS EXPANDS

More from Associated Press, click here - Copy of letter sent by Sens. Blumenthal and Markey, click here - 10/23/2014

DATA BREACH AT HOME DEPOT MAY INVOLVE MORE THAN 100 MILLION BANK CARDS

More from Bloomberg, click here - 09/03/2014

WHEN TAKING VACATION, TAKE PICTURES OF RENTAL CARS AND HOTEL ROOMS TO DEFEND AGAINST UNFAIR DAMAGE CLAIMS

More from the Washington Post, click here - 08/24/2014

SPARK PLUG MAKER AGREES TO PAY $52 MILLION CRIMINAL FINE FOR PRICE FIXING PRODUCTS SOLD TO AUTOMAKERS

More from the Emeritus Newsroom - NGK Spark Plug Co. Ltd., an automotive parts manufacturer based in Nagoya, Japan, has agreed to plead guilty and to pay a $52.1 million criminal fine for its role in a conspiracy to fix prices and rig bids for spark plugs, standard oxygen sensors, and air fuel ratio sensors installed in cars sold to automobile manufacturers in the United States and elsewhere, the Department of Justice announced today.

According to the one-count felony charge filed today in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan in Detroit, NGK Spark Plug engaged in a conspiracy to rig bids for, and to fix, stabilize and maintain the prices of, spark plugs, standard oxygen sensors and air fuel ratio sensors installed in cars sold to automobile manufacturers such as DaimlerChrysler AG, Honda Motor Co. Ltd. and Toyota Motor Corp., among others, in the United States and elsewhere. In addition to the criminal fine, NGK Spark Plug has agreed to cooperate in the department’s ongoing investigation. The plea agreement will be subject to court approval.

Including the NGK Spark Plug case, 28 companies and 26 executives have pleaded guilty or agreed to plead guilty in the division’s ongoing investigation into price fixing and bid rigging in the auto parts industry and have agreed to pay a total of $2.4 billion in criminal fines.

Full text of Justice Department statement, click here - 08/19/2014

SUPERVALUE STORE GROUP ADMITS MASSIVE DATA BREACH INVOLVING MILLIONS OF BANK CARDS / INCLUDES ALBERTSONS, SHAWS, JEWEL-OSCO, SAV-ON

More from Associated Press, click here - 08/16/2014

F-T-C SAYS CONSUMERS MUST BE GIVEN MORE NOTICE AND CONTROL OVER PHONE COMPANIES' THIRD PARTY BILLING CHARGES

More from the Emeritus Newsroom - The Federal Trade Commission, which has filed six so called, "Cramming" cases, against major wireless phone companies in recent months, has released a report calling for consumer billing changes.

According to the agency, "As carrier billing has developed... fraud has become a significant problem for consumers. In particular, mobile cramming –the unlawful practice of placing unauthorized third-party charges on mobile phone accounts –is a significant concern. Mobile cramming occurs when consumers are signed up and billed for third-party services, such as ringtones and recurring text messages containing trivia or horoscopes, without their knowledge or consent. In six recent enforcement actions, the Commission has alleged that such practices have cost consumers many millions of dollars, and in just three of these actions, defendants have agreed to orders imposing judgments totaling more than $160 million".

The FTC suggests five solutions. First, mobile carriers should give consumers the option to block all third- party charges on their phone accounts. Second, advertisements for products or services charged to a mobile bill must not be deceptive. Third, it is critical that consumers provide their express, informed consent to charges before they are billed to a mobile account, and that reliable records of such authorizations are maintained. Fourth, all charges for third-party services should be clearly and conspicuously disclosed to consumers in a non-deceptive manner. Fifth, carriers should implement an effective dispute resolution process. Such a process should be clear and consistent and enableconsumers to dispute suspicious charges on their mobile accounts and obtain refunds for unauthorized charges.

Full text of FTC PDF file statement, click here - 07/30/2014

SOUTHWEST AIRLINES FACES $12 MILLION FINE OVER SUBSTANDARD AIRLINER REPAIRS

More from the Emeritus Newsroom - The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is proposing a $12 million civil penalty against Southwest Airlines for failing to comply with Federal Aviation Regulations in three separate enforcement cases related to repairs on Boeing 737 jetliners operated by the Dallas-based airline.

The FAA alleges that beginning in 2006, Southwest conducted so-called “extreme makeover” alterations to eliminate potential cracking of the aluminum skin on 44 jetliners. The FAA conducted an investigation that included both the airline and its contractor, Aviation Technical Services, Inc., (ATS) of Everett, Wash. Investigators determined that ATS failed to follow proper procedures for replacing the fuselage skins on these aircraft. FAA investigators also determined that ATS failed to follow required procedures for placing the airplanes on jacks and stabilizing them. All of the work was done under the supervision of Southwest Airlines, which was responsible for ensuring that procedures were properly followed.

Southwest returned the jetliners to service and operated them when they were not in compliance with Federal Aviation Regulations, the FAA alleges. The regulatory violations charged involve numerous flights that occurred in 2009 after the FAA put the airline on notice that these aircraft were not in compliance with either FAA Airworthiness Directives or alternate, FAA-approved methods of complying with the directives. The FAA later approved the repairs after the airline provided proper documentation that the repairs met safety standards.

During its investigation, the FAA found that ATS workers applied sealant beneath the new skin panels but did not install fasteners in all of the rivet holes during the timeframe for the sealant to be effective. This could have resulted in gaps between the skin and the surface to which it was being mounted. Such gaps could allow moisture to penetrate the skin and lead to corrosion. As a result of the improper repairs, these airplanes did not comply with Federal Aviation Regulations.

The FAA also alleges that ATS personnel failed to follow requirements to properly place these airplanes on jacks and shore them up while the work was being performed. If a plane is shored improperly during skin replacement, the airframe could shift and lead to subsequent problems with the new skin.

In the third case, the FAA alleges that Southwest Airlines failed to properly install a ground wire on water drain masts on two of its Boeing 737s in response to an FAA Airworthiness Directive addressing lightning strikes on these components. As a result, the aircraft were not in compliance with Federal Aviation Regulations. The airplanes were each operated on more than 20 passenger flights after Southwest Airlines became aware of the discrepancies but before the airline corrected the problem.

Full text of FAA statement, click here - 07/30/2014

MAJOR RECALLS FOR CHRYSLER, G-M, HYUNDAI, MAZDA, NISSAN, V-W

More from the Emeritus Newsroom - Chrysler Group LLC (Chrysler) is recalling 643,618 model year 2005-2007 Jeep Grand Cherokee vehicles manufactured February 11, 2004, to July 5, 2007, and 2006-2007 Jeep Commander vehicles manufactured January 31, 2005, to July 5, 2007. In the affected vehicles, the driver may accidentally hit the ignition key with their knee, unintentionally knocking the key out of the run position, turning off the engine. More on Chrysler recall, click here .

General Motors LLC (GM) is recalling 57,192 model year 2015 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 and 3500 HD vehicles manufactured October 1, 2013 to June 6, 2014, and 2015 GMC Sierra 2500 and 3500 HD vehicles manufactured September 30, 2013, to June 6, 2014. The power steering hose clamp may disconnect from the power steering pump or gear, causing a loss of power steering fluid. More on Silverado/Sierra recall, click here.

General Motors LLC (GM) is recalling certain model year 2014 Chevrolet Corvette vehicles manufactured November 20, 2013, to March 25, 2014, and equipped with optional sport seats. The seats do not meet internal specifications for injury protection in relation to an unbelted young child. More on Corvette recall, click here.

General Motors LLC (GM) is recalling certain model year 2011 Cadillac CTS vehicles manufactured October 18, 2010, to June 2, 2011. In the affected vehicles, vibrations from the drive shaft may cause the vehicle's roll over sensor to command the roof rail air bags to deploy. More on Cadillac recall, click here.

Hyundai Motor Company (Hyundai) is recalling certain model year 2015 Sonata vehicles manufactured April 25, 2014, through June 16, 2014. Due to a manufacturing error, one or both of the front brake calipers may fracture. More on Hyundai recall, click here .

Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. (Volkswagen) is recalling certain model year 2015 Golf and GTI vehicles manufactured January 27, 2014, to May 12, 2014. In the affected vehicles, the stabilizer link fasteners may come loose and possibly interfere with the steering of the vehicle. More from VW recall, click here .

Mazda North America Operations (Mazda) is recalling certain model year 2003-2004 Mazda6 vehicles and 2004 RX-8 vehicles to address a safety defect in the passenger side frontal air bag which may produce excessive internal pressure causing the inflator to rupture upon deployment of the air bag. More Mazda recall, click here .

Nissan North America, Inc. (Nissan) is recalling 226,326 model year 2002-2003 Nissan Maxima, Pathfinder and Infiniti I35 and QX4; 2002-2004 Nissan Sentra and 2003 Infiniti FX vehicles to address a safety defect in the passenger side frontal air bag which may produce excessive internal pressure causing the inflator to rupture upon deployment of the air bag. This recall addresses both the passenger side frontal air bags that were originally installed in the vehicles, as well as replacement air bags that may have been installed as replacement service parts. A replacement air bag may have been installed, as one example, if a vehicle had been in a crash necessitating the replacement of the passenger side frontal air bag. More on Nissan recall, click here.

- 07/28/2014

CRUISE SHIP BUSINESS MAY FACE MORE REGULATIONS / SENATE HEARING FEATURES HORROR STORIES FROM PASSENGERS

More from Associated Press, click here - 07/24/2014

AIRLINES "A LA CARTE" CHARGES CONTINUE TO PROPEL PROFITS

More from the Emeritus Newsroom - A survey taken by Idea Works for CarTrawler, a car rental service company, shows the airline industry continues to stake its survival on services besides selling tickets. IdeaWorksCompany researched the financial filings made by 114 airlines all over the world, 59 of which disclose ancillary revenue activity, to reveal that ancillary revenue reported by airlines reached $16 per passenger in 2013, easily surpassing global figures for profit per passenger. The annual CarTrawler survey of global airline ancillary revenue shows growth to $31.5 billion for 2013─an increase of 1200 percent since the first such survey in 2007.

Airlines are increasingly more revealing about their approach to ancillary revenue. During the course of its global review of ancillary revenue activities, IdeaWorksCompany uncovered the following examples:

Aeroflot

sales of frequent flier miles to partners leaped to $173.6 million for 2013 from a 2012 result of $73.5 million.

Air Greenland

generated $8.1 million from the operation of its 100% owned Hotel Arctic, the world’s “most northerly 4 star hotel.”

Allegiant

has an exclusive agreement with Enterprise Holdings for rental cars packaged with air travel. The relationship generated 844,858 car rental days during 2013.

Hawaiian

realized revenue of $6.6 million from the sale of preferred seating for a 12 month period during 2013.

Norwegian

donated 1 krone from the sale of each water bottle sold onboard to UNICEF.

The carrier sold 1.3 million bottles during 2013 and donated $212,000

to UNICEF.

Southwest

realized $195 million during 2013 from its Early Bird check in feature which provides earlier boarding and better access to overhead carry on space.

Spirit

gained $28.5 million from the sale of Free Spirit mileage credits to loyalty program

partners, such as the issuer of its co-branded credit card.

Volaris

a low fare airline in Mexico, generated $1.8 million from the sale of memberships in its V-Club, which provides access to members-only low fare deals.

Full text of IdeaWorks survey, click here - 07/22/2014

OREGON ATTORNEY GENERAL SUES MAKER OF "5 HOUR ENERGY" DRINK FOR DECEPTIVE MARKETING

More from Associated Press, click here - 07/18/2014

KIA RECALLS 52,000 SOUL MODELS FOR POTENTIAL STEERING FAILURE

More from Associated Press, click here- 07/18/2014

VEHICLE RECALLS: GM, CHRYSLER, HONDA, HYUNDAI, SUBARU / HARLEY-DAVIDSON RECALLS 66,000 CYCLES

More from the Emeritus Newsroom - Two recalls from GM involve millions of their vehicles.

GM is recalling 6,729,742 for a potential defect in the airbag system. Until this recall is performed, customers should remove all items from their key rings, leaving only the ignition key. The key fob (if applicable), should also be removed from the key ring. General Motors LLC (GM) notified the agency on July 3, 2014, that they are recalling 6,729,742 model year 2000-2005 Chevrolet Impala and Monte Carlo, 1997-2005 Chevrolet Malibu, 1999-2004 Oldsmobile Alero, 1998-2002 Oldsmobile Intrigue, 1999-2005 Pontiac Grand Am and 2004-2008 Pontiac Grand Prix vehicles. In these models, the weight on the key ring and/or road conditions or some other jarring event may cause the ignition switch to move out of the run position, turning off the engine. If the key is not in the run position, the air bags may not deploy if the vehicle is involved in a crash, increasing the risk of injury. Full text of recall announcement, click here.

ALSO, GM is recalling 28,789 model year 2004-2011 Saab 9-3 Convertible vehicles manufactured July 30, 2003, to February 15, 2011. In the affected vehicles, the driver's side front seat belt retractor may break, causing the seat belt webbing not to retract. In the event of a crash, a seat belt that has not retracted may not properly restrain the seat occupant, increasing their risk of injury. Full text of recall announcement, click here.

Chrysler Group LLC (Chrysler) is recalling 651,130 model year 2011-2014 Dodge Durango and Jeep Grand Cherokee vehicles manufactured January 5, 2010, through December 11, 2013. In the affected vehicles, the wiring for the vanity lamp in the sun visor may short circuit, after a service repair is performed.
If the vanity lamp wiring shorts, there is an increased risk of fire. Full text of recall announcement, click here.

Subaru of America, Inc. (Subaru) is conducting a recall of 8,557 model year 2003-2004 Legacy, Outback, and Baja vehicles as well as certain 2004 Impreza (including WRX/STI) vehicles, equipped with Takata-brand front passenger air bag inflators. Upon deployment of the passenger side frontal air bag, excessive internal pressure may cause the inflator to rupture. In the event of a crash necessitating deployment of the passenger side frontal air bag, the inflator could rupture with metal fragments striking and potentially seriously injuring the vehicle occupants. Full text of recall announcement, click here.

Hyundai Motor Company (Hyundai) is recalling 2,138 model year 2015 Sonata vehicles manufactured May 2, 2014, through May 23, 2014. A poor connection within the vehicle's wiring harness may result in a reduction of steering assist from the vehicle's motor driven power steering system or the inability to move the vehicle's shifter from the Park position. The reduction of power steering assist can increase the steering effort needed, increasing the risk of a crash. Full text of recall announcement, click here.

American Honda Motor Co., Inc (Honda) is recalling 14,078 model year 2013 Acura ILX vehicles manufactured January 16, 2012 to March 1, 2013, ILX Hybrid vehicles manufactured January 12, 2012 to February 7, 2013, and certain model year 2014 ILX vehicles manufactured May 2, 2013, to May 31, 2014, and ILX Hybrid vehicles manufactured October 18, 2013 to February 19, 2014. Excessive heat temperatures around the headlight bulb and reflector unit may diminish the output of the headlight and cause smoke, melting, and fire. Thus, these vehicles fail to comply with the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 108, "Lamps, Reflective Devices, and Associated Equipment." The diminished light output may decrease the driver's visibility, increasing the risk of a crash. Additionally, the excessive heat coming from around the bulb and reflector could cause the headlights to overheat, increasing the risk of a fire. Full text of recall announcement, click here.

And finally, in a very rare announcement, Harley Davidson is recalling 66,421 model year 2014 ABS-equipped Touring and CVO Touring motorcycles, models FLHTK, FLHTKSE, FLHTKSHRINE, FLHTCU, FLHTCUTC, FLHTP, FLHX, FLHXS, FLHXSHRINE, FLHR, FLHRC, FLHP, and FLHRSE, manufactured July 1, 2013, through May 7, 2014. The affected motorcycles may have been assembled with the front brake line positioned so that it can be pinched between the fuel tank and frame causing the front brake fluid pressure to increase. A pinched brake line will increase the front brake fluid pressure, possibly resulting in a front wheel lock-up, increasing the risk of a crash. Full text of recall announcement, click here.

07/14 2014

CHRYSLER RECALLS 525,000 VEHICLES FOR IGNITION SWITCHES / SUBARU RECALLS 660,000 VEHICLES FOR BRAKE LINE DEFECTS

More from the Emeritus Newsroom - Subaru of America, Inc. (Subaru) is recalling certain model year 2005-2009 Outback and Legacy, 2008-2011 Impreza and 2008-2014 Impreza WRX/STI, and 2009-2013 Forester vehicles, currently, or formerly, registered in Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia, Wisconsin and the District of Columbia. Salt water could splash on the brake lines through a gap in the fuel tank protector, resulting in excessive corrosion of the brake lines. Full text on Subaru recall, click here .

Chrysler Group LLC (Chrysler) is recalling certain model year 2009-2010 Dodge Journey vehicles manufactured June 29, 2007, to June 17, 2010, and 2008-2010 Dodge Grand Caravan and Chrysler Town and Country vehicles manufactured January 26, 2007, to June 17, 2010. Road conditions or some other jarring event may cause the ignition switch to move out of the run position, turning off the engine. This defect can affect the safe operation of the airbag system. Until this recall is performed, customers should remove all items from their key rings, leaving only the ignition key. Full text of Chrysler recall, click here.

07/07/2014

GRACO ADDS MORE INFANT CAR SEATS TO LARGEST SEAT RECALL IN U-S HISTORY

More from the Emeritus Newsroom - After recalling 4.2 million child car seats earlier this year, Graco announced today it is adding 1.9 million more seats to the recall concerning a buckle which could be difficult to release in an emergency.

The company announced today it is recalling an older model of harness buckle used on infant car seats manufactured between July 2010 and May 2013. As a solution, Graco says it will offer a free updated replacement buckle.In reviewing the matter further with NHTSA, we found that an older buckle design used on select infant car seats was difficult to open. Although they might look the same from the outside, the other buckles used on our infant car seats have been mechanically redesigned to make them easier to open. However, Graco says it will offer a free replacement buckle to any consumer who has an infant car seat not included in this recall, but would like to update their buckle to Graco’s current buckle design. In the meantime, the company claims the old buckles are safe to use until the replacement buckles are attached. You can order a replacement buckle by completing the online order form, and we will ship you a replacement kit at no cost in Summer 2014. To help you replace your harness buckle, our customer service team will include detailed instructions in your replacement kit and you can also find helpful videos at GracoBuckleRecall.com.

Full text of Graco recall statement, click here - 07/01/2014

FEDS ACCUSE T-MOBILE OF MAKING MILLIONS FROM BOGUS CUSTOMER CHARGES

More from the Emeritus Newsroom - In a complaint filed today, the Federal Trade Commission is charging mobile phone service provider T-Mobile USA, Inc., with making hundreds of millions of dollars by placing charges on mobile phone bills for purported “premium” SMS subscriptions that, in many cases, were bogus charges that were never authorized by its customers. The agency is seeking refunds for customers, though the total amount has not yet been established.

The FTC alleges that T-Mobile received anywhere from 35 to 40 percent of the total amount charged to consumers for subscriptions for content such as flirting tips, horoscope information or celebrity gossip that typically cost $9.99 per month. According to the FTC’s complaint, T-Mobile in some cases continued to bill its customers for these services offered by scammers years after becoming aware of signs that the charges were fraudulent.

“It’s wrong for a company like T-Mobile to profit from scams against its customers when there were clear warning signs the charges it was imposing were fraudulent,” said FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez. “The FTC’s goal is to ensure that T-Mobile repays all its customers for these crammed charges.”

In a process known as “third-party billing,” a phone company places charges on a consumer’s bill for services offered by another company, often receiving a substantial percentage of the amount charged. When the charges are placed on the bill without the consumer’s authorization, it is known as “cramming.”

The FTC’s complaint alleges that in some cases, T-Mobile was charging consumers for services that had refund rates of up to 40 percent in a single month. The FTC has alleged that because such a large number of people were seeking refunds, it was an obvious sign to T-Mobile that the charges were never authorized by its customers. As the complaint notes, the refund rate likely significantly understates the percentage of consumers who were crammed. The complaint also states that internal company documents show that T-Mobile had received a high number of consumer complaints at least as early as 2012.

The FTC has made significant efforts to end mobile cramming. In the last year, in addition to holding a public workshop on mobile cramming, the Commission has filed several lawsuits against alleged mobile cramming operations Jesta Digital, Wise Media, and Tatto Inc. According to today’s complaint, T-Mobile billed its customers for the services of these FTC defendants as well as an operation sued by the Texas Attorney General.

The complaint against T-Mobile alleges that the company’s billing practices made it difficult for consumers to detect that they were being charged, much less by whom. When consumers viewed a summary of their T-Mobile bill online, according to the complaint, it did not show consumers that they were being charged by a third party, or that the charge was part of a recurring subscription. The heading under which the charges would be listed, “Premium Services,” could only be seen after clicking on a separate heading called “Use Charges.” Even after clicking, though, consumers still could not see the individual charges.

The complaint also alleges that T-Mobile’s full phone bills, which can be longer than 50 pages, made it nearly impossible for consumers to find and understand third-party subscription charges. After looking past a “Summary” section as well as an “Account Service Detail” section, both of which described “Usage Charges” but did not itemize those charges, a consumer might then reach the section labeled “Premium Services,” where the crammed items would be listed.

According to the complaint, the information would be listed there in an abbreviated form, such as “8888906150BrnStorm23918,” that did not explain that the charge was for a recurring third-party subscription supposedly authorized by the consumer. In addition, the complaint notes that consumers who use pre-paid calling plans do not receive monthly bills, and as a result the subscription fee was debited from their pre-paid account without their knowledge.

When consumers were able to determine they were being charged for services they hadn’t ordered, the complaint alleges that T-Mobile in many cases failed to provide consumers with full refunds. Indeed, the FTC charged that T-Mobile refused refunds to some customers, offering only partial refunds of two months’ worth of the charges to others, and in other cases instructed consumers to seek refunds directly from the scammers – without providing accurate contact information to do so.

The complaint also notes that in some cases, T-Mobile claimed that consumers had authorized the charges despite having no proof of consumers doing so.

The FTC’s complaint seeks a court order to permanently prevent T-Mobile from engaging in mobile cramming and to obtain refunds for consumers and disgorgement of T-Mobile’s ill-gotten gains.

Full text of FTC statement, click here - 07/01/2014

L'OREAL SETTLES FALSE CLAIMS CASE CHALLENGING ANTI AGING SKIN PRODUCTS

More from the Emeritus Newsroom - Cosmetics company L’Oréal USA, Inc. has agreed to settle Federal Trade Commission charges of deceptive advertising about its Lancôme Génifique and L’Oréal Paris Youth Code skincare products. According to the FTC’s complaint, L’Oréal made false and unsubstantiated claims that its Génifique and Youth Code products provided anti-aging benefits by targeting users’ genes. 

“It would be nice if cosmetics could alter our genes and turn back time,” said Jessica Rich, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “But L’Oréal couldn’t support these claims.

In national advertising campaigns that encompassed print, radio, television, Internet, and social media outlets, L’Oréal claimed that its Génifique products were “clinically proven” to “boost genes’ activity and stimulate the production of youth proteinsthat would cause “visibly younger skin in just 7 days,” and would provide results to specific percentages of users. 

Similarly, for its Youth Code products, L’Oréal touted – in both English- and Spanish-language advertisements – the “new era of skincare:  gene science,” and that consumers could “crack the code to younger acting skin.”

Charging as much as $132 per container, L’Oréal has sold Génifique nationwide since February 2009 at Lancôme counters in department stores and at beauty specialty stores. The company has sold Youth Code, which costs up to $25 per container at major retail stores across the United States, since November 2010. 

Under the proposed administrative settlement, L’Oréal is prohibited from claiming that any Lancôme brand or L’Oréal Paris brand facial skincare product targets or boosts the activity of genes to make skin look or act younger, or respond five times faster to aggressors like stress, fatigue, and aging, unless the company has competent and reliable scientific evidence substantiating such claims. The settlement also prohibits claims that certain Lancôme brand and L’Oréal Paris brand products affect genes unless the claims are supported by competent and reliable scientific evidence. Finally, L’Oréal is prohibited from making claims about these products that misrepresent the results of any test or study.   

Full text of FTC statement, click here - 07/01/2014

ANOTHER EXECUTIVE PLEADS GUILTY IN MASSIVE AUTO PARTS PRICE FIXING CASE

Mroe from the Emeritus Newsroom - An executive of Japan-based Denso Corp. has agreed to plead guilty and to serve one year and one day in a U.S. prison in connection with the Antitrust Division’s investigation into a conspiracy to fix the prices of instrument panel clusters, also known as meters, installed in cars sold in the United States and elsewhere, according to the Justice Department.

A one-count felony charge was filed on June 27, 2014, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan in Detroit against Satoru Horisaki, a group leader in Denso’s Utsunomiya Branch Office.  According to the charge, Horisaki, a Japanese national, participated in the conspiracy from in or about 2009 to in or about February 2010, by agreeing upon bids and prices for, and allocating the supply of, automotive instrument panel clusters sold to Honda of America Manufacturing Co. Inc., in the United States and elsewhere.  In addition to the prison sentence, Horisaki has agreed to pay a $20,000 criminal fine and to cooperate with the department’s ongoing investigation.  The plea agreement will be subject to court approval.

To date, 36 individuals, including Horisaki, have been charged in the department’s ongoing investigation into price fixing and bid rigging in the auto parts industry.  Additionally, 27 companies have pleaded guilty or agreed to plead guilty and have agreed to pay a total of over $2.3 billion in fines.

Horisaki is charged with price fixing in violation of the Sherman Act, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $1 million criminal fine for individuals.  The maximum fine for an individual may be increased to twice the gain derived from the crime or twice the loss suffered by the victims of the crime, if either of those amounts is greater than the statutory maximum fine.

The charges arose from an ongoing federal antitrust investigation into price fixing, bid rigging and other anticompetitive conduct in the automotive parts industry, which is being conducted by each of the Antitrust Division’s criminal enforcement sections and the FBI.  This case was brought by the Washington Criminal I Section and the San Francisco Office of the Antitrust Division, with the assistance of the Detroit Field Office of the FBI. 

IN ANOTHER CASE SETTLED LAST WEEK, three manufacturers of polyurethane foam used to create interior components for automobiles pleaded guilty to participating in a scheme to fix prices to customers, the Department of Justice announced. Riverside Seat Co., Woodbridge Foam Fabricating Inc. and SW Foam LLC pleaded guilty to a one-count felony charge in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York in Brooklyn.  According to the charge, the companies conspired with others to fix prices for polyurethane flexible slab stock automotive foam in the U.S. and elsewhere from at least as early as June 9, 2008 until at least April 20, 2009.  The companies have agreed to pay a total of $6,148,800 in criminal fines and to cooperate with the department’s ongoing investigation.

Full text of Justice Department announcement, click here - Full text of foam components case, click here - 07/01/2014

GM ADDS 8.2 MILLION VEHICLES TO RECALL LIST / SAFETY RECALL CRISIS DEEPENS

More from Associated Press, click here - 06/30/3014

AEREO HALTS SERVICE AFTER SUPREME COURT DECISION

More from Associated Press, click here- Press release from Aereo, click here - 06/28/2014

GM RECALLS ANOTHER 29,000 CHEVY CRUZE MODELS

More from the Boston Globe, click here - 06/27/2014

AEREO LOSES SUPREME COURT DECISION / COURT SAYS AEREO VIOLATES COPYRIGHT LAW ACTING LIKE A CABLE TV PROVIDER

More from Associated Press, click here - Actual Supreme Court decision, click here - Analysis of the Aereo decision from TV NewsCheck, click here - 06/25/2014

AIRBAG MAKER TAKATA FORCES RECALLS IN MILLIONS MORE CARS / DEFECT CAN RUPTURE AIRBAGS IN HUMID CLIMATES

More from Associated Press, click here- 06/24/2014

GM ANNOUNCES 3.16 MILLION CARS RECALLED FOR MORE IGNITION SWITCH PROBLEMS / ALSO ANNOUNCES MORE RECALLS FOR AIR BAG, DRIVE SHAFT, TRANSMISSION & STEERING ASSIST

More from the Emeritus Newsroom - Just when you thought most of the GM recalls were over, another announcement from the company today on more than three million vehicles.

General Motors will rework or replace the ignition keys on about 3.16 million 2000 to 2014 model year cars in the U.S. because the ignition switch may inadvertently move out of the “run” position if the key is carrying extra weight and experiences some jarring event.

The use of a key with a hole, rather than a slotted key, addresses the concern of unintended key rotation due to a jarring road event, such as striking a pothole or crossing railroad tracks. 

Only one of the models included in the U.S. recall of 3,160,725 cars is still in production – the previous generation Chevrolet Impala, which is sold to daily rental fleets as the Impala Limited. The total North America population – U.S., Canada, Mexico and exports – is 3,360,555.

The safety recall follows a review of ignition issues following the recall in February of 2.6 million Chevrolet Cobalts and other small cars. GM is aware of eight crashes and six injuries related to this recall.

If the ignition switch moves out of the “run” position, there is an effect on power steering and power braking. In addition, the timing of the key movement out of the “run” position, relative to the activation of the sensing algorithm of the crash event, may result in the air bags not deploying.

The cars being recalled are the:

Buick Lacrosse MY 2005-2009
Chevrolet Impala MY 2006-2014
Cadillac Deville MY 2000–2005
Cadillac DTS MY 2004–2011
Buick Lucerne MY 2006–2011
Buick Regal LS & GS MY 2004–2005
Chevy Monte Carlo MY 2006–2008

    
In these vehicles, the ignition switch may be unable to handle extra weight hanging on a slotted key. GM will add an insert to the ignition keys of the recalled vehicles to close the slot and leave a 4x6-millimeter hole through which the key ring could be attached. In vehicles where the key cover has been worn, new keys with holes instead of slots will be provided free of charge.

Rework of the keys – adding key inserts – at GM dealerships is expected to begin in the next few weeks. Until the rework or replacement is completed, owners of the recalled cars are urged to remove additional weight from their key chains and drive with only the ignition key.

In addition to the ignition key recall, GM also announced U.S. recalls for 165,770 vehicles in these five actions:

  • 68,887 model year 2013-14 Cadillac ATS and 21,863 model year 2014 Cadillac CTS sedans. In certain vehicles with automatic transmissions, the shift cable may not be fully secured to the shifter bracket or transmission bracket. If the shift cable comes out of the brackets, the driver may not be able to shift the transmission in or out of gear. GM is unaware of any crashes or injuries related to this condition.
  • 57,192 2015 Chevrolet Silverado 2500/3500 HD and 2015 GMC Sierra 2500/3500 GMC Sierra HD to inspect for proper attachment of power steering hose clamps to the power steering pump. If the vehicle is driven with the clamp unattached, the hose may disconnect from the pump or gear, causing a rapid loss of power steering fluid. This will result in loss of power steering assist and Hydro Boost powered brakes without warning. The vehicle would revert to manual brakes and manual steering. GM knows of no crashes or injuries from the condition. Dealers are to inspect power steering hose clamps in two locations to ensure they are properly attached.
  • 16,932 model year 2011 Cadillac CTS sedans with AWD. On some vehicles, a gasket leak where the constant velocity joint meets the rear propeller shaft may cause the rear propeller shaft to separate or become loose, making contact with the vehicle floor above and causing the rollover sensor to deploy the roof rail air bags. GM is aware of 15 unintended deployments, but injury data is unclear.
  • 712 model year 2014 Chevrolet Corvettes with optional Competition Sport Seats, because an unbelted child and door trim may block the passenger seat side air bag vent in a deployment. Dealers will replace the current air bag with a redesigned version. GM is unaware of any crashes or injuries related to this condition, but advises customers to not allow small children in the front seat until the vehicle is serviced.
  • 184 model year 2014-15 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra full-size pickups with vinyl floors and accessory all-weather floor mats purchased new with the vehicle. The mats can slip under the driver’s feet because the vinyl floors have no attachments to secure them in place. Customers are advised take the floor mats to their dealer for a full refund. GM is unaware of any crashes or injuries related to the mats.

GM expects to take a charge of up to approximately $700 million in the second quarter for the cost of recall-related repairs announced in the quarter. This amount includes a previously disclosed $400 million charge for recalls announced May 15 and May 20.

Full text of GM announcement, click here - 06/16/2014

EXPERIAN SUED BY MISSISSIPPI FOR WRONG INFORMATION ON PERSONAL CREDIT HISTORIES / 32 STATES ALSO PROBING COMPANY PRACTICES

More from Associated Press, click here- 06/16/2014

FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION PROBES NETFLIX COMPLAINTS AGAINST CABLE COMPANIES DOWNLOADS

More from Reuters, click here - More from NY Times, click here - 06/15/2014

GM RECALLS 500,000 CAMAROS

More from Driving, click here - 06/15/2014

PF CHANG'S CONFIRMS CUSTOMERS CREDIT & DEBIT CARDS WERE HACKED

More from the Chicago Tribune, click here- 06/13/2014

FORD WILL REPAY CAR BUYERS FOR OVERSTATED GAS MILEAGE / CUSTOMERS TO BE REPAID UP TO $1050

More from the Reuters, click here - 06/13/2013

MAJOR BEEF RECALL INCLUDES WHOLE FOOD STORES

More from the Emeritus Newsroom - Fruitland American Meat, a Jackson, Mo. establishment is recalling approximately 4,012 pounds of fresh beef products because the dorsal root ganglia may not have been completely removed, which is not compliant with agency regulations that require their removal in cattle 30 months of age and older, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today. The products subject to recall include:

  • 40-lb. cases containing two, roughly 20-lb. cryovac packages of bone-in “Rain Crow Ranch Ribeye” bearing the establishment number “EST. 2316” inside the USDA mark of inspection with the following production dates: 9/5/13, 9/10/13, 9/11/13, 9/26/13, 10/2/13, 10/3/2013, 11/8/13, 11/22/13, 12/17/13, 12/26/13, 12/27/13,1/16/14, 1/17/14, 1/23/14, 1/31/14, 2/13/14, 2/14/14, 2/21/14, 2/28/14, 3/8/14, 3/20/14, 4/4/14 or 4/25/14 printed on the box. 
  • Quartered beef carcasses stamped with the USDA mark of inspection and establishment number “EST. 2316.”   

The products were produced and packaged on various dates between September 2013 and April 2014. The bone-in ribeye roasts were the source material of concern.

Fruitland American Meat advises that the bone-in ribeye roasts were distributed to a restaurant in New York, NY, and a Whole Foods distribution center in Connecticut which services its stores in New England. The quartered carcasses were distributed to an FSIS-inspected establishment in Missouri for further processing and distribution, and to a restaurant in Kansas City, Mo. All products would have been processed into smaller cuts with no identifying consumer packaging.

The problem was discovered by FSIS during a review of company slaughter logs. The problem may have occurred as a result of the way some company employees were recording information and determining the age of various cattle. Dorsal root ganglia, branches of the nervous system located in the vertebral column are considered specified risk materials (SRMs) and must be removed from cattle 30 months of age and older in accordance with FSIS regulations. SRMs are tissues that may contain the infective agent in cattle infected with Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), as well as materials that are closely associated with these potentially infective tissues. Therefore, FSIS prohibits SRMs from use as human food to minimize potential human exposure to the BSE agent.

Every animal received ante-mortem inspection by an FSIS Public Health Veterinarian. This involves observing each animal at rest and in motion and there is no indication that any of the cattle slaughtered displayed any signs of BSE.

FSIS and Fruitland American Meat have received no reports of adverse reactions due to consumption of these products. Anyone concerned about a reaction should contact a healthcare provider.

FSIS routinely conducts recall effectiveness checks to verify recalling firms notify theircustomers of the recall and that steps are taken to make certain that the product is no longer available to consumers. When available, the retail distribution list will be posted on the FSIS website at www.fsis.usda.gov/recalls.

Consumers and media with questions about the recall should contact company sales manager James Fortner at 573-243-3107.

Full text of recall announcement, click here - 06/13/2014

VEHICLE RECALLS / CHRYSLER, NISSAN, FIAT, TOYOTA, FORD

More from the Emeritusw Newsroom -Ford Motor Company (Ford) is recalling 740,878 certain model year 2008-2011 Ford Escape and Mercury Mariner vehicles manufactured August 18, 2006, through September 11, 2010. The affected vehicles have a steering torque sensor that may not be able to properly detect driver steering input. As a result, the system could remove the Electric Power Steering (EPS) assist. If power steering assist is lost, greater driver effort would be required to steer the vehicle at low speeds, increasing the risk of a crash. Full text of recall, click here. ALSO, Ford Motor Company (Ford) is recalling 179,027 certain model year 2011-2013 Ford Explorer vehicles manufactured May 17, 2010, through February 28, 2012. The affected vehicles may experience an intermittent connection in the electric power steering gear, which can cause a loss of the motor position sensor signal resulting in a shut down of the power steering assist.If the vehicle experiences a loss of power steering assist it will require extra steering effort at lower speeds, increasing the risk of a vehicle crash. Full text of recall, click here.

ALSO, Ford Motor Company (Ford) is recalling 183,425 certain model year 2010-2014 Taurus vehicles manufactured November 24, 2008, through February 28, 2014, originally sold in, or currently registered in, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia, Wisconsin and the District of Columbia. When used in areas that use road salt, the license plate lamp assembly may experience an electro-chemical reaction and corrosion as a result of water intrusion. This corrosion may result in a short circuit, increasing the risk of a fire. Full text of recall, click here.

Nissan North America, Inc. (Nissan) is recalling certain model year 2014 Pathfinder and Rogue vehicles and 2014 Infiniti QX60 vehicles. The right side wheels of the affected vehicles may have one lug nut each that was not properly tightened. Full text of recall, click here.

Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing (Toyota) is recalling 50,000 certain model year 2014 Highlander and Highlander Hybrid vehicles. The affected vehicles may have improper software installed in the air bag electronic control unit (ECU) for the operation of the front passenger seat belt force limiter, and as a result, the force limiter may use the restraint setting designed for small occupants, such as those that weigh approximately 110 pounds, for all occupants regardless of their size. As such, some of these vehicles do not conform to Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) number 208, "Occupant Crash Protection." In the event of a crash, a larger front passenger seat occupant may not be properly restrained and be at an increased risk of injury. Full text of recall, click here .

Chrysler Group, LLC (Chrysler) is recalling 4,141 certain model year 2013-2014 Fiat 500e Battery Electric Vehicles (BEV) vehicles manufactured September 24, 2012, through April 4, 2014. The affected vehicles have cooling plates for the Power Inverter Module (PIM) that may leak coolant into areas of the high voltage circuitry, resulting a short circuit that could cause the related service fuse to blow. If the service fuse blows, the vehicle would have a loss of propulsion while driving, increasing the risk of a crash. Full text of recall, click here.

Chrysler Group LLC (Chrysler) is recalling 6,120 certain model year 2014 Dodge Durango vehicles manufactured January 16, 2014 to April 8, 2014, Jeep Grand Cherokee vehicles manufactured January 16, 2014 to April 8, 2014, Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT vehicles manufactured February 3, 2014 to April 8, 2014, and Jeep Cherokee vehicles manufactured March 6, 2014 to April 17, 2014. When the adaptive cruise control is engaged and the driver presses the accelerator pedal to increase the vehicle's speed more than the cruise control system would on its own, the vehicle may continue to accelerate briefly after the accelerator pedal is released. The unintended continued acceleration may increase the risk of a crash. Full text of recall, click here.

Chrysler Group LLC (Chrysler) is recalling 17,726 certain model year 2014 Ram ProMaster vehicles manufactured April 23, 2013 to May 22, 2014. The affected vehicles may experience circuit corrosion from water intrusion around the in-floor battery cover and door footwell trim. This water intrusion may affect the vehicle's running and disable the air bags, stop lamps, turn signals, backup lights and/or door locks, increasing the risk of a crash, as well as injury to the occupants if the air bags do not deploy. Full text of recall, click here.

06/09/2014

FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION REPORT SAYS CONSUMERS DESERVE MORE CONTROL OVER PERSONAL DATA BROKERS

More from the Emeritus Newsroom - In a report issued today on the data broker industry, the Federal Trade Commission finds that data brokers operate with a fundamental lack of transparency. The Commission recommends that Congress consider enacting legislation to make data broker practices more visible to consumers and to give consumers greater control over the immense amounts of personal information about them collected and shared by data brokers.

The report, “Data Brokers: A Call for Transparency and Accountability” is the result of a study of nine data brokers, representing a cross-section of the industry, undertaken by the FTC to shed light on the data broker industry. Data brokers obtain and share vast amounts of consumer information, typically behind the scenes, without consumer knowledge. Data brokers sell this information for marketing campaigns and fraud prevention, among other purposes. Although consumers benefit from data broker practices which, for example, help enable consumers to find and enjoy the products and services they prefer, data broker practices also raise privacy concerns.

“The extent of consumer profiling today means that data brokers often know as much – or even more – about us than our family and friends, including our online and in-store purchases, our political and religious affiliations, our income and socioeconomic status, and more,” said FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez. “It’s time to bring transparency and accountability to bear on this industry on behalf of consumers, many of whom are unaware that data brokers even exist.”

The report finds that data brokers collect and store billions of data elements covering nearly every U.S. consumer. Just one of the data brokers studied holds information on more than 1.4 billion consumer transactions and 700 billion data elements and another adds more than 3 billion new data points to its database each month.

Among the report’s findings:

  • Data brokers collect consumer data from extensive online and offline sources, largely without consumers’ knowledge, ranging from consumer purchase data, social media activity, warranty registrations, magazine subscriptions, religious and political affiliations, and other details of consumers’ everyday lives.
  • Consumer data often passes through multiple layers of data brokers sharing data with each other. In fact, seven of the nine data brokers in the Commission study had shared information with another data broker in the study.
  • Data brokers combine online and offline data to market to consumers online.
  • Data brokers combine and analyze data about consumers to make inferences about them, including potentially sensitive inferences such as those related to ethnicity, income, religion, political leanings, age, and health conditions. Potentially sensitive categories from the study are “Urban Scramble” and “Mobile Mixers,” both of which include a high concentration of Latinos and African-Americans with low incomes. The category “Rural Everlasting” includes single men and women over age 66 with “low educational attainment and low net worths.” Other potentially sensitive categories include health-related topics or conditions, such as pregnancy, diabetes, and high cholesterol.
  • Many of the purposes for which data brokers collect and use data pose risks to consumers, such as unanticipated uses of the data. For example, a category like “Biker Enthusiasts” could be used to offer discounts on motorcycles to a consumer, but could also be used by an insurance provider as a sign of risky behavior.
  • Some data brokers unnecessarily store data about consumers indefinitely, which may create security risks.
  • To the extent data brokers currently offer consumers choices about their data, the choices are largely invisible and incomplete.  

To help rectify a lack of transparency about data broker industry practices, the Commission encourages Congress to consider enacting legislation that would enable consumers to learn of the existence and activities of data brokers and provide consumers with reasonable access to information about them held by these entities.

For data brokers that provide marketing products, Congress should consider legislation to:

  • Centralized Portal. Require the creation of a centralized mechanism, such as an Internet portal, where data brokers can identify themselves, describe their information collection and use practices, and provide links to access tools and opt- outs;
  • Access. Require data brokers to give consumers access to their data, including any sensitive data, at a reasonable level of detail;
  • Opt-Outs. Require opt-out tools, that is, a way for consumers to suppress the use of their data;
  • Inferences. Require data brokers to tell consumers that they derive certain inferences from from raw data;
  • Data Sources. Require data brokers to disclose the names and/or categories of their data sources, to enable consumers to correct wrong information with an original source;
  • Notice and Choice. Require consumer-facing entities – such as retailers – to provide prominent notice to consumers when they share information with data brokers, along with the ability to opt-out of such sharing; and
  • Sensitive Data. Further protect sensitive information, including health information, by requiring retailers and other consumer-facing entities to obtain affirmative express consent from consumers before such information is collected and shared with data brokers.

For brokers that provide “risk mitigation” products, legislation should:

  • When a company uses a data broker’s risk mitigation product to limit a consumers’ ability to complete a transaction, require the consumer-facing company to tell consumers which data broker’s information the company relied on;
  • Require the data broker to allow consumer access to the information used and the ability to correct it, as appropriate.

For brokers that provide “people search” products, legislation should:

  • Require data brokers to allow consumers to access their own information, opt-out of having the information included in a people search product, disclose the original sources of the information so consumers can correct it, and disclose any limitations of an opt-out feature.                 

The nine data brokers in the study are Acxiom, CoreLogic, Datalogix, eBureau, ID Analytics, Intelius, PeekYou, Rapleaf and Recorded Future. In December 2012, the Commission voted to issue orders requiring these data brokers to produce the information that was used in the study.

The Commission vote approving the issuance of the report was 4-0, with Commissioner Terrell McSweeny not participating. Commissioner Julie Brill issued a concurring statement.

Full text of report (110 PDF pages), click here - 06/06/2014

GM INVESTIGATION SHOWS IGNITION SWITCH PROBLEM IGNORED / COMPANY SAYS 15 EXECS FIRED

More from Associated Press, click here - 06/06/2014

THIS WEEK'S RECALL ANNOUNCEMENTS / NISSAN & TOYOTA

More from the Emeritus Newsroom - Nissan North America, Inc. (Nissan) is recalling 1,644 certain model year 2014 Rogue vehicles manufactured January 10, 2014, to January 17, 2014. In the affected vehicles, an incorrect bolt may have been used to connect the intermediate shaft to the upper steering assembly. The incorrect bolts could loosen and fall out resulting in a loss of vehicle control and increasing the risk of a crash. Full text of recall, click here.

Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing (Toyota) is recalling 370,000 certain model year 2004-2011 Sienna vehicles originally sold in, or currently registered in, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin and the District of Columbia. The affected vehicles have a spare tire carrier assembly mounted under the vehicle whose attachment cable may corrode due to high concentrations of road salt splashing onto the spare tire carrier. If the carrier cable is corroded due to road salt, the spare tire may separate from the vehicle, increasing the risk of a crash. Toyota will send owners an interim notification to advise owners of the recall and dealers will remove the spare tire and relocate it to the luggage compartment, free of charge. Owners will be mailed a second letter when remedy parts are available and dealers will replace the spare tire carrier assembly with an improved one, free of charge. The manufacturer has not yet provided a notification schedule. Full text of recall, click here.

Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing (Toyota) is recalling 231 certain model year 2014 Highlander vehicles manufactured April 23, 2014, through April 29, 2014. The affected vehicles may have not been manufactured properly causing the seat not to fully lock into the inboard seat track in the forward first, second and third adjusting positions. Thus, these vehicles do not conform to the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) 207 "Seating Systems."If the seat does not fully lock into the inboard seat track this could increase the risk of the seat coming out of the track and injuring the occupant in the event of a crash. Toyota will notify owners and dealers will inspect and if necessary replace the second row right hand seat, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin in June 2014. Full text of recall, click here.

There were also major recalls late last week involving 1.4 million Ford and Mercury SUV's, click here.

06/02/2014

PROBLEMS WITH CORRODING BRAKE LINES, AUTOMATIC BRAKING AND HEADLIGHTS LIKELY TO CAUSE MORE RECALLS AT GENERAL MOTORS

More from the Boston Globe, click here - 05/29/2014

CHEVY IMPALA ONLY NON-LUXURY CAR TO GET TOP AWARD FOR CRASH AVOIDANCE

More from the Emeritus News Consumer Page - 05/29/2014

FEDERAL OFFICIALS SAY "LIKELY" MORE PEOPLE DIED FROM FAULTY AIRBAG SYSTEMS THAN GENERAL MOTORS CLAIMS

More from Reuters, click here - 05/23/2014

GM RECALLS 500 NEW PICKUPS FOR AIR BAG MODULE DEFECT

More from USA Today, click here - Recap of previous GM recalls this year from the LA Times, click here - 05/23/2014

MICHIGAN MEAT PROCESSOR EXPANDS BEEF RECALL

More from the Emeritus Newsroom - Wolverine Packing Company, a Detroit, Mich. establishment, is recalling approximately 1.8 million pounds of ground beef products that may be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today. 

The ground beef products were produced between March 31, 2014 and April 18, 2014. For a full list of products that were recalled please see the attached document.

The products subject to recall bear the establishment number “EST. 2574B” and will have a production date code in the format “Packing Nos: MM DD 14” between “03 31 14” and “04 18 14.” These products were shipped to distributors for restaurant and retail use nationwide. There was no distribution of the products to the Department of Defense, the National School Lunch Program or catalog/internet sales.

Factors that can contribute to the size of the recall include potential contamination of additional products due to a lack of microbiological independence between lots in a production day, as well as a deficiency in supportive record-keeping by distributors.

FSIS was notified of E. coli O157:H7 illnesses on May 8, 2014. Working in conjunction with public health partners from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), FSIS determined through a traceback investigation that there is a link between the ground beef products from Wolverine Packing Company and this illness cluster. Based on epidemiological and traceback investigations, 11 case-patients have been identified in 4 states with illness onset dates ranging from April 22, 2014 to May 2, 2014. Additional information may be found on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website, http://www.cdc.gov/ecoli/2014/O157H7-05-14/index.html. FSIS continues to work with our state and federal public health partners on this investigation and provide updated information as it becomes available.

E. coli O157:H7 is a potentially deadly bacterium that can cause dehydration, bloody diarrhea and abdominal cramps 2–8 days (3–4 days, on average) after exposure the organism. While most people recover within a week, some develop a type of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). This condition can occur among persons of any age but is most common in children under 5-years old and older adults. It is marked by easy bruising, pallor, and decreased urine output. Persons who experience these symptoms should seek emergency medical care immediately.

Full text of USDA announcement, click here - 05/23/2014

SUZUKI RECALLS GM MADE CARS DUE TO POTENTIAL STEERING COLUMN FIRES

More from Associated Press, click here - 05/23/2014

FEDS SAY AIRLINES NEED TO STOP HIDING BAG AND SEAT FEES

More from the Emeritus Newsroom - Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc., today announced plans to conduct a voluntary safety recall of approximately 370,000 Model Year 2004-2011 Sienna Minivans originally sold in or registered in specific cold climate states.

The involved vehicles are equipped with a spare tire carrier stowed under the vehicle with a light-weight, foam water splash protector in front of the spare tire carrier.  Due to variation in the placement of the splash protector or loss of the protector during normal usage, water splashed rearward with high concentrations of road salt can reach the spare tire carrier and corrode the spare tire carrier assembly cable.

Some of the involved vehicles, 2004-2010 model year, were involved in a recall announced in April 2010.  The recall remedy included the addition of a water splash protector and an anti-rust agent application to reduce the effects of corrosion.  If the splash protector is misplaced or falls from the vehicle on these 2004-2010 model year vehicles, the spare tire carrier assembly cable may not have sufficient anti-rust protection even after the anti-rust agent application that was part of the recall remedy.If an involved vehicle is operated in cold climate regions of the United States where road salts are frequently used, in an extreme case, the cable may break due to excessive corrosion and the spare tire may separate from the vehicle.

Toyota also announced that it plans to conduct a voluntary safety recall of approximately 10,500 Model Year 2013 Lexus GS 350 sedans. 

The brake pedal assembly in the subject vehicles contains a brake pedal load sensing switch which allows the brake system to detect brake pedal force application by the driver.  Due to a manufacturing error, there is a possibility that the switch could improperly cause the brake system to activate without driver input while driving and without activating the rear brake lights.  This could result in unexpected moderate deceleration.

For all involved vehicles, Lexus dealers will replace the brake pedal support assembly.

To date, Toyota is not aware of any accidents, injuries or fatalities caused by this condition.

Full text of Sienna van recall, click here - Full text of Lexus GS recall, click here - 05/22/2014

MAJOR AUTO RECALLS FOR FORD, HYUNDAI, GM

More from the Emeritus Newsroom - General Motors LLC (GM) is recalling more than 2 million certain model year 2004-2012 Chevrolet Malibu vehicles manufactured May 16, 2003, through October 11, 2012, 2004-2007 Malibu Maxx vehicles manufactured June 25, 2003, through April 5, 2007, 2005-2010 Pontiac G6 vehicles manufactured May 26, 2004, through January 4, 2010, and 2007-2010 Saturn Aura vehicles manufactured April 24, 2006, through May 26, 2009. In the affected vehicles, increased resistance in the Body Control Module (BCM) connection may result in voltage fluctuations in the Brake Apply Sensor (BAS) circuit. These fluctuations can cause one or more of these conditions: the brake lights to illuminate without the brake pedal being pushed; the brake lights to not illuminate when the pedal is pushed; difficulty disengaging the cruise control; moving the gear shifter out of the 'PARK' position without pushing the brake; and disablement of crash avoidance features such as traction control, electronic stability control, and panic braking assist features. Click here for full text on recall.

General Motors LLC (GM) is recalling more than 103,000 certain model year 2005-2007 Chevrolet Corvette vehicles manufactured March 29, 2004, through June 22, 2007. In the affected vehicles, the underhood bussed electrical center (UBEC) housing can expand and cause the headlamp low beam relay control circuit wire to bend. If the wire is repeatedly bent, it may fracture causing a loss of low beam headlamp illumination. The loss of low beam headlamp illumination will decrease the driver's visibility, as well as the vehicle's conspicuity to other motorists, increasing the risk of a crash. Full text of recall, click here.

General Motors LLC (GM) is recalling more than 140,000 certain model year 2014 Chevrolet Malibu vehicles manufactured June 12, 2013, through May 2, 2014, and equipped with a 2.5L engine with the auto stop/start option. The affected vehicles may experience a complete loss of brake vacuum assist, disabling the hydraulic boost assist. As such, these vehicles do not comply with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) number 135, "Light Vehicle Brake Systems." If the hydraulic boost assist is disabled, slowing or stopping the vehicle will require additional brake pedal effort and a lengthened stopping distance. Both of these effects increase the risk of a crash. Full text of recall, click here.

General Motors LLC (GM) is recalling 477 certain model year 2014 Chevrolet Silverado vehicles manufactured May 23, 2013, through March 25, 2014, 2014 GMC Sierra vehicles manufactured May 25, 2013, through March 31, 2014, and 2015 Chevrolet Tahoe vehicles manufactured January 29, 2014, through March 27, 2014. In the affected vehicles, the tie rod threaded attachment may not be properly tightened to the steering gear rack. An improperly tightened tie rod attachment may allow the tie rod to separate from the steering rack, resulting in a loss of steering, increasing the risk of a vehicle crash. Full text of recall, click here.

General Motors LLC (GM) is recalling 8,208 certain model year 2014 Buick Lacrosse vehicles manufactured January 29, 2014, through March 31, 2014 and 2014 Chevrolet Malibu vehicles manufactured February 7, 2014, through March 31, 2014, and equipped with 17 inch front brake rotors. The affected vehicles may have had brake rotors intended for the rear of the car accidentally installed on the front. The rear rotors, while the same diameter, are thinner and may result in a front brake pad detaching from the caliper. If a brake pad detaches from caliper, there may be a sudden reduction in braking, lengthening the distance required to stop the vehicle and increasing the risk of a crash. Full text of recall, click here.

Hyundai Motor Company (Hyundai) is recalling 137,000 certain model year 2011-2014 Hyundai Tucson vehicles manufactured January 3, 2011, through December 23, 2013. In the affected vehicles, the air bag assembly installed in the steering wheel may come loose from its mounting. An air bag assembly that is not properly mounted may result in an increased risk of injury to the driver in the event of a crash. Full text of recall, click here.

Ford Motor Company (Ford) is recalling 581,986 certain model year 2013-2014 Escape vehicles manufactured October 5, 2011, through April 10, 2014. Due to an assembly misalignment between the exterior door handle and the door outer panel, the affected vehicles have doors that may be difficult to close or may possibly open while driving. A door that opens unexpectedly may result in an unrestrained occupant falling from the vehicle, increasing the risk of injury. Full text of recall, click here.

Ford Motor Company (Ford) is recalling 594,785 certain model year 2013-2014 C-MAX, and Escape vehicles. In the affected vehicles, the restraint control module (RCM) may have errors in the programming software which may result in a delayed deployment of the side-curtain rollover air bag. If the side-curtain rollover air bag is delayed in deploying in certain rollover circumstances, the risk of injury to the passengers is increased. Full text of recall, click here.

In a relatively low number of recalls, Nissan North America, Inc. (Nissan) is recalling 211 certain model year 2014 LEAF vehicles manufactured February 28, 2014, through March 12, 2014. The front structural member assembly may be missing welds, which could reduce the structural integrity of the vehicle if the vehicle is involved in a crash. As such, these vehicles fail to meet the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) number 208, "Occupant Crash Protection," and 305, "Electric-Powered Vehicles: Electrolyte Spillage and Electrical Shock Protection." Missing welds may effect the vehicle's integrity in the event of a crash, increasing the risk of injury to the vehicle's occupants. Full text of recall, click here.

- 05/19/2014

GM FINED $35 MILLION FOR SLOW RESPONSE TO CHEVY COBALT AIRBAG PROBLEMS

More from the Emeritus Newsroom - The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) today announced that General Motors (GM) has agreed to pay a record $35 million civil penalty and to take part in unprecedented oversight requirements as a result of findings from NHTSA’s timeliness investigation regarding the Chevrolet Cobalt and the automaker’s failure to report a safety defect in the vehicle to the federal government in a timely manner. The defect resulted in the non-deployment of airbags in certain Chevrolet Cobalt and other GM models. This action represents the single highest civil penalty amount ever paid as a result of a NHTSA investigation of violations stemming from a recall.

As part of today’s agreement, set forth in a Consent Order signed with NHTSA, the agency also ordered GM to make significant and wide-ranging internal changes to its review of safety-related issues in the United States, and to improve its ability to take into account the possible consequences of potential safety-related defects. GM will also pay additional civil penalties for failing to respond on time to the agency’s document demands during NHTSA’s investigation.

“Safety is our top priority, and today’s announcement puts all manufacturers on notice that they will be held accountable if they fail to quickly report and address safety-related defects,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Foxx. “While we will continue to aggressively monitor GM’s efforts in this case, we also urge Congress to support our GROW AMERICA Act, which would increase the penalties we could levy in cases like this from $35 million to $300 million, sending an even stronger message that delays will not be tolerated.”

Federal law requires all auto manufacturers to notify NHTSA within five business days of determining that a safety-related defect exists or that a vehicle is not in compliance with federal motor vehicle safety standards and to promptly conduct a recall. GM admits in the Consent Order that it did not do so.

Today’s action is historic in that the provisions of the Consent Order will be immediately enforceable in federal court if GM does not fully comply.  The Consent Order will hold GM accountable, push the automaker to make needed institutional change, and ensure that replacement parts are produced quickly and recalled vehicles are repaired promptly.

“No excuse, process, or organizational structure will be allowed to stand in the way of any company meeting their obligation to quickly find and fix safety issues in a vehicle,” said NHTSA Acting Administrator David Friedman. “It’s critical to the safety of the driving public that manufacturers promptly report and remedy safety-related defects that have the potential to lead to deaths or injuries on our nation’s highways.”

In the Consent Order, GM agreed to provide NHTSA with full access to the results of GM’s internal investigation into this recall, to take steps to ensure its employees report safety-related concerns to management, and to speed up the process for GM to decide whether to recall vehicles.

The Consent Order also requires GM to notify NHTSA of changes to its schedule for completing production of repair parts by October 4.  GM must also take steps to maximize the number of vehicle owners who bring in their vehicles for repair, including targeted outreach to non-English speakers, maintaining up-to-date information on its website, and engaging with vehicle owners through the media.  The Consent Order requires GM to submit reports and meet with NHTSA so that the agency may monitor the progress of GM’s recall and other actions required by the consent order.

Both in 2007 and again in 2010, NHTSA reviewed data related to the non-deployment of airbags in certain Chevy Cobalt models but each time, determined that it lacked the data necessary to open a formal investigation.  However, on February 7, 2014, GM announced it would recall certain model vehicles for a defect where the vehicle’s ignition switch may unintentionally move out of the “run” position that could result in the air bag not deploying in the event of a crash.  GM had failed to advise NHTSA of this defect at the time of the agency’s earlier reviews.

After review and consultation by NHTSA, GM twice expanded the recall to include a total of 2,190,934 vehicles in the United States.  The GM recall covers the 2005-2010 Chevrolet Cobalt, 2007-2010 Pontiac G5, 2003-2007 Saturn Ion, 2006-2011 Chevrolet HHR, 2006-2010 Pontiac Solstice and 2007-2010 Saturn Sky vehicles. 

Over the past ten years, NHTSA defect investigations resulted in 1,299 recalls involving more than 95 million vehicles and items of motor vehicle equipment, which has helped the agency to reduce vehicle fatalities to historic, all-time lows. Including today’s consent order, the agency has obtained record fines of $124.5 million in the last five years from automakers who have failed to promptly report defects to NHTSA.

Full text of statement from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, click here - 05/16/2014

FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION APPROVES PLAN GIVING PREFERENCE TO WEBSITES THAT PAY

More from the Washington Post, click here - 05/16/2014

PROBLEMS WITH POWER BRAKES, BRAKELIGHTS & HEADLIGHTS FORCE G-M TO RECALL 2.7 MILLION MORE VEHICLES

More from the Emeritus Newsroom - General Motors said Thursday it has informed the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration of five safety recalls covering about 2.7 million vehicles in the United States. The recalls cover:

  • 2,440,524 previous generation passenger cars for taillamp malfunctions
  • 111,889 previous generation Chevrolet Corvettes for loss of low-beam head lamps
  • 140,067 Chevrolet Malibus from the 2014 model year for hydraulic brake booster malfunctions
  • 19,225 Cadillac CTS 2013-2014 models for windshield wiper failures
  • 477 full-size trucks from the 2014 and 2015 model years for a tie-rod defect that can lead to a crash

“Customer safety is at the heart of how GM designs and produces vehicles, and these announcements are examples of two ways we are putting that into practice,” said Jeff Boyer, vice president of GM Global Vehicle Safety.

“We have redoubled our efforts to expedite and resolve current reviews in process and also have identified and analyzed recent vehicle issues which require action. These are examples of our focus to surface issues quickly and promptly take necessary actions in the best interest of our customers.”

The largest recall involves 2004-2012 Chevrolet Malibu, 2004-2007 Chevrolet Malibu Maxx, 2005-2010 Pontiac G6 and 2007-2010 Saturn Auras model cars in U.S. to modify the brake lamp wiring harness. 

Affected vehicles could have corrosion develop in the wiring harness for the body control module due to micro-vibration. The condition could result in brake lamps failing to illuminate when the brakes are applied or brake lamps illuminating when the brakes are not engaged.  Additionally, cruise control, traction control, electronic stability control and panic braking assist operation could be disabled.

GM is aware of several hundred complaints, 13 crashes and two injuries but no fatalities as a result of the condition. The company issued a technical service bulletin in 2008 and conducted a safety campaign for a small population of 2005 model year vehicles in January 2009.  

The third recall covers 140,067 Chevrolet Malibus from the 2014 model year with 2.5L engines and stop/start technology. These vehicles are subject to the disabling of hydraulic brake boost that can require greater pedal efforts and extended stopping distances. Dealers will reprogram the electronic brake control module. The issue was discovered in testing of a future model with similar technology. GM is aware of four crashes but it is not clear that these are related to the condition. No injuries are known from those crashes.
The fourth recall covers 19,225 Cadillac CTS from the 2013-2014 model year for a condition in which the windshield wiper system may become inoperable after a vehicle jump start with wipers active and restricted, such as by ice and snow. Potential lack of visibility could increase the risk of a crash. Dealers will replace the front wiper module free of charge. GM is unaware of any crashes or injuries due to the condition.
The fifth recall involves certain 2014 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra light duty pickups and 2015 model year Chevrolet Tahoe SUVs. The tie rod threaded attachment to the steering gear rack in these vehicles may not be tightened to specification. With this condition, the tie rod can separate from the steering rack and a crash could occur without prior warning. Customers are being contacted and told to have their vehicles taken by flatbed to their dealer, where the inner tie rods will be inspected for correct torque, and, if necessary, the steering gear will be replaced. The repair procedure was being sent to dealers and owner letters sent by overnight mail to customers on May 14. The issue was discovered and corrected during assembly after the small number of vehicles was released.
GM expects to take a charge of up to approximately $200 million in the second quarter, primarily for the cost of recall-related repairs announced in the quarter.

There were other recalls this week affecting GM, Ford and Chrysler Models. Click here for GM announcement, Transmission Shift Cable may Fracture. Click here for Chrysler announcement, Vent Window Switch may Overheat. Click here for Ford announcement, Side-Curtain Rollover Air Bag Deployment Delay.

Full text of today's GM statement, click here - 5/15/2014

FCC CHAIRMAN BACKS OFF HIS VERSION OF NET NEUTRALITY / HOWEVER, HE'S STILL PROPOSING "PAID PRIORITIZATION"

More from the LA Times, click here - 05/14/2014

56,000 SATURNS RECALLED / AUTOMATIC GEAR SHIFTERS MAY FAIL

More from the Associated Press, click here - 05/06/2014

GM RECALLS VEHICLES WITH FAULTY GAS GAUGES / MAY READ 1/4 TANK FULL WHEN EMPTY / RECALLS ALSO ISSUED FOR MAZDA, HONDA, BMW, MERCEDES, FORD

More from the Emeritus Newsroom - General Motors LLC (GM) is recalling 51,640 certain model year 2014 Buick Enclave, Chevrolet Traverse, and GMC Acadia vehicles manufactured March 26, 2013, through August 15, 2013. In the affected vehicles, the engine control module (ECM) software may cause the fuel gauge to read inaccurately. An inaccurate fuel gauge may result in the vehicle unexpectedly running out of fuel and stalling, increasing the risk of a crash. Full text of recall, click here.

GM is also recalling 50,571 certain model year 2013 Cadillac SRX vehicles manufactured May 29, 2012, through June 26, 2013, and equipped with 3.6L engines. In the affected vehicles, in certain driving situations, there may be a three to four second lag in acceleration due to the transmission control module (TCM) programming. A three to four second lag in acceleration may increase the risk of crash. GM will notify owners, and dealers will reprogram the transmission control module, free of charge. The manufacturer has not yet provided a notification schedule. Owners may contact Cadillac customer service at 1-800-458-8006. General Motors' number for this recall is 14132. Full text of recall, click here.

Ford Motor Company (Ford) is recalling 3,973 certain model year 2015 F-250, F-350, F-450, and F-550 Super Duty trucks manufactured September 13, 2013, through March 28, 2014, and equipped with 6.2L gasoline or 6.7L diesel engines and 6R140 transmissions. An error with the transmission control software may be such that while shifting from "Park" to "Drive" the vehicle may display "Drive" but possibly engage "Reverse" for 1.5 seconds before engaging "Drive." Therefore, the vehicles do not conform to Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) number 102, "Transmission Shift Lever Sequence, Starter Interlock, and Transmission Braking Effect." If the vehicle is in "Reverse" while the while the gear selection shows "Drive," unexpected movement could occur, increasing the risk of a crash. Ford will notify owners, and dealers will update the transmission software, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin in early May 2014. Owners may contact Fords customer service at 1-800-392-3673. Ford's number for this recall is 14C04. Full text of recall, click here.

Mercedes-Benz USA, LLC (Mercedes) is recalling 252,867 certain model year 2008-2011 C300, C300 4Matic, C350, and C63 AMG vehicles manufactured January 26, 2007, through July 13, 2011. In the affected vehicles, a poor electrical ground connection may result in the dimming or failure of the tail lights. Dimming or failure of the tail lights reduces the ability to warn other motorists of the driver's intentions of stopping or turning, increasing the risk of a crash. Mercedes will notify owners, and dealers will replace the bulb holders if not previously updated and replace any corroded connectors, free of charge. Parts are not currently available. Owners will be sent an interim notification in June 2014. A second letter will be mailed when parts are available, currently expected to be in August or September 2014. Owners may contact Mercedes at 1-800-367-6372. Full text of recall, click here.

BMW of North America, LLC (BMW) is recalling 156,137 certain model year 2010-2011 128i Coupe, 128i Convertible, 328i Sedan, 328i xDrive Sedan, 328i Coupe, 328i Convertible, 328i Sports Wagon and Z4 sDrive 30i, 2011-2012 135i Coupe, 135i Convertible, 335i Sedan, X5 xDrive 35i, and X6 xDrive 35i, 2011 335i xDrive Sedan, 335i Coupe, 335i Convertible, 528i Sedan, 535i Sedan, 535i xDrive Sedan, X3 xDrive 28i, and X3 xDrive 35i, 2010 X3 xDrive 30i, and X5 xDrive 30i, 2012 640i Coupe, and 640i Convertible and 2010-2012 535i Gran Turismo vehicles. In the affected vehicles, the bolts that secure the housing for the variable camshaft timing adjustment (VANOS) unit can loosen over time and may possibly break. If the bolts loosen or break the engine may have reduced power or stall. An engine stall increases the risk of a crash. BMW will notify owners, and dealers will replace the four VANOS housing bolts for both VANOS units (intake and exhaust), free of charge. The recall is expected to begin in May 2014. In addition, owners of approximately 170,172 model year 2010-2012 BMW vehicles equipped with inline 6 cylinder engines not covered by this recall, will receive an extended warranty to address this condition. Owners may contact BMW at 1-800-525-7417. Full text of recall, click here.

Honda is recalling 24,889 certain model year 2014 Odyssey vehicles manufactured October 2, 2013, through December 16, 2013. The shorting terminal, an electrical connector used to prevent air bag deployment before being installed into a vehicle, may have been damaged during assembly of the passenger-side side curtain air bag. If the shorting terminal is damaged, the passenger-side side curtain air bag may fail to deploy thereby increasing the risk of occupant injury in a crash. Honda will notify owners, and dealers will replace the damaged shorting pin with a new shorting coupler, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin in early May 2014. Owners may contact Honda at 1-800-999-1009. Honda's number for this recall is JE2. Full text of recall, click here .

Mazda North America Operations (Mazda) is recalling 19,000 certain model year 2014 Mazda6 vehicles manufactured October 25, 2012, through May 9, 2013. In the affected vehicles, it is possible to fill the fuel tank beyond its rated capacity. If the tank is overfilled, gas may flow into the charcoal canister (an evaporative emissions component) and possibly leak from the canister's external vent, increasing the risk of a fire. Mazda will notify owners and dealers will inspect and add an adapter to the shut off valve in the fuel tank and also inspect the charcoal canister for the presence of gasoline, replacing it as necessary, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin in late April 2014. Owners may contact Mazda at 1-800-222-5500. Mazda's number for this recall is 7414D. Full text of recall, click here.

05/05/2014

GM COULD USE BANKRUPTCY COURT TO STEM TIDE OF LAWSUITS FROM BAD IGNITION SWITCHES

More from the Associated Press, click here - 05/02/2014

SAMSUNG ORDERED TO PAY $120 MILLION TO APPLE FOR PATENT VIOLATIONS / APPLE ALSO ORDERED TO PAY NOMINAL AWARD

More from Associated Press, click here - 05/02/2014

END OF SUPPORT FOR WINDOWS X-P PROMPTS SECURITY THREAT / MICROSOFT WILL PATCH PROBLEM BUT URGES USERS TO SWITCH TO WINDOWS 7 OR 8

-More from the Emeritus Newsroom - A security threat that could allow hackers to take control of computers with Microft X-P operation systems has been discovered by the company, which uploaded a patch for the problem today at 1PM Eastern.

According to a statement from the company, one of the things that drove much of this coverage was that it coincided with the end of support for Windows XP.  The reality is that the threats we face today from a security standpoint have really outpaced the ability to protect those customers using an operating system that dates back over a decade.  This is why we’ve been encouraging Windows XP customers to upgrade to a modern, more secure operating system like Windows 7 or Windows 8.1. Even though Windows XP is no longer supported by Microsoft and is past the time we normally provide security updates, we’ve decided to provide an update for all versions of Windows XP (including embedded), today.  We made this exception based on the proximity to the end of support for Windows XP.  The reality is there have been a very small number of attacks based on this particular vulnerability and concerns were, frankly, overblown.  Unfortunately this is a sign of the times and this is not to say we don’t take these reports seriously.  We absolutely do. 

The company statement continues, "Just because this update is out now doesn’t mean you should stop thinking about getting off Windows XP and moving to a newer version of Windows and the latest version of Internet Explorer.  If you are on Windows 7, upgrade to Internet Explorer 11.  Our modern operating systems provide more safety and security than ever before. The latest version of Internet Explorer has increased support for modern web standards, better performance, and expanded the ability to deliver an immersive experience from within the browser.  In other words, cool stuff that you need even if you didn’t know you need it.  And when you turn on auto update, we make sure your computer and your browser get better all the time".

Full text of Microsoft statement, click here - 05/01/2014

CRITICS SAY NEW AIRLINE PRICING LAW TO BE APROVED BY CONGRESS WILL MAKE IT HARDER FOR CONSUMERS TO PRICE TICKETS

More from the Washington Post, click here - 04/26/2014

FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION PROPOSES PAY FOR PRIORITY INTERNET SPEEDS / CRITICS CLAIM IT ENCOURAGES PAID FAVORITISM THAT IS NOT NETWORK NEUTRALITY

More from the Associated Press, click here - 04/24/2014

V-W, MAZDA, NISSAN MAKE LATEST RECALL LIST

More from the Emeritus Newsroom - The latest recall affecting the most vehicles is from Mazda which has announced it is recalling 109,000 certain model year 2001-2004 Tribute vehicles manufactured May 22, 2000, through December 19, 2003, originally sold, or currently registered in, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia, Wisconsin and the District of Columbia. These vehicles may experience excessive corrosion at the forward attachment of the lower control arm. A separation of the lower control arm can result in a significant loss of steering control, increasing the risk of a crash. Full text of recall, click here.

MAZDA IS ALSO RECALLING 5,700 certain model year 2014 Mazda3 vehicles manufactured June 12, 2013, through December 18, 2013, and model year 2014-2015 Mazda6 vehicles manufactured May 20, 2013, through December 4, 2013, and both equipped with a 2.5L engine and a regenerative engine braking system. When driving the affected vehicles in heavy rain or in deep puddles, the alternator belt may slip causing the Power Control module (PCM) to incorrectly assume failure of the charging system. Once the PCM assumes that the charging system has failed, the vehicle will stop charging and could result in poor acceleration, loss of steering assist and windshield wiper operation, and a possible engine stall, increasing the risk of a crash. Full text of recall, click here.

NISSAN is recalling 3,065 certain model year 2013 Pathfinder vehicles manufactured April 18, 2012, through October 3, 2012, and equipped with a continuously variable transmission (CVT). In the affected vehicles, the internal oil cooler (ITOC) hose may detach from the cooler due to inadequate clamping force, allowing transmission fluid to leak. The loss of transmission fluid could cause the transmission to function improperly and the vehicle to stop accelerating, increasing the risk of a crash. Full text of recall, click here. VOLKSWAGEN IS RECALLING 26,452 certain model year 2014 Jetta, Beetle, Beetle Convertible, and Passat vehicles equipped with a 1.8T engine and torque converter automatic transmission. In the affected vehicles, the O-ring seals between the oil cooler and the transmission may leak fluid. The leaking transmission fluid could contact a hot surface and result in a vehicle fire. Full text of recall, click here .

04/21/2014

NEWLY RELEASED DOCUMENTS SHOW G-M HID EXTENT OF STEERING DEFECTS ON SATURN VEHICLES / GOVERNMENT AGENCY LATE TAKING ACTION

More from Associated Press, click here - 04/19/2014

PHONE SERVICE COMPANY AT CENTER OF INTERNATIONAL INVESTMENT FRAUD PROBE FILES BANKRUPTCY / TOOK HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS FROM IMMIGRANTS IN U-S AND OVERSEAS

More from the Boston Globe, click here - 04/16/2014

MORE IGNITIONS, AIR BAGS, SEATS LISTED AS POTENTIAL HAZARDS IN LATEST VEHICLE RECALLS INVOLVING FORD, GM, TOYOTA

More from the Emeritus Newsroom - General Motors LLC (GM) is recalling 2,191,014 certain model year 2005-2010 Chevrolet Cobalt, 2006-2011 Chevrolet HHR, 2007-2010 Pontiac G5, 2006-2010 Pontiac Solstice, 2003-2007 Saturn Ion, and 2007-2010 Saturn Sky vehicles. In the affected vehicles, the key can be removed from the ignition when the ignition is not in the "Off" position. If the key can be removed from the ignition when the ignition is not in the "off" position, the vehicle could roll away: (a) for an automatic transmission, if the transmission is not in the "Park" position; or (b) for a manual transmission, if the parking brake is not engaged and the transmission is not in the "Reverse" position. This potential for rollaway increases the risk for a crash and occupant or pedestrian injuries. General Motors will notify owners, and for vehicles that were built with the defective ignition cylinder and have not previously had the ignition cylinder replaced with the redesigned part, dealers will replace the ignition cylinder and cut and, if necessary, re-learn two ignition/door keys for each vehicle. For vehicles that were built with the redesigned ignition cylinder or had the ignition cylinder replaced with the redesigned part, dealers will cut and, if necessary, re-learn two ignition/door keys for each vehicle. The manufacturer has not yet provided a notification schedule. Chevrolet owners may contact General Motors at 1-800-222-1020, Pontiac owners at 1-800-762-2737, and Saturn owners at 1-800-553-6000. General Motors' number for this recall is 14113 for the ignition lock cylinder and key replacement, and 14133 for only key replacements. Note: Until a vehicle has been remedied, owners and operators are advised that when exiting, to be sure that the vehicle is in "Park," or in the case of a manual transmission, that the vehicle is in the "Reverse" position and the parking brake is engaged. Full text of recall announcement, click here -

Toyota is recalling 1,291,449 certain model year 2006-2008 RAV4, 2006-2010 Yaris, 2008-2010 Highlander, and 2009-2010 Tacoma, Corolla, Corolla Matrix and General Motors Pontiac Vibe vehicles. In the affected vehicles, the steering column assembly contains electrical connections to the driver's airbag module housed in a spiral cable assembly, which includes a Flexible Flat Cable (FFC). Due to the shape and location of the FFC's retainer, the FFC could become damaged when the steering wheel is turned. If the FFC is damaged, connectivity to the driver's air bag module could be lost and the air bag deactivated. The failure of the driver's air bag to deploy in the event of a crash that typically necessitates deployment increases the risk of injury to the driver. Toyota will notify the Toyota vehicle owners, and General Motors will notify the Pontiac Vibe owners. Toyota will send their owners an interim notification letter in late April 2014 to advise owners of the recall, and will mail owners a second letter when remedy parts are available. General Motors has not yet provided a notification schedule for the Pontiac Vibe owners. When the parts are available, dealers will replace the spiral cable assembly, free of charge. Owners may contact Toyota at 1-800-331-4331. Owners may contact General Motors at 1-800-762-2737. Full text of recall, click here.

Toyota has announced separate recalls on potential seat failures. The company is recalling 472,388 certain model year 2006-2010 Yaris vehicles manufactured August 22, 2005, through May 12, 2010, and 2008-2010 Scion xD vehicles manufactured April 4, 2007, through May 12, 2010. In the affected vehicles, the springs used for the seat rails on the driver's seat and the seat rails of the front passenger seat of three-door models may break. If the spring breaks, the seat may not lock in position. In the event of a vehicle crash, the seat could move increasing the risk of injury to the seat occupant. Toyota will notify owners, and dealers will inspect the seat rail, and replace it with a new one, if necessary, free of charge. The manufacturer has not yet provided a notification schedule. Owners may contact Toyota at 1-800-331-4331. Full text of recall, click here. The company is also recalling 46,757 certain model year 2013 Highlander vehicles manufactured March 13, 2013, through August 6, 2013. In the affected vehicles, the second row left hand seat may not lock in place when positioned in the forward front or second adjusting position. As such, the vehicles do not conform to Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) number 207, "Seating Systems." If the seat does not lock into the seat track, there may be an increased risk of injury to an occupant in the event of a crash. Toyota will notify owners, and dealers will modify the second row left hand seat so that it will lock into the seat track, free of charge. The manufacturer has not yet provided a notification schedule. Owners may contact Toyota at 1-800-331-4331.

FORD has announced recalls on control arms and seats. Ford Motor Company (Ford) is recalling certain model year 2001-2004 Escape vehicles manufactured October 22, 1999, through January 23, 2004, originally sold, or currently registered in, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia, Wisconsin and the District of Columbia. These vehicles may experience excessive corrosion at the forward attachment of the lower control arm. A separation of the lower control arm can result in a significant loss of control, increasing the risk of a crash. Ford will notify owners, and dealers will install a newly designed reinforcement cross-brace, free of charge. Parts are not currently available. Ford expects to send an interim notification around May 19, 2014. When parts are available, owners will be mailed a second letter to come in to have the part installed. If customers bring their vehicles to a dealer before reinforcement crossbraces are available, dealers will inspect the subframe and either inform customers that the vehicle is safe to drive until the remedy parts are available or provide a rental vehicle until parts are available if an immediate repair is needed. Owners may contact Ford at 1-800-392-3673. Ford's number for this recall is 14S02. Full text of recall announcement, click here. The company is also recalling 43,135 certain model year 2013-2014 Ford Fusion and Lincoln MKZ vehicles manufactured August 15, 2012, through September 10, 2013, 2013-2014 Ford Escape vehicles manufactured June 5, 2012, through August 12, 2013, and 2013-2014 Ford C-Max vehicles manufactured from July 23, 2012, through May 28, 2013. The driver and passenger seatback assemblies may have been produced with sub-standard weld joints used to attach the seat back recliner mechanism to the seat frame. The affected seat backs may have insufficient strength to meet the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) number 207, "Seating Systems." The back of the subject seats may become loose or lean while driving and potentially increase the risk of injury in certain crashes. Ford will notify owners, and dealers will replace the seatback, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin around May 19, 2014. Owners may contact Ford at 1-800-392-3673. Ford's number for this recall is 14C03. Full text of recall, click here.

04/14/2014

AEREO MOBILE TV APP ON GOOGLE CHROMECAST TO LAUNCH MAY 29TH

More from the TV News Check, click here - 04/11/2014

GM SUSPENDS TWO ENGINEERS, EXPANDS RECALL ON IGNITION PARTS AND TAKES $1.3 BILLION LOSS ON 1ST QUARTER EARNINGS

More from the La Times, click here - 04/10/2014

TOYOTA RECALLS 6.4 MILLION CARS WORLDWIDE

More from the Emeritus Newsroom - Two separate recall announcements affect nearly 6.4 million Toyota vehicles, 2 million of them in the U-S. A total of 27 different models are included, from Camry and Corolla, Pontiac Vibe and Subaru Trezia, which were made by Toyota. The problems include faulty air bag modules and other parts including seat rails, steering column brackets, engine starters, windshield wiper motors and air bag cables.

In the U-S, the company say the recalls affect approximately 1.3 million vehicles, including certain Model Year 2009-2010 Corolla, 2009-2010 Matrix, 2008-2010 Highlander, 2009-2010 Tacoma, 2006-2008 RAV4 and 2006-2010 Yaris vehicles.  

The driver’s airbag module in the involved vehicles is attached to a spiral cable assembly with electrical connections that could become damaged when the steering wheel is turned.  If this occurs, the air bag warning lamp will illuminate.  In addition, the driver’s air bag could become deactivated, causing it to not deploy in the event of a crash.

Toyota is not aware of any injuries or fatalities caused by this condition.

Toyota is currently preparing the remedy for this condition.  For all involved vehicles, a Toyota dealer will replace the spiral cable with an improved one. Once preparations are complete, Toyota will send an owner notification letter by first class mail and the remedy will be provided at no charge.

Owners can find out if their vehicle is affected at www.toyota.com/recall, the Toyota Customer Experience at 1 800-331-4331, www.lexus.com/recall and Lexus Customer Satisfaction (1 800-255-3987). 

ALSO, another recall involving approximately 472,500 vehicles in the U-S, consisting of certain Model Year 2006-2010 Yaris Hatchback vehicles (approximately 158,000); certain Model Year 2007-2010 Yaris Sedan vehicles (approximately 250,500); and certain Model Year 2008-2010 Scion xD vehicles (approximately 64,000).    

In the seat rail of the driver seat of the involved vehicles and also the front passenger seat of three-door models, the springs used for the mechanism which lock the seat rail in its adjusting positions could break. This can happen if the seat is adjusted forward and/or rearward with high frequency.  If a seat rail spring breaks, the seat may not lock into the adjusted position.  If the vehicle is operated with a broken seat rail spring, the seat could move in the event of a crash, increasing the risk of injury to the occupant.

If the condition is present, an occupant may notice the following:

  • If both of the springs have broken, the seat will not lock into the adjusted position.
  • In limited instances, if a spring has broken and becomes stuck in the seat rail, the seat may only be capable of forward movement.  
Toyota is not aware of any accidents or injuries caused by this condition.

Toyota is currently preparing the remedy. Once preparations are complete, owners of vehicles subject to this safety recall will receive an owner notification letter by first class mail. 

The remedy, when available, will involve replacement of the seat track assembly at no charge to the customer.

Detailed information is available to customers at www.toyota.com/recall, the Toyota Customer Experience at 1 800-331-4331, www.lexus.com/recall and Lexus Customer Satisfaction (1 800-255-3987). 

More from Associated Press, click here - 04/09/2014

MID SIZE S-U-Vs NOT MUCH PROTECTION FROM SMALL OVERLAP CRASH TESTS

More from the Emeritus Newsroom - The Chevrolet Equinox and its twin, the GMC Terrain, are the only midsize SUVs out of nine evaluated to earn a good rating in the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's small overlap front crash test, which, the group says, continues to challenge manufacturers more than a year and a half after its introduction.

The Equinox and the Terrain qualify for the Institute's highest award for 2014, TOP SAFETY PICK+. The Toyota Highlander, a midsize SUV whose acceptable small overlap rating was announced in December, also qualifies. The award is given to vehicles with a good or acceptable small overlap rating, good ratings in four other occupant protection tests, and a rating of basic or higher for front crash prevention.

Three other midsize SUVs in the test group rate poor for small overlap protection, and three are marginal.

"SUVs have gotten much safer over the past few generations, but some are better than others at providing comprehensive front crash protection," says David Zuby, IIHS executive vice president and chief research officer. "When it comes to midsize SUVs, General Motors is showing the way forward. The Equinox and Terrain score well in all components of the small overlap test — structure, restraints and kinematics, and injury measures for four body regions."

The small overlap test replicates what happens when the front corner of a vehicle collides with another vehicle or an object such as a tree or utility pole. In the test, 25 percent of a vehicle's front end on the driver's side strikes a rigid barrier at 40 mph.

The test is more difficult than either the head-on crashes conducted by the government or the longstanding IIHS moderate overlap test. In a small overlap test, the main structures of the vehicle's front-end crush zone are bypassed, making it hard for the vehicle to manage crash energy. The occupant compartment can collapse as a result.

The Equinox and Terrain were able to overcome this challenge, thanks to modifications on 2014 models to their front structure and door-hinge pillars. In the test, which was conducted on an Equinox but applies to the Terrain as well, the driver space was well-maintained, and the dummy’s movement was well-controlled. The dummy’s head hit the frontal airbag and stayed there. It would have been a perfect test performance if the side curtain airbag had provided more forward coverage. As it was, there was a gap in the inflated portion, which, in a slightly different crash, could leave the head vulnerable to hitting the door or intruding objects.

Full text of IIHS results and video, click here - 04/08/2014

IT'S MONDAY & HERE'S THE LATEST VEHICLE RECALLS / GM ON THE LIST YET AGAIN ALONG WITH CHRYSLER

More from the Emeritus Newsroom - GM is recalling 174,046 certain model year 2013 and 2014 Chevrolet Cruze vehicles equipped with a 1.4L turbo engine, and manufactured between November 28, 2012, and March 7, 2014. On the affected vehicles, the right front half shaft may fracture and separate. If the half shaft fractures and separates while driving, the vehicle would lose power and coast to a stop. If a vehicle with a fractured half shaft is parked without the parking brake applied, the vehicle could move unexpectedly. Either condition increases the risk of a crash. GM will notify owners, and dealers will inspect and replace the right half shaft, as needed, free of charge. Parts for the remedy are not currently available. GM will send an interim letter to owners the week of April 28, 2014. A second owner letter will be mailed when parts are available. Owners may contact Chevrolet at 1-866-694-6546. GM's number for this recall is 14079. This is an expansion of recall 13V-452. NOTE: Some vehicles subject to this recall were subject to the recall campaign initiated in 2013. Some of those vehicles were repaired using defective parts. Those owners will be advised that they must have their vehicles remedied again under this campaign and that having the earlier recall completed did not remedy their vehicles. Full text of recall announcement, click here.

General Motors LLC (GM ) is recalling 489,936 certain model year 2014 Chevrolet Silverado Light Duty Regular Cab, Double Cab, and Crew Cab 1500 series and model year 2015 Suburban and Tahoe; GMC model year 2014 Sierra Regular Cab, Double Cab, and Crew Cab 1500 Series and model year 2015 Yukon and Yukon XL vehicles equipped with a 6-Speed Automatic Transmission (feature code MYC). The subject vehicles may have a transmission oil cooler line that is not securely seated in the fitting. If the line is not securely seated and transmission oil leaks from the fitting, the oil could contact a hot surface and cause a vehicle fire. GM will notify owners, and dealers will inspect the transmission oil cooler line connection and repair the vehicles, as needed, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin on April 28, 2014. Owners may contact Chevrolet at 1-866-694-6546 or GMC owners may contact GMC at 1-866-996-9463. GM's number for this recall is 14121. Full text of recall, click here.

General Motors LLC (GM) is recalling 1,340,447 certain model year 2004-2006 and 2008-2009 Chevrolet Malibu, 2004-2006 Malibu Maxx, 2009-2010 HHR (non-turbo), 2010 Cobalt, 2008-2009 Saturn Aura and 2004-2007 Ion, and 2005-2009 Pontiac G6. In the affected vehicles, there may be a sudden loss of electric power steering (EPS) assist that could occur at any time while driving. If power steering assist is lost, greater driver effort would be required to steer the vehicle at low speeds, increasing the risk of a crash. GM will notify owners, and dealers will perform one of four bulletins. Parts are not currently available. GM expects to send an interim notification around April 28, 2014. When parts are available, owners will be mailed a second letter to come in to have the applicable bulletin applied. Bulletin 14115 covers model year 2004-2007 Saturn Ion, 2009-2010 Chevrolet HHR and 2010 Chevrolet Cobalts. Dealers will replace the EPS motor. Bulletin 14116 covers model year 2004-2006 Chevrolet Malibu and Malibu Maxx, 2005-2006 Pontiac G6 and 2008-2009 Chevrolet Malibu, Pontiac G6 and Saturn Aura built from March 1, 2008, through June 27, 2008. Dealers will replace the torque sensor assembly. Bulletin 14117 covers model year 2008 Chevrolet Malibu, Pontiac G6 and Saturn Aura built from February 1, 2008, through February 28, 2008. Dealers will replace the torque sensor assembly and EPS motor controller unit. Bulletin 14118 covers model year 2008 Chevrolet Malibu, Pontiac G6 and Saturn Aura built from October 1, 2007, through January 31, 2008. Dealers will replace the EPS motor controller unit. Owners may contact Chevrolet at 1-800-630-2438, Saturn at 1-800-553-6000, and Pontiac at 1-800-620-7668. GM's number for this recall is N140115. Note: GM bulletin number 14119 will be implemented for model year 2006-2008 and early production of 2009 Chevrolet HHR (non-turbo) and model year 2003 Saturn ION to provide EPS Motor replacement for the life of the vehicle. Full text of recall, click here.

Chrysler Group LLC (Chrysler) is recalling 644,354 certain model year 2011-2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango vehicles manufactured from January 5, 2010, through September 8, 2013. The subject vehicles have a brake booster with a center shell that may corrode and allow water to get inside. The water inside could freeze and limit the braking ability of the vehicle, increasing the risk of a crash. Chrysler will notify owners, and dealers will add a water diverter shield to the booster after the booster has been tested to confirm it can hold an acceptable amount of vacuum pressure. If the booster inspection confirms an unacceptable loss of vacuum pressure, the booster will be replaced. Repairs will be made free of charge. The recall is expected to begin in May 2014. Owners may contact Chrysler at 1-800-853-1403. Chrysler's recall campaign number is P14. Full text of Chrysler recall announcement, click here.

04/07/2014

EVENFLO RECALL 1.3 MILLION CHILD SEAT RESTRAINTS

More from the Emeritus Newsroom - Evenflo Company, Inc. (Evenflo) is recalling certain convertible and harnessed child restraints, models Momentum 65 (including LX and DLX), Chase (including LX, DLX, and Select), Maestro (including Performance), Symphony (including 65, LX, 65 E3, and DLX), Snugli All-In-One, Snugli Booster, Titan 65, SureRide DLX, and Secure Kid (including LX, DLX, 100, 300, and 400). The affected seats have model number prefixes of 306, 308, 310, 329, 345, 346, 371 or 385. The defect involves difficulty in unlatching the harness buckle. In the convertible car seats and harnessed booster seats, the buckle may become stuck in a latched condition so that it cannot be opened by depressing the buckle's release button. It may be difficult to remove the child from the restraint, increasing the risk of injury in the event of an emergency in which a prompt exit from the vehicle is required. Evenflo will notify registered owners in April 2014. The company will start providing replacement buckles along with installation instructions in April 2014. Owners may contact Evenflo at 1-800-490-7591 or online at www.buckle.evenflo.com. Note: For a complete list of the production dates of the affected seats, please click on "Associated Documents" and then "Defect Notice(Part 573)." Not all seats within the date ranges listed are included, so consumers should contact Evenflo at the number or website listed here with the seat's model and date of manufacture to confirm that their seat is included.

Full text of NHTSA announcement, click here - 04/05/2014

CHRYSLER NOT BE LEFT OUT OF RECALL MESS / JEEP AND DODGE S-U-V MODELS WITH BRAKE PROBLEMS

More from USA Today, click here - 04/03/2014

BIG DAY FOR AUTO RECALLS, NISSAN, TOYOTA AND OF COURSE, GM

URGENT ADDITIONAL UPDATE ON POWER STEERING ASSIST RECALLS FROM ASSOCIATED PRESS, CLICK HERE - GM TELLS SOME DEALERS TO TEMPORARILY STOP SELLING CHEVY CRUZES, CLICK HERE - More from the Emeritus Newsroom - Amid the controversy over GM's ignition switch is the confusion over just which vehicles are included in the recall. The confusion surrounds GM's additions to the original recall to include more than 2.1 million other vehicles, announced over this past weekend.

House and Senate subcommittees plan hearings starting TOMORROW to find out why GM didn't recall the cars sooner and why the government never investigated the cars. General Motors CEO Mary Barra will be among those testifying Tuesday and Wednesday. More from Associated Press, click here.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the GM ignition switch recall also involves the safe operation of the airbag system. Until this recall is performed, customers should remove all items from their key rings, leaving only the ignition key. Ignition keys should also be removed from the key ring. General Motors LLC (GM) notified the agency on February 10, 2014 that they are recalling 619,122 model year 2005-2007 Chevrolet Cobalt, and 2007 Pontiac G5 vehicles. On February 25, 2014, GM increased the recall to include an additional 748,024 model year 2006-2007 Chevrolet HHR and Pontiac Solstice vehicles and 2003-2007 Saturn Ion vehicles and 2007 Saturn Sky vehicles. In these models, the weight on the key ring and/or road conditions or some other jarring event may cause the ignition switch to move out of the run position, turning off the engine. On March 27, 2014, GM notified the agency that the defective ignition switches may have been used as service replacement parts on other vehicles, and as a result GM will be recalling certain model year 2008-2010 Chevrolet Cobalt, Saturn Sky, and Pontiac G5 and Solstice, and 2008-2011 Chevrolet HHR vehicles. The part numbers for the service parts are 10392423 (a/k/a ACDelco D1461F), 10392737, 15857948, 15854953, 15896640, and 25846762. This expansion represents an additional 823,788 vehicles. If the key is not in the run position, the air bags may not deploy if the vehicle is involved in a crash, increasing the risk of injury. GM will notify owners, and dealers will replace the ignition switch, free of charge. An interim notification was issued to owners of 2007 and earlier models on March 10, 2014, informing them of the safety defect. Owners of 2008 and later vehicles will be mailed an interim letter on April 21, 2014. All affected owners will receive another letter once parts are available. Owners may contact Chevrolet at 1-800-222-1020, Pontiac at 1-800-762-2737 or Saturn at 1-800-553-6000. GM's number for the initial recall is 13454 and 14063 for the expansion. GM’s recall number for the vehicles that may have received the replacement parts is 14092. Note: Until the recall repairs have been performed, it is very important that customers remove all items from their key rings, leaving only the vehicle key. The key fob (if applicable), should also be removed from the key ring. Always wear your seatbelt. Full text of NHTSA announcement, click here.

Nissan North America, Inc. (Nissan) is recalling 989,701 of certain model year 2013-2014 Altima, LEAF, Pathfinder, and Sentra, model year 2013 NV200 (aka Taxi) and Infiniti JX35 and model year 2014 Infiniti Q50 and QX60 vehicles. In the affected vehicles, the occupant classification system (OCS) software may incorrectly classify the passenger seat as empty, when it is occupied by an adult. If the OCS does not detect an adult occupant in the passenger seat, the passenger airbag would be deactivated. Failure of the passenger airbag to deploy during a crash (where deployment is warranted) could increase the risk of injury to the passenger. Nissan will notify owners, and dealers will update the OCS software, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin in mid-April 2014. Owners may contact Nissan at 1-800-647-7261. Full text of NHTSA announcement, click here.

Toyota is recalling 119,140 certain model year 2003-2004 Avalon vehicles manufactured June 5, 2002, through December 20, 2004. In these vehicles, the supplemental restraint system (SRS) circuits are susceptible to internal shorting. The electrical short may create an abnormal current flow and increased heat which can damage the circuits. This could result in an inadvertent deployment of the front air bags and/or seat belt pretensioners. Inadvertent deployment of the air bags or the seat belt pretensioners increases the risk of an injury or crash. Full text of NHTSA announcement, click here .

MANY VICTIMS OF IGNITION SWITCH PROBLEM WERE YOUNG, CLICK HERE - 03/31/2014

GM ADDS 971,000 VEHICLES TO IGNITION RECALL

More from Associated Press, click here - 03/29/2014

FDA ATTACHES WARNING TO JERKY DOG TREATS

More from the Christian Science Monitor, click here - 03/29/2014

GM RECALLS 1.5 MILLION VEHICLES FOR AIR BAG, BRAKE PROBLEMS

More from the Emeritus Newsroom - General Motors LLC (GM) is recalling 1,176,407 of certain model year 2008-2013 Buick Enclave and GMC Acadia and 2009-2013 Chevrolet Traverse and 2008-2010 Saturn Outlook vehicles. In the affected vehicles, increased resistance in the driver and passenger seat mounted side impact air bag (SIAB) wiring harnesses may result in the SIAB and seat belt pretensioners not deploying in the event of a crash. Failure of the side impact air bags and seat belt pretensioners to deploy in a crash increase the risk of injury to the driver and front seat occupant. GM will notify owners, and dealers will replace the affected harness connections with soldered connections, free of charge. The manufacturer has not yet provided a notification schedule. Buick owners may contact the owner center at 1-800-521-7300, Chevrolet owners at 1-866-694-6546, Saturn at 1-800-553-6000, and GMC owners at 1-866-996-9463. GM's number for this recall is 14030. Note: Vehicles repaired as part of Customer Satisfaction Campaign 10085 and special coverage 10335 have already had the subject condition repaired and therefore are not included in the safety recall. Full text of NHTSA announcement, click here.

ALSO, General Motors is recalling certain model year 2009-2014 Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana vans manufactured January 27, 2009, through March 7, 2014 with a gross vehicle weight rating of 10,000 pounds and less and equipped with front passenger air bags. In the affected vehicles, during a frontal impact below the air bag deployment threshold, if an unbelted front passenger's head hits the instrument panel above where the passenger air bag is located, the panel may not sufficiently absorb the impact. As such, these vehicles fail to meet the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard number 201, "Occupant Protection in Interior Impact." In the event of a crash below the air bag deployment threshold, an unbelted front passenger seat occupant has an increased risk of injury. GM will notify owners. The manufacturer has not yet provided a remedy plan or notification schedule. Chevrolet owners may call 1-800-630-2438. GMC owners may call 1-866-996-9463. GM's number for this recall is 14082. Full text of NHTSA announcement, click here.

GM is recalling certain model year 2013-2014 Cadillac XTS vehicles manufactured February 14, 2012, through March 7, 2014. In the affected vehicles, a cavity plug on the brake booster pump connector may dislodge allowing corrosion of the brake booster pump relay connector. The corrosion of the brake booster pump relay connector may cause a resistive short and melt the connector, increasing the risk of a fire. GM will notify owners, and dealers will apply sealant to the connector cavity plugs, re-route the vacuum pump vent hose and replace the front body wiring harnesses as needed, free of charge. The manufacturer has not yet provided a notification schedule. Owners may contact Cadillac at 1-866-982-2339. GM's number for this recall is 14062. Full text of NHTSA announcement, click here.

03/24/2014

TOYOTA FACES CRIMINAL CHARGE & $1.2 BILLION SETTLEMENT FOR MISLEADING STATEMENTS ON SAFETY ISSUES

More from the Emeritus Newsroom - Federal officials of multiple fedewrla agencies announced this morning a criminal wire fraud charge against Toyota Motor Corporation (“TOYOTA” or “the company”), an automotive company headquartered in Toyota City, Japan, that designs, manufactures, assembles, and sells Toyota and Lexus brand vehicles.  The charge is that TOYOTA defrauded consumers in the fall of 2009 and early 2010 by issuing misleading statements about safety issues in Toyota and Lexus vehicles.   

Also today, the Department of Justice announced a deferred prosecution agreement with TOYOTA (“the agreement”) under which the company admits that it misled U.S. consumers by concealing and making deceptive statements about two safety issues affecting its vehicles, each of which caused a type of unintended acceleration.  The admissions are contained in a detailed statement of facts attached to the agreement.  The agreement, which is subject to judicial review, requires TOYOTA to pay a $1.2 billion financial penalty – the largest penalty of its kind ever imposed on an automotive company, and imposes on TOYOTA an independent monitor to review and assess policies, practices and procedures relating to TOYOTA’s safety-related public statements and reporting obligations.  TOYOTA agrees to pay the penalty under a Final Order of Forfeiture in a parallel civil action also filed today in the Southern District of New York. 

The criminal charge is contained in an Information (“the information”) alleging one count of wire fraud.  If TOYOTA abides by all of the terms of the agreement, the Government will defer prosecution on the information for three years and then seek to dismiss the charge.

“Rather than promptly disclosing and correcting safety issues about which they were aware, Toyota made misleading public statements to consumers and gave inaccurate facts to Members of Congress,” said Attorney General Eric Holder.  “When car owners get behind the wheel, they have a right to expect that their vehicle is safe.  If any part of the automobile turns out to have safety issues, the car company has a duty to be upfront about them, to fix them quickly, and to immediately tell the truth about the problem and its scope. Toyota violated that basic compact.  Other car companies should not repeat Toyota’s mistake: a recall may damage a company’s reputation, but deceiving your customers makes that damage far more lasting.”

“Safety is our top priority,” said Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.  “Throughout this recall process, NHTSA investigators worked tirelessly to make sure that Toyota recalled vehicles with defects causing unintended acceleration, and to determine when they learned of it, and as we learned today, they succeeded in this effort in spite of extraordinary challenges.  Today’s penalties follow NHTSA’s own record civil penalties of more than $66 million – together, they send a powerful message to all manufacturers to follow our recall requirements or they will face serious consequences.”

“Toyota stands charged with a criminal offense because it cared more about savings than safety and more about its own brand and bottom line than the truth,” said U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara for the Southern District of New York.  “In its zeal to stanch bad publicity in 2009 and 2010, Toyota misled regulators, misled customers, and even misstated the facts to Congress.  The tens of millions of drivers in America have an absolute right to expect that the companies manufacturing their cars are not lying about serious safety issues; are not slow-walking safety fixes; and are not playing games with their lives.  Companies that make inherently dangerous products must be maximally transparent, not two-faced.  That is why we have undertaken this landmark enforcement action.  And the entire auto industry should take notice.” 

“To the families and friends of those who died or were injured as a result of these incidents, I offer my deepest sympathies for your loss and my highest admiration for the strength you demonstrate every day,” said DOT Inspector General Calvin L. Scovel III.  “As is true for Secretary Foxx and DOT, safety is and will remain the highest priority of my office.  The OIG is committed to working with our law enforcement and prosecutorial partners in pursuing those who commit criminal violations of the Department of Transportation’s or related laws. The efforts of this dedicated multi-agency team and the agreement reached with Toyota must serve as a clarion call to all auto manufacturers of the need to always be as vigilant and forthcoming as possible to keep the public safe.”  

According to the allegations in the information, as well as other documents filed today in Manhattan federal court, including the Statement of Facts:           

In the fall of 2009, TOYOTA deceived consumers and its U.S. regulator, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (“NHTSA”), by claiming that it had “addressed” the “root cause” of unintended acceleration in its vehicles through a limited safety recall of eight models for floor-mat entrapment, a dangerous condition in which an improperly secured or incompatible all-weather floor mat can “trap” a depressed gas pedal causing the car to accelerate to a high speed.  Such public assurances deceived customers and NHTSA in two ways:  First, at the time the statements were made, TOYOTA knew that it had not recalled some cars with design features that made them just as susceptible to floor-mat entrapment as some of the recalled cars.  Second, only weeks before these statements were made, TOYOTA had taken steps to hide from NHTSA another type of unintended acceleration in its vehicles, separate and apart from floor-mat entrapment: a problem with accelerators getting stuck at partially depressed levels, known as “sticky pedal.” 

Full text of Department of Justice announcement, click here - 03/19/2014

GM ADDS MORE THAN A MILLION S-U-Vs TO IGNITION SWITCH AND AIR BAG RECALL

More from Associated Press, click here - 03/18/2014

HONDA, JEEP AND DODGE MAKE WEEKLY DEFECT LIST / HONDA ANNOUNCES DEFECT ON NEARLY A MILLION ODDESSY VANS

More from the Emeritus Newsroom - American Honda Motor Co., Inc. (Honda) is recalling certain 2005-2010 Honda Odyssey vehicles manufactured June 23, 2004, through September 4, 2010. In the affected vehicles, the fuel pump strainer cover may deteriorate allowing fuel to leak out, becoming a potential fire hazard. Parts to permanently repair the affected vehicles are not currently available. Honda will notify owners with an interim letter during April 2014. A second notice will be mailed to owners when the remedy becomes available, currently expected to be during the summer of 2014. Any vehicles that are currently leaking from the fuel pump cover will get a replacement, original cover. All vehicles, including those receiving the interim repair, will get an improved cover when they are available. Owners may contact Honda at 1-800-999-1009. The recall numbers associated with this campaign are JD9 (inspection and/or preliminary part replacement) and JE0 (final parts replacement). Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to www.safercar.gov.

Chrysler Group LLC (Chrysler) is recalling certain model year 2012-2013 Dodge Durango and Jeep Grand Cherokee vehicles manufactured October 11, 2011, through October 1, 2012. Under certain braking events, the Ready Alert Braking System (RAB) may result in the driver experiencing a hard brake pedal feel. If the driver experiences a hard brake pedal, the driver may not push the pedal as intended, lengthening the distance needed to stop the vehicle and increasing the risk of a crash. Chrysler will notify owners, and dealers will update the ABS module software, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin in March 2014. Owners may contact Chrysler at 1-800-853-1403. Chrysler's number associated with this recall is P05.

Chrysler Group LLC (Chrysler) is recalling certain model year 2014 Fiat 500L vehicles manufactured April 5, 2013, through January 22, 2014. In certain temperatures, moving the transmission shift lever may have a delayed effect or no effect on selecting a transmission gear.If there is no effect, the vehicle might not shift out of the Park position. If there is a delayed effect, the vehicle may move in an unintended or unexpected direction, increasing the risk of a crash. Chrysler will notify owners, and dealers will replace the shifter module or update the shifter software, as necessary, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin in April 2014. Owners may contact Chrysler at 1-800-853-1403. Chrysler's number associated with this recall is P06.

Fiat recall full text, click here - Dodge, Jeep recall, click here - Honda recall, click here - 03/17/2014

SERGEANTS PET CARE, WELLMARK INTERNATIONAL AGREE TO PULL SOME FLEA COLLARS OFF MARKET TO PROTECT CHILDREN FROM PESTICIDE RISKS

More from the Emeritus Newsroom - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has reached agreement with Sergeant's Pet Care Products, Inc. and Wellmark International to cancel flea and tick pet collars containing propoxur marketed under the trade names including Bansect, Sentry, Zodiac and Biospot.

“This action is another example of EPA’s efforts to protect children from pesticide risks,” said Jim Jones, assistant administrator of the EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. This voluntary move will get to an expedient result that protects people’s health.”

This decision was reached between EPA and Sergeant's and Wellmark as a result of EPA’s risk assessment showing risks to children from exposure to pet collars containing propoxur. Propoxur is an insecticide registered for use to control ticks, fleas and a variety of insects and is used in industrial, commercial and residential facilities. The agreement represents the solution to most quickly remove the pet collars from the market.

EPA completed the propoxur pet collar risk assessment in fall 2013 in response to a Natural Resources Defense Council petition to cancel the uses. EPA’s risk assessment found, in some but not all use scenarios, unacceptable risks to children from exposure to propoxur pet collars on the first day following application. Because the manufacturers could not find a way to eliminate unacceptable risk under all scenarios, EPA encouraged them to cancel these products and they subsequently agreed.

EPA announced the voluntary cancellation on January 22, 2014. Under the cancellation agreement, manufacturers are allowed to produce the pet collars until April 1, 2015, and will not be allowed to distribute the products after April 1, 2016. EPA will continue to watch for incidents from the use of these collars and is prepared to take further action if necessary.

Flea and tick collars work by leaving a pesticide residue on dogs' and cats' fur, which can be transferred to people by hugging, petting or coming into contact with the pets. The major source of exposure to these chemicals is from absorption through the skin after directly touching the treated pet. Small children may ingest pesticide residues when they touch a treated cat or dog and subsequently put their hands in their mouth.

If you purchase a propoxur pet collar, read the label carefully and follow all directions on the label to protect your family from exposure. Do not allow children to play with the collar, and wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water after handling.

For more information about the voluntary cancellation:

http://www2.epa.gov/safepestcontrol/companies-agree-stop-selling-pet-collars-containing-pesticide-protect-children

03/14/2014

SAFETY GROUP CLAIMS 303 PEOPLE DIED FROM GM IGNITION & AIR BAG PROBLEMS / SAYS FEDS FAILED TO DO MORE

More from the Emeritus Newsroom - In a letter to David Friedman, Acting Administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the Center for Auto Safety claims many more drivers and passengers have died than originally estimated in the unfolding case of GM ingition and airbag failures.

CAS claims that examination of NHTSA’s Fatal Analysis Reporting System (FARS) reveals 303 deaths of front seat occupants in the recalled 2005-07 Cobalts and 2003-07 Ions where the airbag failed to deploy in non-rear impact crashes. The search did not include the other five models recalled or the number of deaths without airbag deployment would have been higher.

The safety group says FARS data clearly shows front seat occupants were being killed in crashes where the airbags did not deploy as soon as the recalled vehicles hit the road, with three deaths in Saturn Ions during 2003 and 6 deaths in Chevrolet Cobalts in 2005. The number of front seat occupant deaths steadily climbed as moreCobalts and Ions were sold with 43 in 2009 and 47 in 2010 where the airbags did not deploy. NHTSA could and should have initiated a defect investigation to determine why airbags were not deploying in Cobalts and Ions in increasing numbers.

As the agency has done in past investigations, CAS believes special investigation teams should have been sent out to acquire more information on the crashes found in FARS and determine in which ones the airbag did not deploy due to the ignition key defect.

Full text of letter from Center for Auto Safety, click here - 03/14/2014

FEDS UNDER FIRE FOR LATE START ON GM VEHICLE IGNITION RECALL

More from the Washington Post, click here - 03/11/2014

SEN. AL FRANKEN BATTLES COMCAST PURCHASE OF TIME-WARNER / CLAIMS MERGER WILL LEAVE CONSUMERS VULNERABLE TO UNFAIR CHARGES

More from the Emeritus Newsroom - Minnesota Sen. Al Franken has joined the battle against the proposed merger of Comcast and Time-Warner. The former Saturday Night Live star is making the rounds on TV and radio talk shows saying that the merger will be bad for cable tv customers. In a letter to the Federal Communications Commission and the Justice Department, Franken states, " I am writing you regarding reports that Comcast plans to expand its empire by acquiring Time Warner Cable for over $40 billion. I have serious reservations about this proposed transaction, which would consolidate the largest and second largest cable providers in America. I urge you to act quickly and decisively to ensure that consumers are not exposed to increased cable prices and decreased quality of service as a result of this transaction".

Franken adds, "...rates have risen significantly over the last two decades, and my constituents express frustration at being squeezed by unacceptably high cable bills every month. Many consumers would switch cable providers if only they had a viable option to do so. Unfortunately, a handful of cable providers dominate the market, leaving consumers with little choice but to pay high bills for often unsatisfactory service. I am concerned that Comcast's proposed acquisition of Time Warner would only make things worse for consumers".

"The fact that Comcast already has acquired NBC Universal also increases my concern about the proposed expansion of Comcast's empire", Franken writes. "As you know, I strongly opposed the Comcast-NBC Universal transaction because it gave Comcast too much control over television content, control Comcast could exert to raise prices, thus harming consumers and competitors. Comcast's proposed acquisition of Time Warner threatens to extend Comcast's domination of both the cable and content markets even further. And, to make matters worse, all of this is taking place amidst ongoing questions as to Comcast's compliance with the terms and conditions set forth as part of the NBC Universal deal".

More from the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, click here - More from the NY Times, click here - 03/10/2014

DEBT COLLECTORS STALL LEGISLATION IN CONGRESS PROTECTING CONSUMERS AGAINST MEDICAL BILL PRACTICES

More from the NY Times, click here - 03/09/2014

EPA FORCES U-S IMPORTER TO RECALL THOUSANDS CHINESE RV's AND CYCLES FOR EMISSIONS VIOLATIONS

More from the Emeritus Newsroom - A Chinese powersports company and its related U.S. distributor have agreed to recall and replace fuel tanks that will better control gasoline vapors in approximately 1,000 vehicles and take other steps to control pollution stemming from the illegal import of over 12,000 recreational vehicles and highway motorcycles. These motor vehicles were manufactured in China and imported without the required certification indicating that emissions would meet federal standards.

CFMOTO Powersports, Inc., (a successor to CFMOTO America, Inc.) based in Plymouth, Minn., and Zhejiang CFMOTO Power Co., Ltd., and Chunfeng Holding Group Co., Ltd., both based in China, will pay a combined civil penalty of $725,000.

“Enforcing emission standards is a critical way we protect clean air for all Americans,” said Cynthia Giles, Assistant Administrator for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “The upgrades and changes required by today’s settlement will help reduce harmful air pollution that can cause respiratory illnesses, aggravate asthma and lead to smog.

In the settlement, approved today by the Agency’s Environmental Appeals Board, EPA alleges that over 12,000 highway motorcycles and recreational vehicles imported by the companies between 2007 and 2013 were not certified by EPA, as required by the Clean Air Act (CAA), to meet applicable federal emission standards. Of these, EPA found that 993 vehicles had fuel tanks that did not operate properly to control evaporative emissions, or gasoline vapors, and that approximately 1,400 vehicles were imported without proper emission control information labels.

In addition to the penalty, the companies must institute a Recall and Fuel Tank Replacement Program to replace all uncertified fuel tanks with certified ones to prevent any excess gasoline vapors. The companies must also correct the emission control information labels for those vehicles that are still within the control of the companies.

EPA discovered the alleged violations through joint inspections conducted with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Bureau of Customs and Border Protection and through a review of importation documents and other information provided by the companies.

Federal emissions standards for highway motorcycles and recreational vehicles have been in effect since 1977 and 2006, respectively. The CAA prohibits any vehicle or engine from being imported and sold in the United States unless it is covered by an EPA-issued certificate of conformity indicating that the vehicle or engine meets required emission standards

Recreational vehicle and highway motorcycles emit carbon monoxide, a gas that is poisonous at high levels in the air even to healthy people and is especially dangerous to people with heart disease. These vehicles also emit hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxides, which contribute to the formation of ground-level ozone, or smog. Exposure to even low levels of ozone can cause respiratory problems, and repeated exposure can aggravate pre-existing respiratory diseases.

CFMOTO Powersports, Inc. is a Minnesota corporation that holds certificates of conformity and that imports highway motorcycles and recreational vehicles manufactured by Zhejiang CFMoto Power Co., Ltd. and ChunFeng Holding Group Co. Ltd., both Chinese companies. CFMOTO America, Inc. is a now-dissolved Michigan corporation that was the predecessor to CFMOTO Powersports, Inc.

EPA filed an administrative complaint against CFMOTO Powersports in April 2013 and reached agreement on the settlement through an alternative dispute resolution process.

Full text of EPA announcement, click here - 03/04/2014

EPA ORDERS REMOVAL OF SULPHUR FROM REFINED OIL AND GAS

More from United Press International, click here - 03/04/2014

GM ADDS MORE CARS TO FAULTY IGNITION RECALL / ADMITS SLOW RESPONSE

More from USA Today, click here - 02/27/2014

US ATTORNEY GENERAL HOLDER RECOMMENDS ACTION AGAINST BUSINESSES DATA BREACHES

More from the Emeritus Newsroom - Attorney General Eric Holder has called on Congress to create a strong, national standard for quickly alerting consumers whose information may be compromised by cyberattacks. According to Holder, this legislation would strengthen the Justice Department's ability to combat crime, ensure individual privacy, and prevent identity theft, while also helping to bring cybercriminals to justice.

The complete text of the Attorney General’s weekly address is available below:

“Late last year, Target – the second-largest discount retailer in the United States – suffered a massive data breach that may have compromised the personal information of as many as 70 million people, in addition to credit and debit card information of up to 40 million customers.  The Department of Justice is currently investigating this breach, in close coordination with the U.S. Secret Service.  And we are moving aggressively to respond to hacking, cyberattacks, and other crimes that harm American consumers – and expose personal or financial information to those who would take advantage of their fellow citizens.

"As we’ve seen – especially in recent years – these crimes are becoming all too common.  And they have the potential to impact millions of Americans every year.  Just days after the Target breach was made public, another major retailer – Neiman Marcus – reported that it also suffered a suspected cyberattack during the holiday season.  And although Justice Department officials are working closely with the FBI and prosecutors across the country to bring cyber criminals to justice, it’s time for leaders in Washington to provide the tools we need to do even more: by requiring businesses to notify American consumers and law enforcement in the wake of significant data breaches.
               
“Today, I’m calling on Congress to create a strong, national standard for quickly alerting consumers whose information may be compromised.  This would empower the American people to protect themselves if they are at risk of identity theft.  It would enable law enforcement to better investigate these crimes – and hold compromised entities accountable when they fail to keep sensitive information safe.  And it would provide reasonable exemptions for harmless breaches, to avoid placing unnecessary burdens on businesses that do act responsibly.

“This legislation would strengthen the Justice Department’s ability to combat crime and ensure individual privacy – while bringing cybercriminals to justice.  My colleagues and I are eager to work with Members of Congress to refine and pass this important proposal.  And we will never stop working to protect the American people – using every tool and resource we can bring to bear.” The full video is available at http://www.justice.gov/agwa.php

Full text of Justice Department statement, click here - 02/26/2014

APPLE ENCRYPTIONS LEAVE I-PHONES, OTHER DEVICES VULNERABLE TO HACKERS

More from Reuters, click here - 02/22/2014

GEORGIA ATTORNEY FILES CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT OVER TARGET DATA BREACH / ATTORNEY IS ALSO VICTIM OF FRAUDULENT CHARGES FROM BREACH

More from WTOC-TV, Savannah, GA, click here - 02/22/2014

AEREO INTERNET T-V LOSES ROUND IN FEDERAL COURT / TEMPORARILY SHUT DOWN IN SOME WESTERN STATES

More from TV NewsCheck, click here - 02/20/2014

FCC PREPARES END RUN AROUND COURT RULING TO PRESERVE INTERNET NEUTRALITY

More from the Washington Post, click here - 02/19/2014

GRACO RECALLS MORE THAN 3 MILLION CHILD CAR SEATS

More from the Emeritus Newsroom - Child seat maker Graco says it is recalling all (3.7 million) toddler convertible car seats and harnessed booster seats manufactured from 2009 to July 2013. the company claims that that food and dried liquids that can make some harness buckles progressively more difficult to open over time or become stuck in the latched position.

Models affected are:

Toddler Convertible Car Seats: Cozy Cline, Comfort Sport, Classic Ride 50, My Ride 65, My Ride 70, My Ride 65 with Safety Surround, Size4Me 70, My Size 70, Head Wise 70, Smart Seat. Harnessed Booster Seats: Nautilus 3-in-1, Nautilus Elite and Argos.

Graco offers a new and improved replacement harness buckle to affected consumers at no cost. If you are experiencing difficulty with your harness buckle and cleaning has not improved its performance, please contact our Graco customer service team at 800-345-4109 (Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m.) or consumerservices@gracobaby.com

Full text of Graco announcement including buckle cleaning instructions, click here - 02/12/2014

SOFTWARE PROBLEM FORCES RECALL OF TOYOTA PRIUS/ RAV4 / LEXUS RX350 / TACOMA

More from the Emeritus Newsroom - Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc., today announced that it is advising the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) of plans to conduct voluntary safety recalls of approximately 700,000 Model Year 2010-2014 Prius vehicles and, combined, approximately 260,000 Model Year 2012 Toyota RAV4, 2012-2013 Toyota Tacoma, and 2012-2013 Lexus RX 350 vehicles sold in the United States to address two separate issues.
 

  • Toyota will update the motor/generator control ECU and hybrid control ECU software on certain Model Year 2010-2014 Prius vehicles
The software’s current settings could result in higher thermal stress in certain transistors, potentially causing them to become damaged. If this happens, various warning lights will illuminate and the vehicle can enter a failsafe mode. In rare circumstances, the hybrid system might shut down while the vehicle is being driven, resulting in the loss of power and the vehicle coming to a stop.
  • Toyota will update the skid control ECU software on certain 2012 Toyota RAV4, 2012-2013 Toyota Tacoma, and 2012-2013 Lexus RX 350 models in order to address an electronic circuit condition that can cause the Vehicle Stability Control, Anti-lock Brake, and Traction Control functions to intermittently turn off. If these systems are off, standard braking operation remains fully functional.

Toyota has received no reports of accidents or injuries associated with either condition.

As part of these recalls, owners of affected vehicles will receive a software update free of charge. Owners will be notified by first class mail when the software updates are available at their dealers.

Detailed information is available to customers at www.toyota.com/recall and by calling the Toyota Customer Experience Center at 1-800-331-4331.

Lexus customers can visit www.lexus.com/recall or call the Lexus Customer Satisfaction Center at 1-800-25-LEXUS (1-800-255-3987).

Full text of Toyota statement, click here - 02/12/2014

FREE CELL PHONE PROGRAM, "LIFELINE" FULL OF FRAUD ACCORDING TO CRITICS

More from KCTV, click here - 02/11/2014

CALIFORNIA FIRM RECALLS NEARLY 9 MILLION POUNDS OF SUSPECT BEEF

More from the Emeritus Newsroom - Rancho Feeding Corporation, a Petaluma, Calif. establishment, is recalling approximately 8,742,700 pounds, because it processed diseased and unsound animals and carried out these activities without the benefit or full benefit of federal inspection. Thus, the products are adulterated, because they are unsound, unwholesome or otherwise are unfit for human food and must be removed from commerce, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today.

The following Rancho Feeding Corporation products are subject to recall:

  • "Beef Carcasses” (wholesale and custom sales only)
  • 2 per box "Beef (Market) Heads" (retail only)
  • 4-gallons per box "Beef Blood" (wholesale only)
  • 20-lb. boxes of “Beef Oxtail”
  • 30-lb. boxes of “Beef Cheeks”
  • 30-lb. boxes of " Beef Lips"
  • 30-lb. boxes of "Beef Omasum"
  • 30-lb. boxes of "Beef Tripas"
  • 30-lb. boxes of "Mountain Oysters"
  • 30-lb. boxes of "Sweet Breads”
  • 30- and 60-lb. boxes of “Beef Liver”
  • 30- and 60-lb. boxes of “Beef Tripe”
  • 30- and 60-lb. boxes of “Beef Tongue”
  • 30- and 60-lb. boxes of "Veal Cuts"
  • 40-lb. boxes of "Veal Bones"
  • 50-lb. boxes of “Beef Feet”
  • 50-lb. boxes of “Beef Hearts”
  • 60-lb. boxes of "Veal Trim"

Beef carcasses and boxes bear the establishment number "EST. 527" inside the USDA mark of inspection.  Each box bears the case code number ending in “3” or “4.” The products were produced Jan. 1, 2013 through Jan. 7, 2014 and shipped to distribution centers and retail establishments in California, Florida, Illinois and Texas.

FSIS has received no reports of illness due to consumption of these products. Anyone concerned about an illness should contact a health care provider.

FSIS routinely conducts recall effectiveness checks to verify that recalling firms notify their customers of the recall and that steps are taken to make certain that recalled product is no longer available to consumers. When available, the retail distribution list(s) will be posted on the FSIS website at: www.fsis.usda.gov/recalls.

Consumers and members of the media who have questions about the recall can contact the plant’s Quality Control manager, Scott Parks, at (707) 762-6651.

Full text of USDA announcement, click here - 02/09/2014

MASSIVE RECALLS FOR STROLLERS AND PACIFIERS

More from the Emeritus Newsroom - Britax Child Safety Inc., of Fort Mill, S.C., is recalling the Britax B-Agile, B-Agile Double and BOB Motion strollers. The single and double strollers were sold in various color schemes, including black, red, kiwi, sandstone, navy and orange. They were manufactured in China between March 2011 and June 2013 and have the following model numbers: U341763, U341764, U341782 and U341783 for the B-Agile strollers; U361818 or U361819 for the B-Agile Double strollers; and U391820, U391821 and U391822 for the BOB Motion strollers. The company estimates that about 216,000 were sold in the United States and 8,800 in Canada. The model number and the manufacture date in YYYY/MM/DD format can be found on label located on the inside of the stroller’s metal frame near the right rear wheel. Britax has received eight incident reports. Incidents include one partial fingertip amputation, one broken finger and severe finger lacerations. Consumers should stop using the recalled strollers immediately and contact Britax to receive a free repair kit.Major retailers and juvenile products stores nationwide, and online at Amazon.com, albeebaby.com, buybuybaby.com, diapers.com, ToysRUs.com and other online retailers from May 2011 through June 2013 for between $250 and $450. Britax; toll-free at (866) 204-1665 from 8:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. ET Monday through Thursday and 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Friday, visit the company’s websites at www.britaxusa.com  or www.bobgear.com and click on “Safety Notice” at the top right corner or on “Learn More” at the bottom center of the page, or e-mail strollerrecall@britax.com for more information.

Also, Fred & Friends, of Cumberland, R.I., a division of Lifetime Brands, Inc., of Garden City, N.Y., is recalling three styles of Fred & Friends Chill Baby pacifiers, including the Artiste with a black plastic beard and mustache, Volume with a black volume control knob  and Panic with a red panic button. The pacifier’s name and UPC are printed on the packaging.  The Artiste’s UPC is 728987021282, the Volume style’s UPC is 728987020599 and the Panic style’s UPC is 728987020605. The pacifiers are plastic and silicone rubber and measure about 2 inches wide and 1½ inches tall. Fred & Friends has received one report of the knob on the Volume pacifier detaching. No injuries have been reported. Consumers should immediately take the recalled pacifiers away from young children and return them to Fred & Friends for a $12 refund. Fred & Friends is providing a postage paid envelope for consumers to return the recalled pacifiers. The pacifiers were made in China and sold in department stores,gift, drug, toy, baby product, grocery and home decorating stores, and hospital, museum gift shops nationwide and various websites from April 2013 through December 2013 for about $10. Fred & Friends toll-free at (855) 346-6372 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday, email the firm at pacifiersconsumer@fredandfriends.com  or online at www.fredandfriends.com and click on Pacifier Recall for more information.

Full text of Stroller recall, click here - Full text of pacifier recall, click here - 02/01/2014

TOYOTA SIGNALS PROBABLE RECALL FOR MODELS WITH SEAT HEATERS WHICH MAY CAUSE FIRES

More from the Emeritus Newsroom - Toyota today announced that the company has initiated a stop sale of certain Avalon, Avalon Hybrid, Camry, Camry Hybrid, Corolla, Sienna, Tacoma and Tundra vehicles equipped with seat heaters in order to address a non-compliance issue.
 
In involved vehicles, the seat heater, which is a small portion of the soft materials of the seat assembly, does not meet a provision of U.S. Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) requiring materials to retard flame at a specified rate. Toyota is preparing a modification for this condition, which will be implemented on all covered vehicles in dealer inventory.
 
There have been no reports globally of any related incidents in the field with units in operation. Per National Highway Traffic Safety (NHTSA) regulations, Toyota will file a Non-Compliance Information Report with the agency.

Full text of Toyota announcement, click here - More from USA Today, click here - 01/30/2014

LATEST CRASH TESTS SHOW MINI CARS HAVE LESS PROTECTION

More from the Emeritus Newsroom - According to the Insurance Institute, only 1 minicar out of 11 tested achieves an acceptable rating in the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's small overlap front crash test, making these tiny vehicles the worst performing group of any evaluated so far. The Chevrolet Spark's acceptable rating in the test, along with good ratings in the Institute's four other crash worthiness evaluations, earns the new minicar a 2014 TOP SAFETY PICK award. The Spark was among the initial award winners announced in December. The new small overlap test results for the rest of the minicar group mean that no other models in this size category join the Spark in the winner's circle yet. Introduced in 2012, the small overlap test replicates what happens when the front corner of a vehicle collides with another vehicle or an object such as a tree or utility pole. In the test, 25 percent of a vehicle's front end on the driver's side strikes a rigid barrier at 40 mph.

"Small, lightweight vehicles have an inherent safety disadvantage. That's why it's even more important to choose one with the best occupant protection," says Joe Nolan, IIHS senior vice president for vehicle research. "Unfortunately, as a group, minicars aren't performing as well as other vehicle categories in the small overlap crash."

In contrast to the minicar group's performance, most models in the small car category, which are a little larger, have done much better in the test. There are five good ratings and five acceptable ratings among 17 small cars that have been evaluated so far.

Small overlap front crash test ratings for minicars. Unless specified, ratings apply to both 2013 and 2014 models.

          Dummy injury measures
    Overall Structure Restraints
& kinematics
Head
& neck
Chest Hip
& thigh
Lower leg
& foot
2014 TOP SAFETY PICK logo
Chevrolet Spark
A
M
A
G
G
G
G
Mazda 2
M
M
A
G
G
G
P
Kia Rio
M
M
M
G
G
G
P
Toyota Yaris
M
M
P
G
G
G
M
2014 Ford Fiesta
built after August 2013
M
M
P
A
G
G
A
2014 Mitsubishi Mirage
P
M
P
G
G
G
P
  Nissan Versa sedan
P
P
M
G
G
G
P
  Toyota Prius c
P
P
P
G
G
G
P
  Hyundai Accent
P
P
P
G
G
M
M
  Fiat 500
P
P
P
G
G
M
P
  Honda FIt
P
P
M
G
G
P
P
GOOD
G
ACCEPTABLE
A
MARGINAL
M
POOR
P

Full text of Insurance Institute report on mini cars, click here - Video of crash tests, click here - 01/22/2014

LATEST MAJOR VEHICLE RECALLS / FORD EDGE, TESLA, CHEVY-GMC PICKUPS

More from the Emeritus Newsroom - The largest of the latest vehicle recalls involves the 2014 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups.

According to General Motors, about 300,000 of the 2014 model year Chevrolet Silverados and GMC Sierras equipped with 4.3L or 5.3L engines, can experience overheated exhaust components when the vehicle is idling in cold temperatures.The overheated exhaust components may melt nearby plastic parts and may result in an engine fire. General Motors will notify owners, and dealers will reprogram the engine control module, free of charge. The recall began on January 16, 2014. Owners may contact Chevrolet at 1-800-222-1020 and GMC at 1-800-462-8782. General Motors' number for this recall is 14008. Click here for full text of NHTSA bulletin.

Ford Motor Company (Ford) is recalling nearly 28,000 model year 2012-2013 Edge vehicles manufactured from September 2, 2010, through April 25, 2013, and equipped with 2.0L engines. The fuel line pulse damper metal housing may crack as a result of an improper manufacturing process. A cracked fuel line pulse damper housing may result in a combination of fuel odor, weepage, or a continuous leak while the fuel system is pressurized.A fuel leak in the presence of an ignition source may result in a fire. Ford will notify owners, and dealers will replace the fuel line with one that does not have a damper, free of charge. The safety recall is scheduled to begin on February 28, 2014. Owners may contact Ford at 1-866-436-7332. Ford's number for this recall is 13S13. IMPORTANT: This recall supersedes recall 12V-438. All vehicles that have been remedied under the previous recall need to have the current remedy applied. Full text of NHTSA bulletin, click here .

And Tesla Motors, makers of electric powered sport luxury cars, is recalling 29,000 model year 2013 Model S vehicles equipped for, and delivered with, certain NEMA 14-50 (240 volt) Universal Mobile Connector (UMC) adapters. During charging, the adapter, cord, or wall outlet could overheat. An overheated adapter, cord, or wall outlet increases the risk of burn injury and/or fire. Tesla will notify owners and provide an "over-the-air" software update. Some owners have already received this update. This update allows the Model S on board charging system to detect any unexpected fluctuations in the input power or higher resistance connections to the vehicle. If detected, the onboard charging system will automatically reduce the charging current by 25%. Tesla owners can verify that they have received the updated software (version 5.8.4 or later) by viewing the vehicle's center information screen. Additionally, Tesla will mail owners a replacement NEMA 14-50 adapter that is equipped with an internal thermal fuse. The manufacturer has not yet provided a notification schedule. Owners may contact Tesla Service Center at 1-877-79-TESLA (1-877-798-3752). Full text of NTHSA bulletin, click here .

01/20/2014

APPLE MUST PAY $32 MILLION SETTLEMENT OVER UNAUTHORIZED CHILDRENS APP DOWNLOADS / CUSTOMERS TO GET REFUNDS

More from the Emeritus Newsroom - Apple Inc. has agreed to provide full refunds to consumers, paying a minimum of $32.5 million, to settle a Federal Trade Commission complaint that the company billed consumers for millions of dollars of charges incurred by children in kids’ mobile apps without their parents’ consent.

Under the terms of the settlement with the FTC, Apple also will be required to change its billing practices to ensure that it has obtained express, informed consent from consumers before charging them for items sold in mobile apps.

“This settlement is a victory for consumers harmed by Apple’s unfair billing, and a signal to the business community: whether you’re doing business in the mobile arena or the mall down the street, fundamental consumer protections apply,” said FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez.  “You cannot charge consumers for purchases they did not authorize.”

The FTC’s complaint alleges that Apple violated the FTC Act by failing to tell parents that by entering a password they were approving a single in-app purchase and also 15 minutes of additional unlimited purchases their children could make without further action by the parent. 

Apple offers many kids’ apps in its App Store that allow users to incur charges within the apps.  Many of these charges are for virtual items or currency used in playing a game.  These charges generally range from 99 cents to $99.99 per in-app charge.

The complaint alleges that Apple does not inform account holders that entering their password will open a 15-minute window in which children can incur unlimited charges with no further action from the account holder. In addition, according to the complaint, Apple has often presented a screen with a prompt for a parent to enter his or her password in a kids’ app without explaining to the account holder that password entry would finalize any purchase at all.

The rapidly expanding mobile arena has been a focus of the Commission’s consumer protection efforts. In addition to its consumer protection enforcement activity in the mobile sphere, last year, the FTC issued staff reports addressing mobile payments and providing recommendations for the mobile industry on how to protect consumers as new and innovative payment systems come into use, advocating improved privacy disclosures in the mobile environment, and addressing advertising disclosures in the context of mobile devices.

In its complaint, the FTC notes that Apple received at least tens of thousands of complaints about unauthorized in-app purchases by children. One consumer reported that her daughter had spent $2,600 in the app “Tap Pet Hotel,” and other consumers reported unauthorized purchases by children totaling more than $500 in the apps “Dragon Story” and “Tiny Zoo Friends.” According to the complaint, consumers have reported millions of dollars in unauthorized charges to Apple.

The settlement requires Apple to modify its billing practices to ensure that Apple obtains consumers’ express, informed consent prior to billing them for in-app charges, and that if the company gets consumers’ consent for future charges, consumers must have the option to withdraw their consent at any time. Apple must make these changes no later than March 31, 2014.

Under the settlement, Apple will be required to provide full refunds, totaling a minimum of $32.5 million, to consumers who were billed for in-app charges that were incurred by children and were either accidental or not authorized by the consumer. Apple must make these refunds promptly, upon request from an account holder. Apple is required to give notice of the availability of refunds to all consumers charged for in-app charges with instructions on how to obtain a refund for unauthorized purchases by kids. Should Apple issue less than $32.5 million in refunds to consumers within the 12 months after the settlement becomes final, the company must remit the balance to the Commission.

Full text of FTC statement, click here - 01/15/2014

FCC NET NEUTRALITY RULES LOSE IN FEDERAL APPEALS COURT / LIKELY HEADED TO SUPREME COURT

More from the Wall Street Journal, click here - 01/15/2014

NEIMAN MARCUS, OTHER RETAILERS LIKELY AFFECTED BY HOLIDAY DATA BREACHES

More from TechCrunch, click here - 01/12/2014

TARGET SAYS BANK CARD DATA BREACH MUCH MORE EXTENSIVE THAN FIRST REPORTED

More from the LA Times, click here - 01/11/2014

FOSTER FARMS CALIFORNIA PLANT CLOSED DUE TO ROACHES

More from the Fresno Bee, click here - 01/09/2014

FEDS MOVE AGAINST WEIGHT LOSS FRAUDSTERS

More from the Emeritus Newsroom - The Federal Trade Commission has announced a law enforcement initiative stopping national marketers that used deceptive advertising claims to peddle fad weight- loss products, from food additives and skin cream to dietary supplements. Operation Failed Resolution” is part of the FTC’s ongoing effort to stop misleading claims for products promoting easy weight loss and slimmer bodies.  The marketers of Sensa, who exhorted consumers to “sprinkle, eat, and lose weight” – will pay $26.5 million to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that they deceived consumers with unfounded weight-loss claims and misleading endorsements.  The FTC will make these funds available for refunds to consumers who bought Sensa.

The agency also announced charges against the marketers of two other products that made unfounded promises:

  • L’Occitane, which claimed that its skin cream would slim users’ bodies but had no science to back up that claim, and
  • HCG Diet Direct, which marketed an unproven human hormone that has been touted by hucksters for more than half a century as a weight-loss treatment.

And it announced a partial settlement in a fourth case, LeanSpa, LLC, an operation that allegedly deceptively promoted acai berry and “colon cleanse” weight-loss supplements through fake news websites.

“Resolutions to lose weight are easy to make but hard to keep,” said Jessica Rich, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection.  “And the chances of being successful just by sprinkling something on your food, rubbing cream on your thighs, or using a supplement are slim to none.  The science just isn’t there.”

In total, the weight-loss marketers will pay approximately $34 million for consumer redress.  In addition to the $26.5 million to be paid by Sensa, L’Occitane, Inc. will pay $450,000, and the LeanSpa scettling defendants will surrender assets totalling an estimated $7.3 million.  The judgment against the HCG Diet Direct defendants is suspended due to their inability to pay.

Full text of FTC statement, click here - 01/08/2013

 

 

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CONSUMER ARCHIVES 2010-11, 2012-13

INSTANT PRODUCT RECALL SITE CONNECTIONS

Because of the volume of product recalls, Emeritus News has established the following direct links to special government and manufacturer recall announcements. Just click on the underlined titles.

LATEST NATIONAL HIGHWAY TRAFFIC SAFETY ADMINISTRATION VEHICLE RECALLS - MONTHLY SUMMARY REPORTS (USUALLY TWO MONTHS DELAYED), CLICK HERE -

U-S GOV'T FOOD SAFETY AND RECALL INFO, CLICK HERE

FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION   FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION WARNING LETTERS

DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE (MEAT AND OTHER FOOD RECALLS)

CONSUMER PRODUCT SAFETY COMMISSION (RECALLS AND FILING COMPLAINTS)

FDA (FOOD AND DRUG RECALLS AND SAFETY ALERT VIDEOS)

LATEST ACTIONS TAKEN AGAINST BUSINESSES BY THE FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION

Direct link to Federal Trade Commission actions, click here

AUTO SAFETY GROUP BLASTS AUTO INDUSTRY AT CONGRESSIONAL HEARINGS - VOA REPORT - 04/04/2014

 

CARS MAY SOON TALK TO EACH OTHER - VOA REPORT - 04/04/2014

 

CARS OF THE NEAR FUTURE - VOICE OF AMERICA REPORT - 03/07/2014

MINI CARS DO BADLY IN LATEST CRASH TESTS - INSURANCE INSTITUTE - 01/22/2014

 

MUST READ: BEST WAYS TO AVOID HAVING YOUR COMPUTER ACCOUNTS HACKED

More from Slate, click here - 08/16/2012

AS WORLD OIL PRODUCTION INCREASES, FUEL PRICES MAY COLLAPSE BY 2020

More in this study summary from Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government, click here - 08/02/2012

SUB-PRIME CAR LOANS AN "EASY GET" DESPITE TIGHT CREDIT MARKETS

More in this article from the Washington Post, click here - 07/09/2012

DATA BASE FOR LATEST DRIVER VEHICLE COMPLAINTS

Click here for most recent complaints and links for filing a complaint

SCORECARD: HOW GOOD ARE CURRENT HYBRID VEHICLES? A MUST READ

More in this article from the New York Times, click here- 07/07/2011

HYBRID VEHICLE OWNERS ARE LOW PERCENTAGE REPEAT BUYERS

More from the LA Times, click here - 04/09/2012

YOU ARE NOT YOUR CREDIT SCORE / A MUST READ PERSONAL FINANCE ARTICLE

More in this article from the Oregonian, click here- 02/27/2010

LATEST ACTIONS TAKEN AGAINST BUSINESSES BY THE FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION

Direct link to Federal Trade Commission actions, click here

GM FINED $35 MILLION FOR SLOW RESPONSE TO CHEVY COBALT AIRBAG PROBLEMS

More from the Emeritus Newsroom - The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) today announced that General Motors (GM) has agreed to pay a record $35 million civil penalty and to take part in unprecedented oversight requirements as a result of findings from NHTSA’s timeliness investigation regarding the Chevrolet Cobalt and the automaker’s failure to report a safety defect in the vehicle to the federal government in a timely manner. The defect resulted in the non-deployment of airbags in certain Chevrolet Cobalt and other GM models. This action represents the single highest civil penalty amount ever paid as a result of a NHTSA investigation of violations stemming from a recall.

As part of today’s agreement, set forth in a Consent Order signed with NHTSA, the agency also ordered GM to make significant and wide-ranging internal changes to its review of safety-related issues in the United States, and to improve its ability to take into account the possible consequences of potential safety-related defects. GM will also pay additional civil penalties for failing to respond on time to the agency’s document demands during NHTSA’s investigation.

“Safety is our top priority, and today’s announcement puts all manufacturers on notice that they will be held accountable if they fail to quickly report and address safety-related defects,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Foxx. “While we will continue to aggressively monitor GM’s efforts in this case, we also urge Congress to support our GROW AMERICA Act, which would increase the penalties we could levy in cases like this from $35 million to $300 million, sending an even stronger message that delays will not be tolerated.”

Federal law requires all auto manufacturers to notify NHTSA within five business days of determining that a safety-related defect exists or that a vehicle is not in compliance with federal motor vehicle safety standards and to promptly conduct a recall. GM admits in the Consent Order that it did not do so.

Today’s action is historic in that the provisions of the Consent Order will be immediately enforceable in federal court if GM does not fully comply.  The Consent Order will hold GM accountable, push the automaker to make needed institutional change, and ensure that replacement parts are produced quickly and recalled vehicles are repaired promptly.

“No excuse, process, or organizational structure will be allowed to stand in the way of any company meeting their obligation to quickly find and fix safety issues in a vehicle,” said NHTSA Acting Administrator David Friedman. “It’s critical to the safety of the driving public that manufacturers promptly report and remedy safety-related defects that have the potential to lead to deaths or injuries on our nation’s highways.”

In the Consent Order, GM agreed to provide NHTSA with full access to the results of GM’s internal investigation into this recall, to take steps to ensure its employees report safety-related concerns to management, and to speed up the process for GM to decide whether to recall vehicles.

The Consent Order also requires GM to notify NHTSA of changes to its schedule for completing production of repair parts by October 4.  GM must also take steps to maximize the number of vehicle owners who bring in their vehicles for repair, including targeted outreach to non-English speakers, maintaining up-to-date information on its website, and engaging with vehicle owners through the media.  The Consent Order requires GM to submit reports and meet with NHTSA so that the agency may monitor the progress of GM’s recall and other actions required by the consent order.

Both in 2007 and again in 2010, NHTSA reviewed data related to the non-deployment of airbags in certain Chevy Cobalt models but each time, determined that it lacked the data necessary to open a formal investigation.  However, on February 7, 2014, GM announced it would recall certain model vehicles for a defect where the vehicle’s ignition switch may unintentionally move out of the “run” position that could result in the air bag not deploying in the event of a crash.  GM had failed to advise NHTSA of this defect at the time of the agency’s earlier reviews.

After review and consultation by NHTSA, GM twice expanded the recall to include a total of 2,190,934 vehicles in the United States.  The GM recall covers the 2005-2010 Chevrolet Cobalt, 2007-2010 Pontiac G5, 2003-2007 Saturn Ion, 2006-2011 Chevrolet HHR, 2006-2010 Pontiac Solstice and 2007-2010 Saturn Sky vehicles. 

Over the past ten years, NHTSA defect investigations resulted in 1,299 recalls involving more than 95 million vehicles and items of motor vehicle equipment, which has helped the agency to reduce vehicle fatalities to historic, all-time lows. Including today’s consent order, the agency has obtained record fines of $124.5 million in the last five years from automakers who have failed to promptly report defects to NHTSA.

Full text of statement from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, click here - 05/16/2014

FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION APPROVES PLAN GIVING PREFERENCE TO WEBSITES THAT PAY

More from the Washington Post, click here - 05/16/2014

PROBLEMS WITH POWER BRAKES, BRAKELIGHTS & HEADLIGHTS FORCE G-M TO RECALL 2.7 MILLION MORE VEHICLES

More from the Emeritus Newsroom - General Motors said Thursday it has informed the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration of five safety recalls covering about 2.7 million vehicles in the United States. The recalls cover:

  • 2,440,524 previous generation passenger cars for taillamp malfunctions
  • 111,889 previous generation Chevrolet Corvettes for loss of low-beam head lamps
  • 140,067 Chevrolet Malibus from the 2014 model year for hydraulic brake booster malfunctions
  • 19,225 Cadillac CTS 2013-2014 models for windshield wiper failures
  • 477 full-size trucks from the 2014 and 2015 model years for a tie-rod defect that can lead to a crash

“Customer safety is at the heart of how GM designs and produces vehicles, and these announcements are examples of two ways we are putting that into practice,” said Jeff Boyer, vice president of GM Global Vehicle Safety.

“We have redoubled our efforts to expedite and resolve current reviews in process and also have identified and analyzed recent vehicle issues which require action. These are examples of our focus to surface issues quickly and promptly take necessary actions in the best interest of our customers.”

The largest recall involves 2004-2012 Chevrolet Malibu, 2004-2007 Chevrolet Malibu Maxx, 2005-2010 Pontiac G6 and 2007-2010 Saturn Auras model cars in U.S. to modify the brake lamp wiring harness. 

Affected vehicles could have corrosion develop in the wiring harness for the body control module due to micro-vibration. The condition could result in brake lamps failing to illuminate when the brakes are applied or brake lamps illuminating when the brakes are not engaged.  Additionally, cruise control, traction control, electronic stability control and panic braking assist operation could be disabled.

GM is aware of several hundred complaints, 13 crashes and two injuries but no fatalities as a result of the condition. The company issued a technical service bulletin in 2008 and conducted a safety campaign for a small population of 2005 model year vehicles in January 2009.  

The third recall covers 140,067 Chevrolet Malibus from the 2014 model year with 2.5L engines and stop/start technology. These vehicles are subject to the disabling of hydraulic brake boost that can require greater pedal efforts and extended stopping distances. Dealers will reprogram the electronic brake control module. The issue was discovered in testing of a future model with similar technology. GM is aware of four crashes but it is not clear that these are related to the condition. No injuries are known from those crashes.
The fourth recall covers 19,225 Cadillac CTS from the 2013-2014 model year for a condition in which the windshield wiper system may become inoperable after a vehicle jump start with wipers active and restricted, such as by ice and snow. Potential lack of visibility could increase the risk of a crash. Dealers will replace the front wiper module free of charge. GM is unaware of any crashes or injuries due to the condition.
The fifth recall involves certain 2014 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra light duty pickups and 2015 model year Chevrolet Tahoe SUVs. The tie rod threaded attachment to the steering gear rack in these vehicles may not be tightened to specification. With this condition, the tie rod can separate from the steering rack and a crash could occur without prior warning. Customers are being contacted and told to have their vehicles taken by flatbed to their dealer, where the inner tie rods will be inspected for correct torque, and, if necessary, the steering gear will be replaced. The repair procedure was being sent to dealers and owner letters sent by overnight mail to customers on May 14. The issue was discovered and corrected during assembly after the small number of vehicles was released.
GM expects to take a charge of up to approximately $200 million in the second quarter, primarily for the cost of recall-related repairs announced in the quarter.

There were other recalls this week affecting GM, Ford and Chrysler Models. Click here for GM announcement, Transmission Shift Cable may Fracture. Click here for Chrysler announcement, Vent Window Switch may Overheat. Click here for Ford announcement, Side-Curtain Rollover Air Bag Deployment Delay.

Full text of today's GM statement, click here - 5/15/2014

FCC CHAIRMAN BACKS OFF HIS VERSION OF NET NEUTRALITY / HOWEVER, HE'S STILL PROPOSING "PAID PRIORITIZATION"

More from the LA Times, click here - 05/14/2014

56,000 SATURNS RECALLED / AUTOMATIC GEAR SHIFTERS MAY FAIL

More from the Associated Press, click here - 05/06/2014

GM RECALLS VEHICLES WITH FAULTY GAS GAUGES / MAY READ 1/4 TANK FULL WHEN EMPTY / RECALLS ALSO ISSUED FOR MAZDA, HONDA, BMW, MERCEDES, FORD

More from the Emeritus Newsroom - General Motors LLC (GM) is recalling 51,640 certain model year 2014 Buick Enclave, Chevrolet Traverse, and GMC Acadia vehicles manufactured March 26, 2013, through August 15, 2013. In the affected vehicles, the engine control module (ECM) software may cause the fuel gauge to read inaccurately. An inaccurate fuel gauge may result in the vehicle unexpectedly running out of fuel and stalling, increasing the risk of a crash. Full text of recall, click here.

GM is also recalling 50,571 certain model year 2013 Cadillac SRX vehicles manufactured May 29, 2012, through June 26, 2013, and equipped with 3.6L engines. In the affected vehicles, in certain driving situations, there may be a three to four second lag in acceleration due to the transmission control module (TCM) programming. A three to four second lag in acceleration may increase the risk of crash. GM will notify owners, and dealers will reprogram the transmission control module, free of charge. The manufacturer has not yet provided a notification schedule. Owners may contact Cadillac customer service at 1-800-458-8006. General Motors' number for this recall is 14132. Full text of recall, click here.

Ford Motor Company (Ford) is recalling 3,973 certain model year 2015 F-250, F-350, F-450, and F-550 Super Duty trucks manufactured September 13, 2013, through March 28, 2014, and equipped with 6.2L gasoline or 6.7L diesel engines and 6R140 transmissions. An error with the transmission control software may be such that while shifting from "Park" to "Drive" the vehicle may display "Drive" but possibly engage "Reverse" for 1.5 seconds before engaging "Drive." Therefore, the vehicles do not conform to Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) number 102, "Transmission Shift Lever Sequence, Starter Interlock, and Transmission Braking Effect." If the vehicle is in "Reverse" while the while the gear selection shows "Drive," unexpected movement could occur, increasing the risk of a crash. Ford will notify owners, and dealers will update the transmission software, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin in early May 2014. Owners may contact Fords customer service at 1-800-392-3673. Ford's number for this recall is 14C04. Full text of recall, click here.

Mercedes-Benz USA, LLC (Mercedes) is recalling 252,867 certain model year 2008-2011 C300, C300 4Matic, C350, and C63 AMG vehicles manufactured January 26, 2007, through July 13, 2011. In the affected vehicles, a poor electrical ground connection may result in the dimming or failure of the tail lights. Dimming or failure of the tail lights reduces the ability to warn other motorists of the driver's intentions of stopping or turning, increasing the risk of a crash. Mercedes will notify owners, and dealers will replace the bulb holders if not previously updated and replace any corroded connectors, free of charge. Parts are not currently available. Owners will be sent an interim notification in June 2014. A second letter will be mailed when parts are available, currently expected to be in August or September 2014. Owners may contact Mercedes at 1-800-367-6372. Full text of recall, click here.

BMW of North America, LLC (BMW) is recalling 156,137 certain model year 2010-2011 128i Coupe, 128i Convertible, 328i Sedan, 328i xDrive Sedan, 328i Coupe, 328i Convertible, 328i Sports Wagon and Z4 sDrive 30i, 2011-2012 135i Coupe, 135i Convertible, 335i Sedan, X5 xDrive 35i, and X6 xDrive 35i, 2011 335i xDrive Sedan, 335i Coupe, 335i Convertible, 528i Sedan, 535i Sedan, 535i xDrive Sedan, X3 xDrive 28i, and X3 xDrive 35i, 2010 X3 xDrive 30i, and X5 xDrive 30i, 2012 640i Coupe, and 640i Convertible and 2010-2012 535i Gran Turismo vehicles. In the affected vehicles, the bolts that secure the housing for the variable camshaft timing adjustment (VANOS) unit can loosen over time and may possibly break. If the bolts loosen or break the engine may have reduced power or stall. An engine stall increases the risk of a crash. BMW will notify owners, and dealers will replace the four VANOS housing bolts for both VANOS units (intake and exhaust), free of charge. The recall is expected to begin in May 2014. In addition, owners of approximately 170,172 model year 2010-2012 BMW vehicles equipped with inline 6 cylinder engines not covered by this recall, will receive an extended warranty to address this condition. Owners may contact BMW at 1-800-525-7417. Full text of recall, click here.

Honda is recalling 24,889 certain model year 2014 Odyssey vehicles manufactured October 2, 2013, through December 16, 2013. The shorting terminal, an electrical connector used to prevent air bag deployment before being installed into a vehicle, may have been damaged during assembly of the passenger-side side curtain air bag. If the shorting terminal is damaged, the passenger-side side curtain air bag may fail to deploy thereby increasing the risk of occupant injury in a crash. Honda will notify owners, and dealers will replace the damaged shorting pin with a new shorting coupler, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin in early May 2014. Owners may contact Honda at 1-800-999-1009. Honda's number for this recall is JE2. Full text of recall, click here .

Mazda North America Operations (Mazda) is recalling 19,000 certain model year 2014 Mazda6 vehicles manufactured October 25, 2012, through May 9, 2013. In the affected vehicles, it is possible to fill the fuel tank beyond its rated capacity. If the tank is overfilled, gas may flow into the charcoal canister (an evaporative emissions component) and possibly leak from the canister's external vent, increasing the risk of a fire. Mazda will notify owners and dealers will inspect and add an adapter to the shut off valve in the fuel tank and also inspect the charcoal canister for the presence of gasoline, replacing it as necessary, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin in late April 2014. Owners may contact Mazda at 1-800-222-5500. Mazda's number for this recall is 7414D. Full text of recall, click here.

05/05/2014

GM COULD USE BANKRUPTCY COURT TO STEM TIDE OF LAWSUITS FROM BAD IGNITION SWITCHES

More from the Associated Press, click here - 05/02/2014

SAMSUNG ORDERED TO PAY $120 MILLION TO APPLE FOR PATENT VIOLATIONS / APPLE ALSO ORDERED TO PAY NOMINAL AWARD

More from Associated Press, click here - 05/02/2014

END OF SUPPORT FOR WINDOWS X-P PROMPTS SECURITY THREAT / MICROSOFT WILL PATCH PROBLEM BUT URGES USERS TO SWITCH TO WINDOWS 7 OR 8

-More from the Emeritus Newsroom - A security threat that could allow hackers to take control of computers with Microft X-P operation systems has been discovered by the company, which uploaded a patch for the problem today at 1PM Eastern.

According to a statement from the company, one of the things that drove much of this coverage was that it coincided with the end of support for Windows XP.  The reality is that the threats we face today from a security standpoint have really outpaced the ability to protect those customers using an operating system that dates back over a decade.  This is why we’ve been encouraging Windows XP customers to upgrade to a modern, more secure operating system like Windows 7 or Windows 8.1. Even though Windows XP is no longer supported by Microsoft and is past the time we normally provide security updates, we’ve decided to provide an update for all versions of Windows XP (including embedded), today.  We made this exception based on the proximity to the end of support for Windows XP.  The reality is there have been a very small number of attacks based on this particular vulnerability and concerns were, frankly, overblown.  Unfortunately this is a sign of the times and this is not to say we don’t take these reports seriously.  We absolutely do. 

The company statement continues, "Just because this update is out now doesn’t mean you should stop thinking about getting off Windows XP and moving to a newer version of Windows and the latest version of Internet Explorer.  If you are on Windows 7, upgrade to Internet Explorer 11.  Our modern operating systems provide more safety and security than ever before. The latest version of Internet Explorer has increased support for modern web standards, better performance, and expanded the ability to deliver an immersive experience from within the browser.  In other words, cool stuff that you need even if you didn’t know you need it.  And when you turn on auto update, we make sure your computer and your browser get better all the time".

Full text of Microsoft statement, click here - 05/01/2014

CRITICS SAY NEW AIRLINE PRICING LAW TO BE APROVED BY CONGRESS WILL MAKE IT HARDER FOR CONSUMERS TO PRICE TICKETS

More from the Washington Post, click here - 04/26/2014

FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION PROPOSES PAY FOR PRIORITY INTERNET SPEEDS / CRITICS CLAIM IT ENCOURAGES PAID FAVORITISM THAT IS NOT NETWORK NEUTRALITY

More from the Associated Press, click here - 04/24/2014

V-W, MAZDA, NISSAN MAKE LATEST RECALL LIST

More from the Emeritus Newsroom - The latest recall affecting the most vehicles is from Mazda which has announced it is recalling 109,000 certain model year 2001-2004 Tribute vehicles manufactured May 22, 2000, through December 19, 2003, originally sold, or currently registered in, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia, Wisconsin and the District of Columbia. These vehicles may experience excessive corrosion at the forward attachment of the lower control arm. A separation of the lower control arm can result in a significant loss of steering control, increasing the risk of a crash. Full text of recall, click here.

MAZDA IS ALSO RECALLING 5,700 certain model year 2014 Mazda3 vehicles manufactured June 12, 2013, through December 18, 2013, and model year 2014-2015 Mazda6 vehicles manufactured May 20, 2013, through December 4, 2013, and both equipped with a 2.5L engine and a regenerative engine braking system. When driving the affected vehicles in heavy rain or in deep puddles, the alternator belt may slip causing the Power Control module (PCM) to incorrectly assume failure of the charging system. Once the PCM assumes that the charging system has failed, the vehicle will stop charging and could result in poor acceleration, loss of steering assist and windshield wiper operation, and a possible engine stall, increasing the risk of a crash. Full text of recall, click here.

NISSAN is recalling 3,065 certain model year 2013 Pathfinder vehicles manufactured April 18, 2012, through October 3, 2012, and equipped with a continuously variable transmission (CVT). In the affected vehicles, the internal oil cooler (ITOC) hose may detach from the cooler due to inadequate clamping force, allowing transmission fluid to leak. The loss of transmission fluid could cause the transmission to function improperly and the vehicle to stop accelerating, increasing the risk of a crash. Full text of recall, click here. VOLKSWAGEN IS RECALLING 26,452 certain model year 2014 Jetta, Beetle, Beetle Convertible, and Passat vehicles equipped with a 1.8T engine and torque converter automatic transmission. In the affected vehicles, the O-ring seals between the oil cooler and the transmission may leak fluid. The leaking transmission fluid could contact a hot surface and result in a vehicle fire. Full text of recall, click here .

04/21/2014

NEWLY RELEASED DOCUMENTS SHOW G-M HID EXTENT OF STEERING DEFECTS ON SATURN VEHICLES / GOVERNMENT AGENCY LATE TAKING ACTION

More from Associated Press, click here - 04/19/2014

PHONE SERVICE COMPANY AT CENTER OF INTERNATIONAL INVESTMENT FRAUD PROBE FILES BANKRUPTCY / TOOK HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS FROM IMMIGRANTS IN U-S AND OVERSEAS

More from the Boston Globe, click here - 04/16/2014

MORE IGNITIONS, AIR BAGS, SEATS LISTED AS POTENTIAL HAZARDS IN LATEST VEHICLE RECALLS INVOLVING FORD, GM, TOYOTA

More from the Emeritus Newsroom - General Motors LLC (GM) is recalling 2,191,014 certain model year 2005-2010 Chevrolet Cobalt, 2006-2011 Chevrolet HHR, 2007-2010 Pontiac G5, 2006-2010 Pontiac Solstice, 2003-2007 Saturn Ion, and 2007-2010 Saturn Sky vehicles. In the affected vehicles, the key can be removed from the ignition when the ignition is not in the "Off" position. If the key can be removed from the ignition when the ignition is not in the "off" position, the vehicle could roll away: (a) for an automatic transmission, if the transmission is not in the "Park" position; or (b) for a manual transmission, if the parking brake is not engaged and the transmission is not in the "Reverse" position. This potential for rollaway increases the risk for a crash and occupant or pedestrian injuries. General Motors will notify owners, and for vehicles that were built with the defective ignition cylinder and have not previously had the ignition cylinder replaced with the redesigned part, dealers will replace the ignition cylinder and cut and, if necessary, re-learn two ignition/door keys for each vehicle. For vehicles that were built with the redesigned ignition cylinder or had the ignition cylinder replaced with the redesigned part, dealers will cut and, if necessary, re-learn two ignition/door keys for each vehicle. The manufacturer has not yet provided a notification schedule. Chevrolet owners may contact General Motors at 1-800-222-1020, Pontiac owners at 1-800-762-2737, and Saturn owners at 1-800-553-6000. General Motors' number for this recall is 14113 for the ignition lock cylinder and key replacement, and 14133 for only key replacements. Note: Until a vehicle has been remedied, owners and operators are advised that when exiting, to be sure that the vehicle is in "Park," or in the case of a manual transmission, that the vehicle is in the "Reverse" position and the parking brake is engaged. Full text of recall announcement, click here -

Toyota is recalling 1,291,449 certain model year 2006-2008 RAV4, 2006-2010 Yaris, 2008-2010 Highlander, and 2009-2010 Tacoma, Corolla, Corolla Matrix and General Motors Pontiac Vibe vehicles. In the affected vehicles, the steering column assembly contains electrical connections to the driver's airbag module housed in a spiral cable assembly, which includes a Flexible Flat Cable (FFC). Due to the shape and location of the FFC's retainer, the FFC could become damaged when the steering wheel is turned. If the FFC is damaged, connectivity to the driver's air bag module could be lost and the air bag deactivated. The failure of the driver's air bag to deploy in the event of a crash that typically necessitates deployment increases the risk of injury to the driver. Toyota will notify the Toyota vehicle owners, and General Motors will notify the Pontiac Vibe owners. Toyota will send their owners an interim notification letter in late April 2014 to advise owners of the recall, and will mail owners a second letter when remedy parts are available. General Motors has not yet provided a notification schedule for the Pontiac Vibe owners. When the parts are available, dealers will replace the spiral cable assembly, free of charge. Owners may contact Toyota at 1-800-331-4331. Owners may contact General Motors at 1-800-762-2737. Full text of recall, click here.

Toyota has announced separate recalls on potential seat failures. The company is recalling 472,388 certain model year 2006-2010 Yaris vehicles manufactured August 22, 2005, through May 12, 2010, and 2008-2010 Scion xD vehicles manufactured April 4, 2007, through May 12, 2010. In the affected vehicles, the springs used for the seat rails on the driver's seat and the seat rails of the front passenger seat of three-door models may break. If the spring breaks, the seat may not lock in position. In the event of a vehicle crash, the seat could move increasing the risk of injury to the seat occupant. Toyota will notify owners, and dealers will inspect the seat rail, and replace it with a new one, if necessary, free of charge. The manufacturer has not yet provided a notification schedule. Owners may contact Toyota at 1-800-331-4331. Full text of recall, click here. The company is also recalling 46,757 certain model year 2013 Highlander vehicles manufactured March 13, 2013, through August 6, 2013. In the affected vehicles, the second row left hand seat may not lock in place when positioned in the forward front or second adjusting position. As such, the vehicles do not conform to Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) number 207, "Seating Systems." If the seat does not lock into the seat track, there may be an increased risk of injury to an occupant in the event of a crash. Toyota will notify owners, and dealers will modify the second row left hand seat so that it will lock into the seat track, free of charge. The manufacturer has not yet provided a notification schedule. Owners may contact Toyota at 1-800-331-4331.

FORD has announced recalls on control arms and seats. Ford Motor Company (Ford) is recalling certain model year 2001-2004 Escape vehicles manufactured October 22, 1999, through January 23, 2004, originally sold, or currently registered in, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia, Wisconsin and the District of Columbia. These vehicles may experience excessive corrosion at the forward attachment of the lower control arm. A separation of the lower control arm can result in a significant loss of control, increasing the risk of a crash. Ford will notify owners, and dealers will install a newly designed reinforcement cross-brace, free of charge. Parts are not currently available. Ford expects to send an interim notification around May 19, 2014. When parts are available, owners will be mailed a second letter to come in to have the part installed. If customers bring their vehicles to a dealer before reinforcement crossbraces are available, dealers will inspect the subframe and either inform customers that the vehicle is safe to drive until the remedy parts are available or provide a rental vehicle until parts are available if an immediate repair is needed. Owners may contact Ford at 1-800-392-3673. Ford's number for this recall is 14S02. Full text of recall announcement, click here. The company is also recalling 43,135 certain model year 2013-2014 Ford Fusion and Lincoln MKZ vehicles manufactured August 15, 2012, through September 10, 2013, 2013-2014 Ford Escape vehicles manufactured June 5, 2012, through August 12, 2013, and 2013-2014 Ford C-Max vehicles manufactured from July 23, 2012, through May 28, 2013. The driver and passenger seatback assemblies may have been produced with sub-standard weld joints used to attach the seat back recliner mechanism to the seat frame. The affected seat backs may have insufficient strength to meet the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) number 207, "Seating Systems." The back of the subject seats may become loose or lean while driving and potentially increase the risk of injury in certain crashes. Ford will notify owners, and dealers will replace the seatback, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin around May 19, 2014. Owners may contact Ford at 1-800-392-3673. Ford's number for this recall is 14C03. Full text of recall, click here.

04/14/2014

AEREO MOBILE TV APP ON GOOGLE CHROMECAST TO LAUNCH MAY 29TH

More from the TV News Check, click here - 04/11/2014

GM SUSPENDS TWO ENGINEERS, EXPANDS RECALL ON IGNITION PARTS AND TAKES $1.3 BILLION LOSS ON 1ST QUARTER EARNINGS

More from the La Times, click here - 04/10/2014

TOYOTA RECALLS 6.4 MILLION CARS WORLDWIDE

More from the Emeritus Newsroom - Two separate recall announcements affect nearly 6.4 million Toyota vehicles, 2 million of them in the U-S. A total of 27 different models are included, from Camry and Corolla, Pontiac Vibe and Subaru Trezia, which were made by Toyota. The problems include faulty air bag modules and other parts including seat rails, steering column brackets, engine starters, windshield wiper motors and air bag cables.

In the U-S, the company say the recalls affect approximately 1.3 million vehicles, including certain Model Year 2009-2010 Corolla, 2009-2010 Matrix, 2008-2010 Highlander, 2009-2010 Tacoma, 2006-2008 RAV4 and 2006-2010 Yaris vehicles.  

The driver’s airbag module in the involved vehicles is attached to a spiral cable assembly with electrical connections that could become damaged when the steering wheel is turned.  If this occurs, the air bag warning lamp will illuminate.  In addition, the driver’s air bag could become deactivated, causing it to not deploy in the event of a crash.

Toyota is not aware of any injuries or fatalities caused by this condition.

Toyota is currently preparing the remedy for this condition.  For all involved vehicles, a Toyota dealer will replace the spiral cable with an improved one. Once preparations are complete, Toyota will send an owner notification letter by first class mail and the remedy will be provided at no charge.

Owners can find out if their vehicle is affected at www.toyota.com/recall, the Toyota Customer Experience at 1 800-331-4331, www.lexus.com/recall and Lexus Customer Satisfaction (1 800-255-3987). 

ALSO, another recall involving approximately 472,500 vehicles in the U-S, consisting of certain Model Year 2006-2010 Yaris Hatchback vehicles (approximately 158,000); certain Model Year 2007-2010 Yaris Sedan vehicles (approximately 250,500); and certain Model Year 2008-2010 Scion xD vehicles (approximately 64,000).    

In the seat rail of the driver seat of the involved vehicles and also the front passenger seat of three-door models, the springs used for the mechanism which lock the seat rail in its adjusting positions could break. This can happen if the seat is adjusted forward and/or rearward with high frequency.  If a seat rail spring breaks, the seat may not lock into the adjusted position.  If the vehicle is operated with a broken seat rail spring, the seat could move in the event of a crash, increasing the risk of injury to the occupant.

If the condition is present, an occupant may notice the following:

  • If both of the springs have broken, the seat will not lock into the adjusted position.
  • In limited instances, if a spring has broken and becomes stuck in the seat rail, the seat may only be capable of forward movement.  
Toyota is not aware of any accidents or injuries caused by this condition.

Toyota is currently preparing the remedy. Once preparations are complete, owners of vehicles subject to this safety recall will receive an owner notification letter by first class mail. 

The remedy, when available, will involve replacement of the seat track assembly at no charge to the customer.

Detailed information is available to customers at www.toyota.com/recall, the Toyota Customer Experience at 1 800-331-4331, www.lexus.com/recall and Lexus Customer Satisfaction (1 800-255-3987). 

More from Associated Press, click here - 04/09/2014

MID SIZE S-U-Vs NOT MUCH PROTECTION FROM SMALL OVERLAP CRASH TESTS

More from the Emeritus Newsroom - The Chevrolet Equinox and its twin, the GMC Terrain, are the only midsize SUVs out of nine evaluated to earn a good rating in the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's small overlap front crash test, which, the group says, continues to challenge manufacturers more than a year and a half after its introduction.

The Equinox and the Terrain qualify for the Institute's highest award for 2014, TOP SAFETY PICK+. The Toyota Highlander, a midsize SUV whose acceptable small overlap rating was announced in December, also qualifies. The award is given to vehicles with a good or acceptable small overlap rating, good ratings in four other occupant protection tests, and a rating of basic or higher for front crash prevention.

Three other midsize SUVs in the test group rate poor for small overlap protection, and three are marginal.

"SUVs have gotten much safer over the past few generations, but some are better than others at providing comprehensive front crash protection," says David Zuby, IIHS executive vice president and chief research officer. "When it comes to midsize SUVs, General Motors is showing the way forward. The Equinox and Terrain score well in all components of the small overlap test — structure, restraints and kinematics, and injury measures for four body regions."

The small overlap test replicates what happens when the front corner of a vehicle collides with another vehicle or an object such as a tree or utility pole. In the test, 25 percent of a vehicle's front end on the driver's side strikes a rigid barrier at 40 mph.

The test is more difficult than either the head-on crashes conducted by the government or the longstanding IIHS moderate overlap test. In a small overlap test, the main structures of the vehicle's front-end crush zone are bypassed, making it hard for the vehicle to manage crash energy. The occupant compartment can collapse as a result.

The Equinox and Terrain were able to overcome this challenge, thanks to modifications on 2014 models to their front structure and door-hinge pillars. In the test, which was conducted on an Equinox but applies to the Terrain as well, the driver space was well-maintained, and the dummy’s movement was well-controlled. The dummy’s head hit the frontal airbag and stayed there. It would have been a perfect test performance if the side curtain airbag had provided more forward coverage. As it was, there was a gap in the inflated portion, which, in a slightly different crash, could leave the head vulnerable to hitting the door or intruding objects.

Full text of IIHS results and video, click here - 04/08/2014

IT'S MONDAY & HERE'S THE LATEST VEHICLE RECALLS / GM ON THE LIST YET AGAIN ALONG WITH CHRYSLER

More from the Emeritus Newsroom - GM is recalling 174,046 certain model year 2013 and 2014 Chevrolet Cruze vehicles equipped with a 1.4L turbo engine, and manufactured between November 28, 2012, and March 7, 2014. On the affected vehicles, the right front half shaft may fracture and separate. If the half shaft fractures and separates while driving, the vehicle would lose power and coast to a stop. If a vehicle with a fractured half shaft is parked without the parking brake applied, the vehicle could move unexpectedly. Either condition increases the risk of a crash. GM will notify owners, and dealers will inspect and replace the right half shaft, as needed, free of charge. Parts for the remedy are not currently available. GM will send an interim letter to owners the week of April 28, 2014. A second owner letter will be mailed when parts are available. Owners may contact Chevrolet at 1-866-694-6546. GM's number for this recall is 14079. This is an expansion of recall 13V-452. NOTE: Some vehicles subject to this recall were subject to the recall campaign initiated in 2013. Some of those vehicles were repaired using defective parts. Those owners will be advised that they must have their vehicles remedied again under this campaign and that having the earlier recall completed did not remedy their vehicles. Full text of recall announcement, click here.

General Motors LLC (GM ) is recalling 489,936 certain model year 2014 Chevrolet Silverado Light Duty Regular Cab, Double Cab, and Crew Cab 1500 series and model year 2015 Suburban and Tahoe; GMC model year 2014 Sierra Regular Cab, Double Cab, and Crew Cab 1500 Series and model year 2015 Yukon and Yukon XL vehicles equipped with a 6-Speed Automatic Transmission (feature code MYC). The subject vehicles may have a transmission oil cooler line that is not securely seated in the fitting. If the line is not securely seated and transmission oil leaks from the fitting, the oil could contact a hot surface and cause a vehicle fire. GM will notify owners, and dealers will inspect the transmission oil cooler line connection and repair the vehicles, as needed, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin on April 28, 2014. Owners may contact Chevrolet at 1-866-694-6546 or GMC owners may contact GMC at 1-866-996-9463. GM's number for this recall is 14121. Full text of recall, click here.

General Motors LLC (GM) is recalling 1,340,447 certain model year 2004-2006 and 2008-2009 Chevrolet Malibu, 2004-2006 Malibu Maxx, 2009-2010 HHR (non-turbo), 2010 Cobalt, 2008-2009 Saturn Aura and 2004-2007 Ion, and 2005-2009 Pontiac G6. In the affected vehicles, there may be a sudden loss of electric power steering (EPS) assist that could occur at any time while driving. If power steering assist is lost, greater driver effort would be required to steer the vehicle at low speeds, increasing the risk of a crash. GM will notify owners, and dealers will perform one of four bulletins. Parts are not currently available. GM expects to send an interim notification around April 28, 2014. When parts are available, owners will be mailed a second letter to come in to have the applicable bulletin applied. Bulletin 14115 covers model year 2004-2007 Saturn Ion, 2009-2010 Chevrolet HHR and 2010 Chevrolet Cobalts. Dealers will replace the EPS motor. Bulletin 14116 covers model year 2004-2006 Chevrolet Malibu and Malibu Maxx, 2005-2006 Pontiac G6 and 2008-2009 Chevrolet Malibu, Pontiac G6 and Saturn Aura built from March 1, 2008, through June 27, 2008. Dealers will replace the torque sensor assembly. Bulletin 14117 covers model year 2008 Chevrolet Malibu, Pontiac G6 and Saturn Aura built from February 1, 2008, through February 28, 2008. Dealers will replace the torque sensor assembly and EPS motor controller unit. Bulletin 14118 covers model year 2008 Chevrolet Malibu, Pontiac G6 and Saturn Aura built from October 1, 2007, through January 31, 2008. Dealers will replace the EPS motor controller unit. Owners may contact Chevrolet at 1-800-630-2438, Saturn at 1-800-553-6000, and Pontiac at 1-800-620-7668. GM's number for this recall is N140115. Note: GM bulletin number 14119 will be implemented for model year 2006-2008 and early production of 2009 Chevrolet HHR (non-turbo) and model year 2003 Saturn ION to provide EPS Motor replacement for the life of the vehicle. Full text of recall, click here.

Chrysler Group LLC (Chrysler) is recalling 644,354 certain model year 2011-2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango vehicles manufactured from January 5, 2010, through September 8, 2013. The subject vehicles have a brake booster with a center shell that may corrode and allow water to get inside. The water inside could freeze and limit the braking ability of the vehicle, increasing the risk of a crash. Chrysler will notify owners, and dealers will add a water diverter shield to the booster after the booster has been tested to confirm it can hold an acceptable amount of vacuum pressure. If the booster inspection confirms an unacceptable loss of vacuum pressure, the booster will be replaced. Repairs will be made free of charge. The recall is expected to begin in May 2014. Owners may contact Chrysler at 1-800-853-1403. Chrysler's recall campaign number is P14. Full text of Chrysler recall announcement, click here.

04/07/2014

EVENFLO RECALL 1.3 MILLION CHILD SEAT RESTRAINTS

More from the Emeritus Newsroom - Evenflo Company, Inc. (Evenflo) is recalling certain convertible and harnessed child restraints, models Momentum 65 (including LX and DLX), Chase (including LX, DLX, and Select), Maestro (including Performance), Symphony (including 65, LX, 65 E3, and DLX), Snugli All-In-One, Snugli Booster, Titan 65, SureRide DLX, and Secure Kid (including LX, DLX, 100, 300, and 400). The affected seats have model number prefixes of 306, 308, 310, 329, 345, 346, 371 or 385. The defect involves difficulty in unlatching the harness buckle. In the convertible car seats and harnessed booster seats, the buckle may become stuck in a latched condition so that it cannot be opened by depressing the buckle's release button. It may be difficult to remove the child from the restraint, increasing the risk of injury in the event of an emergency in which a prompt exit from the vehicle is required. Evenflo will notify registered owners in April 2014. The company will start providing replacement buckles along with installation instructions in April 2014. Owners may contact Evenflo at 1-800-490-7591 or online at www.buckle.evenflo.com. Note: For a complete list of the production dates of the affected seats, please click on "Associated Documents" and then "Defect Notice(Part 573)." Not all seats within the date ranges listed are included, so consumers should contact Evenflo at the number or website listed here with the seat's model and date of manufacture to confirm that their seat is included.

Full text of NHTSA announcement, click here - 04/05/2014

CHRYSLER NOT BE LEFT OUT OF RECALL MESS / JEEP AND DODGE S-U-V MODELS WITH BRAKE PROBLEMS

More from USA Today, click here - 04/03/2014

BIG DAY FOR AUTO RECALLS, NISSAN, TOYOTA AND OF COURSE, GM

URGENT ADDITIONAL UPDATE ON POWER STEERING ASSIST RECALLS FROM ASSOCIATED PRESS, CLICK HERE - GM TELLS SOME DEALERS TO TEMPORARILY STOP SELLING CHEVY CRUZES, CLICK HERE - More from the Emeritus Newsroom - Amid the controversy over GM's ignition switch is the confusion over just which vehicles are included in the recall. The confusion surrounds GM's additions to the original recall to include more than 2.1 million other vehicles, announced over this past weekend.

House and Senate subcommittees plan hearings starting TOMORROW to find out why GM didn't recall the cars sooner and why the government never investigated the cars. General Motors CEO Mary Barra will be among those testifying Tuesday and Wednesday. More from Associated Press, click here.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the GM ignition switch recall also involves the safe operation of the airbag system. Until this recall is performed, customers should remove all items from their key rings, leaving only the ignition key. Ignition keys should also be removed from the key ring. General Motors LLC (GM) notified the agency on February 10, 2014 that they are recalling 619,122 model year 2005-2007 Chevrolet Cobalt, and 2007 Pontiac G5 vehicles. On February 25, 2014, GM increased the recall to include an additional 748,024 model year 2006-2007 Chevrolet HHR and Pontiac Solstice vehicles and 2003-2007 Saturn Ion vehicles and 2007 Saturn Sky vehicles. In these models, the weight on the key ring and/or road conditions or some other jarring event may cause the ignition switch to move out of the run position, turning off the engine. On March 27, 2014, GM notified the agency that the defective ignition switches may have been used as service replacement parts on other vehicles, and as a result GM will be recalling certain model year 2008-2010 Chevrolet Cobalt, Saturn Sky, and Pontiac G5 and Solstice, and 2008-2011 Chevrolet HHR vehicles. The part numbers for the service parts are 10392423 (a/k/a ACDelco D1461F), 10392737, 15857948, 15854953, 15896640, and 25846762. This expansion represents an additional 823,788 vehicles. If the key is not in the run position, the air bags may not deploy if the vehicle is involved in a crash, increasing the risk of injury. GM will notify owners, and dealers will replace the ignition switch, free of charge. An interim notification was issued to owners of 2007 and earlier models on March 10, 2014, informing them of the safety defect. Owners of 2008 and later vehicles will be mailed an interim letter on April 21, 2014. All affected owners will receive another letter once parts are available. Owners may contact Chevrolet at 1-800-222-1020, Pontiac at 1-800-762-2737 or Saturn at 1-800-553-6000. GM's number for the initial recall is 13454 and 14063 for the expansion. GM’s recall number for the vehicles that may have received the replacement parts is 14092. Note: Until the recall repairs have been performed, it is very important that customers remove all items from their key rings, leaving only the vehicle key. The key fob (if applicable), should also be removed from the key ring. Always wear your seatbelt. Full text of NHTSA announcement, click here.

Nissan North America, Inc. (Nissan) is recalling 989,701 of certain model year 2013-2014 Altima, LEAF, Pathfinder, and Sentra, model year 2013 NV200 (aka Taxi) and Infiniti JX35 and model year 2014 Infiniti Q50 and QX60 vehicles. In the affected vehicles, the occupant classification system (OCS) software may incorrectly classify the passenger seat as empty, when it is occupied by an adult. If the OCS does not detect an adult occupant in the passenger seat, the passenger airbag would be deactivated. Failure of the passenger airbag to deploy during a crash (where deployment is warranted) could increase the risk of injury to the passenger. Nissan will notify owners, and dealers will update the OCS software, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin in mid-April 2014. Owners may contact Nissan at 1-800-647-7261. Full text of NHTSA announcement, click here.

Toyota is recalling 119,140 certain model year 2003-2004 Avalon vehicles manufactured June 5, 2002, through December 20, 2004. In these vehicles, the supplemental restraint system (SRS) circuits are susceptible to internal shorting. The electrical short may create an abnormal current flow and increased heat which can damage the circuits. This could result in an inadvertent deployment of the front air bags and/or seat belt pretensioners. Inadvertent deployment of the air bags or the seat belt pretensioners increases the risk of an injury or crash. Full text of NHTSA announcement, click here .

MANY VICTIMS OF IGNITION SWITCH PROBLEM WERE YOUNG, CLICK HERE - 03/31/2014

GM ADDS 971,000 VEHICLES TO IGNITION RECALL

More from Associated Press, click here - 03/29/2014

FDA ATTACHES WARNING TO JERKY DOG TREATS

More from the Christian Science Monitor, click here - 03/29/2014

GM RECALLS 1.5 MILLION VEHICLES FOR AIR BAG, BRAKE PROBLEMS

More from the Emeritus Newsroom - General Motors LLC (GM) is recalling 1,176,407 of certain model year 2008-2013 Buick Enclave and GMC Acadia and 2009-2013 Chevrolet Traverse and 2008-2010 Saturn Outlook vehicles. In the affected vehicles, increased resistance in the driver and passenger seat mounted side impact air bag (SIAB) wiring harnesses may result in the SIAB and seat belt pretensioners not deploying in the event of a crash. Failure of the side impact air bags and seat belt pretensioners to deploy in a crash increase the risk of injury to the driver and front seat occupant. GM will notify owners, and dealers will replace the affected harness connections with soldered connections, free of charge. The manufacturer has not yet provided a notification schedule. Buick owners may contact the owner center at 1-800-521-7300, Chevrolet owners at 1-866-694-6546, Saturn at 1-800-553-6000, and GMC owners at 1-866-996-9463. GM's number for this recall is 14030. Note: Vehicles repaired as part of Customer Satisfaction Campaign 10085 and special coverage 10335 have already had the subject condition repaired and therefore are not included in the safety recall. Full text of NHTSA announcement, click here.

ALSO, General Motors is recalling certain model year 2009-2014 Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana vans manufactured January 27, 2009, through March 7, 2014 with a gross vehicle weight rating of 10,000 pounds and less and equipped with front passenger air bags. In the affected vehicles, during a frontal impact below the air bag deployment threshold, if an unbelted front passenger's head hits the instrument panel above where the passenger air bag is located, the panel may not sufficiently absorb the impact. As such, these vehicles fail to meet the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard number 201, "Occupant Protection in Interior Impact." In the event of a crash below the air bag deployment threshold, an unbelted front passenger seat occupant has an increased risk of injury. GM will notify owners. The manufacturer has not yet provided a remedy plan or notification schedule. Chevrolet owners may call 1-800-630-2438. GMC owners may call 1-866-996-9463. GM's number for this recall is 14082. Full text of NHTSA announcement, click here.

GM is recalling certain model year 2013-2014 Cadillac XTS vehicles manufactured February 14, 2012, through March 7, 2014. In the affected vehicles, a cavity plug on the brake booster pump connector may dislodge allowing corrosion of the brake booster pump relay connector. The corrosion of the brake booster pump relay connector may cause a resistive short and melt the connector, increasing the risk of a fire. GM will notify owners, and dealers will apply sealant to the connector cavity plugs, re-route the vacuum pump vent hose and replace the front body wiring harnesses as needed, free of charge. The manufacturer has not yet provided a notification schedule. Owners may contact Cadillac at 1-866-982-2339. GM's number for this recall is 14062. Full text of NHTSA announcement, click here.

03/24/2014

TOYOTA FACES CRIMINAL CHARGE & $1.2 BILLION SETTLEMENT FOR MISLEADING STATEMENTS ON SAFETY ISSUES

More from the Emeritus Newsroom - Federal officials of multiple fedewrla agencies announced this morning a criminal wire fraud charge against Toyota Motor Corporation (“TOYOTA” or “the company”), an automotive company headquartered in Toyota City, Japan, that designs, manufactures, assembles, and sells Toyota and Lexus brand vehicles.  The charge is that TOYOTA defrauded consumers in the fall of 2009 and early 2010 by issuing misleading statements about safety issues in Toyota and Lexus vehicles.   

Also today, the Department of Justice announced a deferred prosecution agreement with TOYOTA (“the agreement”) under which the company admits that it misled U.S. consumers by concealing and making deceptive statements about two safety issues affecting its vehicles, each of which caused a type of unintended acceleration.  The admissions are contained in a detailed statement of facts attached to the agreement.  The agreement, which is subject to judicial review, requires TOYOTA to pay a $1.2 billion financial penalty – the largest penalty of its kind ever imposed on an automotive company, and imposes on TOYOTA an independent monitor to review and assess policies, practices and procedures relating to TOYOTA’s safety-related public statements and reporting obligations.  TOYOTA agrees to pay the penalty under a Final Order of Forfeiture in a parallel civil action also filed today in the Southern District of New York. 

The criminal charge is contained in an Information (“the information”) alleging one count of wire fraud.  If TOYOTA abides by all of the terms of the agreement, the Government will defer prosecution on the information for three years and then seek to dismiss the charge.

“Rather than promptly disclosing and correcting safety issues about which they were aware, Toyota made misleading public statements to consumers and gave inaccurate facts to Members of Congress,” said Attorney General Eric Holder.  “When car owners get behind the wheel, they have a right to expect that their vehicle is safe.  If any part of the automobile turns out to have safety issues, the car company has a duty to be upfront about them, to fix them quickly, and to immediately tell the truth about the problem and its scope. Toyota violated that basic compact.  Other car companies should not repeat Toyota’s mistake: a recall may damage a company’s reputation, but deceiving your customers makes that damage far more lasting.”

“Safety is our top priority,” said Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.  “Throughout this recall process, NHTSA investigators worked tirelessly to make sure that Toyota recalled vehicles with defects causing unintended acceleration, and to determine when they learned of it, and as we learned today, they succeeded in this effort in spite of extraordinary challenges.  Today’s penalties follow NHTSA’s own record civil penalties of more than $66 million – together, they send a powerful message to all manufacturers to follow our recall requirements or they will face serious consequences.”

“Toyota stands charged with a criminal offense because it cared more about savings than safety and more about its own brand and bottom line than the truth,” said U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara for the Southern District of New York.  “In its zeal to stanch bad publicity in 2009 and 2010, Toyota misled regulators, misled customers, and even misstated the facts to Congress.  The tens of millions of drivers in America have an absolute right to expect that the companies manufacturing their cars are not lying about serious safety issues; are not slow-walking safety fixes; and are not playing games with their lives.  Companies that make inherently dangerous products must be maximally transparent, not two-faced.  That is why we have undertaken this landmark enforcement action.  And the entire auto industry should take notice.” 

“To the families and friends of those who died or were injured as a result of these incidents, I offer my deepest sympathies for your loss and my highest admiration for the strength you demonstrate every day,” said DOT Inspector General Calvin L. Scovel III.  “As is true for Secretary Foxx and DOT, safety is and will remain the highest priority of my office.  The OIG is committed to working with our law enforcement and prosecutorial partners in pursuing those who commit criminal violations of the Department of Transportation’s or related laws. The efforts of this dedicated multi-agency team and the agreement reached with Toyota must serve as a clarion call to all auto manufacturers of the need to always be as vigilant and forthcoming as possible to keep the public safe.”  

According to the allegations in the information, as well as other documents filed today in Manhattan federal court, including the Statement of Facts:           

In the fall of 2009, TOYOTA deceived consumers and its U.S. regulator, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (“NHTSA”), by claiming that it had “addressed” the “root cause” of unintended acceleration in its vehicles through a limited safety recall of eight models for floor-mat entrapment, a dangerous condition in which an improperly secured or incompatible all-weather floor mat can “trap” a depressed gas pedal causing the car to accelerate to a high speed.  Such public assurances deceived customers and NHTSA in two ways:  First, at the time the statements were made, TOYOTA knew that it had not recalled some cars with design features that made them just as susceptible to floor-mat entrapment as some of the recalled cars.  Second, only weeks before these statements were made, TOYOTA had taken steps to hide from NHTSA another type of unintended acceleration in its vehicles, separate and apart from floor-mat entrapment: a problem with accelerators getting stuck at partially depressed levels, known as “sticky pedal.” 

Full text of Department of Justice announcement, click here - 03/19/2014

GM ADDS MORE THAN A MILLION S-U-Vs TO IGNITION SWITCH AND AIR BAG RECALL

More from Associated Press, click here - 03/18/2014

HONDA, JEEP AND DODGE MAKE WEEKLY DEFECT LIST / HONDA ANNOUNCES DEFECT ON NEARLY A MILLION ODDESSY VANS

More from the Emeritus Newsroom - American Honda Motor Co., Inc. (Honda) is recalling certain 2005-2010 Honda Odyssey vehicles manufactured June 23, 2004, through September 4, 2010. In the affected vehicles, the fuel pump strainer cover may deteriorate allowing fuel to leak out, becoming a potential fire hazard. Parts to permanently repair the affected vehicles are not currently available. Honda will notify owners with an interim letter during April 2014. A second notice will be mailed to owners when the remedy becomes available, currently expected to be during the summer of 2014. Any vehicles that are currently leaking from the fuel pump cover will get a replacement, original cover. All vehicles, including those receiving the interim repair, will get an improved cover when they are available. Owners may contact Honda at 1-800-999-1009. The recall numbers associated with this campaign are JD9 (inspection and/or preliminary part replacement) and JE0 (final parts replacement). Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to www.safercar.gov.

Chrysler Group LLC (Chrysler) is recalling certain model year 2012-2013 Dodge Durango and Jeep Grand Cherokee vehicles manufactured October 11, 2011, through October 1, 2012. Under certain braking events, the Ready Alert Braking System (RAB) may result in the driver experiencing a hard brake pedal feel. If the driver experiences a hard brake pedal, the driver may not push the pedal as intended, lengthening the distance needed to stop the vehicle and increasing the risk of a crash. Chrysler will notify owners, and dealers will update the ABS module software, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin in March 2014. Owners may contact Chrysler at 1-800-853-1403. Chrysler's number associated with this recall is P05.

Chrysler Group LLC (Chrysler) is recalling certain model year 2014 Fiat 500L vehicles manufactured April 5, 2013, through January 22, 2014. In certain temperatures, moving the transmission shift lever may have a delayed effect or no effect on selecting a transmission gear.If there is no effect, the vehicle might not shift out of the Park position. If there is a delayed effect, the vehicle may move in an unintended or unexpected direction, increasing the risk of a crash. Chrysler will notify owners, and dealers will replace the shifter module or update the shifter software, as necessary, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin in April 2014. Owners may contact Chrysler at 1-800-853-1403. Chrysler's number associated with this recall is P06.

Fiat recall full text, click here - Dodge, Jeep recall, click here - Honda recall, click here - 03/17/2014

SERGEANTS PET CARE, WELLMARK INTERNATIONAL AGREE TO PULL SOME FLEA COLLARS OFF MARKET TO PROTECT CHILDREN FROM PESTICIDE RISKS

More from the Emeritus Newsroom - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has reached agreement with Sergeant's Pet Care Products, Inc. and Wellmark International to cancel flea and tick pet collars containing propoxur marketed under the trade names including Bansect, Sentry, Zodiac and Biospot.

“This action is another example of EPA’s efforts to protect children from pesticide risks,” said Jim Jones, assistant administrator of the EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. This voluntary move will get to an expedient result that protects people’s health.”

This decision was reached between EPA and Sergeant's and Wellmark as a result of EPA’s risk assessment showing risks to children from exposure to pet collars containing propoxur. Propoxur is an insecticide registered for use to control ticks, fleas and a variety of insects and is used in industrial, commercial and residential facilities. The agreement represents the solution to most quickly remove the pet collars from the market.

EPA completed the propoxur pet collar risk assessment in fall 2013 in response to a Natural Resources Defense Council petition to cancel the uses. EPA’s risk assessment found, in some but not all use scenarios, unacceptable risks to children from exposure to propoxur pet collars on the first day following application. Because the manufacturers could not find a way to eliminate unacceptable risk under all scenarios, EPA encouraged them to cancel these products and they subsequently agreed.

EPA announced the voluntary cancellation on January 22, 2014. Under the cancellation agreement, manufacturers are allowed to produce the pet collars until April 1, 2015, and will not be allowed to distribute the products after April 1, 2016. EPA will continue to watch for incidents from the use of these collars and is prepared to take further action if necessary.

Flea and tick collars work by leaving a pesticide residue on dogs' and cats' fur, which can be transferred to people by hugging, petting or coming into contact with the pets. The major source of exposure to these chemicals is from absorption through the skin after directly touching the treated pet. Small children may ingest pesticide residues when they touch a treated cat or dog and subsequently put their hands in their mouth.

If you purchase a propoxur pet collar, read the label carefully and follow all directions on the label to protect your family from exposure. Do not allow children to play with the collar, and wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water after handling.

For more information about the voluntary cancellation:

http://www2.epa.gov/safepestcontrol/companies-agree-stop-selling-pet-collars-containing-pesticide-protect-children

03/14/2014

SAFETY GROUP CLAIMS 303 PEOPLE DIED FROM GM IGNITION & AIR BAG PROBLEMS / SAYS FEDS FAILED TO DO MORE

More from the Emeritus Newsroom - In a letter to David Friedman, Acting Administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the Center for Auto Safety claims many more drivers and passengers have died than originally estimated in the unfolding case of GM ingition and airbag failures.

CAS claims that examination of NHTSA’s Fatal Analysis Reporting System (FARS) reveals 303 deaths of front seat occupants in the recalled 2005-07 Cobalts and 2003-07 Ions where the airbag failed to deploy in non-rear impact crashes. The search did not include the other five models recalled or the number of deaths without airbag deployment would have been higher.

The safety group says FARS data clearly shows front seat occupants were being killed in crashes where the airbags did not deploy as soon as the recalled vehicles hit the road, with three deaths in Saturn Ions during 2003 and 6 deaths in Chevrolet Cobalts in 2005. The number of front seat occupant deaths steadily climbed as moreCobalts and Ions were sold with 43 in 2009 and 47 in 2010 where the airbags did not deploy. NHTSA could and should have initiated a defect investigation to determine why airbags were not deploying in Cobalts and Ions in increasing numbers.

As the agency has done in past investigations, CAS believes special investigation teams should have been sent out to acquire more information on the crashes found in FARS and determine in which ones the airbag did not deploy due to the ignition key defect.

Full text of letter from Center for Auto Safety, click here - 03/14/2014

FEDS UNDER FIRE FOR LATE START ON GM VEHICLE IGNITION RECALL

More from the Washington Post, click here - 03/11/2014

SEN. AL FRANKEN BATTLES COMCAST PURCHASE OF TIME-WARNER / CLAIMS MERGER WILL LEAVE CONSUMERS VULNERABLE TO UNFAIR CHARGES

More from the Emeritus Newsroom - Minnesota Sen. Al Franken has joined the battle against the proposed merger of Comcast and Time-Warner. The former Saturday Night Live star is making the rounds on TV and radio talk shows saying that the merger will be bad for cable tv customers. In a letter to the Federal Communications Commission and the Justice Department, Franken states, " I am writing you regarding reports that Comcast plans to expand its empire by acquiring Time Warner Cable for over $40 billion. I have serious reservations about this proposed transaction, which would consolidate the largest and second largest cable providers in America. I urge you to act quickly and decisively to ensure that consumers are not exposed to increased cable prices and decreased quality of service as a result of this transaction".

Franken adds, "...rates have risen significantly over the last two decades, and my constituents express frustration at being squeezed by unacceptably high cable bills every month. Many consumers would switch cable providers if only they had a viable option to do so. Unfortunately, a handful of cable providers dominate the market, leaving consumers with little choice but to pay high bills for often unsatisfactory service. I am concerned that Comcast's proposed acquisition of Time Warner would only make things worse for consumers".

"The fact that Comcast already has acquired NBC Universal also increases my concern about the proposed expansion of Comcast's empire", Franken writes. "As you know, I strongly opposed the Comcast-NBC Universal transaction because it gave Comcast too much control over television content, control Comcast could exert to raise prices, thus harming consumers and competitors. Comcast's proposed acquisition of Time Warner threatens to extend Comcast's domination of both the cable and content markets even further. And, to make matters worse, all of this is taking place amidst ongoing questions as to Comcast's compliance with the terms and conditions set forth as part of the NBC Universal deal".

More from the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, click here - More from the NY Times, click here - 03/10/2014

DEBT COLLECTORS STALL LEGISLATION IN CONGRESS PROTECTING CONSUMERS AGAINST MEDICAL BILL PRACTICES

More from the NY Times, click here - 03/09/2014

EPA FORCES U-S IMPORTER TO RECALL THOUSANDS CHINESE RV's AND CYCLES FOR EMISSIONS VIOLATIONS

More from the Emeritus Newsroom - A Chinese powersports company and its related U.S. distributor have agreed to recall and replace fuel tanks that will better control gasoline vapors in approximately 1,000 vehicles and take other steps to control pollution stemming from the illegal import of over 12,000 recreational vehicles and highway motorcycles. These motor vehicles were manufactured in China and imported without the required certification indicating that emissions would meet federal standards.

CFMOTO Powersports, Inc., (a successor to CFMOTO America, Inc.) based in Plymouth, Minn., and Zhejiang CFMOTO Power Co., Ltd., and Chunfeng Holding Group Co., Ltd., both based in China, will pay a combined civil penalty of $725,000.

“Enforcing emission standards is a critical way we protect clean air for all Americans,” said Cynthia Giles, Assistant Administrator for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “The upgrades and changes required by today’s settlement will help reduce harmful air pollution that can cause respiratory illnesses, aggravate asthma and lead to smog.

In the settlement, approved today by the Agency’s Environmental Appeals Board, EPA alleges that over 12,000 highway motorcycles and recreational vehicles imported by the companies between 2007 and 2013 were not certified by EPA, as required by the Clean Air Act (CAA), to meet applicable federal emission standards. Of these, EPA found that 993 vehicles had fuel tanks that did not operate properly to control evaporative emissions, or gasoline vapors, and that approximately 1,400 vehicles were imported without proper emission control information labels.

In addition to the penalty, the companies must institute a Recall and Fuel Tank Replacement Program to replace all uncertified fuel tanks with certified ones to prevent any excess gasoline vapors. The companies must also correct the emission control information labels for those vehicles that are still within the control of the companies.

EPA discovered the alleged violations through joint inspections conducted with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Bureau of Customs and Border Protection and through a review of importation documents and other information provided by the companies.

Federal emissions standards for highway motorcycles and recreational vehicles have been in effect since 1977 and 2006, respectively. The CAA prohibits any vehicle or engine from being imported and sold in the United States unless it is covered by an EPA-issued certificate of conformity indicating that the vehicle or engine meets required emission standards

Recreational vehicle and highway motorcycles emit carbon monoxide, a gas that is poisonous at high levels in the air even to healthy people and is especially dangerous to people with heart disease. These vehicles also emit hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxides, which contribute to the formation of ground-level ozone, or smog. Exposure to even low levels of ozone can cause respiratory problems, and repeated exposure can aggravate pre-existing respiratory diseases.

CFMOTO Powersports, Inc. is a Minnesota corporation that holds certificates of conformity and that imports highway motorcycles and recreational vehicles manufactured by Zhejiang CFMoto Power Co., Ltd. and ChunFeng Holding Group Co. Ltd., both Chinese companies. CFMOTO America, Inc. is a now-dissolved Michigan corporation that was the predecessor to CFMOTO Powersports, Inc.

EPA filed an administrative complaint against CFMOTO Powersports in April 2013 and reached agreement on the settlement through an alternative dispute resolution process.

Full text of EPA announcement, click here - 03/04/2014

EPA ORDERS REMOVAL OF SULPHUR FROM REFINED OIL AND GAS

More from United Press International, click here - 03/04/2014

GM ADDS MORE CARS TO FAULTY IGNITION RECALL / ADMITS SLOW RESPONSE

More from USA Today, click here - 02/27/2014

US ATTORNEY GENERAL HOLDER RECOMMENDS ACTION AGAINST BUSINESSES DATA BREACHES

More from the Emeritus Newsroom - Attorney General Eric Holder has called on Congress to create a strong, national standard for quickly alerting consumers whose information may be compromised by cyberattacks. According to Holder, this legislation would strengthen the Justice Department's ability to combat crime, ensure individual privacy, and prevent identity theft, while also helping to bring cybercriminals to justice.

The complete text of the Attorney General’s weekly address is available below:

“Late last year, Target – the second-largest discount retailer in the United States – suffered a massive data breach that may have compromised the personal information of as many as 70 million people, in addition to credit and debit card information of up to 40 million customers.  The Department of Justice is currently investigating this breach, in close coordination with the U.S. Secret Service.  And we are moving aggressively to respond to hacking, cyberattacks, and other crimes that harm American consumers – and expose personal or financial information to those who would take advantage of their fellow citizens.

"As we’ve seen – especially in recent years – these crimes are becoming all too common.  And they have the potential to impact millions of Americans every year.  Just days after the Target breach was made public, another major retailer – Neiman Marcus – reported that it also suffered a suspected cyberattack during the holiday season.  And although Justice Department officials are working closely with the FBI and prosecutors across the country to bring cyber criminals to justice, it’s time for leaders in Washington to provide the tools we need to do even more: by requiring businesses to notify American consumers and law enforcement in the wake of significant data breaches.

“Today, I’m calling on Congress to create a strong, national standard for quickly alerting consumers whose information may be compromised.  This would empower the American people to protect themselves if they are at risk of identity theft.  It would enable law enforcement to better investigate these crimes – and hold compromised entities accountable when they fail to keep sensitive information safe.  And it would provide reasonable exemptions for harmless breaches, to avoid placing unnecessary burdens on businesses that do act responsibly.

“This legislation would strengthen the Justice Department’s ability to combat crime and ensure individual privacy – while bringing cybercriminals to justice.  My colleagues and I are eager to work with Members of Congress to refine and pass this important proposal.  And we will never stop working to protect the American people – using every tool and resource we can bring to bear.” The full video is available at http://www.justice.gov/agwa.php

Full text of Justice Department statement, click here - 02/26/2014

APPLE ENCRYPTIONS LEAVE I-PHONES, OTHER DEVICES VULNERABLE TO HACKERS

More from Reuters, click here - 02/22/2014

GEORGIA ATTORNEY FILES CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT OVER TARGET DATA BREACH / ATTORNEY IS ALSO VICTIM OF FRAUDULENT CHARGES FROM BREACH

More from WTOC-TV, Savannah, GA, click here - 02/22/2014

AEREO INTERNET T-V LOSES ROUND IN FEDERAL COURT / TEMPORARILY SHUT DOWN IN SOME WESTERN STATES

More from TV NewsCheck, click here - 02/20/2014

FCC PREPARES END RUN AROUND COURT RULING TO PRESERVE INTERNET NEUTRALITY

More from the Washington Post, click here - 02/19/2014

GRACO RECALLS MORE THAN 3 MILLION CHILD CAR SEATS

More from the Emeritus Newsroom - Child seat maker Graco says it is recalling all (3.7 million) toddler convertible car seats and harnessed booster seats manufactured from 2009 to July 2013. the company claims that that food and dried liquids that can make some harness buckles progressively more difficult to open over time or become stuck in the latched position.

Models affected are:

Toddler Convertible Car Seats: Cozy Cline, Comfort Sport, Classic Ride 50, My Ride 65, My Ride 70, My Ride 65 with Safety Surround, Size4Me 70, My Size 70, Head Wise 70, Smart Seat. Harnessed Booster Seats: Nautilus 3-in-1, Nautilus Elite and Argos.

Graco offers a new and improved replacement harness buckle to affected consumers at no cost. If you are experiencing difficulty with your harness buckle and cleaning has not improved its performance, please contact our Graco customer service team at 800-345-4109 (Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m.) or consumerservices@gracobaby.com

Full text of Graco announcement including buckle cleaning instructions, click here - 02/12/2014

SOFTWARE PROBLEM FORCES RECALL OF TOYOTA PRIUS/ RAV4 / LEXUS RX350 / TACOMA

More from the Emeritus Newsroom - Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc., today announced that it is advising the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) of plans to conduct voluntary safety recalls of approximately 700,000 Model Year 2010-2014 Prius vehicles and, combined, approximately 260,000 Model Year 2012 Toyota RAV4, 2012-2013 Toyota Tacoma, and 2012-2013 Lexus RX 350 vehicles sold in the United States to address two separate issues.

  • Toyota will update the motor/generator control ECU and hybrid control ECU software on certain Model Year 2010-2014 Prius vehicles
The software’s current settings could result in higher thermal stress in certain transistors, potentially causing them to become damaged. If this happens, various warning lights will illuminate and the vehicle can enter a failsafe mode. In rare circumstances, the hybrid system might shut down while the vehicle is being driven, resulting in the loss of power and the vehicle coming to a stop.
  • Toyota will update the skid control ECU software on certain 2012 Toyota RAV4, 2012-2013 Toyota Tacoma, and 2012-2013 Lexus RX 350 models in order to address an electronic circuit condition that can cause the Vehicle Stability Control, Anti-lock Brake, and Traction Control functions to intermittently turn off. If these systems are off, standard braking operation remains fully functional.

Toyota has received no reports of accidents or injuries associated with either condition.

As part of these recalls, owners of affected vehicles will receive a software update free of charge. Owners will be notified by first class mail when the software updates are available at their dealers.

Detailed information is available to customers at www.toyota.com/recall and by calling the Toyota Customer Experience Center at 1-800-331-4331.

Lexus customers can visit www.lexus.com/recall or call the Lexus Customer Satisfaction Center at 1-800-25-LEXUS (1-800-255-3987).

Full text of Toyota statement, click here - 02/12/2014

FREE CELL PHONE PROGRAM, "LIFELINE" FULL OF FRAUD ACCORDING TO CRITICS

More from KCTV, click here - 02/11/2014

CALIFORNIA FIRM RECALLS NEARLY 9 MILLION POUNDS OF SUSPECT BEEF

More from the Emeritus Newsroom - Rancho Feeding Corporation, a Petaluma, Calif. establishment, is recalling approximately 8,742,700 pounds, because it processed diseased and unsound animals and carried out these activities without the benefit or full benefit of federal inspection. Thus, the products are adulterated, because they are unsound, unwholesome or otherwise are unfit for human food and must be removed from commerce, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today.

The following Rancho Feeding Corporation products are subject to recall:

  • "Beef Carcasses” (wholesale and custom sales only)
  • 2 per box "Beef (Market) Heads" (retail only)
  • 4-gallons per box "Beef Blood" (wholesale only)
  • 20-lb. boxes of “Beef Oxtail”
  • 30-lb. boxes of “Beef Cheeks”
  • 30-lb. boxes of " Beef Lips"
  • 30-lb. boxes of "Beef Omasum"
  • 30-lb. boxes of "Beef Tripas"
  • 30-lb. boxes of "Mountain Oysters"
  • 30-lb. boxes of "Sweet Breads”
  • 30- and 60-lb. boxes of “Beef Liver”
  • 30- and 60-lb. boxes of “Beef Tripe”
  • 30- and 60-lb. boxes of “Beef Tongue”
  • 30- and 60-lb. boxes of "Veal Cuts"
  • 40-lb. boxes of "Veal Bones"
  • 50-lb. boxes of “Beef Feet”
  • 50-lb. boxes of “Beef Hearts”
  • 60-lb. boxes of "Veal Trim"

Beef carcasses and boxes bear the establishment number "EST. 527" inside the USDA mark of inspection.  Each box bears the case code number ending in “3” or “4.” The products were produced Jan. 1, 2013 through Jan. 7, 2014 and shipped to distribution centers and retail establishments in California, Florida, Illinois and Texas.

FSIS has received no reports of illness due to consumption of these products. Anyone concerned about an illness should contact a health care provider.

FSIS routinely conducts recall effectiveness checks to verify that recalling firms notify their customers of the recall and that steps are taken to make certain that recalled product is no longer available to consumers. When available, the retail distribution list(s) will be posted on the FSIS website at: www.fsis.usda.gov/recalls.

Consumers and members of the media who have questions about the recall can contact the plant’s Quality Control manager, Scott Parks, at (707) 762-6651.

Full text of USDA announcement, click here - 02/09/2014

MASSIVE RECALLS FOR STROLLERS AND PACIFIERS

More from the Emeritus Newsroom - Britax Child Safety Inc., of Fort Mill, S.C., is recalling the Britax B-Agile, B-Agile Double and BOB Motion strollers. The single and double strollers were sold in various color schemes, including black, red, kiwi, sandstone, navy and orange. They were manufactured in China between March 2011 and June 2013 and have the following model numbers: U341763, U341764, U341782 and U341783 for the B-Agile strollers; U361818 or U361819 for the B-Agile Double strollers; and U391820, U391821 and U391822 for the BOB Motion strollers. The company estimates that about 216,000 were sold in the United States and 8,800 in Canada. The model number and the manufacture date in YYYY/MM/DD format can be found on label located on the inside of the stroller’s metal frame near the right rear wheel. Britax has received eight incident reports. Incidents include one partial fingertip amputation, one broken finger and severe finger lacerations. Consumers should stop using the recalled strollers immediately and contact Britax to receive a free repair kit.Major retailers and juvenile products stores nationwide, and online at Amazon.com, albeebaby.com, buybuybaby.com, diapers.com, ToysRUs.com and other online retailers from May 2011 through June 2013 for between $250 and $450. Britax; toll-free at (866) 204-1665 from 8:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. ET Monday through Thursday and 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Friday, visit the company’s websites at www.britaxusa.com  or www.bobgear.com and click on “Safety Notice” at the top right corner or on “Learn More” at the bottom center of the page, or e-mail strollerrecall@britax.com for more information.

Also, Fred & Friends, of Cumberland, R.I., a division of Lifetime Brands, Inc., of Garden City, N.Y., is recalling three styles of Fred & Friends Chill Baby pacifiers, including the Artiste with a black plastic beard and mustache, Volume with a black volume control knob  and Panic with a red panic button. The pacifier’s name and UPC are printed on the packaging.  The Artiste’s UPC is 728987021282, the Volume style’s UPC is 728987020599 and the Panic style’s UPC is 728987020605. The pacifiers are plastic and silicone rubber and measure about 2 inches wide and 1½ inches tall. Fred & Friends has received one report of the knob on the Volume pacifier detaching. No injuries have been reported. Consumers should immediately take the recalled pacifiers away from young children and return them to Fred & Friends for a $12 refund. Fred & Friends is providing a postage paid envelope for consumers to return the recalled pacifiers. The pacifiers were made in China and sold in department stores,gift, drug, toy, baby product, grocery and home decorating stores, and hospital, museum gift shops nationwide and various websites from April 2013 through December 2013 for about $10. Fred & Friends toll-free at (855) 346-6372 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday, email the firm at pacifiersconsumer@fredandfriends.com  or online at www.fredandfriends.com and click on Pacifier Recall for more information.

Full text of Stroller recall, click here - Full text of pacifier recall, click here - 02/01/2014

TOYOTA SIGNALS PROBABLE RECALL FOR MODELS WITH SEAT HEATERS WHICH MAY CAUSE FIRES

More from the Emeritus Newsroom - Toyota today announced that the company has initiated a stop sale of certain Avalon, Avalon Hybrid, Camry, Camry Hybrid, Corolla, Sienna, Tacoma and Tundra vehicles equipped with seat heaters in order to address a non-compliance issue.

In involved vehicles, the seat heater, which is a small portion of the soft materials of the seat assembly, does not meet a provision of U.S. Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) requiring materials to retard flame at a specified rate. Toyota is preparing a modification for this condition, which will be implemented on all covered vehicles in dealer inventory.

There have been no reports globally of any related incidents in the field with units in operation. Per National Highway Traffic Safety (NHTSA) regulations, Toyota will file a Non-Compliance Information Report with the agency.

Full text of Toyota announcement, click here - More from USA Today, click here - 01/30/2014

LATEST CRASH TESTS SHOW MINI CARS HAVE LESS PROTECTION

More from the Emeritus Newsroom - According to the Insurance Institute, only 1 minicar out of 11 tested achieves an acceptable rating in the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's small overlap front crash test, making these tiny vehicles the worst performing group of any evaluated so far. The Chevrolet Spark's acceptable rating in the test, along with good ratings in the Institute's four other crash worthiness evaluations, earns the new minicar a 2014 TOP SAFETY PICK award. The Spark was among the initial award winners announced in December. The new small overlap test results for the rest of the minicar group mean that no other models in this size category join the Spark in the winner's circle yet. Introduced in 2012, the small overlap test replicates what happens when the front corner of a vehicle collides with another vehicle or an object such as a tree or utility pole. In the test, 25 percent of a vehicle's front end on the driver's side strikes a rigid barrier at 40 mph.

"Small, lightweight vehicles have an inherent safety disadvantage. That's why it's even more important to choose one with the best occupant protection," says Joe Nolan, IIHS senior vice president for vehicle research. "Unfortunately, as a group, minicars aren't performing as well as other vehicle categories in the small overlap crash."

In contrast to the minicar group's performance, most models in the small car category, which are a little larger, have done much better in the test. There are five good ratings and five acceptable ratings among 17 small cars that have been evaluated so far.

Small overlap front crash test ratings for minicars. Unless specified, ratings apply to both 2013 and 2014 models.

          Dummy injury measures
    Overall Structure Restraints
& kinematics
Head
& neck
Chest Hip
& thigh
Lower leg
& foot
2014 TOP SAFETY PICK logo
Chevrolet Spark
A
M
A
G
G
G
G
Mazda 2
M
M
A
G
G
G
P
Kia Rio
M
M
M
G
G
G
P
Toyota Yaris
M
M
P
G
G
G
M
2014 Ford Fiesta
built after August 2013
M
M
P
A
G
G
A
2014 Mitsubishi Mirage
P
M
P
G
G
G
P
  Nissan Versa sedan
P
P
M
G
G
G
P
  Toyota Prius c
P
P
P
G
G
G
P
  Hyundai Accent
P
P
P
G
G
M
M
  Fiat 500
P
P
P
G
G
M
P
  Honda FIt
P
P
M
G
G
P
P
GOOD
G
ACCEPTABLE
A
MARGINAL
M
POOR
P

Full text of Insurance Institute report on mini cars, click here - Video of crash tests, click here - 01/22/2014

LATEST MAJOR VEHICLE RECALLS / FORD EDGE, TESLA, CHEVY-GMC PICKUPS

More from the Emeritus Newsroom - The largest of the latest vehicle recalls involves the 2014 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups.

According to General Motors, about 300,000 of the 2014 model year Chevrolet Silverados and GMC Sierras equipped with 4.3L or 5.3L engines, can experience overheated exhaust components when the vehicle is idling in cold temperatures.The overheated exhaust components may melt nearby plastic parts and may result in an engine fire. General Motors will notify owners, and dealers will reprogram the engine control module, free of charge. The recall began on January 16, 2014. Owners may contact Chevrolet at 1-800-222-1020 and GMC at 1-800-462-8782. General Motors' number for this recall is 14008. Click here for full text of NHTSA bulletin.

Ford Motor Company (Ford) is recalling nearly 28,000 model year 2012-2013 Edge vehicles manufactured from September 2, 2010, through April 25, 2013, and equipped with 2.0L engines. The fuel line pulse damper metal housing may crack as a result of an improper manufacturing process. A cracked fuel line pulse damper housing may result in a combination of fuel odor, weepage, or a continuous leak while the fuel system is pressurized.A fuel leak in the presence of an ignition source may result in a fire. Ford will notify owners, and dealers will replace the fuel line with one that does not have a damper, free of charge. The safety recall is scheduled to begin on February 28, 2014. Owners may contact Ford at 1-866-436-7332. Ford's number for this recall is 13S13. IMPORTANT: This recall supersedes recall 12V-438. All vehicles that have been remedied under the previous recall need to have the current remedy applied. Full text of NHTSA bulletin, click here .

And Tesla Motors, makers of electric powered sport luxury cars, is recalling 29,000 model year 2013 Model S vehicles equipped for, and delivered with, certain NEMA 14-50 (240 volt) Universal Mobile Connector (UMC) adapters. During charging, the adapter, cord, or wall outlet could overheat. An overheated adapter, cord, or wall outlet increases the risk of burn injury and/or fire. Tesla will notify owners and provide an "over-the-air" software update. Some owners have already received this update. This update allows the Model S on board charging system to detect any unexpected fluctuations in the input power or higher resistance connections to the vehicle. If detected, the onboard charging system will automatically reduce the charging current by 25%. Tesla owners can verify that they have received the updated software (version 5.8.4 or later) by viewing the vehicle's center information screen. Additionally, Tesla will mail owners a replacement NEMA 14-50 adapter that is equipped with an internal thermal fuse. The manufacturer has not yet provided a notification schedule. Owners may contact Tesla Service Center at 1-877-79-TESLA (1-877-798-3752). Full text of NTHSA bulletin, click here .

01/20/2014

APPLE MUST PAY $32 MILLION SETTLEMENT OVER UNAUTHORIZED CHILDRENS APP DOWNLOADS / CUSTOMERS TO GET REFUNDS

More from the Emeritus Newsroom - Apple Inc. has agreed to provide full refunds to consumers, paying a minimum of $32.5 million, to settle a Federal Trade Commission complaint that the company billed consumers for millions of dollars of charges incurred by children in kids’ mobile apps without their parents’ consent.

Under the terms of the settlement with the FTC, Apple also will be required to change its billing practices to ensure that it has obtained express, informed consent from consumers before charging them for items sold in mobile apps.

“This settlement is a victory for consumers harmed by Apple’s unfair billing, and a signal to the business community: whether you’re doing business in the mobile arena or the mall down the street, fundamental consumer protections apply,” said FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez.  “You cannot charge consumers for purchases they did not authorize.”

The FTC’s complaint alleges that Apple violated the FTC Act by failing to tell parents that by entering a password they were approving a single in-app purchase and also 15 minutes of additional unlimited purchases their children could make without further action by the parent. 

Apple offers many kids’ apps in its App Store that allow users to incur charges within the apps.  Many of these charges are for virtual items or currency used in playing a game.  These charges generally range from 99 cents to $99.99 per in-app charge.

The complaint alleges that Apple does not inform account holders that entering their password will open a 15-minute window in which children can incur unlimited charges with no further action from the account holder. In addition, according to the complaint, Apple has often presented a screen with a prompt for a parent to enter his or her password in a kids’ app without explaining to the account holder that password entry would finalize any purchase at all.

The rapidly expanding mobile arena has been a focus of the Commission’s consumer protection efforts. In addition to its consumer protection enforcement activity in the mobile sphere, last year, the FTC issued staff reports addressing mobile payments and providing recommendations for the mobile industry on how to protect consumers as new and innovative payment systems come into use, advocating improved privacy disclosures in the mobile environment, and addressing advertising disclosures in the context of mobile devices.

In its complaint, the FTC notes that Apple received at least tens of thousands of complaints about unauthorized in-app purchases by children. One consumer reported that her daughter had spent $2,600 in the app “Tap Pet Hotel,” and other consumers reported unauthorized purchases by children totaling more than $500 in the apps “Dragon Story” and “Tiny Zoo Friends.” According to the complaint, consumers have reported millions of dollars in unauthorized charges to Apple.

The settlement requires Apple to modify its billing practices to ensure that Apple obtains consumers’ express, informed consent prior to billing them for in-app charges, and that if the company gets consumers’ consent for future charges, consumers must have the option to withdraw their consent at any time. Apple must make these changes no later than March 31, 2014.

Under the settlement, Apple will be required to provide full refunds, totaling a minimum of $32.5 million, to consumers who were billed for in-app charges that were incurred by children and were either accidental or not authorized by the consumer. Apple must make these refunds promptly, upon request from an account holder. Apple is required to give notice of the availability of refunds to all consumers charged for in-app charges with instructions on how to obtain a refund for unauthorized purchases by kids. Should Apple issue less than $32.5 million in refunds to consumers within the 12 months after the settlement becomes final, the company must remit the balance to the Commission.

Full text of FTC statement, click here - 01/15/2014

FCC NET NEUTRALITY RULES LOSE IN FEDERAL APPEALS COURT / LIKELY HEADED TO SUPREME COURT

More from the Wall Street Journal, click here - 01/15/2014

NEIMAN MARCUS, OTHER RETAILERS LIKELY AFFECTED BY HOLIDAY DATA BREACHES

More from TechCrunch, click here - 01/12/2014

TARGET SAYS BANK CARD DATA BREACH MUCH MORE EXTENSIVE THAN FIRST REPORTED

More from the LA Times, click here - 01/11/2014

FOSTER FARMS CALIFORNIA PLANT CLOSED DUE TO ROACHES

More from the Fresno Bee, click here - 01/09/2014

FEDS MOVE AGAINST WEIGHT LOSS FRAUDSTERS

More from the Emeritus Newsroom - The Federal Trade Commission has announced a law enforcement initiative stopping national marketers that used deceptive advertising claims to peddle fad weight- loss products, from food additives and skin cream to dietary supplements. Operation Failed Resolution” is part of the FTC’s ongoing effort to stop misleading claims for products promoting easy weight loss and slimmer bodies.  The marketers of Sensa, who exhorted consumers to “sprinkle, eat, and lose weight” – will pay $26.5 million to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that they deceived consumers with unfounded weight-loss claims and misleading endorsements.  The FTC will make these funds available for refunds to consumers who bought Sensa.

The agency also announced charges against the marketers of two other products that made unfounded promises:

  • L’Occitane, which claimed that its skin cream would slim users’ bodies but had no science to back up that claim, and
  • HCG Diet Direct, which marketed an unproven human hormone that has been touted by hucksters for more than half a century as a weight-loss treatment.

And it announced a partial settlement in a fourth case, LeanSpa, LLC, an operation that allegedly deceptively promoted acai berry and “colon cleanse” weight-loss supplements through fake news websites.

“Resolutions to lose weight are easy to make but hard to keep,” said Jessica Rich, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection.  “And the chances of being successful just by sprinkling something on your food, rubbing cream on your thighs, or using a supplement are slim to none.  The science just isn’t there.”

In total, the weight-loss marketers will pay approximately $34 million for consumer redress.  In addition to the $26.5 million to be paid by Sensa, L’Occitane, Inc. will pay $450,000, and the LeanSpa scettling defendants will surrender assets totalling an estimated $7.3 million.  The judgment against the HCG Diet Direct defendants is suspended due to their inability to pay.

Full text of FTC statement, click here - 01/08/2013

 

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