The People's Lawyer Consumer News Alert
Center for Consumer Law
  Volume 105 Number 7

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The Consumer News Alert will return in 2015.


The People’s Lawyer’s Tip of the Day

Writing a check when you do not have enough money in the bank is criminal and criminal charges may be filed. Stopping payment on a check because you are dissatisfied with the goods or services purchased is not, provided the money would have been available to pay it if payment had not been stopped.

For more general information about the law, check out my website.
 Click here for more.

Sony Will No Longer Release The Interview

The nation's top five theater circuits, Regal Entertainment, AMC Entertainment, Cinemark, Carmike Cinemas, and Cineplex Entertainment, have announced that they will not be showing "The Interview" on its scheduled release date.

Hacker and terrorist groups have made a variety of threats to Sony and theater circuits if the movie is allowed to continue forward. Accordingly, many theater circuits decided against showing the film.

Hoping to recoup some of the $44 million movie budget, Sony was considering the movie for a "premium" Video on Demand release. However, Sony ultimately decided to cancel the release entirely. As a result, consumers may never get to see the $45 million movie.

The movie focuses on a journalist and his producer (Seth Rogan and James Franco) who are instructed by the CIA to assassinate the leader of North Korea.

Did Sony make the right decision?
 Click here for more.

Obama Opens Doors to Cuba

In what marks the most dramatic shift in the relationship between the United States and Cuba in fifty years, President Obama announced Wednesday a series of changes that will ease travel and trade restrictions with the country.

What started out as discussions to exchange prisoners ultimately grew into a new diplomatic relationship. President Obama described the new relationship as a way for the United States to "cut loose the shackles of the past so as to reach for a better future."

Although United States citizens can't yet plan beach vacations in Cuba, travel will become significant easier for other purposes. The government will make travel licenses available for "(1) family visits; (2) official business of the U.S. government, foreign governments and certain intergovernmental organizations; (3) journalistic activity; (4) professional research and professional meetings; (5) educational activities, (6) religious activities; (7) public performances, clinics, workshops, athletic and other competitions, and exhibitions; (8) support for the Cuban people; (9) humanitarian projects; (10) activities of private foundations or research or educational institutes; (11) exportation, importation or transmission of information or information materials; and (12) certain export transactions that may be considered for authorization under existing regulations and guidelines."

Both sides admit there's still work needed to repair the strained relationship.
 Click here for more.

Amazon Introduces 2 Hour Delivery Service

If free two day shipping wasn't enough to sell you on Amazon Prime, the popular internet retailer is upping the ante. A new service, called Prime Now, will allow consumers to receive their goods in two hours.

Amazon Prime Now has already rolled out in parts of Manhattan. Prime Now is expected to spread throughout more markets after the new year.

Amazon charges $99 a year for Prime. It includes video on demand, unlimited two-day shipping, access to the Amazon Elements product line, and more. Students can get six months of Amazon Prime for free. After the trial is up, students can use Amazon Prime at half price.
 Click here for more.

Your Money

What are your business financial ratios?
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For the Lawyers

Class action settlement attorney's fee award unacceptable.

The Seventh Circuit disapproved a negotiated attorney's fee award in a class action under the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act. Under the terms of the settlement, each class member who responded positively was to receive a $10 coupon that could be used at any RadioShack store. The face value of all the coupons was $830,000.

RadioShack was to pay class counsel $1 million. The Seventh Circuit reevaluated the value of the settlement to class members and the benefits of costs incurred and, noting Radio Shack's fragile financial condition, stated "A renegotiated settlement will simply shift some fraction of the exorbitant attorneys' fee awarded class counsel in the existing settlement that we are disapproving to the class members."
Click here for more.

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