The People's Lawyer Consumer News Alert
Center for Consumer Law
  Volume 102 Number 6

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The People’s Lawyer’s Tip of the Day

A current scam against small businesses involves “selling” equipment and having the business pay for it through a “lease.”

Be careful before you sign any lease agreement. Do not sign a form with any blanks, and carefully read everything. If the goods are never delivered or are defective, you may still have to pay the lease.

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

Changes to iPhone & iPad Operating System

The new iPhone doesn't come out until Friday. However, starting now, iPhone and iPad users can update their operating system to iOS 8.

Although iOS 8 doesn't have the dramatic changes that came with the last upgrade, it does have some nifty and handy modifications. Notably, the keyboard and typing system has been updated to incorporate the swiping feature popularized on Google devices. Additionally, if you hear a song you like and want to know who it is, you don't need to pull up Shazam. Instead, just ask Siri.

Do you have pictures, documents, songs, or other files you want to share with friends and family? iOS 8 makes that much easier with the Family Sharing option.

Finally, Apple has made it possible for users to switch from their iPhones to their computers while continuing exactly what they were doing on the original device.

Are you ready to upgrade to iOS 8? Or, will you wait for the bugs to be worked out?
 Click here for more.

GM Starts Paying Out Faulty Ignition Claims

According to an attorney overseeing the process, General Motors will pay compensation for 31 claims, including 19 deaths, linked to a faulty ignition switch installed in 2.6 million of its vehicles.

Thus far, GM has received 445 claims related to the ignition switch, including 125 deaths. Given the number of claims, members of Congress have criticized the company for paying out so few claims.

GM must also pay a $35 million penalty to the government.
 Click here for more.

California Issues Autonomous Car Licenses

On Tuesday, the state of California issued the first licenses to test self-driving cars on the state's public roads. Volkswagen's Audi was the first to get a license, but Mercedes and Google received licenses the same day. As part of licensing, the California Department of Motor Vehicles requires the car company to place a human in the seat at all times, put up a $5 million bond in case of accidents or claims, have at least $5 million in net worth, and test the vehicles in simulated environment first.

Consumer-owned automated vehicles are expected to be on the road by 2020, with 230,000 autonomous vehicles on the road by 2025. An estimated 12 million autonomous vehicles could be on the road by 2035.
 Click here for more.

Your Money

How large a line of credit can you obtain?
 Click here for more.

For the Lawyers

Punitive damages 100 times compensatory affirmed.

A Missouri Court of Appeals affirmed a judgment against Vatterott Educational Centers, Inc. for $27,696.96 in actual damages and $2,078,679.80 in punitive damages under the Missouri Merchandise Practices Act. The jury found Vatterott liable to Ms. Kerr for its deceitful practices in selling a certain educational program.

On appeal, Vatterott challenged the denial of its motion for a directed verdict, the submission of a certain damages instruction, and the amount of the punitive damages award.

The court of appeals affirmed.
Click here for more.

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