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Special News Reports

Sun09242017

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Consumer Daily Reports


Trusted reliable news sources from around the web. We offer special news reports, topic news videos, and related content stories. Truly a birds eye view on news.

Consumer News: Toys 'R' Us to hire thousands for the Christmas shopping season

PhotoToys “R” Us won’t let a little thing like bankruptcy get in the way of Christmas.

The toy retailer, which filed for Chapter 11 protection earlier this week, has announced it's still accepting applications for holiday positions at stores and distribution centers across the country.

Interestingly, the world's largest retailer, Walmart, is not hiring holiday help.

“We are offering the extra hours available this time of year to our current associates rather than hiring thousands of seasonal workers,” said executive vice president and CEO Judith McKenna.

She points out that the company took the same approach last year and got “great feedback” from customers and employees alike.

Available positions

As it beefs up its workforce, Toys “R” Us is adding a new position: Toy Demonstrator. The job appears to be perfect for big kids at heart, as it involves unboxing, playing with toys, and allowing kids and shoppers opportunities to test them out.

Available holiday positions include: :

  • Cashier

  • Sales associate

  • Stock associate

  • Toy demonstrator (available in select stores nationwide)

  • Order fulfillment associate

  • Distribution center warehouse associate (daytime and overnight positions available)

Perks and potential

Toys “R” Us says it's offering incentives and competitive compensation packages for all hires in each local market, such as flex hours and varied shifts.

Additionally, seasonal hires can take advantage of employee discounts and shopping events for their own holiday gift giving.

The company says there also will be some opportunities for employment beyond the holidays as it has moved thousands of its holiday workforce to fill permanent roles.

Where the jobs are

Markets with the largest seasonal hiring needs include:

  • New York, N.Y. – more than 3,800

  • Los Angeles, Calif. – more than 2,400

  • Groveport, Ohio – more than 2,400 (DHL Supply Chain Fulfillment Center)

  • Philadelphia, Pa. – more than 1,400

  • Chicago, Ill. – more than 1,100

  • Boston, Mass. – more than 950

In addition to its stores and distribution centers, the Toys “R” Us customer service partner -- Acticall Sitel Group -- is hiring over 900 dedicated seasonal Work@Home agents at its Virtual Call Centers in 25 states across the country.

Not only does Work@Home eliminate a commute and provide convenience and flexibility with schedules, it also allows parents and caregivers more time with family.

What to do

To apply for positions at Toys “R” Us stores and distribution centers, interested candidates can visit Toysrusinc.com/HolidayJobs. The application is mobile-friendly and requires less than five minutes to complete.

To apply for positions in Acticall Sitel Group call centers, interested candidates can visit Sitel.com/careers/work-home.

DHL Supply Chain in Groveport, Ohio, which provides online fulfillment for Toys “R” Us throughout the holiday season, is hiring over 2,400 seasonal employees to help service online orders for Toysrus.com and Babiesrus.com.

Available positions throughout the season include general labor, clerical, and forklift operators. To apply,  interested candidates can visit dhlsupplychainjobs.com or text “TOYS2017” to 31996 for job information.

To apply for available daytime and overnight positions in Acticall Sitel Group call centers, interested candidates can visit Sitel.com/careers/work-home.

Read more...

Consumer News: What to know about the class action suits against Equifax

PhotoAs 143 million compromised Equifax customers either scramble to freeze their credit, seek security services, or wait to see happens next, some are electing to take legal action.

Attorneys throughout the U.S. have filed more than a dozen class action lawsuits against the credit bureau.

Oakland, California-based Scott Cole & Associates filed a class action claiming "negligence, violations of fair credit reporting and deceptive business practices."

The Doss Firm LLC has filed a class action suit on behalf of the estimated 28 million small business owners who may have been affected by the data breach. Attorney Jason Doss said small business operators are particularly vulnerable since they rely on personal and business credit to operate.

What is a class action?

Unlike an individual lawsuit, a class action is filed on behalf of a "class" of plaintiffs who all have the same or similar grievances. In a case affecting as many people as the Equifax breach, it is very likely that many of the suits will be combined into a smaller number of cases.

Unlike an individual lawsuit, a plaintiff does not have to hire an attorney or incur any legal costs. And unlike an individual lawsuit, members of the "class" don't have to take much action at all.

If you are among the 143 million consumers whose data may have been exposed, you are already a member of the "class."

"At some point, [Equifax customers] will get a notice asking whether we want to opt out of the class action," said Vanderbilt University law professor Brian Fitzpatrick. "As a general matter, I recommend that people do not opt out. It will be very hard to sue Equifax on your own. The nice thing about a class action is someone does all the work for us."

Consumers are free to sue on their own

Because there are millions of potential plaintiffs, any class action settlement may result in a rather small individual judgment. If you think you have a major case against Equifax, you are free to sue the company individually. In that case, Fitzpatrick says you might consider opting out of the class action.

"If you do not opt out of the class action when you have the chance and the class action is unsuccessful, then you lose your right to sue Equifax on your own," he said.

Most people, he says, will be better off remaining in the class, having a good chance to share in a settlement without having to hire a lawyer.

Fitzpatrick suggests consumers document how much time and money they have spent placing freezes and fraud alerts, or otherwise dealing with the data breach. He says they may be able to use that information to increase their recovery sum in any settlement.

Read more...

Consumer News: How 'corpsumers' are changing the way people shop

PhotoSince the early 2000’s, retailers like TOMS have popularized the concept of a company whose brand identity centers on philanthropy and responsible use of resources. Now, public relations firm MWWPR says they’ve inspired a new type of buyer that’s dominating the U.S. consumer landscape: the “corpsumer”.

The firm’s study describes this group as shoppers who care as much about company reputation or ethical stance as product quality or value, and they account for a whopping one-third of the U.S. population; approximately 100 million people.

This consumer segment is “bigger than so many of the segments that brands target -- bigger than millennials, bigger than moms,” said MWWPR chief strategy officer Careen Winters.

Characteristics

According to MWWPR, corpsumers tend to be:

  • Well-educated

  • Employed full time

  • High income earners

  • Parents

  • Millennials / Gen X-ers

Additionally, a key characteristic of this group is strongly-held values. Corpsumers are fiercely loyal to companies with values and priorities similar to their own. More than half (51 percent) will stick with a product that has disappointed them because they believe in what the company stands for.

This loyalty also translates to a willingness to spend more -- 67 percent will pay full price for something from a company they believe in, rather than purchase the same product at a discounted price from a different vendor.

"Corpsumers bring together two of the most valued attributes of any customer -- loyalty and activism -- providing a one-two punch for growth in an increasingly competitive market," Winters said.

Brand advocates

The emergence of the corpsumer has prompted companies to work harder at cultivating a positive reputation instead of focusing solely on product features and attributes -- and with good reason.

This consumer segment tends to be highly engaged and optimistic, ready to advocate for what they believe in. A majority (89 percent) are likely to share positive news about companies. More than half of corpsumers regularly utilize social media to voice their opinions about news, current events, and cultural issues pertaining to companies and brands several times a week.

On the flip side, they are also eager to dissuade their peers from supporting a brand. Three-quarters of corpsumers (74 percent) have encouraged someone to give up or not use a product because of the company’s reputation.

To reach these values-driven consumers, food companies have begun advertising their use of ingredients like using cage-free eggs or Wendy’s “sustainable beef.” Yoplait’s latest ad campaign set out to curry the favor of women -- one of the yogurt brand’s key demographics -- by encouraging moms to ignore the judgement of others and “Mom On.”

How corpsumerism impacts business

Winters points out that brands and marketers who successfully harness the power of the corpsumer will likely see their effort reflected in the areas of pricing, loyalty, and brand evangelism.

"Corpsumers represent the ultimate example of the increasing value of a customer over a lifetime, both in terms of their own purchases and in the new customers they help brands acquire through their advocacy and activism,” she said.

The latter may be especially good for business, since -- according to Harvard Business School Press -- a 12 percent increase in advocacy represents a 200 percent increase in revenue growth.

Read more...

Consumer News: Equifax data breach breeds frustration

PhotoThe aftermath of Equifax’s massive data breach continues to create confusion and frustration as consumers scramble to secure their compromised information and flood the credit reporting agency’s customer response team.

The breach has left 143 million consumers financially vulnerable, and thousands have already sought credit monitoring services or frozen their credit files for the better part of September.

Unfortunately, the sheer number of those affected appears to have overwhelmed Equifax's customer response system. The company's public relations arm has been noticeably quiet; As of today, no press announcements have appeared on the company's website since September 15.

Consumers posting reviews at ConsumerAffairs report encountering a wide range of problems. One said he could not access his free Equifax credit report from annualcreditreport.com, a government-sponsored site, though he had no issues with Experian and TransUnion.

Another reported spending an hour on the telephone, trying to reach Equifax's customer service line while trying to place a fraud alert on his account.

Even consumers not taking immediate action have encountered problems. An Indiana consumer told ConsumerAffairs that he had a credit freeze on all his accounts prior to the data breach, and has been unable to remove the freeze from his Experian account, blocking him from getting residential gas service.

Unprepared for such a large-scale breach

"Unfortunately, I think Equifax was simply unprepared for the level of traffic and interaction that they were going to be getting from the public due to this breach," Eva Valasquez, CEO of the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC), told ConsumerAffairs. "People need to address this issue with Equifax and they are simply unable to do so."

Valasquez has also heard her share of horror stories. She said one consumer reported going through the process of freezing his credit on the Equifax website and the system crashed just as he was receiving a PIN.

"As a result, his credit is frozen but he has no PIN with which to unfreeze it," she said.

Already, the breach’s fallout has sparked lawsuits. Massachusetts has filed a lawsuit against Equifax, claiming half the state's residents were exposed.

Yet another aggravating factor is the revelation that a security expert exploited the company’s poor response by creating a fake Equifax site where consumers were encouraged to enter information to determine if they were at risk.

The New York Times, as well as many other media sources, reported that Equifax itself linked to the fake site on its Twitter account.

Counseling patience

In spite of the building frustration, Valasquez is counseling patience, pointing out there should be no easy solutions when it comes to authenticating our identities.

"I hope the solution that industry comes up with is not more automated technology," Valasquez said. "Because the process of establishing who you are goes through several steps, and we should appreciate that it's going to take a little longer."

As an interim step to help consumers, ITRC has launched a petition drive, asking all three credit reporting agencies to waive fees charged for the freezing and unfreezing of credit. It proposes an initial freeze free of charge, then a free freeze and unfreeze every year. The typical fee for a freeze or unfreeze is $10 -- an expense of $30 if you are doing it with all three credit reporting agencies.

"Waiving the fee is not a panacea, it's certainly not going to solve all of the problems," Valasquez said. "But it is a concrete thing we can do right now."

Read more...

Consumer News: Uber's license to operate denied in London

PhotoLondon's transportation authority has denied Uber's bid to renew its operating license, declaring it is not a "fit and proper" mode of transportation for London’s 8.7 million residents and visitors.

Uber said it would challenge the decision in court, but it will have to move quickly to avoid disruption of service, as Uber's current license expires at the end of the month.

In a statement, Transport For London said it concluded that Uber London Limited has "demonstrated a lack of corporate responsibility" in relation to public safety, namely its approach to reporting serious criminal offenses.

Other reasons cited for denying Uber’s license include::

  • Uber's approach to obtaining medical certificates and Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service checks.

  • Its use of Greyball - software that could block regulatory agencies from gaining full access to the app and/or undertaking regulatory or law enforcement duties.    

Uber has 21 days to appeal the decision.

No excuse for being unsafe

Writing in the Guardian, London Mayor Sadiq Khan said Uber deserved to lose its license, appearing to agree with Transportation For London's assessment of Uber's safety standards.

"Providing an innovative service is not an excuse for it being unsafe," Khan wrote.

Uber in London General Manager Tom Elvidge suggests the decision was more a case of placating those "who want to restrict consumer choice”.

He said if the decision stands, it would put 40,000 Uber drivers out of work.

Read more...

Consumer News: American travelers increasingly drawn to Ireland

PhotoAmerican tourists are flocking to visit Ireland and Northern Ireland in record numbers to enjoy the area’s magnificent scenery, history, and strong cultural ties with the U.S.

Irish tourism officials began 2017 with a major promotional campaign in the U.S., hoping to produce another record-breaking year. Last year, about 1.6 million tourists from the U.S. and Canada took trips to the island, a 13% increase over 2015.

Fans of the TV series "Game of Thrones" might have something to do with this increase, particularly in Northern Ireland, which provides many of the cinematic backdrops to the beloved show.

Travelers can visit Tollymore Forest, a 1,600 acre state park featured extensively in season one of the series. Or they can visit Ballintoy, a village on the coast of County Antrim, which figured prominently in season two.

Among the most popular "Game of Thrones" destinations is The Dark Hedges, an avenue of beech trees planted by the Stuart family in the 18th century. Even without its "Game of Thrones" tie-in, it is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Northern Ireland, according to the Belfast Telegraph.

There are many other reasons to visit Northern Ireland, which remains part of the United Kingdom. Belfast, the largest city, is rich in history and culture and, according to The New York Times, possesses a "vibrant restaurant scene."

Dublin

Most visitors to Ireland include a visit to Dublin, its capital and largest city. In 2016, popular travel site Lonely Planet placed Dublin on its list of top 10 world cities to visit, largely for its mix of old and new, and its spirit of hospitality.

The official Irish tourism website suggests visitors wanting to interact with locals should head for one of the city's pubs for a pint and friendly conversation. Among its recommendations are Brazen Head, one of the city's oldest pubs, and J.W. Sweetman's.

Dublin Castle is another major tourist attraction, a medieval fortress whose modern structure dates back to the 18th century. It served as the seat of British government on the island until it was transferred to the independent Irish government in 1922.

For a small country, Ireland has large public parks, and one of its largest is another popular Dublin destination. Phoenix Park, on the west side of the city, encompasses about 1,750 acres and is one of the largest enclosed recreational areas in urban Europe. A herd of wild deer, whose ancestors extend back to the 17th century, roam freely through the park.

This brief video clip provides a glimpse of some of the sights tourists can find in Ireland's capital.

[visit news source for video embedded content]

Cliffs of Moher

PhotoThe Cliffs of Moher are probably Ireland's most-visited tourist location. The attraction is so popular that you need to get tickets, and the visitor center closes periodically to prevent overcrowding. A visit after 4 p.m. is recommended to ensure you get in.

The Dingle Peninsula in County Kerry contains evidence of prehistoric man, including a collection of drystone beehive huts. The region also has remnants of ancient forts and stone monuments.

"I loved the prehistoric stuff, which has been well-preserved and is just there to be seen," said Gary Guthrie of Louisville, Ky., a two-time visitor to Ireland. "I like how they don't try to monetize everything. You can see a lot of cool stuff without buying a ticket or being asked for a donation."

Cheap airfare makes getting to Ireland from the U.S. a lot more economical. Kayak.com shows Norwegian Air and WOW airlines among the cheapest flights, most departing from New York area airports or Boston's Logan International.

The island has three major airports -- Dublin Airport, Shannon Airport, and Belfast International, in Northern Ireland, all with many direct flights from the U.S. and Canada.

Read more...

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