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Tonya Garcia

T-Mobile’s Reputation Could Take a Big Hit From FTC Allegations About Fake Fees

John_Legere___Introducing_JUMP_July_10_2013

T-Mobile has fashioned an entire marketing campaign around the benefits to customers for making the switch to their services, promising to pay up to $650 for any fees incurred for coming over to their side. So it’s especially damaging that the Federal Trade Commission is charging the mobile service provider with duping customers into paying fees they shouldn’t have been on the hook for.

In its complaint, the FTC says T-Mobile has made “hundreds of millions” of dollars charging customers for the ability to send “premium” text messages that they didn’t ask for. T-Mobile allegedly pocketed 35 to 40 percent of the $9.99 per month typically charged. This practice is called “cramming” and, back in November, according to CNET, carriers agreed to ban the practice. Moreover, T-Mobile has said that it will help customers recoup fees from third-party providers who charge for these services.

T-Mobile CEO John Legere has vehemently denied the charges in two different posts on the T-Mobile site, which have both been repeatedly tweeted out to his followers.

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Dining Goes Digital With a Mash-Up of IBM’s Watson and Bon Appetit

watson bon appetitIBM‘s Watson supercomputer and food magazine Bon Appetit have joined forces to create an app — “Chef Watson with Bon Appetit,” currently in beta — that finds new ways to mix and match foods based on 9,000 Bon Appetit recipes. Essentially, Watson consumed the recipe data and can now manipulate it into new flavors and concoctions.

“To come up with these creatively crafted cuisines, Watson uses Bon Appetit’s insights about ingredient pairings, cooking styles, and dishes and then mixes that with food chemistry, the psychology of people’s likes and dislikes, and regional and ethnic tastes,” reports CNET. “The idea is to help people discover new and flavorful recipes that are fine-tuned to make taste buds happy.”

Something like fennel-spiced baby back pork with a tangy apple-mustard sauce. Good grief. Sounds delish.

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Burger King Has a Gay Pride Whopper and It’s Just Like a Regular Whopper

Burger King, like the rest of us, is celebrating LGBT Pride Week. For this special occasion, one San Francisco BK restaurant has introduced a special Proud Whopper, a sandwich wrapped in a rainbow of bright colors. But when you unwrap it, inside, all you’ll find is a regular old Whopper.

What gives?

Well, the company says that’s kind of the point.

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Sufi Muslims Around the World Are Protesting Designer Roberto Cavalli’s Perfume Logo

just cavalliSo it’s not just companies that are tweeting the World Cup that are completely insensitive and out of touch. High-end designer Roberto Cavalli has kicked up some controversy with the new logo for his perfume, Just Cavalli, which closely resembles a symbol for “God” that’s used by Sufi Muslims. Oh goodness.

According to The Gloss, Cavalli’s logo is only slightly different and turned to the side.

“We have this sign that to us represents blessed peace. It’s a refuge. To see it disgraced like this for a company to make money is heartbreaking,” said Nasim Bahadorani, who has organized protests against the company over the ad.

According to The Independent, protests have taken place around the world — in Chicago, London, Texas and Germany — to have the symbol removed.

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Choice of Former P&G CEO Robert McDonald For VA Is A Nod to Agency’s Managerial, Comms Needs

 

In a surprise selection, President Obama will choose former P&G CEO Robert McDonald to head up the Department of Veterans Affairs, an agency that has come under fire in recent months for the poor job it’s been doing taking care of the needs of the nation’s veterans. By turning to McDonald, the administration is conveying to many that the agency’s problems go beyond an understanding of the military. It suffers from bureaucratic ills and communications issues.

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Matt Lauer Says His Question To GM’s Mary Barra About Being A Mom & CEO Wasn’t Sexist

matt lauerMatt Lauer has faced quite a bit of backlash since he interviewed GM CEO Mary Barra yesterday. Ironic since she’s the one leading the company that’s had to recall millions of cars after years of bad business practices, injuries and deaths.

During the interview, Lauer asked, “Given the pressures of this job at General Motors, can you do both well?”

Barra’s response was fine: “You know, I think I can. I have a great team, we’re on the right path. … I have a wonderful family, a supportive husband and I’m pretty proud of the way my kids are supporting me in this.”

But the fact that it was even asked has upset many people who think the question was sexist. A ThinkProgress writer points out that Lauer himself has traveled the world for his job despite having three kids at home. When was the last time you recall a male executive being asked this question?

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The Academy Shakes Things Up With More Diverse Oscar Membership

oscar awardThe Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences — the “Academy” that everyone thanks when they’re accepting their Oscar award — has named its list of potential new members and it’s clear they’re trying to be more diverse. This includes racial diversity, age diversity, diversity of style and diversity of national origin.

Seeming to finally take the persistent criticism that the Academy is just a group of out-of-touch, old white American men to heart, the list of actors that have been invited to join spans across all sorts of boundaries. Some famous names are Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who The Hollywood Reporter notes ticks off the “middle-aged” box at 53 years old; June Squibb, the 84-year-old actress who was nominated last year for her performance in Nebraska; Michael Fassbender; Lupita Nyong’o; Chris Rock; and Pharrell.

It will be interesting to see how the new line up changes who is handed an Oscar on the big night.

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Iceland Looks to Take Down Greece in Yogurt Culture Wars

yogurtThe Vikings are ready to rumble with the the Greeks. The battleground: the dairy aisle.

Yogurt is a big business these days and Greek yogurt has got the market cornered. In particular, Chobani is selling like hot cakes. But Iceland has its own yogurt to sell. Skyr is very much like Greek yogurt, but thicker with a more “yogurt-y” taste. (Clearly, I’m not a food writer.) Both are delicious. But Siggi’s, a popular brand of skyr (maybe the popular brand of skyr), maintains that the competition is packed with sugar.

This is the big selling point and primary message for Siggi’s: Skyr has “natural ingredients and less sugar.” Since most people are eating yogurt to be healthy, Siggi’s thinks the choice is obvious.

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We’re Getting the Second Life Relaunch No One Asked For


For a hot minute back in 2005, people were creating avatars and living a second life on Second Life like there was no tomorrow. PRs were hosting Second Life press conferences. (If you had one of these, please feel free to take to the comments and reminisce.) Brands were creating entire countries (countries, right?) where fans could become immersed in a digital world.

Then it was gone.

But now Second Life is coming back! Are those cheers I hear for this news or is there a World Cup match on?

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FAFSA Cracked An Awful Twitter Joke About Financial Aid Applicants Being Broke

Nobody told FAFSA they had to be funny. All they have to do is encourage college students to apply for financial aid, make sure they get information into the right hands and generally be nice to stressed out parents and co-eds who are confused and overwhelmed. But no. FAFSA got on the Twitters to make a joke and got their asses handed to them because they are FAFSA and not Dave Chappelle. Read more

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