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It would appear that Experian has dropped the ball on protecting the information of 15 million users. The credit company, which markets itself as “a name you can trust” held application information for the mobile phone giant, T-Mobile. Unfortunately all of the data from T-Mobile customers, including Social Security numbers, passport information, names, addresses and birthdays was among the compromised data Experian failed to protect in September.

The Experian server that held this information was hacked and more than 15 million individuals have now had their information compromised. Fortunately it wasn’t a server with credit information and reports, but having a server with virtually every personal detail ever found on a T-Mobile application certainly isn’t a good thing.

T-Mobile Shoulders Responsibility

While the credit company Experian seems to dodge responsibility and claim that they “do not know who the criminals were behind this incident.” Experian also claims that “there is no evidence that the data has been used inappropriately. Furthermore, they are working with law enforcement.

Meanwhile the entire T-Mobile network of users is compromised.

Fortunately the CEO of T-Mobile has at least acknowledged the severity of the issue. The company posted a letter from John Legere, T-Mobile’s CEO explaining and apologizing to customers. The letter claimed that Legere is “incredibly angry about this data breach.” T-Mobile will also be instituting a “thorough review of our relationship with Experian” just as soon as they assist the customers affected by the breach.

Finding Solutions to the Data Breach

While T-Mobile appears to be genuinely concerned, the only step besides posting the website statement is to offer customers a two-year credit monitoring service without cost. Granted, this credit monitoring will be done by Experian – the same company who didn’t adequately protect customer information in the first place.

Apparently the “relationship review” between T-Mobile and Experian is going to wait for a bit, at least until a two year deal for credit monitoring is complete. It does make a consumer wonder if T-Mobile is even responsible for the service or if it is simply passing along a too-little-too-late offering from Experian.

Of course with a good 760 individual customer complaints in the PissedConsumer logs, T-Mobile isn’t exactly a shiny star of customer satisfaction thus far. Of course having millions of customer data stolen rather pales in comparison to a rude customer service representative or a faulty payment system.

But still, it’s reasonable to assume that we’ll soon see even more complaints as customers realize just how far reaching the data hack implications reach.


T-Mobile Reviews:



Reviews about food service on PissedConsumer

Taco Bell doesn’t register with consumers as being a high end product. It’s actually not even in the middle where you might order ahead and pick-up take-out. Instead, most of us use Taco Bell as a form of craving eliminator. Want a taco? Taco Bell will have one for less than a dollar. Spending less than a dollar on a taco doesn’t exactly warrant home delivery.

But Taco Bell is trying to change all of that with its latest revamp. While Taco Bell has made some changes over the years including adding hotly anticipated breakfast items and many new menu items, the basics have always been there. The good news is the staples of Taco Bell aren’t going away. The even better news is that you can now order them online and even customize your creations.

Online Taco Bell

Earlier this week, Taco Bell unveiled a brand-new website to allow customers to design and order their food online. Is this a direct competition with Chipotle and the like? Perhaps, but not really. Taco Bell serves a different market than Chipotle, but the new website may draw in even more fans of the inexpensive fast food joint.

The website features customized taco boxes and random meal assortments that can be created easily using pictures and literally hundreds of combinations. To use the site you simply select the item you’re interested in starting with. A taco, let’s say. Then add all sorts of toppings and extras.

Or you can browse the menu without feeling rushed and try some of the existing combinations like the Doritos cheesy gordita crunch box and then swap out meats, swap out taco shells and even swap out the toppings for each taco. With so many items on the menu already, being able to customize every detail is almost culinary overload. (If you can call Taco Bell culinary…)

No Taco Bell Delivery Yet

Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on your budget, Taco Bell isn’t offering delivery just yet in all areas. Imagine how much it would cost for that one-dollar taco once you added on delivery fees and tip. Although you don’t have to imagine it if you live in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago or Dallas where the fast food joint is piloting delivery options through DoorDash.

Instead, by ordering online, your customized meal is prepared for you and you can walk up the counter and simply pick it up. Even paying for the items is done online, making the cashiers a thing of the past. Imagine a scenario where you pull up to the local Taco Bell and see long lines. You simply pull up the new website on your phone, right there in the parking lot, arrange the order, pay online and then wait a few minutes, walk inside and pick it up.

Simple, delicious, and probably not a bit healthy.



Taco Bell Reviews:




Reviews about Food Stores on PissedConsumer

Whole Foods has tried to change not just the way we shop, but the way the world sells meat as well. The high-end grocery chain created a five step meat rating system to ensure shoppers know what they are buying, but now PETA, the animal rights advocates, are accusing Whole Foods of laxness when it comes to that same system.

In fact, PETA has filed a lawsuit against Whole Foods claiming that the humane meat range they have created is “deceptive and misleading.” Whole Foods, of course, has disagreed with the claim.

Rating Humane Meat

Whole Foods specializes in selling high end foods, usually at a premium. The range of meat products is an excellent example of this. The grocery store has created five steps for the meat the stores sell. The meat at each level is marked clearly so that buyers know what they are buying and so that suppliers have an incentive to up their game, providing even higher quality meat for higher prices.

To even make it on the scale of high quality meat with a level 1, suppliers have to raise meat with “no cages, no crates, no crowding.” The scale continues up to a level 5 ranking which requires animals living on the same farm their entire lives and spending copious amounts of time outside. Whole Foods hopes that by letting customers know exactly how well the animals are treated that become hamburgers and steaks for the table, those same companies will feel some pressure to treat animals even better.

PETA disagrees.

The PETA Lawsuit against Whole Foods

PETA claims that Whole Foods may have started the system in good faith, but in reality the store practices “barely exceed common industry practices”. In fact, the suppliers for Whole Foods are only monitored and audited every fifteen months, and the inspection is allegedly so relaxed it’s impossible to tell just how well the animals are really treated.

PETA claims that the meat ranking system isn’t really about letting customers make good purchasing decisions, but instead about inflating prices based on a fraudulent system created for that purpose.

Whole Foods has fought back already in the media, however, by pointing out that PETA is probably not the best advocate for pricing cuts of meat in the grocery store. After all, as Whole Foods representative Michael Silverman points out, “it is important to remember that PETA’s mission is a total end to animal agriculture and animal meat consumption, and their claims against our business are generated with that specific goal in mind.”

The spokesman went on to point out what he calls deception by PETA in the filming of one of the company’s suppliers.

Its’ hard to know what to believe, of course, but Whole Foods is right about one thing. PETA wants the world to stop raising and eating animals. It’s hard to take their claims at face value. But then there are plenty of frustrated customers in Whole Foods who might not think it’s much of a stretch to find out there was some deception with meat packaging.



Whole Food Reviews:




Reviews about Volkswagen on PissedConsumer

Volkswagen, one of the companies who proclaimed a higher standard, has fallen from the pedestal. In fact, the company has fallen so hard and so quickly it may take some time to even stand up again, much less climb back up in the eyes of consumers.

That Volkswagen Quality

Volkswagen was always considered a quality product. German engineering. High safety ratings. Expensive. Fuel efficient. And a low foot print.

But wait! It turns out that Volkswagen isn’t quite as green as we all thought. In fact, in the last forty-eight hours it has been discovered that the German company created deceitful technology in 11 million of its vehicles in order to beat the emissions standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency.

It’s one thing to have a mistake in a vehicle. Perhaps a faulty switch or a low quality wire. But when a company actually installs a software into its vehicles that detects when emissions are being tested and actually changes the quality of the emissions – that’s not a mistake. That’s cheating.

Volkswagen Comes Clean

Apparently the deception isn’t new. The only new is that the company got caught and has some serious scrambling to do if it wants to survive the fall-out. The EPA determined that emissions were a bit different in different environments and looked closer. The top corporate executives at Volkswagen crumpled immediately and admitted the deception.

On Monday the company acknowledged that 500,000 vehicles in the United States are creating emissions at more than 40 times the allowable emissions of Nitrogen Oxide. On Tuesday the admission went further to include a full 11 million vehicles – most of which are in Europe. In fact, a full 25 percent of cars sold in Europe are Volkswagens.

That means one in four cars in Europe may be producing up to forty times more air pollution than is allowed.

Of course Volkswagen admitted the problem and promised three things. The first is that manipulation and Volkswagen will never occur again. The second is that the company is already working hard to win back the trust of customers. The third thing – the thing that will likely hurt the most in the short time – is the company has already set aside $7.3 billion to somehow modify the 11 million Type EA 189 diesel engines affected.

Oh, and part of that $7.3 billion is already ear-marked for pissed consumers. And there will be plenty of those for quite some time to come.



Volkswagen Reviews:



Reviews on PissedConsumer about Drug Stores

CVS is working hard to be known more for health than as a corner store specializing in junk foods. There have been many efforts to this end, but the most recent is the announcement that CVS is revamping stores to move the junk foods to the back of the store while centering the good stuff up front.

Of course, some of the healthier choices may not be quite as healthy as CVS might like. Kind bars, for example, will be stocked near the registers as healthy choices, relegating the Oreos and other sweet snacks to the back aisles where you must look a bit harder for temptation. Kind bars, however, have recently been identified by the Food and Drug Administration as being a bit less healthy than their packaging would like you to think. Of course they are probably still healthier than the chocolate, lard and sugar confection that creates an Oreo cookie.

Becoming CVS Health

CVS is first and foremost a pharmacy, a drug store. The shops center on the pharmacy, but have grown to become a medium sized corner store sporting basic dry goods, dairy, toys, beauty supplies and more. CVS has had similar merchandise for years, but last year CVS rebranded and became CVS Health rather than CVS Caremark. The rebrand did two things. It refocused the store chain on providing overall health products to customers and it helped the chain make quite a bit more money as well.

The largest revenue stream, even after the rebrand, is the pharmacy and drug services. This is not a surprise, however, as CVS is also the largest health care company in the country. With thousands of stores across the country, you can find a CVS is virtually every town.

Growing and Changing

The name change isn’t all for CVS. The company is also working to create a true health experience inside the store. This summer the store expanded its dry grocery products to include fresh foods and healthy (and healthy-ish) snacks. The candy, sweets and salty snacks that are usually so popular in corner stores moved farther into the aisles to allow for more nuts, granola and health food bars.

The changes are ongoing still, with a full CVS store mock-up used at the company headquarters to test out new aisle arrangements and product placement. But even bigger changes are in the works. CVS and Target have reached a $1.9 billion deal where CVS will acquire ever Target pharmacy.

Perhaps as the company continues to grow, it can work harder to soothe the frazzled employees and frustrated customers all of this growth and change seem to leave behind.



CVS Reviews:




Reviews about fast food on PissedConsumer

McDonald’s, easily the largest name in fast food, is making big news this month by announcing that they will be going entirely cage-free over the course of the next ten years. Cage-free refers to the chickens that lay the eggs used in the breakfast foods sold in the restaurant. By buying only eggs from chickens kept out of small, cramped cages, the eggs will be slightly more expensive for the company, but provide a more natural and guilt-free eating experience for restaurant patrons.

Serving Guilt-Free Breakfast All Day

Perhaps even more exciting than the announcement of where the company’s eggs would be coming from is some of the reasoning behind the big switch. McDonald’s plans to begin selling breakfast all day long rather than cutting off breakfast foods midmorning. This switch will likely lead to a much higher consumption of eggs, prompting McDonald’s to make a big change.

The full transition away from caged hens to the more independent layers will take a full decade. The transition will be done in stages, which is good news for the vast network of McDonald’s egg suppliers. The company is confident that going cage-free is the right choice, however.

“Our customers are increasingly interested in knowing more about their food and where it comes from,” McDonald’s USA President Mike Andres said in a statement. “Our decision to source only cage-free eggs reinforces the focus we place on food quality and our menu to meet and exceed our customers’ expectations.”

Improving Ingredients, Improving Companies

McDonald’s has struggled over the last few years as customer preferences have changed. In fact, thanks to companies like Chipolte, the entire fast food industry has been changing. Customers have realized that companies can provide healthy, fresh ingredients just as easily as the less natural ones – or at least it looks that way on the buyer’s end.

Customers are talking with their wallets and they want the good stuff. Restaurants serving fresh, guilt-free foods are bringing in big bucks and taking up significant portions of the market, despite being so much smaller than the colossal companies like McDonald’s.

McDonald’s has responded to the lost profits by making big changes. The menu has been streamlined and already this year McDonald’s announced that antibiotic fed chicken meat would no longer be part of the chain’s menu.

While significant, there are many who are still skeptical as to how McDonalds will actually implement the changes it has announced. Cage-free doesn’t necessarily mean cruelty-free, and a chicken in an over-crowded pen isn’t really that much better off than one in a crowded cage.



McDonald’s Reviews:




Sep , 2015
Reviews about coffee on PissedConsumer

It’s the fall and the memes are predictable: Brace Yourself, Pumpkin Spice is Coming. There is something about the first cool front of the year that makes coffee shops and bakeries sprinkle a bit of pumpkin spice love over everything they sell. It’s become such a stereotype that there are pumpkin spiced jokes, pumpkin spiced articles and, of course, pumpkin spiced memes.

Pumpkin Spice Is Dead?

As it turns out, the hype may be a bit overrated, or perhaps because it is so hyped, it would appear that pumpkin spice everything is on its way out.

The health-tracker app, MyFitnessPal, told the Huffington Post that the trend of pumpkin spice might actually be “fizzling out.” According to the statistics kept at MyFitnessPal, the desire for pumpkin spice everything has diminished by 7.3 percent. Over the last year, our society has decided that we like Pumpkin Spice about 7 percent less than we did last year.

Salted Caramel Is In!

There may be a 7 percent drop in pumpkin spice, but that certainly doesn’t mean that there is a 7 percent drop in coffee, lattes, and muffins. Instead the pumpkin spice slack is being picked up by the new favorite – salted caramel.

Since the beginning of 2014, salted caramel has been “booming”, according to MyFitnessPal, which has enjoyed a 7 percent spike since the start of 2014.

It’s hard to know what 2015 will bring with pumpkin spice fading. Will it really be the flavor that disappears over the course of this winter? Probably not, but then Starbucks has plenty of other things to worry about in terms of its customers.

Customers are less concerned about the availability of Pumpkin Spice and are a lot more concerned about Starbucks turning off power and WiFi services or changing up the things they offered. It would be hard to imagine that Starbucks would change up their menu enough to cut pumpkin spice lattes from the menus, but we can certainly expect to see more salted caramel than ever before!


Starbucks Reviews:




Reviews on PissedConsumer about Mobile TV

More than a few months ago, AT&T entered the television industry with the purchase of DirecTV. Now Verizon – not to be outdone – is going it alone into the world of television. The company known for mobile phones is picking up a new business in the form of Go90, an ad-supported online media service.

Watching Streaming On Mobile Devices

The connection between Verizon and mobile television is simple enough to see. After all, the number of consumers watching shows on their phones and tablets is constantly growing thanks to younger viewers. Verizon is hoping to offer a service targeted at these Millennials that is similar in nature to Netflix or Hulu.

And therein lies the problem.

Millennials may not be particularly interested in watching on demand shows and live-stream events through Go90. After all, there seem to be countless other services offering exactly the same thing, all of which have been around much longer and have established audiences.

Between Amazon Prime, Hulu, Netflix and even HBO Go, there’s not much room left for competition in the streaming TV market unless Verizon offers something that we haven’t seen before. There is talk that the new service may offer a “smattering of original programming”, but if it’s the same shows everyone else is showing paired with one or two new ones, it may be a hard sell to customers.

Selling Mobile Television

Go90 isn’t going to be branded with Verizon because it will not just be a Verizon product. The product will be available to anyone, regardless of carrier service. Of course, this can be said for the many other streaming services. It isn’t clear at this time if customers will need to pay for the streaming service or it if will be free and completely supported by ad revenue. That may be the difference for many who aren’t interested in subscriptions and memberships for streaming content.

Even if the idea of streaming television shows on mobile devices isn’t particularly clever or innovative, the name at least is fun. Verizon has named its new service Go90 as an homage to the movement it takes to watch a television show on a phone. You have to turn the phone 90 degrees to the landscape position for it to work correctly. Perhaps with that some of creative thinking, someone at Verizon can find a way to make this work in an increasingly saturated market.



Verizon Reviews:




Reviews about video streaming on PissedConsumer

Netflix has been the leader in streaming media for quite some time, but Amazon just made a big move this week that may knock Netflix off its pillar. Amazon Prime members can now download media to mobile devices. This was a feature that was previously allowed only for Amazon Fire products, but now any mobile device can download episodes of shows or favorite movies to be watched when the device is offline.

Streaming Off-line

In order to use Netflix to stream shows or movies, a device must be either connected to WiFi or to a wireless service provider. This means that binge watching a new series can only take place if you’re connected to the internet. If you know that you’re driving for hours, for example, you can either use your data plan with your wireless provider or pay per episode of the show through iTunes or Amazon.

Now, however, rather than paying up to $3 per episode to download material, you can download entire seasons of shows for viewing when you have no internet connection at all. This means no individual payments, no data overages and a currently wider selection of shows than Netflix has to offer.

The Numbers Game

Currently Amazon Prime is $99 per year. This includes streaming media, music and free Kindle book downloads as well as free shipping. Netflix subscriptions start at $8 per month, or $96 per year. There is no way to predict how much individuals will spend to purchase and download media to watch offline. Currently a full season of a show is close to $35.

With Netflix and Amazon Prime running neck and neck in annual cost, doing a bit of digging reveals that Amazon Prime is still showing the big blockbuster movies that Netflix is dropping the end of the month. They offer series outside of media streaming. And now, with Amazon Prime, you can download and watch media just about anywhere.

There’s no question that the current value of Amazon Prime is starting to quickly outpace that of its chief competitor, Netflix.



Amazon Prime Reviews:




Reviews on PissedConsumer about streaming service

Netflix, the most well-known digital streaming service, hit a minor road bump when the company announced that the long-running partnership with Epix was expiring. This means big, blockbuster movies like Transformers and Hunger Games are going away soon, and probably won’t return.

This has caused a tremendous bit of anxiety among Netflix users and even the stock market as the customers sort through what will be left after the contract expires. Fortunately there is still way more to celebrate than there is to complain about.

Netflix Original Content

One of Netflix’s biggest efforts now is in producing its own original content. Orange is the New Black and House of Cards have been huge in the media world, and there are new seasons in production for both. Not only that, but Netflix is allegedly working on new series for families as well including Lemony Snicket’s Series of Unfortunate Events.

Of course these original content shows are expensive to produce and take time to bring to the market, but when they arrive they are almost always excellent – and exclusive to Netflix.

Exclusive Content on Netflix

Which brings us to the next thought. Netflix isn’t the only streaming service that offers the Epix movies. Amazon has them, too. That means you can usually find the same movies on Netflix and Amazon and that’s not what Netflix is trying to be.

Netflix likes to be independent. It wants exclusive content. So while it knows that some customers will be upset to see major blockbusters go, they can easily find them on the other popular steaming services. Of course, that’s not to say that Netflix isn’t going to be home to some serious blockbusters in the future.

Exclusive Disney Distributing

It turns out Netflix isn’t crying many tears over losing Epix after five years simply because they have a much better hand to play shortly. Netflix has signed an exclusive distributorship agreement with Disney. This deal has been a few years in the making, but it’s coming into real fruition in the next year.

The distribution deal means not only the old Disney episodes will be online through Netflix, but major Disney productions including the Avengers series and the hugely anticipated new episodes of Star Wars will all be exclusively available on Netflix eight months after they are released in theaters.

And that is nothing to complain about.



Netflix Complaints:



Consumer reviews on PissedConsumer

92 percent of consumers use online reviews. That means only 8 percent of America’s population isn’t looking up what others are saying before they make their own purchase. Not only that, not quite half of the population – 44 percent – believes that only reviews from the last four months are relevant when making a purchasing decision.

That’s a lot of pressure on companies to keep up a fully charged, positive spin online with customers. That pressure can lead to another impressive statistic about online reviews. A full third of consumers will only trust reviews if they believe they are authentic – and that means customers are trusting online reviews less.

The Art of the Online Review

It used to be that we had to rely on the experts to try things out for us and tell us which was best. An entire industry sprung up around these experiments and reports and publications like Consumer Reports are still used for this purpose today. But while the expert feedback is always good, what matters even more to the typical consumer is what others have to say about their experience. If something is good enough for a friend of mine, it’s probably going to be good enough for me.

A first we could only rely on word-of-mouth recommendations. Now we have the wide world of the internet at our fingertips, simply bursting with reviews and customer experiences. It’s a challenge to find a retail website that doesn’t offer customer reviews of specific products, while other websites – like this one – collect reviews about a number of businesses and industries.

With more than 90 percent of consumers now checking out new local businesses online, it stands to reason that more than 90 percent of the population is also making decisions about these businesses based on the reviews others have left. Restaurants and cafes are easily the most popular type of business reviewed online, but it is possible to find reviews about doctors, hotels, airlines, clothing, books, dentists, realtors, schools and even driving instructors. Consumers are searching, reading and basing their decisions on all of these reviews.

Choosing a Good Business

Simply having a review or two online isn’t enough to satisfy most new consumers. On the other hand, having thousands of reviews isn’t much help either since most customers only read the ten most recent reviews. Many read fewer than that.

It would probably surprise business owners how much information would-be consumers pull out of reviews online. Not only is the potential customer reading to understand another patron’s experience, but they are looking at the number of stars other customers have left for the business as well as how well the review was written and even the age of the reviewer. A forty-year-old isn’t looking for the same sort of café experience as a sixteen-year-old, of course.

Overall, however, it is the star ranking – the most visual aspect of reviews – customers react to most. Most only select companies with at least 3 stars. Almost half will only work with businesses that have earned at least 4 stars out of five. But regardless of stars, some individuals find themselves impressed and swayed by a company that makes it a point to reply and respond to posted online reviews. A company willing to try to publicly acknowledge and address an issue gets a favorable boost from customers.

Trusting Reviews

There is one tiny hiccup for customers in the world of online reviews and it is growing larger with time. Customers are trusting reviews less than ever. An increasing percentage of consumers will only trust a review they feel is “authentic.”

While this is great news for the public’s increasing ability to think critically online and not be swayed by nonsense, it presents a challenge to companies. Customers are skeptical. Reports of companies being able to cherry-pick reviews, dropping negative ones in favor of more positive ones, makes people raise eyebrows. The emergence of an entire industry paid to post positive reviews on products certainly doesn’t help.

It’s not just fake positive reviews customers must be wary of. Some unethical companies, or even unethical fans of a company, may post negative reviews about a competitor, posing as an irate customer.

The increased volume of online reviews has naturally led to an increased number of possible issues, leaving customers cautious and businesses on edge. The best solution for building trust with online reviews is to read a larger variety of reviews from a variety of viewpoints. Go back a few weeks and check how reviews are trending. Fake reviews will almost all ways stand out from the real ones over the course of time.



Reviews about shopping on PissedConsumer

Hennes & Mauritz, or H&M as it is better known in most retail establishments, is the world’s second largest fashion retailer. The company’s brand is known for inexpensive, quality merchandise, but the company recently revealed that they are looking for a change. In particular, they are looking to change the way they make clothing.

The company has offered the world one million euros, slightly over one million dollars, to come up with a way to recycle clothing materials in new ways. This prize is to be offered every year, rewarding innovators who can easily change the entire fashion market.

Throw-Away Clothing

Right now there are many retailers – H&M included – who are dependent on customers buying new clothing constantly. Their pricing structure is set up so that customers buy an inexpensive shirt, wear it out, and then go in and buy another one. Without the constant sales, the companies simply wouldn’t move enough merchandise to be successful in the low-price marketplace.

The downside of this increasingly popular retail strategy is the old clothing. When you’ve worn out that old, cheap shirt you can’t do much with it. You might turn it into a dusting rag, but most people simply throw the old clothing out. After all, cheaply made goods don’t stay stitched together very long and they can’t be donated.

Environmentalists have been calling attention to the tremendous volume of waste in the fashion industry as well as the volume of chemicals necessary to grow cotton for clothing reliably. H&M is looking for a way to recycle the fibers of these old clothing items to boost it’s environmental street cred as well as prepare for raw material shortages.

Recycling Clothing

The $1.16 million prize isn’t just for recycling cotton and synthetic fibers. Technology currently exists to do that. Unfortunately the cotton fibers that are removed from the recycled materials aren’t nearly as strong and useful as the original ones, making current recycling methods inferior in the marketplace.

H&M is looking for a new technology that can recycle the fibers with an unchanged quality. Essentially, that worn out and torn pair of jeans can be remade into a new pair of jeans from the same high quality cotton. So far this technology is only imaginary, but H&M has hopes for the near future.

Of course, while the company waits for the next big break-through in recycled materials, there is still plenty for the company to worry about on the customer service front including return policies and even safety recalls.







Reviews about college diplomas on PissedConsumer

In our modern age of online education, there are hundreds of qualified, credentialed programs available to students looking to earn a degree with a bit more flexibility than sitting down most of the day in a traditional college classroom. Right along with these online extensions of real college programs came the diploma mills.

A diploma mill is a “school” that doesn’t give you a chance to earn a degree – it simply sells the degree to you. Of course some school programs are better than others, but the diploma mill is at the absolute bottom of the barrel. In fact, it’s not a school at all.

Are you being taken for a ride? Here are ten ways to tell.

Overly aggressive marketing.

If you’re a senior in high school with high SAT scores, you can expect to get quite a few flyers in the mail. If you’re a regular adult working online bombarded with emails and banners telling you how authentic and notarized a particular college is there is room for doubt. There is a huge amount of concern if colleges start calling you up on a Tuesday afternoon without any requests from you.

Light to no academic work or interaction.

A diploma mill isn’t exactly an academic powerhouse. In fact, there isn’t really any academics at all. If you’re earning course credit without doing any course work, there is a serious problem with the quality of your “education.”

Unlimited enrollment based on ability to pay.

If all it takes is a working credit card to sign up for the “school”, you’re not in school. You’re in a business. And a shady one at that.

Degrees based on work experiences and resumes.

While it would be nice to earn a degree from the school of Hard Knocks, in reality it takes more than seven years of showing up on time to a minimum-wage job to actually earn a bachelor’s degree. Likewise, doing a few years of data entry won’t earn you a master’s degree – no matter how nicely you write it up on your resume.

Almost instant degree.

If the college advertises that you can earn a four year degree in just 30 days you’re not looking at a real degree program. It is possible to earn a bachelor’s degree in less than four years, but that requires a tremendous amount of work year-round – not signing the credit card receipt.

Flat fee payments for degrees.

If a school offers you a degree program guaranteed to earn you a bachelors for $499 you’re living in a pipe dream. While some schools may give you an estimated payment for a full degree, a real college charges tuition based on credit hours and semesters – not bulk degree pricing.

Complaints galore.

There is a huge, glowing, neon sign if there are hundreds or thousands of complaints online about diploma mills. If others are telling you to stay away. Stay away!

No faculty are listed on the website.

Colleges are proud of their faculty. After all, these are institutions that sell knowledge and credentials. The better the faculty, the better the knowledge! If there is no faculty roster or list, raise an eyebrow. If there are fake degrees paired with faculty names, run away.

The college is located in a foreign country but offers degrees only to American citizens.

A college located in Mexico would first serve the population of Mexico. Likewise a school in France would serve the population of France. Any college that exists overseas but only is available to residents of the United States is not just strange, it’s unheard of.

The admissions people explain how overseas schools are never accredited in the United States.

To get around the pesky overseas-only-for-US issues in #9, some colleges try to tell Americans that foreign universities can’t be accredited in the United States. This is 100% false. The Council for Higher Education Accreditation exists for this very reason. When a school lies to you to get your money – it’s absolutely a diploma mill.



Diploma Mill Reviews:




Reviews about Ice Cream on PissedConsumer

Blue Bell Creameries is finally getting back into production and ice cream will be back on shelves by the end of the month. This is after months of complaints, videos, pleading and begging by Blue Bell customers who have evolved into something more closely resembling a cult following than angry ice cream customers.

Ice Cream Is On Its Way!

Blue Bell announced this week that the long awaited ice cream production and delivery are finally starting again. Apparently Blue Bell ice cream will be re-stocked across fifteen states over the course of five phases. The first phase of this delivery plan starts on August 31, just weeks away. The first lucky areas to get Blue Bell back in store freezers are in the Brenham, Houston and Austin areas. As it is only the plant in Alabama currently working, the areas in Birmingham and Montgomery will be getting ice cream soon as well.

“Over the past several months we have been working to make our facilities even better, and to ensure that everything we produce is safe, wholesome and of the highest quality for you to enjoy,” said Ricky Dickson, vice president of sales and marketing for Blue Bell. “This is an exciting time for us as we are back to doing what we love…making ice cream!”

The Voluntary Recall

Blue Bell broke the hearts of many of its customers when it closed factory doors and recalled all Blue Bell ice cream in April after ten different listeria illnesses, including three deaths, were linked to the Blue Bell production facilities. In the months since the closure, the plants have been thoroughly inspected and even stripped of machinery as the company fought to clean all aspects of its production and be clear with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and state health officials.

Producing Ice Cream Again

Only one Blue Bell facility is currently in production. The factory in Sylacauga, Alabama began producing ice cream toward the end of July. Now as the end of August approaches, the ice cream produced in that facility has been on trucks traveling across the southern United States, which has caused a great deal of excitement as they have been spotted on highways.

Since only one factory is in production, restocking the freezer shelves will take a bit of time while Blue Bell works to bring the rest of the production facilities, including the flagship factory in Brenham, back into the business of making ice cream. The first wave in the five-phase plan will be in Houston, Brenham, Austin and parts of Alabama. The next phase will include the Dallas Area and Southern Oklahoma, followed by the San Antonio area and central Oklahoma. The final phase will be the remainder of Texas and Louisiana as well as the rest of the states where Blue Bell was previously found in stores.



Blue Bell Complaints:




Reviews about McDonalds on PissedConsumer

A McDonalds in France was in a rather awkward position after a sign posted in the store made it onto social media. The sign, which was hung in a McDonalds in Hyeres near Marseille appeared to chastise workers for giving their employee meals to homeless individuals.

The sign explained:

“After an incident on July 25th, it is absolutely forbidden to provide food to vagrants, as a reminder, the team’s meals should be eaten on the premises. Meals for team members are a personal benefit and are to be enjoyed only by the worker in question.”

The notice went on to say: “McDonald’s is not in the business of feeding all the hungry people in the land,” and concluded: “Any diversion from the procedure cited above will result in sanction that could lead to dismissal.”

The employees of the store thought this particular sentiment was a bit of out of line and took a picture of the sign to showcase it on social media. Not surprisingly, the sign began to spread across the internet and soon the corporate offices of McDonalds noticed and made a statement of its own.

Fortunately, it would seem that only the management or owners of the franchise in France feel like firing employees for giving their employee meals to the less fortunate. The corporate offices of McDonald’s has publicly apologized for the entire incident.

The Full Story on Feeding the Homeless

In the public apology, McDonalds explained that there was a serious incident involving homeless individuals at the store that started the whole mess. The sign, which McDonalds acknowledged was “clearly clumsy” was aimed at keeping the restaurant safe for customers.

The sign was apparently removed quickly and the public apology by McDonalds was almost immediate, but the damage was done. Sign or no sign, it would seem that at least one McDonald’s restaurant isn’t entirely in line with the brand’s policy of being “dedicated to serving all its clients without discrimination.”

The big public apology did not, however, include any more specifics about what employees can do with their employee meals. The spokeswoman also neglected to explain or elaborate on any more than the official canned statement.

Complaints about McDonalds

Of course, McDonalds isn’t new to the game of public apologies and customer complaints. More than 1,100 customers have logged complaints on PissedConsumer about the food, service and experience at McDonalds. The complaints range from cold food to full theft. Obviously the problems with McDonalds are not confined to southern France. It would seem not everyone is “loving it” at their local McDonalds.



McDonalds Reviews:




Reviews about Target on PissedConsumer

Target is in the news once again, but once again the retailer is on the cutting edge of society’s wishes. Just weeks ago, Target was in the news for being so progressive when it came to the store’s breastfeeding policy. Now Target is in the news for removing the gender labels from toys, baby items and home items after a social media outcry.

Target Called Out for Labeling Genders

Earlier this summer, a Target shopper expressed her displeasure with Target’s current labeling system on her Twitter account. Abi Bechtel tweeted “Don’t do this, @Target” along with a picture of a toy aisle labeled “Building Sets; Girls’ Building Sets”.

The post went viral and became something of a sounding board for society’s latest battle – overzealous gender identification. Why can’t we just have building sets? Why do they have to be marked differently according to gender?

Apparently Target agrees.

Target announced this week that they will begin using gender neutral signage in many areas of their store.

Gender-Free Shopping

Aisles that carry toys, bedding, books and home items have been labeled according to gender, either outright, or by using colorful wallpaper behind the shelves carrying the items. Pink walls marked the dolls and “girl” toys, and blue marked the “boy” ones.

But no more!

Target announced that over the next few months, the retailer will replace gender-specific signs with labels that no longer segregate children by gender, but instead speak to them (and their parents) as a group. All gender advertising in toys, home and entertainment will be removed in response to the requests by customers (and critics.)

Target claims, “We heard you, and we agree. Right now, our teams are working across the store to identify areas where we can phase out gender-based signage to help strike a better balance.”

While gender warriors await these changes with great anticipation, Target reassures parents that some things won’t be modernized quite so quickly. Apparently clothing will retain labels for boys and girls to ensure that shoppers can distinguish between sizing and fit as clothing items do, in fact, vary by gender.

Target knows what it’s doing – replacing a few signs and bits of wallpaper to placate some will only spin into positive marketing to its most important (and financially stable) demographic: parents.



Target Reviews:




Reviews about Netflix on PissedConsumer

Netflix has gotten a great deal of positive attention lately for its progressive policy on maternity leave. Earlier this week, Netflix announced that they would be implementing a new policy that employees would be able to take unlimited maternity leave. While the media celebrated, an ugly truth shifted to light – not all of Netflix employees would be able to take advantage of the policy. Apparently there are two classes of people working at Netflix, and it pays to be in the upper class.

DVD and Streaming

Netflix got started with mailing DVDs to customers looking to watch movies easily. Overtime, the streaming business picked up dramatically and today Netflix apparently runs the DVD division separately from the streaming business. They have different reporting systems, different management and apparently different human resources policies.

It is the Netflix streaming division that benefits from the new maternity leave policy. The Netflix DVD division is lucky to make $15 per hour – without many additional benefits.

Despite bringing in $765 in revenue every year, the DVD division of Netflix is treated much like second class citizens. The division employs primarily hourly employees who no longer are able to take advantage of stock benefits and who have the option to contribute to a 401k…with a $25,000 annual income.

The streaming division, on the other hand, employees engineers making over $300,000 per year due to high demand. The real perks and benefits are being reserved for these employees. And employees in other divisions are feeling the slight.

Customer Complaints about Netflix

Netflix isn’t just battling some internal murmurs and complaints. Netflix customers are becoming increasingly frustrated as well, but for different reasons.

The two chief complaints about Netflix are the annoying self-promotion that the company has started during what used to be uninterrupted streaming as well as the availability of certain programs. If the irritated customers are correct, there are fewer “good” shows on Netflix now than there used to be, and when you do sit down to watch a show, you can expect to be interrupted by commercials for Netflix’s own shows almost constantly.

Some customers are so irritated by these new interruptions that they are planning to stop using the streaming service all together. Others are furious and are working their way toward canceling their Netflix subscription and returning to cable or using a competitor.

It looks as through Netflix still has some issues it needs to work out if it wants to keep those streaming customers happy.



Netflix Reviews:




Reviews on PissedConsumer about media services

In the second annual 24/7 Wall St. analysis, Comcast has topped the list for sheer number of customer complaints. In the results published last week, 24/7 Wall St. compiled results on 150 companies. Of these 150, those with the worst record of customer service topped the list in the “Hall of Shame”. While Comcast came out on top, it was in close company with DirectTV, Bank of America, AT&T and Dish Network. The top ten list was entirely comprised of media companies and banks.

Comcast Makes a Poor Showing

A full 28 percent of reviews said that Comcast’s customer service was “poor.” Another 26 percent rated the service as only “fair.” While this survey doesn’t give examples, Comcast received marks as having the worst customer service, not just in its own industry, but in every industry. Fortunately here at Pissed Consumer, we have many, many examples of exactly why Comcast may have such a terrible reputation.

There are a total of 2,306 complaints about Comcast on Pissed Consumer with a total of more than half a million dollars lost to consumers. What’s especially telling is customers complaining about Comcast don’t even fault the customer service representatives for the poor service.

As one reviewer from Georgia explains, “I feel sorry for their customer service reps…Obviously no one of the supervisors and above give a ***.”

When customers go beyond angry to pitying the reps who can do nothing to help them, it’s easy to see where Comcast won’t be coming off the Hall of Shame list any time soon.

The Complaints against Comcast

Comcast seems to have a few elements that customers repeatedly complain about online.

Price Increases
Comcast customers think they are signed up for a particular service and expect the same bill and the same service every month. Unfortunately many customers experience seemingly random price increases over the months. Their bills change, and when they call customer service they can’t seem to get a straight answer from anyone about why they are paying more and more every month for seemingly worse service.

Service Drops Unexpectedly
Other reviews claim that Comcast is constantly dropping or cutting out service for “unexpected maintenance.” When customers call to sort of what’s happened to their cable or internet, they are told that being shut down is really to their own benefit as the company is “improving” their service during the maintenance. Needless to say, customers aren’t feeling any great benefits.

Canned Customer Service Response
Every time a customer calls Comcast customer service, they are given scripted responses that do nothing to ease their frustration. In fact, as one customer said, “All the ‘canned responses’ makes me ill.”

Judging by the results in the 24/7 Wall St. survey, there are a lot of ill Comcast customers and former customers out there.



Comcast Reviews:




Reviews in Supermarkets and Malls category

Among the hot topics discussed by moms, breastfeeding in public ranks near the top of the list. Pictures circulate of celebrity mothers breastfeeding. News reports circulate revealing which companies have harassed mothers trying to breastfeed in public – even discreetly. But the retail giant Target has come to the rescue with its publicly leaked breastfeeding policy.

Public Breastfeeding Woes

Mothers are divided on the appropriateness of breastfeeding in public, and the public is even more divided. Some feel a mother should feed her baby at any time, even it if means exposing her breasts in public because that is essentially what the breasts were designed to do. Others suggest perhaps a cover or blanket to allow the mother to feed without exposing herself. Still others argue that babies shouldn’t have to eat with a blanket on their head and that stores should provide a place for mothers to breastfeed or leave them alone.

Target has been training its employees to do both.

Clean Breastfeeding Locations

Many breastfeeding mothers have stories and complaints about breastfeeding in public. They are asked to leave a store or encouraged to go and feed their babies in a public bathroom. Target, a favorite of mothers, has recognized what these mothers need and put the appropriate steps into the store training manual.

The Target breastfeeding training policy states:

Guests may openly breastfeed in our stores or ask where they can go to breastfeed their child. When this happens, remember these points:

  • Target’s policy supports breastfeeding in any area of our stores, including our fitting rooms, even if others are waiting
  • If you see a guest breastfeeding in our stores, do not approach her
  • If she approaches and asks you for a location to breastfeed, offer the fitting room (do not offer the restroom as an option)

If you have any questions, partner with your leader.

It appears Target has settled on a policy that should please all breastfeeding mothers. Those who want to feed in the shoe section of the store can do so with the support of the store. And those who would like a bit of privacy will be directed to the fitting rooms, a clean location far from public toilets.

Target Gets Breastfeeding Right

While there are still some who would rather not ever see a baby eating away from its home, public breastfeeding will be an area forever debated much like children in restaurants and babies in movie theaters.

But after the policy leak this week, Target has become an even bigger darling among mothers for getting breastfeeding right. Now if only they could sort out a few other policy issues customers are concerned about.



Target and Walmart Reviews:




It’s not news that Amazon is a fan of delivery drones. Nor is it news that Amazon has built a business around prompt delivery. Now Amazon is taking the next step and trying to get the world on board with 30-minute delivery via drone in a protected air space.

Protected Air Space

In a rather startling presentation, Amazon announced Tuesday its desire to establish a high-speed protected airspace for drone flight. The move came at the Nasa UTM Convention at Nasa Ames in California, and it wasn’t a vague mention – Amazon has a fully developed proposal for the world to consider.

Amazon’s aeronautics experts proposed that the air between 200 and 400 feet be segregated off for the most cutting edge drone. These drones would come equipped with communications and sensory equipment. Flying at 60 knots or more, these high-speed drones would be below commercial airline flight, but well above the majority of buildings and citizens. In fact, the space between 400 and 500 feet would be an official no-fly zone to provide a level of air protection between drone flight and airliners.

Changing the World of Delivery

Amazon has already made some impressive changes in the world of delivery. The company has coordinated with the United States Postal Service to offer Sunday delivery – a day the post office has never delivered on before.

Now the online retailer wants the world to prepare for a “paradigm shift” that will come with the increased number of drones as delivery vehicles. In the company’s position paper, Amazon feels that the 85,000 commercial flights moving through the sky every day will be “dwarfed” by the hundreds of thousands of small, unmanned drones moving through the sky.

Amazon has made many noises about drone delivery before. In fact, the company has a drone delivery testing facility in a secret Canadian location right now. The new paper presented this week shows just how serious Amazon is becoming about drone delivery – and how much more prodding the Federal Aviation Administration will need before this new vision becomes a reality.

In the meantime, while the aeronautic experts and drone proponents at Amazon are working on changing the future, the rest of the company can continue working to ensure that the famous sure-fire delivery comes through as being as exceptional as promised. Because, despite world-changing views of the future, Amazon has a few kinks in its current delivery model if our consumer reviews are to be believed.



Amazon Reviews:




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