Tag Archives: Consumer

Consumer Reports Survey of EBAY Users Reveals Online Auction Seller Deception and Pitfalls Can be Hard to Avoid

Yonkers, NY (PRWEB) July 3, 2007

Yonkers, NY July 2, 2007 — With 100 million items on sale, eBay is the king of online auctions. But almost half of the eBay buyers that Consumer Reports surveyed encountered deceptions, according to a report in the August issue.

Buyers indicated that some sellers took their money and ran, failed to disclose key details about the merchandise, or overstated the item’s condition. However, deceptions weren’t the only pitfalls for folks to avoid when participating in an online auction. Although eBay prohibits trade in illegal goods, buyers can end up with unsafe products. CR’s secret shoppers had no problem buying lawn darts, a game banned in the U.S., and they tracked down car seats, strollers and other child products recalled for possible safety defects.

“Ebay has 2,000 staff members policing its site around the clock, but with 6.4 million new listings per day, their employees can’t find all the iffy auctions and shut them down instantly,” said Tod Marks, Senior Editor for Consumer Reports. “Buyers must take precautions and learn as much as possible about who they are dealing with.”

To help online auction buyers play it safe and win, the Consumer Reports National Research Center recently asked more than 2,500 subscribers to http://www.ConsumerReports.org about eBay purchases in the past year. Among the findings:

Despite their complaints, 70 percent of those surveyed were highly satisfied overall when buying on eBay. About 90 percent of purchases arrived on time, were accurately described and were perceived a good deal. Nearly half of respondents characterized eBay as an excellent source of hard-to-find items.

Forty percent of survey respondents termed eBay fair or poor for help and customer support. Most victims of unscrupulous sellers tried to fight back, but of those who tried to settle problems with the seller directly, which eBay recommends, only 38 percent were successful.

PayPal, owned by eBay, was by far the most popular payment method and was used for 89 percent of the purchases in Consumer Reports survey.

Complaining directly to eBay authorities satisfied 60 percent of survey respondents who took that action. But the most effective way to deal with dishonesty was among the least used: filing a formal complaint with PayPal. Although only 23 percent of unhappy respondents took that step, 66 percent of those who did said it worked.

A site for sellers:

Sixty-four percent of the 700 survey respondents who sold on eBay in the past year were highly satisfied with their transactions.

Twenty-seven percent of sellers said their auction ad cost far more than expected.

Only about 10 percent of respondents said their freight costs exceeded those computed by the site’s shipping calculator.

Avoiding Common Pitfalls:

U.S. Consumers Lose More Than $7 Billion to Online Threats, Consumer Reports Survey Finds

Yonkers, NY (PRWEB) August 6, 2007

The online threats associated with using the Internet remain high according to Consumer Reports’s latest “State of the Net” survey. Consumer Reports projects that U.S. consumers lost more than $ 7 billion over the last two years to viruses, spyware, and phishing schemes.

Additionally, the “State of the Net” survey shows that consumers face a 1 in 4 chance of succumbing to an online threat and becoming a cybervictim, a number that has slightly decreased since last year.

The number of consumers responding to e-mail phishing scams has remained constant at eight percent. Consumer Reports projects that one million U.S. consumers lost billions of dollars over the past two years to such scams.

Many underage youngsters are at risk on social networks such as MySpace and Facebook, the survey found. In households surveyed with minors online, 13 percent of the children registered on MySpace were younger than 14, the minimum age the site officially allows, and three percent were under 10. And those were just the ones the parents knew about.

Based on the survey, Consumer Reports projects that problems caused by viruses and spyware resulted in damages of at least $ 5 billion replacement over the past two years.

The 2007 “State of the Net” survey was conducted by the Consumer Reports National Research Center among a nationally representative sample of more than 2,000 households with Internet access.

Consumers can visit http://www.ConsumerReports.org/security to access the full “State of the Net” report including free tips related to online protection, avoiding viruses, and reporting cybercrimes.

Among CR’s key 2007 “State of the Net” findings:

Based on survey projections, computer virus infections prompted an estimated 1.8 million households to replace their computers in the past two years and 850,000 households to replace computers due to spyware infections in the past six months. Additionally, 33 percent of survey respondents did not use software to block or remove spyware. And CR projects that 3.7 million US households with broadband remain unprotected by a firewall.

Spam: Consumer Reports’ survey respondents have reported a lower proportion of spam reaching their Inbox than in the past, which CR believes is a result of better spam-blocking. Survey results indicate that about 650,000 consumers ordered a product or service advertised through spam in the month before the survey. Additionally, in 5 percent of the households surveyed that had children under 18, a child had inadvertently seen pornographic material as a result of spam.

Viruses: Computer virus infections held steady since last year according to CR’s survey. CR notes that this is actually a mark of progress for consumers and software makers, because the threats have become more challenging. In the latest survey, 38 percent of respondents reported a computer virus-infection in the last two years. Seventeen percent of respondents didn’t have antivirus software installed.

Spyware: In the past six months, 34 percent of respondents’ computers were exposed to a spyware infection. CR’s survey also reveals that although spyware infections have dropped, the chances of getting one are still 1 in 3, and of suffering serious damage, 1 in 11.

Phishing: Eight percent of respondents submitted personal information in response to conventional phishing e-mails in the past two years, a number that has remained unchanged over the past two years. The median cost of a phishing incident is $ 200. Yet scammers’ tactics are improving – e-mail looks like it comes from a reputable business such as a bank and features better grammar, more believable stories, and more authentic-looking Web addresses.

Consumer Reports rates internet security suites

Consumer Reports tested nine internet security suites, four of which are Quick Picks that protect against viruses, spyware, and spam as effectively as the best stand-alone products.

ReCellular Named Exclusive Cell Phone Recycling Partner for Consumer Cellular

Dexter, Mich. (PRWEB) November 4, 2007

ReCellular Inc., the world’s foremost collector, reseller and recycler of used cell phones and accessories, today announced it has entered into a partnership with Oregon-based Consumer Cellular, one of the oldest and largest mobile virtual network operators, to collect wireless handsets for recycling from their customers across the country. Proceeds from the new program will benefit Doernbecher Children’s Hospital, the oldest full-service children’s hospital in Oregon.

The cell phone recycling program features a unique pre-paid, take home mailer that allows Consumer Cellular customers to mail their used and/or unwanted cell phones directly to ReCellular for recycling or reuse. In addition, customers can take their used cell phones to Consumer Cellular for drop off in on-site collection boxes. Proceeds from the program will go directly to benefit the children’s hospital and help meet the special needs of children seeking medical attention.

“As one of the industry’s largest and oldest mobile virtual network operators, Consumer Cellular is thrilled to have partnered with ReCellular to launch a customized cell phone recycling program. From an environmental standpoint, we believe it is critical that our customers have an easy way to properly dispose of their old cellular phones. With our program, customers simply place the phone in an envelope and drop it in the mail. There is no cost and very little effort required. And the fact that Consumer Cellular and our customers can also support such a worthy cause as Doernbecher Children’s Hospital in the process is simply amazing,” said John Marick, President, Consumer Cellular.

Companies and consumers alike are facing increased pressure to diminish their environmental impact. Consumer Cellular and ReCellular offer a trusted, environmentally responsible option for disposing of unused cell phones. ReCellular is certified to ISO 14001 certification. Approximately half of the phones collected will be reused — considered the ultimate form of cell phone recycling. These phones are reconditioned and reprogrammed before being sold to wholesalers from more than 40 countries. Used cell phones that cannot be resold are dismantled and recycled under ReCellular’s corporate “zero landfill” policy.

Protect the environment and help heal a child at Doernbecher today. Recycle your used cell phone at any Consumer Cellular location or visit ConsumerCellular.com to print a pre-paid shipping label!

About Consumer Cellular:

Consumer Cellular is one of the oldest and largest mobile virtual network operators of cellular phone service in the United States. Established in October 1995, the company specializes in meeting the underserved needs of individual consumers who are looking for the benefits of cellular service (safety and convenience) but have only causal usage needs — and thus do not want to pay the high monthly fees associated with traditional carrier price plans. Additionally, they are one of the few post-paid wireless providers that do not require a long-term contract with their service. Everything about Consumer Cellular is designed to make the service and customer experience simple. Consumer Cellular’s core customer base is mature individuals 50+ years old with services marketed jointly through such organizations as AARP and AAA Automobile Club. The company is privately held and headquartered in Portland, Oregon. To learn more about Consumer Cellular, visit ConsumerCellular.com or call 800-686-4460.

About Doernbecher:

Doernbecher Children’s Hospital, the first full-service children’s hospital in Oregon, offers a full-spectrum of pediatric care for hospitalized children. Children from Oregon, Southwest Washington, and surrounding states make more than 155,000 visits to Doernbecher Children’s Hospital annually. Doernbecher is a beautiful facility dedicated solely to the special needs of children. From sculpted birds overhead in the lobby to open courtyards with waterwheels, every detail is focused on children and the people close to them. Funds raised through this program will help support the greatest area of need decided by hospital staff.

About ReCellular Inc. and Cell Phone Recycling:

With offices in the United States, Hong Kong, and Brazil, ReCellular Inc. is the world’s foremost collector, reseller and recycler of used cell phones and accessories. We provide solutions for the collection, reuse and recycling of used personal electronics that generate financial return for our partners, quality products for our customers, funding for charity organizations, and protection of the environment. Corporate and wholesale information is available at ReCellular.com. Consumer information, including the Cell Phone Data Eraser and charity fundraising information, is available at WirelessRecycling.com.

Press contacts:

ReCellular

Meredith Newman

734-205-2289

meredithnewman[@]recellular.com

Consumer Cellular

Damonn Levine

971-223-3004

DamonnL[@]ConsumerCellular.com

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Experian


Irvine, CA (PRWEB) September 3, 2009

ProtectMyID.com, the multilayered identity theft detection, protection and fraud resolution product, today launched new enhancements, making it one of the industry’s most comprehensive consumer identity theft protection products. ProtectMyID.com, a part of Experian, one of the most trusted brands in identity protection, was designed to help consumers prevent the damages caused by identity theft. Premiering next week, an integrated marketing campaign kicks off with broadcast ads that depict real-life identity theft situations and demonstrate how ProtectMyID.com is able to protect and support its members.

Product enhancements now available at ProtectMyID.com include:

Active Internet scans that search for key indications of potential fraudulent use of debit, credit card and Social Security numbers
Notification alerts that inform members when a change of address action is initiated so members can verify that the change was legitimate or determine if it came from an unauthorized source
Members can now choose to receive notification alerts via email, text message or U.S. mail

Core features of ProtectMyID.com include:

Daily monitoring of its members’ credit reports at all three credit bureaus, with alerts as key changes are detected.
Access to experienced, U.S. Fraud Resolution Agents providing members with invaluable personal assistance in resolving identity theft issues as well as help in the event of a lost or stolen wallet.
As members, parents can extend identity theft protection to their children through ChildSecureSM (patent pending) for an additional fee. ProtectMyID.com provides the only monthly monitoring of your children’s credit information.
ProtectMyID.com’s Guarantee will reimburse for up to $ 1 million in related losses and expenses in the event the product fails and may also reimburse for stolen funds from unauthorized ATM, debit and credit card transactions for which the member may be personally liable. The Product Guarantee is subject to limitations, see our website for details.

“Identity theft continues to be a problem, and simply checking your credit report once a year isn’t enough to protect yourself against the financial loss and emotional strain that accompanies this crime,” said Jennifer Leuer, general manager of ProtectMyID.com. “While no one can ever entirely prevent identity theft, they can take steps to educate and protect themselves and get dedicated help if a theft occurs.”

Consumers engage frequently in potentially risky behaviors without thinking about the dangers involved. Everyday tasks can expose identities to theft, such as applying for bank loans; shopping on nonsecure Web sites; giving credit card numbers over cell phones in public places; and posting personal information, like birth dates, on social networking sites. Many consumers aren’t aware that these seemingly harmless activities can be all an identity thief needs to wreak serious financial and personal havoc.

“If you suspect you have exposed some of your personal information to a scam artist, a good line of defense is to actively monitor your credit report,” said Linda Foley, founder of the Identity Theft Resource Center. “If you monitor your credit or subscribe to a daily identity monitoring service, like ProtectMyID.com, you can quickly discover changes to your personal information that may indicate identity theft.”

Experian

Publicrecordfinder.com Releases Consumer Resource Guide to Build Awareness of What Public Records Offer Including Criminal Records and Property Records


Bellevue, WA (PRWEB) October 12, 2010

Publicrecordfinder.com, an online public records search site, has just published the following consumer resource guide that helps consumers become aware of what public records can offer and how they can make use of these powerful tools that contain vital information.

The government, at all levels, records every important event, transaction, and litigation concerning its citizens. In the United States, there is no centrally available database where all of these public records are integrated. Most of the critical information sought is recorded in a variety of public records that are maintained in different databases across agencies, states and cities, and includes information such as:

Online Retailer and Consumer Website Sees Spike in Activity for Computer Monitoring Software like PC Pandora


Las Vegas, NV (Vocus) October 21, 2010

In a press release last week, the UK-based online software retailer and comparison website, Shoutdown.net, reported an increase of 225% in year-to-year downloads of activity monitoring software.

This is a clear signal that parents are getting the message, says Manuel Coats, co-founder of Pandora Corp. It is vitally important to know what your kids are doing on the computer and to know what is happening on the machines you own. This is the awareness weve been pushing for years.

Pandora Corps flagship title, PC Pandora, is one of the top rated and top selling monitoring software titles on Shoutdown.net, which draws most of its visitors from the US and the UK. According to the website, media attention to issues like cyberbullying and Internet predators have caused a 312% spike in downloads of monitoring software for families.

We were thrilled when we saw their announcement, remarks Coats. Every parent that takes the proactive step to monitor their childs Internet activity takes a big step towards keeping them safe. That is just plain good for everyone!

PC Pandora is computer monitoring software that records all activity on a users PC. Starting with sequential snapshots of all screen activity, it shows parents everything that happened on their machine. The program further breaks down all recorded activity into text-based logs and easy-to-read charts. PC Pandora records all emails sent and received, instant messenger chats, websites visited, peer-to-peer activity, programs used, Internet search queries, and much, much more.

PC Pandora is also equipped with the IRIS feature, which allows busy parents at work to receive updates on activity via email for free. An additional subscription service, PC Pandora LIVE!, allows parents to log in to their machine while on the road, to review snapshots of activity and make physical changes to the program.

If you are a busy parent always on the go, explains Coats, You can log into the secure PC Pandora LIVE! severs through your smartphone and review all recorded activity. If you see your son has discovered a new, free pornography website, you can immediately block the website on your home computer.

While PC Pandora can be useful for anyone that needs to know what is happening on their PC, Coats says parents have the most to gain from this comprehensive, effective tool.

It is 100% an issue of safety and good parenting, concludes Coats. Whether its talking to strangers, revealing too much about themselves online, or being involved in cyberbullying or sexting, if you arent watching your kids online, how can you be sure they are playing it safe? Computer monitoring software like our PC Pandora is the best weapon you can use in the fight to keep them safe on the Internet.

About PC Pandora: Pandora Corporation was formed with one goal to help our customers monitor, control and protect their families and themselves online. First released in mid 2005, PC Pandora has been constantly upgraded to industry-leading specifications and has received accolades from users, reviewers and even school districts and law enforcement agencies, who use the program to help in the day-to-day supervision of the children and citizens they are charged with protecting. The company website devotes space to helping parents by providing them with 18 Tips to Safe Surfing and Pandoras Blog, where current news in the world of online safety is discussed regularly. In addition, the Pandora Corp. has made the PD Pandora Internet Safety Symposium available to schools and law enforcement as a free resource for spreading internet safety awareness to parents. Over the past few years, PC Pandora has vaulted into a leadership position for parental control software by boasting a combination of features that are unparalleled in the monitoring industry. In 2010, Version 6.0 was released, again widening the spectrum of coverage and protection offered by the program. Concurrently released with 6.0, the web-based PC Pandora LIVE! service affords parents the ability to keep their kids safe from anywhere at anytime. PC Pandora is also now available through the Pandora Corp. store at Amazon.com.

Reporters and Producers: Covering Internet safety? We are your technology solution component. Software is available to journalists for review and testing. Executives are available for interviews. Let us help you show your audience how easy it can be to keep their kids safe on the Internet.

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Microfinance USA Conference to Ignite Action for Consumer Protection and Increased Microfinance Services in the United States


New York, NY (PRWEB) May 09, 2011

WHAT: 2nd National Microfinance USA Conference

WHEN: Monday, May 23 & Tuesday, May 24, 2011

WHERE: Metropolitan Pavilion, 125 W 18th St. New York, NY 10011

SPEAKER HIGHLIGHTS: Carlos Danel, Compartamos Banco; Jonathan Morduch, NYU Wagner; Felix Salmon, Reuters; Adam Davidson, NPR; Daryl Collins, Financial Diaries and Bankable Frontiers; Bob Annibale, Global Director of Microfinance and Community Development, Citi

Despite an economy crippled by stubbornly high unemployment rates and an ongoing credit crunch, microlenders across the U.S. are creating bright spots of economic mobility and small business growth. At the 2011 Microfinance USA Conference (May 23rd and 24th), the nations top practitioners, investors, and researchers will convene to discuss the future of U.S. microfinance. There, they will be joined by international microlending organizations to announce a campaign for consumer protection standards.

WHILE SMALL BUSINESS LENDING STAGNATES, MICROFINANCE GROWS

With a recent Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council report indicating a 30 percent drop in small business lending in recent years, the need for microfinancethe practice of responsible lending to small businesses too new or too high-risk to qualify with mainstream lendersis clear. And the ability of microfinance to ignite lasting change is proven: Opportunity Fund and the ACCION U.S. Network, the conference presenters, report a business survival rate twice the national average, repayment rates that rival those of mainstream lenders, and a boost in local job creation for each loan provided. Both lenders estimate an average loan size of just over $ 7,000.

Its no wonder that demand for our microloans has nearly doubled since 2010, says Eric Weaver, Opportunity Fund founder and CEO. Especially since the economic meltdown, people are in need of financial services they can trust. And thats what microfinance isa move towards an integrated, inclusive and reliable financial sector.

Small businesses create 64 percent of the new jobs in our country, says Bob Annibale, Global Director of Microfinance and Community Development for Citi. Its clear that microfinance is meeting a critical need, enabling very small business owners to access capital, obtain valuable business training and move their way into the financial mainstream.

CONSUMER PROTECTION: STRENGTHENING MICROFINANCE’S FUTURE

Microfinance USA 2011 will chart the course for the future of the U.S. microfinance industry by rallying U.S. MFIs around a new effort to create industry-wide consumer protection standards. At the conference, Opportunity Fund, Kiva, and ACCION International will call on U.S. microlenders to join them as endorsers of the Smart Campaign, the first global effort to unite microlenders around the common goal of providing all clients with transparent, respectful, and prudent financial services.

“As microfinance continues to grow and mature, we must always keep our clients best interest at the center of our work, says Michael Schlein, president and CEO of ACCION International. This means creating products that are fair and transparent, and committing ourselves to strong consumer protection.

MICROFINANCE IN ACTION

In addition to hearing from over 140 high-caliber microfinance experts at over 40 sessions, conference attendees will tour small businesses in New York that have benefited from microloans. They will meet with business owners like Fauzia Rahman, a former social service worker who struggled to make ends meet after the birth of her first child. She opened a small Halal food cart in the Bronx, and, with a microloan from ACCION USA, a member of the ACCION U.S. Network, was able to buy a larger cart. She met with great success and she recently received a new loan that enabled her to expand her business, double her locations, and hire another full-time employee. Today, her son is looking forward to starting college in the fall.

Nationwide, microfinance has a meaningful impact in hard-hit communities. Bernard McGraw became separated from his wife and children during the chaos following Hurricane Katrina. The family reunited in San Antonio, TX, where he opened Bernards Creole Kitchen, a small makeshift restaurant that quickly became a local favorite, garnering many food awards. A microloan from ACCION Texas-Louisiana, a member of the ACCION U.S. Network, enabled Bernard to relocate the restaurant from a cramped shack to an inviting location, where it has continued to attract a loyal clientele.

I had the vision of how to rebuild my life, says Bernard, but I didnt have the funds. Thanks to my microloan, Ive been able to grow my business and support my family. After receiving help when he needed it most, Bernard also started Gumbo Under the Bridge, a program that feeds homeless people.

ABOUT THE MICROFINANCE USA CONFERENCE

Microfinance USA is the conference where the nation’s leading microfinance champions exchange ideas and information that set the agenda for the future of the field. Conceived and produced by Opportunity Fund and now in its third year, Microfinance USA 2011 is hosted by Opportunity Fund, the ACCION U.S. Network and Kiva. Citi is the lead conference sponsor.

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The Onder Law Firm Supports Consumer Advocacy Groups in Their Condemnation of Window Blind Manufacturers’ Refusal to Produce Safe Corded Window Covering Products


St. Louis, MO (PRWEB) September 06, 2011

In a maneuver of extreme protest, the Consumer Federation of America, Consumers Union, Independent Safety Consulting and Parents for Window Blind Safety representatives walked away from their participation in what they stated was a “flawed year-long process (that) has not eliminated strangulation risk”. For the first time, these organizations were allowed input in long-needed safety standards improvements for the corded window covering products industry, providing much needed information from those organizations acutely aware of the hazards posed by accessible window blind cords. The Onder Law Firm, which has represented families having suffered a window blind cord strangulation tragedy in 31 states, is supporting the valiant efforts of these organizations, many of which are motivated by personal tragedy.

On June 15, 2010, the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission joined with safety commissions from the United States, Canada and the European Union made demand upon the window covering industry for a swift and comprehensive process that concurrently eliminates the risk factors causing deaths and injuries from all types of corded window covering products. In response, the Window Covering Manufacturers Association (WCMA) pledged to produce new window covering safety standards to eliminate cord hazards that it would announce in October 2011. The Window Covering Manufacturers Association presented a draft of its proposed new safety standards in Washington, D.C. at a meeting on September 1, 2011. The utter failure of this safety standards draft to so much as reduce, let alone eliminate, strangulations risks prompted the safety organizations protest of this process.

Recently, consumer advocates have become skeptical as industry has attempted to slip back to old product designs which have been documented to kill dozens and dozens of children. Linda Kaiser, Director of Parents for Window Blind Safety, says It has become increasingly clear that the Industry is merely paying lip service to the CPSC, and has no real intention of addressing the number one cause of child strangulation death in America. Appalled by the Industrys lack of action, on August 4, 2011, Inez Tenenbaum, head of the CPSC, reiterated to Industry, After hundreds of preventable deaths over the last two decades, the time is now to finally, once and for all, eliminate the strangulation hazard with exposed window blind cords. Notice how I did not say, reduce the hazard. I said, eliminate the hazard. I am standing before you feeling less than confident that this process is headed in the right direction.

Cordless products are commercially available, yet the Industry has not lived up to its 1994 promise to the CPSC to update product designs and eliminate hazards, said James Onder, a lawyer who has represented nearly 50 families whose children have been killed or catastrophically injured on blind cord hazards. Indeed, today the Industry, in a bold and brazen move, not only thumbed its nose at the United States CPSC, but Health Canada, and the entire European Union. The Industry simply does not care. Manufacturers would rather buy off lawsuits than spend the additional $ 1.00 per product necessary to eliminate cord hazards, says Onder.

The time has come for action. The Consumer Product Safety Commission must intervene, rejecting the ineffectual voluntary safety standards and imposing mandatory safety standards that will truly eliminate the risk of strangulation from corded window covering products. To show your support for blind cord safety and to urge the CPSC to invoke rulemaking to force standards and a mandatory recall, we ask that you please click through and sign our online window blind cord safety petition.

James G. Onder, is the managing partner of the law firm Onder, Shelton, OLeary & Peterson, LLC. His firm has represented nearly 50 families whose children who have been killed or catastrophically injured on blind cord hazards. He is considered the nations foremost legal authority on window covering litigation, in the last 10 years having represented more families in window covering lawsuits than all lawyers in the country combined. The Onder Law Firm offers information pertaining to window blind cord dangers at http://www.windowblindcorddangers.com.

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BBB Celebrates 100th Anniversary with Awards to Business and Consumer Leaders


Arlington, VA (PRWEB) September 20, 2012

Four companies and one individual will receive the 2012 BBB International Torch Awards, presented by the Council of Better Business Bureaus to recognize those that have exemplified BBBs mission to advance trust in the marketplace. The Award recipients are: Consumer Federation of Americas Executive Director Stephen Brobeck, Ford Motor Company, Rockwell Automation, Inc., Barney & Barney LLC and Fairytale Brownies.

The awards will be presented during the BBBs Centennial celebration on the evening of October 2, 2012 at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington, DC.

For 100 years, BBB have been setting standards to make trust a fundamental component of the American and Canadian marketplace, said Carrie A. Hurt, President and CEO of the Council of Better Business Bureaus. These International Torch Award winners embody that vision on a daily basis, and we are proud to honor them.

About the Honorees

Stephen Brobeck, Executive Director, Consumer Federation of America (CFA) located in Washington, DC, will receive the Torch Award for Consumer Leadership. Mr. Brobeck has served many years as an exemplary leader, working to advance pro-consumer policies on a variety of issues before Congress, the White House, federal and state regulatory agencies, state legislatures, and the courts. He has communicated and worked with public officials to promote beneficial policies, oppose harmful ones, and ensure a balanced debate on issues important to consumers. As Executive Director of CFA since 1980, Mr. Brobeck has charted an amazing course and built a legacy of extensive contributions to trust in the marketplace through a career dedicated to consumer advocacy, protection and education.

Ford Motor Company, located in Detroit, MI, was one of the founding companies of BBB in 1912. Ford is being presented the BBB Presidents Award, for sustained superior performance that fundamentally changed the marketplace, and shaped the definition and expectation of trust for all marketplace participants. Ford consistently develops and produces some of the industrys most innovative and fuel-efficient vehicles, while at the same time balancing production with environmental, safety and social responsibility concerns. Fords dedication to innovation and technology has given consumers more choices for high-quality vehicles with leading fuel economy including eight vehicles with 40 mpg or more by the end of this year. Ford is making sure its customers can take advantage of the rapidly growing electric vehicle infrastructure in the U.S. now with more than 9,400 public charging stations by equipping its plug-in hybrids with batteries that can charge in as little as 2.5 hours. Its MyFord Mobile app helps customers locate nearby charging stations and can automatically set the car to charge at off-peak times, which generally have lower electricity costs.

Three companies were selected to receive the BBB International Torch Award for Marketplace Excellence. This award is given to a business that demonstrates superior commitment to exceptional standards that benefit its customers, employees, suppliers, shareholders and surrounding communities. Entrants competed with similar-sized companies in three categories: 1000 or more employees, 100-999 employees, and under 100 employees.

Rockwell Automation, Inc., Milwaukee, WI (industrial automation and information)

At Rockwell Automation, helping manufacturers succeed and grow is what they do best with industrial automation control and information solutions designed to give customers a competitive advantage. Rockwell Automation embraces honesty, fairness, quality and responsiveness as guiding principles and views integrity as an underlying value in every business transaction. The companys global capabilities extend across 80 countries and include a partner network of more than 5,600 regional and global specialists in distribution and system integration. Rockwell Automation understands that engaged and motivated employees are key to its success and prides itself on creating an inclusive work environment that rewards employees based on both individual and company performance. In fact, the company was named a 2012 National Top Workplace by Workplace Dynamics, as a result of a survey of company employees. All 21,000+ employees receive annual ethics training. Rockwell Automation prides itself on making a positive impact in the community through financial contributions to a variety of agencies, with a focus on science, technology, engineering and math programs that target young people and by encouraging and supporting employee volunteerism. For four out of the last five years, Rockwell Automation has been recognized as one of the worlds most ethical companies, by the Ethisphere Institute, and is also the winner of the 2012 American Business Ethics Award, an award sponsored by the Foundation for Financial Service Professionals. Rockwell Automation was a finalist for the 2009 BBB International Torch Award.

Barney & Barney LLC, San Diego, CA (insurance)

For over 100 years, Barney & Barney, LLC has diligently worked to create and sustain a corporate culture that upholds the fundamental principles of personal and corporate ethical behavior by all associates. Since its founding, the privately-owned insurance brokerage has committed itself to providing associates with a positive work environment and the means to maintain a healthy work/life balance. Through its b-well program, associates can take advantage of on-site yoga classes and subsidized gym memberships, as well as full health screenings. For its clients, the company has an extensive program of checks and balances in place to ensure the services they provide are not only accurate and fair, but exceed the clients expectations. In addition to the companys commitment to their clients and colleagues, Barney & Barneys long history of giving back to the community was recently formalized with the creation of the Barney & Barney Foundation in 2009. The company has received numerous industry recognitions for exemplifying broker best practices, ethical business standards and excellence in employee satisfaction.

Fairytale Brownies, Phoenix, AZ (food/retail)

Founded in 1992 by two childhood friends, Fairytale Brownies is dedicated to the core values of product excellence, incomparable service, integrity, teamwork and leadership. Their One Pure Promise vows complete customer satisfaction. Every purchase comes with an unconditional guarantee: If the customer or gift recipients are ever dissatisfied, even slightly, the company will do whatever it takes to make things right. To uphold its reputation for exemplary service, each team member is supported with a $ 100 empowerment policy which allows them to spend up to $ 100 to satisfy any customer issue without approval from a team leader. Fairytale Brownies is active in the community and since 2001 has supported the national non-profit KaBOOM! whose goal is to build a safe place to play within walking distance of every child in America. Since that time Fairytale Brownies, their customers, and their fundraising partners have donated more than $ 100,000, along with brownies, cookies and time to support their efforts.

Two additional businesses in the Marketplace Excellence competition were named Finalists:

More than 45 Million Protected: IDentity Theft 911 has the LOCK on Identity Theft Consumer Services


SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (PRWEB) October 03, 2012

IDentity Theft 911, the nations premier consultative provider of identity and data risk management resolution and education services, proudly announced today that it now provides coverage for more than 17.5 million households (more than 45 million individuals) and more than 600,000 businesses in the United States and Canada. As Wall Street buzzes around the topic of identity theft and the growing need for consumer protection, this marks an important milestone for the company.

Identity theft is a life-altering crime, said Adam Levin, Chairman of IDentity Theft 911 and former Director of Consumer Affairs for New Jersey. It is no longer a question of if, but rather when, each of us will fall victim to some form of identity theft. IDentity Theft 911 was founded with the mission to help consumers minimize their risk of exposure, offering them monitoring products as well as educating them as to the procedures necessary to help them better detect whether they have been compromised, and ultimately be their damage control program.

With a nearly 100 percent satisfaction rating from consumers and a solid track record of success with no resulting litigation or regulatory action, the company works to educate consumers and businesses first and then works on their behalf to manage and restore their name when fraud has been determined. Its LifeStages