Consumer Confidential: Is the Apple iPhone Really Any Different From Other Consumer Products?

Apple lawyer Ted Olson said last week that the tech heavyweight has good reason not to help federal investigators hack an iPhone that belonged to one of the San Bernardino shooters. The company, he said, “has to draw the line at re-creating code” and “changing” its product. To which there’s a two-word response: seat belts. And here’s two more: air bags. In both those cases, the auto industry said federal officials had no right to make...

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Consumer Confidential: You’ve Bought It. Now What About Returning It?

On Black Friday, people’s thoughts turned from a celebration of thankfulness to spending gobs of cash on modestly discounted consumer goods. I’m not here to judge. But I am here to offer some tips on two of the big Rs of the holiday shopping season: rebates and returns. “There’s a lot of variability with how manufacturers and retailers handle this,” said Karl Quist, president of PriceBlink, an online price-comparison tool. “It...

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Entrepreneur Finds ‘Sizeable Market’ for Custom Phone Numbers in some locales

San Francisco, a city with no shortage of status symbols, has just gained another: the 415 area code. Like New York’s 212 before it, phone companies are mixing a new, dare-we-say ugly area code, 628, in for new numbers. But there’s no need to panic. As with all status symbols in San Francisco and elsewhere, a 415 number can be yours, for a price. Ed Mance operates from the city. He started the company when he was...

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