Utah Woman Nearly Killed by Toxic Tea

Iced Tea, by flickr user Pen Waggener, licensed by Creative Commons.

Enjoy this refreshing beverage with caution…

A few short months ago, Jan Harding was almost killed after she drank iced tea that was mixed with chemicals. Harding drank a single sip of sweetened iced tea at Dickey’s Barbecue in South Jordan, UT and stated, “I think I just drank acid”. After investigation authorities confirmed, “A restaurant employee unintentionally put the heavy-duty cleaner lye in a sugar bag, and another worker mistakenly mixed it into the iced tea dispenser. Lye, which looks like sugar, is an odorless chemical used for degreasing deep fryers”. The restaurant quickly reassured consumers that Harding was the first and only to drink from this botched batch of iced tea, and no one else was harmed. Other allegations have arisen  of incidents with this particular chemical in this restaurant chain, Dickey’s has not provided comment.

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Utah Highway Patrol Fired Over False DUI Arrests

Decorative Scales of Justice in the Courtroom

Courtroom

Trooper of the year in Salt Lake City, Utah is now up against a lawsuit for false DUI charges for over 1500 people.  Lisa Steed had made over 400 arrests in 2009 beating out most of the state of Utah and receiving recognition from the state, but I guess she pulled a fast one over everyone’s heads.  Now, many who were arrested by the hands of Steed are coming forward to complain of the charges that were raised against them.

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Verizon Settles Class Action “Cramming” Suit

A broken phone screen, by Flickr user "zen", licensed via Creative Commons
The typical result on a phone of a cramming charge.

In college I recall a time when a friend pranked another friend by secretly signing his cell phone up for one of those “joke a day” text message spam services.  We got a laugh as he received these texts from an unknown number with terrible jokes, and he canceled the service as soon as possible after an understandable period of confusion followed by rage.  Not before he was billed a $10 “subscription fee” from the third party company, though.  Today I learned that this practice is called “cramming” and that, unfortunately, this type of thing happens to people all across the nation, sometimes by accident and sometimes billed monthly for years undetected, incurring unnecessary high costs.  Some bad news, then, for the bad joke aficionado: today, a class action lawsuit against the fraudulent billing has been settled with Verizon.  The company has agreed to refund 100% of all unauthorized third-party charges from April, 2005 through February, 2012.  Considering the time period and number of people affected, the total cost of this settlement could be in the millions.  Also, billing practices will be drastically changed to prevent this kind of charge from showing up automatically and unexpectedly in the future.  Read the full press release here.  To find out if you’re eligible for a refund and how to claim it, visit the settlement’s website here starting March 9th.

I long for the day when unsolicited text message services are no longer active at all.  Sometimes late at night or during low-advertisement-cost programs, you can find ads for the companies selling cheesy ring tones or backgrounds or a “love calculator” that uses an arbitrary algorithm to add up two names and spit out a percentage (with a charge-per-use business model — real classy).  They tread the border between the merely tasteless and the scam — hopefully this settlement will encourage the other telecom companies to follow suit and sound the death knell for these services.  If I never hear the “Crazy Frog” again, I’ll be a happy man.