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Sen. Schumer Calls for Probe into Why Airfares Aren’t Dropping

Sen. Schumer Calls for Probe into Why Airfares Aren’t Dropping

Spencer Platt/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Sen. Charles Schumer wants to know why airfares aren't dropping along with the price of fuel."With oil prices going way down, why aren't consumers getting the benefit and seeing ticket prices go down, when instead, they're still going up?" Schumer, D-N.Y., asked during a news conference Sunday.To get some answers, he is calling for a federal investigation."There are many, many questions that demand answers, and today we are demanding those answers -- quick answers -- from the Department of Transportation and the Department of Justice," the senator said.Schumer said the situation is a "lose-lose for consumers, and it's just not fair."

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Lower Fuel Prices May Not Translate to Cheaper Airfares

Lower Fuel Prices May Not Translate to Cheaper Airfares

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- With crude oil prices sliding and the price of gasoline and jet fuel plummeting, will airfares follow suit and drop? Not necessarily.Last week, the International Air Transport Association said it expected airline ticket prices to drop. But now, a domestic airline industry group, Airlines for America, says passengers will benefit from airlines re-investing and improving their business and services, and rewarding employees and investors."Declining fuel prices are good news for everyone as they lower personal costs and enable industries such as airlines that rely heavily on fuel to reinvest in their business and their customers," Airlines for America said in a statement Sunday. "Carriers continue to use improving finances to pay down the nearly $72 billion they are carrying in debt, acquire new aircraft, improve the onboard product, enhance airport facilities and amenities, reward employees through profit sharing and provide dividends to investors.""Customers also are benefiting from additional air service options and airlines are adding nearly 4 percent more seats to the marketplace for the coming spring period (more than 100,000 seats year over year) to accommodate growing demand for travel," the group added.Airlines for America noted that carriers should be treated like any other business, using Starbucks as an example."When the price of coffee beans falls, no one asks Starbucks why his or her latte does not cost less. You want Starbucks to expand its stores and products, give back to its baristas and reward investors. Airlines are no different," it said.

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Hidden Camera Investigation: Door-to-Door Hard Sell and Deceit

Hidden Camera Investigation: Door-to-Door Hard Sell and Deceit

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The country's largest home alarm company, ADT, is sounding an alarm about unscrupulous rivals it says are using ADT's name to trick thousands of customers a year into signing up for rival security systems."This is the worst year we've seen so far," ADT General Counsel David Bleisch said in an interview for ABC News' 20/20, "lying and swindling people into switching, unknowingly switching their monitoring company."Bleisch said ADT had received 4,200 complaints this year alone from customers who said door-to-door salesmen appeared to be from ADT but then tricked them into signing up with another home alarm company. And Bleisch estimates those who speak up are just a tiny percentage of their customers who are approached, perhaps up to 100,000.It's a tactic known as the "switchover" or "takeover" and it's one trick in the bag of some unscrupulous door-to-door home alarm salesmen that have also prompted thousands of complaints to the Better Business Bureau, and state attorney general offices around the country, an ABC News 20/20 investigation into the hard sell tactics of some in the billion dollars business of door-to-door sales of home alarm systems has found."The door-to-door sales industry is fraught with problems, and the industry has enormous problems," said Jane Driggs, executive director of the Better Business Bureau in Utah. Many of the complaints focus on Utah-based home alarm security companies that have earned "D" or "F" grades from the BBB."They should be honest and ethical -- you're going to someone's door," Driggs told ABC News.Other complaints include some salesmen who exaggerate the crime rate in the neighborhood in hopes of scaring potential customers into buying, or telling them they've been chosen for a "free" alarm promotion -- even though they're actually signing up for a long-term plan with expensive monthly monitoring fees.A video recording of a training session by the owner of one home alarm sales company posted online may help explain some of the complaints."Guys, nice people in sales, you don't make any money. Go to McDonalds," Adam Schanz, owner of the Salt Lake City-based Alarm Protection, or AP, tells employees in the video.When discussing homes that have "no soliciting" signs hanging outside, he says, "Do you guys knock those doors? Anybody recording this? Shut it off. You're not allowed to record. We knock every 'no soliciting' door, guys. Why? They're easy."In another training tape obtained by ABC News, a leading door-to-door salesman, Jake Dahl, is shown teaching sales reps how to do the "takeover" or "switchover." The tape was secretly recorded and shown to ABC News by Ben Kirk, a former AP salesman who's had a falling out with the company."For those who want to cut the corners, they can go ahead and mislead the customer to think that they're from that alarm company and that they have to get this update," Kirk, who has worked for several home alarm companies, said of unscrupulous salesmen.ADT has been trying to stop the "takeovers" by competing home alarm sales companies by suing competitors accused of such actions and offering cash rewards of up to $25,000 for evidence of such swindles. The company paid Kirk $2,500 for the sales training video he showed to ABC News.Dahl declined to speak with ABC News and Schanz, the owner of AP Alarm Protection, says Dahl wasn't employed by the company when he gave his presentation and no longer teaches those takeover tactics. Schanz said his company makes sure their customers know what they're signing up for.Veteran ABC News consumer reporter "The ABC News Fixer" Stephanie Zimmermann received a "public safety call" about an "increase in residential burglaries and property crimes in the area." The robo call sales pitch went on to say "ADT will be giving you a free ADT home alarm security system."ADT's Bleisch he said he was sure the call was not from ADT, so Zimmermann responded to the call and set up an appointment and 20/20 set up hidden cameras in Zimmermann's Chicago area home to see who responded.When the salesperson, Robert Hall, came to the home, he quickly told Zimmerman he wasn't from ADT, but from Choice Home Alarm, his own small company. He insisted though that "if you want ADT we can do that for you."When confronted by ABC News Chief Investigative Correspondent Brian Ross, Hall again confirmed he was not from ADT, but insisted he had done nothing wrong, saying he had not made the call, and the sales lead had been shared with him by a friend who was an ADT dealer."It's very possible for leads to be transferred from one company to another. It's pretty standard," Hall said.But ADT said that's not supposed to happen, and Hall was in no one way authorized to sell ADT systems. The company later fired the ADT dealer who had provided the sales lead to Hall.

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Pinterest Unveils Trends to Try in 2015

Pinterest Unveils Trends to Try in 2015

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — In 2014 you might have grown a beard. Or maybe you DIY'd a mason jar or two. Now, to help plan for the new year, Pinterest is predicting the hottest trends that you'll be wearing, cooking and creating in 2015.Here is a look at the year ahead through Pinterest's most influential pinners:Apparently, the juicing craze is far from over. Check out The Magical Allergy Reliever Juice video pinned from YouTube.Is cauliflower the new kale? This veggie could be making its way from a side dish into pizza recipes, as seen in the popular pin from Tasty Kitchen.Organic modern could be the latest in DIY decor, as predicted in the tree slab table pinned by Emily Henderson.Rug stencils are expected to hit home in 2015, helping crafters make one-of-a-kind designs on their carpets or floors. (Pinned by Yatzer)It looks like hipsters and lumbersexuals won't be ditching their facial hair anytime soon. "The Best Beard for Your Face" infographic, pinned from Mashable, has us convinced that the beard trend will be staying alive through the new year.Smart watches will be available for purchase in 2015 and they're expected to take off. There will be four other brands on the market alongside the Apple Watch, as seen in the popular graphic pinned from Businessweek.Pinterest predicts double exposure techniques to show up more on photo sharing sites. The portrait style that was photographed and pinned by Michael O'Neill could be sparking a trend.The Nordic country of Iceland might just be the new hot spot for travelers to frequent in 2015, as pinned by 7x7 magazine.A pin from Buzzfeed forecasts vertical gardening could be all the rage. Just think living fence or trellis.The average-looking clothing trend otherwise known as "normcore" is expected to pop up in the 2015 fashion scene. Get ready to break out those blue jeans and cotton tees - as pinned by Pinterest.

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Think You’re Scoring Great Holiday Deals? Think Twice

Think You’re Scoring Great Holiday Deals? Think Twice

(NEW YORK) — With nearly two weeks till Christmas and holiday shoppers starting to feel the crunch, it may feel like bargains are at every corner, but retail experts are saying “Not so fast.”“The bait is that emotional impact of seeing word ‘deal,’” said Cesar Torres, the managing editor of the product review site The Wirecutter. “There’s an amazing array of products. There’s really great products, but not many good deals.”The team at The Wirecutter scoured thousands of products on the Internet, crunched the numbers and found that a lot of average offers were masquerading as deals of the century.“We’ve scanned more than 54,000 … this season and only less than 1 percent are good deals,” Torres said.A Breville Smart Toaster BOV800XL on sale at Macy’s for $250 — compared to its regular price of almost $417 — seemed like a huge discount until retail experts uncovered that the same toaster had been available at Best Buy, Crate and Barrel and Amazon for that price for nearly a year.The Wirecutter suggested that consumers track prices with websites like Camelcamelcamel, which lets consumers see prices on products over time.Consumers can also use apps like RedLaser, which scour thousands of deals on the Internet so consumers know they’re getting the best price.“We actually want people to not take the bait. We want them to find really great products and buy the best ones, which is why we do what we do,” Torres said.

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Last Sequential Date in Decades Hosting Plenty of Weddings

Last Sequential Date in Decades Hosting Plenty of Weddings

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Plenty of couples are heading to the altar Saturday to take advantage of the last sequential date in decades.TheKnot.com said at least 20,000 couples had registered on its website to wed on 12/13/14.One couple told ABC News the special date meant plenty of competition when planning their wedding."There were a lot of venues that said 'we have four or five other brides,'" said Zila Acosta. "I confirmed at the beginning of the year."At the famous Little White Wedding Chapel in Las Vegas, couples lined up to say their "I dos" on the special date. Some couples even chose the drive-thru option for speed."People are very superstitious when it comes to choosing their wedding date," said Charlotte Richards, owner of the Little White Wedding Chapel.One couple was so intent on celebrating the sequential date they said their "I dos" at 12:13 and 12:14.The next sequential date will happen in 20 years on Jan. 1, 2034, or 89 years on Jan. 2, 2103.

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Liquor Not the Popular Holiday Gift Many Late Shoppers Think

Liquor Not the Popular Holiday Gift Many Late Shoppers Think

poplasen/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Many Americans, doing belated holiday shopping, think alcohol is the perfect last-minute holiday gift, but they may want to think again.Consumer Reports says that one-quarter of Americans say that hard liquor is actually the gift they would like least this holiday season. Comparatively, wine is an acceptably gift, with just six percent of Americans calling that the gift they'd want least.Plenty of Americans fall into that category of late-shoppers, however, as Consumer Reports says about 30 percent of shoppers have yet to do any gift shopping through early December.

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Wall Street Can’t Build Off of Thursday Gains, Chrysler Expands Recall

Wall Street Can’t Build Off of Thursday Gains, Chrysler Expands Recall

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- After a one-day reprieve, Wall Street fell again on Friday, with all three markets posting notable losses.The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 17280.83, down 315.51.The Nasdaq lost 54.56, finishing the day at 4653.60, while the S&P 500 dipped 33 to 2002.33.Chrysler announced on Friday that it would expand a recall of vehicles with faulty airbags made by Takata Corporation. The company originally recalled vehicles in Florida, Hawaii, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

As of Friday, the recall includes select Dodge Ram, Durango, Magnum and Dakota and Chrysler 300 vehicles purchased or registered in Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas, American Samoa, Guam or Saipan in addition to the original locations.

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What Do Some CarMax Sales Reps Tell Consumers About Vehicles?

What Do Some CarMax Sales Reps Tell Consumers About Vehicles?

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- CarMax says it has transformed the used car buying experience with no haggling pricing and financing and its “125+ point” inspection process to make sure drivers don’t end up with a lemon. But consumer advocates say CarMax sales reps don’t always disclose the complete history and condition of the vehicles they sell.A 20/20 investigation found instances on two CarMax lots where vehicles were being sold with reportedly significant accident histories or unrepaired safety recall issues.20/20 correspondent Gio Benitez went on an undercover shopping trip at a CarMax dealership in Hartford, Connecticut. There, Benitez inquired about a MINI Cooper in the showroom that had a positive report on AutoCheck, the vehicle history report service that CarMax uses.“Here we have one owner vehicle, no accidents. Even if it did have an accident, which it does not, we guarantee there is no frame damage on that vehicle or any vehicle we sell,” said a Hartford CarMax salesman, who was recorded on a 20/20 hidden camera.But a search of the MINI Cooper’s history on a different database, Carfax, showed that the car was involved in an accident and there was structural damage that had to be repaired earlier this year. Experts say a serious accident can cause a vehicle’s resale value to plummet.CarMax told 20/20 the salesman didn't misrepresent the condition of the car, and that it met CarMax’s quality standards when it was sold. CarMax says they had the MINI Cooper re-inspected and found it had no outstanding structural problems.At another CarMax lot in East Haven, Connecticut, a salesman ran an AutoCheck search on a Honda CR-Z, and it came up as having no accidents.“There’s no air bags that went off. Let’s say the airbag went off in this car, right? And they had to replace them? They’d have to mark the car as salvaged,” said an East Haven CarMax salesman, who was recorded on a 20/20 hidden camera.However, a replaced airbag doesn’t necessarily mean a vehicle is salvaged, and a search on Carfax revealed that the Honda’s airbag had gone off after an accident. According to the Carfax report, the vehicle had to be towed from the scene.In response, CarMax said AutoCheck is a leading vehicle history search service, but no accident database is complete. CarMax says it trains its sales staff to explain that to customers, but both the Hartford and the East Haven salesman never made the disclosure.When it came to outstanding safety recalls, the Hartford dealership salesman was recorded on hidden camera telling Benitez that CarMax is unable to sell a car with a major safety recall.

“We can’t even sell it until that’s taken care of,” he said. “We take care of any kind of safety concern prior to the car even being out here.”However, a check of a federal government website revealed that the Toyota Camry at the Hartford CarMax dealership had three outstanding safety recalls on it at the time of our visit, including one for a power switch that could overheat and melt, possibly resulting in a fire. Five other vehicles sitting on the lot also had unfixed safety recalls, according to the government website.CarMax declined an interview but told 20/20 in a statement that it doesn't automatically fix recall vehicles before selling them and only does so if a customer requests it. CarMax says it does inform consumers about any open recalls and recently upgraded its website so customers can look up open recalls online through the government database. CarMax also says it retrained its staff on its recall policy.A coalition of consumer and safety groups filed a petition with the Federal Trade Commission this June, urging the agency to investigate CarMax’s safety recall policy. Rosemary Shahan, head of Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety (CARS), is calling on the FTC to require CarMax to have all safety recall vehicles repaired before selling them to consumers.“CarMax sells vehicles that are under safety recall without bothering to fix them,” said Shahan. “If they wanted to do it right, it would be very easy for them to do it right.”When confronted about the Toyota Camry with three outstanding safety recalls, the Hartford dealership salesman said, “I’m not allowed to comment to this, but I know we just started a whole new process where we actually look these all up online.”CarMax told 20/20 that it was “absolutely unacceptable for an associate to misinform a customer about CarMax’s recall policy.”

CarMax said the comments of employees shown in the 20/20 report “do not fairly represent the more than 20,000 CarMax associates who are committed to providing quality vehicles and doing right by our customers.”

CarMax noted that 95 percent of purchasers say they would recommend the company to family and friends.Millions of Americans have bought CarMax vehicles, including 20/20 correspondent Gio Benitez before he joined ABC News. Although Benitez returned his car because of problems, CarMax promptly exchanged it for another vehicle.Watch the full story on ABC News' 20/20 Friday at 10 p.m. ET.

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What It Would Take to Make a ‘Dislike’ Button Work on Facebook

What It Would Take to Make a ‘Dislike’ Button Work on Facebook

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- There are some times when clicking "like" on a friend's Facebook status doesn't feel appropriate.A bad day. A loved one lost. A break up.It only seems natural that a "dislike" button could solve the conundrum of wanting to empathize but not seem inappropriate by clicking "like."The idea has been on Mark Zuckerberg's radar for a while, he said. In 2010, he told ABC News' Diane Sawyer that Facebook would "definitely think about" adding a dislike button."People definitely seem to want it," Zuckerberg said.Four years later, Zuckerberg says Facebook is still "thinking about" adding the oft-requested button. At a town hall meeting on Thursday, the CEO revealed he has some reservations about the feature."There are two things that it can mean," Zuckerberg said of the potential button, which could be used in a mean spirited way or to express empathy.Finding how to limit it to the latter is the challenge.Zuckerberg said he doesn't want the button to turn into a "voting mechanism" or something that isn't "socially valuable.""Often people will tell us they don’t feel comfortable pressing 'like,'" Zuckerberg said. "What’s the right way to make it so people can easier express a wide range of emotions?"One suggestion percolating online: Roll out the feature under a different name.However, an "empathy button" just may not have the same ring to it as "dislike."

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Falling Gas Prices Expected to Continue

Falling Gas Prices Expected to ContinueiStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — While Americans are not yet having a party at the pump, they are happy about the price of gasoline these days.  The price is expected to drop even further in the wake of Thursday’s news that crude oil pric...

Backseat Kickers Top List of Airplane Etiquette Violators

Backseat Kickers Top List of Airplane Etiquette Violators

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — The industry trade group Airlines for America estimates 45 million Americans will take to the skies during the 17-day period known as the holiday travel season.  Undoubtedly, some of those people will turn a flight into a nightmare for fellow passengers.According to Expedia’s just-released 2014 Airplane Etiquette Study, backseat kickers top the list of etiquette violators, dethroning last year’s top violator, inattentive parents.Expedia asked one thousand American travelers to rank the most aggravating on-board behaviors exhibited by fellow airplane passengers.Here is the top 18 list of on-board etiquette violators:

Rear Seat Kicker, cited by 67% of study respondents Inattentive Parents, 64% The Aromatic Passenger, 56% The Audio Insensitive (talking or music), 51% The Boozer, 50% Chatty Cathy, 43% Carry-On Baggage Offenders, 39% The Armrest Hog, 38% Seat-Back Guy (the seat recliner), 37% The Queue Jumper (rushes to deplane), 35% Overhead Bin Inconsiderate (stows bag in first available spot, rather than nearest to his/her seat), 32% Pungent Foodies, 32% Back Seat Grabber, 31% Playboy (reads or watches adult content), 30% The Amorous (inappropriate affection levels), 29% Mad Bladder (window seat passenger who makes repeat bathroom visits), 28% Undresser (removes shoes, socks or more), 26% The Seat Switcher, 13%

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Many Americans Will Skip the Gift Wrap This Holiday Season

Many Americans Will Skip the Gift Wrap This Holiday Season

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Part of the fun of the holiday season is opening gifts, but a new survey reveals that many Americans are skipping the wrapping paper, bows and ribbons this year.A survey commissioned by ecoATM, a nationwide network of device-recycling kiosks, finds 20 percent of Americans are not planning to use gift wrapping at all.  Fifty-two percent of Americans said they will reuse gift wrapping, ribbon and gift bags from previous holidays.Another 17 percent said they will use recycled newspapers or other recycled papers to wrap gifts this holiday season.According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, household waste increases more than 25 percent from Thanksgiving to New Year's Day.The survey was conducted from Nov. 7 to 10, 2014, among 1,000 consumers age 18 or older.

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Do You Expect to Still Be in Debt When You Die?

Do You Expect to Still Be in Debt When You Die?

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Here’s a depressing statistic: A new CreditCards.com report finds almost one in five Americans with debt think they will never get out of it. That's double the nine percent who gave the same response last year.The report finds that on average, Americans expect to be free of debt, including credit card debt, car loans, student loans and mortgages, at age 53.Forty-three percent of those with debt expect to remain in the red at age 61 or later, including the 18 percent who predict they will still owe money when they die.Other findings from the CreditCards.com report:

21 percent of whites with debt never expect to pay it off, versus 12 percent of non-whites. 38 percent have already incurred debt this holiday season, but 55 percent say it will be eliminated within one month, and 74 percent expect their holiday debt to linger no more than three months. Just five percent expect to still be paying their holiday debt a year from now. 44 percent of people between the ages of 50 and 64 have accumulated holiday debt, more than any other age group. Households with annual income of $75,000 or greater were the most likely to take on holiday debt.

The survey was conducted from Dec. 4 to 7, 2014, and involved a nationally representative sample of 1,001 U.S. adults.

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Woman Visits Toys ‘R’ Us, Pays Off Everybody’s Layaway Accounts

Woman Visits Toys ‘R’ Us, Pays Off Everybody’s Layaway Accounts

Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images(BELLINGHAM, Mass.) --  ‘Tis the season: A woman is being hailed as a layaway angel after she went into a Toys ‘R’ Us store in Bellingham, Mass., on Wednesday and paid off every open layaway account -- giving about 150 customers with items on layaway an early Christmas present.The generous donor paid $20,000 to wipe the entire layaway balance at that location, a spokeswoman for Toys ‘R’ Us confirmed to ABC News on Thursday.“This incredible act of kindness is a true illustration of holiday giving at its best,” the company said in a statement.The donor made the payment anonymously, but the Milford Daily News reported that she was a local resident who said she would sleep better at night knowing the accounts had been paid.The newspaper reported that the store’s layaway customers were in tears when they heard the good news.The holidays have inspired many others to do similar good deeds for total strangers.Tom Gubitosi went to his local Walmart in Farmingdale, N.Y., on Wednesday, and gave $100 shopping sprees to about 200 children each. Gubitosi donated the money in honor of his late mother, who loved children, ABC affiliate WABC-TV reported.Also on Wednesday, dozens of police officers in Cape Cod, Mass., treated 26 children to lunch and $200 gift cards for the annual "Shop with Cops" program.Earlier this month, Houston Texans receiver Andre Johnson bought $16,266.26 worth of toys for 11 children in the care of Child Protective Services, ESPN reported. At Toys 'R' Us, he gave them each 80 seconds -- representing his jersey number -- to place what they could in shopping carts. He's been hosting shopping sprees for kids since 2007.Last year, a Florida man used more than $21,000 of his own money to pay down layaway account balances at a Walmart in central Florida.Greg Parady, who runs a financial planning company, told ABC News that his mother had struggled when he was growing up and he wanted to help others who may have had a similar experience.“I was a layaway kid so it's nice to be able to help," he said.

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Taco Bell Says It Has Sold One Billion Doritos Locos Tacos

Taco Bell Says It Has Sold One Billion Doritos Locos Tacos

cosmonaut/iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Taco Bell announced that it has sold over one billion Doritos Locos Tacos.The snack, available in three flavors -- Nacho Cheese, Cool Ranch and Fiery -- "have become the biggest platform in the brand's 52-year history," a statement from Taco Bell's agency read. That number of crunchy snacks, the agency says, could be lined up from New York City to Los Angeles 37 times.The company introduced the popular offering in 2012, with the Nacho Cheese version. The Cool Ranch version was first offered in March 2013, with the Fiery flavor introduced later that year.

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Couple Wins $1M Suit Against Major Bank for ‘Outrageous’ Robocall Harassment

Couple Wins $1M Suit Against Major Bank for ‘Outrageous’ Robocall Harassment

robwilson39/iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) --  Bank of America is being forced to hand over more than $1 million to a Florida couple after the bank flooded them with hundreds of loan collection calls for years -- the latest example of alleged behavior that has cost the bank tens of millions.In a complaint filed in July, attorneys for Nelson and Joyce Coniglio said that the couple had been on the receiving end of, “patterns of outrageous, abusive and harassing conduct” by a subsidiary of Bank of America that included 700 calls in four years, after the bank said the couple fell behind on mortgage loan payments in 2009. The Coniglios also received, "threatening collection letters asserting false and misleading information," the complaint said.The couple sent multiple letters from legal representation asking the bank to stop, but the calls -- sometimes up to five a day -- continued. The complaint describes automated calls leaving repeated pre-recorded messages.“If I did what Bank of America did, I’d probably be behind bars,” Joyce Coniglio said.In the end, a Florida judge awarded the couple $1,051,000 -- approximately $1,500 for every call -- in addition to court costs and attorney fees."This judgment against Bank of America is an epic win for consumers across the country," Billy Howard, an attorney for the Coniglios told ABC News. "It's time to fight back against these 'robo-bullies'."Bank of America initially declined to comment on the case, but late Thursday sent ABC News a statement regarding the Coniglios case:“Bank of America has helped 2 million homeowners avoid foreclosure. Our calls to the Coniglios were not to collect a debt, but rather to help them avoid foreclosure after they fell behind on their mortgage payments in 2009," Bank of America Senior Vice President Dan Frahm said. "Because our calls were not answered and our efforts to help the Coniglios avoid foreclosure were urgent, these calls continued. We are committed to help homeowners in need of assistance avoid foreclosure."The Coniglios' case was not the first time Bank of America has faced accusations of intense harassment by phone.In September 2013, the bank paid a record $32 million to settle a class action lawsuit with a reported 7.7 million customers who claimed they were harassed by such “robocalls.” In that case, Bank of America said it denied the allegations but settled to avoid further legal costs.Complaints have rolled in from both credit card and mortgage loan customers of the bank, including an Indiana man who told ABC News that he and his wife received at least 600 calls even though their house was surrendered after his wife filed for bankruptcy.“They would just constantly call,” said the man, a hospital nurse who did not want his name published due to concerns about harassment.He said he repeatedly told the bank’s representatives that it was illegal to auto-dial his cell phone, to no avail. “It was almost like they didn’t care,” he said.An elderly couple in California claims they got 2,000 calls from Bank of America. A woman in Arkansas said she got 350 calls.Back in 2010, an ABC News investigation found that a Texas-based company Bank of America had contracted to make debt collection calls were using racist and obscene language to try to coax debts from customers.“What’s up, you f---ing n----r?” said one of the collection agents in a message to 32-year-old Allen Jones of Dallas, who at the time owed $81 on his Bank of America credit card.“This is your f---ing wake up call, man,” the debt collector said in a message left at Jones’ home at 6:30 a.m. Then another call: “You little, lazy a-- b----, get your m-----f---ing a-- up and go pick some m-----f---ing cotton fields, bitch.”Two days following the 2010 ABC News report, Bank of America fired the debt collection agency, though the bank said the decision was not related to the television report.

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Wall Street Rebounds Thursday on Back of Positive Unemployment Report

Wall Street Rebounds Thursday on Back of Positive Unemployment Report

tarabird/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- After a difficult start to the week, the markets rebounded somewhat on Thursday, with all three major indices posting gains following a positive unemployment report.The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 63.19 on the day, finishing at 17,596.34.The Nasdaq climbed 24.13 to 4,708.16, while the S&P 500 ended the session at 2,035.33, 9.19 higher than it opened.The Department of Labor said Thursday that unemployment claims were down 3,000 from the week before, at 294,000 overall. Still, the four-week moving average was slightly up -- to 299,250.

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Sony Executive and Producer Apologize for Leaked Emails

Sony Executive and Producer Apologize for Leaked Emails

Koichi Kamoshida/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- An executive at Sony and a top Hollywood producer have issued apologies after their emails criticizing major movie stars including Angelina Jolie and Adam Sandler surfaced as part of a massive hacking attack on the company.Amy Pascal, the chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment, said that she is sorry for the private emails to mega-producer Scott Rudin."The content of my emails to Scott were insensitive and inappropriate but are not an accurate reflection of who I am," she said in a statement issued Thursday. "Although this was a private communication that was stolen, I accept full responsibility for what I wrote and apologize to everyone who was offended."Rudin, who made direct jabs at the talent and bankability of certain stars, also issued an apology saying the private emails were written in haste and the content was intended to be in jest."Private emails between friends and colleagues written in haste and without much thought or sensitivity, even when the content of them is meant to be in jest, can result in offense where none was intended," he said in a statement to ABC News. "I am deeply sorry and apologize for any injury they might have caused."The leaked emails are the latest fallout in what appears to be a hacking attack on the entertainment company. Many suspect a group of North Korean hackers may be responsible for breaking into Sony's infrastructure as retribution for the studio's film The Interview, which is about an assassination attempt on the country's leader Kim Jong-un. North Korea officials have denied responsibility for the hacking.Prior to the leak, Rudin's name might have only be familiar to the average moviegoer after watching a few Academy Awards ceremonies because he is thanked by countless top actors during their acceptance speeches. That's because the mega-producer does all of his work outside the frame of the camera, but those in the entertainment industry know him well.The 56-year-old was the first producer to ever win the coveted quartet of an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony Award and is now one of the top movie producers in Hollywood.Of the 85 films he produced, The Social Network, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, No Country for Old Men, The Hours and The Queen are a selection of the films that won Academy Awards.The emails seemed to indicate a close working relationship between Rudin and Pascal, who holds the official titles of co-chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment and the chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment Motion Picture Group.According to her official Sony biography, Sony Pictures has had 95 films hit number one in the box office since 2000 under her leadership.Pascal, 56, first joined the company through its title Columbia Pictures in 1988 and was elected to the board of governors of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences last year.

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What Makes this Lamborghini Phone So Special

What Makes this Lamborghini Phone So Special

Tonino Lamborghini(NEW YORK) -- Meet the caviar of smartphones.The Tonino Lamborghini phone is expensive, flashy, rare and promises to take the most luxurious selfies in the world.The 88 Tauri is the newest smartphone to be released by the Italian lifestyle brand, which is not affiliated with the automaker.While a price isn't listed on the website, various reports have placed the 88 Tauri at $6,000.

Equally impressive technology can be found at a cheaper price. But if you want to show how rich your are, the 88 Tauri may be the phone for you.

The 5-inch display comes with a 20-megapixel camera, a front-facing 8-pixel camera and 64 GB of storage, according to Mashable.By comparison, Samsung's Galaxy Note has a 16-megapixel rear camera and a 3.7-megapixel front-facing camera.Basically: You're paying for the prestigious name and the chance to own one of the 1,947 devices that will be sold.Still interested? Mashable reports orders won't begin until late December.

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