Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster announced today he has joined 39 other attorneys general sending comments calling on the United States Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to come up with solutions to the increasing problem of mobile “cramming.” That's the placement of unauthorized third-party charges on mobile phone bills.
The Missouri Attorney General’s Office continues to receive complaints from consumers about charges, usually around $9.95, that appear on their phone bills without their authorization. The charges are usually for goods and services that the consumers neither requested nor used. Many consumers fail to detect that they have been crammed. When they do discover the charges on their bills, sometimes after several months, consumers are rarely able to obtain a full refund.
“Today’s cell phone bills include pages and pages of numbers, and it can be difficult to detect illegitimate charges,” Koster said. “While I urge consumers to check their phone bills carefully, we need better protections for consumers to prevent cramming from occurring, and to give them mechanisms for obtaining full refunds if they unfairly charged.”
Koster’s office announced a settlement yesterday with three third-party businesses that had placed charges for unwanted services on Missouri consumers’ phone bills. The businesses repaid consumers more than $296,000. The businesses are permanently barred from placing any future charges on consumers’ phone bills.
Koster encourages consumers to check their phone bills monthly, and to contact his consumer hotline at 800-392-8222 if they detect unauthorized charges.
The Belleville News Democrat reports former Caseyville, IL Police Chief JD Roth, who took his own life, was being investigated by the Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Department investigation into the police department that he headed for 11 years.
The paper reports police records show Roth sent a despondent text message to his girlfriend before he went into his backyard and shot himself in the head. A large sum of money" and multiple guns were discovered inside a safe at Roth's home.
His pre-paid funeral arrangements and will were on a plastic-covered table nearby.
Roth operated a home-based business called Special Order Firearms.
ST. JOSEPH, Mo. (AP) - A former employee of the Missouri Department of Transportation is suing the agency, claiming age discrimination.
A lawsuit filed in Buchanan County says 64-year-old Elaine Justus worked at MoDOT's northwest district from 1997 until early 2013, largely in community relations.
The complaint says MoDOT developed a cost-cutting plan that included lists identifying employees by age and tenure. The lawsuit also says a northwest district manager created a similar list sorted by retirement eligibility and called it the "Buzzard List."
The St. Joseph News-Press reports the lawsuit says in 2011, a manager asked Justus her age. Justus says she was told a month later she wouldn't be reappointed. She says she was later demoted and was terminated in January.
MoDOT spokesman Bob Brendel says the department doesn't comment on pending litigation.
St. Louis Based Peabody Energy plans to cut 450 jobs at Australian coal mines.
The St. Louis Business Journal reports along with Switzerland-based coal company Glencore Xstrata, a combined 500 mining jobs in Australia will be cut as global coal supplies push down prices.
The cuts will take place over the coming weeks across Peabody's operations in Queensland and New South Wales, where it mines both coking and thermal coal.
Prices for coking coal, used in steel making, have fallen about 40 percent in the last year while prices for thermal coal, used in power generation, have dropped 30 percent in the last two years, according to the news agency.
St. Louis-based Peabody Energy (NYSE: BTU), the world's largest private-sector coal company, reported a loss of $575.1 million in fiscal 2012, on revenue of $8.1 billion.
Another north county beauty supply store has been hit by smash-and-grab thieves. This time it was at Kay Beauty in the 8600 block of Natural Bridge near north Hanley. The incident was reported this morning around 5:00. By the time police arrived, they found a gaping hole in the storefront and a car windshield left behind at the scene. Police aren't sure what was taken. In the past, smash-and-grab thieves have targeted north county beauty supply stores for their expensive hair weaves.
The Calumet Specialty Products Partners plant in Louisiana, Mo. is expanding as a $40 million project begins.
The company produces specialty hydrocarbon, selling to firms like ExxonMobil, Sherwin-Williams and L'Oreal.
Governor Jay Nixon's office says Missouri is providing tax incentives for the expansion contingent upon the company meeting criteria for job creation and investment.
School board members won't be able to hire family members for supervisory positions in the Fox School District if they adopt a proposed anti-nepotism policy at tonight's board meeting.
The Jefferson County district has been struggling with the issue since the district hired Kelly Nash as food services director late last year. Nash is a former McDonald's assistant manager with a high school diploma and no advanced certifications. She's the daughter-in-law of Linda Nash, who was president of the school board at the time.
The policy to be voted on tonight would prohibit board members from hiring relatives to supervisor positions, such as principals, assistant principals and department directors.
Charges could be filed as soon as Tuesday morning against a Wellston City Councilwoman who allegedly attacked a resident during Monday night's council meeting.
Police say it began as a verbal altercation between council member Helen Jackson and an older woman who was addressing the council. But it escalated into a physical altercation after Jackson left her seat behind the podium and approached the woman, allegedly grabbing her arm. Police intervened, restraining Jackson.
The victim was taken to the hospital. Her condition isn't known.
The meeting broke up before the council could vote on the Mayor's appointment of former Pine Lawn Police Chief Rickey Collins with the Wellston police department.
Collins was hired after being fired by Pine Lawn for undisclosed reasons last month.
Wellston Police Chief G.T. Walker says he doesn't want Collins on his force, in part because of questions surrounding his record on the job. "We're in the process of rebuilding the name of the city of Wellston, the police department and all of the other departments," Walker said. "I feel that we need to hire the best that we can, with the cleanest records that we can so that we can move forward."
Walker also noted that Collins had fired many of the former Pine Lawn police officers who currently work in Wellston's department.
Collins says he believes Walker and the other officers who oppose him are looking for revenge.
Traffic pain is on the way for some West County residents next month.
MoDOT will be closing one lane on Route 109 nightly starting the week of July 15. Crews will start the closures at 9 PM each night while the resurface the road between 44 and Route 100.
The work is scheduled to run into the fall and MoDOT encourages drivers to start looking for alternate routes now to be prepared for the closures.