Consumer Confidential: More free shipping, less tarmac time, bad filberts
Here's your magnificent-Monday roundup of consumer news from around the Web:
-- It's snowing in cyberspace. That big storm on the East Coast has prompted many e-tailers to extend free-shipping offers to help snowbound consumers finish their holiday shopping. The move also follows a busy weekend of e-tailing, which prompted a number of businesses to conclude that they should continue offering free shipping as an incentive to keep the procrastinators motivated.
-- If you get stuck on a plane because of a storm, here's some good news: A new federal rule requires that passengers stranded on the tarmac be released after three hours. Airlines have fought such a provision, arguing that it would be too costly for them to implement. Angering your customers apparently isn't seen as a significant business cost. In any case, the new rule won't help this holiday season. It won't take effect until April.
-- Heads up: Whole Foods is recalling several batches of organic raw hazelnuts -- a.k.a. filberts -- because of possible salmonella contamination. The dubious nuts (which is a great name for a rock band) turned up in stores in California and about half a dozen other states. Make sure you check with store employees before buying any hazelnuts.
-- David Lazarus