Consumer Confidential: Hot home sales, Ford recall, bogus Viagra
Here's your feeling-groovy Friday roundup of consumer news from around the Web:
--On Thursday, we saw some encouraging numbers for existing home sales. On Friday, it's new-home sales, and the numbers are even better: Sales up about 27% last month, the biggest jump in -- wait for it -- nearly half a century (that's 47 years for those who prefer specificity). This could be a statistical blip, of course, goosed by a rush for expiring tax credits. But it could also be a rock-solid sign that the housing market hasn't just hit bottom but is returning to healthy levels. Me, I'm an optimist (most of the time); I'll go with the latter.
--Ford Motor Co. says it's recalling 33,000 mid-size vehicles and SUVs to fix front-seat recliners. The faulty parts could cause seats to move toward the rear in a crash, increasing risk of injury. Affected vehicles include the 2010 Ford Fusion, Explorer and Explorer Sport Trac and the 2010 Mercury Milan and Mountaineer. Dealers will replace the seat recliners free of charge. More information is available from Ford by calling (866) 436-7332.
--From the chutzpah file: An Orange County convict serving a 10-year sentence for healthcare fraud has been charged with selling bogus Viagra from behind bars. Seriously. The suspect, identified as Phu Tan Luong, 55, and his daughter have been charged with peddling "all natural" versions of sexual-enhancement drugs such as the Big V. The charges say the natural remedies were in fact an unregulated drug that poses health risks. Word to the wise: Don't take short cuts when it comes to medicine -- you won't like where they go.
-- David Lazarus