Monday, March 23, 2009

Pirates, bandits and road agents, LLC

If you buy almost any product that needs an instruction manual these days, ( and many that don't) you'll have noticed that more space is taken up with listing all the creative ways you might do yourself harm with, for instance, a camera than is given over to how to take pictures with it. Apparently this format wasn't followed assiduously enough by Motorola for their Bluetooth headsets and the waters around them have begun to fill with sharks. Perhaps you've seen the magazine ads for It doesn't appear as though anyone has been harmed by a Bluetooth Headset, although conventional wisdom is that wearing any kind of headphones can damage some people's hearing in time if you turn it up to high for too long. Thanks to many years of this odd approach to product safety, we have become a country where someone who sticks a pencil in his ear is considered a victim rather than an idiot.

Americans are used to being provided endless and often ridiculous warnings about everything and are used to ignoring them. The result of all these warnings seems to have more to do with litigation than with any increase of caution and it appears to me that this class action suit is a classic example.

No one who purchased the headsets will receive a dime and the manufacturers, if the suit is successful, will be handing over $100,000 to an unspecified charity and $850,000 will be awarded to -- the lawyers.

While the web site talks about "your rights" those who purchased the headset have no rights to share in the booty, they only have the right to write to the Settlement Administrator to opt out of a suit they really have no participation in! Although the manufacturers claim to have done nothing wrong and no harm can be demonstrated, to defend the case would cost more than a million and so it's cheaper to stand and deliver; to let the bandits perform their extortion and pass the cost on to us along with more unheeded verbiage about loud noises and hearing loss. It's another example of how our legal system works and for whom it works and unfortunately it's not a rare example.

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