Consumer Catch-up: Free trial scam crackdown, baby changing tables, gig economy pay gap, best fast food

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Even in the "gig" economy, researchers see a gender pay gap. Plus, diners rate their favorite fast food restaurants. The consumer news you need to know for Thursday, July 5, 2018. (AP)

FTC shuts down "free trial" companies

The Federal Trade Commission is shutting down a group of companies it says offered customers deceptive free trials.

Instead of receiving a trial offer for just the cost of shipping, the FTC says customers were charged full price for the trial. On top of that, customers were then enrolled in expensive subscription plans - all without their knowledge or consent.

A court order forces the companies to stop selling, and freezes company assets.

The FTC says the decision impacts a variety of products sold online, including skin screams, e-cigarettes, and dietary supplements. Product names include "Wrinkle Rewind," "Erase Repair H/A," "Pro Vapor," "Cerebral X," "Test X Core," and "Garcinia Clean XT."

CPSC updates baby changing standards

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has new standards for the safety of baby changing products.

The products include items like changing tables, accessories, add-on changing units, and contoured changing pads.

New requirements include guidelines for structural integrity, restraint systems, and warning and how-to labels.

Any new products must be in compliance by June 26, 2019.

Gig economy gender pay gap

Even in the gig economy, there is a seven percent gender pay gap between men and women. That's according to economists at Stanford University and University of Chicago.

Researchers compared earnings of more than a million Uber drivers around the country. They found three factors that make the difference in pay:
1) Men tend to drive faster, making them more productive in the same amount of time.
2) Women tend to avoid driving in high-crime areas or areas with many bars, impacting their earnings.
3) Men stick with Uber driving longer, allowing them to pick up "tricks of the trade" and maximize their earning time.

The study did not find any pay difference due to customer discrimination or working specific hours. Researchers say they found "no reason to expect the 'gig' economy to close gender differences" - even without discrimination.

Best fast food restaurants

A new report from the American Customer Satisfaction Index again ranks Chick-Fil-A number one for satisfied customers in the "limited service" dining category.

The restaurant rated highly in customer satisfaction for the third year in a row. Panera Bread came in second in the same category.

The ACSI report found accuracy of customer orders improved from last year. Food quality and speedy checkout or delivery numbers were also higher than in 2017.

As for full-service restaurants, Texas Roadhouse snagged the number one spot.

Click here for a look at more stories by Michael Finney and 7 On Your Side.

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