CONSUMER CATCH-UP: Robinhood trading app outage, Supreme Court to decide CFPB's fate, Toyota sued for brake issues on Prius and Camry, and Apple settles $500M 'Batterygate' lawsuit

BySimone Chavoor KGO logo
Tuesday, March 3, 2020
CONSUMER CATCH-UP: Robinhood trading app outage, Supreme Court to decide CFPB's fate, Toyota sued for brake issues on Prius and Camry, and more
CONSUMER CATCH-UP: The trading app Robinhood experienced a daylong outage, Supreme Court is set to decide CFPB's fate, Toyota is being sued for brake issues on the Prius and Camry, and Apple settles $500 million 'Batterygate' lawsuit.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Trading app Robinhood experiences daylong outage

The popular trading and investing app Robinhood experienced an outage for most of the day on Monday.

The company sent out an email to customers letting them know the site and app were experiencing "downtime issues."

Angry users took to Twitter to express their frustration at not being able to use the app when the stock market was experiencing an upturn. Some users have tweeted about a possible class action lawsuit for those who experienced financial loss during the outage.

Some Robinhood users were still unable to access the app as of 3:25 pm ET. Robinhood stated they're working on a fix.

Supreme Court to decide on the constitutionality of the CFPB

The Supreme Court is set to hear a case over the constitutionality of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

The crux of the case is whether the CFPB is too independent; when the bureau was created in 2008 in response to the financial crisis, it established that the CFPB's director could only be dismissed by the president in cases of "inefficiency, neglect of duty, or malfeasance in office." The CFPB is also funded by the Federal Reserve, instead of the traditional congressional appropriations process.

Opponents argue that this means the CFPB is unconstitutionally insulated from the president's control. The current case was brought against the CFPB by a California law firm, Seila Law. The firm was investigated by the CFPB in 2017 for their marketing and sales of consumer debt-relief services.

Interestingly, the Trump-appointed current director of the CFPB, Kathleen Kraninger, agrees with the assessment that the bureau is operating unlawfully. The Supreme Court has appointed a lawyer to defend the CFPB in their stead. The court's decision could result in the bureau being eliminated, or stay operational under the control of a much less powerful director. A decision is expected in June.

Toyota Camry and Prius now facing new lawsuit against their braking systems

Toyota is facing a new class action lawsuit over the braking systems on the Prius and Camry Hybrid models.

The case was filed by a California resident Mariano Alaniz, who alleges that he purchased a used Prius that he was told had no defects -- but then experienced ongoing issues with the brakes. Alaniz claims that the brake defect made it difficult for him to come to a stop and increased his stopping distance. He says he would not have purchased the car (or would have paid less for it) if Toyota had been more transparent about this issue.

The lawsuit further alleges that Toyota and the Department of Transportation did not respond appropriately to the issue. Toyota issued a recall for some of the affected cars, but still left some drivers at risk, according to the suit. The affected braking systems are said to possess defective brake booster pump assemblies, which has the possibility to cause brake failure.

Affected models are:

2010-2015 Prius and Prius PHV

2012-2015 Prius V

2012-2014 Camry Hybrid

2013-2015 Avalon Hybrid

Apple agrees to pay up to $500M to settle iPhone throttling lawsuit

Apple has agreed to pay up to $500 million to settle a class-action lawsuit that accuses the company of slowing down older iPhones.

The lawsuits began after iPhone users discovered that the latest iOS intentionally slowed down older phone models as their batteries aged. The feature was intended by Apple to reduce stress on the batteries, but this wasn't disclosed to customers. Many users believed the slowing was caused by age and upgraded to the newest models. Members of the class action claimed that had they known about the feature, they would have just replaced the older battery for a much smaller fraction of the cost of upgrading. At the time, Apple apologized to customers and dropped the cost of out-of-warranty replacement batteries from $79 to $29 and also offered partial refunds to customers who have paid for a new battery.

Under the settlement, Apple will offer $25 to any current or former owner of an iPhone 6 or 7 that qualifies in the case. Named members of the class action are set to receive $1,500 or $3,500. If payments to customers exceeds the $500 million, each iPhone owner will receive less money back. Around $90 million will be set aside for the attorneys.

The specific models that are involved in the case are iPhone 6, 6 Plus, 6s, 6s Plus, and SE devices running iOS 10.2.1 or later, along with iPhone 7 and 7 Plus devices running iOS 11.2 or later, and who ran these iOS versions before Dec. 21, 2017.

Apple has denied any wrongdoing in the case. The settlement, which was filed Friday, is pending approval from a judge.

Take a look at more stories and videos by Michael Finney and 7 On Your Side.