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FOX Toledo Special Report: The new way shoppers get what they want

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  • Sylvania Schools Leader is 'Undercover Superintendent'

    Sylvania Schools Leader is 'Undercover Superintendent'

    Wednesday, February 21 2018 4:17 PM EST2018-02-21 21:17:50 GMT
    (Source: WTOL)(Source: WTOL)

    As boss of northwest Ohio's second largest school district, the new Sylvania Superintendent decided the best way to learn the job is to become the student himself.

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    As boss of northwest Ohio's second largest school district, the new Sylvania Superintendent decided the best way to learn the job is to become the student himself.

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  • The Thin Blue Line

    The Thin Blue Line

    Tuesday, February 20 2018 3:53 PM EST2018-02-20 20:53:53 GMT
    (Source: WTOL)(Source: WTOL)

    Police officers: Sworn to protect others while putting their safety on the line. But is the job getting more dangerous? Are more officers being shot at?

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    Police officers: Sworn to protect others while putting their safety on the line. But is the job getting more dangerous? Are more officers being shot at?

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  • The pros and cons of pre-workout

    The pros and cons of pre-workout

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    (Source: WTOL)(Source: WTOL)

    While pre-workout supplements are advertised to give you that extra pep in your step before heading to the gym, some contain banned ingredients, and others aren't even approved by the FDA. The questions are: Do they really work, and are they safe? 

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    While pre-workout supplements are advertised to give you that extra pep in your step before heading to the gym, some contain banned ingredients, and others aren't even approved by the FDA. The questions are: Do they really work, and are they safe? 

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(Toledo News Now) -

Before the dawn of the Internet, many frustrated and unhappy customers spent hours on the phone with automated systems and customer service representatives. 

But since the advent of sites like YouTube, Facebook and Twitter, many consumers have found the power balance begin to shift in their favor when it comes to consumer problems. Musician Dave Carroll famously took his consumer complaint to YouTube. He posted a song about how United Airlines broke his guitar while he was traveling. More than 13 million views later, Dave got a new guitar.

"In the first two weeks I received 10,000 emails congratulating me, but also saying that they felt that they didn't have a voice and they wished they had a voice," said Carroll.

It was that sentiment which led Carroll to found Gripevine, a website that empowers consumers to air their grievances with companies, and hopefully be made whole again.

Neal Alderson turned to Gripevine after getting the runaround from the maker of a pair of expensive sunglasses. Alderson says the glasses snapped in half, but the manufacturer refused to replace them. One post on Gripevine, and Alderson got a brand new pair of shades.

"It was resolved very quickly," said Alderson. "I got exactly what I wanted, which was a replacement pair of sunglasses."

Gripevine is free to use, but there are some sites that will go even farther for a small fee.

On PeopleClaim, filing a complaint is free. The site will notify the company about the complaint, but if the company doesn't respond, users can pay $7.95 to have the dispute posted publicly online. For $14.95 PeopleClaim will also notify watchdogs, regulators and the media. PeopleClaim says "far more than half the complaints filed are resolved."   

On Scambook it's also free to file a complaint, but users can pay $4.99 a month for a personal investigator to be assigned to the case. That investigator will mail certified letters to the company each month. Scambook says the site has resolved over $10 million in reported damages.

Experts say the power of the Internet is helping consumers gain leverage over big business.

"Social media is what I call the great equalizer when it comes getting your complaint resolved," said John Breyault of the National Consumers League.

For more information or to file your own complaints, you can visit Gripevine.com, PeopleClaim.com or Scambook.com.

Copyright 2013 Toledo News Now. All rights reserved.

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  • US women beat Canada for gold in a 3-2 shootout thriller

    US women beat Canada for gold in a 3-2 shootout thriller

    Thursday, February 22 2018 2:34 AM EST2018-02-22 07:34:20 GMT
    Thursday, February 22 2018 7:58 AM EST2018-02-22 12:58:28 GMT
    (AP Photo/Matt Slocum). United States celebrates winning gold after the women's gold medal hockey game against Canada at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Gangneung, South Korea, Thursday, Feb. 22, 2018.(AP Photo/Matt Slocum). United States celebrates winning gold after the women's gold medal hockey game against Canada at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Gangneung, South Korea, Thursday, Feb. 22, 2018.

    Twenty long years after taking gold when the sport debuted in 1998, the United States snapped Canada's streak of four straight Olympic golds with a 3-2 shootout victory.

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    Twenty long years after taking gold when the sport debuted in 1998, the United States snapped Canada's streak of four straight Olympic golds with a 3-2 shootout victory.

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  • Nowitzki 'disgusted' by report of hostile workplace for Mavs

    Nowitzki 'disgusted' by report of hostile workplace for Mavs

    Wednesday, February 21 2018 2:13 AM EST2018-02-21 07:13:50 GMT
    Thursday, February 22 2018 7:58 AM EST2018-02-22 12:58:13 GMT
    (Source: Raycom Media)(Source: Raycom Media)

    The Dallas Mavericks have hired outside counsel to investigate allegations of inappropriate conduct by former team president Terdema Ussery in a Sports Illustrated report that described a hostile workplace environment for women.

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    The Dallas Mavericks have hired outside counsel to investigate allegations of inappropriate conduct by former team president Terdema Ussery in a Sports Illustrated report that described a hostile workplace environment for women.

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  • Wise gives it all, and comes out with another Olympic gold

    Wise gives it all, and comes out with another Olympic gold

    Wednesday, February 21 2018 11:26 PM EST2018-02-22 04:26:51 GMT
    Thursday, February 22 2018 7:58 AM EST2018-02-22 12:58:00 GMT
    (AP Photo/Gregory Bull). David Wise, of the United States, jumps during the men's halfpipe finals at Phoenix Snow Park at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Thursday, Feb. 22, 2018.(AP Photo/Gregory Bull). David Wise, of the United States, jumps during the men's halfpipe finals at Phoenix Snow Park at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Thursday, Feb. 22, 2018.

    It's the seventh gold medal for the U.S. in Pyeongchang, five of which have come from snowboard and freestyle skiing events.

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    It's the seventh gold medal for the U.S. in Pyeongchang, five of which have come from snowboard and freestyle skiing events.

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