holiday layaway fee
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is getting rid of the $5 entry fee for customers wanting to open its interest-free, pay-over-time program for holiday gifts.
The move comes as the world’s largest retailer is seeing that its low-income shoppers remain pinched in an uncertain economy.
The holiday layaway program is slated to kick off Sept. 13 and will last until Dec. 13. About 35,500 items will be available, 1,000 more than a year ago. At the same time, Wal-Mart is bringing back its $10 cancellation fee that was eliminated last year.
Wal-Mart phased out its layaway plan in September 2006 — roughly a year before the recession began — with the exception of jewelry. But the Bentonville, Ark., retailer brought back the program for the holiday season in 2011.
to plead to threat
A former United Airlines flight attendant has agreed to plead guilty to making a bomb threat against a United jet flying between London and Los Angeles.
A United spokeswoman confirmed that the man had worked for the airline but declined to comment further. The man had been hired by American Airlines to become a flight attendant shortly before he was arrested.
According to court documents, Patrick Cau used pay phones near his Los Angeles home and around the country to make threats against six United flights between last October and January.
Under an agreement filed last week in federal district court in Los Angeles, Cau will plead guilty to one count of making a bomb threat against a plane. Cau, who also goes by the name Patrick Kaiser, is expected to enter a plea Monday and be sentenced this fall.
Cau agreed to pay restitution — United said it lost $267,912 because the flights were delayed or canceled after the threats — and, as a German citizen, he also faces possible deportation.
Kia recalling SUVs
for axle problem
Kia is recalling more than 9,700 SUVs in the U.S. and Canada because the front axle can fail and the vehicles can lose power.
The recall affects 2014 Sorento SUVs with 2.4-liter four-cylinder engines and front-wheel-drive. They were built from Jan. 7 through March 12 of this year.
Kia says the right axle drive shaft can crack and fail. If that happens, the SUVs can lose power or roll away when parked. The company says there haven’t been any crashes or injuries reported.
Owners will be notified by letter. Dealers will replace the axle shaft free of charge.
The Hyundai Santa Fe, which is similar to the Sorento, was recalled for the same reason last week.