Starwatch Consumer

BlackBerry’s new Z10 smartphone goes on sale in the U.S.

Updated: 2013-03-22T20:46:06Z

New BlackBerry

BlackBerry’s new Z10 smartphone went on sale in the U.S. on Friday, almost two months after its debut in other countries, putting the company’s turnaround plan to the test in its largest market.

Chief executive officer Thorsten Heins kicked off U.S. sales of the touch-screen device Thursday night at a theater in New York’s Times Square. The event, which featured performances by rapper Ludacris and R&B singer Janelle Monae, marked the arrival of the Z10 at AT&T stores Friday.

The phone will be offered by Verizon Wireless beginning Thursday. Sprint is not offering the phone.

Acura recall

Honda Motor Co.’s luxury Acura brand is recalling 76,000 TSX sedans in 22 cold weather states because corrosion could cause them to stall.

TSX sedans from the 2004 through 2008 model years are included in the recall.

Acura said that in places where road salt is heavily used, salt and water can saturate the carpet under the dashboard that covers the vehicle’s electrical control unit. Salty water can corrode the metal case that houses the electrical unit.

Acura will notify owners about the recall next month. The company will install a water-resistant cover over the electrical unit at no charge.

Bank report

Despite the risk of fraud associated with the theft of Social Security numbers, just five of the nation’s largest 25 banks have stopped using the numbers to verify a customer’s identity after the initial account setup, a new report from Javelin Strategy & Research finds.

The banks are Comerica, Regions Bank, TD Bank, U.S. Bank and Union Bank.

The country’s biggest banks, including JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America and Citibank, still use Social Security numbers, according to the report. Overall, however, the report gave top marks to Bank of America for prevention and detection of identity fraud.

Loan discrimination

U.S. banks may be sued by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau if they fund discriminatory vehicle loans made by auto dealers, the agency announced.

Banks must comply with the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, a 1974 law that bans discrimination in lending, the bureau said.

The fact that auto dealers — who are exempt from oversight by the consumer bureau — make the improper lending decisions doesn’t absolve banks of responsibility for racial disparities that result.

Defibrillator rules

The Food and Drug Administration will require makers of heart-zapping defibrillators to submit more data on their safety and effectiveness following years of recalls of the emergency devices.

Defibrillators use electric shocks to jolt the heart back to normal after patients collapse from cardiac arrest.

| Star news services

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