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Teslas SolarCity cut 20 percent of staff in


´╗┐SolarCity, which was acquired by Tesla Inc at the end of last year, slashed nearly 20 percent of its staff in 2016 as it sought to preserve cash amid slowing growth in the rooftop solar industry. In a regulatory filing on Wednesday, SolarCity said it had 12,243 employees at the end of 2016, down 19.8 percent from the 15,273 it reported a year earlier. The cuts affected workers in operations, installations, manufacturing, sales and marketing, according to the filings. The number of people in general and administrative jobs has also fallen since June of last year, the company said. SolarCity had announced job cuts before being acquired by Tesla but did not say how many employees would be laid off. Earlier in the year, it eliminated 550 jobs in Nevada after the state scrapped a key solar incentive. SolarCity officials were not immediately available for comment.

The contraction in its workforce marked a sharp reversal from the company's explosive growth in previous years. In 2015, the number of SolarCity employees swelled by 68.7 percent. SolarCity, founded by the first cousins of Tesla founder Elon Musk, rose rapidly to become the nation's top rooftop solar installer thanks to innovative no-money-down financing schemes and a vast sales operation. The company at one time had bold ambitions of having 1 million customers by 2018, but began scaling back its plans at the end of 2015 as costs for funding that growth mounted and demand began to slow.

By the middle of 2016, SolarCity had agreed to be acquired by Tesla, which said last month it was cutting spending on solar advertising in part by preparing to sell rooftop systems in Tesla's network of retail stores. The company is also shifting to more cash sales of systems instead of leases in order to generate cash and deliver the cost savings it promised investors would come from the acquisition.

Yahoo says about 32 million accounts accessed using 'forged cookies' Yahoo Inc , which disclosed two massive data breaches last year, said on Wednesday that about 32 million user accounts were accessed by intruders in the last two years using forged cookies.

Facebook's Oculus cuts price of virtual reality set by $200 SAN FRANCISCO Facebook Inc's virtual reality unit Oculus has cut $200 from the total price of its flagship hardware set, in a bid to expand the system's base of video game players, the company said on Wednesday.

U.S. appeals court tosses patent verdict against Apple A federal appeals court has thrown out a jury verdict that had originally required Apple Inc to pay $533 million to Smartflash LLC, a technology developer and licenser that claimed Apple's iTunes software infringed its data storage patents.

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Your money fight against rogue us movers gets boost


´╗┐Jody Phillips thought she had found the perfect mover for her relocation from Tennessee to Utah. The company's slick site, boasting of its awards for service and photos of its sharp-looking moving truck helped clinch the deal. She then paid them an initial fee of nearly $1,200. But when it came time to move, a different company showed up, demanding another $1,200 - payment she had expected to be due on delivery. She paid. Later, with all her household goods on board, the movers called from the road and tried to get her to pay to fuel the truck. Phillips, 65, a retired Navy veteran, knew she had made a mistake. The problem of rogue movers, which ramped up after the disbanding of the federal Interstate Commerce Commission in 1995, has remained so persistent that the U.S. Senate's Commerce Committee has been engaged in a months-long investigation to try to determine what can be done to address the problem of interstate movers who pile on charges, miss deadlines, break things and hold goods hostage. In the interim, a bill signed into law this summer gives the federal government tools it hasn't had - offering hope for the first time that the momentum could be swinging in favor of consumers in the battle to stop rogue movers. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), which has but a handful of investigators nationwide who focus on policing the moving industry, will in 2014 raise the bar for those who want to get into the moving industry and will give the Department of Transportation the authority to order the release of a consumers' goods being held and to assess fines. It has been hard to quantify the problem because there hasn't been a central place to complain. Consumers go anywhere from the federal government to local police (who generally have no jurisdiction to do anything) to complaint websites, the Better Business Bureau, consumer affairs offices or the moving industry's trade association. The federal government estimates that of the 40 million households that relocate each year, about 600,000 of the moves involve contracting a moving company to cross state lines. And the FMCSA reports receiving 2,851 complaints about movers in 2011, an increase from the 2,440 recorded in 2010. The top categories of complaints: goods being held hostage; lost, damaged or delayed shipments; unauthorized movers; deceptive practices including overcharges and add-ons. Legitimate movers have been lobbying to get the federal government to increase its involvement and help rid what has been a stain on the industry's reputation.

"We need to put in more roadblocks to get rid of these rogues," says Paul Oakley, senior vice president of the American Moving & Storage Association. "We need to catch more of them that are actually operating." As for the new legislation: "It's a good start."Oakley says he'd love to see more enforcement staff and a larger commitment to consumer education than the current requirement to provide a pamphlet to those who are moving across state lines. "What we do know is more of an information dump than providing an education."It is clear, he says, that the federal government is doing more now to try to control the problem than it has. And while complaints haven't declined, he says, he expects it takes time and the commitment will eventually pay off."It's a relatively small percentage of consumers that are victimized," adds Mayflower spokeswoman Melissa Sullivan. "But for those that are victims, it's so devastating."

The legal department of moving company Mayflower Transit (part of UniGroup Inc) runs an organization called MoveRescue, which provides free assistance to consumers whose goods are being held hostage. As of the end of July, MoveRescue had received 288 complaints this year - about one-third of which involved goods being held hostage. MoveRescue, for instance, intervened for Phillips after she endured a couple of more shakedown attempts, and her things, and those of another family, were dropped off at a suburban Chicago storage facility. That was in May. This month, most of her goods were finally delivered, although she is still struggling to locate some of her things. Phillips' case provides many examples of what consumers need to watch out for when planning an interstate move. It's easy on the internet to make something appear to be something that it isn't.

Here are some tips from MoveRescue to this site Always get an in-home estimate for an interstate move. A phone or internet estimate of the cost of a move is not sufficient.- Do not pay a deposit - particularly if a significant percentage of the total cost is demanded. It is rare that an interstate mover will request a deposit and when that does happen it's usually a nominal amount, like $100-$200.- Take extra precautions when dealing with a moving broker, checking on their legitimacy, the terms you're agreeing to and being clear about which mover is actually handling your relocation. Tim Walker, 42, who started the website MovingScam.com 11 years ago after he was ripped off on a move from Virginia to Nevada, is stunned there's still a need for what he does: help warn of the dangers of rogue movers. His site collected more than 1,200 complaints in 2008 and is once again seeing that level of consumer problems. It's about time, he says, that the federal government gets more power to help intervene on hostage moves. "It's great that they're doing something, and we've been asking for this for a long time." Still, he wants to see results before considering it a victory. "I'm just waiting for them to take action. It will be great if it happens."; var median = (relatedItemsTotal / 2); var $relatedContentGroupOne = $('.related-content.group-one ul'); var $relatedContentGroupTwo = $('.related-content.group-two ul'); $.each($relatedItems, function(k,v) { if (k + 1 = median) { $relatedContentGroupOne.append($relatedItems[k]); } else { $relatedContentGroupTwo.append($relatedItems[k]); } }); } else { $('.third-article-divide').append($('div class="related-content group-one"h3 class="related-content-title"Also In Small Business News/h3ul/ul/div')); $('.related-content ul').append($relatedItems); } },500); } Next In Small Business News MORE FROM REUTERS window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'organic-thumbnails-a', container: 'taboola-recirc', placement: 'Below Article Thumbnails - Organic', target_type: 'mix' }); Sponsored Content @media(max-this site) { #mod-bizdev-dianomi{ height: 320px; } } From Around the Web Promoted by Taboola window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push( { mode: 'thumbnails-3X2', container: 'taboola-below-article-thumbnails', placement: 'Below Article Thumbnails', target_type: 'mix' } ); window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push

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