Video Shows You Don’t Need All That Fine Print In Prepaid Card Fee Disclosures

Video Shows You Don’t Need All That Fine Print In Prepaid Card Fee Disclosures

Prepaid debit cards may offer a convenient alternative for unbanked consumers, but there are often unexpected costs buried in all the fine print of the cards’ disclosure documents that most people never read. It doesn’t need to be that way. [More]

Why These 5 Pro-Consumer Bills Won’t Become Law In 2014

Why These 5 Pro-Consumer Bills Won’t Become Law In 2014

Back in January, at the dawn of the year, we gazed into our not-quite-crystal ball and took a look at some pieces of pending legislation that could help consumers this year. Now, in July, we’re at the halfway point of the year, and so it’s a good time to take a look at those bills and see how the wheels of government have turned in 2014. [More]

Senators Hope To Block New Student Enrollment At For-Profit Corinthian Colleges

Senators Hope To Block New Student Enrollment At For-Profit Corinthian Colleges

Days after the U.S. Dept. of Education brokered a deal with Corinthian Colleges — the operator of for-profit school chains like WyoTech, Heald Colleges, and Everest — that would allow these programs to remain open while it faces numerous state and federal investigations, a dozen Senators have asked the Education Secretary to block continued enrollment at Corinthian-owned schools. [More]

Despite Regulations Most Consumers Don’t Understand Overdraft Penalty Plans; More Rules Needed

Despite Regulations Most Consumers Don’t Understand Overdraft Penalty Plans; More Rules Needed

Since 2010, financial institutions have been required to obtain an opt-in confirmation from consumers before enrolling them in overdraft penalty plans, yet a new report found more than 50% of consumers who incurred such penalty fees in the past year don’t believe they opted into any such plans. This revelation, coupled with consumers’ concerns over fees and bank practices, has led to a call for federal regulators to improve rules governing financial institutions’ overdraft policies. [More]

(Michelle Rick)

American Apparel CEO Fired For Allowing Public Shaming Of Employees, Generally Being A Jerk

Last week, the board of American Apparel fired the company’s founder and CEO Dov Charney under the vague cloud of “misconduct,” leading some to wonder if any of the numerous sexual harassment claims made against the controversial businessman had been proven true. But the board’s explanation for his dismissal seems to indicate that the company just got sick of him being a jerk who costs them a lot of money. [More]

General Mills Thinks You’re Stupid, But Decides To Not Take Customers’ Legal Rights Away After All

(Paxton Holley)

While all sorts of big-name financial, tech, e-commerce, and telecom companies have been trying to take away consumers’ right to sue by inserting forced-arbitration clauses in their contracts and terms of service, it seemed ridiculous to think that the makers of cereal would resort to such deviousness, or how they would even be able to do it. But last week, General Mills tried, adding language to its website that stripped certain customers of their access to legal redress against the company. Realizing that maybe this might tick off an awful lot of people, the company has backed off this policy change. [More]

(AJ Brujstein)

General Mills’ New Policy: If You Engage With Us Online, You Can Never Sue The Company

Companies want customers to engage with them online as if they’re just another pal on Facebook or Twitter, one that can offer downloadable coupons and promote contests with attractive prizes. But in new language recently added to General Mills’ website, consumers who interact with the company online will be agreeing to give up the right to sue the company in the future. [More]

Banks Improve Disclosures, Falling Behind On Overdraft Fees, Binding Arbitration Clauses

Banks Improve Disclosures, Falling Behind On Overdraft Fees, Binding Arbitration Clauses

Checking accounts come in all shapes and sizes to fit every consumer’s needs – fine, not every consumer. While options can be good when you’re shopping around for a new bank, they also lead to a plethora of fees and risks for consumers. While some practices have improved, a new Pew Charitable Trusts report shows banks have a long way to go and it’s time the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau took action. [More]

8 Things Companies Have Said That Sounded Like April Fool’s Jokes But Sadly Weren’t

8 Things Companies Have Said That Sounded Like April Fool’s Jokes But Sadly Weren’t

For the calendar-challenged, we’ll point out that today is April 1, meaning the Internet is full of phony products, fake stories, doctored photos… so, you know, it’s like most days on the Internet. Rather than serve up a “United Charges Upgrade Fee For Merely Being Jealous Of First-Class Passengers” headline, or a post about Comcast CEO Brian Roberts giving up his job to play Gretl Von Trapp in a regional theater production of The Sound of Music, we’re looking back at some stories that would have been appropriate for April Fool’s. [More]

Comcast, Verizon March On To Worst Company Quarterfinals

Comcast, Verizon March On To Worst Company Quarterfinals

Today, four of the biggest names in Consumerist news, including one former champ, fought it out in the Worst Company Sandbox of… Sand. Each member of this cruddy quartet may be deserving of the Golden Poo, but only two could move on the next round. [More]

AT&T Promises: Kill Net Neutrality And You’ll Pay Less For Internet

In a filing with the FCC about net neutrality, AT&T swears that "flexible" neutrality rules would lower costs for you and me and everyone!

Most of the discussion about net neutrality and paid peering has been about who shoulders the financial burden for increased broadband use — the Internet Service Providers who need to invest in hardware and manpower to meet demand, or the companies like Netflix, Google, and Amazon whose content is so in-demand that it requires extra support from the ISPs? In the end, it doesn’t really matter since it’s the consumer who ultimately foots the bill, but AT&T is making its argument for weak net neutrality by saying it will lead to lower rates for subscribers. [More]

Montana Consumers Win Fight Against Online Payday Lender, Loan Debt Will Be Forgiven

Montana Consumers Win Fight Against Online Payday Lender, Loan Debt Will Be Forgiven

Montana consumers fill the winner’s column after winning a long-standing fight with the online payday lending industry. After three years of litigation, hundreds of hundreds of affected borrowers in the state will have their loans forgiven and receive their share of a $233,000 settlement. [More]

(Roadsidepictures)

JCPenney Worker Claims He Was Fired For Telling Truth About Fake Sales

Bargain-hunters love the thrill of seeing huge discounts fall off their total at the cash register, but this joy doesn’t necessarily reflect the truth. If a retailer never intended for anyone to pay the original sticker price, was it ever an original price at all? [More]

9 Federal Laws That Companies Can Skirt By Using Forced Arbitration

9 Federal Laws That Companies Can Skirt By Using Forced Arbitration

There are numerous federal laws that explicitly give wronged consumers the right to file a lawsuit against the company that harmed them, but all those statutory rights are being taken away by companies that insert arbitration clauses into their terms of service. [More]

Pew’s Model Disclosure Box for Prepaid Cards

Chase Becomes First Bank To Implement New, Simpler Disclosure Box For Prepaid Cards

In 2012, nearly 12 million consumers loaded more than $64 million onto prepaid debit cards. With so many people turning to these cards, more companies are getting into the prepaid debit business. To assist consumers faced with a plethora of card options, Pew Charitable Trusts unveiled a new model disclosure box for easy comparison of prepaid card fees and terms and conditions. [More]

Why You Should Opt Out Of Forced Arbitration, In 3 Sentences

(afagen)

While more and more companies are adding “forced arbitration” clauses to their terms of service, only a handful of these businesses are offering customers the choice to opt out of this part of the contract. Here are the reasons why you should take advantage of that option whenever possible. [More]

Supreme Court Won’t Stop Class-Action Lawsuits Over Front-Loading Washing Machines

Supreme Court Won’t Stop Class-Action Lawsuits Over Front-Loading Washing Machines

After several years of shutting down class-action lawsuits or affirming businesses’ ability to preempt such suits with forced arbitration, the U.S. Supreme Court today chose not to hear challenges to a trio of class actions about supposedly defective washing machines from three leading manufacturers. [More]

DropBox Jumps On Forced Arbitration Bandwagon, But Offers Online Opt-Out

DropBox Jumps On Forced Arbitration Bandwagon, But Offers Online Opt-Out

Another company is taking the coward’s way out of resolving legal disputes with its customers by tweaking its Terms of Service to take away users’ rights to take the company to court and to prevent multiple users from having their complaints heard as a group. This time, it’s online storage service Dropbox, which is currently notifying users of the bad news. [More]