Rent-to-own stores offer cash-strapped consumers the ability to take home a new refrigerator, living room furniture set and hundred of other items by allowing them to pay a little each month. But, as we’ve reported in the past, what seems like a convenient years-long payment plan often adds hundreds – even thousands – of dollars to the price tag of a product. To ensure potential customers of rent-to-own stores know what they’re getting into, our colleagues at Consumer Reports put together a helpful video spelling out the potential dangers of such retail models. [More]
When you hear the word “Vermont,” perhaps images of snowy peaks, crackling, cozy fires and maple syrup spring to mind. It’s a winter wonderland! Everything from there smells of snow and touch of roasting marshmallows! But just because you want people to associate your product with the wintry northern state doesn’t mean you can just slap a “Made In Vermont” Label on it and call it a day. [More]
While a California consumer protection law dating back 22 years is all good when it comes to brick-and-mortar stores, the state’s Supreme Court ruled today that online merchants can collect personal information from buyers using credit cards. Companies like Apple and Ticketmaster had argued that they need data like home addresses and phone numbers to verify credit card purchases and prevent fraud, and the court agreed in a 4-3 decision. [More]
Deputy Director of the National Economic Council, Brian Deese, spoke with Consumerist today during a conference call where he stressed the importance of Richard Cordray’s confirmation as director of Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a confirmation that was blocked earlier today by Senate Republicans. [More]
Our ever-vigilant parents at the Consumers Union are taking action against three new bills set to be vote on in the House of Representatives Friday, publishing a letter to show how proposed reforms in the bills would contribute to damaging many consumer protections. [More]
ConsumerFinance.gov, the newly created Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s new website, is live and in full effect. So is their Twitter, Facebook, Flickr and YouTube. They want your suggestions and ideas so send ’em in! As they announced on their website their central role is “to make markets for consumer financial products and services work for America…The CFPB belongs to the people it serves. If you have suggestions, we want to hear them.” [More]
Cruise line contracts are drafted by the company’s lawyers and contain nothing in the way of consumer protection. For instance, if you get sick and the ship’s doctor treats you and you die, your family can’t sue the cruise line for malpractice. [More]
Jeff Sovern at Public Citizen has a simple message for the Washington bureaucrats who will soon create the new Consumer Financial Protection Agency: Put Elizabeth Warren in charge and build the agency in her image.
Why Elizabeth Warren, you ask?
Maybe you forgot about the proposed Consumer Financial Protection Agency in all the health care sound and fury, but it’s still out there, and financial companies are still very much against it. Now the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is launching an ad campaign that shifts the focus from credit card companies to smaller businesses that they insist will be affected, although the scope of the proposed agency is still kind of unclear.
This week, Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) postponed a vote on a bill creating a Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA) until September when lawmakers return from recess. The delay is partly due to other more pressing issues, but mainly due to unexpected (really?) pushback from the financial industry.
Australian consumers will soon be able to challenge any bank fee that they consider “unreasonable,” thanks to a new law that could save consumers up to $1 billion. Banks that want to keep levying excessive fees for late payments and overdrafts will need to prove that the charges are reasonable by revealing the true processing costs behind the fee.
Shhh, everyone, gather near and listen to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner deliver the most beautiful, wonderful mandate we could give to a new federal agency: “The agency will have only one mission—to protect consumers.” And with that, the Treasury Department sent to Congress legislation that will create the brand new Consumer Financial Protection Agency.
General Motors has reached an agreement with the government to let consumers file what are known as product-liability claims after the company escapes from bankruptcy protection. The big win for consumers means that if a manufacturing defect in an old G.M. causes injuries in the future, consumers will still be able to sue G.M. in state court.
Good news, Iowans! Your legislature has decided to enact a consumer bill of rights giving you the power to sue businesses that commit fraud. Unless, of course, you’re going after banks, attorneys, insurance providers, doctors, cable companies, telecoms, utilities, veterinarians, realtors, charities, architects, or certain retailers. Still, the bill isn’t entirely useless…
A Connecticut mall has to pay $259,000 in settlement fees to consumers who bought gift cards that had monthly inactivity fees.
Last month, several consumer groups sent President-elect Obama a letter detailing a pro-consumer agenda for the new administration and Congress. One of those suggestions, supported by an editorial in today’s New York Times, is reinstating the position of special assistant to the President on consumer affairs, also known as the consumer czar.