States’ Attempts To Reform Payday Lending Are Often Just Smoke & Mirrors

States’ Attempts To Reform Payday Lending Are Often Just Smoke & Mirrors

Payday lending has been getting a makeover of sorts recently. A number of banks, including Wells Fargo, have discontinued their payday-like direct deposit advance programs after federal regulators tightened their guidance over the high-cost products. Now, a number of state legislatures are discussing payday lending reform bills, which they say will make short-term loans safer for consumers. But are they truly helpful to those who need them? Not quite, say consumer advocates. [More]

More Than 30 Consumer Groups Urge President To Put Privacy Bill of Rights Into Law

More Than 30 Consumer Groups Urge President To Put Privacy Bill of Rights Into Law

Americans cherish their privacy, but as headline after headline brings alarming news of data breaches, governmental snooping, and data mining, it becomes evident that something needs to be done. That’s why more than 30 civil liberties and consumer advocacy organizations have written President Obama urging him to push for legislation that would make new consumer privacy protections law. [More]

51 Groups Call On President To Not Let For-Profit Colleges Weaken “Gainful Employment” Rule

51 Groups Call On President To Not Let For-Profit Colleges Weaken “Gainful Employment” Rule

Last summer, the Dept. of Education began the process of reviewing a new rule aimed at those educational institutions that failed to demonstrate their students could find gainful employment in the fields in which they had been trained. The for-profit college industry has managed to weaken the rule, but today more than 51 different groups — including advocates for consumers, veterans, and students — asked the President to help prevent this rule from becoming toothless. [More]

(Donkey Hotey)

From Start To Finish, The Student Loan Industry Is In Need Of Massive Overhaul

Student loan debt in the U.S. has passed the $1 trillion mark while the cost of an education continues to outpace inflation, meaning tomorrow’s students will need to take on even more debt than the millions of graduates who already owe money. A new report from our coworkers at Consumers Union shows just how screwed up and unbalanced the student loan system is at every step of the way. [More]

(cavale)

DOT Sued For Failing To Issue Rule On Rear Visibility In Cars

Everyone knows that the wheels of government don’t always turn quickly, but the folks at the Dept. of Transportation have been sitting on a Congressionally mandated new safety rule, one that could save an awful lot of lives and prevent even more injuries, for several years. In an effort to compel the DOT to finally act, several consumer groups and the parents of children who have died in auto accidents have sued the agency in a federal court. [More]

CDC: 2 Million Americans Get Sick From Antibiotic-Resistant Infections Every Year

CDC: 2 Million Americans Get Sick From Antibiotic-Resistant Infections Every Year

While livestock farmers around the country continue to feed medically unnecessary antibiotics to their animals for the sole purpose of encouraging growth, millions of Americans are falling ill — and thousands dying — every year from bacterial and fungal infections that are resistant to current medication, claims a new report from the Centers for Disease Control. [More]

(Great Beyond)

Shouldn’t Hip & Knee Replacements Come With Warranties?

Most new products, from cheapo wristwatches to new cars, often come with manufacturers’ warranties. But that isn’t the case for most hip and knee implants, meaning that a growing number of Americans are having expensive devices put in their bodies without any written assurance from the manufacturers. [More]

(catastrophegirl)

Trader Joe’s Customers: We Don’t Want Drugs In Our Meat

While many grocery store chains carry meat from animals that have been fed unnecessary antibiotics purely for the purpose of encouraging growth, the results of a new survey show that a large majority of all supermarket shoppers — but especially Trader Joe’s customers — would rather that their favorite food store stop carrying the drugged-up beef, pork, and poultry. [More]

A sample of the new ID card.

Oakland Decides It Doesn’t Need All Those Fees On Its Combination ID/Debit Cards

A few weeks back, we told you about the new photo ID cards being issued by the city of Oakland that could also be used as prepaid debit cards. We also told you about how these debit cards came loaded with sky-high fees. Now it looks like the city has decided to ditch some of these exorbitant charges. [More]

Joe the Pig asks Trader Joe's to stop selling antibiotic-filled pork. (Consumerist/MBQ)

Trader Joe’s Employees Misleading Customers About The Drugged-Up Meat On Stores’ Shelves

Trader Joe’s, like most grocery stores, sells quite a bit of meat from animals that have been treated with completely unnecessary antibiotics. But customers around the country say that some TJ staffers are outright lying about the store’s products being drug-free. [More]

Tell Trader Joe's you'd rather have your meat sans antibiotics.

Trader Joe’s Fans Ask Store To Stop Selling Drugged-Up Meat

Trader Joe’s has a lot of fans who evangelize on behalf of the food and service at the grocery store chain, but some of those same superfans are asking their favorite food fix to please stop selling meat full of antibiotics. [More]

Knowing your accurate FICO score might be sweeter than chocolates.

This Valentine’s Day, Tell Congress You’d Really Love Access To A Free, Reliable Credit Score

While the three major credit bureaus each allow you to access your credit report once a year at no charge through annualcreditreport.com, getting your actual credit score will likely cost you some money. [More]

(frankieleon)

8 Things We Learned From FTC Report On Debt-Buyers

In spite of the many rules imposed on the debt collection industry, it still generates, by far, the largest number of complaints to the Federal Trade Commission each year. That’s why the agency recently completed a lengthy investigation into debt-buyers and why they do such a bad job. [More]

(Triborough)

FDA Proposes New Food Safety Rules In Wake Of Peanut & Cantaloupe Contamination

Following more than a year of ugly headlines about recalls of possibly tainted peanuts, cantaloupes, leafy greens and other food products, the Food & Drug Administration has proposed new rules aimed at making the food on our plates safer to eat. [More]

(krossbow)

Reforms Needed To Keep Consumers From Being Trapped In Their Old Bank Accounts

It’s been nearly a year since the first Bank Transfer Day, when people around the country ditched fee-laden accounts in favor of more consumer-friendly institutions, and yet many bank customers still find roadblocks that keep them from easily jumping ship from one bank to another. [More]

Joe the Pig asks Trader Joe's to stop selling antibiotic-filled pork. (Consumerist/MBQ)

“Meat Without Drugs” Campaign Brings Its Piggy Pal To Rally At Trader Joe’s In NYC

We’re not sure if the folks at Trader Joe’s had ever seen a giant pig named Joe beg the company to get him off drugs, but as of this morning in NYC, things have changed. Consumers Union, the policy and advocacy arm of our benevolent overlords at Consumer Reports, showed up with a team of other consumer and environmental advocacy groups to urge the grocery chain not to sell meat raised on antibiotics. [More]

Chase Customers: Did The Bank Ever Re-Open Your Closed Account?

Chase Customers: Did The Bank Ever Re-Open Your Closed Account?

Over the lifetime of Consumerist, we’ve written a number of stories about so-called zombie bank accounts, where a consumer finds out their closed account has been re-opened without their knowledge or approval, usually after some third party attempts to make a direct deposit or debit on the dead account. If you were a Chase bank customer and your account was resurrected from the grave, we’d like to hear from you. [More]

Advocates: Now Is The Time To Reform Reverse Mortgages

Advocates: Now Is The Time To Reform Reverse Mortgages

A large chunk of the U.S. population is heading into what are supposed to be their golden years. But between financial hardship and shortsighted financial planning, many of these people are not able to retire comfortably, if at all. A reverse mortgage that allows homeowners who are at least 62 years old to borrow against the equity of their property may seem like a more appealing alternative to working into one’s 80s, but there are pitfalls involved — some of which can be fixed by a bit of reform. [More]