Distracted Shoppers Buy More When There's Some Negative Info

Distracted Shoppers Buy More When There's Some Negative Info

Established wisdom is that you should only talk about how awesome your product is. But a new study finds that shoppers in distracted settings tend to buy more when products are marketed with a touch of negative info, what is known as “the blemishing effect.” [More]

Brain Cells In Fear And Rage Sector Change When You Shop

Brain Cells In Fear And Rage Sector Change When You Shop

Single brain cells become altered in unison when you’re shopping, a new study finds. [More]

Consumers Are Ditching White Bread For Wheat Bread

Consumers Are Ditching White Bread For Wheat Bread

Rejoice Michael Pollan, it’s finally happening: wheat bread is almost more popular than white bread. Consumers are increasingly skipping past the Wonderbread for healthier-looking fare that either has “natural” in the name or whole grains visible through the packaging. [More]

Mandatory Binding Arbitration Is Almost Dead

Mandatory Binding Arbitration Is Almost Dead

A provision buried deep within the recently passed Wall Street reform bill has the power to finally kill off mandatory binding arbitration, one of the more dangerous anti-consumer practices still sanctioned by law. While the bill includes a limited provision banishing arbitration agreements from mortgages and home equity loans, it also gives broad powers to the Securities and Exchange Commission and the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to kill off arbitration in all other consumer financial products. [More]

Savings Rate Goes Up, But Spending Doesn't

Savings Rate Goes Up, But Spending Doesn't

As a nation, we saved more of our paychecks last month than any time since last September–nearly 4% of income went unspent. That worries economists, because it means we’re not spending at a high enough rate to support an economic recovery. But as the Washington Post notes, since unemployment remains high and most of the recent wage growth came from the government, consumers aren’t exactly comfortable with buying something shiny and new just because it’s on sale. [More]

Consumers Have More Trust In Companies That Tweet

Consumers Have More Trust In Companies That Tweet

A new survey shows that 75% of consumers think companies that tweet or post Facebook updates are more deserving of their trust than companies that don’t. The CEO of Fleishman-Hillard, which conducted the survey with Harris Interactive, says he thinks it shows that companies need to respond to crises much more openly and quickly than in years past: “Not in a 24-hours news cycle, but in minute-to-minute monitoring.” [More]

What iPhone Owners Complain About When They Complain To The FCC & FTC

What iPhone Owners Complain About When They Complain To The FCC & FTC

Lastmonth, InformationWeek filed a Freedom of Information request with the FCC and the FTC for complaints made about the iPhone in the past year. Although the breakdown of complaints is interesting, what I found most striking was that in a nation of over 11 million iPhone owners, less than 600 complaints were filed in the past 14 months*, and some of those were for other Apple products. If you have a legitimate grievance with a company, you might have a much better chance of being heard by the FCC or FTC than you think. [More]

We're Finally Saving The Economy By Spending Too Much

We're Finally Saving The Economy By Spending Too Much

Back in the early days of the recession, circa 2008, people were nervous about the future, and decided to start saving more of their money instead of just spending it. That brought personal savings rates up to over 5% by last year. But after hearing for months that the recession is over, consumers are apparently starting to believe it — especially when numbers show the economy growing by 3.2%. Savings rates are down to about 2.7%, and consumer spending is up by 0.6% as of March. Unfortunately, incomes are only up 0.3%, so plenty of people may be helping the economy grow by spending more than they earn. Thanks, guys! [More]

FTC Online Mall Teaches Tweens About Online Privacy, Scammers

FTC Online Mall Teaches Tweens About Online Privacy, Scammers

This month, the Federal Trade Commission unveiled You Are Here, a virtual mall where kids can learn to avoid online scams, spot misleading ads, and learn good habits to be smart consumers. [More]

Give Us Your Questions For The White House: Small Business Edition

Give Us Your Questions For The White House: Small Business Edition

Yesterday, President Obama spoke at the Brookings Institute about his administration’s plan for spurring job growth in our not-quite-a-recession-anymore-but-still-pretty-much-a-recession. Now they’ve invited Consumerist to bring our readers’ questions about the program to Austan Goolsbee, the staff director and chief economist on the President’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board. [More]

What Cheer? Consumers More Glum Than Ever

What Cheer? Consumers More Glum Than Ever

Retailers have been hoping that we’d enter the annual Festival of Shopping with higher spirits than last year, but it looks like that might not happen after all. The Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment index was updated today, and it shows a drop to 66.0, “well below October’s reading of 70.6 and a sharp reversal of the 71.0 figure economists had expected.”

Gas Prices Have Jumped $0.20 In The Past Two Weeks

Gas Prices Have Jumped $0.20 In The Past Two Weeks

Gas prices have spiked in the last two weeks, reaching levels last seen during the peak of the summer driving season, says the AP. The increase in gas prices has retailers worried that consumers who are putting more money in their gas tanks will buy fewer gifts during the upcoming holiday season.

The Consumer Financial Protection Agency And You

The Consumer Financial Protection Agency And You

Legislation to create a Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA) is making its way through Congress. Interested parties have spoken out (“It sucks!” “It’s awesome!“). Now the White House wants to know what you think.

Consumer And Banking Scholars Speak Out In Favor Of Consumer Financial Protection Agency

Consumer And Banking Scholars Speak Out In Favor Of Consumer Financial Protection Agency

Earlier this week, a group of 70 law professors from universities across the country released a 16-page Statement of Support (pdf) detailing why they’re in favor of the proposed Consumer Financial Protection Act. You can read the statement yourself via the link above, but we’ve summarized them below.

Congressman Introduces Bill To Oversee Cemeteries

Congressman Introduces Bill To Oversee Cemeteries

Remember Burr Oak this past summer? That was the Chicago cemetery that dug up bodies and resold the graves to new customers. Well, yesterday a U.S. Representative from Illinois introduced the Bereaved Consumers Protection Act, a bill that would standardize record-keeping, make cemeteries accountable to federal officials as well as state, and protect consumers from shady business practices.

Consumers Cut Spending, Save Money, Pay Down Debt, Ruin Economy

Consumers Cut Spending, Save Money, Pay Down Debt, Ruin Economy

Good work, consumers of America! You’ve collectively reduced your outstanding debt by $21.5 billion during the month of July. We’re so proud. Except, oops, that’s not so great for the economy.

Top Ten Consumer Complaints To State AG's In 2008

Top Ten Consumer Complaints To State AG's In 2008

The National Association of Attorneys General has polled state attorneys general, who are typically responsible for enforcing consumer protection laws in their states, and announced the top ten consumer complaints for 2008. It’s an interesting list.

Amazon Answers My Questions, Sort Of, About Kindle Licenses

Amazon Answers My Questions, Sort Of, About Kindle Licenses

Let’s get straight to the bad news: although Amazon did answer my questions, their answers included “we’re working on that,” “I don’t know,” and “I don’t know (but it’s the publishers’ fault).” To be fair to the “Kindle Specialist” I spoke with this morning, he has promised to talk to the Kindle marketing department—why marketing? these are DRM issues!—and get back to me with better answers. Until then, this is what the average consumer can expect from a Kindle ebook license.