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.

Walmart To Rate Product Sustainability

Walmart To Rate Product Sustainability

Walmart is developing a universal rating system to help consumers determine which products are truly sustainable. The rating system would scrutinize a product’s entire life-cycle by focusing on broad factors, rather than the usual marketing gibberish that extolls isolated virtues. So why is Walmart, of all companies, deciding which products are environmentally sound?

Consumers Are Scared To Lose Their Jobs, Still Saving For Their Inevitable Unemployment

Consumers Are Scared To Lose Their Jobs, Still Saving For Their Inevitable Unemployment

The deepest “employment slump of any recession in the last eight decades” has consumers convinced they’re about to lose their jobs — and that’s affecting consumer confidence, says Bloomberg.

Another Arbitration Firm Pulls Out Of Credit Card Arbitration

Another Arbitration Firm Pulls Out Of Credit Card Arbitration

Just days after the National Arbitration Forum agreed to stop arbitrating consumer credit card disputes, the American Arbitration Association has decided to do the same. This is good, but passage of the Arbitration Fairness Act is still necessary.

Enlightened Nation To Banks: Either Explain Excessive Fees Or Eliminate Them

Enlightened Nation To Banks: Either Explain Excessive Fees Or Eliminate Them

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.

G.M. Agrees To Remain Responsible For Shoddy Cars After Bankruptcy

G.M. Agrees To Remain Responsible For Shoddy Cars After Bankruptcy

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.

What Happens When Your Life Insurer Kicks The Bucket?

What Happens When Your Life Insurer Kicks The Bucket?

Life insurance polices are backed by state guarantee associations, but the coverage offered varies drastically from state to state. Some products, like variable annuities, can be recovered in full because of the way they’re structured, but if you have term life insurance or a universal policy, you should know the limitations of your state’s coverage…

Are Cellphone Exclusivity Deals Bad For Consumers?

Are Cellphone Exclusivity Deals Bad For Consumers?

Yesterday, four U.S. Senators sent a letter to FCC acting chairman Michael Copps requesting an investigation into whether exclusivity deals between handset makers and national carriers are ultimately good for consumers, and they plan to hold a hearing on the issue on Wednesday, June 16th. They join a growing number of people and organizations, including the Rural Cellular Association (RCA), who say exclusivity deals benefit no one but the carriers and manufacturers.

Consumer Confidence Is Up. Wait, Compared To What?

Consumer Confidence Is Up. Wait, Compared To What?

Do you feel more confident? According to the Conference Board, consumer confidence is up to its highest level in eight months, and made its biggest increase in six years.