You can spend months, and thousands of dollars, putting together a trip abroad, but no matter how much effort you take to avoid travel trouble, unforeseen circumstances can force you to change your plans. Thankfully, most airlines flying to and from the U.S. have a policy that lets passengers cancel tickets within 24 hours of booking. Note that we said “most airlines” — not all. [More]
If you buy something with a debit/credit card or an online check, there can be a delay of hours or days before the other party gets those funds. Advances in technology are allowing payment platforms to cut that down to mere seconds, which could help consumers by preventing banks from re-ordering multiple transactions to maximize overdrafts. But as non-cash payments inch closer to real-time transactions, federal regulators want to ensure that companies are following certain best practices to make things safe and consumer-friendly as possible. [More]
Today, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau released the first details of long-awaited regulations governing payday loans and other small-dollar lines of credit known to thrust consumers into a devastating cycle of debt. While consumer advocates were quick to applaud the Bureau’s work, and those in the financial industry to voice displeasure with aspects of the potential rules, both groups agreed that the coming months will involve more time and effort to craft meaningful protections for both sides of the issue. [More]
Are you tired of the high fructose corn syrup battles? Today the Institute of Medicine, part of the National Academy of Sciences, released a report that said Americans on average eat enough salt every second to kill a
humpback whale kraken. I have not actually read the report, but it probably said something like that. It also said that public education campaigns have failed to reduce sodium intake, and voluntary self-regulation by the food industry hasn’t been effective. [More]
If you’ve got a complaint about an airline, or you want to find out more about whether your complaint is valid, oh boy is there a treat in store for you! Earlier this month, the DOT launched a redesigned consumer aviation website at airconsumer.dot.gov. The goal of the site is “to make it as easy as possible for consumers to find the information they need to make their air travel experience as smooth and hassle-free as possible.” [More]
The American Heart Association says we’re eating way too much extra sugar, meaning sugar that doesn’t naturally occur in our foods. The average American consumes 22 teaspoons a day. By contrast, the average woman should eat no more than 6 teaspoons daily, while the average man, owing most likely to his increased awesomeness, should eat no more than 9 teaspoons a day. [Eats another teaspoon of sugar before resuming typing.]
Several major advertising trade groups announced yesterday that starting in 2010, they will implement a new set of self-imposed guidelines on how they collect and use your personal info, in an attempt to prevent the government from handing down federal regulations.
Our post earlier today about Chase’s sudden 150% increase in a couple’s minimum payment on their credit card debt brought out a lot of passionate comments from readers—and it also turned into a cesspool of blame. We see a lot of a particular type of sentiment on posts about credit card debt and money management, and it’s not helpful.
Just got this email from Toys ‘R’ Us in my inbox and thought you’d be interested. I’m normally pretty skeptical about corporate promises like this, but if they implement these changes I’m going to be pretty impressed.
Bob Lutz, GM’s vice president and product chief, told reporters this week that new federal guidelines that require 35mpg fuel efficiency by 2020 (yes, more than a decade from now) are so stringent that it will end up costing an average of $6,000 more per vehicle. “That cost will have to be passed on to consumers,” he then threatened. We can’t help but feel sorry for GM. After all, this whole “better fuel efficiency” topic was only brought up, what, like two or three months ago? And GM only has twelve years to find cost-effective (we’d say “innovative” but don’t want to put too much pressure on such a backwards, fearful company) ways to lighten cars and improve engines.