New York Requires Landlords To Tell Tenants Of Bedbug History

New York Requires Landlords To Tell Tenants Of Bedbug History

Since New York is being eaten alive by bedbugs, the state government has stepped in to make landlords disclose a one-year history of bedbug infestations at properties to prospective tenants. [More]

Colleges Are Now Required To List Textbooks During Class Registration

Colleges Are Now Required To List Textbooks During Class Registration

Finding the best textbooks prices just got a whole lot easier now that colleges are required to provide students with a list of required textbooks when they register for classes. The requirement was mandated back in the 2008 as part of the Higher Education Opportunity Act, but only took effect this year. [More]

10 State Taxes That May Be Coming Your Way

10 State Taxes That May Be Coming Your Way

As states scramble to fill coffers, lawmakers are getting creative in dreaming up new ways to tax you. [More]

Saggy Pants Legal: Your Constitutional Right To Foolishness Has Been Protected

Saggy Pants Legal: Your Constitutional Right To Foolishness Has Been Protected

A Bronx judge has ruled that saggy pants are not, in fact, illegal and do not constitute “Disorderly Conduct.” The ruling comes in a case where a gentleman was issued a summons because he was wearing “his pants down below his buttocks exposing underwear [and] potentially showing private parts,” says Gothamist. [More]

NYC To Retailers: Close The Door, Did You Grow Up In A Barn?

NYC To Retailers: Close The Door, Did You Grow Up In A Barn?

In New York City, if you have a store with more than 4,000 square feet of retail space, or if you own a chain of at least five stores in the city, you’re required by law to keep your cool air inside where it belongs. That means none of this leaving the door open so your cool air will “lure in overheated customers,” reports WNYC. A city councilwoman says she hopes to conduct surveys this week to catch any retailers skirting the law. An employee at French Connection in SoHo said that her store is concerned about the energy crisis, so they only open one door instead of two these days. [More]

Internet Sales Tax Bill Introduced Again

Internet Sales Tax Bill Introduced Again

Last week, Massachusetts Rep. Bill Delahunt introduced a bill called the “Main Street Fairness Act,” which is a stupid name for a bill. The text of the bill hasn’t been released yet, but if passed, it would presumably set up a process where sales tax could be collected on purchases made over the Internet. As anyone who has shopped online over the past decade is probably aware, this has been an ongoing and thorny issue, since billions in online sales tax would provide a welcome revenue stream for struggling states. [More]

Arizona Becomes 16th State To Punch Payday Lenders In The Face

Arizona Becomes 16th State To Punch Payday Lenders In The Face

Arizona is about to say goodbye to predatory payday lenders who issue loans with annual interests exceeding 460%. On Thursday a decade-old law will expire, capping interest rates at 36%. The predatory lenders begged to keep the law in force, but voters and the legislature just sat back and gave the industry a big, slow, deserved punch right in the face. [More]

NYC Forces Retailers To Stop Selling Illegal Knives

NYC Forces Retailers To Stop Selling Illegal Knives

If you were planning on picking up a sturdy switchblade or gravity knife from one of the Home Depots in NYC for your next home improvement project, or because you wanted to stab someone, you should note that they’re no longer available. That’s because last week, the Manhattan District Attorney’s office persuaded that store and 13 other retailers to stop selling such knives. They’re generally illegal in New York, and the retailers have agreed to surrender their inventory and forfeit any profits they made from illegal knife sales over the past four years. [More]

Congress Considers Federal Anti-Slapp Law To Protect Consumers From Angry Businesses

Congress Considers Federal Anti-Slapp Law To Protect Consumers From Angry Businesses

The New York Times has an article about Justin Kurtz, the college student who angered the owner of T&J Towing by creating a Facebook page about the company and who is now fighting a $750k defamation lawsuit. That sort of lawsuit–the kind meant to intimidate an opponent into silence–is called a “strategic lawsuit against public participation,” or Slapp. Now two Representatives are sponsoring a bill that would create a federal anti-Slapp law to protect consumers from vengeful businesses. [More]

No More Eating Shark Fin In Hawaii

No More Eating Shark Fin In Hawaii

A new law has made Hawaii the first state in the country to outlaw the possession of shark fin — a delicacy that goes for $48 a plate, according to the AP. [More]

What's In The Financial Reform Bill?

What's In The Financial Reform Bill?

Now that the Senate has passed the financial reform bill, it’s off to non-smoke-filled rooms, where it will go into a Blendtec with the version passed by the House last year. CNNMoney.com sifted through all 1,600 pages of the bill and came up with a handy cheat sheet explaining what’s actually likely to change when this thing becomes a law. [More]

New Jersey Wants To End Mail In Rebates

New Jersey Wants To End Mail In Rebates

Mail in rebates are a sneaky way to make things look cheaper than they actually are at the point of sale, since many consumers never actually get any cash back. Now New Jersey’s state Assembly is considering legislation that would require retailers to charge shoppers the after-rebate price on goods, instead of forcing them to mail in or submit online requests. If the retailer still wants to take advantage of the rebate, that’s no problem; he’ll just have to mail it in himself. [More]

Supreme Court Makes It Easier To Sue Debt Collectors

Supreme Court Makes It Easier To Sue Debt Collectors

Last week, the Supreme Court ruled that debt collectors can’t use a “bona fide error” defense to avoid being sued for misinterpreting the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA). In other words, if a debt collection agency makes a demand that’s in violation of the Act, it can’t say it didn’t know any better. Well, it can, but you can go right ahead and sue. [More]

D.C. Has Customers Pay For Grocery Bags, Law Cuts Down On Waste

D.C. Has Customers Pay For Grocery Bags, Law Cuts Down On Waste

A Washington, D.C. law mandates shoppers shell out a nickel for each grocery bag they use, and the regulation has caused people to stop taking as many unnecessary bags and reduced waste, the Baltimore Sun reports. [More]

State Investigators Find All Sorts Of Dirty Tricks At Mercury Insurance

State Investigators Find All Sorts Of Dirty Tricks At Mercury Insurance

This summer Californians will be able to vote on Proposition 17, which if passed will allow insurers to bypass some legal restrictions on how much they can charge for auto insurance. Mercury Insurance Group is a big proponent of the proposition, but maybe that’s because it’s been possibly sidestepping the law in recent years anyway. Hey, making it legal will just prevent another state report like the one Carla Marinucci at the San Francisco Chronicle obtained, which contains findings that Mercury “has engaged in practices that may be illegal, including deceptive pricing and discrimination against consumers such as active members of the military and drivers of emergency vehicles.” [More]

Consent-Only Overdraft Protection: Maybe Not So Great

Consent-Only Overdraft Protection: Maybe Not So Great

Starting on July 1st, the Federal Reserve has required banks to get consent from customers before enrolling them in overdraft protection programs so they can experience the excitement of cascading overdrafts. The problem is that consumers may be trading overdraft fees for insufficient funds fees and good old-fashioned bounced checks…and end up worse off in the long run. [More]

New Jersey Wants To Stop Unsolicited Text Message Ads

New Jersey Wants To Stop Unsolicited Text Message Ads

New Jersey isn’t content with going after unsolicited junk mail checks and credit card offers–it appears to be aiming for Least Friendly Junk Marketing State in the Union. The latest target: marketers who send out unsolicited text messages. [More]

Senate Passes Health Care Reform Bill

Senate Passes Health Care Reform Bill

In case you missed it, Senate Democrats managed to succeed at their goal of pushing through some sort of health care reform bill before Christmas Day–the chamber voted this morning 60-39 along party lines and passed the bill. Up next: the Senate and House have to get together and negotiate some final version. If you want to compare what’s in the House and Senate versions, the New York Times has put together an excellent side-by-side comparison tool.