15 Ways To Kick Ass When Testifying

15 Ways To Kick Ass When Testifying

If you are victimized by corporate behavior and asked to testify before a legislative body in order to tell your story and help get a pro-consumer bill passed, it can be really scary. You only have a few minutes to make your case. Are you gonna choke it, or clinch it? Just follow these 15 tips I just learned in a Consumers Union Activist Summit workshop: [More]

Congress May Consider Banning Drop-Side Cribs

Congress May Consider Banning Drop-Side Cribs

Kirsten Gillibrand, a senator from New York, is apparently unsatisfied with the CPSC’s pledge to implement a voluntary ban of drop-side cribs. Gillibrand plans to introduce legislation this week that would outlaw the sale of drop-side cribs and ban them from daycare centers and hotels. Earlier this month, the CPSC said that this crib design has killed at least 32 infants and toddlers since 2000, that over 7 million drop-side cribs have been recalled since 2005. [More]

Wireless Industry Lobbyists Explain Why The FCC Should Back Off

Wireless Industry Lobbyists Explain Why The FCC Should Back Off

The president and a vice-president for CTIA, a lobbying organization for the wireless industry, spoke recently with CNET about why they think the FCC should leave their members alone. The vice-president, Chris Guttman-McCabe, is a lawyer and as such his answers are useless. President Steve Largent, however, actually has a couple of candid moments during the interview. [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]

Finish Up Your Weekend With Some Light Reading On Health Care Reform

Finish Up Your Weekend With Some Light Reading On Health Care Reform

You know what’s even less exciting than health insurance regulations? Homework! But as Congress prepares to vote on the huge and hugely controversial health care reform bill tonight, it’s a good time to familiarize yourself with what the proposed bill does–no matter what your opinion of it might be. [More]

Get Up To Speed On What The CARD Act Will Do To Credit Cards

Get Up To Speed On What The CARD Act Will Do To Credit Cards

In just a little over a week, the CARD Act will go into effect, and a new set of rules will apply to credit card issuers. Here’s a great summary of what will change and what won’t, so you’ll know what to expect. For instance, did you know that cards issued to business entities rather than individuals are exempt? [More]

Watch Out For These Tricks After The CARD Act Kicks In Next Month

Watch Out For These Tricks After The CARD Act Kicks In Next Month

The credit card reform bill will go into effect at the end of February, but that doesn’t mean you should stop paying attention to what your credit card company does with your account. There are lots and lots of loopholes, notes WalletPop. For example, your card issuer can still raise rates on future purchases any time and for any reason. In addition, there’s no limit to the number of fees that can be invented and applied to your account. The only way to make sure you don’t get screwed by a profit-hungry card issuer is to read every single thing that’s mailed to you, and closely review your statement for evidence of any changes that you may have missed. [More]

Consumer Financial Protection Agency On The Chopping Block

Consumer Financial Protection Agency On The Chopping Block

According to the Wall Street Journal, Senator Chris Dodd, a Democrat from Connecticut, has offered to abandon the Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA) proposal in exchange for Republican support on other legislation. Nobody is saying anything official right now, but the WSJ reports that “the offer is conditional on the creation of a stronger consumer protection division within another federal agency.” [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.

If Wall Street Ran The Airlines

If Wall Street Ran The Airlines

The Baseline Scenario has written a pitch-perfect article that pretends financial industry types are now speaking for the airline industry. It’s filled with appeals to the free market, and lots of threats about how the American Way of Life will collapse if we can’t let passengers sit for more than three hours on tarmacs. [More]

"Public Option" Removed From Senate Health Care Reform Proposal

"Public Option" Removed From Senate Health Care Reform Proposal

Senate Democrats have just hammered out a new version of their proposed health care reform proposal, and as a compromise they’ve removed the part about requiring a government-run insurance program. The public option is still part of the proposal, but now it will only be triggered if the private sector doesn’t create some new national nonprofit policies as spelled out by the government. [More]

Should Retailers Verify Customer Income Before Extending Credit?

Should Retailers Verify Customer Income Before Extending Credit?

One provision of the CARD Act requires credit issuers to verify income and debt load before issuing new credit, and the Federal Reserve is now looking at how to enforce that. That’s scaring retailers, who have come to enjoy the benefits of pushing “instant credit” offers at the register. [More]

Senate Trying To Give FDA More Power

Senate Trying To Give FDA More Power

Last week the Senate cooked up a Scooby Snack for the FDA. The Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee unanimously approved a bill that will make the FDA run around all hyper and bestow it with super strength and ghost-catching ability, the LA. Times reports, though not in those words. [More]

Federal Reserve Proposes Rules On Gift Cards

Federal Reserve Proposes Rules On Gift Cards

Here’s your chance to sound off on another consumer protection issue. In accordance with the CARD Act, today the Federal Reserve proposed new rules that would protect consumers from fees and expiration dates on gift cards, and they’ll soon be accepting comments on the rules.

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 Financial Protection Agency Gets Watered Down

Consumer Financial Protection Agency Gets Watered Down

There’s been so much resistance to the proposed Consumer Financial Protection Agency that Rep. Barney Frank, the chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, has proposed a less powerful version of the agency in an attempt to get it passed. Here’s what’s changed:

Congress Seeks To Move Up Credit Card Act Implementation To December 1st

Congress Seeks To Move Up Credit Card Act Implementation To December 1st

Today, Reps. Barney Frank and Carolyn Maloney are going to request that the implementation date for the rest of the Credit Card Act‘s rules be moved to December 1st of this year instead of February 2010, after seeing companies “jacking up their rates and doing other things to their customers in advance of the effective date” all summer, reports Mary Pilon at The Wall Street Journal.

FDA Banned Flavored Cigs, But Not Menthols. Why?

FDA Banned Flavored Cigs, But Not Menthols. Why?

Back in June we noted that the FDA was about to get a lot more say over the tobacco industry if the Senate approved a new bill. Well they did, and so yesterday the FDA flexed its new muscles by banning fruit, herb, spice, and candy flavorings from cigarettes. That’s right: clove cigarettes were just banned by the FDA, which is bad news for gothy teens and great news for everyone else.