(Chris Camargo)

San Francisco Creates New Office To Regulate Airbnb, Other Short-Term Rentals

The city of San Francisco and Airbnb have a somewhat contentious relationship, most recently involving tens of millions of dollars in back-taxes the short-term rental company agreed to pay the city earlier this year. Now, to ensure things continue to go smoothly for renters and rentees of services like Airbnb, the city has created a new office for the sole purpose of enforcing rules regarding vacation and short-term rentals. [More]

All Major U.S. Airlines Offer Free Cancellations Within 24 Hours, Except One

(Paul Thompson)

Even the most prepared traveler occasionally has to change their itinerary for unforeseen circumstances. While dealing with airlines to make a simple change can be both a test of your patience and a drain on your bank account, if you catch the issue soon enough you might save hundreds of dollars in change fees. That’s thanks, in part, to Department of Transportation rules that allow a ticket to be held at the same price for 24 hours before purchase or canceled within 24 hours after purchase — most of the time. [More]

CFPB Proposes Delay Of New Mortgage Rules By Two Months

CFPB Proposes Delay Of New Mortgage Rules By Two Months

Prospective homebuyers anticipating a more streamlined disclosure process while buying their dream home may have to wait a little longer, as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is proposing a delay to new rules. [More]

New York Regulator Finalizes First-Of-Its-Kind Plan To Govern Virtual Currency With “BitLicense”

New York Regulator Finalizes First-Of-Its-Kind Plan To Govern Virtual Currency With “BitLicense”

Nearly a year after the New York Department of Financial Services took steps to regulate businesses that operate in virtual currency, the Department announced the finalization of the “BitLicense” plan, making it the first set of guidelines for the use of cybercurrency. [More]

There Are Two Things That Could Stop The Comcast/TWC Merger, And We Might Get Both

There Are Two Things That Could Stop The Comcast/TWC Merger, And We Might Get Both

Update: Comcast is reportedly planning to back out from the merger deal as early as tomorrow in the face of the likely opposition from both the FCC and Justice Department. [More]

(eyetwist)

Outline For Payday Lending Rules A Good Start, But Not Enough To Fully Protect Consumers

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]

Auto title loans are currently available in 8,000 stores across 25 states.

Report: Auto Title Loans Just As Bad, If Not Worse Than Payday Loans; Should Face Same Rules

Each year millions of consumers turn to high-interest, short-term loans to make ends meet. While you may be more familiar with payday lenders who charge triple-digit interest rates with the goal of trapping borrowers into taking out new loans to pay off the old ones, a new report finds that payday’s lesser-known relative, auto title loans, have equally destructive repercussions. [More]

Report: Teens Buy E-Cigarettes Online With Little Difficulty Despite Industry Safeguards

Report: Teens Buy E-Cigarettes Online With Little Difficulty Despite Industry Safeguards

Back in February 2014, Ohio became the first state to prohibit the sale of e-cigarettes to minors. Since then, 40 other states and cities have followed suit. Despite those regulations, a new study found it’s increasingly easy for teens to skirt the rules by purchasing the products online. [More]

Fifth Third Bank Backtracks On Its Pledge To End Payday Loans

Fifth Third Bank Backtracks On Its Pledge To End Payday Loans

In early 2014, the four major banks still offering customers payday loan-like services announced they would discontinue their often under-fire programs by the end of the year. Apparently Fifth Third Bank has changed its mind, announcing plans to continue with a revised, supposedly less harmful version of the service for existing customers. But consumer groups say the revamped service doesn’t actually address the problems that led banks to discontinue programs in the first place. [More]

Senators Tell The FDA To Hurry Up Already With Finalizing Those Months-Old E-Cigarette Regulations

Senators Tell The FDA To Hurry Up Already With Finalizing Those Months-Old E-Cigarette Regulations

When the Food and Drug Administration unveiled proposed regulations for electronic cigarettes back in April, it was an announcement five years in the making. Now several months later little has happened, and a group of senators fear that the failure to quickly finalize the rules has led to the perpetration of misleading health warnings created by tobacco companies themselves. [More]

Proposed Regulations On E-Cigarettes Include Health Warning Label, Age Restrictions

Proposed Regulations On E-Cigarettes Include Health Warning Label, Age Restrictions

It only took five years, but the Food and Drug Administration is ready to begin regulating electronic cigarettes. While the new rule covers a lot of ground with the never-before regulated devices, it doesn’t deal with some of critics’ more controversial concerns. [More]

Proposed For-Profit College Watchdog Group Would Call Out Which Problem Schools To Avoid

Proposed For-Profit College Watchdog Group Would Call Out Which Problem Schools To Avoid

For-profit colleges have been dominating the news cycle lately; from a newly proposed “gainful employment” rule to federal agencies suing schools for deceptive marketing tactics. The fight to rein in these sometimes predatory higher-education institutions doesn’t appear to be losing steam. Legislation proposed last week aims to improve the coordination between federal agencies that oversee the industry, while providing student with a list of unsavory schools. [More]

Proposal To Regulate E-Cigarettes Expected Soon, FDA Says

Proposal To Regulate E-Cigarettes Expected Soon, FDA Says


While critics of e-cigarettes raise concerns about everything from exploding devices to poisoning risks to marketing and advertising to minors, there are currently no specific federal regulations on these products. That is likely to change soon, says the head of the FDA. [More]

Fliers Lost $2.5B In Air Travel Expenses In January Thanks To The Polar Vortex, FAA Regulations

Fliers Lost $2.5B In Air Travel Expenses In January Thanks To The Polar Vortex, FAA Regulations

If you believe Punxsutawney Phil, then we’re in for a lot more winter. More winter weather means the possibility of more flight cancellations and delays on the horizon. And that’s not a comforting thought for consumers who already lost more than $2.5 billion in travel expenses in January. [More]

Gaps In Regulation And Oversight Left West Virginia Chemical Spill Site Uninspected For 22 Years

Gaps In Regulation And Oversight Left West Virginia Chemical Spill Site Uninspected For 22 Years

How did 300,000 West Virginia residents end up without clean water for five days and counting? A chain of incomplete regulations and bureaucratic hand-offs allowed the massive chemical leak to happen without notice, largely on nobody’s watch, the Wall Street Journal reports. [More]

More Rest For Pilots Could Mean Fewer Flights For Travelers

More Rest For Pilots Could Mean Fewer Flights For Travelers

Fewer pilots and longer resting requirements could be trouble for regional airlines. The issues that grounded hundreds of JetBlue flights this week could be just the start after new FAA regulations on rest for pilots went into effect Saturday. [More]

L.A. City Councilman Proposes Making Spray Paint Buyers Provide Addresses, IDs

L.A. City Councilman Proposes Making Spray Paint Buyers Provide Addresses, IDs

Los Angeles is a city crawling with artists and graffiti vandals, and both sectors — as well as other folks who like to paint stuff for legitimate reasons — are big on buying spray paint. In order to keep closer tabs on the graffiti types, the L.A. City Council is proposing a law that would require anyone who buys spray paint to submit their address and identification so police can keep the information on file. [More]

Government Wants Organic Small-Batch Ice Cream Maker To Stop
Making Organic Small-Batch Ice Cream

Government Wants Organic Small-Batch Ice Cream Maker To Stop Making Organic Small-Batch Ice Cream

Nice Cream is a small ice cream company in Chicago that does something strange and daring in the modern food landscape: they make and sell ice cream using only ingredients with names that ordinary people can pronounce. Ingredients such as “cream,” “eggs,” and “pie.” The tiny company was a classic recession success story: a laid-off teacher experiments at home with her Cuisinart ice cream maker, and with hard work and creativity creates a delicious product that’s eventually sold at Whole Foods. But the state of Illinois doesn’t really see it that way, and Nice Cream will have to shut down or make drastic changes to its products and process in order to stay legal. They’re first, and other small-batch ice cream makers could be next. [More]