What happens when you combine expensive — and often unanticipated — medical bills and overzealous debt collectors? An environment ripe for abusive, unfair collection practices. At least that appears to be the case for an operation that must pay $5.4 million in relief to consumers for allegedly mishandling credit reporting disputes and preventing individuals from exercising their debt collection rights. [More]
Are you looking for ways to help out the groups providing relief after the massive earthquake that hit Chile? Yahoo has made a nice list of groups that have confirmed that they are sending teams to Chile, and you can also donate by text message. [More]
Wal-Mart's Katrina Heroism: "Above All, Do The Right Thing," CEO Told Managers Before Katrina Struck
A paper written by Steven Horwitz, an Austrian-school economist (we’re still not quite sure what that means, other than it’s considered slightly controversial), recounts Wal-Mart’s relief efforts after Hurricane Katrina (PDF) and points out that private businesses, along with the Coast Guard, did far more than any “official” government agency in providing immediate, on-the-ground assistance to victims. His argument is that something as complex as a relief effort is more efficient when it’s decentralized and involves private businesses. Horwitz has also, separately, supported the idea that Wal-Mart should win the Nobel Peace Price. Hey, we told you his school of economics was controversial.