2015: By The Numbers

Image courtesy of frankieleon

While 2015 didn’t smash as many records for “terrible things that can happen to consumers in a single event” as 2014 — what with last year’s GM recall, Sony hack, and the like — we still had rather a lot go on in the last 365 days. Here’s a run-down of the numbers from 2015.

Be Careful What You Wish For

In 2015, the “hoverboard” did indeed come to pass, though not precisely in the same way it was foretold. And maybe we wish it hadn’t:

  • At least 22 of them have exploded in the U.S…
  • …causing at least 70 injuries that sent people to the ER.
  • Across the pond, in the UK, 88% of hoverboards failed safety checks
  • …and so over 15,000 were seized for safety reasons on their way in to that country.

Driver Danger

Happily, there were no massive 30 million-car recalls this year. But there were plenty of smaller ones, and the consequences of last year’s still linger.

  • More than 47 million vehicles faced a recall this year…
  • …including a Rolls-Royce recall of exactly 1 (one) car.
  • Meanwhile, NHTSA revised to 19.2 million the total number of cars recalled over exploding Takata airbags…
  • …in 44 separate notices.
  • At least 8 deaths in the U.S. so far are due to the defect.
  • $70 million: The fine Takata has to pay to NHTSA over this mess.

Burrito Barf

According to the CDC…

  • On average, 48 million Americans will suffer some kind of food poisoning every year.
  • This year, 53 of them so far have gotten sick from E Coli linked to Chipotle…
  • …plus another 5 cases that are probably connected…
  • …and 136 folks in metro Boston who got infected with unrelated but also gross norovirus from a Chipotle near BC.
  • 34.5%: The amount by which Chipotle’s stock price has dropped so far since its high ($750.42) in October.

The Joy of Data Security

You got data? It’ll be breached. As of December 22…

  • …there have been at least 766 data breaches in 2015…
  • …exposing at least 177,840,420 different records that we know of, with millions more not tallied or disclosed.
  • Within that, at least 121 million healthcare profiles or records have been accessed…
  • Including 78.8 million from the Anthem hack alone.

Meanwhile, in long-term consequences…

  • Target had to pay Visa $67 million over their 2013 hack…
  • …with another $39.4 million to other card-issuing banks…
  • …and $10 million to consumers who were affected or shopped at the retailer during that time.

Time Warner Cable and Friends

  • Number of successful attempts by Comcast to buy TWC: Zero (0)
  • Including Comcast, the number of companies Time Warner Cable has tried to sell itself to this year: 2
  • Days elapsed between the official failure of the Comcast merger and Charter’s official offer to buy TWC instead: 32
  • $55 billion: what Charter is willing to spend on acquiring TWC
  • $45 billion: Comcast’s failed offer
  • $37 billion: What Charter tried to pay for TWC back before Comcast had a go.

Student Loans Still Suck

Student debt remains a pressing problem for a full generation of young adults, and isn’t looking so hot for the next generation either.

  • 69% of college graduates finish with outstanding student loans…
  • …with an average debt load of $28,950.
  • That’s 6% more borrowers with an average of 2% more debt than last year, when it was 63% of students oweing an average of $28,400.
  • Graduates today will owe, on average, more than 56% more than their counterparts of only a decade ago.
  • Over 41 million Americans have an open student loan.
  • Collectively, borrowers owe more than $1.2 trillion in student debt.
  • 75: the minimum age at which the Class of 2015 will probably be able to retire.

And Finally, Your Humble Hosts

In 2015, here at Consumerist…

  • A staff of just 5 editors…
  • …brought you more than 5,850 stories…
  • …averaging over 23 articles posted per workday this year.
  • Of which 7 were about would-be thieves stealing meat from grocery stores by concealing it in their pants…
  • …and 1 (one) who tried the same with shellfish….
  • …while serving up 0 (zero) advertising, because that’s how we roll.

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