The Federal Trade Commission’s Funeral Rule requires disclosures and price breakdowns to protect consumers who, unless they’re pre-planning their own funeral, are operating on a time crunch and are grieving. Yet a recent study found that more than a fifth of funeral homes failed to correctly explain and itemize available options and the expenses for direct cremation. [More]
Fully autonomous cars will be available to consumers someday, but not yet. After consumer advocates, including our own parent organization, Consumer Reports, complained to Mercedes and to the Federal Trade Commission about the misleading nature of an ad that shows off a new model’s driver-assist features. The car isn’t autonomous, but advocates were concerned that the ads imply that it is. [More]
Safety advocates were deeply disappointed earlier this year when the news came that another child was killed that the very popular Malm dresser from IKEA fell on top of him. It’s horrible every time that an ordinary household object kills someone, but this model of dresser was part of a voluntary repair program that IKEA wouldn’t call a recall. Now the dressers have been officially recalled, but that should have happened before another child died. [More]
Many people who seek online payday loans are already in a very vulnerable position when they take on the added risk of the excessive interest rates and often exorbitant fees associated with these short-term loans. But there’s another danger possibly lurking in the payday shadows: Having all their personal and financial data end up in the hands of cyber criminals. [More]
Critics of payday lending say the practice traps many borrowers in a debt spiral, forcing them to take out additional loans to pay back the first. Yet these short-term loans do have proponents (many of them profiting from the industry) who claim that without this pricey option for quick cash, desperate consumers will turn to more unsavory means, leading to increased crime rates and other doom and gloom predictions. But does that really happen? [More]
No wonder car salesmen get a bad rap: it’s very much deserved! At least that’s according to a new report by the Consumer Federation of America of the top 10 consumer complaints. “Misrepresentations in advertising or sales of new and used cars, lemons, faulty repairs, leasing and towing disputes,” top the list. It’s almost enough to make you want to switch to a velocipede!
The next wave of the credit crisis — the skyrocketing defaults on credit cards — is coming in and odd alliances are being formed. The Consumer Federation of America, along with the Financial Services Roundtable ( a self-described “major player on Capitol Hill and with the regulators” which represents the securities, investment, insurance and banking industries) has requested a “special program that would allow as much as 40 percent of credit card debt to be forgiven for consumers who don’t qualify for existing repayment plans.”