consumers union

beebo wallace

No, Improved Gas Mileage Doesn’t Put Car Ownership Out Of Reach For Low-Income Americans

Automakers are currently asking the Trump administration to rescind federal fuel economy standards, claiming that these rules make cars more expensive and put car ownership out of reach for low-income Americans. However, a new report contends that the data doesn’t support this argument. [More]

Furgus

Senators Pitch Last-Minute Attempt To Exempt Pizza Places From New Menu Labeling Law

On May 5, 2017, new federal regulations finalized three years ago will go into effect that require chain restaurants with 20 or more outlets to post calorie counts on their menus, as well as on food items sold in vending machines and snack bars. Before that happens, lawmakers in the Senate have introduced a bill to make a few revisions. What would those revisions mean for consumers faced with making mealtime decisions? [More]

inajeep

Cable & Phone Industries Tell Congress To Reverse New Internet Privacy Rule

Last fall, the FCC approved a new rule detailing internet service providers can and can’t gather and use your information. The affected industries cried “unfair!” and now, with a new business-friendly FCC Chairman and White House, they are calling on Congress to make this pesky privacy rule go away. [More]

These Toys Don’t Just Listen To Your Kid; They Send What They Hear To A Defense Contractor

These Toys Don’t Just Listen To Your Kid; They Send What They Hear To A Defense Contractor

Kids say a lot of random, unsolicited, or just plain personal things to their toys while playing. When that toy is stuffed with just fluff and beans, it doesn’t matter what the kid says: their toy is a safe sounding board. When their playtime companion is an internet-connected recording device that ships off audio files to a remote server without even notifying parents — that’s a whole other kind of problem. [More]

Scott W. Vincent

Listen To This Creepy Robocall & See Why 750K People Want Free Robo-Blocking Tools

As if auto-dialed, pre-recorded robocalls weren’t bad enough, scammers are now blasting out robocalls that use poorly synthesized text-to-talk programs in an effort to try to frighten people into thinking they are being sued. [More]

Phillip Bradshaw

Consumers Union Asks FTC To Investigate Mylan For Possible Antitrust Law Violations

The EpiPen is a necessity for people who are at risk of anaphylaxis, a life-threatening type of allergic reaction. They’re a common item in kids’ backpacks and home first-aid kits, and the name has become a generic term that refers to epinephrine auto-injectors. Yet the product itself is only available as a brand-name product that costs hundreds of dollars. [More]

MeneerDijk

New Rules Aim To Regulate Online College Programs

Colleges offering distance education, such as online courses, must receive authorization from each state where it has students in order to receive federal financial aid, according to recently released rules that aim to better regulate the online education industry and ensure students understand what protections they have when attending a college in another state.  [More]

Safety Advocates Applaud IKEA Recall, Hope Consumers Return Or Anchor Dressers

Safety Advocates Applaud IKEA Recall, Hope Consumers Return Or Anchor Dressers

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]

Anti-Robocall “ROBOCOP Act” Gets New Life In Senate

Anti-Robocall “ROBOCOP Act” Gets New Life In Senate

Two months ago, Rep. Jackie Speier (CA) introduced the ROBOCOP Act, a bill that would compel phone service providers to finally make it easier for customers to block automated and prerecorded robocalls. With that bill sitting idly in committee — and executives like AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson incorrectly claiming they need permission to deploy robo-blockers — maybe it’s time for ROBOCOP 2: The Senate Version. [More]

frankieleon

Florida Implements Law Protecting Consumers From Surprise Medical Bills

Florida is now the second state behind New York to shield consumers from expensive surprise medical bills, as Governor Rick Scott today signed into law legislation that would protect patients from balance-billing in both emergency and non-emergency hospital situations.  [More]

(alexkerhead)

Lawmakers Renew Push To Curb Unwanted Robocalls

In the last few days, legislators in both the House and Senate have once again pushed the issue of nuisance pre-recorded, auto-dialed robocalls back into the spotlight — urging telecom providers to give customers more tools for blocking these calls, and trying to roll back the government’s ability to abuse robocalls for its own debt-collection purposes. [More]

Sapurah Lashari

Advocates: Schools Using Forced Arbitration Shouldn’t Receive Federal Aid

For-profit colleges that require students to sign away their legal rights, forcing them into arbitration in order to enroll in classes should not receive federal financial aid, a coalition of 47 consumer advocacy groups urged acting Secretary of Education John King on Friday.  [More]

Coalition Forms To Fight “Mega Cable” Merger Between Charter, TWC, & Bright House

Coalition Forms To Fight “Mega Cable” Merger Between Charter, TWC, & Bright House

Last year a group of unlikely allies came together to create the coalition called Stop Mega Comcast to, well, stop the creation of the Comcast-Time Warner Cable mega company. This year, a similar group of improbable allies have come together to oppose the latest big-cable merger between Time Warner Cable, Charter, and Bright House Networks.  [More]

TWC has updated its VoiceZone site to include the option of turning Nomorobo on or off with a click.

Time Warner Cable Integrates Robocall-Blocker Into Telephone Service

While traditional phone companies have been reluctant to integrate available call-blocking technology to help consumers avoid unwanted “robocalls,” some six million Time Warner Cable customers will now be able to turn on a free feature that can cut down on these telephonic annoyances. [More]

CenturyLink customers joined Consumers Union's End Robocalls team this morning to deliver a petition to the CL offices in Phoenix.

More Than 500,000 People Ask CenturyLink To Help End Robocalls

Even though the FCC has said that landline operators can offer robocall-blocking technology to their customers, many of them have so far chosen to not do so. That’s why our colleagues at Consumers Union hand-delivered a petition with more than 500,000 signatures to CenturyLink this morning, hoping to drive home how fed-up consumers are with these unwanted interruptions. [More]

(alexkerhead)

Phone Companies Can Filter Out Robocalls, They Just Aren’t Doing It

Even in an age when everyone has Caller ID on their cellphones and landlines, when more than 200 million numbers are listed on the national Do Not Call Registry, our phones are still inundated with unwanted auto-dialed and prerecorded calls. And though state and federal regulators regularly shut down illegal telemarketing operations, it can seem like a game of Whac-A-Mole, with new robocallers popping up to replace the old ones. [More]

Provision In Highway Funding Bill Would Require The IRS To Use Private Debt Collectors

Provision In Highway Funding Bill Would Require The IRS To Use Private Debt Collectors

While federal regulators continually work to crack down on private debt collectors that utilize unsavory, illegal tactics to make consumers pay up, government agencies often contract these entities to collect a variety of debts. That practice could continue if a provision in the Highway Trust Fund Bill receives approval.  [More]