Imagine receiving a phone call that 25% of your wages are going to be garnished because of a credit card account opened 14 years earlier that was never paid off. Making things worse, you know you didn’t have a credit card from the bank in question at that time, so it can’t possibly be your debt. This should be an easily remedied error, but not if a court has already granted a default judgment against you, making you responsible for paying back money that you didn’t owe and didn’t find out about until it was too late. [More]
Not so long ago, many college campuses regularly played host to credit card company shills, giving away T-shirts and pizzas to students in exchange for filling out account applications. Then the Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure (CARD) Act of 2009 put an end to most of these practices, leading card issuers to devise new ways to market directly to the under-21 crowd. [More]
Many consumers thinking of pursuing a higher education weigh the pros and the cons of a specific college: tuition, convenience, available areas of study. Last month, the Department of Education announced it would make the college shopping experience a little easier for prospective students by creating a consumer-facing online college comparison system. While the tool will no doubt be helpful, consumer advocates warn that, as it stands, the system will be missing a vital information: whether or not schools are party to investigation, lawsuits or settlements over harmful and deceptive practices. [More]
The Affordable Care Act scored a major victory today as the Supreme Court upheld provisions allowing the government to provide tax subsidies for consumers who purchased insurance through the program, although their states don’t have an official insurance exchange of their own. [More]
With major fast food chains like McDonald’s, Chick fil-A, Chipotle, and Panera all now sourcing at least some meat that wasn’t raised using medically important antibiotics, a coalition of some 50 consumer and health advocacy groups are asking Subway, the fast food chain with the most stores in the U.S., to give drug-free meat a try. [More]
When you’re recovering from surgery, the last thing you want is to be blindsided by an unexpected bill for hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars because the hospital hired an out-of-network anesthesiologist or other specialist without telling you. Unfortunately, this type of surprise medical bill has become an unwelcome reality for nearly 30% of privately insured Americans. California lawmakers have just cleared a major hurdle in their goal of enacting a law that would protect consumers from unforeseen and often unavoidable medical charges. [More]
College students’ federal aid has increasingly been put at risk by the cozy relationship between institutions of higher education and credit card issuers over the years. While consumer advocates and legislators have debated whether or not products like student IDs that double as credit or debit cards provide an actual benefit to students or if they’re just a way for schools and banks to rake in the big bucks, the Department of Education finally took steps today to ensure students are afforded proper protections from excess fees and other harmful practices with the proposal of regulations targeting the college debit and prepaid card marketplace. [More]
Given the sheer number of high-profile data breaches in recent years, and the varying levels of personal information stolen, it can be difficult to quantify how many American consumers were affected. A new survey tries to answer the questions of how many people have had their info stolen (a lot) and what consumers are doing to protect themselves (not much). [More]
When you visit your doctor for a blood test, get an ultrasound, or have surgery at a medical facility that accepts your insurance, you likely expect that you’ll only be required to go out-of-pocket for the co-pays and deductibles detailed in your health plan. But the results of a new survey show that there’s a decent chance you’ll be hit with a surprise charge or two when those medical bills finally arrive. [More]
While consumers are often urged to take advantage of the free once-a-year opportunity to request a credit report and make sure they aren’t riddled with errors, a new survey suggests many Americans simply aren’t heeding the suggestion. [More]
When the new gainful employment rules take effect later this year, for-profit educators would need to demonstrate that their programs are actually training graduates to earn a living. But a pending piece of legislation seeks to give these schools a free pass to billions of dollars in federal student aid.
If there’s one thing consumers can agree on… well, it’s probably that they don’t like Comcast. But if there are two things that consumers can agree on, it’s that and also that robocalls suck. The tech to block robocalls is out there, but phone companies don’t use it. And their excuses for not doing so aren’t getting any better.
The Fair Isaac Corporation – better known to consumers as FICO – is on the verge of turning the credit score game on its head with the release of a new credit-scoring approach that would consider consumers’ monthly bills, such as those for utilities and wireless plans, when determining creditworthiness. The change is purportedly intended to help consumers on the low end of the credit spectrum, but some consumer advocates are concerned that lower-income Americans could be the ones most adversely affected. [More]
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]
Nearly one in four consumers continue to turn to high-cost, short-term financial products like payday loans, auto-title loans and other pricey alternatives when struggling to make ends meet, even though research shows these expensive lines of credit often leave consumers worse off than when they began. After nearly three years studying the issue, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is now announcing its first attempt to protect consumers from predatory lenders. [More]
Just weeks after the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau released a report showing that tens of millions of Americans have clauses in their credit card, checking account, student loan and wireless phone contracts that take away their rights to sue those companies in a court of law, more than 100 consumer groups have signed a letter urging the Bureau to address the use of forced arbitration clauses by issuing rules forbidding the clauses. [More]
Even though millions of Americans are on the federal Do Not Call list to limit unwanted telemarketing calls, and even though it’s illegal for anyone to make a commercial prerecorded robocall to a consumer who hasn’t given their express consent to receive such calls, the problem persists and is getting worse, with no cure-all solution in the offing. [More]
You still hate robocalls. We still hate robocalls. And over 200,000 other Americans hate robocalls, too, and have signed on to a petition asking their phone companies to just roll out the darn tech to block them already.