Fancy people living in DC can satisfy their truffle craving by heading over to a Safeway in Georgetown, which is selling the hypogeous delicacy for $999.99/lb.
news from the swamp
A provision buried deep within the recently passed Wall Street reform bill has the power to finally kill off mandatory binding arbitration, one of the more dangerous anti-consumer practices still sanctioned by law. While the bill includes a limited provision banishing arbitration agreements from mortgages and home equity loans, it also gives broad powers to the Securities and Exchange Commission and the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to kill off arbitration in all other consumer financial products.
Happy Fourth of July weekend! To help you celebrate Independence Day, which includes independence from the government dole, a Senate filibuster has successfully prevented unemployment benefits from being extended for 1.3 million out of work citizens.
The financial reform compromise may keep our financial system from reprising Chernobyl anytime soon, but it will also change the way consumers use their credit cards. Merchants will soon be allowed to refuse plastic for purchases of less than $10, a rate the Fed can boost as they see fit. Both the Fed and universities will also gain the power to set maximum credit charges. That means no more free flights to Europe after charging your kid’s tuition to your rewards card. The changes will go into effect the day after the compromise is signed into law.
Some shady auto dealers are known to fake financial docs to get customers approved for loans they can’t afford. They refer to senior citizens as “people with oxygen tanks” and even straight up steal money from their ATM account. So, good thing that they can afford good lobbyists, because in the final hours they succeeded in making it so the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau doesn’t apply to them.
Sunscreen makers can say almost anything they want about their product’s sun protection factor or water fighting ability because the FDA’s sunscreen regulations are a just a teensy bit late. Well, they’re actually thirty-two years late, but the FDA swears that they’re going to publish final regulations by October. Except maybe not. So what can consumers do in the meantime?
Now you can sit hitting refresh all day instead of looking out the window every 5 minutes to see if the red flag on the mailbox is down: the White House has ordered the government to switch to direct deposits for all payments to consumers.
Airlines routinely overbook passengers, resulting in passengers getting bumped and having their travel plans disrupted. Currently, you can get the full ticket price if you are bumped, or 2x the ticket if you’re not provided alternative transportation within a certain time frame to the next stop, up to a certain cap level. Newly proposed regulations would increase the amount passengers could get, but it’s not as simple as that. Airline expert Elliott has delved into the report to find out what’s being proposed:
The new Consumer Financial Protection agency will be a place you can go to with your complaints and they will be taken seriously, the White House said this afternoon during a conference call in which Consumerist took part. While, “It’s not totally worked out who’s going to be manning the 1-800 number,” said senior economic adviser Austan Goolsbee,
Death and Taxes 2011 is here! Jess Bachman is famed for his annual poster where he spends two months researching and creating a visual representation of where your taxes go. The result is a stunning six-foot poster that boggles the mind. Now in it’s 4th year, the poster has over 500 departments, agencies, programs, and whatever else the government can spend money on. “It is still the single most open and accessable record of government spending ever created,” says its creator. After the jump, here is this year’s version in full!
Better hope your technorights-based lawsuit doesn’t make it all the way to the US Court of Last Resort, because these august judges might not have a freakin’ clue of what’s going on. Turns out they don’t know the difference between email and a pager, among other things.
Quick, what’s the differences between the House and the Senate bills for creating the Consumer Financial Protection Agency? 4,3,2,1, okay, you can stop sweating, NYT has got you covered. Left column shows House, right column shows Senate. Choose the key areas to focus in on, like consumer protection, risk and executive pay on the left. Then dazzle your friends at the bar tonight!
New service “pHarmony” is like eHarmony except it matches together polluters, lobbyists and politicians looking to make that special connection that only money and power can bring! In this satirical Greenpeace video, an oil lobbyist talks about how used pHarmony to find his true special someone, Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska. He says things like, “We both like to stay up at night and gut energy bills,” “It’s like we finish each other’s legislation,” and, “We talked about how much we both don’t like Jon Stewart.” Worth a chuckle, as long as you don’t take it too seriously and get all bent out of shape about it, oh wait, here comes the Consumerist comment section.
The White House could be planning to start charging banks new fees as a way to trim the deficit, get paid back for the bailout, and teach bankers a lesson they hasn’t sunk in yet. What?! A fee on banks? You’re crazy. Only banks are allowed to make up fees.
Airlines must let passengers stuck in airplanes stranded on the tarmac get off after 3 hours, the Transportation Department today ordered. They’re also now only allowed to starve you for 2 hours, after which they must serve pizza or a reasonable facsimile. Toilets must be functional during the entire time as well.