Archive for the ‘consumer protections’ Category

Calorie labelling may end up in healthcare reform

July 30, 2009

“The disclosure of calories on chain restaurant menus is no longer just a question of local policy; it is now–due in no small part to Margo’s efforts–a part of the pending health care reform legislation.  If health care passes, so does menu labeling!  What’s remarkable to me is how quickly the policy has progressed in just a couple years — from a mere proposal among public health advocates, to a controversial regulation in a single city, to a measure that’s been adopted by local governments nationwide, to a component of one of the most important pieces of federal legislation in a generation.”


35 law firms sued for illegal debt collection practices

July 27, 2009

“Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo [Wednesday] announced his office has sued 35 law firms and two debt collectors(1) in New York State in order to throw out an estimated 100,000 default judgments improperly obtained against New York consumers. This is the latest action in Cuomo’s ongoing investigation into unlawful debt collection practices.”


Consumer financial product agency vote delayed

July 22, 2009

“Chairman Barney Frank (D-MA) of the House Financial Services Committee has announced that committee consideration of the Obama financial reform plan’s centerpiece Consumer Financial Protection Agency will be delayed from next week until September.”


Mandatory credit card arbitration under attack

July 22, 2009

“Two major arbitration firms are backing away from the business of resolving disputes between customers and their credit-card and cellphone companies, throwing into disarray a controversial system that prevents unhappy consumers from filing lawsuits…

Although arbitration long has been controversial, the current situation developed rapidly starting last week when the Minnesota attorney general’s office sued the National Arbitration Forum, based in St. Louis Park, Minn., over the way it handled disputes. Among other things, the lawsuit contended that NAF didn’t disclose that it has financial ties to the debt-collection industry, violating Minnesota laws against consumer fraud, deceptive trade practices and false advertising.”


Elizabeth Warren on consumer financial protection agency

July 19, 2009

She is always worth reading and we are lucky to have her as a consumer watchdog:

“In short, the consumer credit market is broken. Real competition, the kind that permits informed choices and allows the best products to rise to the top, has disappeared. And as we know all too well, a broken credit market doesn’t hurt just consumers. Reckless lending and borrowing has jeopardized the soundness of some of our biggest banks and caused a severe economic downturn.

The agency proposed by the President would promote clear disclosure of the risks and costs for everything from mortgages and credit cards to payday loans and bank overdraft fees. It would also regulate financial products by type—home loans, say—regardless of what kind of lender issued them. The change would stitch up the hole in the current system that permits credit-card issuers to pick their regulators and lets nonbank mortgage companies grant loans with no effective oversight.”


Mortgage loan modification reforms pushed

July 15, 2009

“The National Consumer Law Center [NCLC] is calling for a ban on advance fees for loan modification help and a federal rule that no one can charge homeowners fees unless the loan modification actually helps homeowners avoid foreclosure. The NCLC’s report was released [Friday], just ahead of the Federal Trade Commission’s deadline for comments on whether the agency should take steps to declare some loan modification practices unfair and deceptive.”


Class Disputes Best Buy’s Computer Claims

July 9, 2009

“Best Buy grossly overstates the battery power of the laptop computers it sells, according to a class action in St. Louis County Circuit Court. The class claims Best Buy lists a maximum battery life for each laptop that is more than twice its actual battery power.     Best Buy does not explain how it calculates maximum battery life, but lists it for all the brands the chain store sells, named plaintiff F. Damon Barton says in the complaint.
     Barton claims the maximum battery life claims are based on a dim, barely readable screen, a disabled Wi-Fi and an idling computer processor – in direct contrast to Best Buy’s advertisements.”


Trailer park residents told they don’t own their homes

July 5, 2009

“Residents of a Spokane mobile home park were bewildered to learn they didn’t own the homes they live in. When an investigation by the Washington Attorney General’s Office revealed that the owner of West Prairie Village never properly transferred the titles, the business agreed to make things right. West Prairie Village owner, Vito Enterprises, U.S., Ltd., cooperated with the state’s investigation and signed an agreement submitted […] for filing in Thurston County Superior Court.”


FTC closes down scam mortgage service

June 23, 2009

“At the request of the Federal Trade Commission, a federal court has halted a bogus mortgage foreclosure prevention operation that misrepresented both the “loss mitigation” services it offered and the earnings potential of the business opportunity it sold. The FTC seeks to end this deceptive scheme and make the defendants give up their ill-gotten gains.”

The defendants are Freedom Foreclosure Prevention Services, LLC, Loss Mitigation Training Center of America, LLC, Jeffrey C. Segal, and Michael R. Workman. The Commission vote to authorize staff to file the complaint was 4-0. The complaint was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona. On June 1, 2009, the court entered a temporary restraining order against Freedom Foreclosure Prevention Services, Loss Mitigation Training Center of America, and Segal. The court entered a preliminary injunction against those defendants and defendant Michael Workman on June 18, 2009.”


Cold remedy maker hides 800 complaints from FDA

June 20, 2009

“Matrixx Initiatives admitted Thursday that 800 consumer complaints about Zicam problems were received by the company, but they failed to turn those over to the FDA. A Zicam recall was issued earlier this week for nasal gel and swab versions of the cold remedy after the FDA warned consumers to stop using the products due to reports involving users who lost their sense of smell.”