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March 17, 1985 | KATHLEEN DAY, Times Staff Writer
When R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. took a picture of a pyramid off its Camel cigarette pack in 1958, loyal Camel smokers steamed. "They were furious. They insisted we changed the product, even though we hadn't touched it," an R. J. Reynolds spokesman said of the company's attempt to update the package. After thousands of angry complaints and a hefty drop in sales, the company restored the brown triangle and hasn't tampered with it much since. Package design, whose importance the Winston-Salem, N.C.
February 27, 2014 | By David Lazarus
Any buyer of a new car has faced this question: Should I plunk down extra money for an extended warranty? It can make sense if you'll sleep better at night knowing you have an additional layer of coverage for your wheels. ASK LAZ: Smart answers to consumer questions But do the statistics bear this out? And do you have to decide right away, when the dealer is pressuring you to come across with more cash? For the answers, check out today's Ask Laz video.
November 26, 2013 | By David Lazarus
Jared wants to know how he can find a certified financial planner who doesn't hit clients for huge commissions but instead wants only a fee for his or her services. First off, big props to you, Jared, for getting your financial house in order. Too many people let things slide instead of making prudent moves to shore up retirement plans or earn the most from their investments. ASK LAZ: Smart answers to consumer questions It's true that many financial planners want a commission.
November 14, 2013 | By David Lazarus
Kyle says he receives a lot of unwanted email from his cable provider, Time Warner Cable. He also says the company appears to be sending him email from other companies. Kyle's question: Is my cable company a spammer? ASK LAZ: Smart answers to consumer questions And the answer is: Yup. Although Time Warner Cable would characterize it instead as notifying customers about goods and services in which they may be interested. What can you do about it? Check out the surprising process in today's Ask Laz video.
December 3, 2013 | By David Lazarus
Kya sells ceramic masks online. A buyer recently instructed her to cash his check and then allow him to pick up his mask later. Kya asks: Is this some kind of scam? Answer: Probably. ASK LAZ: Smart answers to consumer questions It sounds like a variation of a relatively common scam involving bogus checks -- a racket that the Federal Trade Commission says has become a fact of life online. For details of the scam and my advice for not getting duped, check out today's Ask Laz video.
March 21, 2014 | By David Lazarus
Lee is making some changes in his life. He wants to know what happens if he renounces his U.S. citizenship and becomes instead a citizen of the Philippines. Can he keep receiving Social Security checks? An intriguing scenario. Lee doesn't say why he wants to switch teams, but it could have something to do with taxes. A number of Americans jump ship each year because they're displeased with the U.S. tax system. ASK LAZ: Smart answers to consumer questions In any case, the Social Security Administration does have a status for ex-citizens who may be due monthly checks.
The government released rollover risk ratings for 30 more vehicles on Tuesday, giving low marks to eight sport-utility vehicles and high grades to four cars. The ratings of the 2001 vehicles are based on a mathematical formula for measuring the vehicle's center of gravity and width. SUVs and pickup trucks are more top-heavy and thus more likely to get lower marks than a car or van.
December 3, 2008
Re "U.S. tackles consumer debt market," Nov. 26 OK, I admit that I do not have a degree in economics. However, the information I am reading about "bailouts" defies any logic I know as a consumer. The latest is that the government plans to give billions to industries that will encourage consumer credit. Everyone I know is trying desperately to get out from under credit debt. Can someone who has credit-card debt explain how encouraging the use of further indebtedness through credit can help the average consumer?
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