March 21, 2014 |
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.
August 22, 2013 |
Patent trolls are a widely reported problem for big business and technology makers. They are companies that exist primarily to buy up patents and then collect money, in the form of licenses or lawsuit settlements, from alleged infringers of those patents. Trolls take advantage of a patent system with serious flaws, and their abuse of the system is creating, as a White House fact sheet recently put it, a "drain on the American economy. " And, as it turns out, a drain on you, the ordinary consumer.
December 10, 2013 |
Godfrey is fed up with those subscription cards that come tumbling out of magazines. Why do publishers bother using them? The publishing industry calls these things "blow-in" cards, and they've been around for years as a way to attract new subscribers. ASK LAZ: Smart answers to consumer questions In 2009, the New York Times reported that blow-in cards appeared to be falling out of favor as digital distribution grew. But there's not much evidence to back that up. So why does this pesky practice persist?
December 5, 2013 |
I don't get bitcoins. I'm not saying they're a scam. I just don't get them. For the uninitiated, bitcoins are a made-up digital currency not backed by the full faith and credit of any government. They're worth only what users say they're worth. And they seem to be growing in popularity (except in China, which says it wants nothing to do with them). ASK LAZ: Smart answers to consumer questions Fred says he doesn't have any bitcoins. But if he did, he wants to know if he could exchange them for real dollars.
February 27, 2014 |
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.
February 14, 2001 |
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?
June 7, 2009
Re: David Lazarus' consumer column, "Finally, AT&T writes a contract in plain English," May 31: "The 8,000-word contract was a triumph of consumer-unfriendliness" -- and clearly was written by lawyers on steroids! Michael Lohnberg Agoura Hills