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BUSINESS
February 23, 2014 | By Dawn C. Chmielewski
Netflix has agreed to pay Comcast to ensure the subscription service's movies and TV shows stream seamlessly in a deal that underscores the power of distribution in the digital era - and could mean higher rates for consumers. The nation's leading online video service and the largest U.S. provider of home Internet access said the agreement is designed to ensure that Netflix subscribers can watch the new season of "House of Cards" and other content free of the pauses and hiccups subscribers have reported in recent months.
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NEWS
February 21, 2014 | By Lisa Boone
Early last year, Scott Tannen and his wife, Missy Tannen , were shopping for sheets when they experienced firsthand the confusion that comes in trying to find quality sheets. “I just wanted a beautiful, soft set of white sheets,” Missy Tannen said. “Every display was full of nebulous buzzwords like 'thread count,' and the prices seemed really high. The longer I stared at the shelves, the more confused I became. I had no confidence that I would walk out of the store with something great.” Motivated by that shopping experience, the couple founded Boll & Branch in January in an effort to offer 100% organic cotton sheets directly to consumers from Chetna Organic, an Indian cooperative that supports sustainable farming and community development.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 18, 2014 | By Melanie Mason
SACRAMENTO - A protracted political battle over California's medical malpractice law may be coming to a new front: the voting booth. For decades, trial lawyers and consumer groups have railed against limits on certain damages in malpractice cases, arguing that such restrictions deny victims fair compensation for grisly medical mistakes. Insurance companies, doctors and other healthcare providers have been equally vigorous in defending the law, saying it is crucial to controlling costs and maintaining the availability of care.
BUSINESS
February 18, 2014 | By Marc Lifsher
SACRAMENTO - Personal information collected from credit card shoppers would be better protected by upgrading the country's entire payment system to technology that has dramatically reduced fraud in Europe. That was the consensus of a group of retailers, bankers, credit card companies and consumer advocates at a legislative hearing Tuesday. Legislators delved into the causes of a recent hacking of about 70 million computerized customer records at Target Corp. and a smaller incident involving about 1.1 million customers at Neiman Marcus department stores.
OPINION
February 14, 2014 | By The Times editorial board
The proposed merger between Comcast and Time Warner Cable, the country's two largest cable TV operators, generated a predictable wave of outrage from opponents of corporate consolidation. With about 30% of all pay-TV customers served by its wires, the combined company would have extraordinary leverage when negotiating with television networks over the fees for their programming. It also would be the gatekeeper to a third of all U.S. homes with broadband. Those are scary scenarios for consumers and content companies.
BUSINESS
February 13, 2014 | By David Lazarus
So will Comcast's roughly $45-billion merger with Time Warner Cable be good for consumers? To no one's surprise, Comcast Chief Executive Brian L. Roberts said Thursday that the answer is a resounding yes. Consumers will be the big winners here, he said. In Roberts' words, the merger would be "pro-consumer," "pro-competitive" and "in the public's interest. " But will it? The merger would allow Comcast to dominate the cable industry and to be the big dog in 19 of the nation's 20 largest pay-TV markets.
NEWS
February 13, 2014 | By Lisa Boone
Packed with every type of light imaginable - including antique-brass chain pendants, Sputnik sconces and organic-looking wood chandeliers - the first direct-to-consumer Arteriors store, in West Hollywood, is sure to please the lighting-fixated. The business has been around since 1987, when Mark Moussa started the Dallas-based company as a design firm specializing in lighting, furniture and decorative accessories sold primarily to the trade. On Wednesday, Moussa opened the firm's first retail store, on the corner of Melrose Avenue and Huntley Drive, two doors down from the new Design Within Reach studio.
BUSINESS
February 12, 2014 | By David Lazarus
Joe bought a new car and received a few free months of Sirius XM, the satellite radio service. When that was done, Sirius asked if he wanted a six-month trial for $25. Joe said yes. ASK LAZ: Smart answers to consumer questions Then he lost track of time. After six months passed, Joe noticed that Sirius had dinged him for more than $100 to continue his subscription. He asks: Is that legal? It's not only legal, it's common. For more on what you should do -- and my thoughts on satellite radio -- check out today's Ask Laz video.
BUSINESS
February 9, 2014 | By Kenneth R. Harney
WASHINGTON - Got problems with the company that services your home mortgage - the one that collects your payments, keeps track of your escrow account and lets you know when you're late? So your monthly numbers don't look right? You got blown off by servicing personnel when you tried to get inaccuracies in your account corrected? Well, move over. You've got lots of grumpy company. As of Jan. 31, just under half of the 187,818 complaints filed with the federal watchdog Consumer Financial Protection Bureau concerned mortgage foul-ups, and the vast majority of these involved servicing, loan modification and foreclosure activities by servicers.
AUTOS
February 5, 2014 | By David Undercoffler
Tesla, the California-based electric brand behind the Model S, stormed into the top five automotive brands in a recent survey by Consumer Reports, the organization announced Wednesday. The company rounds out a group led by Toyota, Ford, Honda, and Chevrolet as the automakers that ranked highest in overall brand perception. Tesla ranked 11th in last year's survey. Rounding out the top 10 this year were Subaru, Mercedes-Benz, Volvo, Cadillac and BMW. The annual survey by Consumer Reports asks people about seven factors they consider when buying a car, weighing them from most important to least: quality, safety, performance, value, fuel economy, design and technology.
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