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BUSINESS
August 17, 2008 | David Colker, Times Staff Writer
When it comes to choosing broadband Internet providers, you can't always get what you want. But with certain limitations, you can get what you need. If you use the Internet regularly, chances are you already have broadband -- that is, a high-speed hookup, usually through your cable television provider or phone company. But are you getting it at the right speed and right price? There are more choices than ever, even though you typically have to go with a provider that serves your neighborhood.
ARTICLES BY DATE
BUSINESS
April 9, 2014 | By Chris O'Brien
The "Heartbleed" software flaw that triggered alarm bells around the world could fundamentally undermine two decades' worth of efforts to persuade consumers they could trust the Web to securely handle such tasks as buying a pair of shoes and applying for a job. The discovery of a gaping hole in a piece of software that was supposed to protect personal information from hackers left websites rushing to fix the bug while consumers struggled to understand...
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BUSINESS
July 26, 1989 | LESLIE BERKMAN, Times Staff Writer
That envelope stuffed with discount coupons may be junk mail to you, but it's become a cost-effective way for a growing number of small businesses to get inside your home to peddle their products. It has also become a gold mine for Money Mailer, a Huntington Beach direct-mail firm that specializes in helping proprietors of small businesses band together to pitch their wares in one mailing. Money Mailer is one of a few national firms that specialize in what is called "cooperative" advertising.
BUSINESS
April 1, 2014 | By Jerry Hirsch and David Undercoffler
Despite General Motors' recent recall of millions of its cars - and several investigations into the issue - buyers are still streaming into GM dealerships. The beleaguered automaker announced Tuesday that sales in March rose 4% compared with the same month a year earlier. Nearly the entire industry saw a similar jump in the U.S., with sales up 5.7% to 1.54 million vehicles, according to Autodata. Pent-up consumer demand and healthy sales incentives helped companies rebound from a slow February, when bad weather throughout much of the country kept buyers away, according to Mark Wakefield, managing director at AlixPartners and head of its automotive practice in North America.
NATIONAL
May 17, 2012 | By Rene Lynch
Skechers has agreed to pay $40 million to consumers who purchased its  rocker-bottom shoes under the mistaken belief that the shoes would help give them Kim Kardashian's booty or Joe Montana's stamina. So how do you get your piece of the payout if you purchased the shoes months, if not years ago, and don't have a receipt? No problem. This refund relies largely on the honor system. Anyone who purchased the company's line of Shape-Up shoes -- or its Resistance Runners, Tone-ups or Toners -- is entitled to a partial refund whether they have proof of purchase or not, officials said Thursday.
BUSINESS
January 1, 2014 | By Shan Li
The final phase of a ban on incandescent light bulbs goes into effect Wednesday, leaving consumers with pricier energy-efficient options that are expected to save people money over time. Beginning Jan. 1, the production of 40- and 60-watt incandescent light bulbs is banned as part of efficiency standards signed into law by President George W. Bush in 2007.  PHOTOS: Best and worst countries in which to grow old The government phased out 75- and 100-watt incandescent bulb over the last few years.
SCIENCE
January 16, 2014 | By Melissa Healy
Imagine for a moment that all of the nation's fast-food establishments--all the striped awnings and golden arches, the drive-thru windows, the beckoning dollar deals and wafting odor of French fries--were to vanish overnight. Would the number of our kids who carry an unhealthful amount of extra weight plummet? The answer is very likely no, says a study published Thursday in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Because if you shut off the supply of 24-ounce fountain drinks, bacon cheeseburgers, fried chicken and stuffed tacos, the children who frequently eat at fast-food restaurants will go home and do what they generally do when not eating at a fast-food restaurant: They'll snarf cookies and chips, chug sugar-sweetened soda from a bottle, and heat up frozen pizzas.
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.
BUSINESS
November 20, 2012 | By Tiffany Hsu
Some staggering new figures about Asian American consumers are out this month: Their buying power is up 523% since 1990, reaching $718.4 billion this year. If the demographic were a nation, it'd be the 18th-largest economy in the world. Within five years, Asian American buying power will surge over $1 trillion, according to a report this month from Nielsen. At the moment, 28% of households in the group have annual incomes greater than $100,000, compared with 18% of all Americans.
BUSINESS
February 25, 2014 | By Ricardo Lopez
Consumer confidence retreated in February as fewer Americans expressed optimism about near-term economic conditions, the Conference Board reported Tuesday. The consumer confidence index fell to 78.1, down from 79.4 in January. The drop was primarily in its expectations index -- which measures consumers' expectations of economic activity in the next six months.  The survey found that consumers had "concern over the short-term outlook for business conditions, jobs and earnings,” said Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators.
HEALTH
March 29, 2014 | Dana Sullivan Kilroy
There's a reason wine and spirits are stored in glass: purity of taste. Plastic (and, to a lesser degree, metal) can impart various "flavors" into the liquids it comes into contact with. But that's just one reason that glass is an increasingly popular alternative to plastic and aluminum or stainless steel sport-style bottles. Another is peace of mind. About five years ago, scientists and the Food and Drug Administration started issuing warnings about bisphenol A, commonly called BPA, a chemical used in plastics and in the linings of some metal vessels.
BUSINESS
March 28, 2014 | By Chad Terhune and Soumya Karlamangla
Strong consumer interest in Obamacare coverage ahead of Monday's enrollment deadline was leading to long waits and website trouble for some Californians. The Covered California exchange said sign-ups have been building throughout the week with about 80,000 people picking a health plan Monday through Thursday. An additional 150,000 households created an online account and started the shopping process in the last three days, officials said. That heavy volume was creating havoc, confusion and delays for many consumers, enrollment counselors and insurance agents trying to use the exchange's website.
BUSINESS
March 25, 2014 | By Jim Puzzanghera
Consumers are more optimistic about the economy than they've been in years, and that could help heat up the recovery after a deep winter chill. A closely watched barometer of consumer confidence surged this month to its highest level in more than six years. The report by the Conference Board on Tuesday added to indications that some weak economic data in recent months were caused by unusually bad weather and were not a harbinger of a more protracted slowdown. "Consumer confidence made significant progress in March, indicating that the winter economic blues … are somewhat behind us," said Chris Christopher, director of consumer economics at IHS Global Insight.
BUSINESS
March 24, 2014 | By Jim Puzzanghera
WASHINGTON - Four out of five people who take out a short-term payday loan either roll it over or take out another one within two weeks, pushing them into a cycle of debt, according to a report to be released Tuesday by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Nearly a quarter of borrowers - 22% - renewed the loan at least six times, causing them to end up paying more in fees than they originally borrowed, the bureau said in an analysis of 12 million loans made by storefront payday loan companies.
BUSINESS
March 22, 2014 | Ricardo Lopez
If the IRS is calling and demanding you pay up or else, it's probably not the IRS. In what officials in Washington are calling the largest of its kind, a sophisticated phone scam has swindled 20,000 people nationally out of a combined $1 million. Scammers are armed with enough information and technological know-how to bilk taxpayers, often convincing unsuspecting victims because they can recite the last four digits of their Social Security number, officials said. The call that comes in appears to be -- at least on caller ID -- from the Internal Revenue Service.
BUSINESS
March 19, 2014 | By Jerry Hirsch
In a landmark settlement of criminal charges, Toyota Motor Corp. admitted deceiving regulators about deadly safety defects and agreed to pay $1.2 billion, the largest penalty ever imposed on an automaker. In the unprecedented deal with the U.S. Justice Department, the world's largest automaker admitted it misled consumers about two defects that caused unintended sudden-acceleration incidents - sticking gas pedals and floor mats trapping the pedals. “Toyota put sales over safety, and profit over principle,” said George Venizelos, assistant director of the FBI. “The disregard Toyota had for the safety of the public was outrageous.
BUSINESS
February 15, 2013 | by Walter Hamilton
Consumer sentiment rebounded solidly early in February after a disappointing showing the previous two months, according to a survey released Friday. The monthly Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment index rose to 76.3, up from 73.8 in January. Quiz: How much do you know about looming federal budget cuts? The readings in December and January were weighed down by Americans' concerns about the potential drag from the so-called fiscal cliff, which federal lawmakers averted with a last-minute deal.
AUTOS
February 1, 2013 | By Brian Thevenot
Toyota, Ford and Honda ranked highest in a consumer survey of brand perception by Consumer Reports, and Tesla - the Palo Alto-based maker of electric cars - made the Top 10.  The best brands list largely mirrors the survey from last year, in which the top six brands finished in the same order, according to the product-testing organization and consumer magazine, which released the results Friday. Scoring worst in the survey were Mitsubishi and Toyota's Scion brand - tying for last place - and Ram trucks, scoring third worst.
OPINION
March 17, 2014 | By Michael Shermer
The New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission last week voted to prohibit Tesla from selling its electric vehicles directly to consumers, a decision endorsed by the New Jersey Coalition of Automotive Retailers and Gov. Chris Christie. New Jersey is the third state, after Texas and Arizona, to block Tesla from direct sales, all under the guise of protecting consumers. Some free market. Of course, auto dealers prefer an arrangement in which they have exclusive rights to sell a certain manufacturer's product.
BUSINESS
March 13, 2014 | By Chad Terhune and Soumya Karlamangla
California is nearing 1 million people enrolled in Obamacare coverage, but the state's insurance exchange is still running behind in signing up Latinos and young people. In figures released Thursday, the state said 923,832 people had picked a health plan through March 9, and about 1.5 million people have enrolled or been deemed eligible for an expansion of Medi-Cal, the state's Medicaid program for the poor. But the overall rate of health plan sign-ups slowed during February, partly hurt by a five-day outage of the state's enrollment website.
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