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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.
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BUSINESS
April 25, 2014 | Jim Puzzanghera
WASHINGTON -- Consumer confidence rebounded sharply this month to near a post-Great Recession high since 2007 as Americans were more positive about their financial situation and outlook for the economy, according to a leading private barometer released Friday. The monthly consumer sentiment index from the University of Michigan and Thomson Reuters, which is watched closely by economists and investors, rose to 84.1 from 80 the previous month. The jump surprised economists, who had expected a smaller increase to 82.5.
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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.
NATIONAL
April 25, 2014 | By Ralph Vartabedian
As temperatures plunged to 16 below zero in Chicago in early January and set record lows across the eastern U.S., electrical system managers implored the public to turn off stoves, dryers and even lights or risk blackouts. A fifth of all power-generating capacity in a grid serving 60 million people went suddenly offline, as coal piles froze, sensitive electrical equipment went haywire and utility operators had trouble finding enough natural gas to keep power plants running. The wholesale price of electricity skyrocketed to nearly $2 per kilowatt hour, more than 40 times the normal rate.
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
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.
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.
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.
ENTERTAINMENT
May 22, 2012 | By Joe Flint
BOSTON - A new generation of consumers who have little regard for historical distribution systems will be what drives media companies to rethink their role as gatekeepers to content. "It always seems to be about the kids," said filmmaker Ed Burns who has taken to releasing his movies on non-theatrical platforms, including Apple's iTunes, and on video-on-demand. Speaking at the National Cable Telecommunications Assn. here, Burns said that young people today "are not nostalgic for the way we consumed entertainment.
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.
BUSINESS
April 24, 2014 | By Jim Puzzanghera and Meg James
WASHINGTON - Consumers could end up the losers in a high-stakes battle among regulators, broadband providers and online entertainment giants over access to the Internet's fastest speeds. A new proposal from the head of the Federal Communications Commission would allow network owners such as AT&T Inc. to levy extra charges on Netflix Inc. and other online video purveyors for speedier delivery of content. Those costs, consumer advocates said, ultimately would land on consumers' monthly bills.
BUSINESS
April 22, 2014 | By Ricardo Lopez
A new report released Tuesday by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is warning borrowers of a catch that is pushing private student loans into default even if the loan is in good standing.    The federal consumer agency said that borrowers complain of being blindsided when their student loans automatically default when co-signers -- usually parents or grandparents -- die or fall into bankruptcy. When this happens, lenders demand that the full amount be paid immediately.
BUSINESS
April 21, 2014 | David Lazarus
General Mills, maker of Cheerios and Wheaties, thinks it deserves credit for reversing itself after quietly trying to strip customers of their constitutional right to a day in court. But that's like a homeowner saying he deserves credit for putting out a house fire after deliberately setting his living room ablaze. The reality is that General Mills Inc., one of the nation's largest food companies, tried to pull a fast one on consumers and was caught off-guard by the volume and the scope of the backlash.
BUSINESS
April 21, 2014 | By Ricardo Lopez
General Mills Inc., maker of Cheerios and other grocery staples, has reversed a recent change to its online legal policy after an outcry by consumers. The policy had been quietly updated last week to include terms under which any dispute with the company would have to be decided through arbitration, a change first reported by the New York Times last week. Critics and legal experts said the new terms could cost consumers their right to sue in court if they merely "liked" General Mills' social media pages, downloaded coupons from its website or entered any company-sponsored contests.
HEALTH
April 18, 2014 | By Mary MacVean
Just as consumers make their preferences for cereal flavors or pizzas known with dollars, they can choose to patronize companies that they believe do good in the world. And companies are competing for consumer attention with labels calling out their causes. But a product's claims to be providing clean drinking water to desert villages or saving an endangered species doesn't answer all the important questions. How much is donated? How reliable is the cause? The nonprofit organization B Lab gives companies a "B Corp" certification and icon that it says is a litmus test that gives shoppers confidence they're supporting more than good marketing.
NATIONAL
April 15, 2014 | By Paresh Dave, This post has been updated, as indicated below.
Denver police are investigating whether a man suspected of fatally shooting his wife Monday night had been acting strangely because he may have consumed edible marijuana, a law enforcement official said Tuesday. Richard Kirk's wife called 911 to report that her husband was "talking about the end of the world" and hallucinating, behavior that was scaring their three children, according to a Denver Police Department arrest warrant. The woman, whose name was redacted from the warrant, told the dispatcher that Kirk wanted her to shoot him. Eventually, he retrieved a gun from a safe, screamed and then a gunshot is heard on the 911 tape, according to the court document . Officers found the woman lying on the floor of the couple's home, dead from an apparent gunshot to the head.
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.
NEWS
October 24, 2012 | By Karin Klein
Discussions of Proposition 37, the initiative that would require labeling of many genetically engineered foods, tend to bring up two arguments that both seem true at first blush. Opponents claim it would raise the price of food; supporters say it would result in better-informed consumers. But both assertions are more dubious than they appear. The No-on-37 campaign bases most of its claims of higher food prices on a study that it paid for, so obviously the findings are hardly unimpeachable.
BUSINESS
April 14, 2014 | By Chad Terhune
A historic slowdown in U.S. healthcare spending in recent years may be drawing to a close. An industry report published Tuesday and healthcare experts point to a steady rise in medical care being sought by consumers seeing specialists, getting more prescriptions filled and visiting the hospital. Other factors such as millions of newly insured Americans seeking treatment for the first time and higher prices from healthcare consolidation could also help drive up costs. Experts aren't predicting an immediate return to double-digit increases in medical spending.
BUSINESS
April 11, 2014 | By Chris O'Brien
The National Security Agency denied a report that it has exploited the "Heartbleed" bug to spy on consumers for the past two years. "NSA was not aware of the recently identified vulnerability in OpenSSL, the so-called Heartbleed vulnerability, until it was made public in a private sector cybersecurity report," the agency said in a statement. "Reports that say otherwise are wrong. Reports that NSA or any other part of the government were aware of the so-called Heartbleed vulnerability before April 2014 are wrong.
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