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February 25, 2012 | By Jim Puzzanghera, Los Angeles Times
Consumer confidence rose in February for the sixth straight month, according to a leading barometer, with 29% of the respondents saying they expected the unemployment rate to go down. The percentage of people expressing optimism about the job market was the highest since 2004, according to data released Friday by the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan Survey of Consumers. The consumer sentiment index rose to 75.3 in February, up 0.4% from the previous month. But despite the more upbeat perspective, Americans reported that their personal finances were still in rough shape.
July 2, 2013 | By Andrea Chang
Consumers often turn to the Internet to research a product before buying. Fake reviews are always a concern, and the problem may be bigger than previously thought. There have long been reports and rumors of businesses posting negative reviews of their competitors' products or companies that pay or reward users to write glowing reviews (known as cyber-shilling). But new research shows that loyal customers are writing extremely negative reviews about products they never purchased.
November 23, 2012 | By Walter Hamilton and Ricardo Lopez, Los Angeles Times
As you pack into the mall today with hordes of other Black Friday shoppers, think of it as an act of economic patriotism. With your shopping bags full of holiday gifts, you'll once again be playing a central role in the U.S. economy. After retrenching in the early days of the recovery, consumers are reasserting themselves as the key driver of U.S. economic growth. And that's coming at an opportune time, given that other economic propellants such as manufacturing and exports have slowed.
April 15, 2012 | By Chad Terhune, Los Angeles Times
Californians are still struggling to get straight answers about the cost of common medical procedures despite state efforts aimed at lifting the veil on medical pricing. As consumers shoulder a larger share of their healthcare costs, the ability to comparison shop is key to keeping that care affordable. Medical costs borne by U.S. employees have more than doubled since 2002 to more than $8,000 a year, while the median household income has dropped 4%. Under a state law that took effect in 2006, hospitals must publish their average charges for the most common procedures on a state website.
December 17, 2010 | By Sandra M. Jones
Early this fall, James Reinhart noticed something odd happening at ThredUp, the children's clothing swap site the Harvard Business School graduate and his buddies dreamed up a year ago. Swappers started using the online exchange to trade toys. As the volume of toy trading increased, ThredUp decided there was enough demand to expand its service. The San Francisco start-up officially launched its toy exchange site Dec. 6, just as holiday shopping shifted into full gear. The turn of events at ThredUp signals how dramatically shopping is changing in the wake of the Great Recession.
October 1, 2013 | By Patrick McGreevy
A report on "60 Minutes" has resulted in a new California law giving consumers the ability to make sure their credit reports are accurate. Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley) said she was watching the CBS program and was struck by the results of a study by the Federal Trade Commission that as many as 40 million Americans have inaccurate information and errors in their credit reports. “As consumers, we deserve every right to view our credit histories, especially if a bank, landlord or employer has this information and can use it to deny our credit applications,” Skinner said.
October 30, 1987 | From a Times Staff Writer
Consumers say their buying plans haven't changed and their confidence was only moderately shaken by the stock market upheaval, according to a survey by the Conference Board. A survey commissioned by the nonprofit business research institute found that nearly 73% of the consumers questioned still intend to make planned purchases of automobiles, household appliances, furniture and other major goods despite the market turmoil.
September 28, 2008 | From Times Wire Reports
Premier Wen Jiabao promised to improve Chinese food safety amid a widening scandal over tainted milk that has sickened thousands of children. "We plan not only to revitalize the food industry and the milk powder industry, we will try to ensure that all China-made products are safe for consumers, and consumers can buy with assurance," Wen said at the World Economic Forum in the port city of Tianjin. The scandal erupted this month after melamine, used to make plastics and fertilizer, was found in powdered milk and linked to kidney stones in children.
May 27, 2007
Re "Climate commitment," Opinion, May 23 Ronald Brownstein blames stagnant gains in fuel economy on "manufacturers prizing performance above mileage." Wrong. It's consumers who prize performance above mileage. When I bought my car, the dealer would have been happy to sell me the four-cylinder model -- there were plenty in stock -- but I valued the tire-smoking V6 over the extra 4 mpg. It's my fault, not the auto industry's. If you want to toughen fuel economy laws, at least have the intellectual honesty to say that you are regulating consumers, not the car companies.
October 18, 2011 | David Lazarus
Thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court, you may not have the right to sue a company you think has wronged you. Instead, if the company prefers, you could have to arbitrate the dispute — a process that consumer advocates say tips the scales of justice in favor of businesses. That imbalance would be remedied with passage of the Arbitration Fairness Act, a bill under consideration in Congress that would supersede the Supreme Court's ruling and reestablish consumers' right to sue and to join with others in class-action lawsuits.
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