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BUSINESS
December 6, 2013 | By Chad Terhune
Raising concerns about consumer privacy, California's health exchange has given insurance agents the names and contact information for tens of thousands of people who went online to check out coverage but didn't ask to be contacted. The Covered California exchange said it started handing out this consumer information this week as part of a pilot program to help people enroll ahead of a Dec. 23 deadline to have health insurance in place by Jan. 1. State officials said they are only trying to help potential customers find insurance and sign up in time.
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BUSINESS
October 16, 2012 | By Jim Puzzanghera
WASHINGTON -- Consumers did a better job making on-time payments for mortgages and credit cards last month than at any point since the end of the Great Recession. A leading index of defaults on consumer loans fell in September for the ninth straight month, hitting its lowest level since 2009. Defaults in four of the five loan categories tracked by the S&P Dow Jones Indices and credit reporting company Experian also dropped to their lowest level 2009, the companies said Tuesday.
BUSINESS
November 9, 2012 | By Jim Puzzanghera
WASHINGTON -- Despite the looming fiscal cliff, consumers continue to get more optimistic about the direction of the economy. Consumer confidence has risen so far this month to 84.9 from last month's 82.6 reading, according to a preliminary November reading Friday from Thomson Reuters and the University of Michigan. Quiz: Why are California gas prices so high?   The figure was better than economists expected and was the highest level in more than five years. "More consumers expected good rather than bad times financially in the economy in early November, not only for the year ahead but over the next five years as well," survey director Richard Curtin told Reuters .   Friday's reading builds off an increase in October to the highest level since September 2007 in the survey, which is one of the leading barometers of consumer sentiment.
BUSINESS
April 26, 2013 | By Jim Puzzanghera
WASHINGTON -- Consumer confidence dropped this month amid some discouraging economic news, but picked up in recent days despite the Boston Marathon bombings, according to a leading private barometer. The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan Survey of Consumers index fell 2.8% in April from the previous month to 76.4. The reading was exactly the same as a year earlier. Most of the decline was because consumers were less optimistic about the ability of the economy to keep expanding.
BUSINESS
August 7, 2013 | By Ricardo Lopez
A new report by Oceana, an environmental advocacy group, found that seafood mislabeling can lead consumers to pay up to twice as much for certain fish, the group said Wednesday. The economic impact study comes six months after Ocean first reported that about one-third of seafood sold in the U.S. is mislabeled. That two-year study of 1,200 seafood samples found that 33% were mislabeled according to U.S Food and Drug Administration guidelines. QUIZ: How well do you know fast food?
BUSINESS
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.
NEWS
August 8, 2012 | By Betty Hallock
COFFEE COSTS The average monthly price for a pound of coffee fell 24% in July from a year earlier. But the price drop won't trickle down to customers until next year. [U.S. News] SPLASH LAB Watch an IBC root beer bottle shatter to bits through the power of tiny bubbles in a video produced by the Brigham Young University Splash Lab. [Bon Appetit] OVEN TEMP FALLACIES Think your oven is at 350 degrees when you set the dial to 350? Nope. It's anywhere between 330 and 370 degrees -- by design -- and that's if it's well calibrated.
BUSINESS
January 14, 2014 | By Chris O'Brien, Salvador Rodriguez and Jim Puzzanghera
A federal appeals court swept aside government regulations designed to ensure equal access to the Internet, raising the prospects of higher fees for consumers and more barriers for start-ups seeking to compete online. The decision Tuesday could allow AT&T Inc., Verizon Communications Inc. and other Internet service providers to charge the likes of Netflix and YouTube more money to deliver movies and video to their customers. The ruling also throws into disarray the efforts of the Federal Communications Commission to limit telecom and cable firms from discriminating against certain Internet traffic by slowing speeds, impeding access or raising fees.
BUSINESS
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.
BUSINESS
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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