December 18, 2012 |
SAN FRANCISCO - Data brokers who collect vast amounts of information on Americans will be the ones turning over information this time. The Federal Trade Commission has launched an investigation into nine data brokerage companies, ordering them to tell the agency how they harvest and use data on consumers. The FTC is looking to shed light on a multibillion-dollar industry that has largely operated in the shadows. The agency said Tuesday that it planned to scrutinize the privacy practices of nine data brokers: Acxiom, CoreLogic, Datalogix, EBureau, ID Analytics, Intelius, Peekyou, Rapleaf and Recorded Future.
November 9, 2012 |
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.
April 15, 2012 |
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.
April 26, 2013 |
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.
August 7, 2013 |
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?
October 16, 2012 |
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.
February 25, 2012 |
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.
August 8, 2012 |
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.
July 2, 2013 |
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 |
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.