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.
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.
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.
December 17, 2010 |
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.
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.
February 11, 2013 |
WASHINGTON -- About one in 20 consumers had significant errors on their credit reports that could cause them to pay more for auto loans and other financial products, according to a Federal Trade Commission report released Monday. The study also found that about 26% of the approximately 200 million people covered by the U.S. credit reporting industry had at least one "potentially material error" on one of their three credit reports. And four out of five people who took steps to fix errors with one of the three major credit reporting companies -- Experian Information Solutions Inc., Equifax Inc. and TransUnion -- got their credit report changed.
March 20, 2013 |
A new poll says 46% of consumers surveyed would not spend more than $500 for Google's smartphone-like eyewear -- early versions of which the company is selling for $1,500. Nearly a quarter said they would not spend more than $1,000 for the glasses. Only 6% of respondents said they would spend whatever it takes to buy the device. Despite consumers reluctance to spend $1,500 for the glasses, interest in the product is fairly strong, according to the survey, which found that 61% of respondents would buy it if it was priced right.
December 6, 2013 |
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.
December 19, 2013 |
Trinkel De La Paz, 24, loves this holiday's deep discounts because they're enabling her to be a more generous Santa. To herself, that is. The Silver Lake graphic designer bought herself an iPad mini and some clothes discounted on Cyber Monday, and she's not done. De La Paz said she feels free to splurge on herself because she has extra money from a recently landed job, a new apartment waiting to be spruced up and only one present to buy for her family's Secret Santa exchange.
August 24, 2012 |
The more-than-$1-billion award in Apple's patent case against Samsung is a big win for the iMaker of the iPhone and iPad. But it may not be in the best interest of consumers. At least not in the short haul. A jury in San Jose found that Samsung infringed multiple Apple patents for smartphones and tablets. The patents involve the look and feel of devices. Apple had sought $2.5 billion in damages. In a countersuit, Samsung had demanded $422 million from Apple for what it said were violations of its own patents.