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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.
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.
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.
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.
April 28, 1985
Maybe I and millions of other Americans are wrong about Japanese cars. Maybe the only thing better about them is the advertising used to sell them. Maybe I don't realize that American cars today are built just as well as Japanese cars. But this is not the point. The point is that as a free individual in a free country I should be able to spend my money on whatever I wish without having to pay any import tax. Economically speaking, if I were allowed to buy a Japanese car at its true price, say $8,000, instead of the government-imposed price of, say $9,000, I would have $1,000 left.
July 16, 2001
While The Times praised Blue Cross for allowing doctors to stress care and not costs (editorial, July 11), it failed to mention that it is the consumer who will pay for this new "enlightened attitude" of the company. My premiums are going up by one-third in August! Now I must choose between other basics or a lesser plan. Maybe The Times should have figured out who was footing the bill before praising Blue Cross so highly. It's just another excuse to raise premiums. And they are already saying that if the patients' bill of rights is passed, the premiums will skyrocket.
February 11, 2013 | By Jim Puzzanghera
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.
November 3, 1988
The important question about Proposition 105 (the Consumer Right to Know Initiative) was not squarely addressed by your editorial ("Hodge-Podge: No on 105," Oct. 23). The question is simple: Will consumers benefit from getting better disclosure from advertisers? To CURE (the consumer, senior, environmental coalition sponsoring Proposition 105) the answer is simple: Consumers can only be helped--not hurt--by getting more information and being able to make more informed decisions.
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.
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