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February 13, 2014 | By Lisa Boone
Packed with every type of light imaginable - including antique-brass chain pendants, Sputnik sconces and organic-looking wood chandeliers - the first direct-to-consumer Arteriors store, in West Hollywood, is sure to please the lighting-fixated. The business has been around since 1987, when Mark Moussa started the Dallas-based company as a design firm specializing in lighting, furniture and decorative accessories sold primarily to the trade. On Wednesday, Moussa opened the firm's first retail store, on the corner of Melrose Avenue and Huntley Drive, two doors down from the new Design Within Reach studio.
February 9, 2014 | By Kenneth R. Harney
WASHINGTON - Got problems with the company that services your home mortgage - the one that collects your payments, keeps track of your escrow account and lets you know when you're late? So your monthly numbers don't look right? You got blown off by servicing personnel when you tried to get inaccuracies in your account corrected? Well, move over. You've got lots of grumpy company. As of Jan. 31, just under half of the 187,818 complaints filed with the federal watchdog Consumer Financial Protection Bureau concerned mortgage foul-ups, and the vast majority of these involved servicing, loan modification and foreclosure activities by servicers.
February 5, 2014 | By David Undercoffler
Tesla, the California-based electric brand behind the Model S, stormed into the top five automotive brands in a recent survey by Consumer Reports, the organization announced Wednesday. The company rounds out a group led by Toyota, Ford, Honda, and Chevrolet as the automakers that ranked highest in overall brand perception. Tesla ranked 11th in last year's survey. Rounding out the top 10 this year were Subaru, Mercedes-Benz, Volvo, Cadillac and BMW. The annual survey by Consumer Reports asks people about seven factors they consider when buying a car, weighing them from most important to least: quality, safety, performance, value, fuel economy, design and technology.
February 5, 2014 | By Stuart Pfeifer
A Wisconsin man has agreed to pay $10,000 to settle Federal Trade Commission allegations that he sent millions of unwanted and misleading text messages to consumers with bogus offers of "free" gift cards and electronics. The FTC had accused Jason Q. Cruz of West Bend, Wisc., of sending texts that offered $1,000 gift cards to major retailers or free iPads to those who clicked on links in the messages. A typical message read, “You have been selected for a $1,000 Walmart GiftCard, Enter code 'FREE' ... to claim your prize: 161 left!
February 4, 2014 | By Chad Terhune
After overcoming website glitches and long waits to get Obamacare, some patients are now running into frustrating new roadblocks at the doctor's office. A month into the most sweeping changes to healthcare in half a century, people are having trouble finding doctors at all, getting faulty information on which ones are covered and receiving little help from insurers swamped by new business. Experts have warned for months that the logjam was inevitable. But the extent of the problems is taking by surprise many patients - and even doctors - as frustrations mount.
February 3, 2014 | By Karen Kaplan
Americans consume too much sugar, and our collective sweet tooth is killing us. So says a study published Monday by the journal JAMA Internal Medicine. It finds that 71.4% of U.S. adults get more than the recommended 10% of their daily calories from added sugars in foods and drinks - and that higher levels of sugar consumption are correlated with higher risk of death due to cardiovascular disease. "Too much sugar does not just make us fat; it can also make us sick," Laura A. Schmidt, a professor of health policy at the UC San Francisco School of Medicine, wrote in a commentary that accompanies the study.
January 31, 2014 | By Jim Puzzanghera
WASHINGTON -- Consumer confidence slipped this month amid concerns about whether the recent upturn in momentum can be sustained, according to data released Friday. The consumer sentiment index from the University of Michigan and Thomson Reuters dropped to 81.2, from 82.5 the previous month. The reading was in line with economists' projections. The January figure was well above the 73.8 level recorded for the same month a year ago, and confidence was slightly improved from the preliminary January number.
January 31, 2014 | By Jim Puzzanghera
WASHINGTON -- Consumers opened their wallets more than expected last month even though their incomes failed to grow, another indication the economy picked up steam heading into the new year, the Commerce Department said Friday. Spending rose 0.4% in December after an upwardly revised 0.6% increase the previous month. Economists had projected so-called personal-consumption expenditures increased only 0.2% last month. "The consumer has a lot of spending momentum and is off to a good start for 2014," said Chris Rupkey, chief economist at Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi in New York.
January 30, 2014 | David Lazarus
Moira Hahn, like many consumers, always took it for granted that businesses wanted as much of her personal information as they could get. She didn't really start thinking about how such practices could come back to bite her until she became one of the millions of Target customers recently warned that her sensitive data could be in the hands of hackers. Credit and debit card numbers of as many as 110 million Target shoppers, along with their names, addresses and other info, were jeopardized after the company's databases were accessed after Thanksgiving by identity thieves.
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