August 8, 2007
Starting Sunday, The Times welcomes David Lazarus and his new column, Consumer Confidential, to the Business section. David will stick up for consumers who get the short end of the stick, sniff out suspect business practices and call authorities to account when they're not doing their jobs. David's dogged work for the San Francisco Chronicle attracted notice -- and action -- from lawmakers, corporations and consumers alike.
May 22, 2012
Re "Is it possible to get a human on the phone at Google?," Column, May 18 I agree with David Lazarus that it is frustrating to be unable to contact a "live" person for customer service. Some companies offer free live help for a limited time after you buy a product. Before I buy a product that may require help to use, I always ask about the customer support policy. Google, however, is a totally different issue. It is not charging for the use of its search engine. Its revenue comes from advertisers, which I am sure have no problem contacting Google by phone to talk with a sales rep. I can understand Google not providing live telephone support because the users pay nothing for services.
September 27, 2009
Re: David Lazarus' consumer column "Everyone into a healthcare pool," Sept. 20: Employers should be proscribed from offering health insurance as a benefit, period. It's a competitive edge for larger companies and is snuffing very badly needed innovation in many industries. The right wing in this country claims to be "pro-small business," yet in this significant way, it sides with big business against the small guy. Bob Hillman Thousand Oaks :: Apparently David Lazarus does not let facts get in the way when there is a (misguided)
September 5, 2007 |
Let's say you're one of the more than 600,000 Southern Californians hit with power outages amid the heat wave that's turned this region into a little slice of Hades. What can you do if all the food in your fridge has gone bad or some crucial bit of data has vanished from your computer? Turns out that power companies statewide have programs for compensating customers for losses. But don't think that it'll be easy filing a claim, or that a refund will come your way any time soon, if at all.
January 31, 2014
Re "Banks put cost ahead of card risk," Column, Jan. 28 David Lazarus is correct that switching to chip-and-PIN cards would make for a much safer credit-card system. But his repeated mantra that lawmakers should impose heavy fines on companies whose customers' personal data are compromised is rather naive. Companies don't have as much control over the more intelligent hackers as he might think. Yes, I was one of those customers whose card was compromised when I used it at Target, but I feel sorry for the corporation, not bitter.
October 13, 2013
Re "Wealth gap only getting worse," Column, Oct. 11 I agree with David Lazarus that we need a remedy to the wealth gap issue. But I cannot agree that we should raise the top marginal tax rate, which drives so many business decisions, including workforce size. Raising this rate would give the government more money to spend. That's not the same as giving workers more money to spend, as Henry Ford did in 1914 when he decided to pay his workers a good wage. Lazarus noted that last year, chief executives in the U.S. made 354 times what the average rank-and-file employee did, compared to 42 times the average worker's earning only 30 years ago. That's quite a change.