Welcome to Consumers’ Notebook, where we feature news-you-can-use and other timely information to help you become a more informed consumer. Check back often to read the latest pieces in our Notebook.
Here are answers to your questions about the new federal student loan debt relief program, due to launch in early October.
Airline passengers too often have their flights canceled at the last minute, or delayed for hours. Consumer advocates say U.S. airlines are failing their customers by putting profits ahead of realistic schedules. The U.S. Department of Transportation could and should do far more to protect passengers.
Con artists are using social media to breathe new life into an old government grant scam. Many victims report losing thousands of dollars.
Scam Victims Have Until Aug. 31 to Claim Western Union Refunds; FTC Accuses Walmart of Similarly Enabling Crooks
Western Union has agreed to return money to consumers who were tricked into wiring money to criminals from 2004 through 2017. To get your share of the money, you must file a claim by August 31. The FTC is now suing Walmart for similar alleged lack of oversight.
New Climate Law Provides Big Tax Credits for Electric Vehicle Purchases, but Few Models Qualify Right Now
The new Inflation Reduction Act provides billions of dollars in tax incentives for clean-car buyers. But the law includes restrictions that could make it difficult or impossible for you to take advantage of the tax break anytime soon.
At a time when consumers are especially focused on saving money at the supermarket, some shoppers—those who are tech-challenged or digitally disconnected—are unable to access “digital only” sale prices advertised in weekly store circulars.
To avoid misleading consumers, endorsements should be genuine and honest, and any relationships (such as compensation) between the advertiser and the endorser should be disclosed. In May, the FTC proposed several revisions to its guides that would clarify and strengthen rules for traditional media, plus apply guidelines to cover influencer endorsements.
Tens of millions of Americans have seen their creditworthiness plummet in recent years due to unpaid medical bills. Recently, the three major credit bureaus agreed to significantly change how they treat this debt.
For years, we’ve been promised that new technology would solve the robocall problem. But phones keep ringing.
Two consumer groups visited 1,046 funeral home websites in 35 state capitals and found only 18 percent posted their general price list online.
Lease an all-electric vehicle from Ford and you no longer have the option to buy that car or truck when your agreement ends. As of June 15, Ford eliminated the purchase option for new leases on the F-150 Lightning, E-Transit Van, and Mustang Mach-E.
At the end of their lease, many people turn in that old vehicle and lease another one. They like driving something new––and it doesn’t make economic sense to buy that old ride. A shortage of new and used cars has changed that economic equation, at least for now.
Many auto repair shops work with third party lenders to offer on-the-spot “free financing.” Unfortunately, these offers can turn out to be costly loans, with interest rates sometimes as high as nearly 200 percent.
Discover recently launched its free “Online Privacy Protection” program, which it says will make it easy for its customers to remove their personal information from 10 popular data-collecting websites. My test drive found that the program works well, but its reach is pretty limited.
Gas prices in the U.S. are soaring to record levels. One way to reduce pain at the pump is to use a rewards credit card. While you might think the best choice of plastic when filling up are those partnered with big oil companies, general-purpose rewards cards tend to offer better deals.
Use a payment platform provided by your bank or credit union, and you probably assume your financial institution will be there to help if there’s a problem. Don’t count on it. Customers tricked into sending money to scammers via Zelle are learning that lesson the hard way.
“Predatory towing,” where towing companies pay kickbacks to private businesses or law enforcement, is banned in only 17 states, and continues to create needless problems for drivers, according to a new report from the consumer advocates at the U.S. PIRG Education Fund.
Unless another extension gets issued, payments will resume in September for the 37 million borrowers who have benefited from the program.
Electric vehicle sales are still a tiny part of the U.S. auto market. But surging gas prices are driving up demand and automakers are racing to get new plug-in hybrids and all-electric models to market.
Time is running out for the estimated 1.5 million people who did not file a 2018 federal income tax return. After April 18, these unclaimed refunds—totaling almost $1.5 billion—will become property of the U.S. Treasury Department.