The E.P.A. Ruling Goes Beyond Coal Regulation

The decision issued a warning shot across the bow of the administrative state.

#air-pollution, #biden-joseph-r-jr, #clean-air-act, #coal, #consumer-protection, #environmental-protection-agency, #global-warming, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #law-and-legislation, #politics-and-government, #regulation-and-deregulation-of-industry, #roberts-john-g-jr, #supreme-court-us

When Customers Say Their Money Was Stolen on Zelle, Banks Often Refuse to Pay

Federal law requires banks to reimburse customers for unauthorized electronic transfers, but they often refuse, stranding victims.

#bank-of-america-corporation, #bank-robberies, #banking-and-financial-institutions, #capital-one-financial-corporation, #chopra-rohit, #consumer-financial-protection-bureau, #consumer-protection, #e-commerce, #frauds-and-swindling, #jpmorgan-chasecompany, #mobile-commerce-and-payments, #robberies-and-thefts, #senate-committee-on-banking, #venmo, #wells-fargocompany, #zelle-early-warning-services-llc

Tattoo Artists Face a Grayer Palette in Europe

The E.U. has prohibited some pigments, deeming them potentially hazardous to humans. Artists and manufacturers around the world are struggling to find replacements.

#alex-de-pase, #art, #consumer-protection, #cosmetics-and-toiletries, #ephemeral-tattoo, #europe, #european-union, #hazardous-and-toxic-substances, #intenze-tattoo-ink, #lou-rubino, #mario-barth, #regulation-and-deregulation-of-industry, #skin, #tattoos, #united-states, #world-famous-tattoo-ink, #your-feed-science

7 Million Bad Student Loans With No Way Out, for Anyone

The Biden administration plans to offer those with loans in default a fresh start. It would help borrowers and the government alike.

#biden-joseph-r-jr, #colleges-and-universities, #consumer-protection, #credit-and-debt, #debt-collection, #education-department-us, #personal-finances, #student-loans

New F.T.C. Majority Gives Lina Khan a Chance to Push an Aggressive Agenda

The confirmation of a third Democrat creates an opportunity for Lina Khan, the Federal Trade Commission’s chair, to advance efforts to rein in corporate power.

#antitrust-laws-and-competition-issues, #appointments-and-executive-changes, #bedoya-alvaro, #computers-and-the-internet, #consumer-protection, #corporations, #democratic-party, #federal-trade-commission, #khan-lina, #privacy, #regulation-and-deregulation-of-industry, #united-states-politics-and-government

New York City Eliminates the Rules That Govern Art and Other Auctions

Auction houses like Sotheby’s and Christie’s will no longer need to be licensed as part of a sweeping package designed to promote a business-friendly climate.

#art, #auctions, #christies, #city-council-nyc, #consumer-protection, #department-of-consumer-and-worker-protection-nyc, #law-and-legislation, #phillips-auctioneers-llc, #regulation-and-deregulation-of-industry, #sothebys, #united-states-politics-and-government

A Financial Services Company Illegally Leased Dogs, Massachusetts Says

Monterey Financial Services LLC has agreed to pay $930,000 in debt relief and restitution to settle allegations that it was conducting the practice, which is banned in the Bay State and others.

#consumer-protection, #dogs, #healey-maura-1971, #massachusetts, #oceanside-calif, #pets

In a First, Google Goes After Puppy Fraud in Court

The company’s first consumer protection lawsuit, filed Monday, claims a Cameroon man tricked would-be buyers using Gmail and other services.

#aarp, #better-business-bureaus, #california, #cameroon, #consumer-protection, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #dogs, #e-commerce, #elderly, #federal-trade-commission, #frauds-and-swindling, #google-inc, #pets, #suits-and-litigation-civil

Credit Companies Will Remove Stains From Repaid Medical Debts

Debts that are paid off after they go to collections will be removed, instead of staying on a credit reports for up to seven years, Equifax, Experian and TransUnion announced.

#consumer-protection, #credit-scores, #equifax-inc, #experian-plc, #fair-isaac-corporation, #personal-finances, #transunion-llc

Biden to Take Step Toward Regulating Cryptocurrencies

The president is set to sign an executive order that would coordinate efforts among financial regulators to better understand the risks and opportunities presented by digital assets.

#biden-joseph-r-jr, #consumer-protection, #regulation-and-deregulation-of-industry, #united-states-economy, #united-states-politics-and-government, #virtual-currency

States Investigate TikTok Over Potential Harms to Younger Users

The group is looking into the Chinese-owned video site for the harms it may pose to younger users.

#attorneys-general, #beijing-bytedance-technology-co-ltd, #computers-and-the-internet, #consumer-protection, #depression-mental, #facebook-inc, #healey-maura-1971, #mental-health-and-disorders, #mobile-applications, #social-media, #tiktok-bytedance, #united-states-politics-and-government, #youth

Citigroup to Get Rid of Overdraft Fees, the Biggest Bank to Do So

The fees have been criticized by regulators. Citi’s move follows similar actions by smaller lenders like Capital One and Ally Financial.

#banking-and-financial-institutions, #citigroup-inc, #consumer-financial-protection-bureau, #consumer-protection, #prices-fares-fees-and-rates, #regulation-and-deregulation-of-industry

How Europeans Are Responding to Exorbitant Gas and Power Bills

High energy prices in Europe are upending people’s lives. While some are installing solar panels, others are stoking their wood-burning stoves.

#consumer-protection, #electric-light-and-power, #europe, #factories-and-manufacturing, #france, #germany, #heating, #inflation-economics, #natural-gas, #politics-and-government, #prices-fares-fees-and-rates, #spain

Bad Credit? No Savings? Unconventional (Maybe Risky) Ways to Buy a Home

Some consumer groups worry that buyers may not fully grasp what they’re giving up in these agreements.

#consumer-protection, #credit-and-debt, #equity-contracts, #home-equity-loans, #legal-aid-society, #mortgages, #real-estate-and-housing-residential, #rent-to-own, #shared-equity, #unison-home-ownership-investments

They Need Legal Advice on Debts. Should It Have to Come From Lawyers?

A nonprofit has filed a lawsuit in New York, hoping to clear the way for volunteers to help people defend themselves against debt collection suits.

#consumer-protection, #credit-and-debt, #debt-collection, #first-amendment-us-constitution, #james-letitia, #legal-aid-for-the-poor-civil, #legal-profession, #new-york-state, #personal-finances, #suits-and-litigation-civil, #upsolve-inc

Mushie & Co Recalls FRIGG Pacifiers Over Choking Hazard

Mushie & Co, a baby goods store, announced a voluntary recall of its FRIGG pacifier after more than 200 reports that the pacifier’s silicone nipple detached from its base.

#asphyxiation-choking-and-suffocation, #babies-and-infants, #consumer-product-safety-commission, #consumer-protection, #frigg-silicone-pacifiers, #mushieco, #pacifiers, #recalls-and-bans-of-products

Will Congress Pass New Regulation on Big Tech? Time May Be Running Out.

With midterm elections approaching, a vote expected on Thursday could be the first of several that Congress takes on bills aimed at the industry.

#alphabet-inc, #amazon-com-inc, #antitrust-laws-and-competition-issues, #apple-inc, #computers-and-the-internet, #consumer-protection, #facebook-inc, #google-inc, #grassley-charles-e, #klobuchar-amy, #law-and-legislation, #mobile-applications, #united-states-politics-and-government

Navient Reaches $1.85 Billion Deal Over Predatory Lending Claims

The student loan servicer agreed to cancel $1.7 billion in private student loan debts for nearly 66,000 borrowers and to pay $95 million in restitution.

#consumer-financial-protection-bureau, #consumer-protection, #navient-corporation, #personal-finances, #student-loans, #suits-and-litigation-civil

F.D.A. to Stop Regulating French Dressing

Since 1950, the federal government has defined French dressing and its composition. An industry group said that the standards were outdated and should end.

#association-for-dressings-and-sauces, #consumer-protection, #food-and-drug-administration, #regulation-and-deregulation-of-industry, #salad-dressings, #salads, #supermarkets-and-grocery-stores

A New Ban on Surprise Medical Bills Starts This Week

If you have a medical emergency, you will no longer need to worry about a large bill from a doctor you did not choose.

#ambulances, #consumer-protection, #content-type-service, #doctors, #emergency-medical-treatment, #health-insurance-and-managed-care, #hospitals, #law-and-legislation, #prices-fares-fees-and-rates

Why It’s Easier Than Ever to Buy a Used Car

Services such as Carfax give buyers confidence that they’re getting a cherry, not a lemon.

#akerlof-george-a, #consumer-protection, #economics-theory-and-philosophy, #internal-sub-only-nl, #shopping-and-retail, #used-cars

How a Hearing Test for Babies Has Paid Off for a Big Medical Provider

Routine use of a more advanced screening method turns a low-cost procedure into a pricier one.

#babies-and-infants, #consumer-protection, #ears-and-hearing, #health-insurance-and-managed-care, #hospitals, #pregnancy-and-childbirth, #prices-fares-fees-and-rates

Senators Question Califf, the F.D.A. Nominee, on Opioid Crisis and Pandemic Response

A Senate panel hearing on Tuesday signaled that Dr. Robert Califf, who briefly led the agency during the Obama administration, had some bipartisan support.

#abortion, #appointments-and-executive-changes, #biden-joseph-r-jr, #califf-robert-m, #consumer-protection, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #drugs-pharmaceuticals, #food-and-drug-administration, #google-inc, #labeling-and-labels-product, #opioids-and-opiates, #regulation-and-deregulation-of-industry, #senate-committee-on-health-education-labor-and-pensions, #united-states-politics-and-government, #verily-life-sciences-llc, #your-feed-healthcare

Why We Need to Address Scam Culture

It’s not just about shady deals. It’s about the social fabric.

#consumer-protection, #frauds-and-swindling, #internal-sub-only-nl, #ponzi-and-pyramid-schemes, #trump-donald-j

Retail Theft Has Gotten Very Organized

Fortunately, there’s a solution.

#consumer-protection, #e-commerce, #frauds-and-swindling, #internal-sub-only-nl, #robberies-and-thefts, #shopping-and-retail

What Apple’s New Repair Program Means for You (and Your iPhone)

Apple said it would soon provide parts, tools and manuals to those who wanted to fix their own iPhones and Mac computers.

#apple-inc, #computers-and-the-internet, #consumer-protection, #content-type-service, #environment, #iphone, #smartphones, #software, #sustainable-living

That Tainted Halloween Candy Myth Just Won’t Go Away

Despite a lack of evidence, warnings about dangers lurking in treats have been an annual ritual for decades. The newest twist involves weed.

#candy, #child-abuse-and-neglect, #children-and-childhood, #consumer-protection, #content-type-service, #drug-enforcement-administration, #food-contamination-and-poisoning, #halloween, #marijuana, #poisoning-and-poisons

Robocalls Are Not Even the Worst of It

Updating our war against the scammers and assorted interrupters.

#cellular-telephones, #consumer-protection, #federal-communications-commission, #federal-trade-commission, #frauds-and-swindling, #spam-electronic, #telemarketing, #telephones-and-telecommunications

New Rule on Surprise Billing Aims to Take Patients Out of the ‘Food Fight’

Neutral arbiters are given guidance on how to settle disputes between insurers and medical providers.

#consumer-protection, #emergency-medical-treatment, #health-insurance-and-managed-care, #hospitals, #law-and-legislation, #prices-fares-fees-and-rates, #united-states-politics-and-government

Consumer Bureau Chief Confirmed in Close Senate Vote

The incoming director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Rohit Chopra, is expected to use his position to rein in financial firms.

#banking-and-financial-institutions, #chopra-rohit, #consumer-financial-protection-bureau, #consumer-protection, #federal-trade-commission, #regulation-and-deregulation-of-industry, #senate, #subprime-mortgage-crisis, #united-states-politics-and-government

A Street Vendor Didn’t Have a Permit. Her Produce Was Tossed in the Trash.

In a place where many go hungry, widely shared videos capture a clash between the authorities and one of thousands of unlicensed peddlers.

#bronx-nyc, #city-council-nyc, #consumer-protection, #de-blasio-bill, #food, #food-insecurity, #sanitation-department-nyc, #street-vendor-project

Boppy Recalls Millions of Cushions After 8 Reported Infant Deaths

The Boppy Company lounger pads, which federal regulators say can cause suffocation, were sold by retailers including Pottery Barn Kids, Walmart, Target and Amazon.

#accidents-and-safety, #beds-and-bedding, #boppy-co-llc, #consumer-product-safety-commission, #consumer-protection, #cribs-baby-beds, #infant-mortality, #pillows, #pottery-barn, #recalls-and-bans-of-products, #sleep

How Biden’s Economic Executive Order Aims to Improve Travel

In July, President Biden issued an executive order that included a call to make consumer-friendly changes in the travel industry. We asked experts to weigh in on the prospects for change.

#airlines-and-airplanes, #biden-joseph-r-jr, #buttigieg-pete-1982, #consumer-protection, #railroads, #rebates-and-refunds, #travel-and-vacations, #united-states-economy

Why Lawsuits Over ‘Misleading’ Food Labels Are Surging

A flurry of litigation by advocacy groups seeks to combat what they say is a rise in deceptive marketing by food giants.

#agriculture-and-farming, #agriculture-department, #animal-abuse-rights-and-welfare, #butterball-llc, #cargill-inc, #consumer-protection, #dairy-products, #food, #labeling-and-labels-product, #meatpacking-plants-and-slaughterhouses, #seafood, #suits-and-litigation-civil, #turkeys, #united-states-politics-and-government

Why Tesla’s ‘Beta Testing’ Puts the Public at Risk

We’re all Tesla’s guinea pigs.

#automobile-safety-features-and-defects, #consumer-protection, #driverless-and-semiautonomous-vehicles, #musk-elon, #roads-and-traffic, #tesla-motors-inc, #traffic-accidents-and-safety

Amazon Ends Use of Arbitration for Customer Disputes

Now they will be pursued in federal court, a significant retreat from a strategy that often helps companies avoid liability.

#amazon-com-inc, #arbitration-conciliation-and-mediation, #computers-and-the-internet, #consumer-protection, #keller-lenkner-llc

Extended Warranties for Cars Are ‘Fraught With Peril for Consumers’

While reputable options exist, the robocalls are almost certainly scams, an industry group warns. And for consumers who feel they have been ripped off, there is no guarantee anyone will help.

#automobiles, #better-business-bureaus, #consumer-protection, #content-type-service, #customer-relations, #federal-trade-commission, #guarantees-and-warranties, #national-assn-of-insurance-commissioners, #regulation-and-deregulation-of-industry, #telemarketing

Tech Giants, Fearful of Proposals to Curb Them, Blitz Washington With Lobbying

Executives, lobbyists, and more than a dozen groups paid by Big Tech have tried to head off bipartisan support for six bills meant to undo the dominance of Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google.

#amazon-com-inc, #antitrust-laws-and-competition-issues, #apple-inc, #buck-ken, #carlson-tucker, #computers-and-the-internet, #consumer-protection, #cook-timothy-d, #facebook-inc, #google-inc, #house-committee-on-the-judiciary, #house-of-representatives, #huseman-brian, #jayapal-pramila, #jordan-jim-1964, #khan-lina, #law-and-legislation, #lee-michael-s-1971, #lobbying-and-lobbyists, #lofgren-zoe, #mccarthy-kevin-1965, #meadows-mark-r-1959, #pelosi-nancy, #politics-and-government, #regulation-and-deregulation-of-industry, #united-states-politics-and-government, #walker-kent

Banks Slowly Offer Alternatives to Overdraft Fees, a Bane of Struggling Spenders

Aggressive overdraft fees are worth tens of billions of dollars a year to the banking industry. Account holders are finally getting some better options.

#ally-financial-inc, #banking-and-financial-institutions, #chime-bancorp-bank, #consumer-protection, #customer-relations, #fines-penalties, #jpmorgan-chasecompany, #personal-finances, #warren-elizabeth

Google’s Privacy Backpedal Shows Why It’s So Hard Not to Be Evil

Why Google thought twice about restoring your privacy.

#amazon-com-inc, #antitrust-laws-and-competition-issues, #computers-and-the-internet, #consumer-protection, #data-mining-and-database-marketing, #google-inc, #privacy

MoviePass Deceived Users So They’d Use It Less, F.T.C. Says

Federal regulators detailed tactics the company, which settled accusations against it, used to try to make its most active users go to the movies less.

#advertising-and-marketing, #computer-security, #consumer-protection, #federal-trade-commission, #frauds-and-swindling, #helios-and-matheson-analytics-inc, #mobile-applications, #moviepass-inc, #movies, #prices-fares-fees-and-rates

Fisher-Price Recalls Rock ‘n Glide Soothers After 4 Infant Deaths

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said the sleeper was not safe for infants because of the risk of suffocation.

#2-in-1-soothe-n-play-gliders, #4-in-1-rock-n-glide-soother, #accidents-and-safety, #babies-and-infants, #consumer-product-safety-commission, #consumer-protection, #fisher-price-inc, #infant-mortality, #recalls-and-bans-of-products

Social Security and Covid: Why Getting Help Won’t Be the Same

The pandemic abruptly closed the agency’s 1,200 offices, and officials are considering how to move forward. One issue: Without the offices, fewer low-income seniors sought benefits.

#consumer-protection, #content-type-service, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #coronavirus-reopenings, #elderly, #health-insurance-and-managed-care, #medicare, #retirement, #shutdowns-institutional, #social-security-us, #social-security-administration, #weaver-david

EU to review TikTok’s ToS after child safety complaints

TikTok has a month to respond to concerns raised by European consumer protection agencies earlier this year, EU lawmakers said today.

The Commission has launched what it described as “a formal dialogue” with the video sharing platform over its commercial practices and policy.

Areas of specific concern include hidden marketing, aggressive advertising techniques targeted at children and certain contractual terms in TikTok’s policies that could be considered misleading and confusing for consumers, per the Commission.

Commenting in a statement, justice commissioner Didier Reynders added: “The current pandemic has further accelerated digitalisation. This has brought new opportunities but it has also created new risks, in particular for vulnerable consumers. In the European Union, it is prohibited to target children and minors with disguised advertising such as banners in videos. The dialogue we are launching today should support TikTok in complying with EU rules to protect consumers.”

The background to this is that back in February the European Consumer Organisation (BEUC) sent the Commission a report calling out a number of TikTok’s policies and practices — including what it said were unfair terms and copyright practices. It also flagged the risk of children being exposed to inappropriate content on the platform, and accused TikTok of misleading data processing and privacy practices.

Complaints were filed around the same time by consumer organisations in 15 EU countries — urging those national authorities to investigate the social media giant’s conduct.

The multi-pronged EU action means TikTok has not just the Commission looking at the detail of its small print but is facing questions from a network of national consumer protection authorities — which is being co-led by the Swedish Consumer Agency and the Irish Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (which handles privacy issues related to the platform).

Nonetheless, the BEUC queried why the Commission hasn’t yet launched a formal enforcement procedure.

We hope that the authorities will stick to their guns in this ‘dialogue’ which we understand is not yet a formal launch of an enforcement procedure. It must lead to good results for consumers, tackling all the points that BEUC raised. BEUC also hopes to be consulted before an agreement is reached,” a spokesperson for the organization told us. 

Also reached for comment, TikTok sent us this statement on the Commission’s action, attributed to its director of public policy, Caroline Greer: 

As part of our ongoing engagement with regulators and other external stakeholders over issues such as consumer protection and transparency, we are engaging in a dialogue with the Irish Consumer Protection Commission and the Swedish Consumer Agency and look forward to discussing the measures we’ve already introduced. In addition, we have taken a number of steps to protect our younger users, including making all under-16 accounts private-by-default, and disabling their access to direct messaging. Further, users under 18 cannot buy, send or receive virtual gifts, and we have strict policies prohibiting advertising directly appealing to those under the age of digital consent.

The company told us it uses age verification for personalized ads — saying users must have verified that they are 13+ to receive these ads; as well as being over the age of digital consent in their respective EU country; and also having consented to receive targeted ads.

However, TikTok’s age verification technology has been criticized as weak before now — and recent emergency child-safety-focused enforcement action by the Italian national data protection agency has led to TikTok having to pledge to strengthen its age verification processes in the country.

The Italian enforcement action also resulted in TikTok removing more than 500,000 accounts suspected of belonging to users aged younger than 13 earlier this month — raising further questions about whether it can really claim that under-13s aren’t routinely exposed to targeted ads on its platform.

In further background remarks it sent us, TikTok claimed it has clear labelling of sponsored content. But it also noted it’s made some recent changes — such as switching the label it applies on video advertising from “sponsored” to “ad” to make it clearer.

It also said it’s working on a toggle that aims to make it clearer to users when they may be exposed to advertising by other users by enabling the latter users to prominently disclose that their content contains advertising.

TikTok said the tool is currently in beta testing in Europe but it said it expects to move to general availability this summer and will also amend its ToS to require users to use this toggle whenever their content contains advertising. (But without adequate enforcement that may just end up as another overlooked and easily abused setting.)

The company recently announced a transparency center in Europe in a move that looks intended to counter some of the concerns being raised about its business in the region, as well as to prepare it for the increased oversight that’s coming down the pipe for all digital platforms operating in the EU — as the bloc works to update its digital rulebook.

 

#apps, #beuc, #consumer-protection, #data-processing, #europe, #european-union, #online-advertising, #policy, #privacy, #social, #social-media, #targeted-advertising, #tiktok, #tos, #video-advertising

As Congress Dithers, States Step In to Set Rules for the Internet

Virginia, Florida, Arkansas and Maryland are among dozens of states that have introduced bills to curtail the power of Amazon, Google, Facebook and Twitter.

#computers-and-the-internet, #consumer-protection, #corporate-taxes, #data-mining-and-database-marketing, #e-commerce, #law-and-legislation, #lobbying-and-lobbyists, #politics-and-government, #privacy, #regulation-and-deregulation-of-industry, #social-media, #state-legislatures, #states-us

Beware of Car Towing Companies That Patrol Private Parking Lots

Your car may have been towed for legitimate reasons — you parked in a loading zone, for instance. But in some cases, you may have been the victim of a towing company looking to earn fees.

#consumer-protection, #content-type-service, #parking, #parking-garages-and-lots, #prices-fares-fees-and-rates, #united-states, #us-pirg

Peloton Recalls Treadmills After Injuries and a Child’s Death

The chief executive of Peloton said the company “made a mistake” by initially resisting a U.S. safety agency’s warning about the devices last month.

#consumer-protection, #foley-john-fitness-executive, #peloton-interactive-inc, #recalls-and-bans-of-products, #sporting-goods-and-equipment

Advocate of Revamping Student Loan System Will Head Federal Aid Office

Richard Cordray, who led the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau under President Obama, was appointed on Monday as chief operating officer of federal student aid in the Education Department.

#colleges-and-universities, #consumer-protection, #cordray-richard, #financial-aid-education, #student-loans, #united-states-politics-and-government

The Internet’s ‘Dark Patterns’ Need to Be Regulated

Regulators should crack down on “dark patterns,” widespread digital practices designed to deceive consumers.

#computers-and-the-internet, #consumer-protection, #regulation-and-deregulation-of-industry

Peloton Pushes Back Against Federal Agency Over Treadmill Warning

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said it was aware of 38 injuries and one death related to Peloton’s Tread+ machine. The company said its product is safe.

#accidents-and-safety, #consumer-product-safety-commission, #consumer-protection, #exercise, #foley-john-fitness-executive, #peloton-interactive-inc, #tread