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By Karen Hosler and John Fairhall and Karen Hosler and John Fairhall,Washington Bureau of The Sun | May 18, 1994
WASHINGTON -- Drawing sharp protests from consumer groups, the chairman of a powerful House committee has offered significant concessions to the health insurance industry in exchange for the industry's agreement to mute its attacks on health reform legislation.The bargain struck by Rep. Dan Rostenkowski, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, with the Health Insurance Association of America -- a powerful force in the health care debate -- marks the first erosion of consumer protections included in most of the health bills under consideration.
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HEALTH
By Meredith Cohn, The Baltimore Sun | November 18, 2013
Beginning Tuesday, radio and TV ads will encourage residents to call 211 and get health coverage under the Affordable Care Act. With technical difficulties still frustrating efforts to enroll in health plans through online exchanges - and deadlines looming to enroll - health care advocates and state officials are looking for ways to work around the malfunctioning websites. While advocates say the 211 phone line campaign was planned long before the much-publicized exchange glitches, they acknowledge it comes at a convenient time.
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BUSINESS
By Glenn Burkins and Glenn Burkins,Knight-Ridder News Service | July 19, 1992
If you've ever had a consumer loan, you probably were asked to buy a life insurance policy that would pay off the debt in the event of your death. It's called credit life insurance.It's also the "nation's worst insurance rip-off," according to two consumer groups -- the National Insurance Consumer Organization and the Consumer Federation of America."Consumers are overcharged more than $500 million annually for this insurance, and few consumers need it," said Stephen Brobeck, CFA's executive director.
NEWS
November 9, 2013
Contrary to the claims in a Nov. 6 guest column, "Consumer protection bureau fails to protect," by Jeffrey H. Joseph, the CFPB is getting results for consumers and doing so in a transparent way. It's the first federal financial agency with just one job: protecting consumers, especially students, military families and senior citizens. A series of Maryland PIRG reports analyzing its public consumer complaint database shows that the bureau is "making markets work," just as Sen. Elizabeth Warren and other backers intended.
BUSINESS
By Deborah Privitera and Deborah Privitera,States News Service | March 20, 1992
WASHINGTON -- A measure that seeks to reform the overburdened bankruptcy system cleared the Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday, but faces opposition from consumer groups who charge that it would undermine debtors' rights.The recent surge in bankruptcy filings prompted Sen. Howell Heflin, D-Ala., to propose the reform.The bill would encourage debtors to use Chapter 13 bankruptcies, in which debtors pay off their debt within three tofive years, instead of filing under Chapter 7, which cancels all debts.
BUSINESS
By Timothy B. Wheeler and Timothy B. Wheeler,SUN STAFF | March 24, 1999
The House Environmental Matters Committee approved a bill yesterday that would let Maryland customers choose their electricity supplier, and guarantee homeowners and renters temporary rate cuts of 3 percent to 7 percent.The measure, adopted by a 14-5 vote, differs in some respects from the electricity deregulation bill pending in the Senate, but not enough to satisfy environmental and consumer groups who have urged Gov. Parris N. Glendening to press for more changes.Besides the residential rate cut, guaranteed for three years, the House bill creates a $24 million fund to help poor people pay their electricity bills, financed 80 percent by fees levied on industrial and commercial customers.
BUSINESS
By Knight-Ridder News Service | August 15, 1993
Shabby auto repairs continue to be a problem for many consumers, a report by consumer groups says.In fact, that was the No. 1 complaint received last year by the nation's consumer protection agencies, followed closely by complaints about the sale of lemon autos.The report was issued by the National Association of Consumer Agency Administrators and the Consumer Federation of America. Each year, the groups release a list of "worst consumer rip-offs."Other products and services that drew numerous complaints include home improvements, mail order, telemarketing and consumer credit.
BUSINESS
By Cox News Service | September 26, 2006
Consumer advocates and civil libertarians demanded yesterday that regulators refrain from approving AT&T Inc.'s purchase of BellSouth Corp. unless the phone companies accept tough restrictions on their $67 billion deal. Last week, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Kevin J. Martin recommended that the merger be approved, perhaps as soon as the FCC's regular meeting Oct. 12, according to published reports based on unidentified agency sources. Such approval would be unusual, because the Justice Department has not completed its review of the proposed merger's impact on consumers and competition.
BUSINESS
By Knight-Ridder News Service | October 28, 1990
DETROIT -- A 71-year-old woman is taking Michigan's largest supermarket chain to court over a 7-cent pricing mistake that is becoming a cause celebre among consumer groups.Evelyn Hoff of Madison Heights, Mich., is suing Farmer Jack over a claim that she was overcharged 7 cents for a Stouffer's Lean Cuisine spaghetti entree and that the store did not pay her a penalty.The dispute focuses attention on the state's item-pricing law, which was amended in 1986 to add, among other things, penalties.
NEWS
January 29, 2001
WITH THE HIGH-TECH industry and consumer groups both demanding federal regulations for online computer privacy, chances of enacting protective legislation have greatly improved. Previous congressional attempts to protect privacy of Internet users foundered on industry opposition and White House preference for self-regulation. There's also an overlying concern about the unintended consequences of laws trying to define a rapidly evolving electronic world. While President Bush has no clear record on the issue, Congress seems prepared to bridge past differences over numerous competing bills and seriously address Internet privacy legislation.
NEWS
By Jeffrey H. Joseph | November 5, 2013
A little-noticed yet significant report card was issued recently measuring the progress of the fledgling Consumer Financial Protection Bureau thus far. The report by a Bipartisan Policy Center task force comes after almost a year's worth of in-depth review and analysis and seems to support what critics of the CFPB have been saying all along: This unaccountable bureaucracy harms business and consumers alike. While reading the report's characterization of the bureau's standard operating procedures, one is more likely to envision the workings of a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde versus those of a federal bureau charged with protecting millions of consumers.
BUSINESS
Eileen Ambrose | May 21, 2013
It won't win an Oscar, but this movie could be useful if you're in the market for a car. The Maryland Consumer Rights Coalition is holding a screening of its film, Driven to Defraud , at the Enoch Pratt Central Library at 6:30 p.m. today. The movie comes at the same time that the consumer group releases a report on auto sale scams. Among them: Yo-yo sales This is where consumers leave the dealership in a car they think they have purchased, only to be called back days or weeks later and told that the sale or financing didn't go through for some reason.
BUSINESS
By Eileen Ambrose, The Baltimore Sun | March 25, 2013
When a warrant for his arrest arrived at his mother's house, Bryan Bookman went to the district court in Essex to clear up the matter. "That's when I was handcuffed and shackled, right on the spot, like I was a common criminal," said Bookman, who didn't have the money to post bail and spent the night in the Baltimore County Jail in Towson. His crime? Failure to show up in court for a small claims case. Debtors' prison, where people are incarcerated for owing money, seems like something out of another century.
BUSINESS
By Steve Kilar and The Baltimore Sun | February 26, 2013
The National Mortgage Settlement's relief is not reaching enough Maryland homeowners and is not as effective as it could be in keeping people in their homes, the Maryland Consumer Rights Coalition said Tuesday. “The number of Maryland families facing new foreclosures continues to dwarf those getting help under the settlement,” said Marceline White, the group's executive director, in a statement. Between March 1, 2012 and the end of last year, about 14,200 homeowners received assistance through the settlement, intended to resolve accusations by 49 states and the federal government that five major mortgage servicers abused borrowers during the foreclosure process.
BUSINESS
Jamie Smith Hopkins | March 12, 2012
The home next door is an empty foreclosure, the former owner long gone. But when you look up the property online , it's still in the ex-owner's name. And when you check the online court docket , you can't even tell which company foreclosed because the listed plaintiffs are the attorneys at a local law firm that specializes in foreclosure cases. Whom do you call if the house is falling apart? A task force made up of financial industry players and homeowner advocates suggested a foreclosure registry -- specifying who purchased the home at auction, who is responsible for maintenance and the name, telephone number and address of both parties.
BUSINESS
By Eileen Ambrose | June 15, 2011
Elizabeth Warren, the Harvard University law professor helping launch the new consumer protection bureau, will be attending a town hall meeting  this month in Baltimore. The June 30 th  event is being hosted by Rep. Elijah E. Cummings at the Enoch Pratt Free Library’s Central Branch, 400 Cathedral St. It runs from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. The event is open to the public. So, come and see the woman who strikes fear in the hearts of bankers and others in the financial services industry and hear her diabolical plans to create transparent mortgage documents and to spread financial literacy.
BUSINESS
By New York Times News Service | May 1, 1993
WASHINGTON -- President Clinton and congressional leaders have spurned both consumer groups and the leading airlines in naming the 15 members of a bipartisan commission charged with recommending measures to revitalize the ailing U.S. airline industry.The president asked the commission Thursday night to "take a step back" from the debate over why the industry lost $10 billion in the past three years, and "examine the context in which the aviation industry operates.""To the extent the commission can help us understand how we got to where we are today, and provide a vision for a competitive future, it will have rendered an invaluable service," the president said.
NEWS
By Dan Thanh Dang and Dan Thanh Dang,Sun reporter | August 15, 2007
Consider for a moment that a staggering 467 products were pulled off the market in the United States last year - a record-high level, according to consumer groups. It can make a consumer's head spin trying to keep up with product recalls, from all-terrain vehicles that pose a fire hazard to Cinderella earrings that contain dangerous levels of lead. Just yesterday, Mattel recalled Batman figures and Polly Pocket dolls containing magnets that can be swallowed. In June, it was defective tires and toxic toothpaste.
BUSINESS
By Eileen Ambrose, The Baltimore Sun | May 16, 2011
Jobless Marylanders don't have their unemployment benefits eaten up by "junk fees" on prepaid debit cards like people in other states, according to a national consumer group. National Consumer Law Center last week released a report on prepaid debit cards now used by 40 states to disburse jobless benefits. Maryland didn't take top honors — that went to California and New Jersey — but the consumer group gave the Free State a thumbs up. "It has one of the better cards," Lauren Saunders, managing attorney for the consumer group, said during a teleconference last week.
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