consumer protection

a Georgia nuclear power plant

In the Southeast, where big utilities rule, calls for a real power market persist

BY: - May 6, 2023

A report prepared for the South Carolina state legislature and released last week determined that a range of electric market and transmission reforms — including creating a new independent organization to run the electric grid or joining an existing one — would bring “substantial benefits” for customers, potentially as much as $362 million a year.  […]

the North Carolina Legislative Building

NC Senate committee approves caps on medical debt interest, limits on aggressive collection tactics

BY: - April 20, 2023

A bill that would limit aggressive medical debt collection tactics got its first affirmative vote in the legislature Thursday as it moved through a Senate committee with little discussion. Treasurer Dale Folwell, a Republican running for governor, has been promoting the “Medical Debt De-Weaponization Act” for months at community gatherings statewide.  The bill would prohibit […]

A terrible bet: North Carolina should not cave in to the sports gambling onslaught

BY: - March 14, 2023

North Carolina elected leaders have enacted several ineffective and misleading laws over the years, but when it comes to undermining public confidence in government and taking advantage of vulnerable people, the badly misnamed “education lottery” has to be near the bottom of any “worst of” list.

Advocacy groups ask FTC to expand Biden administration efforts to rein in junk fees

BY: - February 13, 2023

President Joe Biden devoted 19 sentences of his State of the Union speech to “junk fees,” which includes credit card late fees, service fees for concert tickets and airplane seating preferences that he said strain families’ budgets. Biden did not mention the numerous and opaque fees faced by prisoners and their families every day. But […]


Weekend humor from Celia Rivenbark: My gas appliances are out to get me

BY: - February 11, 2023

I’m generally a pretty optimistic person. Easily pleased and happily at the stage of life where I’m grateful for the little things. How little? Well, if I create a new password and I’m rewarded on the first try with “Strong!” my flippin’ day is made. Despite this generally sunny outlook, I’m in a bit of […]

Proposed federal rule would lower credit card late fees

BY: - February 7, 2023

As Americans continue to struggle with high credit card rates, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has proposed a rule to help lessen some of their financial burden — in the form of lower late fees.  The new rule would limit late fees to $8. Currently credit card companies can charge as high as $41 — penalties that the CFPB’s director, Rohit Chopra, said are charged for “no purpose beyond padding the credit card companies’ profits.”

State medical cannabis programs failing to make enough progress, advocacy group finds

BY: - February 6, 2023

WASHINGTON — A report from a patient advocacy group found the future of medical cannabis in the states is hazy unless costs are decreased, product safety standards are improved, and civil rights are strengthened for patients and prescribers.  Americans for Safe Access issued its annual State of the States report on Thursday. The organization, a […]


Weekend humor from Celia Rivenbark: Buccal up, y’all! It’s time for a new look

BY: - January 21, 2023

Everywhere I turn someone’s talking about buccal fat removal. Pronounced “buckle,” the cosmetic surgery removes cheek fat leaving you with gloriously defined cheekbones. I’m not sure, but I believe the popular procedure was invented by Republican Congressman George Santos of New York. Or at least that’s what he said. I’ve never had cosmetic surgery (obviously) […]

A watchdog says the feds aren’t doing enough to investigate problem colleges

BY: - January 20, 2023

Report is the latest indictment of the Trump administration's consumer protection efforts in higher ed WASHINGTON — Incomplete written guidelines and penalties that had not been updated since 2016.  Significant turnover and reductions among staff.  Changing agency priorities and department probes put “on hold.”

New study urges cheaper communications for incarcerated people

BY: - January 3, 2023

People who make phone calls from state prisons and local jails often get price-gouged, with recent reforms falling short in preventing telephone companies from exploiting incarcerated people, a new national study found. As the cost of calls approaches zero outside the prison walls, incarcerated people are forced to pay charges few can afford, threatening their […]

ER doctors call private equity staffing practices illegal, seek to ban them

BY: - December 22, 2022

Physicians call on Attorney General Stein to investigate growing national trend A group of emergency physicians and consumer advocates in multiple states are pushing for stiffer enforcement of decades-old statutes that prohibit the ownership of medical practices by corporations not owned by licensed doctors. Thirty-three states plus the District of Columbia (including North Carolina) have rules on their books against the so-called corporate practice of medicine.

Proposed supermarket mega-deal raises questions from lawmakers about higher food prices

BY: - November 30, 2022

Kroger, which owns Harris Teeter, seeks to merge with Idaho-based Albertsons chain WASHINGTON —  Members of a U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee panel raised concerns during a Tuesday hearing that a proposed merger between two of the largest U.S. supermarket chains could mean a monopoly on groceries and lead to higher food prices for Americans. U.S. […]