Mortgages, Debt Collection Top CFPB Complaints

Nov 25, 2013, 12:39 pm EST

A large number of the 230,000 complaints filed through the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) have been related to mortgages or debt collections.

Yahoo! News reports that the CFPB Director Richard Cordray is encouraging Americans to complain more “about problems with mortgages, credit cards, student loans [and] auto loans.” The agency only accepted credit card loans at first but it has now expanded and it receives about 10,000-12,000 complaints a month.

Cordray also said that consumers who file complains might also get compensation for their troubles. The CFPB has collected about $750 million for consumers since it opened its doors 2011. The agency deals with all sorts of complaints, including from the financial sector it regulates and Republicans in Congress who could make it more difficult for low-income Americans to borrow money. Source: Read 

FCC Considers Allowing Cell Phone Calls on Planes

Nov 22, 2013, 11:32 am EST
FCC Considers Allowing Cell Phone Calls on Planes

Source: Flickr Airplanes could soon cease to be a refuge from people incessantly talking on their cell phones.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has drafted a proposal that would permit travelers to use their cellphones to send data and make phone calls when aircraft are flying above 10,000 feet. The FCC indicated that the idea was driven by “increased consumer demand” to use mobile devices while in the air, the Daily News notes.

Relaxing restrictions on in-air cell phone use will be debated at the FCC’s Dec. 12 meeting. The agency’s chairman — a former cellular industry lobbyist — called current restrictions “outdated and restrictive.” Read 

Los Angeles Gives Out Totes Ahead of Jan. 1 Plastic-Bag Ban

Nov 21, 2013, 12:05 pm EST

The city of Los Angeles is giving away reusable totes to get residents use to the plastic-bag ban that will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2014.

The totes, which cost $5 a piece to make, are being made by nonprofit organizations that help veterans and former gang members. The totes will be made out of recycled materials and will be given away for free. Los Angeles City Councilman Paul Koretz is raising money to help with the manufacturing of the totes. The groups creating the totes have already received a $25,000 donation from the art studio, Metabolic Studio, reports the Los Angeles Times.

The law banning plastic bags will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2014. Smaller retailers will have until July 1, 2014 to stop using plastic bags. Retailers will still be able to sell paper bags for 10 cents a piece, but lawmakers hope that people will move to using reusable totes, the L.A. Times notes. Read 

Fla. Congressman Charged With Cocaine Possession

Nov 20, 2013, 2:07 pm EST

Fla. Congressman Trey Radel was charged with possession of cocaine on Wednesday.

Radel, R-Fla., who is only 10 months into his first term in Congress, pleaded guilty to possession of cocaine. He was sentenced to a year of probation and plans to seek counseling. If Radel, 37, completes his probation, he won’t have a conviction charge on his records. The congressman, who is known to be hyper, hasn’t announced any plans to resign from office, reports the Washington Post.

Radel was caught when he bought cocaine from an undercover agent on Oct. 26. He purchased 3.5 grams of cocaine from the agent for $260. Radel was approached by officers after the incident and he then invited them to his home, where they found a vial that had cocaine in it, the Washington Post notes. Read 

Awkward … Obamacare ‘Success Story’ Takes Embarrassing Turn

Nov 20, 2013, 10:18 am EST

President Barack Obama’s new health insurance program can’t seem to catch a break.

Just weeks after the president publicly touted the experience of a Washington state woman who had written him to express her thanks for the Affordable Care Act, the woman now says she can’t afford the insurance she was promised. Jessica Sanford had signed up for Obamacare through her state’s exchange and was initially told she qualified for tax credits that would have allowed her to purchase coverage for an affordable price, CNN notes.

However, after sending the president her letter, the Washington state health exchange contacted Sanford, informing her that it had made an error. It turns out she doesn’t qualify for the tax credits that were initially promised. The exchange has apologized to Sanford and to “thousands of other Washington state residents” who were given errant benefit calculations. Read 

U.S. Postal Service Setting Up Mini Branches in Staples Stores

Nov 20, 2013, 9:35 am EST
U.S. Postal Service Setting Up Mini Branches in Staples Stores

The U.S. Postal Service is setting up mini branches inside select Staples (SPLS) stores.

The postal service plans to open 82 of these mini branches in Staples store around the nation. The mini branches, which are already set up it some stores, will sell stamps and offer shipping and mailing services. Staples stores with a USPS mini branch inside them will use the postal service as its only shipping and mailing option. The mini branches will be tested in five areas, including San Francisco, Atlanta, Pittsburgh, San Diego and Worcester, Mass., reports the Washington Post.

“I think it’s a great marriage of the two. Folks come here for office supplies, all kinds of needs in that regard,” Tad Kelley, a USPS spokesperson, told CBS News. “Now, they have the opportunity to mail things right from this location. I think it’s really a good fit.” Read 

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