Consumer Confidential: David Lazarus

Recent columns by Times' business columnist David Lazarus.

9:31 PM EDT, September 16, 2013

David Lazarus: MetroPCS gouges customers with $3 fee to pay bill in store

One of the most dubious practices of the business world is making people pay to pay — charging customers money so they can give the company money.

8:44 PM EDT, September 12, 2013

David Lazarus: Is CVS rewards program complying with California law?

CVS Caremark insists that it's just complying with federal law by informing customers that their medical information could be "redisclosed" if they sign up for the company's prescription-drug reward program.

CBS and Time Warner win; viewers lose in cable dispute

6:48 PM EDT, September 5, 2013

David Lazarus: CBS and Time Warner win; viewers lose in cable dispute

So here's the final score: Time Warner Cable got some but not all of what it wanted. CBS got pretty much everything that it wanted.

Cal made you a deal, and selling cars was never the same

11:41 PM EDT, September 9, 2013

David Lazarus: Cal made you a deal, and selling cars was never the same

For Patti Williams, it was all about the jingle.

Workers facing the thorny problems of healthcare and retirement

7:02 PM EDT, August 29, 2013

David Lazarus: Workers facing the thorny problems of healthcare and retirement

Like most employers, Trader Joe's is grappling with how to look after the well-being of its workers amid difficult financial circumstances.

8:39 PM EDT, August 26, 2013

David Lazarus: Call DirecTV, risk identity theft?

Here's a hard-and-fast rule: Don't give your Social Security number to anyone unless it's absolutely necessary.

7:33 PM EDT, August 19, 2013

David Lazarus: You can't bank on escaping debit card fee at BofA

It's always impressive when businesses go out of their way to mess with customers.

9:43 PM EDT, August 22, 2013

David Lazarus: Tired of cable TV disputes, bills? More are cutting the cord

A lot of people are sick of the money-grubbing spat between Time Warner Cable and CBS, which has resulted in CBS, Showtime and other channels being unavailable to the cable company's subscribers since Aug. 2.

8:54 PM EDT, August 15, 2013

David Lazarus: CVS thinks $50 is enough reward for giving up healthcare privacy

Since February, CVS Caremark has been pushing its pharmacists to enroll customers in a prescription-drug rewards program.

Anthem says: Here's your health insurance; oops, never mind

8:56 PM EDT, August 12, 2013

David Lazarus: Anthem says: Here's your health insurance; oops, never mind

Jennifer Frankenberg recently learned that she had been approved to receive much-needed health insurance from Anthem Blue Cross.

7:13 PM EDT, August 8, 2013

David Lazarus: Not even death stops banks from deducting fees

Rocco Bersane died in March at the age of 56 after being hospitalized for a gallbladder infection and liver failure.

Use a card, lose your privacy?

9:32 PM EDT, July 25, 2013

David Lazarus: Use a card, lose your privacy?

"Good news — you've been accepted!" the letter says. "Get up to 75% off when you use these free cards at your favorite pharmacy!"

If this health plan is 'socialism,' we need more of it

9:18 PM EDT, May 23, 2013

David Lazarus: If this health plan is 'socialism,' we need more of it

So this is what socialism looks like: Private companies competing for people's business in an open marketplace.

Up a tree over dead cat's health plan

January 16, 2008

David Lazarus: Up a tree over dead cat's health plan

When Sarah Harper took her cat, Pete, to Banfield, the Pet Hospital, she was encouraged to sign up for one of the company's "optimum wellness plans."

March 12, 2008

David Lazarus: Curbing our need for oil

With oil prices at record highs and gas heading to the $4-a-gallon level, I was set to come roaring out of the gate today with a proposal that all vehicles be slapped with a conservation-promoting surcharge based on mileage, with proceeds going to public-transit projects.

Utilities have no incentive to scrap pension plans

January 28, 2011

David Lazarus: Utilities have no incentive to scrap pension plans

Galen Dean of Yucaipa has worked on and off for Southern California Edison Co. for 29 years. As he puts it, he's done "pretty much everything except climb poles."

April 16, 2008

David Lazarus: Too much contact at this Reunion

The name of the game for social-networking websites such as MySpace and Facebook is to draw as many users as possible into the fold. Typically that's done by creating a community and features so irresistible that people feel they just have to join.

March 9, 2008

David Lazarus: Renters priced out of L.A.

Deanna Corbin, 46, would live in Los Angeles if she could. But she can't, at least not with a modicum of space and safety, not on her $38,000 salary as an administrative secretary.

Alito's moment

January 8, 2006

THE PEOPLE'S COURT

Alito's moment

SUPREME COURT nominations are as old as the republic, but the modern history of the battles over court appointments begins in 1987. That's when the Senate rejected Robert H. Bork, the conservative appellate judge who President Reagan nominated to replace Justice Lewis F. Powell Jr., the swing-voting centrist on what was then, as now, a closely divided court.

April 6, 2008

David Lazarus: ZIP Code still a factor in auto insurance

A lot of drivers probably thought they were finally getting a break when then-California Insurance Commissioner John Garamendi announced in 2005 that he was requiring insurers to stop using ZIP Codes as a main factor in determining car-insurance rates.

March 23, 2008

David Lazarus: Things are looking up -- at the pawn shop

The economy is tanking, banks are scrambling for cover, the Fed is repeatedly cutting interest rates . . . and business is booming at pawn shop Crown City Loan & Jewelry in Old Pasadena.

April 20, 2008

David Lazarus: 'Smart meters' may soon be outdated

California's three biggest utilities are charging customers nearly $4.6 billion to install millions of "smart meters" at homes and businesses. These newfangled meters, the utilities promise, will revolutionize energy usage by giving consumers far greater control over how much they pay for power.

Trump spins in foreclosure game

December 12, 2007

David Lazarus: Trump spins in foreclosure game

When I heard that President Bush wants to bail out homeowners caught up in the sub-prime mortgage mess, I figured I better move fast if I want to profit from other people's misfortune.

April 9, 2008

David Lazarus: Mortgage payoff on steroids

When Stockton resident Kevin Byrd refinanced his mortgage a couple of years ago, he figured he'd need the full 30 years to pay off more than $300,000 in debt.

December 19, 2007

David Lazarus: Airline descends to a new low: a death fee

We all know that some airlines nickel-and-dime you with fees -- fees for baggage, fees for food, fees for blankets and pillows. But fees for death?

January 23, 2008

David Lazarus: The joke is on cellphone users

Keith Fitzgerald, a concessions manager for Los Angeles International Airport, was in the middle of a meeting last month when his cellphone suddenly emitted an unfamiliar ring. He'd received his first-ever text message.

April 2, 2008

David Lazarus: Cellphones may do a number on Cuba

The Cuban government made headlines worldwide when it announced the other day that its citizens would finally have unrestricted access to cellphones, ushering in a new era in telecommunications for the economically challenged island.

December 23, 2007

David Lazarus: Best Buy kiosks not connected to Internet

The Connecticut attorney general's office sued Best Buy in May, charging the electronics heavyweight with using deceptive in-store websites to trick customers into paying higher prices than available on the company's actual site.

February 17, 2008

Consumer Confidential

David Lazarus: Firms round up; we pay the price

We live in an age of supercomputer-driven, lightning-fast digital technology that can determine the time of day down to the nanosecond.

February 2, 2008

CONSUMER CONFIDENTIAL

David Lazarus: Columnist roots for Microsoft. Huh??

If there's a sentiment that crops up with frequency in this column, it's that bigger is seldom better when it comes to how businesses treat consumers.

February 13, 2008

David Lazarus: Shadow victims of the mortgage crisis: renters

The Bush administration's announcement Tuesday that it would put the foreclosure process on hold for 30 days to rescue struggling homeowners came several weeks too late for Mike Salgado.

October 24, 2007

David Lazarus: Insurance claims could haunt houses

If past history is any measure, many homeowners affected by the wildfires burning throughout Southern California will find that claims they submit to insurers will result in higher rates or even dropped policies.

February 27, 2008

David Lazarus: Housing upheaval: a tale of two homes

Just when it was looking like things couldn't get any worse in the housing market, government officials announced Tuesday that home prices had their biggest fourth-quarter drop in 17 years.

December 26, 2007

David Lazarus: Free news online will cost journalism dearly

I don't pretend to understand all the minutiae of the writers strike, but I do know this much: Hollywood scribes want to be compensated fairly when their work is accessed on the Internet, which is increasingly becoming a venue to watch movies and TV shows.

October 26, 2007

David Lazarus: Insurers taking risk out of the equation

You buy a Band-Aid. You get a scrape. You use your Band-Aid. And the next time you go to the drugstore, you're told that you have to pay more for Band-Aids. Or maybe they won't sell you another Band-Aid at all.

March 16, 2008

David Lazarus: Cellphones to keep track of your purchases -- and you

You might not know it, but as of January it became illegal in California for companies to require workers to have devices implanted under their skin that would reveal their whereabouts at all times.

Southland transit is in need of big ideas

December 9, 2007

David Lazarus: Southland transit is in need of big ideas

The traffic in L.A. bites -- you know that. The question is: What are we going to do about it?

November 28, 2007

David Lazarus: Next cell trend lets users hold the phone

First people were allowed to take their phone numbers with them whenever they switched wireless providers. Now, Verizon Wireless is handing consumers greater clout by allowing them to use their own handsets, not just Verizon's, on the carrier's network.

December 16, 2007

David Lazarus: Trump's a grump about column on his 'priceless' tips

Donald Trump wasn't happy with Wednesday's column about his seminars on profiting from the foreclosure market.

October 22, 2007

David Lazarus: Locked in a cell: Wireless users punished for canceling early

Lawndale resident Julian Torres' cellphone experience will be familiar to many wireless customers.

March 5, 2008

David Lazarus: Cost is the real drug threat

In his weekend radio address, President Bush warned of rogue pharmacists making potentially dangerous prescription drugs readily available online.

  • Email E-mail
  • add to Twitter Twitter
  • add to Facebook Facebook
CTnow is using Facebook comments on stories. To comment on ctnow.com articles, sign into Facebook and enter your comment in the field below. Comments will appear in your Facebook News Feed unless you choose otherwise. To report spam or abuse, click the X next to the comment. For guidelines on commenting, click here.

BUSINESS MIDDAY


BUSINESS MIDDAY

Business Midday Get daily business news sent directly to your inbox for free weekdays at 1 p.m.



SEE SAMPLE | SIGN IN
After signing in, click on your username at the top left of this screen and then on "My Newsletter Subscriptions."