Consumer Confidential: David Lazarus
Recent columns by Times' business columnist David Lazarus.
9:31 PM EDT, September 16, 2013
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
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.
6:48 PM EDT, September 5, 2013
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.
11:41 PM EDT, September 9, 2013
For Patti Williams, it was all about the jingle.
7:02 PM EDT, August 29, 2013
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
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
It's always impressive when businesses go out of their way to mess with customers.
9:43 PM EDT, August 22, 2013
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
Since February, CVS Caremark has been pushing its pharmacists to enroll customers in a prescription-drug rewards program.
8:56 PM EDT, August 12, 2013
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
Rocco Bersane died in March at the age of 56 after being hospitalized for a gallbladder infection and liver failure.
9:32 PM EDT, July 25, 2013
"Good news — you've been accepted!" the letter says. "Get up to 75% off when you use these free cards at your favorite pharmacy!"
January 16, 2008
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
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.
January 28, 2011
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
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
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.
January 8, 2006
THE PEOPLE'S COURT
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
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
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
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.
December 12, 2007
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
December 9, 2007
The traffic in L.A. bites -- you know that. The question is: What are we going to do about it?
November 28, 2007
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
Donald Trump wasn't happy with Wednesday's column about his seminars on profiting from the foreclosure market.
October 22, 2007
Lawndale resident Julian Torres' cellphone experience will be familiar to many wireless customers.
March 5, 2008
In his weekend radio address, President Bush warned of rogue pharmacists making potentially dangerous prescription drugs readily available online.
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