It’s that time of year again already. Thanksgiving, the American day of giving thanks, is this week. Ninety-seven percent of Americans are planning to celebrate Thanksgiving. The average person’s spending over the five-day Thanksgiving period is estimated to be $325. The average cost of a 10-person Thanksgiving dinner will be about $64.05.
Junk fees – those hidden and bogus charges that have found their way into a wide variety of transactions – are on consumers’ minds. After receiving more than 12,000 comments about how these fees impact consumers and businesses, the FTC announced on Oct. 11, a proposed rule on deceptive fees. It's now looking for further feedback.
Junk fees are everywhere. The fees, which cost American families tens of billions of dollars each year, can strain any family budget. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which looks for junk fees when it examines financial institutions, found the following during its reviews between February and August 2023:
USASF Servicing is being charged with illegal practices that harmed consumers with auto loans including disabling vehicles, improperly repossessing vehicles, double-billing for insurance premiums, and failing to return millions in refunds, according to a lawsuit. The CFPB is seeking to return money to consumers, impose penalties, and stop future violations.
Unfair, deceptive, and abusive practices are being used in many financial transactions, agency finds
American companies are using unfair and deceptive practices as they sell many consumer financial products, the CFPB said in a report. For example, auto lenders have originated loan balances above the real value of the car being purchased and engaged in illegal collection practices while servicing these loans.
It’s not surprising what last year’s top consumer complaint was. I’ve seen it many times as No. 1 on annual consumer complaint lists. It’s auto sales and repair. “Consumers rely on cars to get to work, school, doctors’ appointments and more,” said Erin Witte, director of consumer protection for the Consumer Federation of America.
Memorial Day is a day to honor Americans who have died in service to their country. Many people attend a memorial day event, visit a cemetery where a loved one is buried, or spend time remembering a service member. In addition, for others, it’s the unofficial beginning of summer. So, it brings barbecues, picnics, swimming, and other outdoor activities.
When you take two consumer problems, telemarketing and extended warranties, and put them together, it can result in disaster. The Federal Trade Commission announced a settlement Friday in its case against American Vehicle Protection – who it charged last year with running a telemarketing extended auto warranty scheme that cheated people out of more than $6 million.
In addition to recalling products, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission issues warnings about hazardous products. A recent warning from the agency is to immediately stop using black TureClos bicycle helmets. The helmets don’t comply with federal safety standards. They can fail to protect riders if a crash occurs, posing a head injury risk.
Buying a new car is among one the most challenging purchases a consumer needs to make. Every year, Consumer Reports, a research, testing, and advocacy organization, conducts a battery of tests on the vehicles it evaluates, including braking, handling, comfort, convenience, safety, and fuel economy.