Consumers Union of U.S., Inc.
- Homepage: http://www.consumersunion.org/
May 2002: "Consumers Union, publisher of Consumer Reports, is an independent, nonprofit testing and information organization serving only consumers. We are a comprehensive source for unbiased advice about products and services, personal finance, health and nutrition, and other consumer concerns. Since 1936, our mission has been to test products, inform the public, and protect consumers. Our income is derived solely from the sale of Consumer Reports and our other services, and from noncommercial contributions, grants, and fees. Consumers Union is governed by a board of 18 directors, who are elected by CU members and meet three times a year. Consumers Union's President, Jim Guest, oversees a staff of more than 450." http://www.consumersunion.org/aboutcu/about.htm
Owner of Consumer Webwatch. http://www.consumerwebwatch.org/project/index.html
December 2010: '“Given all of the things we buy new that can release formaldehyde in our house, all of those things contribute,” said Urvashi Rangan, director of technical policy at Consumers Union, who noted that the Environmental Protection Agency was currently developing formaldehyde emissions regulations for pressed-wood products. “Over all, minimizing your exposure is a good idea.”'http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/11/your-money/11wrinkle.html
July 2009: "In a recent article, Consumer Reports warned parents against accepting free drug samples for ADHD. Because drug companies tend to give samples for only the most expensive drugs, once the samples run out, you'll end up paying more than if your child had been prescribed a generic drug. Consumer Reports also has ratings on ADHD drugs."http://www.cnn.com/2009/HEALTH/07/30/adhd.drugs.children/
April 2009: 'Take real estate company Re/max International, for example. During a two-month campaign in 2007, the company used technology that tapped into data from cable set-top boxes to find out how many homeowners were watching home-improvement shows and to see what other cable channels those viewers were likely to watch. After finding that home-improvement enthusiasts were also inclined to watch auto-racing programming on Speed channel and the TNT series Without a Trace, the company promptly placed ads on those shows. Re/max International says the pilot program was conducted on a local scale but did not comment on whether it has plans to roll it out on a national level. “The digital revolution has a dark underbelly,” warns Gene Kimmelman, vice president for federal and legal affairs at Consumers Union. “A lot of these bits include personal information about viewing habits and interests that are easily transformed into marketing materials. It’s a whole new realm for blitzing the public with advertising.” It will also help cable companies sell advertising time. “That’s the biggest piece of revenue,” says Josh Bernoff, vice president and principal analyst at Forrester Research. 10. “We promise more high-definition programming than we deliver.”'http://www.smartmoney.com/spending/technology/10-things-cable-companies-will-not-tell-you
January 2009: '“The federal government is getting $19 billion from selling the analog TV spectrum, while people with analog TVs have to go out and spend their own money for a converter box,” said Joel Kelsey, a policy analyst for Consumers Union, in a press release Wednesday. “Everyone affected by the digital switch should be able to get their $40 coupons. Congress needs to consider delaying the transition until these problems are fixed.”'http://tvdecoder.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/01/08/obama-recommends-delay-in-digital-tv-switch/index.html
March 2008: "Navigating these complexities hits the elderly harder because they're least likely to own a digital TV, according to recent surveys by Centris and Consumers Union. They also have less access to the Internet, which is a major source of information about the transition, said Joel Kelsey, policy analyst for Consumers Union."http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/03/30/AR2008033002136.html
December 2007: "Consumer groups, which have long pushed for tighter cable television regulation, criticized the change in newspaper cross-ownership. “We’re disappointed that he relaxed the rule,” said Gene Kimmelman, the senior lobbyist in Washington for Consumers Union. “But the new language creating a high hurdle in the small markets, if appropriately implemented, could significantly limit the number of mergers that get through, minimizing the danger to competition and diversity in local news.”"http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/19/business/media/19fcc.html
August 2007: 'When cellphone companies charge consumers fat penalties to leave, they're throwing sand in the gears of competition, which means consumers pay higher prices for shoddy service,' said Chris Murray of Consumers Union, which has been lobbying against cancellation fees.http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/08/17/AR2007081702365.html
July 2007: “No. 1, there’s a basic consumer right to know,” said Michael Hansen, senior scientist at Consumers Union, an advocacy group that publishes Consumer Reports magazine and supports the labeling law. “People are more and more concerned about the food they eat.”http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/02/business/02label.html
February 2007: Check whether lawmakers in your state are considering such a bill and then write to support the legislation. To see which state legislatures are considering security freeze laws go to http://www.financialprivacynow.org, set up by Consumers Union. Click on 'Learn More.' Then look for 'Current State Security Freeze Bills.'http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/02/07/AR2007020701849.html
Role Name Type Last Updated Founder/Co-Founder of Center for Auto Safety (CAS) Organization Mar 15, 2006 Owner of (partial or full, past or present) Consumer Reports Source Owner of (partial or full, past or present) Consumer Webwatch Source Apr 11, 2004 Organization Executive (past or present) Steven Findlay Person Jan 15, 2008 Employee/Freelancer/Contractor (past or present) Sally J. Greenberg Person Jul 24, 2011 Employee/Freelancer/Contractor (past or present) Gail Hillebrand Esq. Person Feb 11, 2007 Employee/Freelancer/Contractor (past or present) Gene Kimmelman Person Apr 11, 2004 Advised by (past or present) Prof. Rob Mayer Person Jun 19, 2005 Organization Executive (past or present) Elisa Odabashian Person Jul 27, 2007 Employee/Freelancer/Contractor (past or present) Dr. R. David Pittle Person Oct 9, 2004 Organization Executive (past or present) Urvashi Rangan Ph.D. Person Dec 11, 2010 Organization Executive (past or present) Dr. John Santa Person Aug 4, 2009 Organization Executive (past or present) Frank Torres Esq. Person Sep 6, 2006
Articles and Resources
Date Fairness.com Resource Read it at: Jan 16, 2012 Consumer Reports: Brand-name drugs can be far more costly but no more effective
QUOTE: Just 5 percent of patients learn about the price of prescribed drugs during the doctor visit, according to a survey by the Consumer Reports National Research Center. But many expensive brand-name medications have equally effective counterparts that cost far less.
Washington Post Dec 10, 2010 When Wrinkle-Free Clothing Also Means Formaldehyde Fumes
QUOTE: some critics said more studies on a wider array of textiles and clothing chemicals were needed, including a closer look at the effects of cumulative exposure [to formaldehyde-Ed.]. At the very least, they said, better labeling would help.
New York Times May 09, 2010 Consumer Watchdog targets Google
QUOTE: Too big to fail turned out to be wrong for banks and other corporations. But don't tell that to Google, which has quickly expanded into making smartphones, mapping streets of the world, streaming videos, connecting friends and selling digital books....Federal regulators have launched a handful of investigations of the Internet behemoth -- which dominates Web search -- to ensure it doesn't unfairly hurt competitors and consumers in its feeding frenzy of online businesses. So far, there hasn't been a full antitrust review of the variety that hobbled Microsoft, AT&T and Standard Oil.
Washington Post Jan 01, 2010 Consumer Confidential
QUOTE: Do you know when you're being hustled by bankers, mortgage brokers, and investment peddlers? Check out our tip sheet on financial pros' everyday deceptions—and how to protect yourself against them
AARP Bulletin Oct 05, 2009 Prepaid, but Not Prepared for Debit Card Fees (The Card Game)
QUOTE: For many people who do not have bank accounts, or cannot get a credit card, the appeal [of a prepaid debit card] is irresistible... But their convenience comes with a catch: fees, often hidden in the fine print.
New York Times Jul 30, 2009 Does your child need ADHD drugs? (Empowered Patient)
QUOTE: Does my child really need drugs for ADHD, and if so, is there a point when he or she should stop taking them?...Because drug companies tend to give samples for only the most expensive drugs, once the samples run out, you'll end up paying more than if your child had been prescribed a generic drug.
CNN (Cable News Network) Jul 03, 2009 Purity of Federal 'Organic' Label Is Questioned
QUOTE: the USDA [organic food] program's shortcomings mean that consumers, who at times must pay twice as much for organic products, are not always getting what they expect: foods without pesticides and other chemicals, produced in a way that is gentle to the environment.
Washington Post Jun 18, 2009 Exclusive Wireless Contracts Examined: Critics Say Deals Stifle Competition
QUOTE: growing debate on whether the practice of locking in cellphones to exclusive contracts with only one carrier has led to higher prices and fewer choices for consumers and stifled competition...
Washington Post Jun 17, 2009 Text-message fees recommended for antitrust scrutiny
QUOTE: Prices [for text messaging] at Verizon, AT & T, Sprint and T-Mobile have risen sharply and around the same time, Sen. Herb Kohl says. Companies deny any collusion.
Los Angeles Times Jun 10, 2009 Lobbyists unlimited in honoring lawmakers
QUOTE: Despite a ban on gifts to lawmakers and limits on campaign contributions, lobbyists and groups that employ them can spend unlimited money to honor members of Congress or donate to non-profits connected to them or their relatives.
USA TODAY Apr 16, 2009 10 Things Cable Companies Won't Tell You
QUOTE: 2. “raise prices recklessly... Bundling your services can end up costing you more.”
Smart Money Jan 08, 2009 TV Decoder: Obama Asks for Delay in Digital TV Switch
QUOTE: president of PBS, Paula Kerger, “said she’s especially concerned that children in less-affluent homes that rely on free television might lose access to PBS educational shows for kids,”....“The federal government is getting $19 billion from selling the analog TV spectrum, while people with analog TVs have to go out and spend their own money for a converter box,” said Joel Kelsey, a policy analyst for Consumers Union...
New York Times Jan 01, 2009 The Plot to Kill Google
QUOTE: The company's [Google] growth, ambitions, and politics have made it a target of some of the country's most powerful businesses and interest groups.
Wired May 15, 2008 Cheat Sheets? Fuzzy Industry Standards Leave Consumers Lost In the Thread Counts
QUOTE: Currently, manufacturers have no agreed-upon standard for counting the number of vertical and horizontal threads in a one-inch square of fabric -- the definition of thread count. The American Society for Testing and Materials International (ASTM) established guidelines saying all threads, including multi-ply yarns, can only be counted once. U.S. manufacturers adhere to the rule, but many foreign manufacturers do not, according to Norma Keyes, director of fiber quality research at Cotton Inc., an industry trade group based in Cary, N.C.
Washington Post Mar 31, 2008 As TV Goes Digital, Some Viewers May Be in the Dark
QUOTE: The digital conversion presents a huge logistical and technical hurdle for the communities whose dependence on rabbit-ear-style analog TVs are high, but whose understanding of how to manage the change is low [...] Debra Berlyn, a consultant for AARP, said there is also concern that older consumers might be vulnerable to sales pitches for new, expensive TVs instead of the cheaper converter-box option.
Washington Post Dec 19, 2007 F.C.C. Reshapes Rules Limiting Media Industry
QUOTE: One rule would tighten the reins on the cable television industry. By stipulating that no one company can control more than 30 percent of the market, the rule introduces fresh regulation to an industry where there has been little of it, angering both the cable industry and Republican commissioners, who favor a free-market approach.
New York Times Aug 18, 2007 Static Mounts Over Cellphone Contracts
QUOTE: Most cellphone owners find themselves committed to two-year service contracts with wireless companies, facing hefty fees for an early escape. But as customer satisfaction with these firms continues to slide, consumers are taking more drastic actions to shed their contracts.
Washington Post Jul 22, 2007 Where does your food come from? Food labels don't tell the whole inside story
QUOTE: Recent reports of tainted imports from China have focused new attention on a little-known trend: In today's global economy, more food items are being produced in this country with some ingredients from other lands. But the FDA inspects less than 1 percent of all food imports - and that means consumers must trust food makers to guarantee the safety of their products.
San Jose Mercury News Jul 02, 2007 Labels Lack Food’s Origin Despite Law
QUOTE: [Although] lobbyists and members of Congress have managed to hold off the enforcement of a five-year-old law that required country-of-origin labeling… “there’s a basic consumer right to know,” said Michael Hansen, senior scientist at Consumers Union…
New York Times May 03, 2007 Phone companies levy new fee for not making calls
QUOTE: Now some phone companies are adding a new line item to monthly bills: a charge for not making long-distance calls. The category of customers affected by the new fee is the shrinking subset of people who have no-frills home-phone service and don't pay for a long-distance-calling plan.... Verizon spokesman Jim Smith defended the decision to charge customers the $2 fee. "Because what they're helping to do is supporting the network...
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