Latest in Consumer News

geralt/Creative Commons

Judge: Cellphone Tracking Requires A Warrant

“Cellphone users do not expect that law enforcement will be able to track their movements 24/7 for a sixty-day period simply because the users keep their cellphones turned on,” [U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh of the Northern District of California] wrote in a 46-page order issued Wednesday night. … “This is a welcome ruling that will provide clarity for the government and important privacy protections for the public,” [Linda Lye, a senior staff attorney at the ACLU Foundation of Northern California,] said. “Going forward, we should expect the government to seek a warrant for this information.”

uber exec toys with car and cash

Facing Regulatory Roadblocks, Uber Ramps Up Its Lobbying In California

Uber now spends more on lobbyists in California than Wal-Mart, Bank of America or Wells Fargo … in the top 3% of companies and organizations. … So far in 2015, Uber has paid about $200,000 to lobbyists. That’s more than 10 times the amount spent by the limousine industry and nearly four times greater than the taxi industry’s trade group. … A PUC administrative law judge decided earlier this month that Uber should be fined $7.3 million and suspended from operating in California.

anthem-insurance best

Anthem To Buy Cigna, Creating Biggest U.S. Health Insurer

Anthem Inc said on Friday it would buy Cigna Corp for about $54.2 billion, creating the largest U.S. health insurer by membership and accelerating the industry’s consolidation from five national players to three. … State insurance regulators and federal antitrust authorities are expected to scrutinize how the Anthem-Cigna and Aetna-Humana deals would affect competition for Medicare and individual and commercial insurance. Within a few hours of the announcement, several U.S. lawmakers and a leading physicians group said they feared the pending acquisitions would hurt consumers …

Citibank sign in window

Citibank Must Pay $700M Over Illegal Marketing, Collection Practices

In all, the [Consumer Financial Protection Bureau] estimates seven million consumer accounts were affected by Citibank’s deceptive marketing, billing, and administration of debt protection and credit monitoring add-on products. … In addition to consumer relief, Citibank must pay a $35 million penalty to the CFPB’s Civil Penalty Fund, as well as end its unfair billing practices and cease engaging in the deceptive marketing of add-on products. … The CFPB contends Citibank and its subsidiaries relied on illegal billing practices, ultimately affecting nearly 2.2 million customer accounts …

San Onofre nuclear plant

Committee Seeks San Onofre Emails Again

The chairman of the Assembly committee that oversees the California Public Utilities Commission has given the agency until the end of this month to secure and turn over certain emails and other documents from Southern California Edison. Chairman Anthony Rendon, D-Lakewood, is asking Commission President Michael Picker to use his authority to demand that Edison provide internal and external emails about the failed San Onofre nuclear plant north of Oceanside. … [The] plant has become a key subject in criminal investigations of the state utilities commission. Much of the scrutiny revolves around private communications between regulators and utility executives.