Latest in Consumer News


Ridesharing Drivers Often Stuck in Insurance Limbo

Ridesharing services are gaining increasing momentum across the country, with at least one of the two leading operators, Uber and Lyft, available in about 170 metro areas. But many drivers are still afraid to come out of the shadows because of one lingering issue: insurance.

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Uber: Disability Laws Don’t Apply To Us

In three ADA-related cases over the past eight months, in California, Texas, and Arizona, Uber has been slammed with lawsuits that allege the company discriminates against blind and wheelchair-using passengers. The suits demand Uber abide by the ADA, but Uber claims that because it’s a technology company, not a transportation service, it doesn’t fall under the ADA’s jurisdiction. … The disability-rights movement is urging the courts and lawmakers to end the impunity.

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Grand Jury Probes PG&E’s Relationship With State Regulators

The latest grand jury investigation was opened after last year’s disclosure of e-mails between PG&E and the state utilities commission, which prompted probes by both state and federal prosecutors. Some of the e-mails showed a PG&E executive lobbying commissioners and their staffs for a preferred judge to oversee a $1.3 billion rate case. Others indicated that PG&E thought then-commission President Michael Peevey was dangling favorable state treatment in exchange for the utility’s backing for his pet fundraising and political causes.

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As An Insider Speaks Out, Chemical Industry’s Credibility Sinks

Last year, Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, whose previous legislative attempts to restrict flame retardants had died in part because of [former industry lobbyist turned whistleblower Grant] Gillham, won approval of a bill requiring that products containing the flame retardants be labeled. Now, with Gillham as an ally, Leno is carrying a new bill, SB 763, which would require labeling of products for juveniles such as napping pads. It deserves passage, no matter what the American Chemistry Council says.

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Exploding Air Bags: Takata Recall Now Totals 34 Million Vehicles

The auto industry is seeing increasingly large recalls as manufacturers share parts across their own models and use components from the same suppliers. NHTSA said there were 803 vehicle recalls last year involving 63.9 million vehicles. Last year’s tally included two of the 10 largest vehicle recalls in history and involved double the record number of cars set in 2004. … “It’s fair to say this is probably the most complex consumer safety recall in U.S. history,” [said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony] Foxx.