A Message from Consumer Action

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  • Hold on, my wallet is ringing. PHILIPPINES - It's Thursday, so 18-year-old Dennis Tiangco [of San Miquel] is off to the bank to collect his weekly allowance, zapped by his mother - who's working in Hong Kong - to his electronic
  • American Dream becomes debtor's nightmare. Soledad Aviles dreamed for years of owning a home, with a plot of land where he could grow corn and chiles as he did in his native Mexico. So he felt blessed last year when
  • Iowa universities won't divulge credit card agreements. Two state universities are refusing to disclose to the Iowa Board of Regents their credit-card marketing agreements with Bank of America. The agreements are believed to be similar to those at many schools and universities
  • Credit scores need be good, not perfect. Whether you're considering buying a new home or refinancing an existing mortgage, credit scores matter more than ever. To find out what consumers need to know about their credit reports and scores to get the
  • Tax relief for distressed but not the rest. In a tax-Peter-to-pay-Paul move, the House voted Thursday to permanently remove the "phantom income" tax penalty that haunts financially distressed homeowners whose debt is partially forgiven by a lender after a foreclosure or a short
  • Credit card fine print can cost you. Every now and then, I read something that makes me gasp. It happened just recently, when I learned about a Public Citizen report on arbitration in the credit card industry. Here's how it began: "Consumers
  • Common sense and credit cards. After years of looking the other way, Congress seems finally poised to rein in the predatory practices that have become all too common in the credit card business. Several bills now pending would outlaw unfair
  • Are credit cards cleaning up their act?. The phone call Kevin McKenna received from Chase bank several weeks ago was as shocking as the news: He had been 90 days late on his credit-card bill and, as a result, his account was about
  • Experian joins 'credit freeze' crowd. Credit reporting firm Experian said Thursday it will allow consumers to freeze their credit reports starting Nov. 1. In doing so, Experian, based in Costa Mesa, Calif., joins TransUnion in giving consumers that option. Atlanta-based Equifax
  • Mortgages for those who lack credit history. CitiMortgage plans to announce today that it has set aside $200 million for mortgages to Washington area residents who have limited credit histories and therefore often end up with high-cost or risky home loans. CitiMortgage, a
  • Mortgage brokers' sleight of hand. *The following op-ed, Mortgage brokers' sleight of hand, written by Harvard Law School Professor Elizabeth Warren, was published in the Boston Globe on October 2, 2007. In the past five years, if you called a mortgage broker
  • Secret-shopping scam. How would you like to go shopping in your spare time – and get paid thousands of dollars to do it? That is the lure of mystery-shopper ads. Become a secret shopper, the ads say, and
  • EBay warns against selling recalled items. EBay said Tuesday that it is sending notices to sellers hawking recalled items, warning that they could be kicked off the website and may have to forfeit their fees. The San Jose-based company, which listed 559
  • HUD sued over down-payment rule. Two nonprofit organizations have sued the Department of Housing and Urban Development in an attempt to overturn an agency decision that bans seller-financed down-payment assistance to some low- and moderate-income home buyers. Gaithersburg's AmeriDream and
  • Self-employed face difficulty finding mortgages. David Brannan, 44, of Monroe, N.C., is co-founder of a software company that's been in business since 1989. He and his wife have owned their home for 18 years and are in the process of buying a
  • Don't leave reality out of budget. If we spend $500 for groceries each month and can't possibly lower the total, then it's foolish to budget $450. Budgets must be based on reality, which is why I recommend keeping track of all expenses for
  • Insurance for the next Big One. There is impeccable logic to the argument that taxpayers should not be made to pay for the risks incurred by people who choose to live along a hurricane-prone coast or atop a major geological fault.
  • Last but not least: lost baggage. After the crammed parking lot, the amusement-park-length check-in lines, security procedures that require all but a striptease, flights that are jampacked, if they're not delayed or canceled - after all that comes baggage claim, where


  • Free software tools for managing finances. It started with blogs and a few people willing to reveal all about their financial lives. Now, however, several Web sites, including Geezeo.com, Wesabe.com and Mint.com, are making it easier to discuss
  • Buy a home now, lose money?. It takes a bit of courage to buy a home in a weak real estate market. But buying can still be a reasonable, financially sound choice for anyone with the traditional reasons for settling down:

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