Those Pension Cuts and What You Need to Know

Congress recently carved a hole in a 40-year-old pension law that has prevented employers from cutting benefits earned by those already retired. This change applies to people covered under multiemployer plans that are in critical financial shape. Here’s what you need to know: What is a multiemployer plan? This is a pension covering workers and retirees from more than one employer in the same or related industries, such as trucking or construction. (Most of them were established under collective bargaining between …

AARP Report Finds Sky-High Drug Prices

Escalating drug prices have been making the news in recent months. In particular, the exorbitant price tags of two brand-name drugs used to treat Hepatitis C — Solvaldi and Harvoni — have ignited intense controversy. I talked with Leigh Purvis, director of health services research, AARP Public Policy Institute, and coauthor of AARP’s Rx Price Watch Report: Trends in Retail Prices of Brand Name Prescription Drugs Widely Used by Older Americans, 2006-2013 about the trend in rising drug prices and what …

Two and a Half Inflation Myths

Inflation lately has been pretty tame. Still, the possibility that it could raise its ugly head again, eating away at our spending power and standard of living, is always in the back of our minds. That’s why it’s important to understand inflation to better protect ourselves from its potential impact. Knowing these myths about inflation is a good place to start. Myth one: Inflation is easy to predict. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) measures inflation and reports consumer …

Prepaid Cards May Get Added Fraud Protections

Swipe a debit or credit card and all sorts of consumer protections are in place in case something goes awry. With a prepaid card, not so much. That may soon end. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is proposing to extend many of the consumer rights that exist for credit and debit cards to prepaid products, such as limiting customers’ losses if their prepaid cards are lost or stolen. >> 10 Consumer Spending Regrets “People use prepaid accounts as a convenient way …

Your Biggest Gripe: Debt Collectors!

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau gets more complaints from older Americans about debt collectors than any other issue. According to a report released Wednesday by the CFPB’s Office of Older Americans, the agency received 8,700 debt collection complaints in the past 15 months. Consumers complained that debt collectors: – Try to collect the debts of dead relatives — even years after the estate has been settled. – Threaten to garnish Social Security and other federal benefits, which they can’t legally do. – Attempt …

U.S. Bank Ordered to Refund $48 Million to Customers

U.S. Bank is the latest institution to come under fire from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau for charging consumers for credit-monitoring services that they never received. The CFPB announced today that it ordered the Minnesota-based bank to refund about $48 million to more than 420,000 customers. The bank also must pay penalties totaling $9 million to the CFPB and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. According to regulators, for several years some consumers paid for credit monitoring that …