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How the Obama administration's new consumer protection adviser will help consumers.

By Money Staff Sep 16, 2010 2:53PM

This post comes from Kimberly Palmer at partner site US News.

 

Soon after word got out that the White House appointed Elizabeth Warren to serve as special adviser and help set up the new consumer protection bureau, Twitter and Facebook erupted with shouts of excitement from personal finance and consumer experts: "Yahoo!" exclaimed Beth Kobliner, author of "Get a Financial Life." "Elizabeth Warren's appointment is a huge victory for consumers!"

Warren, a Harvard law professor who has headed the Congressional Oversight Panel, is celebrated as a force of good in the consumer world. Before taking on public roles, she was best known for her book, "The Two-Income Trap: Why Middle-Class Parents are Going Broke," which explains why so many middle-class Americans feel so squeezed. She's also not afraid to stand up for "the little people." Last year, her congressional oversight panel criticized the Treasury Department for not doing more to help struggling families and called for greater transparency in the use of the bailout funds.

 

Only 35% of U.S. adults have cell phones with apps, and only two-thirds actually use them.

By Karen Datko Sep 16, 2010 12:16PM

This post comes from Mark Huffman at partner site ConsumerAffairs.com.

 

Yes, there's an app for that, but if you're like most cell phone users, you couldn't care less.

 

While there has been a proliferation of software applications, or "apps," for mobile phones that can access the Internet, adults using those phones apparently see little value in them, or haven't bothered to learn how to use them.

 

Cotton costs twice as much as it did a year ago, and supplies are at a 20-year low. Fortunately, you have a few months to stock up before clothing prices rise.

By Stacy Johnson Sep 16, 2010 10:32AM

This post comes from Brandon Ballenger at partner site Money Talks News.

 

If you're planning holiday gifts of clothes -- or need to update a drawer full of threadbare underwear -- you might want to buy sooner rather than later. 

The International Cotton Advisory Committee (.pdf file) is forecasting higher U.S. demand for cotton. While it's great for the economy when Americans are out buying clothes, the committee also reports that the world stock of cotton is the lowest it's been since 1990, mainly because of natural disasters in major producers like China and Pakistan. 

 

Seats are more expensive, but there are bargains on the secondary market.

By Karen Datko Sep 16, 2010 8:33AM

This Deal of the Day comes from Kelli B. Grant at partner site SmartMoney.

 

Finding good deals on professional football tickets this season requires a well-executed offensive play.

Of the 32 teams in the National Football League, 18 increased their individual ticket prices by as much as 7%. Those who miss out at the box office could see even higher prices: The average ticket on the secondary market is more expensive too, up 64% to $252, according to FanSnap, a ticket aggregator that shows all the available tickets on resale sites, including eBay and StubHub.

 

But the price hike doesn't mean fans have to pay more.

 

The default rate on federal student loans is higher than it's been in years. For former students, default is no picnic.

By Karen Datko Sep 15, 2010 7:39PM

Former students are defaulting on federal student loans at higher rates -- the highest in more than a decade, according to news reports. What consequences do these debtors face?

It's not pretty. The Washington Post explains:

Default on a student loan and face dire consequences, beyond a bad credit record -- which can tarnish hopes of getting a car, an apartment or even a job: Uncle Sam can claim your tax refunds and wages.
 

Now that banks aren't making as much from overdraft fees, they're looking for other ways to charge you.

By Money Staff Sep 15, 2010 4:02PM

This post comes from Jim Wang at partner site US News.

 

With the new overdraft rules, a lot of banks are starting to make changes to their checking and savings accounts to overcome the loss of revenue overdrafts were generating. It's a pretty high bar too, with overdraft fees earning over $20 billion last year.

So if your bank has been making changes, adding other fees or finding ways to charge you for services, you might be thinking about making a change too. Here's what I look for when I'm picking a new savings account.

 

High-fructose corn syrup industry argues that 'corn sugar' better describes the product, as more food makers flee to sugar.

By Teresa Mears Sep 15, 2010 2:32PM

If baby carrots can change their image, why not high-fructose corn syrup?

It worked for canola oil, once known as low erucic acid rapeseed oil. And then there are the fruits formerly known as prunes, which spruced up their reputation with a name change to dried plums.

 

The Corn Refiners Association has petitioned the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to give the much-maligned sweetener a new name: corn sugar.

 

The recall covers light-up rings and star-shaped toy eyeglasses.

By Karen Datko Sep 15, 2010 12:36PM

This post comes from Lisa Wade McCormick at partner site ConsumerAffairs.com.

 

Chuck E. Cheese's is recalling more than 1 million light-up rings and toy glasses because of concerns that children could swallow a small battery inside the playthings.

The national restaurant chain voluntarily pulled off the market about 1.1 million light-up rings and 120,000 toy star-shaped eyeglasses, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

 

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