November 3, 2017

When we took a look at Bitcoin in August, the cryptocurrency had just reached a record value of more than $4,000. Since then it has only continued to grow in worth, topping out $7,200 this week. Many experts now say that Bitcoin and other blockchain-based currencies could be the future of money, even though most consumers have no clue how they work. This longform video tries to remedy that problem by comparing Bitcoin with the stone ring currency system used Continue reading

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November 2, 2017

For those who enjoy a full-service experience when they travel, staying at a hotel can turn into an expensive enterprise. Paying for gratuity alone can become costly if someone takes advantage of amenities like room service or bellhops. But while guests are quick to tip waiters and baggage carriers without a second thought, this same courtesy does not often extend to housekeeping staff. According to the American Hotel and Lodging Association, fewer than a third of guests leave gratuity for Continue reading

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October 31, 2017

In the past year we’ve featured a few stories about the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and how it aims to keep consumers safe from predatory business practices. From collecting consumer complaints to limiting the power of payday lenders, the CFPB was formed to put regular people on somewhat equal footing with big companies. Still, not everyone sees the relatively new government agency this way. Opponents claim the CFPB has too much power to regulate businesses, thus harming both companies Continue reading

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October 27, 2017

Since its founding in 2012, the women’s apparel seller LuLaRoe has grown into a powerful brand despite never stocking its clothes in stores. Instead, the company directly sells items to a team of independent consultants who find customers on their own. These representatives can eventually receive bonuses if they find new consultants to recruit, thus expanding the number of LuLaRoe sellers as well as customers. If you ask executives at the company, this direct selling strategy fits the mold Continue reading

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October 26, 2017

In 2015 the popular burrito chain Chipotle faced a crisis so large that some wondered if the company would ever recover. Towards the end of the year, stories about norovirus outbreaks originating from Chipotle restaurants became national news. People were shocked to learn how this supposedly safe and sustainable place to eat had poisoned hundreds of people with tainted produce. Soon Chipotle’s stock price dropped and its sales plummeted, leading many in the company to worry that its reputation Continue reading

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October 10, 2017

aliman-senaiEach year some 12 million Americans take out a payday loan in order to get cash fast. But just because these borrowers can receive a quick injection of capital doesn’t mean they can pay it back with comparable speed. Many people who take out a payday loan end up drowning in a flood of loan fees and high interest rates. Last year alone the industry collected more than $7 billion in fees from customers. Borrowers can become so overwhelmed by Continue reading

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September 28, 2017

hurricane-mariaOver the last month hurricanes have torn through America’s southern coast, inflicting massive amounts of damage to Texas, Florida, and other states in the region. Of course, the U.S. mainland is far from the only place that’s been harmed by these major weather emergencies. Along with devastating Caribbean islands like Barbados and Barbuda, recent tropical storms have also hammered the American territory of Puerto Rico. First it had to endure Hurricane Irma, which only clipped the island’s northern portion Continue reading

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September 8, 2017

codeYesterday the credit reporting company Equifax announced that hackers had breached their security systems and stolen personal information from 143 million customers. Along with names and birthdates, the hackers also obtained social security and driver’s license numbers. These pieces of data are basically gold to identity thieves, allowing them to make purchases, borrow money and more all under the victim’s name. “This is about as bad as it gets,” said World Privacy Forum executive director Pamela Dixon. “If you have Continue reading

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September 7, 2017

iidar-sagdejevLast year we took a close look at how Wells Fargo fostered a culture of fraud that encouraged employees to open unauthorized credit and debit card accounts for customers. Investigators at the time estimated the bank had created more than 1.5 million fraudulent accounts, leading Wells Fargo to fire thousands of employees. Further inquiries from Congress also caused the company to replace managers and roll back executive pay as part of an overhaul of its retail division. The scandal Continue reading

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September 5, 2017

marshall-astorSince Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Texas a couple of weeks ago, the region has been hit with devastating floods that have upended the lives of millions. And although the waters are finally starting to recede in cities like Houston, that just means the serious cleanup work is about to begin. The financial forecasting firm Moody’s Analytics now estimates that Harvey inflicted as much as $108 billion in damage to the region. Thankfully, dedicated volunteers have been working around the Continue reading

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