What We're Reading - "Sloppy Credit Bureaus, Sketchy Credit Doctors Slammed By Trifecta of CFPB, State AGs, and Consumer Lawyers"

What We're Reading - "Sloppy Credit Bureaus, Sketchy Credit Doctors Slammed By Trifecta of CFPB, State AGs, and Consumer Lawyers" (Source: pexels.com - used as royalty free image)

According to a recent article from Ed Mierzwinski, the federal Consumer Program Director and Senior Fellow for consumer rights advocacy group U.S. PIRG, the Federal Trade Commission has concluded that up to one in four credit reports contain serious mistakes and that 5% of all reports contain mistakes that could lead to paying more for credit or to a denial of credit.

That’s remarkable, particularly when you recall that millions of Americans rely on their credit scores and reports in order to do everything from secure employment to purchase a car. Remember, too, that consumers face a very limited choice when it comes to credit bureaus, making them, as CFPB Director Richard Cordray explains, “dead-end markets” that are worthy of greater scrutiny and oversight.

So who is holding their feet to the fire on behalf of the little guy? As Mierzwinski explains, in order “to improve credit report accuracy, compensate the victims of credit bureau malfeasance and also to bring some credit repair doctors to heel,” it took “a combination of strong consumer laws, a strong CFPB, tough state attorneys general working on a bi-partisan basis and, finally, consumer attorneys engaged in private enforcement of the laws as another line of defense.”

What We're Reading - "Man Accused Of Making Millions Of Robocalls Faces Biggest-Ever FCC Fine"

What We're Reading - 'Man Accused Of Making Millions Of Robocalls Faces Biggest-Ever FCC Fine' (Source: pixabay.com - used as royalty free image)

Officials from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) have identified "the perpetrator of one of the largest ... illegal robocalling campaigns” in history, according to NPR, and the Miami resident singled out could face up to $120 million in fines.

According to the FCC, one person - identified as Adrian Abramovich – may be responsible for auto-dialing hundreds of millions of landlines and cell phones in the U.S. and Canada. According to NPR, “almost 97 million robocalls” took place “over just the last three months of 2016” alone, and the volume at one point was great enough to “overwhelm an emergency medical paging service.”

So how did these robocalls work? According to the FCC, the robocalls were made through several ambiguously named companies and would show up as “spoofed,” or, as Alina Selyukh explains for NPR, made to look “as if they came from a phone number with the same area code and the same first three digits of the recipient's number.”

Selyukh continues:

What We're Reading - "Hammocks Over Hikes This Summer"

What We're Reading - "Hammocks Over Hikes This Summer" (Source: pixabay.com - used as royalty free image)

One fascinating aspect of the timeshare industry is that its very existence is built up around several fundamental beliefs about how people like to travel and spend their time while on vacation. The timeshare system is built around routine, about the idea of using one or two resort locations as a getaway year after year (with some flexibility built in, of course, in the form of the exchange market).

But vacation destinations and methods go in and out of style all the time, like cars or fashions; a lot of factors go into determining the so-called ‘ideal vacation’ at any given time, including the health of the economy and the state of technology (it can’t be stressed enough, for example, how much the rise of app culture has affected the workings of the travel and hospitality industries).

So how are Americans planning to travel right now? And what are they planning to do when they get to their dream destination? We’ve got some interesting answers, in the form of a recent survey on vacationing from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, brought to our attention by U.S. News & World Report.

What We're Reading - "Will Short-Term Rentals Kill The Timeshare Industry?"

What We're Reading -

While the timeshare industry has seen several consecutive years of growth, we’ve presented more than a few arguments from writers who believe that these profits rest on a hill of sand – and that the time may soon be coming when the foundation begins to slip away for good.

Another such argument came to our attention recently, in the form of an interesting piece from the investor-focused financial media outlet Benzinga, which asks “Will Short-Term Rentals Kill the Timeshare Industry?”

There are certainly some qualms we could take up with this piece; for one thing, the writer largely speaks to vacation rental insiders and higher-ups, who, obviously, have a vested interest in leveraging their own product over that of the shared vacation ownership industry.

But, with that noted, the arguments raised are fascinating, to say the least. In particular, we were drawn to this quote from Cliff Johnson, an executive for alternative accommodation company Vacasa:

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