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Scott Michelman
Recent Activity
As the NYT explains, "Paper bags and reusable plastic bags will be available at checkout counters for a 10-cent fee designed to prod shoppers to remember their own reusable bags, and to reduce the number of plastic bags that end... Continue reading
Posted yesterday at CL&P Blog
Check out an illuminating New Yorker commentary about the success of government programs providing homes for homeless people. Many policy approaches to homelessness assume that society should help homeless people get other aspects of their lives in order before they... Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at CL&P Blog
Both funny and depressing. Either way, worth a watch (about 10 minutes) to learn about our elected leaders' relationship to science. Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at CL&P Blog
The Reporters' Committee for Freedom of the Press and eight news organizations submitted comments to that effect to the CFPB. The comments specifically ask the agency to abandon a proposal to disclose complaints only when the author "opts in" to... Continue reading
Posted Sep 23, 2014 at CL&P Blog
This article in the Federal Times from Ruth Y. Goldway, Chair of the Postal Regulatory Commission, argues that her agency's program of having a designated public representative explicitly representing the public interest in the agency decisionmaking process improves outcomes. As... Continue reading
Posted Sep 23, 2014 at CL&P Blog
The Washington Post offers this encouraging story from the Pacific Northwest, where a Seattle suburb's decision to raise the minimum wage has not caused the disruption that opponents predicted. And NPR's Planet Money has this story about a shopping mall... Continue reading
Posted Sep 22, 2014 at CL&P Blog
Following in the footsteps of California's new law barring the use of non-disparagement clauses and providing a private cause of action for seeking or threatening to enforce one, today Reps. Eric Swalwell and Brad Sherman (both of California) introduced in... Continue reading
Posted Sep 16, 2014 at CL&P Blog
As we have discussed, last week California passed a law barring the use of non-disparagement clauses and providing a private cause of action for seeking or threatening to enforce one, or for "otherwise penaliz[ing] a consumer for making any statement... Continue reading
Posted Sep 16, 2014 at CL&P Blog
...asks this Harvard Magazine review of The Social Machine: Designs for Living Online, by Judith Donath. The review explains: One of [Donath's] goals is to help readers recognize possibilities between real names and online anonymity. She believes pseudonyms could provide... Continue reading
Posted Sep 15, 2014 at CL&P Blog
by Ted Mermin (Executive Director, Public Good Law Center), guest blogger As Scott Michelman's earlier post explained, the new California law barring nondisparagement clauses in consumer contracts promises to restrain a pernicious practice before it spreads widely. That in itself... Continue reading
Posted Sep 12, 2014 at CL&P Blog
Watch here, laugh and enjoy. (And learn.) (Note to sensitive readers: in addition to some profanity, there's a rather detailed -- but hilarious -- digression regarding President Lyndon Johnson's difficulty fitting his private parts into his pants.) (Note to history... Continue reading
Posted Sep 12, 2014 at CL&P Blog
...is the title of this expose (from personal experience), in Vox. A telling passage: In most cases like this [i.e. attempting to collect a deceased's debt from his family], the family is not liable for the debts, something we informed... Continue reading
Posted Sep 11, 2014 at CL&P Blog
We've written extensively about the problem of non-disparagement clauses in consumer contracts, and we've discussed the possibility of a legislative fix in California, proposed by former Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez. Public Citizen has supported and assisted in this and... Continue reading
Posted Sep 10, 2014 at CL&P Blog
The New Orleans Times-Picayune has the details about today's 153-page ruling from the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana. Continue reading
Posted Sep 4, 2014 at CL&P Blog
I was surprised to learn, as the National Law Journal reported today: The recent settlement of the long-running legal dispute over modernization of the U.S. Supreme Court building included a pledge by the government not to give the contractor any... Continue reading
Posted Sep 3, 2014 at CL&P Blog
Check out this story from a recent episode of This American Life, with a tale of what happens in court when a debtor being sued insists on seeing evidence of the debt. Continue reading
Posted Sep 2, 2014 at CL&P Blog
We told you yesterday about the online merchant Accessory Outlet, which demanded $250 from a consumer and told her she was "playing games with the wrong people" after the consumer said she would contact her credit card company about a... Continue reading
Posted Aug 28, 2014 at CL&P Blog
Taking aim at some of the key causes of the financial crisis, the SEC approved rules on Wednesday that would require issuers of asset-backed securities — complex investments based on mortgages, auto loans or other types of debt — to... Continue reading
Posted Aug 28, 2014 at CL&P Blog
The march of the non-disparagement clauses continues. This time the business is Accessory Outlet, another web-based retailer. Its terms (fine print, as usual) prohibit “any complaint, chargeback, claim, dispute,” or “any public forum post, review, Better Business Bureau complaint, social... Continue reading
Posted Aug 27, 2014 at CL&P Blog
As the Washington Post reports, now heating up (in terms of money and ads) is the campaign over California's Proposition 46, which will go to the voters this November. One aspect of the measure would raise the cap on medical... Continue reading
Posted Aug 22, 2014 at CL&P Blog
We've posted before on the subject of contract formation in the digital age (see here, for instance). A key question is: what online terms can a consumer be held to if she hasn't read them? The answer depends on how... Continue reading
Posted Aug 19, 2014 at CL&P Blog
What happens when consumers only have one choice for a cable company? Well, judging by reports on Reddit and Gawker, the answer is bad service and bogus fees. If these practices (particularly the bogus "unreturned equipment fees") are widespread, I... Continue reading
Posted Aug 19, 2014 at CL&P Blog
The federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act provides a host of protections against harassment and abuse by debt collectors. One provision permits the debtor to dispute the debt, a step that requires the debt collector to verify the debt before... Continue reading
Posted Aug 18, 2014 at CL&P Blog
A few weeks ago, we flagged a Post/ProPublica investigative report about a retail chain that takes advantage of servicemembers' transience to trap them in a cycle of debt. Now, as The Hill reports, the CFPB has moved against the retailer,... Continue reading
Posted Aug 15, 2014 at CL&P Blog
Following up on Deepak's post earlier this week flagging John Oliver's hilarious takedown of the payday lending industry, check out this post from our friends at Public Justice, discussing the impact of payday lending on minority communities (which are disproportionately... Continue reading
Posted Aug 13, 2014 at CL&P Blog