Consumer Watchdog investigates and reports on industries, corporations and politicians that defy our ethical customs, social mores and rules of law. Our in-depth reports below span decades and take on the most powerful politicians and industries in America.
Google has been a prominent beneficiary of the national home loan and foreclosure crisis of the past two years. The giant search engine company has profited by accepting deceptive advertising from fraudulent operators who falsely promise unwary consumers that they can solve their mortgage and credit problems.
A review of profit, shareholder and government reports from the last decade show that Valero reaped extraordinary profits from its refining operations in the Golden State, while drivers emptied their wallets to fund this refiner bonanza.
Change is no simple matter in American politics-a fact that Americans have recently learned well. Elections rarely produce the change they promise. After the vote, power vacuums fill with familiar values, if not faces. Promises give way to fiscal realities, hope succumbs to pragmatism, and ambition concedes to inertia.
Google has been muscling into new web markets and greatly expanding its dominance of other web commerce sectors since 2007, when the web search giant adopted a controversial new business practice aimed at steering Internet searchers to its own services.
This handbook offers solutions for the most visible and perva- sive sector of the current oil/environmental crisis: transportation by automobile. Americans travel more than 3.5 trillion vehicle miles per year1 (not even including occa- sional long-distance drives). They face often-staggering gasoline costs and emit millions of tons of pollutants.
Diesel fuel is the engine of American commerce and public life. Oil companies, by manipulat- ing supply, put sugar in the tank of a whole economy this spring. The companies and their refiners produced less diesel, imported less diesel and exported far more diesel than in previous years. This shortage was abetted by a careless and deliberate lack of oversight by government.
The oil industry is reporting second-quarter profits this week, and has signaled that refining profits will again be at record or near-record levels. Two consecutive years of soaring prices in spring and summer have equaled the price effects of Hurricane Katrina without any natural disas- ter.
In this study, the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights (FTCR)1 reviews the loss projections of medical malpractice insurance companies, beginning with the “insurance crisis” of the mid-1980s. The data show that medical malpractice insurers have historically inflated their loss projections and then revised their reported losses downward in subsequent years.