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Monday
Oct042010

Verizon Wireless Admits Billing Errors, Will Refund Customers

Image Courtesy - Verizon Wireless(BASKING RIDGE, N.J.) -- Verizon Wireless is beginning one of the largest-ever customer refunds by any telecommunications company in a move that could cost Verizon $90 million after complaints about web and data use overcharges.

About 15 million customers will receive refunds or credits of $2 to $6, the company said in a statement, adding that some customers will be issued larger amounts.

The FCC said that it is investigating the case.

"We're gratified to see Verizon agree to finally repay its customers,” said Michele Ellison, FCC Enforcement Bureau Chief. “But questions remain as to why it took Verizon two years to reimburse its customers and why greater disclosure and other corrective actions did not come much, much sooner.”

Ellison said that additional penalties against Verizon are still possible.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Oct032010

Indiana Car Dealership Offers $79 Vehicles

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(FORT WAYNE, Ind.) -- More than 600 bargain-seekers flocked to an Indiana used car dealership this weekend that promised deals as low as $79 on some vehicles.

The crowd began to gather Friday night for the Saturday event, which the company said would offer reductions on more than 400 cars, trucks and SUVs.

“It’s like giving back for all the support we’ve seen from the community,” said Bo Nahrwold, a manager at Fort Wayne Toyota-Lexus-Kia. “It’s our way of giving back, and it’s only right.”

The dealership blamed the economy for its surplus of inventory, saying many have taken advantage of low interest rates and upgraded to newer cars.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Oct022010

U.S. Government Wants 60+ Mph Fuel Economy

Photo Courtesy -- Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The U.S. Government issued a “Notice of Intent” on Friday indicating that it will propose much tougher fuel economy standards. 

The proposal would call for 3 to 6% increased fuel economy every year, topping out in 2025 at 62 miles an hour.

New fuel standards went into effect earlier this year that are expected to increase average fuel economy to 35.5 miles per gallon by 2016. 

This initiative is keeping with President Obama's vision to reduce greenhouse gases and increase fuel efficiency.  It is also a key part of the administration's energy and climate goals, which call for the increased domestic production and use of existing, advanced and emerging technologies to strengthen the auto industry and enhance job creation in the the United States.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Friday
Oct012010

Bank Of America To Halt Foreclosures In 23 States

Photo Courtesy -- PRNewsFoto | Bank of America(NEW YORK) -- Thousands of homeowners who have been affected by the foreclosure process are trying to determine if Bank of America gave them a fair shot.

A bank official has acknowledged during legal proceedings that she signed up to 8,000 foreclosure documents a month and typically didn't read them.  Consequently, the bank is reviewing and resubmitting corrected documents.

In the meantime, Bank of America will halt foreclosures in 23 States.

On Friday, regulators shut down a small bank in Florida, lifting up to 128 foreclosures -- the number of U.S. bank failures this year as loan defaults have mounted.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Friday
Oct012010

United Continental Holdings Announces Close of Merger

Photo Courtesy -- United Continental Holdings, Inc.(CHICAGO) -- United Continental Holdings, Inc., formerly UAL Corporation announced Friday that both Continental Airlines and United Air Lines, Inc. are now wholly owned subsidiaries of United Continental Holdings, Inc. 

Common stock of United Continental Holdings began trading on the New York Stock Exchange on Friday under the symbol UAL.

Jeff Smisek, who will serve as president and chief executive officer said, "We are delighted to announce the successful completion of this merger. With great people, an unparalleled global network, the best new aircraft order book among U.S. network carriers and a commitment to superior products and services, United is well positioned for a bright future."

United expects the merger to deliver $1 billion to $1.2 billion in net annual synergies by 2013, including between $800 million and $900 million of incremental annual revenue.

Although "Continental and United, operating under United Continental Holdings, Inc., will immediately begin the work to fully integrate the two companies," customers shouldn't expect to see a more seamless union until early to mid 2011.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Friday
Oct012010

SEC: Computerized Trading Caused 'Flash Crash'

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The Securities and Exchange Commission said Friday that a major sell-off by a mutual fund caused the so-called "flash crash" back on May 6 that caused the Dow to drop nearly 1,000 points in minutes.

Identified by The Wall Street Journal as Kansas-based Waddell & Reed, the company apparently decided to sell $4.1 billion worth of futures contracts, electing to computerize the order.

Within 20 minutes, computers pushed the volume of shares onto the market, effectively flooding it and triggering other automated sell orders, which snowballed into the massive sell-off. Manually entering the trade could have taken five hours.

Regulators have recalibrated market circuit breakers and the report says the SEC will determine whether that is enough.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Friday
Oct012010

Government Rescue Ends Sunday

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The government's $700 billion taxpayer bailout of the financial system will come to an end Sunday, bringing to a close one of the most controversial programs in economic history.

But the political ramifications of the Wall Street bailout live on and seem sure to haunt lawmakers come November.

Supporters say the Troubled Asset Relief Program rescued the country from another Great Depression. Critics counter that it simply handed money to the same Wall Street banks that plunged the country into recession in the first place and, moreover, it failed to help Main Street Americans.

The political back-and-forth has been fierce. Republicans, led by President Bush, first pushed the program through Congress in the fall of 2008. But with the 2010 mid-term elections fast approaching, Republicans are trying to capitalize on the program's unpopularity by tying Democrats, including President Obama, to the bailout.

Democrats, meanwhile, have been put on the defensive, standing up for a program that was the brainchild of a Republican administration. While the president has repeatedly noted that he understands why the program is so deeply unpopular, he also continues to defend its effectiveness.

Obama said in Rolling Stone magazine last week the program will ultimately cost taxpayers far less than had initially been feared.

"The truth of the matter is that TARP will end up costing probably less than $100 billion, when all is said and done," he said. "Which I promise you, two years ago, you could have asked any economist and any financial expert out there, and they would have said, 'We'll take that deal.'"

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Friday
Oct012010

Thousands Line Up for 'Save the Dream' Program, Hoping to Prevent Foreclosure

Photo Courtesy -- Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- Thousands of people have gathered in Los Angeles in a last ditch effort to keep their homes from going into foreclosure. 

Men and women from all over the country stood in line Thursday for a program called "Save the Dream," hoping that an advocacy group can help them renegotiate their mortgages.

The turnout highlights the nation's high foreclosure rate. Some 24 percent of all home sales in the second quarter of this year were foreclosure homes, according to RealtyTrac. These homes, reclaimed by the bank, typically sell at more than a 25 percent discount. Since the recession started in 2007, 2.3 million homes have been foreclosed. The spike is coming down, but just last month, 340,000 homes received a foreclosure notice.

In Los Angeles, hundreds of people began camping out on line at noon Wednesday, like teenagers hoping for concert tickets. But there's a lot more at stake -- all of the people gathered are at risk of losing their homes.

Shirley McCoy became the 1,117th person in line when she arrived at 6:10 a.m. She's a widow with cancer on a fixed income, and she bought her home with more than 50 percent down.

"I'm never late, I make every payment, but I still get denied," said McCoy.

Wachovia Bank has rejected her twice for refinancing, but she vows to continue to fight as long as she can.

The organizers of the "Save the Dream" event put people like McCoy in direct contact with bank representatives. They held exactly the same event in 2009, but more people are showing up this year, even though the recession is now technically over.

California is one of the states that has been hardest hit by the foreclosure crisis. One out of 10 homes that have been foreclosed upon nationwide are in Los Angeles County.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Thursday
Sep302010

Delta Shows Support For Breast Cancer Research With New "Pink Plane"

Photo Courtesy -- Delta Airlines | PRNewswire(ATLANTA) -- With October being Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Delta Air Lines is showing its support with the debut of its new Boeing 767-400 signature "pink plane." 


Throughout October, the airline company will also donate 100 SkyMiles to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation each time a customer downloads the Delta iPhone application or uses the app to check in for flights, up to one million miles. 

Delta also said Thursday it will continue donating proceeds from in-flight pink lemonade and jelly bean sales.

“The personal impact breast cancer has had on me and so many of our customers, employees and families has motivated Delta to always give more in our support of The Breast Cancer Research Foundation,” said Delta CEO Richard Anderson.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Thursday
Sep302010

BP Products To Pay Largest Single-Facility Clean Air Act Penalty For Releases Of Hazardous Pollutants

Photo Courtesy -- PRNewsFoto(WASHINGTON) -- On Thursday, the Department of Justice and the Environmental Protection Agency announced BP Products North America Inc. will pay $15 million in penalties to resolve violations of the Clean Air Act at its petroleum refinery in Texas City, Texas. 

The penalty is the largest ever assessed for violations of the Clean Air Act's chemical accident prevention and is the largest civil penalty ever recovered at an individual facility.

According to the Department of Justice, after Thursday's settlement, the federal government will have collected approximately $137 million in criminal, civil and administrative fines related to safety violations at the Texas City refinery.

BP will also spend an estimated additional $500 million to improve safety at the refinery.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio








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