Posts Tagged ‘Consumer Reports’

Hurray! Chase Bank Announces it Won’t Charge Customers a Monthly Debit Card Fee – Thanks Chase!

Friday, October 28th, 2011

Say what you will about our corporate overlords at Morgan Chase, you can’t deny that they can tell which way the winds are blowing these days.

Proof of that is this announcement, below.

My favorite Chase Bank is the one on Oak and Divisadero. Isn’t it kewl? 

Click to expand

That’s right, it’s hella cool.

On a somewhat serious note, thanks for Chase Community Giving, Chase. That’s better than spending your money on a Super Bowl commercial or whathaveyou.

(But don’t get on my bad side, Chase, else it will be smashy smashy like what happened to your nearby competitor on Fell a couple Halloweens back.)

Anyway, you all can join the boycott,* I don’t care. As long as the Chase customers can have their bank branch on Oak, that’s fine.

Or take your money to a credit union, I don’t care.

And, oh, goran nasai, Amerika no Ginkoo. Mite, mite:

“Chase Announces it Won’t Charge Customers a Debit Card Fee - Consumers Union Calls On Bank of America to Drop its Plan to Charge a $5 Fee for Debit Card Purchases

SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 28, 2011 — JP Morgan Chase announced today that it will not charge its customers a $3 monthly debit card fee after testing the charge in Wisconsin and Georgia.  The bank announced that it would drop the idea following negative reaction from its customers.

Consumers Union, the nonprofit advocacy arm of Consumer Reports, today commended Chase for its decision and reiterated its call on Bank of America to end its plan to charge a $5 debit card fee beginning in 2012.

“Consumers Union has heard from thousands of consumers across the country who are outraged that Bank of America is instituting the $5 monthly debit card fee,” said Norma Garcia, manager of Consumers Union’s financial services program.  ”It’s time for Bank of America to listen to its customers who are saying loud and clear: drop the fee or we’ll drop you.  All banks that are considering debit card fees should ditch those plans.”

SunTrust has also started rolling out a similar debit card fee and Wells Fargo has been testing one in select markets.  Earlier this month, Consumers Union called on Chase, Bank of America and these other banks to abandon plans to charge customers a fee for debit card purchases.

“It’s unfair for banks to stick consumers with a monthly fee just to use their own money,” said Garcia.  ”The banks that charge debit card fees risk losing customers who are fed up with financial institutions that got bailed out that are now turning around and hiking fees.”

Consumers Union has published a set of tips for consumers who want to switch banks.

Saturday, November 5, has been dubbed Bank Transfer Day by grassroots activists upset with rising bank fees, including the new $5 debit card fee that Bank of America will start charging its customers in 2012. Consumers are being encouraged by Bank Transfer Day organizers to switch their accounts to credit unions or community banks on that day.

SOURCE  Consumers Union”

Oh, there’s an updated version of this release. See it after the jump.

*Facebook, really? Heh. Home of the ephemeral…

(more…)

Sorry, Mercedes-Benz and BMW Owners: Your Cars are, Once Again, at the Bottom of the Quality Rankings

Thursday, March 3rd, 2011

Remember when them German cars were screwed together better?

This car on Haight Street does:

Click to expand

But your MB or BMW? Not so much.

Do these brands stand for luxury? Sure. But do they stand for quality these days? No.

Oh well.

(At least these German brands rank slightly above above rock-bottom Government Motors and Chrysler (nee Daimler Chrysler))

Check the website of that Famous Newspaper for the News of the Day.

Web site

1. Honda
2. Subaru
3. Toyota
4. Volvo
5. Ford
6. Hyundai
7. Mazda
8. Nissan
9. Volkswagen
10. Mercedes-Benz
11. BMW
12. General Motors
13. Chrysler

Consumer Reports Disses UCSF Medical Center Over High Central Catheter Infection Rate

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010

All right, Consumer Reports has a few notes about San Francisco hospitals in another Missive from Yonkers this AM. Actually, the people at CR sound a little hacked off, and for a couple of reasons.

Item One: They’re using a hospital’s ICU Central Line Associated Bloodstream Infection Rate as a yardstick of performance. Why? Why not. Here’s how CR feels:

“The procedures needed to eliminate ICU infections are simple, low-tech, and inexpensive, requiring a change of mindset and culture. All ICUs should be able to dramatically reduce if not eliminate these infections.”

O.K., so who has a central line infection rate of zero, who’s perfect?

Saint Luke’s Hospital

Saint Francis Memorial Hospital

Saint Mary’s Medical Center

After all those Saints go marching in, which San Francisco hospitals are doing less-than-perfect but better than average?

California Pacific Medical Center-Pacific Campus

Kaiser Foundation Hospital- San Francisco

But who’s left, who in the 415 is ”on the other end of the spectrum” with a reported infection rate that’s 80 percent worse than the national average when compared with similar ICUs?

UCSF Medical Center

Ouch.

Take a look for yourself on this almost-legible chart. Goran nasai, Gentle Reader - click to expand:

Do you buy all that? Well, for one, Steven E.F. Brown does, over at the San Francisco Business Times.

But what’s this - how about a little feedback from a California-licensed physician? Comes now Dr. Steven Suydam, who took a look at CR’s press release today and reacted thusly:

“Central line infections occur in every hospital, but some institutions, especially public academic institutions are simply more forthright about reporting them, and are more likely to have candid effective quality assurance programs in place, than private, for-profit institutions. In addition, hospitals have the latitude to classify a bloodstream infection as coming from an alternate source, if one is available, thereby avoiding the dreaded “CLABI” label. The alternative explanation, that UCSF physicians place central lines under less sterile conditions than private hospitals and maintain such lines with less care is simply nonsense.” 

O.K. then. But as always, You Make The Call. It certainly would be interesting to hear about what UCSF thinks of all this. Moving on… 

Widening our purview to the whole bay area gets us this:

“In the larger Bay Area, where Consumer Reports Health rated 29 hospitals, Consumer Reports found extreme variation between hospitals, even hospitals run by the same health care system.  For example, Kaiser Foundation Hospitals in Hayward, Santa Rosa, Vallejo, and South San Francisco reported zero central line infections, while Kaiser Foundation Hospital in San Jose had an infection rate that was 14 percent worse than the national average and the Kaiser Foundation Hospital in San Francisco reported a rate that’s 40 percent better than average.”

Item Two: CR doesn’t like getting blown off when it goes nosing around for data. So it has lots of criticism for the way California as a state is handling reporting of statistics. The California Department of Health should have data for us by January 1, 2011, but CR isn’t optimistic about this deadline getting met.

Anyway, who’s on the Naughty List (CR’s Health Ratings Center’s Director is Dr. Santa, srlsy) with naught to report?

San Francisco General Hospital Medical Center

O.K. then.

What’s it all mean? No se, mi amigo/a. One thing for certain though, this news release means that Consumer Reports Health wants your money. Sign up for a free 30-day trial that you’ll soon forget about until you get your credit card statement in two or three months – I don’t care what you do with your money. (Frankly, I object to the whole Consumer Reports-is-my-Bible mentality that certain people have. IMO, CR is just another data point in the constellation of information out there.)

Anyway, read the whole thing for yourself, after the jump.

Stay healthy.  (more…)