Informe PISA 2013 #infografia #infographic #education

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Got An Interesting Or Unique Job? Do Tell Us All About It

Do you get paid to be set aflame for the amusement of others? Let us know... (photo: Don Buciak II)

Do you get paid to be set aflame for the amusement of others? Let us know… (photo: Don Buciak II)

When you tell people what you do for a living, do people look at you strangely? Do some folks tell you they had no idea that you could actually get paid to do what you do. Perhaps you’re a submarine designer, or you give tours of abandoned subway tunnels. Maybe you run a roller derby league, or sit at a machine all day making a part for a product that everyone uses but most people don’t even think about. If so, we want to hear your story.

We’d like to run periodic, short Q&As with people from all walks of life who have jobs that most of us would never think of doing, or didn’t even know exist. So if you’d like to suggest yourself or someone you know, send a brief e-mail with “ODDJOBS” in the subject to and short answers to the following questions:

1. Describe your job in a sentence or two.

2. How did you get into this line of work?

3. Is this a career, or just what you’re doing now?

4. If you weren’t doing this job, what would you want to be doing?

We may follow up with additional questions if needed, but we will not publish anyone’s full name or name their employer because we’re not out to get anyone into trouble.

by Chris Morran via Consumerist

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Vegas Lady Liberty Sculptor Sues USPS Two Years After It Used The Wrong Image On Stamp

Such sultriness, Lady Liberty.

Such sultriness, Lady Liberty.

Two years ago the United States Postal Service admitted it made a huge mistake by issuing a “Forever” stamp featuring the Statue of Liberty. Not that Lady Liberty isn’t the perfect subject for a stamp, but because the agency used an image of a replica sculpture from a Las Vegas Casino. Back then it was all “shrug, everyone likes it so we’ll keep it.” Here is where what goes around appears to be coming around.

When the USPS realized it wasn’t the original Lady in New York Harbor, it said it would “reexamine” its “processes” so it wouldn’t happen again. But it also figured hey, this is going well and is so popular that the USPS “would have selected this photograph anyway.”

It’s been using that image since, selling about 4 billion copies of the stamp, which is still in circulation, points out the Washington Post. So it might have a hard time using the “oops” defense now that the sculptor is suing for copyright infringement.

In the lawsuit, the artist claims that his sculpture is what made that stamp so popular, as it “brought a new face to the iconic statue — a face which audiences found appeared more ‘fresh-faced,’ ‘sultry’ and ‘even sexier’ than the original.”

Despite the fact that the USPS knew what it was doing was wrong, claims the lawsuit, those stamps kept rolling out without asking the sculptor for the rights to print it.

“Defendants, through the USPS, determined that it was in their financial best interest to continue to infringe upon [the artist's] rights, as the cost to discontinue the infringing activity exceeded the marginal cost of royalties that they knew or should have known were owing,” the lawsuit claimed.

It’s unclear what damages he wants but last September a federal court awarded a sculptor who designed the Korean War Memorial $685,000 in damages after the USPS used a photo of it on a stamp without permission.

Considering the cash struggles currently weighing down the agency, this could be yet another ding to its already low coffers.

Sculptor sues Postal Service over mistaken Lady Liberty stamp [Washington Post]

by Mary Beth Quirk via Consumerist

Number Of U.S. Banks Hits Record Low



Back in 1985, there were around 18,000 different federally insured banks operating in the U.S. But in the nearly three decades since, numerous failures and mass consolidation has left us with around 38% of that 1985 number, meaning Americans now have the fewest banking options since the federal government began tracking these stats back in 1934.

Most of the vanished banks merged or were snapped up by some larger institution. According to the Wall Street Journal, only 17% of the more than 10,000 banks that stopped existing between 1984 and 2011 were victims of financial ruin.

All it takes is a look at an acquisition-happy institution like Bank of America to see how one fish was gobble up by a slightly larger one, and so on until there are only a few sharks left swimming in the sea.

Before it purchased Countrywide, Merrill Lynch, LaSalle Bank, and Fleet, BofA came out of the merger of NationsBank and BankAmerica. NationsBank had previously purchased Barnett Bank, Boatmen’s Banchshares, and others. It had previously been known as North Carolina National Bank before merging with C&S/Sovran Corp. to become NationsBank.

And that’s just following one branch of the family tree of one of the few large banks still in existence. You’re likely to find similar skeletons of small and mid-size bank corpses in the basements of just about any big bank these days.

The Journal tries, not very convincingly, to make the case that maybe having nearly 1/3 of the number of banks we used to have is a good thing:

The consolidation could help alleviate concerns that the abundance of U.S. banks leads to difficulties in oversight or a less-efficient financial system. Meanwhile, overall bank deposits and assets have grown, despite the drop in institutions.

Yeah, because the remaining banks have shown time and again how amazingly efficient they are… and there is nothing terrifying about having nearly fives times the amount of wealth in the hands of 1/3 the number of financial institutions.

Even more scary is the lack of any new banks on the horizon. Only one new FDIC-insured bank has started up since Dec. 2010, and unless you live in Bird-in-Hand, PA, your banking options are likely dwindling.

by Chris Morran via Consumerist

Solo Diner Leaves Restaurant Staff $835 Tip For Working On Thanksgiving

While it’s tough to go to work on holidays like Thanksgiving, it can also be a bummer if you don’t have family to celebrate with on the day. One Florida woman was facing a solo turkey day and didn’t feel like cooking just for herself so she decided to go out to eat at a restaurant alone. She left hours later with more than just a full stomach.

Yes, warm, glowy feelings ensued, reports She says the staffers made her feel welcome and happy on a day when everyone gathers together to give thanks.

“I just needed my spirits lifted and everyone at the [restaurant] did it,” she said. “It was hard for me to leave. They made me feel like a member of the family. They’re always great toward me. I just felt like I owed them a lot of gratitude for making my day.”

To show that gratitude for her $29.95 meal, the woman decided to leave a hefty tip — $835.

At first the bartender who flipped over the check thought there was a decimal in the wrong spot — $8.35 seemed more appropriate. But on a cocktail napkin nearby a note revealed the truth: The money was to be split up into $50 for each of two bartenders on the shift, with the rest spread around to the restaurant’s 50 or so employees on duty that day, with each receiving $15.

“I’ve had outrageous tips, I have had gifts as tips,” said the bartender. “But never the entire restaurant. That’s what blew me away. … People were just dumbfounded.”

“I didn’t do it to get praise,” said the woman, who is a regular at the restaurant but didn’t want to be identified. “I did it because I am grateful for what I have. I’m very blessed and grateful that they spent their time away from their own families to serve us customers. That’s the least I could do.”

She adds that ever since she retired around eight years ago, she’s enjoyed becoming friends with some of the staff at the restaurant.

“I love them dearly, and thank them for always taking such wonderful care of me,” she said.

Patron leaves $835 Thanksgiving tip for Chart House staff []

by Mary Beth Quirk via Consumerist

Consumer Reports Hiring Secret Shoppers In 4 States

You probably know that everything our co-workers at Consumer Reports test is bought at retail, but did you know that many of these purchases are made by an army of undercover, secret shoppers all around the country? Now CR is recruiting new shoppers in a dozen different metro areas in four states.

Specifically, Consumer Reports is looking for undercover agents in the following areas:


• Bay Area

• San Diego

• Los Angeles

• Sacramento


• Portland

• Salem

• Eugene

• Corvalis

New York


• Buffalo

• Rochester

• Albany


• Statewide

CR says the ideal secret shopper is organized, detail-oriented, reliable, flexible, and comfortable with spreadsheets. It’s a freelance contract gig that pays $12/hr and reimburses the shopper for gas mileage.

If you’re interested and live in any of the areas listed above, head over to this page for more information and to apply online or refer a friend.

by Chris Morran via Consumerist

Salvation Army Worker Trying To Set Bell-Ringing Record With 80-Hour Attempt

As of 11 a.m. this morning, a Salvation Army captain in Minnesota has embarked upon the grueling task of standing outside and ringing his bell for 80 hours straight. He won’t be sitting, eating or drink during the world record attempt, which also has the goal of raising around $300 per hour.

He’ll get one five-minute break every hour during his seemingly Sisyphean task, notes CBS Minnesota, and is also asking for support of any kind on his Twitter handle during the ordeal.

“The truth is, I’d do just about anything to help those who come to us with such burdens in their lives,” he told his local Salvation Army group earlier this month. “We do all our frontline service through the amazing work of volunteers – 90 percent of all the blessings we share are because of volunteers. This ringing marathon is just a fun way to celebrate – fun and maybe a bit crazy.”

A bit crazy? Maybe — especially if you know what winter in Minnesota can be like. Let’s just say there’s a reason the wintry north is called the wintry north (Cold. Bone-chilling cold).

News reports had indicated that the event would be streamed live, but the link provided by his Salvation Army doesn’t seem to be working. If anyone has the correct link and would like to share it, please send an email to

Minnesota Man Attempts To Break Bell-Ringing Record [CBS Minnesota]

by Mary Beth Quirk via Consumerist

Saab Rises From The Dead… Sort Of

newsaab Created as a post-war offshoot of a Swedish aircraft manufacturer, Saab crashed to the ground in recent years, with the bankrupt luxury vehicle brand being kicked around between various new owners before finally landing at the feet of investors from China and Japan. Now the once-great car brand is back in production, but don’t hold your breath waiting to see new Saab vehicles in your neighbors’ driveways in the near future.

Saab’s new ownership, National Electric Vehicle Sweden AB, announced yesterday that it had begun production on the Saab 9-3 Aero Sedan at the company’s plant in Trollhättan, Sweden.

But rather than focus on re-breaking the American market, the car will be sold online and primarily in Sweden and China, which NEVS has designated as its target audience.

(Tangent: Kurt Vonnegut opened the first Saab dealership in the U.S. in 1957. He was only able to keep it open for about a year, which was ultimately a good thing for 20th Century literature.)

NEVS is being cautious about churning out too many cars, only manufacturing about 10 per week to start and then ramping up if customer demand is there. The company may also be limited by its remaining stockpile of GM-supplied 2-liter engines that remain from when the American car biggie sold Saab to specialty car maker Spyker in 2010.

The new 9-3 will go on sale online next week, selling for about $42,000.

Though the NEVS name would imply that this Saab is an electric vehicle, the first 9-3s to be produced will be gas-powered, with an EV version set to come in the new year. The company will market that car heavily in China.

“Our aim is to be a front runner in the automotive industry, with focus on electric vehicles, where China is our initial main market,” writes NEVS in a statement. “The pace of change towards cars powered by fossil free fuels will increase and China currently has the most ambitious efforts for electrification of the vehicle fleet.”

by Chris Morran via Consumerist

We Want To Go To There: Travel Posters Feature Destinations From Game Of Thrones, Star Wars

For anyone who ever spent a family vacation as a kid with their nose shoved deep inside the Lord of the Rings series while your parents begged you to take in the local sights, we understand that it’s not that you don’t like to travel. It’s just that you can’t actually go to Rivendell, or Luke Skywalker’s home planet of Tatooine, or cast your gaze upon Winterfell from Game of Thrones. But if only you could…

Artist Ali Xenos has reached into the hearts of sci-fi and fantasy fans everywhere with a line of retro travel posters promoting far-off lands from the Lord of the Rings, Star Wars and the up-and-comer lately, Game of Thrones. It’s only a matter of time before someone starts creating theme parks based on these places, right? Please, tell me I’m right because I need to go to Rivendell and relax.

Check out a few of our favorites below and Xenos’ site for more:

These elves do not sit on shelves.

These elves do not sit on shelves.

The Shire boasts great pubs, so I've heard.

The Shire boasts great pubs, so I’ve heard.

Aunt Beru, we hardly knew ye.

Aunt Beru, we hardly knew ye.

Go here, you can't.

Go here, you can’t.

A bit of northern solitude.

A bit of northern solitude.

Just watch out for the spies and murderous kinglings.

Just watch out for the spies and murderous kinglings.

by Mary Beth Quirk via Consumerist

Delta Bumps Passengers To Fly College Basketball Team To Game

Because making sure that a college basketball game goes off without a hitch is more important than transporting boring ol’ passengers who can’t sink a three-pointer to save their lives, Delta Air Lines recently chose to cancel a commercial flight and use that jet for a charter flight for the University of Florida basketball team.

The Gainesville Sun reports that on Sunday afternoon, passengers expecting to fly on a Delta Connection flight from Gainesville to Atlanta found out their jet had been repurposed to get the UF Gators up to Connecticut for their Monday night game against U.Conn.

The team’s charter flight had been grounded for maintenance issues, and rather than have the team wait for that plane to be repaired or to find other travel options, Delta canceled the commercial flight and gave those passengers travel vouchers, which is exactly what people want when trying to get home on the busiest travel weekend of the year.

A Delta rep said the swap was made “due to operational need and aircraft routing requirements as a result of the busy travel holiday.”

One bumped passenger says they were originally told there flight was canceled because of mechanical problems, but called shenanigans on that explanation when they spotted a bunch of basketball players boarding their supposedly broken down plane.

A rep for the airport tells the Sun that the passengers were all eventually booked on other flights, though some did not get to leave until Monday. And the Sun reports that some passengers had to be driven quite some distance to airports in Jacksonville, Orlando and Tampa in order to catch other flights.

Let’s just hope they got home in time to see the Gators lose to the Huskies by one point.

by Chris Morran via Consumerist

How To Not Suck… At Disputing Credit Report Errors

Like it or hate it, your credit report and credit score have lots of power. These may determine whether or not you’re approved for a mortgage, car loan, or other borrowing, and will determine the interest rates on your credit cards. This information is often even used when you’re evaluated for an apartment, insurance or a job, or try to get a bank account. That’s why it’s incredibly important to check your credit report for errors, as mistakes on your report can haunt every part of your financial life for years.

Indeed, more than one-in-four reports contain errors, according to a recent Federal Trade Commission report.

To make sure yours isn’t one of them, the first step is to check your credit reports once a year for any mistakes. You can do this for free at (and not any of the “free” credit report or credit score sites that are just trying to rope you into a monthly subscription). This site gives you once-yearly access to reports from each of the three major credit bureaus — Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.

You can get that once-a-year free report directly from each of the bureaus, but watch out for come-ons that make it seem like you need to pay, or sign up for a credit monitoring service, to get the free report.

If’ you’re turned down for a loan, insurance or employment based on a credit report, you’re also eligible for a free copy of the report used to make that determination.

Regardless of how you get your hands on the report, if you find an error, fix it. Pronto. Here’s how.

Action Item No. 1: Contact the credit reporting company

You need to contact the credit reporting agency — in writing — about the error you’ve found.

The FTC offers a sample letter that you can use to make sure you don’t exclude any essential details.

Your communication should include your full name and address, exactly which item(s) you dispute and why, and then ask that the information be removed or corrected. Include copies (NEVER originals) of any supporting documentation you have, plus a copy of your report with the wrong item(s) circled or highlighted.

Be sure to send your dispute certified mail, return receipt requested, and save a copy of what you send to the agency.

The credit reporting agency — per the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) — must investigate the dispute in 30 days if the report in question came to you because of a credit denial, or 45 days if it came from an annual free report.

When they’re done looking, the agency must report back to you in writing its findings, along with a free copy of your report if there was a change.

Importantly, it must tell you where the bad info came from (this is essential for Action Item No. 2, below).

At your request, if a fix was made, the agency must provide the corrections to anyone that received your credit report in the past six months. If the report went to potential employers in the past two years, you can have a corrected report sent to them. (Whether or not that’s happening, well, we’re hopeful but not stupid.)

Action Item No. 2: Contact the information provider

It’s terrific to have your credit report fixed, but if you don’t fix the source of the bad info, you can expect to see the mistake creep back onto your report in the years to come.

Using the same FTC sample letter, go through the same process with the source of the error.

If the credit reporting agency deemed your information to be inaccurate and made a change, include a copy of the correction.

Action Item No. 3: If they won’t make the fix

The FTC says if an investigation doesn’t resolve your dispute with the credit reporting company, you can ask that a statement of the dispute be included in your file and in future reports. You also can ask the credit reporting company to provide your statement of explanation to anyone who received a copy of your report in the recent past, and this may cost you a fee.

But here’s the kick in the pants: Many consumers have found they’re able to prove, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that some items on their credit reports are wrong, yet the credit reporting agency refuses a fix. This doesn’t happen just with the Big Three, but also with smaller credit reporting agencies that specialize in reports for employers and landlords.

Indeed, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau found that such specialty reporting agencies weren’t always following the rules that it issued a bulletin [PDF] last year, reminding these firms they must give consumers an easy way to get a free copy of their specialty reports and comply with FCRA.

Then, dear readers, you may have to get an attorney who specializes in FCRA violations.

Whether you have errors on your report or not, you should know your rights. This page on the FTC website provides some helpful information for all consumers about access to credit reports.

Have a topic you’d like to see covered in How To Not Suck? Or maybe you’re an expert who would like to share your insight with Consumerist readers? Send us a note at

You can read Karin Price Mueller’s stories for The Star-Ledger at, follow her on Facebook, and on Twitter @kpmueller.


How To Not Suck… At Lowering Your Utility Bills

How To Not Suck… At Home Inspections

How To Not Suck… At Understanding Credit Card Rewards

How To Not Suck… At Getting Ready For Tax Season

How To Not Suck… At Picking A Retirement Plan

How To Not Suck… At Deciding When To DIY

How To Not Suck… At Getting Out Of Debt

How To Not Suck… At First Year College Budgets

DISCLAIMER: Any websites, services, retailers, or brands mentioned in the story above are only intended as some of many options available to consumers, and do not constitute an endorsement by Consumerist, Consumerist Media LLC (CML) or its staff. Per Consumerist’s No Commercial Use Policy, such information may not be used by others in advertising or to promote a company’s product or service. In addition, this policy precludes any commercial use of any of CML’s published information in any form, or of the names of Consumers Union®, Consumer Media, Consumer Reports®, The Consumerist, or any other of CU or CML’s publications or services without CU or CML’s express written permission.

by Karin Price Mueller via Consumerist

Of Course There’s A Blog Dedicated To Replicating Burger Specials From ‘Bob’s Burgers’

I would maybe probably eat that.

I would maybe probably eat that.

For those of you who don’t watch the animated show Bob’s Burgers, in every episode there’s a chalkboard with the day’s special at the restaurant. And because this is a cartoon and no one has to actually take the burgers out of 2D for them to be on the show, the writers can have a field day inventing things like “The Cauliflower’s Cumin From Inside The House Burger.” But of course, some ambitious spirit has taken it upon themselves to create these concoctions in real life because we as a people demand burger innovation at all times.

The Bobs Burgers Experiment Tumblr (via Buzzfeed) showcases a plethora of delectable variations on the humble hamburger, including recipes for each one so you can follow along at home.

Maybe you’ve got a favorite episode and want to nosh on its special burger while H. Jon Benjamin’s uniquely soothing voice carries you off into burger dreamland. Maybe you’d never attempt a cauliflower burger on your own.

In any case, each and every burger hasn’t yet made it to the blog, but if the below attempts are an indication, I’d say that Foot Fetaish burger will happen sooner rather than later.

A sampling from the Tumblr:

The Plymouth Roquefort Burger

So Much Parsley, So Little Thyme Burger

I’ve Created a Meunster

Don’t You Four Cheddar Bout Me

The Cauliflower’s Cumin From Inside The House Burger

Pickle My Funny Bone Burger

One fish, Two fish, Red Fish hamburger

Pepper Don’t Preach

by Mary Beth Quirk via Consumerist

Mejores aplicaciones para google hangouts

via Educación tecnológica

Is Sephora Really Banning Customers Who Spend Thousands Every Year?

sephorastoreIt was news to us that beauty superstore Sephora recently debuted a new tier to its customer loyalty program. VIB Rouge is for customers who spend at least $1,000 per year at Sephora stores, because some people manage to do that. A thing that Sephora apparently does is ban customers from making online purchases if they place too many orders.

VIB Rouge offers perks like free shipping on all orders, piles of samples, fancy gifts for your birthday and whenever Sephora feels like it, and exclusive events. Sounds very nice…until some of these big-spending customers reported that Sephora cut them off.

Over on, one poster explained what happened to her:

Long story short, I just found out last week that I can NOT place any orders online at I kept getting the message that my payment could not be confirmed and my order has been cancelled.

I called and talked with THREE CS reps in two days and they were NO HELP at all. They kept telling me to read the terms of use.

Those terms of use are pretty clear: membership in the program and your right to place online Sephora orders are pretty much at the whim of Sephora. As a private business with many competitors in the marketplace, that’s their right. Here’s what the loyalty program’s terms of use say:

Sephora may, in its sole discretion, alter, limit, or modify the VIB Rouge program rules, regulations, benefits, eligibility for membership, or any other feature of the VIB Rouge program or may terminate the VIB Rouge program at any time in its sole discretion, without prior notice.

What kinds of things will get you kicked out of the program? Buying “too many” of a single item, though what constitutes “too many” is rather fuzzy. Is it ten? Three? We wrote about this problem in the past when discussing Macy’s and a reader accused of buying too many lip glosses for any one woman.

How do you place four orders in one day, anyway? One Sephora fan explained that she placed an order for herself, a gift order for her sister, and then another order when a sale item restocked. “Finally, after lying in bed for a few minutes, I suddenly thought of my friend’s daughter who’s a nail polish fanatic and would certainly LOVE some polish for xmas,” she explained. “Hence, the fourth order.”

We contacted Sephora to ask that their policies are and what’s going on here, and haven’t received a response yet. We’ll post an update if they get back to us.

by Laura Northrup via Consumerist

The Robot Wars Begin: UPS Also Looking Into Drone Deliveries

Everyone’s talking about how Amazon has secretly been developing an army of delivery drones that will, in my not-at-all paranoid opinion, turn on their creators and begin using human beings as living batteries. But a new report claims that UPS is also working on some creepy copters of its own.

According to The Verge, UPS has been testing and evaluating the possibility of using drones to deliver parcels to your door. No word on whether the flying robots will sport flattering brown shorts.

The report explains that a company like UPS could employ drones not just in the delivery of packages to customers, but in the transfer of packages from one UPS location to another.

While the Verge cites “sources familiar with the company’s plans,” the official UPS line is that, “The commercial use of drones is an interesting technology and we’ll continue to evaluate it.”

Meanwhile, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates chimes in on the whole drone drama, saying that Amazon is being “overly optimistic” about getting its flying delivery service up in the air in the near future.

by Chris Morran via Consumerist

Study: Energy Drinks May Force Your Heart To Contract Faster

Most of the headlines we come across and pass along to you fine folk that involve energy drinks are usually not of the good kind. And here comes another media blast warning us that energy drinks are perhaps not something you want to ingest: A new study from a team of cardiac radiologists says when you guzzle an energy drink, it prompts your heart to contract a lot faster than it was before you tipped your head back.

In a report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration this year, the cardiac experts noted that in your run-of-the-mill energy drink there’s up to three times as much caffeine as coffee or soda. Drinking that much caffeine can cause rapid heart rate, palpitations, a spike in blood pressure and even seizures or death, one of the researchers said in a statement.

He and his colleagues looked at the hearts of 18 people with an MRI scanner and then had the participants drink a beverage with high amounts of caffeine and taurine and then had their hearts scanned again, reports the Los Angeles Times.

An hour after glugging the drink, researchers found that radiologic measurements of heart strain were significantly higher than at baseline. They focused on the heart’s left ventricle, which pumps oxygenated blood from the lungs to the aorta and then throughout the body. There was a big change in the strain rates there, meaning that the heart was contracting faster.

“We don’t know exactly how or if this greater contractility of the heart impacts daily activities or athletic performance,” said one of the researchers, noting that the study is still ongoing. “We need additional studies to understand this mechanism and to determine how long the effect of the energy drink lasts.”

Monster Beverage Corp. issued a statement responding to the study, calling it “alarmist and misleading.” It said the paper definitely banged the nail on the head by noting that taurine “helps the heart function more efficiently by improving the pumping force of the heart without any changes in blood pressure or heart rate.” But instead of being a bad thing, that result is “is widely considered to be beneficial.”

Energy drinks speed heart contractions, MRIs show [L.A. Times]

by Mary Beth Quirk via Consumerist

CFPB Adds Oversight Of Largest Student Loan Servicing Companies

While many banks offer student loans, much of the servicing of that $1 trillion in loans is actually done by non-bank, third-party companies, some of which have been criticized for being difficult to deal with and having byzantine repayment rules. Today, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which already oversees student loan servicing by large banks, issued a new rule giving the agency the authority to supervise certain non-bank servicers in an effort to further ensure borrowers are being treated fairly and to rein in abusive loan servicing practices.

“Student loan borrowers should be able to rest assured that when they make a payment toward their loans, the company that takes their money is playing by the rules,” said CFPB Director Richard Cordray. “This rule brings new oversight to those large student loan servicers that touch tens of millions of borrowers.”

Under the new rule, the Bureau has the authority to supervise any non-bank servicer handling more than one million accounts to ensure they are complying with federal consumer financial laws. This puts the seven largest student loan servicers, responsible for a total of nearly 50 million accounts, under the agency’s umbrella.

Servicers who do not meet the 1 million account requirement may still be subject to the Bureau’s supervisory authority if the CFPB has reasonable cause to determine the servicer poses risk to consumers.

An October report from the CFPB on student loan servicing found numerous systemic problems within the industry.

Borrowers attempting to pay down their loans early were given inaccurate or incomplete information about how to get ahead on payments, or had payments applied to the wrong loan. People making partial payments sometimes found the servicers were applying the money in such a way as to maximize late fees. And when borrowers’ accounts got passed around from one servicer to another, there were complaints about lost paperwork, processing errors, and missing billing statements.

Another issue with accounts being transferred between servicers is inconsistent payment-processing policies. Borrowers complained to the CFPB that they would not be made aware of differences between servicers and then get penalized for not being aware of these differences.

“Borrowers who are doing their best to pay off their loans shouldn’t have to put up with the runaround and lousy customer service from loan servicers,” said Pamela Banks, senior policy counsel for Consumers Union. “Today’s rule will help ensure that loan servicers are held accountable for treating borrowers fairly and helping them manage their debts responsibly.”

If you’re a student loan borrower having a problem with your servicer, you can submit a complaint directly to the CFPB via its online student loan complaint portal.

by Chris Morran via Consumerist

Fuzzy Math At Work: Dog Food, Towels, Bagels, Muffins

meatyFuzzy math: it’s not cuddly numbers, but what happens when you add up bulk pricing at a major retailer and things just don’t add up. Buying things in bulk is supposed to make things cheaper. Putting things on sale is supposed to make them cheaper, too. In the real world, that isn’t always the case.

Kyle found this fuzzy bagel math at the grocery store. No, the bagels aren’t fuzzy, but the math is weird.

“Martin’s (a division of Giant Foods) sells fresh bagels for 59¢ each…but a half dozen in a bag is $3.99…save -39¢!”

Also, the bagels have apparently become muffins.


Jeff was shopping for dog food at Walmart and noticed some odd pricing. It’s cheaper to buy twelve meals ($4.67) than to buy twenty-four ($10.48).


Another reader spotted this sale at CVS…that isn’t a sale.


by Laura Northrup via Consumerist

Motorola To Redo Cyber Monday Sale On Wednesday After The First Try Didn’t Go So Well

DIY phones.

DIY phones.

For all the patient boys and girls out there who were waiting to get a $150 discount on an off-contract Moto X yesterday, your efforts might’ve felt a bit wasted when Motorola’s Cyber Monday deal never even got off the ground. Due to the crushing weight of shopper traffic on the purchase page, Motorola Mobility couldn’t pull its sale off, and instead has rescheduled the deal for Wednesday at noon EST.

Yesterday about an hour after the sale was supposed to have launched, customers were tweeting their frustrations, as it seemed like no one was going to get through or get a deal. At first Motorola acknowledged the problem:

But the site couldn’t be revived during all the hullabaloo, with the MotoMaker customization tool unusable, so the big cheeses have apologized and issued a new plan.

Says Motorola Chief Executive Dennis Woodside in a blog post titled “We Owe You An Apology” (via CNET):

Here is what we are going to do: Starting at 12 pm EST/9 am PST this Wednesday, we will relaunch the $349 promotion. To help make up for this major inconvenience to shoppers, we will also add an additional promotional day on Monday, December 9. We will double the quantity of phones available, while supplies last, to allow as many people as possible to take advantage of the promotion. We’re also extending the 30-percent-off offer on accessories to these two days….

On behalf of all Motorolans, I apologize for what occurred today. I appreciate your understanding as we get this fixed in time for Wednesday and Monday.

Cross your fingers it actually is fixed or you’ll have a lot more apologies to throw around.

Motorola delays Moto X Cyber Monday deal after site crash [CNET]

by Mary Beth Quirk via Consumerist