Consumer News & Views
In this Issue…
Consumer Confidence Improve in February.
The Consumer Confidence Index rallied in February as American consumers were
feeling more confident this past month after a strong stock market rally and the
end to the federal government shutdown.
The index measures consumers' assessment of current economic conditions and their expectations for the next six months. Both rose in January. Consumers' views of today's economy were the sunniest since December 2000. "Consumers expect the economy to continue expanding," reported Lynn Franco, the Conference Board's senior director of economic indicators.
The Conference Board’s Index had dropped in January amid worries about a government shutdown that ended Jan. 25 and stock-market volatility, which reflected higher interest rates and worries about trade tensions with China. But stocks have rebounded since Christmas, and U.S. and Chinese trade negotiators have reported signs of progress toward ending a standoff.
Economists pay close attention to the index because consumer spending accounts for about 70 percent of U.S. economic activity. Ian Shepherdson, chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, said the February reading suggests "continued robust growth in consumers' spending."
Cleveland Consumer Council Issues
Consumer Alerts. During the past year,
the Cleveland Consumer Council has been working to resolve regional complaints
on behalf of its members over the past year compiling a number of consumer
complaints and responding to several serious issues. Here’s their advice on how
to avoid scams, fraud and misrepresentations that have caused financial
hardships for several local members.
If you're planning to buy a used car from a
dealer or a private individual, getting information about your warranty rights
from your state or local consumer protection agency first could save you money
and heartache later.
New ACC Videos Focuses on “Money Topics Every Couple Must Discuss” and “What Consumers Should Know About Time Shares Before Signing on the Dotted Line.”
ACC’s financial education video series is designed to help consumers, especially Millennials, better manage their finances and get access to financial services. The free series is available online at http://www.americanconsumercouncil.org/videos.asp and features certified financial planner and author, Kimberly Curtis, who is a popular author, speaker and the CEO of The Wealth Legacy Institute in Denver, Colorado.
The video series has been well received by Millennials (18-30 year old) and has encouraged over 6,000 Millennials to join credit unions since September 1, 2016.
The other video topics include: Paying for the Cost of College; Paying Off Debt While Building Wealth; Home-Buying Mistakes to Avoid; Goals to Reach by Age 30; Money Mistakes Everyone Makes; and, “How to Prevent Identity Theft.”
Click on any of the links to watch these videos.
The American Consumer Council’s president Thomas Hinton, stated “Millennials (ages 18-30) want timely information delivered through short videos to help them better manage their money and debts. This series answers many of their questions and encourages Millennials to seek out the services of credit unions that are skilled at providing a broad range of financial services at very competitive rates."
According to ACC's research, there are over 75 million Millennials in the United States and nearly 42% have not established any financial services relationship with an insured financial institution.
"It's very surprising that the parents of Baby Boomers have not instilled in their children some understanding and appreciation for money," Hinton noted. He added, "This is why ACC is filling the gap and helping Millennials establish a relationship with a financial institution and gain a better understanding of how money is made, spent and saved."
The American Consumer Council is currently developing a series of new financial education videos for Millennials that will be ready in 2017. ACC expects a strong response to the video series given the number of inquiries ACC has received from its 186,000 members.
ACC Annual Meeting Scheduled for June 14, 2019. The American Consumer Council will hold its annual membership and business meeting on Friday, June 14, 2019 at 10:00 am at the Park Hyatt Aviara, CA. The meeting is open to all members of ACC. The business agenda for the meeting will be published in May 2019. For more information, please contact ACC’s meetings department at 1-800-544-0414.
ACC’s Friend of the Consumer Award Recognizes Outstanding Businesses.
Is your business consumer-friendly? Does your business deserve greater recognition for its service to consumers? If so, you should apply for the American Consumer Council’s Friend of the Consumer Award. Now is the time to apply!
Throughout the year, ACC presents its "Friend of the Consumer" Awards. This prestigious award recognizes manufacturers, retailers, and other businesses that produce or sell products in the United States that meet or exceed federally-mandated standards and are touted by consumers as “consumer friendly.”
Each year, ACC awards numerous "Friend of the Consumer" Awards to deserving companies and organizations because they have "demonstrated a commitment to American consumers by providing a specific product or service that fosters consumer confidence and market acceptance."
To apply for the "Friend of the Consumer" Award, complete the online application and return it to ACC with the application fee. Applicants will be notified within 5 days of receipt of their application. Thereafter, a panel of independent judges will review your application and make a formal recommendation within 20 days of receipt of your award application.
For more information, visit: http://www.americanconsumercouncil.org/awards.asp
Green CSM Certification Accepting Applications for 2019 Cycle:
If your company or organization would like to increase its credibility with consumers, you should consider applying for the Green CSM Certification. Applications for the 2019 cycle are now being accepted through March 31, 2019.
It's a proven fact that consumers want to do business with companies that are eco-friendly and practice Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). The process is straight-forward and all applicants are recognized by ACC and the Green USA Institute.
All applicants complete the criteria and submit their responses to ACC's Green Consumer Council for review, assessment and feedback. Program details and the Green CSM Certification criteria can be viewed at ACC's website located at: http://americanconsumercouncil.org/greenc.asp