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.
This analysis, “Refining Profits,” looks at how oil refiners in California fared over the last decade in their refining operaDons and compared the companies’ refining profits during periods of gasoline price spikes.
Californians have perennially experienced steep gasoline price spikes since 1999 when California’s Attorney General formed a Gasoline Pricing Taskforce that identified market consolidation and limited inventories as causes of prices spikes.
Internal documents obtained from the oil industry’s lobbying arm, the Western States Petroleum Association, show that the companies have made stopping California’s landmark climate change laws their top priority and will stop at nothing to achieve their ends.
Proposition 45 will require health insurance companies to open their books and publicly justify their rates under penalty of perjury before they are permitted to change rates for consumers in the individual and small group market.
The California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) has been a historically troubled agency, far too often failing to effectively fulfill its mission of protecting the public from toxic harm.
From March to September 2013, an investigation was undertaken to detail the significant privacy issues Google+ users may encounter when using the service. The evidence that follows will demonstrate that Google+ allows its users to routinely and blatantly violate its User Content & Conduct Policy.
Over the past quarter century, auto insurance expenditures in America have risen by more than 40 percent. Consumers in some states are paying 80 percent, 90 percent, and even 100 percent more for auto insurance than they paid in 1989. These increases have accrued despite substantial gains in automobile safety and the arrival of several new players in the insurance markets.
Health insurance premiums are increasing at a rate faster than medical inflation, especially in the volatile individual and small group markets, and worker incomes have not kept pace. The passage of the federal reform law triggered further outsized increases by insurance companies apparently seeking to establish high base rates in advance of the law’s implementation.
California produces more than four billion pounds of hazardous waste every year. That’s enough to fill 727 Olympic-sized pools. At least one hundred thousand businesses, from aerospace, computer, and chemical companies, to metal shredders, gas stations, plating companies, and dry cleaners, contribute to this toxic stream. It has to go somewhere.
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.
This report shows how California’s landmark Proposition 103 has lowered Medical Malpractice rates for doctors across the state. It also shows how caps on damages have not succeeded in controlling costs.
Enron. Tyco. Arthur Andersen. These companies have turned "corporate" into a four-letter word as headline after headline reveals shocking stories of executives stealing money from investors. But money isn't all that corporations steal.
If a Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) is your family's medical provider, just hope you never face a medical crisis. This compelling book tells story after story of people who got caught--and killed-in a system aimed at profit. Read the human stories behind the HMO statistics. Find out the real cost of savings gained at the bottom line.
"Medical care may be hazardous to your health." That frightening warning is the principal conclusion of numerous studies. Independent scientific research has sketched out the frightening dimensions of death and injury caused by negligent, incompetent and criminal doctors and hospitals.