Liz Crenshaw's Guide to Consumer Issues, Recalls and More

10 Ways Liz Crenshaw Made Your Life Better

#FarewellLiz

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Do something for more than 30 years, and you'll see a whole lot of change.

    After covering the consumer beat for many years, Liz Crenshaw is retiring -- but first, she takes a look back at changing and improving standards, especially in child safety, nutrition and personal finance.

    Read on to see Liz's Top 10 ways that life has improved since she's been on the consumer beat.

    Child safety seats:

    • THEN: When Liz started reporting on the dangers kids faced while riding in cars, almost every child safety seat was buckled incorrectly. That's because seat belts and safety seats weren't designed to work together. One family even had to use pool noodles under their child's carseat to get it to rest evenly on in the back seat.
    • NOW: After report after report, the federal government issued new standards requiring a compatible latching system for child seats in cars.


    Cribs:

    • THEN: Liz warned parents about the dangers of unsafe cribs were still being offered at hotels and thrift stores.
    • NOW: All hotels must provide cribs that meet federal standards and it's illegal to sell/resell cribs that don't comply with standards


    Liquid laundry packets:

    • THEN: Children were eating them because they look like candy and were sold in containers that looked like cookie jars.
    • NOW: The government is working with the industry to make containers more secure.


    Food labels:

    • THEN: 20 years ago, food labels were a free-for-all of claims, and the only way you could try to figure out what was in the box was to read an ingredient list in tiny print. There were no regulated listings of fat, calories, sodium, or grams of sugar, and no policing of claims.
    • NOW: Congress passed the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act, and by 1994, all packaged food was required to have nutrition food labels. In 2012, labels also became required on meat and poultry.

     

    Payday lenders:

    • THEN: Liz got an insider to share how payday lenders in the District trapped borrowers with massive interest rates and fees, hooking unsuspecting consumers into a cycle of debt.
    • NOW: After her stories aired, storefront payday lenders were outlawed in D.C.


    In-app purchases:

    • THEN: Liz warned parents that in-app purchases in childrens' games on phones and tablets were anything but child's play -- they were losing money when their children made purchases without their permission.
    • NOW: A federal investigation prompted Apple to refund customers $32 million.


    Transfats:

    • THEN: Liz reported on the dangers of transfats, which contribute to heart disease and high cholesterol, and which weren't initially included on nutrition labels. Experts say you should eat no more than two grams of transfats per day.
    • NOW: Laws passed to have transfats on label in 2006; today, there has been a 75-percent drop in transfats in all foods.


    Chain restaurant calories:

    • THEN: Liz looked into calories at chain restaurants, since none were printed on menus. She also reported on the high fat and sodium content in much fast food, focusing on serving size and hidden calories.
    • NOW: Those high numbers surprised legislators. Now chain restaurants are required to post nutritional information.

     

    Gift cards:

    • THEN: Liz reported that fees could eat up the value of your gift card in less than a year.
    • NOW: Gift cards must maintain their full value for a minimum of five years.

     

    Credit reports:

    • THEN: When Liz first reported the high incidence of errors on credit reports, the only recourse was to pay to look at your credit reports to check for mistakes.
    • NOW: Every consumer is entitled to a free report each year from each of the three credit bureaus.

    ALSO SEE:


    Want to bid Liz good-bye? Use #FarewellLiz on Facebook and Twitter.

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