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Business news briefs — Sept. 13

REGULATION

FTC cracks down on robocalls

The Federal Trade Commission on Friday said it had cracked down on two more companies responsible for some of the credit-card services calls that come from a caller identifying herself as “Rachel.”

The FTC announced two companies agreed to settle charges they used prerecorded calls to trick consumers into deceptive credit-card interest rate reduction scams.

Under separate proposed settlements, the defendants behind Treasure Your Success and Ambrosia Web Design will be banned from telemarketing and delivering robocalls. They also will be permanently prohibited from advertising, marketing, promoting or offering for sale any debt relief product or service, or assisting others in doing so.

UTILITIES

Energy council has shale deal

The Northeast Ohio Public Energy Council, NOPEC, said it reached a six-year agreement to supply natural gas to its customers using gas from the state’s shale gas boom.

NOPEC’s contract for natural gas does not end with its current supplier until March, but after that, it will be supplied by NextEra Energy Services, Ohio. NOPEC has about 270,000 natural gas customers in 10 Northeast Ohio counties.

NOPEC Executive Director Chuck Keiper said the new agreement supports economic growth in Northeast Ohio and estimates it will save customers 50 to 60 cents per thousand cubic feet to bring gas from within the state instead of out of state.

No prices have been determined.

TRUCKING

Goodyear wants nominations

Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. is accepting nominations online for its 31st North America Highway Hero Award at www.goodyeartrucktires.com. Nominations will be accepted through Nov. 29.

The Highway Hero Award, which calls itself the oldest and most prestigious award of its kind, honors truck drivers who put themselves in harm’s way to help others.

Candidates must be full-time truck drivers and live in the United States or Canada.

There are other requirements for nominations. The incident must have occurred in the United States or Canada. The nominee’s truck at the time of the incident must have had 12 wheels or more. The nominee must have been on the job — or on the way to or from work in his or her truck — at the time of the incident. The incident must have taken place between Nov. 16, 2012, and Nov. 16, 2013.

The winner will be announced at the 2014 Mid-America Trucking Show (MATS) in Louisville, Ky. The winner will receive a $5,000 cash prize and a custom Goodyear Highway Hero ring.

PHONES

New installment plans offered

T-Mobile US Inc., AT&T Inc. and Verizon Wireless, touting their new installment-plan approach to mobile-phone pricing, said they will offer Apple Inc.’s new iPhone 5C without an initial down payment.

T-Mobile will subsequently require 24 months of $22 payments, the company said on its website. AT&T’s $22 installment plan will only last 20 months, though its service prices start at a higher rate. And Verizon is offering the 5C without a down payment and $23.06 per month over 24 months.

AUTO INDUSTRY

Labels give used-car mileage

The U.S. government has come up with window labels that show the gas mileage and pollution of used cars.

The Energy Department and the Environmental Protection Agency say the labels can be downloaded or viewed on the website www.fueleconomy.gov.

Labels are available for all vehicles sold in the U.S. since 1984. They show mileage and carbon dioxide emissions estimates.

The government says the stickers are valid for used cars because mileage changes little over a vehicle’s 15-year life if it’s maintained properly.

Used car sellers and dealers can post the stickers on car windows to advertise mileage. Buyers can search the site for the models they want to buy.

BROADCASTING

NPR to cut staff by 10 percent

National Public Radio said it was offering buyouts in hopes of cutting its staff by 10 percent and eliminating its deficit. The buyouts, which are to be offered across the entire organization, were approved by NPR’s board of directors to help with a projected operating deficit of $6.1 million.

NPR distributes news, information and music programming to 975 public radio stations, reaching 27 million listeners a week. NPR also announced that Paul Haaga Jr. will be acting president and CEO effective Sept. 30. A search committee has been appointed to find a permanent replacement.

Compiled from staff and wire reports



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