StarWatch Consumer

McDonald’s says service is broken and needs a fix

Updated: 2013-04-11T17:29:50Z

McDonald’s is pushing franchisees to improve staffing and service amid mounting complaints about rude employees. In a webcase McDonald’s executives held with franchise owners last month, the company said 1 in 5 customer complaints are related to friendliness issues “and it’s increasing,” according to a Wall Street Journal report. The webcast identified the top complaint as “rude or unprofessional employees.”

Air bag recall

Honda, Toyota, Nissan and Mazda are recalling about 3.3 million vehicles worldwide because the passenger-side air bag could deploy with too much force, sending shards of metal into the passenger area, the automakers said Thursday. Worldwide, the recalls include about 1.7 million Toyotas, 1.1 million Hondas, 480,000 Nissans and 20,000 Mazdas. Almost 1.4 million of the vehicles are in the United States. Among the automakers, Honda has had the most serious, continuing problem with air bag. Before Thursday's action, Honda had already recalled almost 2 million vehicles since 2008 for an excessively powerful driver's air bag.

Professional athletes defrauded

Success Trade Securities, Inc. was sued Thursday by the brokerage industry’s self-regulator over claims it sold fraudulent promissory notes to professional athletes. Fuad Ahmed, the chief executive officer of the Washington- based firm, raised more than $18 million since 2009 from 58 investors, many of whom are current or former players in the National Football League and National Basketball Association, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority said in a complaint. Finra didn’t disclose the names of the harmed investors.

Mortgage rates fall

The average rate on the 30-year fixed mortgage fell to 3.43 percent from 3.54 percent last week. The average on the 15-year loan dipped to 2.65 percent from 2.74 percent.

Stranded in Carolina

US Airways Group Inc. and its regional partners are being investigated by the U.S. Transportation Department for stranding passengers on 34 planes during a snowstorm at the carrier’s Charlotte, N.C. hub. The incident was responsible for all U.S. tarmac delays of three hours or more during February, the Transportation Department said Thursday. US Airways said it made sure passengers were kept informed and had access to onboard food, water and operating lavatories. The airline provided partial refunds for customers whose travel was disrupted and offered vouchers for a future flight.

• U.S. carriers in January and February only saw 80.3 percent of their flights arrive on time, the government reported Thursday. That's down from a record 84.9 percent during last year's storm-free winter.

Confidence remains weak

Confidence among U.S. consumers was little changed last week as gains for top earners helped overcome growing pessimism at the other end of the income scale.The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index was at minus 34 in the period ended April 7 compared with minus 34.1 the prior week. Those earning more than $100,000 were the most optimistic since late 2010.

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