U.S. Cellular customers are being hit with billing problems, including multiple bills in a short period of time and incorrect past-due balances, as the company implements a new system. Some customers with automatic bill payment say the company took more money out of their bank account than it was supposed to. Others have said their bill was double what it should have been. On its website, U.S. Cellular says the billing system should be back to normal by the end of November. The company blames the problems on a new system it launched in July.
Average U.S. rates on fixed mortgages fell for the third straight week to their lowest point since early July, as a decline in consumer confidence and the onset of the government shutdown forced rates down. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said the average rate on the 30-year loan dropped to 4.22 percent from 4.32 percent last week. The average on the 15-year fixed loan declined to 3.29 percent from 3.37 percent.
The U.S. Department of Labor confirmed Thursday that because of the partial government shutdown it won't issue the September payrolls report today. An alternative date for the employment report, usually released on the first Friday of each month, hasn't been scheduled, the department said. The release includes the unemployment rate and data on payroll employment.
A fire that destroyed a Tesla electric car near Seattle began in the vehicle's battery pack, officials said Wednesday, creating challenges for firefighters who tried to put out the flames. Company spokeswoman Liz Jarvis-Shean said the fire Tuesday was caused by a large metallic object that directly hit one of the battery pack's modules in the pricey Model S. The fire was contained to a small section at the front of the vehicle, she said, and no one was injured. Shares of Tesla Motors Inc. fell Wednesday and Thursday after an Internet video showed flames spewing from the vehicle, which Tesla has touted as the safest car in America.