Stories

The IRE Resource Center is a major research library containing more than 27,000 investigative stories.

Most of our stories are not available for download but can be easily ordered by contacting the Resource Center directly at 573-882-3364 or rescntr@ire.org where a researcher can help you pinpoint what you need.

Search results for "consumer" ...

  • The Real Question

    Our 4 1/2-month investigation uncovered how The RealReal, a high-profile $1.5 billion public company that bills itself as the world's largest online marketplace for luxury merchandise, does not have experts authenticating every item as the company claims, leading to obvious counterfeits being sold on the website.
  • Driven Into Debt

    This ongoing series of stories — which started at ProPublica Illinois and later was produced in collaboration with WBEZ — exposed how the city of Chicago’s aggressive and unequal ticketing practices, combined with punitive collections measures, have pushed tens of thousands of mostly black motorists into Chapter 13 bankruptcy. The stories have also examined Chicago’s cottage industry of bankruptcy attorneys who profit off consumers with ticket debt, even as their clients often sink even deeper into debt; the racially disparate consequences of license suspensions for unpaid tickets; and an ill-fated decision to hike the price of what was already one of the most expensive tickets in the city.
  • WSJ: Big Tech's Hidden Costs

    Congress and federal regulators do very little to police Amazon, Facebook and other big technology platforms that dominate the global economy and modern life. The companies say it's not their responsibility to protect consumers from online hazards, due to carve-outs in federal law for digital platforms. The Wall Street Journal investigated the many ways tech companies are passing on that responsibility—and the potential risks—to unwitting consumers. The Journal's reporting stopped Facebook from collecting sensitive personal data including users' menstrual cycles and heart rates; alerted parents to the lack of vetting for prospective nannies with police records including child abuse, sexual assault and murder; and forced Amazon to remove thousands of federally banned and unsafe products including toys with dangerous levels of lead.
  • WUFT: Cost of Sunshine

    Public record requests of various county and local governments were made in an effort to determine the number of public record requests received by each governmental unit, the cost to provide access to the requested records, the fees recovered from requestors, and copies of agency public record access policies. Those governmental units not audited received a survey designed to obtain the same information sought in the public record requests. Public record requests included all county constitutional officers in nine Florida counties as well as the city clerk in the county seat. County constitutional officers include the state attorney; sheriff; clerk of court; tax collector; property appraiser; supervisor of elections; public defender; and school superintendent. Counties were chosen based on geographic and population diversity. Six state agencies were also included: Executive Office of Governor, Attorney General,Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Department of Financial Services, Department of Juvenile Justice, Department of Veteran’s Affairs.
  • WKMG News 6 Gets Results for Drivers during SunPass Upgrade Meltdown

    In June of 2018, The Florida Department of Transportation and its state vendor, Conduent, underwent a massive upgrade to the state’s tolling system known as Sunpass. It failed miserably, causing the SunPass computer system to crash and led the entire billing process into turmoil. For more than 2 months, drivers were not billed for their toll charges, leading to a backlog of nearly 330 million transactions. That created a consumer nightmare, with customers dealing with a deluge of backlogged tolls, computer glitches, duplicate billing, questionable and erroneous toll charges, and long wait times for help both on the phone and in person. WKMG News 6 kept viewers informed on every problem, every development, and even offered solutions and an interactive tutorial on how to check their accounts for duplicate or erroneous toll charges. We also created a timeline of events, exposed when the SunPass Website failed to allow customers to turn off auto-pay online, had the wrong date and time stamp on millions of toll transactions, and delayed sending out toll by plate invoices due to continued issues with toll data accuracy.
  • Unlicensed, Unpunished

    A single tip led the investigative team at Denver7 to uncover unlicensed, untrained and often unpunished health care workers diagnosing and treating vulnerable, sick and disadvantaged Coloradans. The team’s work led to criminal investigations, forced Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper to intervene in the matter directly, and prompted state regulators to rewrite and reprioritize their policies. It represents a textbook case of journalists holding the powerful accountable by identifying fundamental problems in the institutions designed to keep consumers safe. Hickenlooper credited Denver7 for "actually making the community safer."
  • ProPublica Illinois: Driven Into Debt

    This series of stories — which started at ProPublica Illinois and later was produced in collaboration with WBEZ — exposed how the city of Chicago’s aggressive and unequal ticketing practices, combined with punitive collections measures, have pushed tens of thousands of mostly black motorists into Chapter 13 bankruptcy. The stories have also examined Chicago’s cottage industry of bankruptcy attorneys who profit off consumers with ticket debt, even as their clients often sink even deeper into debt; the racially disparate consequences of license suspensions for unpaid tickets; and an ill-fated decision to hike the price of what was already one of the most expensive tickets in the city.
  • Dirty Gold, Clean Cash

    "Dirty Gold, Clean Cash" was an extensive Miami Herald investigation sparked by a federal court case into how organized crime groups, including narco-traffickers, are using destructive illegal gold mines in Latin America to launder money through precious metals -- metals which ultimately end up in the hands of unsuspecting American consumers as jewelry, electronics and bullion. The trade has a crucial logistical hub in Miami. The series required extensive on-the-ground reporting in Peru and Colombia, a challenge for a local paper like the Miami Herald but one which the paper was prepared for because of its longstanding commitment to foreign reporting.
  • CNBC: Oceans of Crime

    This is a crime story, set in the most open and lawless place on earth – the ocean. The perpetrators traffic in an illegal product – seafood. Their front-line workers are literally slaves. And almost anyone who buys salmon, canned tuna, or pet food is helping to fund this outlaw industry, whether they realize it or not. In this documentary about illegal fishing, CNBC illustrates the often shocking, unethical path much of our seafood takes from the water to our dinner plates, and what is being done to curb the often monumental abuses that occur along the way. Because illegal fishing is both a human rights and an environmental issue, CNBC’s goal was to explore the entire supply process and introduce all those involved – fishermen suffering abuse, the perpetrators, the would-be rescuers and enforcers, and the consumers who make it all possible, whether they know it or not.
  • CBS THIS MORNING: Methylene Chloride Consumer Alert

    CBS News initiated a multi-part investigation into the sale and use of deadly paint strippers containing the chemical methylene chloride. Over the course of the investigation, CBS News found that the EPA had delayed its report on methylene chloride despite numerous deaths caused by the toxic chemical.