This just in: The Fed has raised rates another quarter point to 3.25 percent. The effect will ripple through the economy, which is good news for banks.
This is another reason why consumers should avoid carrying a balance on credit cards if they are being charged interest. As more credit issuers merge, there will be less competition. With less competition, annual fees and interest rates will rise.
Update: CNN answers some questions about the future in the wake of this merger.
You’ve heard of this deal on the television and on blogs. General Motors [GM] is advertising an “Employee Discount for Everyone” sale, in which they are offering their vehicles for the same price an employee would pay, “not a cent more.”
Is it really a good deal? If you participate, most likely you will be paying 3 to 4 percent lower than the dealer’s invoice price. Some of the prices were previously unreachable through negotiation, and people have been taking advantage of this sale, to the company’s benefit. But according to David Ellis, there is still room for negotiation, especially on models that aren’t selling quickly.
The sale has worked well for GM. Their market share was up 30 percent earlier this month, mostly taken from Chrysler. While the promotion is scheduled to end after Independence Day, many people predict the offer will be extended.
Can this deal be related to the announcement that GM plans to lay off 25,000 workers between 2005 and 2008? After all, that’s 25,000 people who can no longer officially claim the employee discount. Nevertheless, it’s easy to call this offer “insensitive.”
Here’s how GM has performed in the market during the incentive:
The “real” employee discount is likely a much better deal for the buyer than the discount being advertised to consumers. Dealership employees often pay dealer cost or below, but I don’t know what GM factory workers or corporate employees pay. Their discount is probably significant.
If you’re planning on buying a car, The Motley Fool has a complete guide which should be read thoroughly.
Two updates: It’s official, this offer has been extended through August 1. Also, this post has been featured on the Carnival of Personal Finance #3.
Companies are paying bloggers to write about their products. Many of these bloggers don’t disclose that the company whose product they write about is providing compensation, whether it’s $5 per mention, a free vacation, or several thousand dollars.
Should there be mandatory disclaimer so an advertisement isn’t mistaken for a legitimate review? It may breach Federal Trade Commission guidelines without one. In fact, the Federal Election Commission is holding hearings this week to discuss the full disclosure of funds bloggers receive from political campaigns.
I’m fine with reviewing products on Consumerism Commentary. Throughout Consumerism Commentary’s run so far, I’ve been asked to write a few impartial reviews. I’ll gladly give an honest review for free (though I may be a little bit slow getting around to it), but it seems to be unethical and a conflict of interest to accept money for disguising product placement as a legitimate review. I have advertisements, yes, and anyone can buy an ad fairly cheaply, but they are clearly advertisements and not endorsements.