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Are Class-Action Lawsuits Good for Consumers?

by Luke Landes
Scales of Justice

Over the past few days, thousands of Bank of America customers have begun noticing unexpected credits in their checking account transaction activity. Thousands more will see the credits when their receive their paper statements for November, and even more will receive checks in the mail. The long battle with Bank of America over overdraft fees […]

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Credit Life Insurance: You Don’t Need It

by Luke Landes

Occasionally, Consumerism Commentary readers send in questions or stories they’d like to share with a wide audience. These questions and stories come to me through email, via Facebook, and through this website. Recently, a new reader who discovered Consumerism Commentary due to my multi-year coverage of Bank of America (primarily the articles pertaining to the […]

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Price Gouging: How to Know and What to Do

by Luke Landes
Price Gouging

Price gouging is often a problem after natural disasters, but what appears to be gouging might not always be a plan by unscrupulous business owners to take advantage of needy consumers. During regular operations, there is rarely a need for a business to increase prices sharply for its customers. Businesses generally, but not always, pay […]

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Resist Planned Obsolescence or Accept the Financial Consequences

by Luke Landes
Old phone

Products of all types — cars, incandescent bulbs, your iPad and iPhone — are designed with planned obsolescence in mind. The need or desire to replace products quickly and a shorter product life-cycle are a consistent drain on wealth. In the previous generation, the latest television sets were big household expenses, just like they are […]

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Will My Honda Civic Drive Another 2,850,000 Miles?

by Luke Landes
Honda Civic

While I am happy I’ve kept my 2004 Honda Civic eight and a half years and haven’t felt the need to upgrade, I’m certainly not as dedicated to maintaining old cars as an automobile enthusiast. In fact, I’ve been ridiculed and insulted by people whose opinion is that eight years is not very impressive for […]

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Discover Bank Forced to Pay $200 Million Refund and $14 Million Fine

by Luke Landes
Money Hand Refund

There’s no place for deceptive marketing tactics. Discover Bank‘s credit card customers allegedly found themselves on the receiving end of a sales pitch without knowing it. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), teamed with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), uncovered evidence of slimy sales tactics. In many cases, consumers thought they were adding free […]

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Are Consumers Really Concerned About Savings?

by Luke Landes
Savings piggy bank

A survey released by Chase today concluded that 74 percent of Americans are concerned about having enough money in savings, but only 34 percent have increased their savings since the economic downturn. There’s more to the survey, but this fact alone raises more than enough questions to consider for an entire day. What does it […]

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Individualized Coupons Aid Price Discrimination

by Luke Landes
Grocery store

I’m not a fan of allowing companies to track every purchasing decision I make, but I’ve sacrificed some of my expectations for privacy in return for convenience. I use my credit card for most purchases, and over the years, credit card issuers could have created a database with my transaction history and could theoretically use […]

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Capital One to Pay $210 Million Including Refunds and Penalties

by Luke Landes
Capital One

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau struck Capital One hard this week. The consumer protection agency has found that the credit card company improperly marketed add-on products to its customers. Because of this behavior, Capital One has agreed to pay refunds to 2.5 million customers totaling about $150 million, in addition to a $25 million penalty […]

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Credit Card Users May Pay an Additional Fee

by Luke Landes
Credit cards

When retailers and credit card issuers argue about fees, does the consumer win? The consumer is generally ignored in these discussions. Businesses are controlling the dialogue. Businesses, particularly small businesses that rely on profit margins more than volume, were successful in getting regulators to restrict “swipe” or interchange fees. The fees credit card transaction processing […]

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