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Consumer

Credit Card Checkout Fees Are Here

by Luke Landes
Credit Card Surchage

I’m currently in California, visiting my mother, who as I mentioned in a previous article is in the hospital. While articles this week will likely be slow on Consumerism Commentary, one thing I won’t have to deal with while visiting family is the relaxed regulation on merchants who accept credit cards. Starting this week, retailers […]

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American Express, Capital One and Discover® Refunds Total $435 Million

by Luke Landes
American Express

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau hasn’t stopped its crusade against credit card issuers that manipulate and deceive its customers. Earlier this year, regulators ordered Capital One to pay $210 million in refunds and fines for tricking card holders into buying add-on products with the implication that these were required purchases for those with bad credit, […]

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Black Friday: The Dark Side of Humanity

by Luke Landes
Darth Vader

It is a sad commentary on our culture when not only are people willing to trample and hurt each other to scramble for what is perceived to be a “good deal” but when such trampling is glorified by the media. (Crazy people drive ratings, and ratings drive large advertising profits for the media!) No one […]

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The Black Friday Hoax

by Luke Landes
Holiday presents

This is the time of the year when American consumers become focused like a laser on finding deals from retailers. There is some compulsion to buy more stuff as the holidays approach — as gifts for friends and family, in the spirit of Christmas and Hanukkah, and as gifts for ourselves. After all, with the […]

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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
Money

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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