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Consumer

Save Money at the Gas Pump

by Luke Landes
Gas Pump Fuel | crowt59

If you’ve stopped at a gas station lately, you might have been shocked to see the price on the big signs. Even if your gas station charges a different amount for credit card users than for cash customers, sometimes called a “cash discount” even though it’s the cash price that’s competitive with other stations, the […]

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Will You Buy the iPad 3?

by Luke Landes
iPad

All signs are pointing to Apple releasing the latest iteration of its popular tablet this coming week. I gave in last year and purchased the original iPad, and I made this decision just days before the iPad 2 was announced. Now, tech geeks are expecting the iPad 3 to hit to streets this week. The […]

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Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights

by Luke Landes
Facebook

Last week, the White House released a Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights. This isn’t a law or regulation, but a set of guidelines that could possibly underscore future actions by Congress and enforcement by the Federal Trade Commission. Private, personal information should be private and personal, but when consumers enroll for any type of service, […]

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Customers Say Retailers Are Not Living Up to Durbin Amendment Promise

by Luke Landes
Cashier checkout at Walmart

Retailers, represented by the National Retail Foundation, promised that consumers would benefit when retailers, particularly small businesses, were to benefit from regulated interchange (swipe) fees charged by Visa and MasterCard. The regulation, commonly called the “Durbin Amendment to the Dodd-Frank Act,” would lower the cost for businesses who were subject to an effective duopoly between […]

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Are You Ready For Higher Cell Phone Bills?

by Luke Landes
Tablet

As more consumers in the United States are jumping on the smartphone and tablet bandwagon — personally, I contribute to this mess with one of the latest phones with Android software as well as a first-generation iPad — there’s less room in the limited airwaves for customers’ needs to access the internet and occasionally make […]

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Do Retailers Know Too Much About Shoppers?

by Luke Landes
Target

It’s no surprise that retailers track your purchases. It’s obvious at the grocery store, particularly if you sign up for the supermarket’s loyalty discount program. If you provide your address, you’ll receive coupons and ads tailored specifically to your buying habits. My local supermarket allows customers to sign up anonymously; the coupons are offered right […]

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Amazon.com Retail Stores: Another Threat to Small Businesses?

by Luke Landes
Books

I was torn when Amazon.com, the online-only retailer for books, music, and movies, became popular. I liked the convenience, but it was clear that local brick-and-mortar bookstores would have difficulty competing with Amazon’s prices in the long term. I was swayed enough to the side against Amazon when I participated in a boycott of the […]

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Top Ten Personal Finance Start-Ups

by Luke Landes

The financial industry has been mostly static for centuries, with companies doing business and offering services not much different from how the companies operated for earlier generations of consumers. When there is innovation in the industry, it generally comes from smaller companies and entrepreneurs looking to fill a need that isn’t covered by larger, less […]

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Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Wants Payday Loan Feedback

by Luke Landes
Check

While the mainstream financial industry has faced a dizzying array of government and quasi-government regulations through most of the last one hundred years, non-bank financial products have, for the most part, evaded regulations. Catering to lower-income communities, payday loan storefronts and check cashing establishments have managed to justify their business models. The more desperate you […]

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The Power of Customer Outrage

by Luke Landes

In what almost seemed like a staged publicity stunt, Verizon Wireless quickly rescinded their plans for a new $2 fee for most bill payment options. An employee leaked an internal memo describing the new fee, and within twenty-four hours, the wireless company both confirmed and then rescinded the fee, citing their policy of listening to […]

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