As featured in The Wall Street Journal, Money Magazine, and more!

Consumer

Resist Planned Obsolescence or Accept the Financial Consequences

by Luke Landes

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

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

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

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

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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Best Mark Interco Mystery Shopping Scam

by Luke Landes
Best Mark Interco Mystery Shopping Scam Letter

Somehow, my name and address found its way on a list of potential suckers. Some company out there thought I would be gullible, falling for an obvious financial scam. A few days ago, I received a letter and check for almost $3,000 in the mail. I wasn’t expecting this delivery, so my suspicions were high […]

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Stop Facebook From Using Your Information for Advertising

by Luke Landes
Facebook

I generally don’t buy clothing that displays noticeable branding. I’m not completely immune from allowing my body to be used as a billboard, however. Although I don’t wear shirts emblazoned with “GAP” across the front, someone who checks me out from the back might see a Lee or Levi’s label. Some shirts might have a […]

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Back-to-School Saturday: You Know, For Kids

by Luke Landes
Aeropostale - Teen Shopping

November’s Black Friday has been has been around for decades, but it’s only recently that it became the crazed shopping event resulting in deaths due to shopper stampedes. Online retailers invented Cyber Monday to bring some of the hype associated with brick-and-mortar retail locations to the internet. Don’t get me wrong; both “holidays” provide opportunities […]

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