What's In The Financial Reform Bill?

What's In The Financial Reform Bill?

Now that the Senate has passed the financial reform bill, it’s off to non-smoke-filled rooms, where it will go into a Blendtec with the version passed by the House last year. CNNMoney.com sifted through all 1,600 pages of the bill and came up with a handy cheat sheet explaining what’s actually likely to change when this thing becomes a law. [More]

Wireless Industry Lobbyists Explain Why The FCC Should Back Off

Wireless Industry Lobbyists Explain Why The FCC Should Back Off

The president and a vice-president for CTIA, a lobbying organization for the wireless industry, spoke recently with CNET about why they think the FCC should leave their members alone. The vice-president, Chris Guttman-McCabe, is a lawyer and as such his answers are useless. President Steve Largent, however, actually has a couple of candid moments during the interview. [More]

Are Pay-Per-View Hotel Movies Pointless In 2010?

Are Pay-Per-View Hotel Movies Pointless In 2010?

LodgeNet provides pay-per-view movie services to hotels, and the company’s latest financial filing shows nearly a 10% drop in revenue in the first quarter of 2010 compared to the same period a year ago. (And that’s after a 19% drop in revenue from 2008 to 2009.) Travelers seem to be wising up to the high prices of hotel pay-per-view and are resorting to other ways to stay entertained. Now if only our laptops and smartphones could contain a mini-bar compartment. [More]

Watch Out For Balance Billing With Your Medical Expenses

Watch Out For Balance Billing With Your Medical Expenses

If you receive a medical bill dunning you for whatever your insurer didn’t pay, take a closer look before writing your check. The New York Times writes that although balance billing is a common practice, it’s not always legal, and you may be able to ignore it. [More]

$100 Bill Redesigned, Now Has Hidden Images

$100 Bill Redesigned, Now Has Hidden Images

Today the Treasury Department will reveal a redesigned $100 bill. The new design brings the bill in line with the smaller denominations that are already in circulation, and it adds a fancy new anti-counterfeiting measure called Motion that uses special threads to “create an optical illusion of images sliding in directions perpendicular to the light that catches them.” [More]

Art Institute Of Pittsburgh Decides You Need To Buy One More Class To Graduate… After Graduation

Art Institute Of Pittsburgh Decides You Need To Buy One More Class To Graduate… After Graduation

Update: The school saw our post and has been in touch with Daniel. Here’s what happened. [More]

Macy's Adds Monthly $2 'Educational Interest' Charge To My
Credit Card Bill

Macy's Adds Monthly $2 'Educational Interest' Charge To My Credit Card Bill

An anonymous reader says Macy’s is charging him a pretend $2 interest on his credit card bill and calling it “educational interest.” He says the charge is optional, and you don’t have to pay it if you subtract the amount from your total balance. If you do pay the “educational interest,” Macy’s credits your account. [More]

Woman Who Lost Home Over $68 Dental Bill Might Get Another
Chance

Woman Who Lost Home Over $68 Dental Bill Might Get Another Chance

Almost a year ago, Sonya Capri Ramos was in the news because she’d lost her home over a $68 dental bill. Last week, the Utah Court of Appeals gave her some hope that she might be able to get it back from the title company that bought it at auction for $1,550. [More]

California Town To Start Charging Up To $400 For 911 Calls

California Town To Start Charging Up To $400 For 911 Calls

The town of Tracy, California has come up with a new plan to make money: you’ll have to pay between $48-400 to call 911. I wonder if Tracy is planning on giving the caller the bill over the phone–they might be able to chain 911 calls together by giving the first caller a heart attack, thereby prompting someone else to call, and so on. Money! [More]

Did You Make Calls From Haiti On Verizon? Better Start Saving.

Did You Make Calls From Haiti On Verizon? Better Start Saving.

Update: Verizon won’t charge the soldiers for the calls in question.
 
In the weeks immediately following the Haiti earthquake, Verizon and AT&T offered free calls to Haiti as a goodwill gesture to people in the U.S. with family and friends over there. The offers weren’t identical, though, and Verizon was only offering free calls made to Haiti, not the reverse. Spc. James Crawford kept calling his pregnant wife each day from his station in Port-au-Prince, and now they have a phone bill for $1,919.44.

This Mediacom Cable Box Comes With Invisible Roommate Who Keeps Ordering Porn

This Mediacom Cable Box Comes With Invisible Roommate Who Keeps Ordering Porn

Lesley lives alone, and says that despite what any Mediacom CSRs may think, she hasn’t been consistently ordering adult movies for the past three months. [More]

T-Mobile Wants Family To Pay $1500 In Bogus Charges On Phone Stolen From Special Needs Customer

T-Mobile Wants Family To Pay $1500 In Bogus Charges On Phone Stolen From Special Needs Customer

Jennifer wrote to us about the trouble a family in South Carolina is having over a huge T-Mobile bill: “Zeb, a special needs adult living with his parents, had his cell phone stolen just prior to Christmas. By the time the theft was discovered, $6000 in calls and text messages had been made to Honduras.” The good news is that T-Mobile hasn’t asked the family to pay the full $6,000. The bad news is that they do want them to pay a fourth of that. Update: T-Mobile has let the family off the hook. [More]

AT&T Wouldn't Let Me Pay Final Bill, Then Sent Collections After Me

AT&T Wouldn't Let Me Pay Final Bill, Then Sent Collections After Me

Ryan’s life is an Alanis Morissette song: “It’s like being told your AT&T account is paid off, and then meeting his beautiful collections agent coming after you for the money you were told you didn’t owe.” [More]

FCC Commissioner Says She's Not Happy With Verizon's ETF And Billing Explanations

FCC Commissioner Says She's Not Happy With Verizon's ETF And Billing Explanations

At least one official with the FCC is not impressed by Verizon’s latest explanations of its Early Termination Fees (ETFs) and Mobile Web billing practices. Commissioner Mignon Clyburn released a statement (pdf) last night where she called Verizon’s explanation “unsatisfying” and “troubling,” and she closed with the fighting words, “I look forward to exploring this issue in greater depth with my colleagues in the New Year.” [More]

Verizon Denies It Charges You $2 Each Time You Mistakenly Press A Certain Button On Your Phone

Verizon Denies It Charges You $2 Each Time You Mistakenly Press A Certain Button On Your Phone

Last month, David Pogue at the New York Times published a tip from a self-described Verizon employee. The employee accused Verizon of deliberately rigging its system to trap customers whenever they accidentally press the “Get It Now” or “Mobile Web” buttons on their phones–even if they cancel the operation immediately, they’re charged a fee of $1.99 each time. Both Pogue and the FCC asked Verizon to explain why this happens. Verizon’s response: it doesn’t, and Pogue and the hundreds of people who wrote in to confirm this practice are all crazy. [More]

Teen Runs Up $22,000 Verizon Bill

Teen Runs Up $22,000 Verizon Bill

After a man added his 13-year old son to his Verizon plan, his cellphone bill rocketed to nearly $22,000. [More]

Another Example Of How To Go Cable-Free

Another Example Of How To Go Cable-Free

We’ve posted before about how to break your cable habit without giving up on TV altogether–it’s possible, but can’t happen without some work on your end. This week, the New York Times’ Nick Bilton explained how he and his wife have combined their existing devices with a few new ones to create a content stream that enables them to watch what they want without cable. [More]

Michigan Utility Company Must Refund $39 Million To Overcharged Customers

Michigan Utility Company Must Refund $39 Million To Overcharged Customers

In Michigan, utilities can increase rates without first getting approval, but that means the Michigan Public Service Commission can later reduce them. That’s what happened on Monday, when the Commission ordered Consumers Energy to refund about $39.6 million to customers it overcharged since last May.