If a company routinely charges more for its products than the competition and its product is often inferior to the more affordable option, that business won’t remain open for long. But thanks to deep-pocketed backers and a government that has handed over hundreds of billions of dollars in federal student aid without asking too many questions, the for-profit college industry continues to rake in the bucks while frequently leaving its students with subpar educations and faint employment hopes. Some federal regulators have attempted to make the industry more accountable, but these schools continue to take advantage of loopholes while legislators and consumer advocates scramble to make reform. [More]
The financial reform compromise may keep our financial system from reprising Chernobyl anytime soon, but it will also change the way consumers use their credit cards. Merchants will soon be allowed to refuse plastic for purchases of less than $10, a rate the Fed can boost as they see fit. Both the Fed and universities will also gain the power to set maximum credit charges. That means no more free flights to Europe after charging your kid’s tuition to your rewards card. The changes will go into effect the day after the compromise is signed into law. [More]
On Sunday, Andy emailed us from his seat on Delta Flight 2744 from Minneapolis to Washington, D.C., to let us know that he had no idea where his flight was going to land. The ticket he purchased said he was flying to Ronald Reagan National Airport, but Delta said it would all depend on whether they could beat their scheduled 10:19 arrival time and get there before the ten o’clock airport curfew–otherwise they’d have to land at Dulles. Strangely, they didn’t mention this 10 p.m. curfew to Andy before he bought the ticket. [More]
As we all know, merchants are generally not supposed to mandate minimum credit card purchases. It’s a violation of the merchant agreements they sign with the credit card companies. (For more info, check out this article.) The proposed finance bill, however, may legitimize those handwritten signs if it ends up passing. [More]
Alexandros received an update from Orbitz about his trip and realized that United had changed the time of his flight. For various reasons he couldn’t make the new time, so he was lucky to have caught it—not to mention he could have missed the flight entirely had he not seen the change.
If you’re having a package delivered by UPS and want to change the delivery address while it’s in transit, be warned: this service will now cost you either $4 or $6 depending on whether you make the request online or over the phone.
Radio Shack is charging New York City consumers an extra half-percent of sales tax, even though the State hasn’t approved a new tax rate. Before descending into a chaotic mess of embarrassing inaction, the New York State Senate was widely expected to hike the sales tax New York City’s local sales from 8.375% to 8.875%. That never happened, a minor detail that isn’t stopping Radio Shack from collecting more tax, as reader Jeff discovered…
An anonymous reader says both his and his wife’s Discover cards—the accounts are separate—had their due dates moved up by four days in June. He called Discover, “and they stated that they sent out notices in the mail 45 days in advance warning of the change, which I don’t remember seeing. Regardless, they were able to revert my due date starting in July. You may want to have your readers closely check their Discover Card statements.”
We’re starting to think Capital One isn’t just hurting financially, but also throwing a temper tantrum about the new credit card legislation. Eric received notice that they’re converting his current fixed rate to a “promotional rate.” In January 2011 they’ll switch it over to an adjustable rate and hike it to 17.9% (it’s currently 9.9%). Erik has until July 28th to agree to the new terms or they’ll close the account on August 2nd, 2009.
AOL Has A New CEO AOL has named Google Senior Vice President Tim Armstrong as its next chairman and chief executive officer. Current Chairman and CEO Randy Falco and Chief Operating Officer and President Ron Grant “plan to leave the company after a transition period,” Time Warner said in a statement. [UPI]
What’s going to happen with Citibank’s ThankYou Network on March 1st? Is Vikram Pandit going to convert all of your points into executive bonuses? Will it be nationalized?!? Um, no, but here’s a copy of the letter one of our readers received today announcing the changes that are going in place next week.
Blockbuster’s Total Access subscription service—their bid for relevance in the Netflix era—used to ship the next movie in your queue as soon as you dropped it off at a Blockbuster store in exchange for a free rental. Now the next movie won’t ship until you return that free store rental—in other words, now it will count as the next movie in your queue. Of course, in Blockbuster marketing-speak, that’s considered a great new benefit.
No longer distracted by high oil prices, airlines now claim that they’re starting to focus on customer service. Two of them, American and United, think that their biggest issue is dirty planes. Wouldn’t it be great if that were true?
Here’s an odd problem. Reader Austin bought some airline tickets for a business trip and wasn’t sure who was going to go, so he booked an extra ticket with his name on it — thinking that the name could be changed later. Whoops.
FedEx announced yesterday that they would be renaming Kinko’s “FedEx Office”
The Starbucks card has some spiffy new benefits (including free refills on brewed coffee), but it seems that some employees didn’t get the message.
We decided to check back in with Starbucks’ social “idea” site to see what ideas they were thinking of implementing.
Things are still changing at Starbucks. First off, they’re going to buy the maker of “Clover” the crazy $11,000 coffee machine that makes one cup at a time.
Starbucks, the world’s largest chain of coffee shops, also said today it would acquire Coffee Equipment Co., the maker of the $11,000 Clover machines that brew one cup of coffee at a time. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.