An up-to-date list of credit cards with reward-point incentives for signing up. [Blueprint For Financial Prosperity]
From the Richmond Times-Dispatch:
Advance Auto said a computer hacker may have gotten financial information of up to 56,000 customers at 14 stores in Virginia and seven other states. The Roanoke company said the customers shopped at the 14 stores from December 2001 to December 2004.
Why would a company have customer info on file for so long? I found one credit card processor’s FAQ which said that the max for chargebacks is 180 days, which is only in the case of when a merchant has violated merchant rules (otherwise it’s 120). So Advance Auto was about 2375 days overdue for a records wipe. It’s time to start tightening up the lax security standards on the retail level that have created a playground of plunder for identity thieves.
(Thanks to Volksaddict!)
A.A. sent us these photos, and writes,
That’s the sign I saw at the Bath & Body Works store in a Tanger Outlet Mall in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. I didn’t go inside to find out if my legal tender was no good there or what, but I’m a fan of the site and thought y’all would get a kick out of the pics.
The U.S. Treasury says that’s fine, stores don’t have to accept cash. We’re just worried the people in Pigeon Forge know something about the U.S. dollar that we don’t.
Here’s yet another way to get your money back if you find the airline you’ve booked tickets with should suddenly cease to operate: trip insurance may be one of the default benefits on your credit card. If you booked with a credit card, call up the company and ask. For instance, Citi PremierPass Elite MasterCard comes with Trip Cancellation/Trip Interruption Insurance for free. Reader Jhayme says they are refunding ATA Airlines passengers who purchased their ticket in full on the card up to $1500. The number to call to submit a claim is 1-800-950-5118, and there is a claim form that should be submitted American Express has a similar program called Travel Delay Protection, that will reimburse passengers if they cannot be rebooked on a new flight within a certain time period. I believe this costs $9.95 per trip. With two airlines going bankrupt, it may be a good idea for people to look into these programs.” Those credit cards may be evil, but for big ticket items, their buyer protections can come in handy sometimes.
The Westin Casuarina Hotel & Spa in Las Vegas has begun charging an unpaid $50,000 convention fee to the attendees who already paid before they attended back in October. The company that set up the event, Austin-based The Coaching Center, hasn’t paid its bill yet, and “president Suzanne Black said she was trying to arrange a payment plan when she was told by Westin management that the hotel would recoup the bill from attendees.” Now people are finding charges anywhere from $600 to $1200 on their credit card bills. Even the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority has said this isn’t standard practice, but Westin says it’s got fine print that proves it can hold you liable for any charges left unpaid on your visit.
Judge Wants To Know Why 31 Law Firms Are Seeking A Cut Of The "Credit Card Hidden Transaction Fee" Settlement
Last year’s class-action settlement against Mastercard, Visa, and several banks over the fees they charged customers who traveled abroad came up to about $336 million, and of that, 31 law firms are claiming a total of about $86 million for fees. The federal judge responsible for determining how much they get paid wants to know why.
Two readers wrote in with similar complaints: each had left a small overpayment on his credit account, and instead of leaving the balance or issuing a check, the bank zeroed out the balance and pocketed the money. Apparently, banks are now treating small balances like tips.
Most corporate credit card data theft happens at the database level, like the massive T.J. Maxx breach. But Hannaford has notified investigators that the recent theft of 4.2 million accounts was caused by malware that was installed on the servers at each of its 300 locations. The software “intercepted data from customers as they paid with plastic at checkout counters and sent data overseas,” reports CNET.
Reader Steaming Pile is waiting, not so patiently, for AT&T to give him back his $160. He had an account set up with automatic bill pay, and when his contract was up in September he canceled the account. This should have been the end of his dealings with AT&T. A few months later, he was perusing his post-holiday credit card bill when he noticed a charge from AT&T. Reviewing his statements more closely, he noticed that while he was successful in terminating his service, he hadn’t convinced AT&T to stop taking his money every month. Thanks to automatic bill pay and (let’s admit it) his own negligence, AT&T had pocketed $160 for a closed account. In fact, when he called to terminate the automatic bill pay, not only did he have to argue for the credit, he’s still waiting for his money three months later. Check out his very angry email below.
Georgetown law professor and Credit Slips blogger Adam Levitin is having trouble disputing an erroneous $176.96 charge on his Citibank Amex card from PACER, the federal court’s online docket system, which he accesses for free. The professor is a consumer credit expert and should have no problem understanding and fixing the error, right? Fat chance.
An internal Best Buy training document sent to The Consumerist reveals Best Buy’s position on the “Extended Warranty” debate. Best Buy says they don’t sell those pesky “extended warranties” that get so much bad press— instead they sell “performance service plans.” The document also instructs Best Buy employees on how to sell these warranties to Upscale Suburban “Barry” and “Jill.” It’s important for consumers to be familiar with these tactics so they are able to recognize them while shopping in a high pressure sales environment such as Best Buy. Understanding the sales pitch puts you on equal ground with the salesperson.
What does it take to get hungry, naive, and cash-strapped college students to sign up for crappy credit cards at on-campus booths? Not much. Based on a survey of over 1500 college students, here is the list of the most common and their percentage as documented by the Public Interest Research Group in a new campaign available on their microsite, truthaboutcredit.org. Nothing like a tshirt with a 23% APR.
Seems whenever you check out at a store these days the clerk is always asking if you want to sign up for the store credit card. They’ll tell you that you can save 15% today, but what they’re not telling you is how high the interest rate is: an average of 21.96% and in some cases, as high as 23.99%, says a survey by Congressman Anthony Weiner. That’s almost as high as the default rate you would pay on a normal credit card. Before biting, make sure you read the disclosure agreement in full to find out the APR. If you end up not paying off that balance in full, that one day of savings could eventually be erased by compounding interest. Inside, the interest rates and grace periods for the in-store credit cards of 35 top retailers…
C writes in with another lesson on why you should check your statements frequently:Two years ago I purchased items for my grandchildren at KidsStuff.com. This month (March 2008) I found an $18.00 charge from them on my American Express card.
Who would’ve guessed that credit card debt and the subprime meltdown would be the saving grace for one of New York’s decaying cities? Buffalo now hosts over 100 collection agencies that employ 5,200 people who spend their days prodding delinquent consumers to pay their bills. The cottage industry relies on the “strong work ethic [and] even-handed temperament” of Western New Yorkers, who once powered long-departed industrial giants like Kodak and General Electric.
A thief charged over $1,600 to my credit card at Bed Bath & Beyond. Here’s how I responded:
Cash-strapped colleges are partnering with banks to transform student IDs into debit cards. The deals are a windfall for the institutions, but force students to open accounts laden with hefty penalty fees and surcharges.
Andrew’s wife got mugged, the thief rand up purchases on her credit card, and now CapitalOne has sued them for $1200 and won. How can this be? Andrew writes:
In May of 2005 my wife was mugged at one of the elevated train stations in Chicago. After calling the police and filing a police report, she started calling each credit card company to cancel each account. Except she forgot about one card, her CapitalOne card. A card hardly ever used and only had a $500.00 limit…