Is ActiveHours A True Payday Alternative Or Just Another Too-Good-To-Be-True Letdown?

Is ActiveHours A True Payday Alternative Or Just Another Too-Good-To-Be-True Letdown?

We’re largely a society built on convenience: fast food, one-stop shops and other we-need-it-now services. Unfortunately, that need for timeliness seeped in to the financial system in the way of quick-fix payday loans, which can provide the convenience of a quick, low-value loan but which often result in a revolving cycle of high-interest debt. Now a new lending product aims to take the predatory stigma out of short-term loans, but, like many payday alternatives of the past, a closer look reveals reason for concern. [More]

Until Banks Settle On Single Way To Disclose Fees, It’s Hard To Compare Checking Accounts

Until Banks Settle On Single Way To Disclose Fees, It’s Hard To Compare Checking Accounts

Most banking services come with a laundry list of small-print, hard-to-read disclosures detailing how much one might expect to pay for things like depositing a check, talking to a teller or checking an account’s balance. Knowing that information before signing on the dotted line for a new checking account is paramount if you don’t want to be saddled with some of the billions of dollars consumers spend on checking account fees each year. However, as a new report continues to show, actually finding that information online can often be an exercise in futility. [More]

Video Shows You Don’t Need All That Fine Print In Prepaid Card Fee Disclosures

Video Shows You Don’t Need All That Fine Print In Prepaid Card Fee Disclosures

Prepaid debit cards may offer a convenient alternative for unbanked consumers, but there are often unexpected costs buried in all the fine print of the cards’ disclosure documents that most people never read. It doesn’t need to be that way. [More]


6 Things Your All-Inclusive Vacation Might Not Include

All-inclusive trips to resorts or on cruise ships can be a convenient and relaxing, since your major expenses are already taken care of. They can suddenly become a lot more stressful when you learn that the things that make a vacation fun––excursions, fancy beverages, memorable meals––aren’t part of the package that you signed on for. [More]

Banks Are Cashing In With Brand-Name Prepaid Debit Cards

Banks Are Cashing In With Brand-Name Prepaid Debit Cards

Who needs an actual debit card when there are hordes of prepaid debit cards on the market? That’s a question you might have to ask yourself with more retailers (and at least one wireless provider) launching their own cards. But while the branding on the front of the card might be for a store, it’s the bank behind that card that is cashing in. [More]


Airlines Charging Fees To Be Extra Nice Because They Can’t Make Us Pay For Air To Breathe

We’ve come a long way from free luxury: Airlines have run out of finding ways to charge passengers for services that used to be free, like checking a bag or having a place to put your legs, so the newest add-on options are simply treatment upgrades. For a little extra cash, travelers can buy a bit of extra kindness or just a boost back toward the days of yore when airlines actually wanted to do something nice. [More]


Toys ‘R’ Us Sells Me Floor Model Bike, Charges Me Extra For The Privilege

Usually, you can get a discount on merchandise that has served as a floor model. Furniture, bicycles, appliances: being out among the general public wears an item out, or at least gives it a few extra scuffs that it wouldn’t have right out of the box. Of course, there are always exceptions. Sometimes the exceptions make no sense. Like when Brian bought a kids’ bike from Toys ‘R’ Us, which was only available pre-assembled and for a fee. He couldn’t assemble it himself, because the only one left was the floor model. He effectively paid $10 extra for the privilege of bringing home a used bike. [More]

(Jenna Belle)

Sure, Letting You On An Earlier Flight Makes Everyone’s Life Easier: Give Us $75 Anyway

Bill wrote to us from the airport. He was frustrated. He was there, suitcase packed and ready to flee Philly earlier than scheduled. The airline had plenty of flights and plenty of seats, but they wouldn’t give him one of them without charging a $75 change fee. Why? Because they said so. [More]

There are other, less fee-laden prepaid debit cards out there than this.

Chicago Transit Prepaid Debit Cards Also Fully Loaded With Fees

Yesterday we told you about the sky-high fees associated with the combination photo ID/prepaid debit card being issued by the city of Oakland. Now comes a report that Chicago-area residents who choose to opt in to the prepaid debit option on their transit cards will also see their cash eroded by fees. [More]

Restaurant Lets Non-Customer Use Bathroom, Sends Her Bill For $5

Not a public restroom.

Somewhere between “no non-customers in the bathroom, no exception” and operating a mini-homeless shelter in the middle of your restaurant is a happy medium. We don’t think that compromise is the approach that a Tennessee restaurant took, which was to track down a non-customer using her license plate information and send her a bill for the restroom fee. $5. [More]


Citizen Uses Baltimore’s Old Scalping Law To Give Ticketmaster A Swift Kick In The Pants

Oh hey, Ticketmaster — you like fees so much? How about you plunk down a little extra cash, say $1,000 per ticket, for violating a 1948 Baltimore anti-scalping ordinance? Not very fun, huh? The ticketing behemoth and city politicians are up in arms after a resident used his knowledge of the old rule to his advantage. [More]


US Airways Charges $75 To Change My Ticket To Incorrect Flight, Won’t Talk To Me About It

Consumerist reader Ryan would really like to talk to someone at US Airways about a mix-up at the ticket counter that cost him $75 and delayed his travel time by a few hours, but getting an airline rep on the phone has been a trial. [More]

How Phantom Fees Finally Drove Me Away From DirecTV

How Phantom Fees Finally Drove Me Away From DirecTV

Think you don’t need to check over your bills because they’re on auto-pay or you’ve had the accounts for years? Think again! Looking at his DirecTV bill, Warren found two phantom charges that he knew shouldn’t have been there. He had a $10 fee for the high definition signal waived long ago, but it reappeared on his bill. He also had a charge for the privilege of having digital video recorders, on top of the rental charges for the DVRs themselves. He concluded that fighting the fees wasn’t a good use of his time, but finding a new cable provider certainly would be. [More]


eBay Restricts My Account Because They Owe Me Too Much Money, Sort Of

LW sells on eBay a lot, and has a neat trick to save on listing fees. He sets up listings in a third-party program, then waits until the site is running a free listings promotion. Then, bam! All four hundred listings go up at once! The plan is flawed, though, because eBay doesn’t want to give LW those sweet, sweet fee discounts. He has to call to get them. Over and over. [More]


Comcast Now Charging Customers For Formerly Free Converter Boxes

Not so long ago, Comcast customers who had to upgrade to digital set-top boxes were provided up to two free digital-television adapters so they wouldn’t gave to trash their old analog sets. Now, folks who still have those DTAs will have to pay $1.99/month for the privilege. [More]


Southwest Raising Bag Fees, Will Start Charging For No-Shows

Hours after announcing a $29 million settlement over its drink voucher program, Southwest Airlines revealed plans to add $300 million in new and increased fees, along with a policy change that will certainly irk some frequent Southwest travelers. [More]


US Bank Keeps Pretending To Waive My Checking Account Maintenance Fees

To some people, $7 per month isn’t a lot of money, but it is to Timothy. He was relieved when he learned that US Bank would be waiving the newly-imposed monthly maintenance fee on his checking account. That’s why he was surprised when his local branch called him up to discuss ways to avoid maintenance fees. The letter that said, “you’re a valued customer and we’ll be waiving your fees” apparently said no such thing. [More]

(The Consumerist)

If You Haven’t Seen Your Doctor In A Few Years, Expect To Pay ‘New Patient’ Fee

For years, a growing number of healthcare providers have been tacking on fees that most patients didn’t notice because they were being paid by insurance companies. But as insurance companies trim the list of fees they’ll cover — and employers shift to cheaper health plans to keep costs from skyrocketing, consumers are being hit with fees they weren’t expecting. [More]