Liz is wondering what’s going on at her local Hobby Lobby. She’s a professional doll maker and she buys a lot of supplies from the craft store chain every month. So far, she and her husband have been able to use the company’s in-store coupons for separate purchases even if they stand together in line at the register, but it looks like her Hobby Lobby may be cracking down on that. Should it? [More]
Groupon is a daily deal sort of website, but the reason it’s on Consumerist today is because of how well it communicated some recent changes to its Terms of Service agreement. Consumerist reader Pureboy sent in a copy of the email he recently received where the website explained the changes in plain English, with examples. [More]
I am typing this post with a digital TV antenna stuck in my ear, and all because nobody told me that this wasn’t the right way to install it. Ow! Apparently Antennas Direct of Missouri knows that there are people like me out there, because they’ve included some very specific warnings on their installation instructions (PDF). (Thanks to Billy!) [More]
Credit card companies stuffed all the crazy they could into their contracts in advance of the CARD act taking effect. This time they might have taken it too far, even for banks. Shoulda read that boilerplate!
#599; The Boilerplate Clause [WonderMark] (Thanks to MercuryPDX!)
Access America's "Comprehensive Trip Protector" Insurance Isn't Comprehensive, So Enjoy Your Overnight Layover
Mark Smith just got suckered into buying travel insurance that turned out to be worthless to him. There was a huge hole in the middle of the coverage, which meant he and his two kids were stuck overnight in Denver on his own dime. Luckily the policy only cost $40, but that’s $40 that now belongs to Access America in exchange for providing a useless service. [More]
Citibank Freaks Out Customers With Weird 7-Day Rule On Withdrawals, But It's Not As Devious As It Looks
Some Citibank customers recently received notice that the bank reserved the right to require 7 days written notice before authorizing a withdrawal on checking accounts. (It’s also on page 23 of Citi’s Client Manual [PDF].) As you can imagine, this freaked some people out. A Citibank rep quickly moved to clarify the rule, and he pointed out that it’s actually required by federal law for certain types of accounts, and it’s not unique to Citibank, and they don’t intend to enforce it. [More]
Our buddies over at the CR Money Blog noticed something odd about a new offer from Verizon. You can get FiOS for $89.00 for a year! Sounds good, until you realize that the prices goes up after 12 months– but the contract doesn’t end for another year. [More]
Rob’s digital photo frame stopped working a few days ago, so he contacted Kodak to see whether they could help him. He writes that he knew it was at least one month out of warranty because the warranty is for one year, and he’d been given it as a gift a year ago on Christmas. Still, he was hoping Kodak would cut him a deal or do some sort of above-and-beyond thing.
Instead, he found out that as far as Kodak was concerned, it had been out of warranty for over two years
The credit card reform bill will go into effect at the end of February, but that doesn’t mean you should stop paying attention to what your credit card company does with your account. There are lots and lots of loopholes, notes WalletPop. For example, your card issuer can still raise rates on future purchases any time and for any reason. In addition, there’s no limit to the number of fees that can be invented and applied to your account. The only way to make sure you don’t get screwed by a profit-hungry card issuer is to read every single thing that’s mailed to you, and closely review your statement for evidence of any changes that you may have missed. [More]
RP was just offered a transfer on his Citi card by a Citibank CSR, but the CSR was kind of vague on the details of the offer and could only repeat the benefits. RP looked online while the CSR pitched the offer, and found that there’s quite a big catch in the fine print–after six months, the interest rate jumps from 3.99% to 29.99%. [More]
Cory Doctorow is self-publishing a book and documenting the process for Publishers Weekly. His latest column is about selling audiobook versions of his past works, and how both Apple and Audible have refused to budge on their anti-consumer policies when it comes to digital rights management (DRM) and end user license agreements (EULAs). Even though both companies get paid the same either way, and even though both Doctorow and his publisher, Random House, want to sell the content without these restrictions, Apple and Audible have said no. [More]
Some members of the Entertainment Consumers Association (ECA) are pretty upset that the consumer advocacy group for gamers removed the ability to turn off auto-renewal on member accounts. They’ve also removed the phone number you used to be able to call to cancel. In fact, the only way to cancel your ECA membership now is to mail them a letter–and if your request isn’t processed at least 30 days before your membership is due to renew, you can expect to be charged again. Update: The ECA has responded, but their formal statement leaves a lot of questions unanswered. [More]
Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) is calling for a probe of frequent flyer programs to determine whether they deliver the value that they promise. In particular, he wants the Department of Transportation to look into the issue of evaporating miles, a relatively new phenomenon brought introduced via expiration dates in recent years.
This is the time of year when retailers like to give back to the community by getting you to do it for them when you’re buying stuff. It might feel nice to help out a good cause, but make sure you know exactly what you’re paying for before you hand over any cash. Dominick, for example, just bought a Jack in the Box antenna ball when he thought he was straight-up donating to a non-Jack charity.
If you participate in an automatic savings program like Bank of America‘s Keep the Change service, where debit card purchases are rounded up and the difference is deposited into your savings account, keep an eye on maintenance fees. James says he was hit with a $5 charge last month because he hadn’t met the minimum monthly deposit requirement of $25: “It turns out that I wasn’t even accruing $5 worth of change per month, so I was losing more money due to the maintenance fee than I was saving via Keep the Change!”