We occasionally have the TV turned on in the background here at the Consumerist Batcave, so we know that anyone in the market for a sketchy debt-relief firm has many, many options to avoid calling. But now there are a few fewer questionable companies littering the daytime airwaves because the Federal Trade Commission has halted the operations of four services that allegedly made false claims about being lawyers, debited money from people who did not actually order the services — oh, and failed to get any significant debt relief for the customers that actually signed up.
money for nothing
Just imagine — no need to insert your card or tap in your PIN, there’s money sitting right there, sticking out of an ATM deposit slot, waiting for you to pocket it. Would you do it, or would you go the honest route like a Florida woman who turned in the $1,800 in cash she found?
Telemarketing itself isn’t a crime (more’s the pity) but using that method to cheat 22,000 people out of around $30 million sure is, as one one woman sentenced to 15 years in prison found out recently.
Many consumers believe restocking fees on returns, which can be 15 percent of the purchase price or more, are a con run by retailers to discourage people from lugging their unwanted stuff back into the store. But theoretically the fees are at least somewhat merited, given the fact that the store may have to sell the item at an open-box discount and spend the manpower to ready the item for resale.
Remember the CARD Act, that shiny new law that’s supposed to stop credit card issuers from hitting you with all kinds of nasty fees and force them to disclose all of their terms? Well, even if you do, it looks like the card issuers have forgotten all about it. They’re working overtime to come up with a raft of new charges on things that aren’t covered by the new law, like annual fees and cash advances.
Dan and his wife Kat are geniuses because they guilt Kat’s parents into giving them money orders, but their plans are starting to be foiled because Walmart has suddenly started sticking them with check cashing fees.
Stuck as a third wheel at catch-up lunch with my wife and her friend this weekend, my ears pricked up when the friend dropped a tantalizing bit of foreclosure trivia — when it finally comes time to kick you out, banks will hand over a ton of money to bribe you into not vandalizing the place.