Sure, it’s not peak IRS season right now, but there is quite a variety of reasons that you might have to deal with the ever-present government agency anyway. Tax Cat is out of the office, vacationing at his offshore kitty condo in the Cayman Islands, so it’s up to reader Christopher, a tax preparer, to serve us up with handy tax advice. See, sometimes you have to call the IRS. You can’t avoid it. But so does everyone else in the country. What Christopher figured out is that the IRS call center doesn’t have fixed hours like most. Its open hours depend on what time zone you live in. His solution? Use a Google Voice number to fudge what time zone he’s in, and call late in the evening when the business day is done for most of the continental U.S.
Verizon really wants Sean to sign up for FiOS. Really, really wants him to sign up. He’s happy kicking it old-school with a regular old copper landline, and dumping the barrage of FiOS ads in the trash. So it was interesting when he got a letter apologizing for nonexistent “service issues” in his area and urging him to upgrade to the newer, shinier fiber optic network. The letter assures him that he can totally keep his current phone plan at its current price – even though the equivalent plan under FiOS is cheaper.
The government offers tax credits of up to $7,500 to those who purchase hybrid electric vehicles such as the Chevy Volt. Word that demand for the vehicles has far outstripped supply has led some to speculate that dealers may be selling the cars to each other in order to take advantage of the tax break.
The right to complain when your travel experience wasn’t what you paid for is being preempted by many airlines and other agencies, but does that mean you have to accept what you’re being offered right off the bat when something goes wrong?
Warehouse stores like Costco and Sam’s Club attract an unqualified devotion of hardcore devotees, myself included. They provide havens that sap away your frugality and coax you to happily part with large sums of money and buy more food and supplies than you’ll logically go through in any imaginable length of time.
Don’t frown when you get awful, impractical gifts. They can serve as valuable currency in the countless occasions in your life in which you’re required to distribute trinkets to people you don’t know or care much about.
Glory be to grad students, whose existence allows geezers in their 30s and beyond to be able to ask for student discounts with a straight face.
The bad news: the GameStop where Ambyr went to buy a copy of Call of Duty: Black Ops for her husband only had enough copies of the game to fill pre-orders. The good news: In GameStop’s universe, to “pre-order” means that you leave the store that just refused to sell you a game, order that game online, and then return fifteen minutes later. Bad for logic, good for Ambyr.
Would you buy an extended warranty for a DVD? We can’t imagine that most people would…and if they did, it would last longer than a year. John, however, sent in this receipt from a Texas Walmart store. He writes that the store tried to sneak a $3 “protection” plan along with his ex’s purchase of a $15 DVD. And not just any old warranty: it’s an extended warranty that, as far as we can determine, Walmart doesn’t even sell for DVDs.
Kevin received a surprise when he checked the renewal notice for his car insurance recently. A 260 percent surprise, in fact, even though he’s not a bad driver and hadn’t been in any accidents.
David closed his Chase credit card account instead of accepting a rate increase earlier this year. That should have been the end of it, but it turned out Chase later went ahead and increased the interest rate anyway.
As a nation, we pay more each year in overdraft fees than we do for books, cereal, or fresh vegetables, says the Center for Responsible Lending (CRL)—and considering how outrageously expensive cereal is, they must be talking about a huge sum. They are: “Banks and credit unions collected nearly $24 billion in overdraft fees last year, an increase of 35 percent from just two years earlier.”