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Deceptive Business Practices -- What's Your Take?

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  • FeralFeral MEMETICHARIZARD along with you if I get drunk well I know I'm gonna be gonna be the man whoRegistered User regular
    edited April 2010
    End wrote: »
    Hum. I wonder how big the book is.

    I guess it could be a really little book.

    When I was a kid our Christmas tree had these Christmas ornaments that were little books maybe 1.5 inches wide with tales like the 12 Days of Christmas or Frosty the Snowman and I liked to sit and read them because there was a lot of novelty to little books like that. They were my second favorite ornaments on the tree and my first favorite were wood-carved sleighs and animals because every single one was different and they all had visible woodgrain which was pretty and since they were so durable we'd put them low on tree where the cats would bat at them and they wouldn't get damaged if a kitty knocked one of them off like a glass ornament would. I wonder where those tree ornaments came from because you don't really see hand-carved ornaments like that much anymore. I bet it came from some little woodcrafts store on the side of some freeway somewhere, the type where in front of the door there will be a tree stump that's been half-carved into a tobacco-shop-style Indian. My parents used to love placed like that we'd stop on family trips and look around.

    Anyway, maybe it was a book like that.

    Feral on
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  • CauldCauld Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    Maybe I'm missing something. Sometimes I feel misled, but I rarely feel cheated. So much anger at the post office. You know you have the option of saying "no" at the point of sale right? You can ask simple questions like "What's the cheapest way for me to send this to x?" and you'll usually get the correct answer. Most of hte postal employees I've met have known far more about the post office than the average employee I encounter in almost any other place.

    Cauld on
  • Protein ShakesProtein Shakes __BANNED USERS
    edited April 2010
    japan wrote: »
    I don't think it's really "deceptive" so much as (I was going to say "unfairly" here, but that's a subjective judgement) exploiting a person's lack of familiarity with a product/service. I reckon there does come a point where businesses have to bear some duty of disclosure, especially when it comes to extra costs.

    Well, you have to prove that the person was trying to exploit your unfamiliarity with coffee, as opposed to using that terminology because they were familiar with it.

    I mean, if the customer doesn't quite know what mild or bold is, they can ask, and the barrista would be more than happy to explain.

    Protein Shakes on
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  • japanjapan Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    japan wrote: »
    I don't think it's really "deceptive" so much as (I was going to say "unfairly" here, but that's a subjective judgement) exploiting a person's lack of familiarity with a product/service. I reckon there does come a point where businesses have to bear some duty of disclosure, especially when it comes to extra costs.

    Well, you have to prove that the person was trying to exploit your unfamiliarity with coffee, as opposed to using that terminology because they were familiar with it.

    I mean, if the customer doesn't quite know what mild or bold is, they can ask, and the barrista would be more than happy to explain.

    It may be obvious what they are, it wouldn't necessarily be obvious that there is an associated cost. Again, I don't necessarily think that this particular example is deceptive, although if they made a habit of springing a higher price on people and attempting to hold them to it, I think that would be pushing it.

    japan on
  • AiouaAioua Ora Occidens Ora OptimaRegistered User regular
    edited April 2010
    Anecdote, but I've lived in Seattle all my life, and I've never heard a doubleshot descibed as bold.
    If I was offered the choice between mild and bold I'd assume different roasts.

    Aioua on
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  • CognisseurCognisseur Registered User
    edited April 2010
    japan wrote: »
    I don't think it's really "deceptive" so much as (I was going to say "unfairly" here, but that's a subjective judgement) exploiting a person's lack of familiarity with a product/service. I reckon there does come a point where businesses have to bear some duty of disclosure, especially when it comes to extra costs.

    Well, you have to prove that the person was trying to exploit your unfamiliarity with coffee, as opposed to using that terminology because they were familiar with it.

    I mean, if the customer doesn't quite know what mild or bold is, they can ask, and the barrista would be more than happy to explain.

    OP here. The coffee place in question is not just using some hip new lingo that everyone in NYC happens to be savvy to. Penn Station (one of the 2 big train stations in Manhattan) is naturally filled with coffee places, right? And the majority of them (hell, even Krispy Kreme) offer a variety of roasts for the same price. That's what's standard.

    When a single establishment goes and asks me "would you like that mild or bold", I have absolutely no reason in the world to think that refers to anything other than what every other coffee establishment would mean by that. They didn't ask me if I wanted "regular or bold" or "would you like to upgrade to bold" or "would you like an espresso shot extra"?

    This is just a petty money-grab, probably hoping fancy businessmen on their way to work won't notice or will think it's beneath them to argue over 50 cents.

    Cognisseur on
  • DeadfallDeadfall Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    I....I think you're looking too much into this.

    I didn't know what "bold" meant in reference to coffee until this thread, and I asked myself, "What does bold mean in reference to coffee?"

    Just as I would have politely asked the barista at said coffee establishment. "What does 'bold' mean? An extra shot? No thanks."

    And then I would have went on my day.

    Deadfall on
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  • ronzoronzo Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    We had a del taco open up near ucf recently. So far they have managed to confuse me twice with combo sizes. Everything up on the menu, price and size show, is a small. But when you actually make your order for one, they just ask "Medium or Large Combo?", like those are the only 2 choices. It's just petty

    ronzo on
  • DracilDracil Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    See: Ubisoft DRM thread?

    I guess that puts me in 4. Against. I actively ignore all Ubisoft games now.

    Dracil on
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  • kildykildy Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    I can think of a lot of shitty business practices (DRM and the like fall under that), but few outright deceptive ones that aren't actively hunted down by the government.

    Last one I can think of that went on for very long was shit like Free Credit Report, business practices where they act like everything is free (down to the name of the product), and hope nobody sees the fine print where they bill you for things. That and auto insurance fraud from the repair shop side. I had one company tell my my radiator was bent beyond repair, my insurance okayed the replacement, and I find out months later at a different shop that they never replaced it. My other mechanic just offhand noted that it looked like someone had bent my radiator back in place when talking about prior damage. Did some reading, turns out shit like that is commonplace. Charge customer for X work, and either use a less expensive part in reality or do a different operation for the same result that costs less.

    But both of those are examples of Fraud more than deceptive business practices.

    kildy on
  • NuckerNucker Registered User
    edited April 2010
    japan wrote: »
    I don't think it's really "deceptive" so much as (I was going to say "unfairly" here, but that's a subjective judgement) exploiting a person's lack of familiarity with a product/service. I reckon there does come a point where businesses have to bear some duty of disclosure, especially when it comes to extra costs.

    Well, you have to prove that the person was trying to exploit your unfamiliarity with coffee, as opposed to using that terminology because they were familiar with it.

    I mean, if the customer doesn't quite know what mild or bold is, they can ask, and the barrista would be more than happy to explain.


    Or read the menu. Or the contract. If the provider of a product or service isn't telling the consumer important billing/cost related information and makes that information unavailable, then there's a problem. But if it's just a case of a consumer assuming they know what they're purchasing without asking or reading the fine print, that's all on the consumer.

    I think what we'll run into next is the definition of "unavailable". Rather, what is de facto unavailable or is reasonably available. Ultimately it's going to come down to the split of whether or not full disclosure from the provider is practical for the consumer (the point, I think, you were making with your analogies, Protein).

    Nucker on
  • oldsakoldsak Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    So I'm working in consumer fraud right now and these:
    kildy wrote: »
    Last one I can think of that went on for very long was shit like Free Credit Report, business practices where they act like everything is free (down to the name of the product), and hope nobody sees the fine print where they bill you for things. That and auto insurance fraud from the repair shop side. I had one company tell my my radiator was bent beyond repair, my insurance okayed the replacement, and I find out months later at a different shop that they never replaced it. My other mechanic just offhand noted that it looked like someone had bent my radiator back in place when talking about prior damage. Did some reading, turns out shit like that is commonplace. Charge customer for X work, and either use a less expensive part in reality or do a different operation for the same result that costs less.

    But both of those are examples of Fraud more than deceptive business practices.

    are the first examples in this this thread of actual fraud. The rest seems to be general bitching.

    oldsak on
  • ShadowfireShadowfire Vermont, in the middle of nowhereRegistered User regular
    edited April 2010
    Invisible wrote: »
    This stuff is extremely annoying. I wasn't upsold, but we definitely could use some clearer business/consumer exchange of vital information in general.

    The other day I bought a new 23 inch monitor at Best Buy. I know that Best Buy sucks, but for big LCD screens I need the convenience of not having to send it back to the online retailer due to bad pixels, which they may not accept anyway...and my other brick and mortar choices are not so good (Wal-Mart? HHGregg?).

    I asked one of the guys what the policy was for returns, and he told me it was 30 days for any reason other than extensive damage I cause myself. That's fine. Down at the register, the cashier tried to sell me an extended service plan, which I declined, but I was curious and asked him to confirm the return policy. He told me I had 14 days.

    Is this intentionally deceptive so they don't have to deal with returns, or just a poor shmuck who forgot their policy? I'm not sure, but this is kind of important information. The monitor was fine, but I tested it the same day just in case I actually had only 5 days or something.

    More likely a poor shmuck who didn't know the policy. Best Buy has one of the most confusing return policies of any retailer I've ever visited and they don't train their sales floor on it at all. The only reason they know about computers is because stickers are placed on the box.

    Though in general, I find Best Buy to be shady with its attachment of extended warranties. Besides extended warranties usually being a scam, on computers if they can't fix it they don't replace it with a similarly priced model. Instead they replace it with a model with the same specs, which is well and good except say it breaks down in 3 years and you end up with a shitty emachine worth $200 when you paid $700+$350 for the extended warranty.

    I just don't think they explain that customers upfront when they tell them they'll replace the machine. Even Target just gave me a giftcard for the TV ($700) I bought from them after it broke almost 2 years after purchase and their warranty was only like $40.

    From page 1, but really, Best Buy's return policy is not that hard to figure out. 30 days. 14 on computers. Opened software is exchanged only for the same item.

    There, was that hard?

    As for the restocking fee, that's really something to expect on tech returns, particularly for open stuff. The company will take a loss on selling an open item, so get over it.


    As for real deceptive business practices, how about debt collectors? Ones that harass you constantly, call several times a day and just hang up when you pick up? Try to badger you into paying a debt you shouldn't owe? Threaten you with further harassing calls? Yea...
    Totally not dealing with that now...

    Or if you want to go into real deceptive shit, let's discuss banks. In particular, how about overdraft fees? Oh, you overdrafted your account because someone placed a hold on it? We'll order your transactions for the day from highest to lowest so we can hit you with the most overdraft fees possible. You also made a deposit/transfer before those debits were made? That comes into the equation last. Thanks for the cash!

    Shadowfire on
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  • AzioAzio Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    I really can't share the hate for the USPS. I mean seriously, they just introduced the flat rate box which is one of the cheapest ways to ship anything in the country, and it's in big cardboard advertising all over there store.

    I don't think you understand.

    See, the postal service? That's the government. And as everyone knows, Government Can't Do Anything Right.

    Azio on
  • RUNN1NGMANRUNN1NGMAN Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    Azio wrote: »
    I really can't share the hate for the USPS. I mean seriously, they just introduced the flat rate box which is one of the cheapest ways to ship anything in the country, and it's in big cardboard advertising all over there store.

    I don't think you understand.

    See, the postal service? That's the government. And as everyone knows, Government Can't Do Anything Right.

    As long as they keep their damn hands off my medicare...

    RUNN1NGMAN on
  • Xenogear_0001Xenogear_0001 Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    Shadowfire wrote: »
    Or if you want to go into real deceptive shit, let's discuss banks. In particular, how about overdraft fees? Oh, you overdrafted your account because someone placed a hold on it? We'll order your transactions for the day from highest to lowest so we can hit you with the most overdraft fees possible. You also made a deposit/transfer before those debits were made? That comes into the equation last. Thanks for the cash!

    Limed for truth. I just had $60 in overdraft fees because I had auto insurance get taken out the same day I got paid and there was a hold for Long John Silver's from the day prior or some such. I remember looking at my account the day before, seeing I was positive a dollar and change on my account, noticing that the LJS charge was there and that was what reduced me to nearly zero. The next day, I look and see that, even though I was paid that very morning, the auto insurance went in ahead of that, and so did my LJS charge somehow! Suffice to say, after calling and bitching, they made me use "forgiveness" points or something to clear those fees. So, ultimately a happy ending, but not if I hadn't saved up all these points I've never heard of before. I take it that, if this happens again, I'm up shit creek without a paddle.

    The worst part? This was a credit union, not a bank! What's the world coming to? D:

    Xenogear_0001 on
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  • AvicusAvicus Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    Shadowfire wrote: »
    Or if you want to go into real deceptive shit, let's discuss banks. In particular, how about overdraft fees? Oh, you overdrafted your account because someone placed a hold on it? We'll order your transactions for the day from highest to lowest so we can hit you with the most overdraft fees possible. You also made a deposit/transfer before those debits were made? That comes into the equation last. Thanks for the cash!

    Limed for truth. I just had $60 in overdraft fees because I had auto insurance get taken out the same day I got paid and there was a hold for Long John Silver's from the day prior or some such. I remember looking at my account the day before, seeing I was positive a dollar and change on my account, noticing that the LJS charge was there and that was what reduced me to nearly zero. The next day, I look and see that, even though I was paid that very morning, the auto insurance went in ahead of that, and so did my LJS charge somehow! Suffice to say, after calling and bitching, they made me use "forgiveness" points or something to clear those fees. So, ultimately a happy ending, but not if I hadn't saved up all these points I've never heard of before. I take it that, if this happens again, I'm up shit creek without a paddle.

    The worst part? This was a credit union, not a bank! What's the world coming to? D:

    Its even worse when you make like 10 little transactions of like $5 and the charge you a fee on every single one of them instead of charging you once on the one $50 transaction.

    Avicus on
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  • Xenogear_0001Xenogear_0001 Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    I've had that happen too. But I was younger then, and generally ignorant to the way banks work. Racked up nearly three hundred dollars in fines. Suffice it to say, I left that bank. It's even worse that I had worked for them for a time, and was still dumb when it came to the ways banks make their money. I'm actually rather embarrassed about that now.

    Xenogear_0001 on
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  • MuncieMuncie Registered User regular
    edited April 2010

    And not once did you consider going to the authorities with this information?

    Trust me, if this were in Canada, the Competition Bureau offers whistleblower protection to people who come forward to expose fraudulent companies like the one you just described.

    About fully half of the calls I get a day are from small business who have been targetted by crooks like this dude, who harrass secretaries and scare the shit out of them for their crooked "Directory Services".

    I submitted paperwork with both the Department of Labor and the IRS for a contract dispute and a tax dispute. The DoL told me to take it to court, they would have nothing to do with it (I was attempting to get him hammered on misclassification of employees, this was before the IRS and DoL decided to actually pursue the employee/contractor laws) and he reported incorrectly the amount of money actually paid to me, which was resolved by the IRS in my favor. I got out as soon as I could and moved onto other things. I may work with 10 companies over the period of a year and really there is no benefit to me to tie up my time or my reputation with blowing the whistle on a shoebox company that had, in the past, just changed addresses and names to avoid civil complaints. I later discovered that the week before I got there the company had changed its name due to a lawsuit with Verizon.

    On top of that he was scamming outside of the US. Any wire fraud committed (of which I had no evidence other than my own word) was committed against non-US businesses. If legal action were to be taken against him it would be through the credit card companies. While I was there I was working on his more legitimate, but income-losing projects.

    Despite how shady this character was, he was well connected with a lot of the local organizations for which I do work. He was a likable enough guy in social situations, he lived in an upscale neighborhood, and the man could sell some bullshit. At the end of the day I did not sue for the $2500 I was owed because the opportunity cost was too great.

    I get that this is what you do for a living and of course I should have crusaded against this small time scammer. Canada seems to have stronger consumer protection oversight. There is debate in the US Congress about enacting a Consumer Protection Agency but I have a feeling that even if it passes, it'll be as weak as the rest of our "fourth branch of government."

    Right now we have the BBB which is a private corporation (or I should say, a collective of several private corporations) with no teeth and questionable practices of their own.

    Muncie on
  • PerpetualPerpetual Registered User
    edited April 2010
    Avicus wrote: »
    Shadowfire wrote: »
    Or if you want to go into real deceptive shit, let's discuss banks. In particular, how about overdraft fees? Oh, you overdrafted your account because someone placed a hold on it? We'll order your transactions for the day from highest to lowest so we can hit you with the most overdraft fees possible. You also made a deposit/transfer before those debits were made? That comes into the equation last. Thanks for the cash!

    Limed for truth. I just had $60 in overdraft fees because I had auto insurance get taken out the same day I got paid and there was a hold for Long John Silver's from the day prior or some such. I remember looking at my account the day before, seeing I was positive a dollar and change on my account, noticing that the LJS charge was there and that was what reduced me to nearly zero. The next day, I look and see that, even though I was paid that very morning, the auto insurance went in ahead of that, and so did my LJS charge somehow! Suffice to say, after calling and bitching, they made me use "forgiveness" points or something to clear those fees. So, ultimately a happy ending, but not if I hadn't saved up all these points I've never heard of before. I take it that, if this happens again, I'm up shit creek without a paddle.

    The worst part? This was a credit union, not a bank! What's the world coming to? D:

    Its even worse when you make like 10 little transactions of like $5 and the charge you a fee on every single one of them instead of charging you once on the one $50 transaction.

    o_O

    What kinds of transactions are we talking about?

    Perpetual on
  • kildykildy Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    Bank processing order is definitely deceptive, because it makes no logical sense to the average consumer. The way we think about the process, it would be in chronological order. Not in arbitrary order of method that would most screw the customer.

    And yeah, I'll agree on collections agencies, with the bonus of adding 'that work for gyms' for my annoyed story. Quit gym, go about my life. Six months later, start getting pissed off calls from a collections agency about my gym membership fees. Puzzled, I call up the gym, and they have no record that I went in and spend half an hour informing them that yes, I really really really don't want to go to this gym anymore, and I'd like to cancel my membership.

    I think the part that most annoys me is that everyone involved acts like once it's gone to collections, there's nothing anyone can do about it and I should just pay them. No, you fucks, if you told them I owe you money and sold them that debt, and then it turns out I didn't, Your dumb ass needs to fix it. I don't care if YOU pay the collections agency or whatever, but the reality of the situation is that your mistake isn't my problem. ><

    But I really think most deceptive business practices are rooted in business process or completely illogical contracts. Everything else we bitch about that's legitimately bad is outright fraud.

    Well, there's homeopathic medicine, but that's less deceptive as much as stupid for the most part.

    kildy on
  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    Avicus wrote: »
    Shadowfire wrote: »
    Or if you want to go into real deceptive shit, let's discuss banks. In particular, how about overdraft fees? Oh, you overdrafted your account because someone placed a hold on it? We'll order your transactions for the day from highest to lowest so we can hit you with the most overdraft fees possible. You also made a deposit/transfer before those debits were made? That comes into the equation last. Thanks for the cash!

    Limed for truth. I just had $60 in overdraft fees because I had auto insurance get taken out the same day I got paid and there was a hold for Long John Silver's from the day prior or some such. I remember looking at my account the day before, seeing I was positive a dollar and change on my account, noticing that the LJS charge was there and that was what reduced me to nearly zero. The next day, I look and see that, even though I was paid that very morning, the auto insurance went in ahead of that, and so did my LJS charge somehow! Suffice to say, after calling and bitching, they made me use "forgiveness" points or something to clear those fees. So, ultimately a happy ending, but not if I hadn't saved up all these points I've never heard of before. I take it that, if this happens again, I'm up shit creek without a paddle.

    The worst part? This was a credit union, not a bank! What's the world coming to? D:

    Its even worse when you make like 10 little transactions of like $5 and the charge you a fee on every single one of them instead of charging you once on the one $50 transaction.

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't a recent law make this practice illegal? Or were major banks just starting to reform their practices in anticipation of an upcoming bill? I forget. I know that this specific issue is being addressed, among others. Like making overdraft protection on debit cards an opt-in.

    Now that I think of it, I'm almost certain that law passed.

    In the US, at least.



    So, my favorite? Comcast. I got in on their little two-year contract dealie recently. For one low price, we get cable, phone, and internet (yes, we still use a land line...blow me). Now, I understand that there are taxes involved, and they vary, so that's not included in the price that Shaq and Ben Stein were pitching in the commercial. Cool. DVR fee after six months? Sure.

    But a fee for the modem? Really? That's, like, not optional. Especially on this particular service (with phone), where they require that you use their modem...unlike regular cable internet, where you can easily supply your own. If there's a piece of equipment that's pretty much required to use the service (unlike DVR), that should be rolled into the advertised price. They already stopped charging extra for the HD box, because people realized that was bullshit. I figure they have maybe another year before people start bitching about the modem fees too.

    mcdermott on
  • EndEnd Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    Now I don't know if they'd even let you use your own cable modem, even for cable internet.

    End on
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  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    End wrote: »
    I get the impression that once upon a time, people would often buy their own modems.

    Now I don't know if they'd even let you use your own cable modem.

    I spent quite some time talking to the guy on the phone, and yes people still do. But generally only with "regular" cable internet...telephony modems generally cost quite a bit more. I pointed out that there are plenty on eBay for low prices, he basically said that all of those were stolen (most probably are, to be fair) and that for this reason they would not let you use your own telephony modem without, like, some kind of legitimate receipt from an authorized reseller.

    I asked what percentage of phone customers used their own modems...he actually admitted that it's probably less than 1%. I then asked if, under those circumstances, it was misleading to suggest that his company offered the service for $X, with $X not including the modem. Of course, he said no. I then asked him if stupid people realize they are stupid, or if because they are stupid they can't process the fact of their own stupidity.

    Things went downhill from there.

    mcdermott on
  • TehSlothTehSloth Hit Or Miss I Guess They Never Miss, HuhRegistered User regular
    edited April 2010
    mcdermott wrote: »
    End wrote: »
    I get the impression that once upon a time, people would often buy their own modems.

    Now I don't know if they'd even let you use your own cable modem.

    I spent quite some time talking to the guy on the phone, and yes people still do. But generally only with "regular" cable internet...telephony modems generally cost quite a bit more. I pointed out that there are plenty on eBay for low prices, he basically said that all of those were stolen (most probably are, to be fair) and that for this reason they would not let you use your own telephony modem without, like, some kind of legitimate receipt from an authorized reseller.

    I asked what percentage of phone customers used their own modems...he actually admitted that it's probably less than 1%. I then asked if, under those circumstances, it was misleading to suggest that his company offered the service for $X, with $X not including the modem. Of course, he said no. I then asked him if stupid people realize they are stupid, or if because they are stupid they can't process the fact of their own stupidity.

    Things went downhill from there.

    I've always been under the impression that cable modems do some kind of magic decryption much like cable boxes do, and thus a generic cable modem wouldn't actually do you any good, then again I really haven't looked into it that much. The only problem I have with my cable company is that whenever something isn't working, I can never get them to send someone out in less than 3 days, and when my cable and internet are down, that's like an eternity. Then again, it almost always ends up being some mass outage that just hasn't been reported yet so they get it fixed by the next day, but if I did need someone to actually come out and check on something, I'd be waiting for days. Awesomely enough, you can come in at pretty much anytime to one of their offices, hand them something and tell them it's broken, and they'll give you a new one with cables and everything no questions asked.

    TehSloth on
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  • DocDoc Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited April 2010
    Less directly consumer-touching and more "generally shitty practice:"

    There was an episode of "This American Life" recently about an investment firm called Magnetar. They were big investors in subprime mortgage-based loans right before the bubble burst. You might think that would be a bad thing for them.

    The CDO (collateralized debt obligations - securities built from these mortgages) market was slowing down, since concerns were starting to grow about their stability. CDOs are split into layers called "tranches" based on how risky each layer is. The riskiest tranches get wiped out first to pay for the less risky tranches if the CDO goes under, but in exchange they get a better rate if the CDO does well. Nobody was buying the riskiest tranches of the CDOs for fear of being wiped out, and you need to sell that to sell the rest of the CDO, so the market cooled off.

    Magnetar steps in and is only interested in buying the riskiest 5% of the CDO - the tranche that previously the banks couldn't sell to anyone at all, and they want to buy a LOT. They do billions and billions of dollars of deals like this. It brought into existence tons of CDOs that would not have existed without them.

    You might be able to see where this is going.

    They then placed Credit Default Swaps on the higher tranches, the other 95% of the CDO, insuring them against failure, or betting that they will fail, depending on who you ask. So they own 5% of the CDO, but get paid the value of 95% of the CDO if the whole thing fails.

    Since they were the ones who were sponsoring the creation of the CDOs, they also had more sway over the people at the banks who were responsible for assembling them. They specified that they wanted riskier assets put into them. An investor asked for riskier assets to be placed into an already risky investment that they were betting against, and the banks did it.

    When the CDOs started to become worthless, they lost their 5% and made billions on the credit default swaps. Ultimately, the money came from organizations that the US taxpayer had to bail out.

    Doc on
  • deadonthestreetdeadonthestreet Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    On the bank overdrafts, stuff goes in order of biggest to smallest. It's a holdover from the days of checks, basically, where the biggest check would always be processed first. Why? Because the bills you pay with the biggest checks are the most important. Like, the check you used to buy groceries bounces, no huge deal. Your mortgage check bounces, you're in for some shit.

    deadonthestreet on
  • ScalfinScalfin __BANNED USERS regular
    edited April 2010
    By the way, do any of you guys know any resources I could use to find a good credit union?

    Scalfin on
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  • DocDoc Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited April 2010
    Scalfin wrote: »
    By the way, do any of you guys know any resources I could use to find a good credit union?

    Do you live in Washington, by chance? BECU is the best banking organization I've ever encountered.

    Doc on
  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    On the bank overdrafts, stuff goes in order of biggest to smallest. It's a holdover from the days of checks, basically, where the biggest check would always be processed first. Why? Because the bills you pay with the biggest checks are the most important. Like, the check you used to buy groceries bounces, no huge deal. Your mortgage check bounces, you're in for some shit.

    Right.

    But if they're not going to bounce any of them anyway, then it would make sense to run them in the opposite order, to minimize the number of overdrafts.

    I mean, assuming that banks weren't depending on overdraft fees to make up the bulk of their profits. Which they do.

    Running them through chronologically is merely the neutral choice, compared to the "rape the customer in the ass" choice.

    mcdermott on
  • Xenogears of BoreXenogears of Bore Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    It's nowhere near the bulk of their profits, and now you have to opt in to overdraft fees so...not that big of a problem anymore!

    Xenogears of Bore on
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  • FeralFeral MEMETICHARIZARD along with you if I get drunk well I know I'm gonna be gonna be the man whoRegistered User regular
    edited April 2010
    It's nowhere near the bulk of their profits, and now you have to opt in to overdraft fees so...not that big of a problem anymore!

    It'll be a problem as long as they keep placing arbitrary holds on transactions without giving me any way of knowing when the holds are up or even that holds are going on in the first place.

    Feral on
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  • ShadowfireShadowfire Vermont, in the middle of nowhereRegistered User regular
    edited April 2010
    It's nowhere near the bulk of their profits, and now you have to opt in to overdraft fees so...not that big of a problem anymore!

    What? No. Many banks (including major ones, like Citizens Bank, and Bank of America [who are just now getting rid of the process altogether]) have it set as a default, and you have to opt-out. Even my little bank would overdraft by default if we didn't opt-out.

    And if you think they don't make a good chunk of their money from these bullshit fees, how about 24 billion in 2008?

    Shadowfire on
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  • HonkHonk Honk is this poster. Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    edited April 2010
    The electronics stores around these parts progressively raise their prices before the Christmas sale, so that when the sale comes and they offer 15-20% discounts - the products are actually more expensive than they were in November. I'd wager this is common, you should write down prices on stuff you're interested in a while before the sale to see if you're really benefiting.

    For electronics, our laws say that the warranty is three years, plain and simple. But many electronics stores say in their "terms" that the warranty is one or two years for their products. This is of course not true. Know your rights as a customer!

    Honk on
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  • MalaysianShrewMalaysianShrew Registered User
    edited April 2010
    Banks are a huge scam for the average person. It blows my mind when people still use banks. I've never been charged anything at my credit union and I get 4.5% interest on my checking account if I sign up for e-billing.

    And I've considered switching to a different credit union.

    MalaysianShrew on
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  • Protein ShakesProtein Shakes __BANNED USERS
    edited April 2010
    I've never been charged anything at my credit union and I get 4.5% interest on my checking account if I sign up for e-billing.

    :shock:

    4.5% interest on a checking account?

    There must be a catch. A rather big one.

    Protein Shakes on
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  • Bionic MonkeyBionic Monkey Registered User, ClubPA
    edited April 2010
    mcdermott wrote: »
    So, my favorite? Comcast. I got in on their little two-year contract dealie recently. For one low price, we get cable, phone, and internet (yes, we still use a land line...blow me). Now, I understand that there are taxes involved, and they vary, so that's not included in the price that Shaq and Ben Stein were pitching in the commercial. Cool. DVR fee after six months? Sure.

    But a fee for the modem? Really? That's, like, not optional. Especially on this particular service (with phone), where they require that you use their modem...unlike regular cable internet, where you can easily supply your own. If there's a piece of equipment that's pretty much required to use the service (unlike DVR), that should be rolled into the advertised price. They already stopped charging extra for the HD box, because people realized that was bullshit. I figure they have maybe another year before people start bitching about the modem fees too.

    That sounds more like a regional issue, than a straight Comcast issue. That, or the monkey was lying to you. I have Comcast cable internet, and I can definitely use my own modem.

    Bionic Monkey on
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  • PellaeonPellaeon Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    I've never been charged anything at my credit union and I get 4.5% interest on my checking account if I sign up for e-billing.

    :shock:

    4.5% interest on a checking account?

    There must be a catch. A rather big one.

    Or maybe it's 0.45%?

    Pellaeon on
  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    No, it can be up to 5% usually.

    Some banks offer it as opposed to a savings account, usually with requirements like "make 20 purchases with your debit card and sign up for paperless statement, or billpay"

    bowen on
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  • amateurhouramateurhour One day I'll be professionalhour The woods somewhere in TennesseeRegistered User regular
    edited April 2010
    Yeah, I just noticed that I overdrew by 15 bucks over two transactions back in March, and got hit for $90 in fees. 2 $30 fees for each transaction and one $30 fee for going over in general. I need to call the bank to get them to refund that shit ASAP

    amateurhour on

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