Friday, July 3, 2015

Archive: December, 2010

POSTED: Thursday, December 16, 2010, 4:27 PM

Consumers who use debit cards - that is, most of us - surely understand that the system isn't free, but we also don't pay much attention to the costs or how they're shared.  You pay $12.99 for a book at Barnes & Noble, and walk away with a $12.99 book  How much Barnes & Noble gets, and how much is siphoned off by various banks and by Visa, isn't your concern, right?

The new financial-reform law suggested that maybe it should be, because - guess what? - you're the one who's ultimately paying.  Thanks to an amendment pushed by a coalition of merchants and fought by the finance industry, the Dodd-Frank Act directed the Federal Reserve to limit so-called debit "swipe fees" to amounts that are "reasonable and proportional" to the interchange systems' actual costs.

Today the Fed weighed in, seeking comment on alternative approaches - none of which  make the finance industry happy.  The American Banker reported:

Jeff Gelles @ 4:27 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Tuesday, December 7, 2010, 6:52 PM

What kinds of companies are most likely to anger consumers? For customers of Angie's List, which helps people find local services based on other consumers' opinions, home-warranty services won top honors, so to speak, for the sixth year in a row.

Here's the Angie's List rogue's gallery for 2010, with an asterisk marking the catergories making a return appearance:

Jeff Gelles @ 6:52 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Monday, December 6, 2010, 3:29 PM

A report from Kaufman Bros.' analyst Shaw Wu says Apple "got the terms it wanted from Verizon" in negotiations to introduce a Verizon version of the iPhone, widely expected early next year.

That's according to a report on Fortune magazine's website, which says that even Wu was expecting worse for Apple, "given the strength of Android and higher cost of [Verizon iPhone] components, particularly those associated with CDMA," the cellular technology used by Verizon.

Fortune says "Apple's hand was strengthened by the 14.1 million iPhones sold last quarter," the competitive gains of AT&T as iPhone's exclusive platform, and the trajectory of Google's Android smartphone, which Wu says has started "to lose some of its luster" for Verizon.

Jeff Gelles @ 3:29 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Wednesday, December 1, 2010, 4:58 PM

Some days are too busy to keep up, and this has been one. But today's announcement that the Federal Trade Commission staff wants to implement a "Do Not Track" option for online activities is too important to ignore.

The announcement is here, and the detailed - and "preliminary" - staff report is here.

This is far from a done deal.  But that doesn't undermine its importance, according to privacy-rights advocates who follow these issues closely and offered their perspectives today via conference call.

Jeff Gelles @ 4:58 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
About this blog

Jeff Gelles, who writes the Inquirer's weekly Consumer 14.0 and Tech Life columns, takes a broad look at the marketplace of goods, services, and ideas.

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