Monday, January 28, 2013

Not A Good Week For Consumers

NEW CHARGE CARD FEE ALLOWED
As of Sunday, January 27, 2013 retailers can start charging up to a 4% fee on their charge customers' purchases. Major retailers stated they currently don't plan on doing so, but who's to say they won't in the future? It should also be noted that 10 states do not allow these extra fees to be charged.

Now imagine buying a $75 concert ticket online. Here's how that might go down. 5% for entertainment tax. 6% sales tax in Pennsylvania. A ticket seller's "order processing fee", "convenience charge" and "facility charge that can add another 20%-40% to the ticket price. Plus this new 4% charge card fee. Assuming you are not paying additional for delivery that $75 ticket price ends up costing between $101.25 to $116.25. This could end up costing customers 55% more then the advertised price!


WHO'S DOING YOUR TAXES?
Last Friday, January 18, 2012 a federal court struck down the IRS's new licensing rules. That now means anyone can now call themselves a tax expert. A butcher, a baker, a candlestick maker or whoever. The federal court ruled that Congress didn't authorize the IRS to impose licensing requirements.


DO YOU OWN YOUR CELL PHONE OR NOT?
On Friday, January 26, 2012 a new rule went in effect that makes it illegal for most locked cell phone owners to switch carriers. Any attempt by an owner to modify one's locked cell phone without their carrier's permission (enabling them to switch carriers) can now be fined. Even jailed in some cases. Fines for an individual could be as high as $2,500 and $500,000 for someone who commercially profits from making the modifications.


YOU MAY NEED A GOVERNMENT ISSUED ID TO USE THIS SERVICE...
Last week not all, but more then enough users of Facebook's 'Instagram' service were required to provide them a government issued ID to unlock their accounts. Previously they only required that information if someone were filing a complaint of someone else impersonation their accounts.

It appears they may have been on some sort of random crackdown for under aged users. We don't know for certain whether this is the case because 'Instagram' users, who somehow ran afoul, weren't given an explanation despite repeated requests.
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So there you have it fellow consumers. The government hardly hard at work to protect consumers. Like I said, it's been a bad week for consumers. However for those folks who insist on far fewer government regulations... congrats. It was a great week for you.

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