Good news bad news for consumers as AT&T bids to buy T-mobile

*+-In a deal valued at $39 billion, AT&T has made a bid to buy T-mobile. This deal must be approved by the Department of Justice and Federal Communication Commission, which may prove a challenge. If approved, this deal would prove to be both good and bad news for most consumers. The basics of the AT&T

Same day loan industry stands against rogue debt collectors

*+-The Community Financial Services Association of America (CFSA), a national organization dedicated to the promotion of responsible regulation of the personal loans industry, has issued a press release that denounces aggressive debt collection practices that violate consumer rights, reports the Wall Street Journal. According to the newspaper, more than 5,000 arrest warrants were issued against

Bridge Loan basics: Financing short-term obligations

*+-Though the term comes up most often during real-estate transactions, bridge loans are becoming more popular for many reasons. Bridge loans are relatively simple to understand. Like most financial products, however, the details are what can make a bridge loan work out — or not. Bridge loan basics A bridge loan began as a form

Wisconsin judge blocks anti-collective bargaining bill

*+-Dane County Judge Maryann Sumi issued a temporary restraining order Friday that blocked Wisconsin Republicans’ anti-collective bargaining law from taking effect. Wisconsin political insiders see this as a major setback for the potential future of the law – and a step closer to a recall election for Republican Gov. Scott Walker, reports the Associated Press.

FTC fines company $250,000 for sock puppet reviews

*+-When shopping online, the reviews of a product often play an important role in decision-making. In a landmark case, the Federal Trade Commission has fined a company $250,000 for creating false online reviews. Legacy Learning Systems reportedly paid affiliates for false endorsements that resulted in $5 million in sales. FTC ruling on online reviews In

JP Morgan Chase introduces $5 ATM transaction fees

*+-ATM fees are an unfortunate fact of life for out-of-network banking customers. Now ATM fees are on the rise, as banks look to recapture the overdraft fee money lost to the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act. According to the Huffington Post, all JP Morgan Chase customers could face $5 ATM fees very soon. Chase ATM

Reduce your homeowners insurance premiums with these credits

*+-Everyone wants to reduce their homeowners insurance premium, but not everyone knows about hidden homeowners insurance credits that can be applied to lower their bill. Don’t stop at raising your deductible, installing a smoke detector and burglar alarm or taking a multi-line discount with your insurer. Reach for savings with these homeowners insurance credits. Save

Lawmakers seek to curb spate of debt collection arrest warrants

*+-The use of debt collection arrest warrants has mushroomed since the financial crisis. People often assume that the debtors prison is ancient history and they can’t be arrested for not paying a debt. But more than a third of U.S. states have laws that allow the debt collection industry to obtain arrest warrants to recoup

Visa creating a person-to-person payment system

*+-For decades, Visa has provided card processing services for businesses as well as credit and debit cards to customers. As of Wednesday, the card company has announced that it will be premiering person-to-person payments. This new service will compete with electronic payment services such as PayPal and Square. Visa’s new P2P system The new Visa

Congress looking to reign in financial protection bureau

*+-Members of Congress are exploring options to cut back on the regulatory powers of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Some feel the agency that will regulate everything from mortgages to payday loans has too much power. However, the head of the agency insists that greater protection is needed. Elizabeth Warren faces off against Republican-packed House

Illinois payday lender sues, calling reforms unconstitutional

*+-Beginning March 21, Illinois consumers may not have the option to choose installment loans for their emergency short term credit needs. At least one payday lender in the state is not taking what it calls unconstitutional changes lying down, reports Crain’s Chicago Business. Illinois Lending Corp., which operates six Chicago-area payday loans outlets, has filed

Tibetan Mastiff breaks record as most expensive dog in the world

*+-A red Tibetan Mastiff has supplanted another canine of the same breed as the most expensive dog in the world. Red Tibetan Mastiffs have become a status symbol for the wealthy in China, a country where historically dogs have been more likely to be eaten. The red Tibetan Mastiff known as “Big Splash” went for

Meltdown in Japan and budget cuts endanger cheaper electricity

*+-The failing nuclear power station in Japan could be triggering a new era of nuclear paranoia. Incidents involving nuclear power plants and Congressional budget cuts make any new growth of the nuclear power industry unlikely. Nuclear energy can deliver a lot of electricity for less than other methods of power generation. Japan nuclear reactor crisis

March Madness: the NCAA billion-dollar money-making machine

*+-The economic impacts of March Madness, the annual Division 1 NCAA basketball tournament, add up to billions of dollars in costs and revenues. From the cost of TV advertising to the money bet in office pools, March Madness money has effects that permeate multiple levels of the economy. For the schools of college basketball teams

UK adds to basket of goods used to calculate Consumer Price Index

*+-The Consumer Price Index is an economic indicator that refers to the cost of goods and services. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics figures the CPI based on a figurative basket of products that are indicative of things most people purchase. In the United Kingdom, that basket of CPI goods has been updated to include

Learn how to avoid Japan aid scams

*+-When international tragedy strikes, unscrupulous con artists arise to take advantage of well-meaning individuals who wish to donate to legitimate relief efforts. Unfortunately, recent Japan tsunami relief efforts have been similarly plagued. With help from Consumer Reports and the Better Business Bureau, you can learn how to avoid Japan aid scams and send your money

High gas prices may spur more people to use public transportation

*+-A new study suggests that if gas prices reach $4 per gallon, it could make drivers so desperate that they might start using public transportation. The national average for a gallon of gas is still below $4 per gallon, so until pain at the pump sends people headed for the bus station, there are still