Fifty Final Offers

by Admin 22. August 2008

Anyone else getting bombarded by callers (and mail) offering extended warranties on your car because yours is about to run out and this is the FINAL offer, over and over again?

I’m sure you are, I think this is one of the biggest marketing blitzes launched in a long time. I’ve tried opting out of the calls, I tried to speak to someone in management but they do not permit that. They have the whole thing very well rigged so that you can only get to them if you are buying. I even tried pretending I was buying and as soon as I asked who I could speak with about the calls, they hung up. I was glad to read the following information; maybe this will be of help to you too.

The Maryland Attorney General’s office has this to say:

Consumer Alert: Be Wary of Offers for Automobile Extended Warranties

The Attorney General is encouraging consumers to hang up if they receive unwanted telemarketing calls, and beware of any offers of extended warranties. If consumers receive calls on a phone that has been registered with the national “Do Not Call” database, they should provide information on the callers, including the identity of the caller and the number from which the call was placed, to the Consumer Protection Division. Consumers who wish to add a phone to the “Do Not Call” database can do so by calling 1-888-382-1222. The marketing mailings may appear to be an important notice from the consumer’s car dealer or auto manufacturer. There is always an eye-catching warning on the front of the card, such as: “Final Notice: Expiring Auto Warranty.”

Visit the AG’s site to learn more: http://www.oag.state.md.us/Press/2008/071408.htm

It’s bad enough getting those calls at home but now they call at work and on my cell! Oh well, I guess it’s entertainment for lonely shut-ins.

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Financial Literacy for Teens

by Admin 21. August 2008

Teaching teens and young adults to spend responsibly is a major feat – to say the least. A new prepaid MasterCard, however, aims to do just that. The facecard is a prepaid and reloadable card that is targeted towards teens 13 and up. The card is accepted anywhere MasterCard is and can be electronically funded by parents for allowances or emergency funds which are available within 15 minutes. The teens can access the funds in stores and ATMs worldwide up to their current balance, which parents can monitor from anywhere online. There are no activation or monthly maintenance charges for using the facecard, but there are fees for international purchases, using an ATM, inactive accounts and negative balance incidents.

The interesting part is that facecard functions as a pseudo social network, allowing the parents and teens to create profiles, set their preferences and find each other online. Funds can be sent to other facecard holders via the site to repay loans or give gifts.

There is also a “prewards” program with partner companies and advertisers can reward cardholders for loyalty by periodically adding funds to their card for use at particular stores. Parents and teens can indicated in their profiles what types of prewards they would be interested in.

Representatives from the Nashville-based company will reportedly be visiting 50 college campuses on Saturday, August 30th with information. With a market of 82 million teens and annual spending of almost $350 billion, this clearly makes good sense.

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A fresh new look for Mint.com

by Admin 19. August 2008

A lot has changed with the online account aggregator Mint.com over the past year. One of the most notable is the number of users, now topping 400,000. That may be a small number for a consumer service, but it is enough to make Mint the largest online personal finance service to date. While traditional, desktop based software like Intuit’s Quicken has a larger share of the market; Mint has a larger user base than Quicken’s web version.

An interesting fact about Mint’s users is that they are younger than Quicken’s, and 40 percent of its new users are women. Quicken and Microsoft Money is still 85 percent men.

The most obvious change is the clean, new look of the site which included a complete overhaul of the homepage.

The service also now connects to investment accounts, loans – including student, car, and personal – and mortgages. I have been using Mint for almost a year now and I have found the service to be extremely useful. I have not utilized any of the recommendations to save money but I enjoy the accounts overview and automated transaction labeling.

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