Free Markets, Free People


Dale’s Observations For 2010-06-17

Fed regulators: Banks have to stop charging big overdraft fees to the losers. Banks: Then we have to end free checking. http://bit.ly/d5aHwP #

When they call me “stiff” and “wooden”, they aren’t talking about my personality, if you know what I mean. #AlGorePickupLines #

Tropical storms will soon begin in a Gulf of Mexico polluted with thousands of barrels of flammable oil. My nightmare: fire hurricanes. #

Via @bdomenech: RT @katiemconnolly: Obama is more popular abroad than at home: http://bit.ly/a2Cnqq Well, they don’t have to live with him. in reply to bdomenech #

I’m shocked–shocked!–to see Nigerians accused of identity theft. I guess they won’t be sending that oil money to me. http://nyti.ms/9EAPKT #

Striking Chinese workers use technology to get their message out. Cell phones won’t stop Chinese gov’t tanks, though. http://nyti.ms/9v4ooA #

Weekly initial claims for unemployment rose by 12,000 to 472,000 last week. As expected, this rise in claims was unexpected. #

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2 Responses to Dale’s Observations For 2010-06-17

  • Say we have two business models for checking accounts, and ignore bounced checks for a second.
    Model A offers “free checking” but is funded through various charges, some of which hit some customers more than others and are often not exactly advertised in 20 pt. print.
    Model B charges a flat fee per month based on the cost of maintaining accounts.
    I think I actually prefer Model B. This is from experience dealing with AT&T Uverse who offer a trial “free” period for HBO, but somehow manages to make their website unable to process my cancellation of said free trial a full week before it expires. (I scheduled it that way.) Then I have to call up and fight for my lousy 14 bucks back. I asked if there was a way to stop offering me these deals, and the lady said (quite rightly) “No sir, you just have to not sign up for them.” Pwned by customer service!  BofA got me on minimum balance once, too. Its not as if I did not have the money – I just had it in checking instead of savings. It irked me to have to fricking find their minimum balance information on their website to put a stop to that.
    From these examples, I find the “hassle” on purpose factor to be a little too high to be just a coincidental glitch or oversight – it seems like they delight in creating these opportunities to extract fees rather than providing me the plain service I want to pay for. Mail in rebates are similar.
    My question is if  it still is a free market if its an open market, but there are standard parameters that you have to follow, even if those are set by government? There seems to be some tension there and I never know where to come down on that. Unit pricing, calorie counts on menus are other examples where I’d support government making it happen (though if it emerged naturally through competition it would be fine too.)

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