Consumer Confidential: Kindle, bank fees and Whoppers
Here's your wow-it's-Wednesday roundup of consumer news from around the Web:
-- Amazon.com really wants you to have a Kindle. The online retail giant has cut the price of its e-book reader yet again, this time by $40. Now, you can score a Kindle for $259, rather than the $399 it was originally offered at in 2007. Amazon will also offer a $279 international version that it says will work in 100 countries. Me, I'm going to see what Apple and Microsoft have up their sleeves on the tablet-computer front before splurging on an e-reader of any sort (which I still think won't be as enjoyable as a good old-fashioned book).
-- We all know that banks are making money hand over fist from overdraft fees -- I wrote about it the other day in my column. And now comes a new report informing us that the practice may be even more lucrative for our banking brethren than previously thought. According to the Center for Responsive Lending, banks pocketed nearly $24 billion in overdraft fees last year, up 35% from just two years earlier. The main reasons: Banks automatically sign up customers for overdraft protection and then order transactions from highest to lowest, rather than chronologically. Consumer advocates say this all but guarantees that fees will kick in for people living paycheck to paycheck.
-- Burger King says it's going upscale. Good luck with that.
-- David Lazarus