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Consumer Confidential: Cyber data, hidden fees, cellphones

December 2, 2009 | 10:19 am

Here's your wistfully Wednesday roundup of consumer news from around the Web:

  • Holiday300 More news from the holiday-shopping front: Market researcher ShopperTrak says its data show that retail sales over the three-day weekend rose 1.6% from a year before. Sales totaled $20.5 billion, compared with $20.1 billion last year. Whatever the figure, I'm thinking any sales growth during a recession (or a sort-of-ending recession) is a big plus.
  • What bugs consumers most? According to Consumer Reports, it's hidden fees, followed by automated switchboards that won't let you get anywhere near a human being. Among other things that drive us nuts, drivers who tailgate figured highly in the poll results, along with drivers who yap on the cellphone while behind the wheel.
  • Meanwhile, a separate Consumer Reports survey finds that only about half of respondents were completely or very satisfied with their cellphone service. The rest have a whole bunch of gripes, ranging from prices to quality of service. And speaking of which, check out my column today on Verizon's $350 early-termination fee for smart phones. Let me know if you agree with my proposed changes.

-- David Lazarus

Photo: AP / Amy Sancetta

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