Links 6/27/08

The ‘value’ of protecting whales BBC

Researchers study hidden homicide trend PhysOrg

Boston Suburb’s `Taj Mahal’ Brings Ban on Luxury High Schools Bloomberg

Citibank Says Credit Market Doesn’t Work Elizabeth Warren, Credit Slips

Bill Gates Secret to Success: Cheating Beat the Press

Why the Stock Market Had a Terrible Day Robert Reich

Massachusetts Complaint Against UBS

The convenience yield Steve Waldman. This is a very good post for those interested in oil and commodities futures markets generally.

Antidote du jour:

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One comment

  1. Been there

    Re: Citibank Says Credit Market Doesn’t Work Elizabeth Warren, Credit Slips-the author argues that the credit card market doesn’t work because “…Credit products are now so complicated that customers cannot distinguish the details of one card from another. That means they cannot punish bad cards or reward good ones–voting with their feet..”

    Anecdote: A few years ago I got home from work one day, opened the mail, and discovered that GE had mailed us a live credit card. All I had to do was call a toll free number and activate it. My wife and I never applied for a GE card. The few cards we do have we use like cash(full balance is paid each month).

    Needless to say we were livid. I immediately contacted GE by telephone, told them what they did was outrageous and risky and demanded to know what gave them the right to issue an unsolicited card through the mail.

    The service rep explained that I must have signed an agreement with them requesting the card. I explained we never would do that. He did some more checking, while I waited on the phone. After a period of time he asked if we had recently purchased a projection tv. I said we had bought that from Sears a number of years prior and acknowledged that we had signed off on a deferred payment plan that had been marketed by Sears on select purchases but that the balance had long since been paid in full within the 12 month deadline. At that point he explained that the contract we had signed (typical- probably 12 pages of legalese too small to read) included a provision whereby Sears or their assigns were automatically allowed to issue us a credit card with any furthe authorization. He told me that GE had subsequently purchased a large block of these contracts from Sears.

    I could not verify this because the deferred payment contract had been trashed after the loan was pad off. Truth be told- This was my own fault because I signed a contract without reading it in its entirety. I guess I had assumed that I could trust a company like Sears, in that they would not allow themselves to be involved in a scheme such as this. Boy were we surprised.

    So now Jeffrey Immelt is looking to unload his credit card business and he’s having trouble finding any takers. Gee, I can’t understand why.

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