Bradstreet & Associates Sued for Charging Excessive Interest

The Minnesota interest rate for debts due to overdrawn bank accounts is 6%. Bradstreet & Associates was trying to charge 21.75%. According to Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson,

Since 2009, Bradstreet and its predecessor company bought at least $18 million in debt that originated with Wells Fargo and U.S. Bank. This affects, we believe, at least 16,000 Minnesota consumers.

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Wealth Redistribution is for the Rich

All this time you though the poor were the ones benefiting from wealth redistribution. Suckers!

(Via Jay Fleischman, who got it from Sabeena LoBello.)

McDonald’s Publishes a Guide to Tipping the Help — for its Minimum-Wage Employees

From the Atlantic:

McDonald’s had published an etiquette guide on a company website full of advice from Emily Post on how families should tip their help during the holidays. If you were a McDonald’s worker with a pool cleaner, a personal trainer, or massage therapist, corporate had you covered.

For more budgeting advice from McDonald’s, here’s my earlier post with more ridiculous McDonald’s budgeting tips

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Here’s What Income Inequality in the US Looks Like, in One Image

From the Pew Research Center:

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Pretty striking. Can we all agree this is a problem, even if we can’t all agree on the solution?

When Sales, Aren’t

At the Atlantic, Alexis Madrigal explains how retailers use “retail price” to make it look like you are getting a good deal. At Macy’s, for example:

“‘Regular’ and ‘Original’ prices are offering prices that may not have resulted in actual sales, and some ‘Original’ prices may not have been in effect during the past 180 days,” it read (emphasis added).

Before you click the buy button on what seems to be a good deal, make sure you look for the same product at other retailers. Don’t trust the retailer to give you an honest “sale.”

A Third of Herbal Supplements Don’t Contain the Herb on the Label

Using DNA barcoding, Canadian researchers tested 44 popular supplements and found that a third of them weren’t what they claimed to be. Here’s the New York Times:

Many were adulterated with ingredients not listed on the label, like rice, soybean and wheat, which are used as fillers.

In some cases, these fillers were the only plant detected in the bottle …

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Bancorp Didn’t Think it Was Weird to Mail 1,000+ Tax-Refund Cards to the Same Address

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When a tax-refund fraudster left a wallet with 13 debit cards issued in 13 different names — none of them his own — at a United Airlines ticket counter, it raised a few red flags. It also resulted in the bust of a huge tax-refund fraud ring, centered in Florida.

Here is how the fraud works:

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Honest Slogans

From Lisa Hanawalt’s sketchbook: honest slogans for familiar brands.

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More on her blog.

Why the Rich Have Too Much of The Economic Pie

How much of the pie do the rich have? The Atlantic’s Derek Thompson explains with real pies.

McDonald’s Offers Budgeting Tips for Hungry, Cold, Naked, Overworked Employees Who Walk Everywhere

On the McDonald’s “Practical Money Skills” website, which was surely created with the best of intentions, the fast-food company offers a sample budget to show its employees how to make ends meet on a McDonald’s paycheck — as long as they are also getting another paycheck. That’s not even a joke. According to Robyn Pennacchia at Death and Taxes, here’s how much you would have to work to fit into the budget:

Yeah– now, when I first saw that, I assumed that the top line was for a part-time McDonald’s employee. Then I got out my calculator– that is actually what you would make if you were working full-time at McDonald’s.

Now let’s say that the “second” job that they budget in here (feels like cheating, but OK) is also minimum wage. … That translates to 74 hours a week. That’s almost a whole other full time job.

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