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HSBC's customer-advocacy score was a lowly 16%.

By Karen Datko Feb 16, 2010 7:25PM

This post comes from Mark Huffman at partner site ConsumerAffairs.com.

 

One year after the financial meltdown and resulting bank bailouts, consumers have regained some trust in some financial institutions, according to a report by Forrester Research.

 

"But the positive sentiment is not evenly distributed," the research group said in a statement accompanying the report.

 

Retailers from Wal-Mart to Staples are increasing the number of private-label products and cutting back on name-brand goods.

By Teresa Mears Feb 16, 2010 3:48PM

Are you noticing more store brands and fewer national brands on shelves when you shop?

 

We’re not sure which came first, but as customers seek to save money by turning to cheaper store brands, retailers are seeking to maximize profits by increasing the number of store- brand products they offer. In some case, that means some national brands are being pushed off the shelves.

 

If you decide to keep the card, here's a hack for fulfilling the requirement and avoiding an annual fee.

By Karen Datko Feb 16, 2010 3:42PM

This post comes from Jim Wang at partner blog Bargaineering.

 

As we mentioned last year, credit card issuers are beginning to institute annual fees they are willing to refund if you make enough purchases in a year. The first issuer to start doing this was Citibank, which recently sent notices to cardholders about a $60 fee starting April 1. If cardholders spend $2,400 in a 12-month period, the fee will be waived. The Consumerist had the full text of the letter cardholders received.

 

I received an e-mail from a reader asking if I knew what she could do:

 

Need your refund quickly? There are better alternatives to refund anticipation loans.

By Stacy Johnson Feb 16, 2010 2:31PM

This post comes from Stacy Johnson at partner site Money Talks News.

 

You wouldn’t borrow from a loan shark operating out of a downtown pool hall. You wouldn’t borrow from that payday loan place next to the liquor store. You wouldn’t hock Grandma’s china at the pawn shop down by the tracks.

 

Then why would you get an income tax refund anticipation loan from your tax preparer?

 

Could giving up small indulgences for Lent be a successful saving strategy?

By Karen Datko Feb 16, 2010 10:26AM

This Deal of the Day comes from Sarah Morgan at partner site SmartMoney.

 

Are you giving up anything for Lent? For Christians, the traditional 40-day period of fasting that leads up to Easter begins Wednesday. This year, with budgets still tight for the faithful and secular alike, the practice of giving up some cherished self-indulgences could be a chance to practice fiscal, as well as spiritual, discipline.

 

Living without them may be easier than you think.

By Karen Datko Feb 16, 2010 9:49AM

This post comes from J.D. Roth at partner blog Get Rich Slowly.

 

For nearly a decade, I lived without a personal credit card. In 1998, I destroyed all my cards and canceled my accounts in a last-ditch effort to curb my compulsive spending. It worked (sort of), and it wasn’t until 2007 that I finally felt like I was responsible enough to use credit wisely without going into debt. (And so far, it’s been smooth sailing.)

 

What was it like without credit?

 

Bank of America failed to listen to its own realty agent, lawsuit says, but at least in this case didn't leave the house reeking from rotten fish.

By Teresa Mears Feb 12, 2010 7:39PM

You’d think that one sure-fire way to avoid foreclosure would be to pay cash for your house.

 

But Charlie and Maria Cardoso of New Bedford, Mass., who paid $139,000 in cash for a retirement home in Florida in 2005, experienced the embarrassment and expense of a foreclosure anyway, they say, when Bank of America tried to take their house by mistake.

In a lawsuit filed in federal court in Massachusetts, the couple said the bank changed the locks, took away family photos, power tools and other possessions, scared their tenant into moving out and disconnected the utilities, which caused the pipes to freeze.

 

A frequent-flier ticket and 1-cent snacks make for cheap traveling.

By Donna_Freedman Feb 12, 2010 5:13PM
I’m writing this from Anchorage, which seems to have only slightly more snow on the ground than our nation’s capital. (Of course, it'll last longer here.) Perhaps it seems counterintuitive to visit Alaska in February unless you’re a skier -- and I’m not.

It’s just that I’d promised myself a trip to visit friends and family once I got my university degree, and I didn’t want to wait until summer.

I figure I can visit again in June, my favorite month in Alaska, by making the current trip as affordable as possible. Here’s how:  

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