If you are a typical economy fare flier, the airlines have come up with many ways to aggravate you over the years:
- Want to check a bag? Pay a fee.
- Want a meal? Buy it before you board the plane.
- Want a window seat? Pay an extra fee.
- Want a little extra leg room? Pay a fee.
- Want to board a little early to be sure there’s room for a carry on? Pay a fee.
What’s the latest inconvenience to add to this list? According to the Wall Street Journal, it is “The Incredible Shrinking Plane Seat.” As Jon Ostrower and Daniel Michaels report:
“Airlines’ push to lure high-paying fliers with flatbed business seats and premium economy loungers is leaving economy-class passengers with less space. A push over the past decade by carriers to expand higher-fare sections has shrunk the area devoted to coach on many big jets. But airlines don’t want to drop passengers. First they slimmed seats to add more rows. Now, big carriers including American Airlines, Air Canada, Air France-KLM, and Dubai’s Emirates Airline are cutting shoulder space by wedging an extra seat into each coach row. For almost 20 years, the standard economy setup in a Boeing 777 was 9 seats per row. But last year, nearly 70% of its biggest version of the plane had 10-abreast seating, up from 15% in 2010.”
Click the WSJ graphic to read more.
Graphic by Carlos Tovar/Wall Street Journal
The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) went into effect in late 1992. Later this month, significant revisions to the TCPA are scheduled to be implemented — specifically with regards to cell phones.
As summarized by the Direct Marketing Association, the current TCPA requires telemarketers to:
- Limit the calls to the period between 8 A.M. and 9 P.M.
- Maintain a “do not call list” and honor any request to not be called again. When such a request is received, the requester may not be called again on behalf of the business for whom the solicitation is made.
- Have a clearly written policy, available to anyone upon request.
- Have a training program for their personnel making the telephone solicitations.
- The “do not call” request must also be honored by any affiliate or subsidiary of the company if there is a reasonable expectation on the part of the consumer that there request would apply also to the affiliate or subsidiary.
And as the DMA summarizes: A call is exempt from the TCPA if the call is made on behalf of a tax-exempt nonprofit organization, iIs not made for a commercial purpose, does not include an unsolicited advertisement, even if it is made for a commercial purpose, is made to a consumer with whom the calling company has an established business relationship.
What’s ahead later this month? According to Doug Smith and Andrew Smith, writing for Business Law Today:
“Key provisions of the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) rule are scheduled to take effect in October of this year. These changes will require written consent for auto-dialed and prerecorded telemarketing calls and text messages to cell phones, and will require written consent for prerecorded telemarketing calls to landlines.”
“The TCPA has a private right of action, and recent class actions alleging violations of the law’s auto-dialer provisions have settled for tens of millions of dollars. The filing of TCPA complaints is on the rise, and recent court decisions have complicated the TCPA litigation landscape.”
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Retailers know that customer shoplifting and employee theft cost them billions of dollars a year in lost revenues just in the United States and well over $125 billion worldwide. But, the phenomenon of excessive customer returns seems to be growing, and that also affects the bottom line. And this problem has not received enough attention — until now.
Are you a “wardrober”? (Read on to see what this is.)
Consider these observations by Cotten Timberlake, Renee Dudley, and Chris Burritt, writing for Businessweek:
“Many merchants have long lived by the mantra that the customer is always right, adopting liberal return policies in hopes of winning the loyalty of free-spending shoppers. But with a recent increase in the wearing and subsequent return of expensive clothes — a practice merchants call wardrobing — many retailers are taking a stronger stand against the industry’s $8.8 billion-a-year return fraud problem. Bloomingdale’s, in February, started placing 3-inch black plastic tags in highly visible places, such as the front bottom hemline, on dresses costing more than $150 as they are being purchased. The clothes can be tried on at home without disturbing the special tag. But once a customer snaps it off to wear in public, the garment can’t be returned. Some electronics retailers have also turned to hefty restocking fees to discourage short-term use of expensive electronics to watch events such as the Super Bowl. And high-end outdoor goods retailer REI recently announced it’s ending its lifetime return policy after customers took advantage of its lenient rules.”
Click the image to read more.
Photo by Emily Keegin for Bloomberg Businessweek
Apple has widely touted the new fingerprint login technology for its recently released iPhone 5S.
But there are many questions over how secure the technology is. For example, hackers in Germany already claim to have discovered how to create a fake finger to beat the security.
And in a report for the UK’s Independent, Heather Saul notes that:
“A U.S. senator has voiced his concerns over the security of fingerprint recognition technology used in Apple’s new iPhone 5S, arguing that the tool raises ‘substantial privacy questions.’ In an open letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook, Senator Al Franken addressed a series of questions to the company regarding security issues with Apple Touch ID. The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on privacy, technology, and the law argues that if a hacker were to get hold of a fingerprint, they can use it to impersonate the owner’s identity for the rest of their life. In his letter, he writes: ‘Passwords are secret and dynamic; fingerprints are public and permanent.’”
Click the image to read more. What do YOU think?
If you answer yes to that question, then you are not alone. For years now, many subscribers have been very unhappy about the “bundled pricing” strategy of cable providers — whereby they must pay for channels in which they have no interest. These subscribers would much rather have “a la carte pricing” — whereby they pay only for the channels they want.
New research indicates just how widespread discontent about cable TV pricing really is. So, what should be done about it?
As Paul Bond writes for Hollywood Reporter:
“A la carte television programming is a popular concept among consumers who presume they’d save money by ditching channels they don’t watch, but given that only 38 percent would be willing to pay more than $3 per channel each month, it’s not likely the idea will catch on with TV providers who aren’t inclined to stray from bundling. Not at that price.”
“A new study out today from PricewaterhouseCoopers says that 44 percent of consumers would like a total a la carte system and that 73 percent of consumers would prefer a la carte or at least more customization of packages than is currently offered. Only 14 percent are satisfied with the status quo.”
Click on the image to read more.