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Presidential Election Campaign Fund Pays for Medical Research Too

A funny thing happened when Ken E. was filing his taxes using H&R Block software. When he got to the screen asking if he would like to give $3 to the Presidential Election Campaign Fund, he clicked the “learn more” link and got an unexpected explanation in the fine print.

*MOUSE PRINT:

Election finance

Say what?

Apparently in 2014, Congress decided to no longer allow political parties to use taxpayer money from the Presidential Election Campaign Fund to finance their party conventions. Instead, it redirected that money to the “10-Year Pediatric Research Initiative Fund” designed to fund projects related to childhood diseases. The law was named after Gabriella Miller, who, while battling a rare form of brain cancer herself, helped raise money to fund pediatric cancer research. She died at age 10.

Our consumer said, “Even in my wildest dreams I would not have connected giving to the campaign fund to mean that I am donating to pediatric medical research.”

For once, the fine print revealed a great positive surprise.

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When is a Price Lock Not a Price Lock?

There has been an unwritten rule applicable to some cell plans: Your monthly rate will not go up as long as you keep your current plan. Certainly, this is not true for all plans and all companies, but many people have benefited from this traditionally.

As some companies began raising rates, in May 2022, T-Mobile, the “uncarrier,” introduced Price Lock to formalize their policy.

In January 2023, here is how T-Mobile advertised “Price Lock.”

Price Lock

Even the fine print was pretty straight forward.

*MOUSE PRINT:

Price Lock fine print

If you were in most of their major plans, your monthly rate would stay put. Period.

Now, in 2024, T-Mobile decided to redefine what it means by “Price Lock” for new customers or people switching plans.

*MOUSE PRINT:

Price lock fine print 2024

The policy now says if they raise your price and you decide to switch carriers, they will pay your final bill, as reported here.

So to answer the question posed in the headline of this story, “When is a price lock not a price lock?” Answer: When T-Mobile offers it.

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Wendy’s UN-Announces “Surge” Pricing

Last week’s biggest consumer story was Wendy’s plan to introduce electronic menuboards in their restaurants that would allow them to implement “surge” pricing. In other words, to charge more during peak times.

Best we can tell this story was based on a financial presentation made to investors in early February during which the company’s CEO announced a $30-mil investment to deliver “significant restaurant margin expansion” by installing digital menuboards with “dynamic pricing & menu offerings:”

Wendy's menuboards

After a flood of news stories and negative consumer reaction to the prospect of having to pay more for the same food that was cheaper earlier in the day, Wendy’s issued a statement in its blog denying the plan.

*MOUSE PRINT:

Wendy's statement

To MrConsumer, the idea of a restaurant jacking-up its prices during peak times is just plain nasty. Will the items that are being surcharged be noted on the menuboard so customers know which ones they are?

And what about prices during off peak times? Will they be discounted below the current regular price? In other words, if a “Dave’s Single” burger is currently $4.99, will the peak price be, say, $5.99, but the off-peak price will be $3.99?

What do you think of the idea of a restaurant charging more during peak times?

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