Money Minute: Payday Lender ACE Cash Express Pays Up


If you took out a loan from ACE Cash Express you may be entitled to a refund.

ACE Cash Express, a so-called "payday lender," which provides small loans with very high interest rates that must be repaid quickly, is accused of harassing customers. The company allegedly falsely told borrowers they could be sued if they didn't pay back their loans which effectively caused many of them to sign up for new loans. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau said this lead to a cycle of perpetual debt where many borrowers ended up paying more in fees than the original loan. The company is being fined $10 million, $5 million of which is to be given back to its customers and it must cease its unfair practices. ACE Cash Express hasn't admitted to any wrongdoing.

ACE Cash Express Settles With U.S. Over Debt-Collection Practices
ZUMA Press/Alamy
If you're the parent of a child who likes video games on Amazon.com (AMZN), you might be eligible for a refund as well. The Federal Trade Commission has launched a lawsuit against Amazon accusing it of illegally charging parents for items bought by their kids in Kindle Fire games. It is illegal because Amazon is supposed to get their parents consent before allowing the purchases to go through. Amazon earns 30 percent of all those purchases. The FTC says internal documents show that employees of Amazon were aware that children were making these purchases without a password and the situation was "a near house on fire." But the company allegedly did nothing to rectify the problem. Earlier this year Apple (AAPL) paid $32.5 million to settle similar charges. The Amazon lawsuit seeks refunds for all parents impacted.

Here on Wall Street on Thursday, the major indexes sold off on worries about Portugal's largest bank, Banco Espirito Santo. The Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI) dropped 70 points, the Nasdaq composite (^IXIC) slipped 22 points and Standard & Poor's 500 index (^GPSC) fell 8 points.

For years unions have been on the decline in the United States but organized labor has just scored one win. The United Auto Workers Union is opening a new chapter for workers at the sole Volkswagen manufacturing plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee. You might remember this same plant voted not to join the union back in February. The new chapter is voluntary which means workers won't be obliged to join, and the union won't have any bargaining rights but that could change if a majority of workers sign up. The UAW is also going to try and open a local chapter near the Daimler Mercedes-Benz plant in Alabama.

Three new reports say the Affordable Care Act has achieved one of its primary goals: to lower the rate of uninsured people. While the results of the three reports showed slightly different numbers, the theme was the same: the percentage of uninsured people has plummeted since the introduction of Obamacare. People with low and moderate incomes and Latinos were most likely to sign up to the new plans.

-Produced by Karina Huber.

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8 Ways Watching Too Much TV Is Costing You Thousands
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Money Minute: Payday Lender ACE Cash Express Pays Up
Cable and satellite TV can run you a pretty penny -- especially if you fall prey to companies' cleverly crafted package deals. You really adore the programming on Channel XYZ, but you can only get it if you upgrade to the higher-tier package, which is an extra $20 a month and has dozens of channels you never look at. Found another provider who offers a better deal? Get ready to be socked with early termination fees by your current provider -- and for your new provider's fantastic deal to run out once you're not a new customer anymore.
The average American watches five hours of TV a day -- 1,825 hours a year. Think of all the other things you could be doing with that time to earn extra money. You could get a second job, start your own business, go back to school, or improve your skill set so you can qualify for a higher-paying job.
Excessive TV watching has been linked to obesity, heart disease, diabetes, depression and even a shorter lifespan. And the cost of treating a long-term health issue is rarely cheap -- in terms of money or happiness.
Kids aren't the only ones susceptible to the "I want it!" syndrome caused by too much TV advertising. No matter how savvy and impenetrable to marketing you think you are, companies invest millions of dollars in television ads for a reason -- because they work. Being pelted with tempting commercials for products and services takes its toll on your money mindset. It's easy to fall into the consumer trap when you're constantly being shown shiny new things guaranteed to make your life better.
Do you love watching the glamorous lifestyles on "Real Housewives"? Drool over the spacious properties on "House Hunters?" TV is a form of voyeurism that allows us to peek into the lifestyles of those richer and more famous -- and it can leave us dissatisfied with what we have because we get so used to seeing those who have more. This can result in us making purchases we can't really afford because we're trying to keep up with those televised Joneses.
In a similar vein, TV can make us feel dissatisfied with our  appearance. Compared to the gorgeous, flawless people we see on shows and commercials, it's easy to find 101 ways our looks don't add up. Seeing nothing but an idealized standard of beauty on screen can drive us to spend tons to try to make our own appearances match, from jumping on the latest fashion bandwagon, buying whatever cream is the new hot development, or even springing for surgery to physically remake ourselves.
Snacking and TV watching often go hand in hand, and when your attention is focused on a show, it can be easy to down a whole bag of chips before you realize what you're doing. Combine that with the fact that TV watching is a sedentary activity, and you've got the makings for a much bigger cost than just that bag of chips. (See No. 3.)
While TV engages our attention, it doesn't engage our brains, at least not the way that reading, continuing education and real-life problem-solving does. It's a largely passive form of entertainment that can leave us feeling lazy, sluggish and unfocused. And that lack of mental energy can take a toll when it comes to things like our job performance, our drive to start that new business, or our willingness to get out and network our way to our next great job.
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