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Emily’s list: Consumer power edition

Emily Crone

American consumers have really found their voice lately. In late September, Bank of America announced it would be implementing a $5 monthly fee for some debit card users, and their customers went into a rage. People complained hotly and loudly in every online outlet possible that this change was unacceptable and that they would take their business elsewhere. A little more than a month later on Nov. 11, Bank of America changed course and said it was scratching its plans to add a fee.

David Darnell, co-chief operating officer, cites a “changing competitive marketplace” as one of the reasons, but he gives most of the credit to its customers for the bank’s change of heart. “We have listened to our customers very closely over the last few weeks and recognize their concern with our proposed debit usage fee,” he said. “Our customers’ voices are most important to us. As a result, we are not currently charging the fee and will not be moving forward with any additional plans to do so.” Consumer power edition

Just a few months ago, Netflix made headlines when it announced a major price increase, in addition to a splitting of DVD and streaming services. The video rental company also received a massive amount of backlash. Hundreds of thousands of people posted their criticism on Facebook, Twitter, news websites and even the Netflix blog. Many people said they were going to cancel, and 1 million actually did. Netflix eventually crawled back into the spotlight and admitted the flub, and decided to go back to just having one service with two products. But the price hike remained, which inflamed consumers even more. I’m sure many more people will leave, but that opens up the marketplace for more competitors.

While people have been using social media to broadcast bad experiences with companies, I feel like in the past few months consumers have really had a huge voice and have led major corporations to change their policies and prices. I think it’s amazing that the people seem to have some power! Let’s keep it up.

For all kinds of interesting financial tidbits and know-how, please read on for a roundup of my 10 favorite money-related blog posts from the past week!

1. Wealth Informantics shares 15 awesome ways to help charities without spending money. One great one? Getting a charity-branded credit card!

2. Frugal Dad answers a reader’s question about whether it’s wise to lower her credit limit, and he explains the importance of credit utilization.

3. Free $ Wisdom explains how you can improve your finances by automating things, such as receiving your bank statements online and scheduling your credit card payments.

4. Life and My Finances insists that it is possible to avoid getting into debt and lists why it’s so important to do so.

5. Free From Broke shares how she and her husband were able to scrounge up $600 within one week for their debt snowball.

6. Bucksome Boomer warns against several common mistakes consumers make that are penny-wise but pound foolish, such as signing up for a very high-interest retail credit card for a one-time discount.

7. Squirrelers questions which of these two important things take priority: sleep or money, two things that can often work against each other.

8. Payday loans have the ability to keep people stuck in a perpetual cycle of debt. So Over Debt explains how to break free.

9. My Dollar Plan lists seven financial consequences you will face when you get married.

10. Money Ning helps readers learn how to speak honestly about money with their spouse and grow together financially.

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