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May 4th, 2003

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04:04 pm - You could save 15% or more...
Switching away from GEICO? Ah, fun. Despite claiming to be a shareholder (with a discount), I just discovered I could save about 25% off my rich auto insurance (factors: 23yo male driving a 2002 220+hp semi-exotic) by shifting to American Express. I think I'll do that. Kind of not such a great feeling as a shareholder, although a. I didn't buy the stock, b. whatever, it is just a minor amount of free float, c. Warren Buffet is still the man. I guess as a (small-potatoes, I'm sure) customer of Amex they have access to better heuristics which make me less of a risk. Or something.

Being done has been nice. Went shopping with bucy last night. Even went so far as IKEA, which I try to limit my exposure to to less than 1 experience/year, but that was mostly a success. The video game store failed to get my impulse $10 for a Midway/Atari Collection (including Asteroids and Tempest... I crave big-screen asteroids!) when it turned out they had misfiled the disc.

Then we went to X2. I noticed that between all the various reviews I've seen, there is one consistent statement -- and regardless of how I felt the movie was, I agree. The special effects (except for some of the jet modeling...) were perfect. They successfully achieved all of the visuals they were looking for, and integrated them in the seamless way that you knew what was effect only by what was not possible. And they had a Wolverine fight scene that was an amazing replica of the comic book form.

Also, I called Becky today. And had a very nice, if inherently ackward, conversation.

(4 comments | Leave a comment)


[User Picture]
Date:May 6th, 2003 02:55 pm (UTC)

Re: AmEx


I'm not sure if that is more or less troubling than the recent reports regarding the Visa/Mastercard Debit thing (charging it like a credit card despite debit being far far cheaper -- and making debit cards resemble credit cards to confuse the issue), or the various credit card "online fraud" protection schemes (refund the user, then charge the merchant for the cost + $10-100... making a profit on theft). I don't think it is much of a revelation that the credit card companies are arbitrary, fickle, and powerful.

I think the abuses to credit reports -- or the effect of credit on other things -- are far more sinister than this article. Clearly, as the story is written this is discrimination. While that's reprehensible, it doesn't represent all that much of an issue: AmEx etc did not trash their credit. All they did was deny them use of their cards, and in some cases, merchant account access. This would be far more devistating, and important, if it were across the industry -- because it is tough without credit. But it sounds like the other companies are more than willing to take their good business. So it is inevitably bad business practice on the part of AmEx. It means less revenue, and less places that accept it.

No, my biggest peeve with AmEx is that while I got the white blue card, when I had them issue Sarah a card, hers is transparent and blue and looks much cooler!
Date:May 6th, 2003 04:30 pm (UTC)

Re: AmEx

I don't know about the debit card thing. Any links?

You have a good point. The market won't tolerate discrimination. If AmEx doesn't take their good business, someone else will.

In any case, do you know of any enforcible laws that protect borrowers and credit card holders from discrimination?
[User Picture]
Date:May 7th, 2003 02:42 pm (UTC)

Re: AmEx

Debit: Three ways to spin it (the last is the most comprehensive).

Right -- as long as it is a company, not a monopoly or a cartel. The article indicated that they got cards elsewhere -- ergo, not a collective action.

As far as I know, not really. It is not a right to be able to borrow money. Consider that these companies are pretty "to the metal" risk management -- and their business only works if they get to manage their risks. How they choose to do so is generally not a matter of legal consequence; and that's probably acceptable. I believe there are, and probably should be more, protections regarding credit histories/reports. In particular, as the goverment/FAA begins to use these things for security (don't get me started...) they fall more under public-private constraints. But with the exception of various tax issues, we can no more require VISA to lend you money as we can make your neighbor.

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