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Cedar Rapids Gazette Newspaper Archive: November 19, 1974 - Page 7

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Publication: Cedar Rapids Gazette

Location: Cedar Rapids, Iowa

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   Cedar Rapids Gazette (Newspaper) - November 19, 1974, Cedar Rapids, Iowa                                The Cedar Rapids Gazette: Toes., Nov. IJ74 Sylvia I remembered I investigated by the New York City's balance of to YORK There Is no law yd on Iho federal statute bunks requiring your creditors to consider sending you notices for any particular length of time of any credit balances you inav have outstanding or but to me still Important balances outstanding with three of New York's most prestigious stores as a result of returns I had made of Hems purchased several Christmasos ago. When I asked for similar practices and a significant number of oilier stores probably are indulging in the same practice throughout the U. S. Be on guard! While you may not be as absent-minded as Affairs Commissioner Betty Furness put It, the systems "make a mockery of truth-in-Iending. What kind of truth makes one store arrive al a charge of 75 cents and another at using the its charge will bljl you Although the store will state an 18 percent annual rate, the finance charge actually amounts to a true annual rate vou a refund, unless the balances, it look on matters such as of figures to start 38 percent. The rate would ask for departments weeks your illustrate how been even higher had the Agofnsf fact, the Federal Trade Commission recently sued five major department store chains for keeping unused credit balances without informing customers that they exist or that they have every right to claim a cash my accounts and then only most ungraciously did they admit to Sally, my Invincible secretary and protector, that they owed me anything. Immediately, we spent the "found" money, paid cash for any "extras" and now, I'm finished charge see If you come up with forgotten balances. Under the important new Fair Credit Billing Act. which President Ford signed a short while ago and which goes into effect nexl year, you, (he consumer, will be protected against many tricky and by many experts to be unfair to consumers is the previous balance method. Under this procedure, Ihe consumer is given no credit balance works to raise interest rates, say you have a balance of al the beginning of the Nov. 15-Dec. 15 billing cycle. During that time, you send the store a payment, reducing the amount you owe by paid more lhan half of the balance due. The first or adjusted balance method of compuling finance charges is considered the fairest to us, the consumers. But congress, concerned over the impact that outlawing the (he Ihose three card and charge paid part of the balance method many cases, the practices but'not bill or for having have on small business stop sending To ad.dition to the any merchandise in store charging 1.5 which often use this- of credit FTC is asking the above, the act month on the net has left the problem to a period of lime, is suing to refund all of to force creditors computing will apply the state legislatures to be money, and write balances for retailors to by the to the actual off their five years and, in the a more uniform method, some owed against the your only real protection millions of to issue refunds method of have managed to hike in this case, is to be alert to of credit balances after a 18 percent statement will thus m.lc the different procedures you, the customers, of inactivity in rcvlous rate on of a true to you in dollars and most frequently accounts Ui as much of 18 and to heed the warn- the FTC suit was companies are plan or 48 a siore using in columns such as this. Gentle When Young AP Wlrephoto Tuffy Tiger isn't too tough for Fritz the dog. The three-month-old Siberi- an cub is at home at the Milwaukee county zoo in Milwaukee where he pals around with his canine friend. They are fed separately 'because Fritz is a gobbler and Tuffy is a nibbler. Chicago Boasfs Busiesf Box in Nation CHICAGO (UPI) Chicago, already noted for Ihe world's busiest airport O'Harc In- ternational and the world's busiest intersection Stato and Madison now has yet another distinction. Though no records arc kept, the U. S. postal service says Chicago has the nation's busiest mailbox. The box located at the in- tersection of Madison and Halsted streets handles pieces of mail daily. The load weighs 200 pounds. The volume is so heavy, authorities said, the box has to be emptied six times a day. The postal service said it was surprised to find that the loca- tion of the mailbox is well out- side the busy loop area of the city. However, postal officials say there appears to be a lot of mail from transient traffic al the location. The box accepts parcels as well as letters, but the postal service says letters account for IIFi percent of the mall posted there. By John Cunnilf NEW YORK (AP) Some of the most simply explained ac- tivities of our economy are buried today in a clutter of confusion, hidden by complex terminology and definitions that, summed up, often are irrelevant. No term is more obscure lhan "recession." Is there a recession? Yes, there is. Stripped of all the asterisks and academic limita- tions or exceptions or qualifications, there is a recession of economic activity. The current quarter, in fact, is the fourth straight one in which the economy, rather lhan growing, has shrunk. The shrinkage amounted to 7 per- cent in Ihe first quarter, 1.6 in the second and 2.9 in the third. Official But for a recession to be of- ficial mustn't it be proclaimed by the National Bureau of Economic Research, a private organization, or the President or the Council of Economic Advisors? If any group is qualified to make this determination it is Is Your Home Safe? You can make sure with home owners insurance from your In cal Independent Insurance Agent He has a policy that protects you from thelt, fire, lightning, wind, hall, riots, vandalism, and many other kinds of loss. Call or drop in on'your local agent today. Look lor this emblem. INSURANCE 701 MNB Phone 362-3030 Something lady Lexington" Reg. NOW '399 Brolon Reg. NOW '569 Touratne Reg. NOW LAY AWAY NOW FOR CHRISTMAS GIFTING You may have to compromise on the gift wrap. But a R'tdgeway Floor Clock will never compromise you in judgment or fasfo. Because from among Ridgoway's exquisifo designs, J 9 elegant wood finishes, 5 sfunning colors and various sizes, you can bo sum of one that is uniquely right for any Visit our Jewelry Department soon, so fliaf you may sec and to the chimos of the most magnificent gift of Time. Shop Wodnasdoy 'til 5 SmulekolTs Jnwolry Mnin Floor the consumer, who is today more powerful and influential than either business or government. And the consumer, through surveys and studies, has declared a recession exists. Professor George Katona, the dean of consumer behaviorists, for years as- sociated with the Survey Research Center at Ann Arbnr, Mich., reduced the consumer definition of recession to this: "Prosperous limes, so people feel, are Ihose in which they live better than a year or two earlier, while there is a recession if they live worse. Set In f "According to this criterion, a recession set in toward the beginning of 1974." For reasons sometimes as obscure as the definition of recession itself, many people aren't satisfied with that explanation, even though it coincides with the more scien- tifically precise definition so often given. A recession occurs, many economists agree, when there exist two straight quarters of declining production. Some, however, aren't willing to concede the fact until it is so pronounced by the National Bureau, which might get around to a decision long after the recession has ended. Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary defines a recession as "a period of reduced economic activity." Expanding on that definition, you may as- sume a recession is accom- panied by lagging demand, sluggish sales, reduced factory output, less overtime, fewer pay raises and rising jobless- ness. Much Slower Some students of consumer behavior like to point out that sometimes the government is much slower than the general population to recognize the on- set of recession. The govern- ment relies on statistics; the people rely more on instinct and subjective surveys. To some degree, in fact, the government statistics are only a delayed reflection of what has already been decided by consumers; these figures record rather than forecast the event. A depression is a very pronounced recession. Whereas many employers can carry workers during a tem- porary lull in economic ac- tivity, as in a recession, they're forced to lay them off during a depression. Depressed Condition A depression lasts longer. And, as we have learned, it is accompanied by a depressed psychological condition, a sense of helplessness and des- pair, a feeling that the poor economic condition is per- manent rather than tem- porary. John Cunniff While the precise and complicated definitions have their uses, the psychological condition of consumers can never he ignored, because it is they who buy the cars and .homes and food. If the consumer feels there is a recession, therefore, the economist is likely to find verification in his figures, but several weeks or months later. Undefended The miles of border between the United States and Canada is the longest unde- fended border in the world. Intliviilii.illy wr.ippril .it no rvli.i 10-.!   

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