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Danger Zone

Who doesn't love a freebie? Whether it's a friend offering a slice of used-goods heaven or a garage-sale orphan looking for a happy home, second-hand goods are quite a tantalising offer for thrifty shoppers. Free things may give you a lot more than you bargained for (and that's not always a good thing). If you're looking to save a little money, you'll do well to think twice before snagging these used or cheap products. Here's our top 5 free things where the initial save can cost you more in the long run.

Easter means higher prices thanks in part to public holiday surcharges. If you're in the midst of making holiday plans, there is some good news. Wotif has dumped its $5.50 'booking fee'. It has also dropped the $16.95 charge for flights with full-service airlines and flights with low-cost carriers now attract a reduced fee of $9.95. How lucrative are these surcharges for companies? It's expected consumers could save as much as $20 million a year from these changes made by Wotif.
But surcharges have gone beyond public holidays. There’s airlines – 'fuel surcharge', room service – 'delivery charge', taxis – 'booking fee', restaurants and cafes – 'cakeage', 'corkage' and a surcharge for a 'group booking'. Even a concert ticket purchase comes complete with booking and ticketing fees. I’m sure you’ve got a few more of your favourites to add to the list! So, what’s happened over the last decade that has seen surcharges become so prevalent in our daily lives? Is this a trend set to continue in the future?

Today, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has made the case that EA has not been doing the right thing. By denying customers entitled to refunds, EA has been in breech of the Australian Consumer Laws (ACL). "We Stand By Our Games. If you don't love it, return it." is the promise made by the world’s third largest publisher and developer of video games, Electronic Arts known as EA, who run the Origin video game distribution platform.

As dating websites and apps become more popular, so do the number of online romance scams. In Australia, $28 million last year was lost in romance schemes. These figures are only the tip of the iceberg as many victims are reluctant to admit to friends, family or authorities that they fell for a scam. We've spoken to many people who have fallen victim to romance scams and what's important to know is that these aren't silly people handing over cash within the first five minutes of meeting someone. They are regular folk looking for friendship or love. So how likely is it that your new internet love interest will go after your bank account? And what are the signs to look out for? We've compiled the Top 5 strategies used by love scammers.

Is it a case of a horror movies come to life - are our everyday items out to get us? Last year, there were 670 product safety recalls  – up 12.4 per cent from the previous year. We better get accustomed to more recalls. Brands are worried about what happens to their reputation if they don’t do a recall, so you better start paying attention. In an episode from Tales from the Darkside, a babysitter entertains a bunch of kids by inventing a creature that eats sounds. Things turn nasty when the vacuum starts eating everything and everyone in the house. In real life, we’ve had:

  • chocolate laced with plastic,
  • washing machines catching fire,
  • furniture falling on kids, and
  • cars rolling away when left in 'park'.
This year, we’ve had more cars recalled than ever before. There are plenty of disgruntled car owners, some even taking to youtube or kickstarter to raise awareness to what they perceive as a ‘lemon’ car.