Summer car rentals are getting pricey, thanks to rate increases from Avis, Hertz and many other companies. The average mid-size rental will cost $38.95 a day for the Fourth of July weekend, reports the American Automobile Association; that's up from last year's $34.53.
It looks a bit like something aliens might drive here on Earth, but a new idea for a mass-transit vehicle is actually much less sinister. The 54-foot-long Blade Runner, out of England, is designed to run on both rails like a train and roads like a bus--and to switch back and forth easily.
Did your great-aunt Edna leave you an awesome (and awesomely ugly) necklace? Still hanging on to those gaudy rings from an ex-relationship? Instead of selling your treasure to the highest bidder and feeling guilty about it, you can donate the jewels to a favorite cause and get a whopping tax break, thanks to a new program called Jewels for Charity (jewelsfor charity.org).
It's a shame to waste a minute in Honolulu, so that may be why Hilton Hotels chose that city's airport to demo its new off-site check-in kiosk. Arriving fliers can use it to get their magnetic keys, so when they get to the hotel they can go straight to their rooms.The kiosks expand the efforts of several hotel chains that have lobbies with automated check-in.
Shopping abroad is getting more expensive, and it's not just the weak dollar's doing. Credit-card companies are marking up their services. Visa and MasterCard already charge 1 percent on all transactions requiring a currency exchange, but now they are adding new fees--1 percent for Visa and 0.8 percent for MasterCard--for foreign transactions denominated in dollars.
Snacks are seductive. So is spending on credit. Put them together and you can really jack up sales at vending machines. Shoppers using a credit (or debit) card spend 75 percent more than they do at cash-only machines, according to a survey by a Philadelphia-area company that makes the credit-card technology.USA Technologies viewed more than a million transactions at its clients' vending machines.
Good prices, free shipping, shopping in your PJs... whatever. What have those e-tailers done for us lately? Consumers lost some of the love they'd had for online retailers in the last holiday season, according to the widely watched American Customer Satisfaction Index from the University of Michigan.