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Money Matters

October 12, 2003

Be cautious about credit card offers


Are you deluged by credit card offers?

The Consumer Credit Counseling Service in Atlanta recently released a primer for college students being pitched cards on campus, but the advice applies to everyone.

  • Never forget that laying a credit card on the store counter is akin to walking into a bank and leaving with a loan - governed by the bank's terms.

  • Is the "free gift" to attract you really free? A 30-day free Internet account or free T-shirt may not be a bargain.

  • Scout the best rate. Check the fine print about the introductory rate and how long it lasts. Three or six months of zero interest for a card that may zoom to 20 percent is hardly a deal.





No benchmarks for health costs


Most American executives lament the soaring price of employee health-care costs, yet there are no standard benchmarks by which companies can compare those costs, according to a survey of the fastest-growing U.S. firms.

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Only one-fifth of 402 companies in a health-care spending survey used any sort of financial benchmark to gauge their health-care spending. Of that group, 43 percent estimated their health-care costs as a percentage of payroll, and 23 percent used those costs as a percentage of revenue. The rest looked at operating budget, income and other benchmarks when developing insurance budgets.




Spring-piston air rifles recalled


Crosman Corp. is recalling about 1,500 spring-piston, break-action air rifles.

The air rifles can discharge unexpectedly when the user closes the barrel.

The recalled break-action, spring air rifles include Crosman Model numbers RM177, RM177X, RM677, RM677X, RM877 and RM622 that were produced before August 2001. The recalled air rifles have brown wood stocks, black barrels and blue and white striped spacers on the butt plate. Each barrel is imprinted with the model number and the words "Manufactured for Crosman Corp. by Mendoza."

Consumers should stop using the air rifles and contact Crosman Corp. at 1-800-724-7486 for instructions on returning the rifle for a free repair or replacement. Consumers also can log on to the company's Web site at www.crosman.com.




Backup power supplies recalled


Technuity Inc. is recalling 2,100 Energizer backup power supply devices.

When used in conjunction with another power protection device, the power supply device can spark, posing a fire hazard.

The recalled backup power supply systems include the Energizer-brand UPS Model ER-PRO1000, which can be identified by a label on the back of the device. The black, breadbox-like unit is about 14 inches deep, 6 inches wide, 8 inches tall and weighs about 20 pounds. The words "Energizer" and "energizerups.com" appear on the front of the unit.

Consumers should stop using the recalled backup power supply devices and contact the company at 1-877-577-0046 or log on to the Web site www.technuity.com. for a free replacement unit and instructions on returning the recalled product.

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