Starwatch Consumer

T-Mobile’s new cellphone pricing plan has a catch, state official says

Updated: 2013-04-26T01:47:08Z

Cellphone alert

Washington state’s chief prosecutor said there’s a catch to T-Mobile’s new cellphone plan, which replace the traditional two-year service contract with an installment plan for phone buyers.

One of the benefits of the new plan is that buyers can cancel their service at any time. But Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson said the company hasn’t told customers that they have to pay the full remaining cost of the phone if they cancel the service. They can’t remain on the installment plan. Ferguson said T-Mobile has agreed to make that clearer. He said customers nationwide who bought T-Mobile phones from March 26, when the plan was introduced, to Thursday can get a full refund.

Record rate

The average U.S. rate on the 15-year fixed mortgage fell last week to its lowest on record, making refinancing and homebuying more attractive to those who can qualify. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday that the average rate for the 15-year fixed loan fell to 2.61 percent. That’s down from 2.64 percent last week and the lowest rate on record dating back to 1991.

The average rate on the 30-year fixed mortgage also moved closer to its record low, dropping to 3.40 percent. That’s down from 3.41 percent last week.

Atlanta plan

Southwest Airlines is shifting its flight strategy at the Atlanta airport, the world’s busiest, in an escalating challenge to larger Delta Air Lines Inc. for local traffic.

No more than 20 planes will be on the ground at any one time instead of 30 now, so the daily schedule of 175 flights can be spread more evenly into times desirable for business fliers, Dallas-based Southwest said Thursday.

The new timetable will take effect in November.

Ironclad deal

AMC Entertainment Holdings, a Kansas City-based cinema chain, settled a revenue-sharing dispute with Walt Disney Co. over tickets to “Iron Man 3,” according to Bloomberg News.

Tickets to AMC showings of the movie, which opens May 3, starting the summer box office season, are available for purchase on the Fandango website. The terms of the deal weren’t available.

With the accord, Disney has settled with one of the three large U.S. chains resisting the studio’s demand for a bigger share of ticket sales. The exhibitors, representing about 30 percent of screens, have held out on selling tickets to the film from Disney’s Marvel unit. Disney has focused its slate on pictures from Marvel, Pixar and Lucasfilm.

Electronic cigarettes

Altria Group plans to introduce an electronic cigarette this year, chasing smaller rivals as demand for traditional cigarettes declines. The electronic cigarette will be sold in an undisclosed market starting in the second half of 2013, Altria said.

Stronger pulse

Consumer sentiment last week held close to a five-year high as Americans gained confidence that their financial situation was mending, a sign the biggest part of the economy will keep expanding.

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index fell to minus 29.9 in the week ending April 21.

| Star news services

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