Starwatch consumer

Apple is launching an iPhone trade-in program

Updated: 2013-12-31T18:19:56Z

Swapping iPhones

Apple is starting an iPhone trade-in program this month aimed at getting users to upgrade to the iPhone 5 and turn in older models, people with knowledge of the plans said.

Apple has teamed up with Brightstar, a mobile phone distributor, to run the exchange program, said the people, who asked not to be identified because Apple hasn’t publicly announced the plan.

Brightstar also handles trade-ins for AT&T and T-Mobile, as well as other carriers and device makers, amid brisk demand for the refurbished iPhone 4s and 4S in emerging markets. By offering money for older smartphones, Apple and the wireless companies are seeking to entice consumers to upgrade to the latest models while profiting through resales abroad.

Mortgage rates

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said the rate on the 30-year home loan jumped to 3.91 percent from 3.81 percent. That’s the highest since March 2012.

The rate on the 15-year loan increased to 3.03 percent from 2.98 percent last week. That’s the highest since May 2012.

Insider trading

A U.S. court has frozen the assets of a Thai trader, Badin Rungruangnavarat, accused of profiting from advance knowledge of a Chinese company’s plan to acquire Smithfield Foods.

The Securities and Exchange Commission accused Rungruangnavarat of insider trading and said he made more than $3 million ahead of the $4.7 billion planned acquisition announced May 29. He bought thousands of options on Smithfield stock and futures contracts in the prior week that turned profitable when the acquisition was made public, the SEC said.

New e-smokes

Reynolds American in Colorado is launching a new version of its Vuse electronic cigarette — which promises to give users the “perfect puff” — with its sights set on expanding nationally.

The move by the owner of the nation’s second-biggest tobacco company is its first statewide e-cigarette distribution and the latest in an industry push to diversify beyond the traditional cigarette business.

Avis rate hike

Avis Budget Group is raising prices twice in June as the industry prepares to shrink to three companies from four, aiding its ability to charge more.

Avis is boosting prices by $30 a week and $5 a day for car rentals starting June 24, to be followed by a $10-a-week jump at about 30 airports, the company said.

GM freebies

General Motors said it will offer free oil changes, tire rotations and inspections for two years on most of its 2014 models in an effort to boost customer loyalty.

The company announced the offer at its annual stockholders meeting in Detroit. The offer is good for two years or 24,000 miles, whichever comes first. The oil changes will be done when the vehicle’s oil monitoring system says they are needed.

Long odds?

Gamblers who prefer their laptops to blackjack tables could be getting a boost from Washington.

Rep. Peter King, a New York Republican, has introduced legislation that would rescue online gambling from a legal gray zone and fully regulate it. King said his bill would allow states and players to navigate the world of online betting with confidence.

The measure is called the Internet Gambling Regulation, Consumer Protection and Enforcement Act of 2013.

| Star news services

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