Message from Montie

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Online movies versus theater movies, are we cheating the film industry?

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Message from Montie

Shamontiel is the author of two novels: "Change for a Twenty" and "Round Trip." Check her out at shamontiel.com.

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Was the film really worth $9.50

For my birthday I got an AMC gift card for $10, so I went to Orland Square Mall to see "2012." Had I not received that gift card, I'd have gone to The New 400 Theater because instead of paying $9.50 for any movie after 3:30 p.m., I'd have paid $7.50 after 6 p.m. or $5 before 6 p.m.

 

The Suntimes' Kara Spak recently wrote an interesting column called "Online movie free-for-all," and I agree with most of the comments. There are some movies that flat out are not worth paying $9.50 for. Was "2012" worth paying $9.50 for? Absolutely. Was "Paranormal Activity," a film I saw on my birthday? No. I liked it, but it wasn't worth $9.50, and I didn't even pay to see the film. It was another gift.

 

I miss dollar theaters and drive-in movies. The prices at concession stands weren't as high, and at drive-in movies, you could bring as much popcorn and drinks as you wanted to. In dollar theaters, the price for food was about as cheap as going to the grocery store. And with the movies being $1 or $2, I really didn't mind spending a little more. Even The New 400 Theater has free popcorn Tuesdays. These are the kinds of perks that drive me to go to movie theaters.

 

Many times when I want to see a film, I go to D'PUC Credit Union to purchase their movie tickets for $8 so I can at least get a little bit of money off if the film is not showing at The New 400 Theater. But how many people in Chicago do you know that know about this credit union's movie deal?

~

 

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Are debt settlement companies that claim to eliminate credit card debt a scam?

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Message from Montie

Shamontiel is the author of two novels: "Change for a Twenty" and "Round Trip." Check her out at shamontiel.com.

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Are you a victim of the debt settlement program?

Lately I've been hearing a lot of recordings for debt settlement offers that will give credit card holders the opportunity to settle their credit card debt. I wondered if these companies were anything like consolidation loan companies so I called. While talking to this company, I also looked up other debt settlement companies that claim to lower your credit card debt by 60 percent. Some have the Better Business Bureau stamp at the bottom, but when I looked up the company directly on the BBB Web site, the company name could not be found. That sent up a red alert.

 

Debt settlement companies ask for the following when they speak to you:

  • Social Security number
  • Copy of your driver's license and driver's license number
  • Full credit card numbers (the credit bureaus will only give partial numbers to protect our privacy)
  • Verify the balance due on each card (they will look it up by your Social Security number)
  • Annual salary or unemployment monthly rates
  • Contact information (name, address, home and/or cell number)
  • Monthly medical, grocery, auto, housing, utility and insurance expenses to calculate your income to expense variance
  • A voided check to deduct the agreed-upon amount directly from your checking account

 

Now that's quite a bit of personal information that this company is asking you for. However, some of this information is no different than a consolidation company. However, here are quite a few differences between a consolidation company and a debt relief company, and all of them are red alerts.

 

Red Alert 1: The debt settlement company states that the credit card owner may receive threatening or continuous calls about late payments. The debt settlement company says to ignore those calls and to have the credit card collections agencies call them. But if the debt settlement company has already negotiated a settlement amount, why would a credit card collection agency call you in the first place? The contract should be clearly stated.

 

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