Consumer Confidential: Foreclosures fade, bag fees rise, Twitter is courted
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Here’s your throat-clearing Thursday roundup of consumer news from around the Web:
--Foreclosures may be on the wane (at last). But just in case, California officials are cooking up a plan to assist ‘underwater’ homeowners who owe more on their mortgages than their homes are now worth. According to RealtyTrac, there were more foreclosure actions in January than in December, but when compared with January 2010, the pace is sharply lower. That’s a good thing, but more than 100,000 struggling homeowners could still get help from a $2-billion program that California is launching, including about 25,000 borrowers with underwater loans. The Keep Your Home California program, which uses federal funds reserved for the 2008 rescue of the financial system, is intended to fend off foreclosure for about 95,000 borrowers and provide moving assistance to about 6,500 people who do lose their homes.
--If you’re flying on US Airways, you’ll want to travel light. According to Bloomberg, the airline will almost double its charge for each checked bag weighing more than 50 pounds, to $90. The change takes effect March 1. US Airways says the fee hike simply brings the carrier in line with rival airlines. Oversized bags and those weighing more than 70 pounds will cost $175, up from $100. The new rates apply on flights within the U.S., Canada, Latin America and the Caribbean, with higher charges on other routes.
--A pretty interesting rumor is making the rounds. According to the Wall Street Journal, Google and Facebook have held talks with Twitter about acquiring the social-networking service. And the talks reportedly value Twitter at as much as $10 billion. The Journal says the buyout talks so far have gone nowhere. But what has Silicon Valley buzzing is the notion that Twitter, which lost money last year, is worth up to $10 billion. We should all be so lucky.
-- David Lazarus