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If you haven’t heard the news already, Circuit City has decided to go into liquidation after failing to find a buyer and secure financing from creditors and lenders.  Circuit City will be closing its remaining 567 U.S. stores.

If you’re a Circuit City customer, holder of Circuit City gift cards, credit cards, or have store credit — here’s a quick FAQ that will hopefully address some of your questions:

If you have a gift card or store credit:

Use the gift cards, gift certificates, coupons, and store credits as soon as possible. Circuit City should honor them during the going out-of-business sale, which is expected to last through March.

If you have a Circuit City credit card:

The Circuit City credit card is issued and administered by Chase, so don’t expect it to magically disappear. Most likely your Circuit City credit card will be rebranded to a generic Chase card in a future date.  Continue to make payments if you have a balance!

If you want to return an item:

You have only about 14 days left, until January 30th, to return items purchased prior to the going-out-of-business sale.  All sales are final on anything bought after January 16.

If you have a pending mail-in-rebate:

This depends on if the rebate was from the product manufacture or Circuit City.  If the rebate is from a manufacture, you’ll be okay.  Although Circuit City uses a third party to handle its rebate offerings, the rebate processor won’t be able to pay you if Circuit City haven’t paid them.  If you’ve kept your rebate submission form, there should be a phone number or a page online for you to check the status of your rebate.

If you have an extended warranty:

The warranty is serviced by a third party and should still be in full effect to the terms and condition of the warranty purchase.

If you need to contact Circuit City:

Please do it immediately as Circuit City’s website and call centers will cease to operate after January 18, 2009 (Circuit City’s website is current down and it is unknown if it will reopen before January 18).

If you’re interested in going to the liquidation sale:

The going-out-of-business sale will start tomorrow on January 17, and is expected to last until the end of March.  Please be aware that liquidation sales are not exactly a great place to go look for bargain.  Liquidators often mark up prices significantly before marking it “down” to give appearances of steep discount.

By the Hammer of Thor, it’s freaking cold.

I know this might sound kind of lame, but when I’m home alone I’m always hesitant to turn on the heater since it feels like a waste to warm up an entire house just for myself.

The heating reluctance can probably be alleviated somewhat if I just get the house insulated better, but better insulation sort of became one of those housing project that always floats off of my mind — until I’m freezing my ass off.

Mmm… December. The season of the holiday spirits and happy times. Bleh. Yuck.

This week’s financial picture, Fortune Fail from Fail Blog:

Weekend readings for financial info obsessed weirdos:

Blogging Carnivals:

I was just watching President-Elect Obama’s press conference and he directly responded to a reporter’s question by stating that a second economic stimulus package and check will happen. If you’ve been following the news, you would notice that House Dems have been pushing for a second package in recent months, and it looks like if it doesn’t happen by year-end, our President-Elect will make it happen while he’s in office.

Regardless of how you feel about the effectiveness of these “stimulus” packages and the current political divisiveness of this country, what will you do with your second stimulus check if you were to receive one?

A quick reminder: please do not budget your finances expecting the second stimulus check.

Dear blog readers:

I’m going to try and blog a bit more now. Perhaps I’ll set my goals on beating out August’s posting number of three posts in a month. I heard that’s quite manageable.

Yours truly,

Cap

P.S. If you have any tips on crap we should all stop buying, please send them my way.  If your tip blows I may hunt you down and beat you. If your tip is awesome I’ll steal your idea and never credit you.

P.P.S. I’m just kidding, I’ll give due credit.

Today is Blog Action Day and the topic this year is on poverty.

I won’t attempt to ramble on about a subject that I know little about,  so if you’re interested in contributing and helping, I want to highlight what two people are doing and how you can join them:

Give to Feeding America

Join Nickel at FiveCentNickel as he matches your donations to Feeding America, the nation’s leading charitable hunger-relief organization. For the remainder of the week, Nickel and his family will match your contribution, up to $1,000.

Fund a Loan at Kiva.org

Join HeJustLaughs at Kiva.org and help fund microfinance loans that gives entrepreneurs in developing countries an opportunity to start and run small businesses. HeJustLaughs is a team leader for the “Bloggers” lending team on Kiva.org and has funded over 900 loans just by himself (I believe he was also a reader on this blog).

If you want to learn more about Kiva, you can read more about it from my brief review on Kiva.org. Funding these loans of course isn’t risk free. In fact, two of my loans went into default earlier this year (more on this in future post), but don’t let that dissuade you as the actual default rate on Kiva is a VERY low 1.33%.

Some Thoughts on Giving

In the eyes of a person in real poverty, an event like “Blog Action Day” may just seem like a massive circle jerk for people with more comfortable standings in life. I’m not trying to belittle the event as initiatives like these can make real tangible impacts, and it is always a good thing to bring important topics such as poverty into discussion, as it can keep those of us with the means in perspective.

My point is that giving is a very personal thing. Many of us give in the form of time, some in the form of money, and in many instances, some of us give back to society via their very jobs. We all have our own causes, organizations that we believe in and we all have our own families to take care of. It is perfectly acceptable to simply read and be aware of these issues. That’s the point of these events after all, to raise awareness and keep all of our perspectives in check.

JP Morgan Chase Acquires WaMu

First thing’s first: all depositors will have access to their cash come this Friday morning. The bank isn’t going to suddenly disappear overnight, so if you’re concerned about your savings, checkings, and what have you — you’re fine (only ones getting screwed are holders of 30+ bil in debt and preferred stocks).

The rebranding of the numerous WaMu branches and credit card accounts should occur over a span of two years, so it looks like I just got myself another Chase credit card.

(Providian > WaMu > Chase > hey what’s next?)

The news of course broke last night, but instead of linking you to numerous news report written by various media which tends to make things more confusing… here’s the full 411 from Chase themselves:

What’s different?
  • Your deposits at WaMu are now backed by the financial strength of Chase in addition to continuing to be insured by the FDIC.
  • If you bank at both WaMu and Chase, your deposits continue to be insured separately today just as they were yesterday, and generally will be for another six months. At that time, your deposits will be insured by the FDIC for up to $100,000 per depositor (with an additional $250,000 for self-directed retirement accounts), and will continue to be backed by the strength and security of JPMorgan Chase.
  • Learn more about the size and strength of our company.
What stays the same? Continue to bank just as you usually do:

  • same account numbers,
  • same Washington Mutual name on your account,
  • same checks, debit cards, credit cards, deposit slips,
  • same online banking website and passwords,
  • same branches & ATMs,
  • same familiar bankers, and
  • same great service!
What will change? Soon

  • You’ll be able to use over 9,300 Chase ATMs fee-free – jointly, that’s 14,000 ATMs for your banking convenience!

In the future

  • You’ll begin to see the Chase name on your statements, online, and on your credit cards as they reissue.
  • Your branch will be re-named Chase and you’ll be re-issued new debit cards with the Chase name. Until then, bank as you do today.
  • As our systems merge, you’ll be able to use any of the Chase branches nationwide. This won’t take place this year, and we’ll let you know well in advance of any changes.

 
Frequently Asked Questions:

Q. What will happen to my account at WaMu? And to my branch?
A. It’s business as usual. As of September 25, 2008, JPMorgan Chase has assumed the deposit and loan accounts, and all branches, of Washington Mutual. You can continue to access your accounts just the way you’ve accessed them in the past: use your same branch, same debit, credit and ATM cards, same checks.

Q. Is my money safe?
A. Yes; in addition to FDIC insurance, now you’re assured your bank is backed by the strength and security of JPMorgan Chase. If you have money in both banks, your deposits have separate FDIC insurance for up to six months. Come see us and we can help you review your coverage.

Q. What if I have more than $100,000 at WaMu?
A. Your money is secure and now protected by the strength of Chase. Chase assumed all deposits of Washington Mutual.

Q. When can I bank at Chase branches in my area?
A. We’ll be working hard to combine systems as quickly as possible so you can begin to enjoy expanded branch convenience in your area, and we expect system changes to begin late next year. We’ll let you know in advance of any changes; in the meantime, simply continue to bank at WaMu branches as you do today.

Q. Do my direct deposit, automated payments and transfers remain the same?
A. Yes. These services all continue for you without interruption or action on your part.

Q. Where do I send my credit card and loan payments?
A. There is no change in how or where you make payments; payment instructions and addresses remain unchanged.

Q. I have a Chase credit card, car loan, and mortgage. Can I make payments at a WaMu branch now?
A. Not yet! We’ll let you know when you can make Chase credit card, car loan, mortgage or other loan payments at WaMu branches, or vice versa.

Q. I have deposit accounts at both WaMu and Chase. Are both of my accounts insured?
A. Yes! Your deposits are insured separately today just as they were yesterday, and generally will be for another six months. At that time, your deposits will be insured by the FDIC for up to $100,000 per depositor (with an additional $250,000 for self-directed retirement accounts), and will continue to be backed by the strength and security of JPMorgan Chase.

Q. I’m a small business owner. What will change for my business?
A. Immediately, no change at all – bank just as you do today. As our systems merge, we look forward to bringing you innovative services ranging from online invoicing to convenient ways to help you manage your cash flow. Chase is a national leader in business banking services, and is the nation’s #1 SBA lender.

Q. I have a relationship with the WaMu Commercial Group. What will change for my business?
A. Immediately, no change at all – work with the Commercial Group just as you do today. As our systems merge, we look forward to bringing you innovative services. Chase is a national leader in commercial lending and cash management solutions.

From [WaMu Customers, Welcome to JPMorgan Chase!]

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