About Clark Howard
Find more answers to your consumer questions, plus Clark’s book “Living Large in Lean Times,” at ClarkHoward.com.
Listen to Clark Howard weeknights from 6 to 9 p.m. on AM1290/95.7FM News Talk WHIO.
Buying a new car online and getting a guaranteed price is now easier thanks to the entry of a respected website into the marketplace.
Edmunds.com is rolling out its Price Promise service in select markets across the country. They’re now offering a no haggle experience at a low price. Other sites doing the same thing include TrueCar.com, Overstock.com, and Zag.com.
We bought a used car last year that we found on AutoTrader.com. It was a real deal. But the dealership we bought it from was a nightmare experience. I will never set foot in there again.
Meanwhile, another relatively easy way to buy a car involves emailing the Internet department at a dealership and negotiating by email. Make sure you always ask for a quote that includes all the junk fees a dealer may have.
Some dealers are charging “packs,” which are like phony charges for documents. It may sound silly, but it can amount to $300 or more just for doing the paperwork. Not every dealer tries to do this, so that’s why it’s important to shop around.
In other car news, GM is offering a new deal for free maintenance on 2014 models. The offer is good for two years or 24,000 miles and you get your maintenance for nothing during that period.
Cheaper Internet in rural America?
Look up in the sky, it’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s … Google’s Project Loon?!
Google is testing solar-powered hot air balloons in New Zealand that can beam high-speed Internet to rural areas, bypassing wires and bypassing the ground.
This project is the latest from the super-secret Google X development team. They’re the same team responsible for both winning ideas like the driverless car and goofy ideas like the Google Glasses.
The solar-powered hot air balloons fly 60,000 feet above the ground, which is roughly 12 miles high. This amazing initiative goes hand-in-hand with the Google Fiber experiments, which deliver free high-speed Internet in Kansas City and elsewhere at speeds 100 times faster than monopolies and at a better price.
Since their business relies so heavily on ad revenue, Google is basically trying to provide a third pipe with high-speed fiber in urban areas and balloons in rural areas. Anything to get people online and using their search engine and interacting with their ads!
The reality is technology can’t be bottled up and we will have steady alternatives to the vice of high prices and lack of innovation from the cable and phone monopolies that provide Internet to most Americans.