The Fine Print by David Cay Johnston
How Big Companies Use "Plain English" to Rob You Blind

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Synopsis

“No other modern country gives corporations the unfettered power found in America to gouge cus­tomers, shortchange workers, and erect barriers to fair play. A big reason is that so little of the news . . . addresses the private, government-approved mechanisms by which price gouging is employed to redistribute income upward.”

You are being systematically exploited by powerful corporations every day. These companies squeeze their trusting customers for every last cent, risk their retirement funds, and endanger their lives. And they do it all legally. How? It’s all in the fine print.

David Cay Johnston, the bestselling author of Per­fectly Legal and Free Lunch, is famous for exposing the perfidies of our biggest institutions. Now he turns his attention to the ways huge corporations hide sneaky stipulations in just about every contract, often with government permission.

Johnston has been known to whip out a utility bill and explain line by line what all that mumbo jumbo actually means (and it doesn’t mean anything good, unless you happen to be the utility company). Within all that jargon, disclosed in accordance with all legal requirements, lie the tools these companies use to rob you blind. Even worse is what’s missing—all the contractually binding clauses that companies hide elsewhere yet still enforce and abuse. Consider, for example, how:

An insurance company repeatedly delayed paying for a paralyzed man’s vital care despite court orders to pay up. Laws in nineteen states let companies like Goldman Sachs, General Electric, and Procter & Gamble pocket the state income taxes withheld from their workers’ paychecks for up to twenty-five years. A little-known government rule gives safety waiv­ers to deadly industrial facilities secretly located underneath schools and playgrounds. The “FCC Charge” on your phone bill, which appears to be a government fee, actually goes straight to the phone company.

Johnston shares solutions you can use to fight back against the hundreds of obscure fees and taxes that line the pockets of big corporations, and to help end these devious practices once and for all.

 

About David Cay Johnston

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David Cay Johnston, a Pulitzer Prize–winning reporter for The New York Times, has hunted down a killer the police failed to catch, exposed LAPD abuses, caused two television stations to lose their licenses over news manipulations, and revealed Donald Trump’s true net worth. He has uncovered so many tax dodges that he has been called the “de facto chief tax enforcement officer of the United States.” His last book, Perfectly Legal, was a New York Times bestseller and honored as Book of the Year by the journalism organization Investigative Reporters and Editors. Over his forty-year career he has won many other honors, including a George Polk Award.
 
Published September 18, 2012 by Portfolio. 328 pages
Genres: Business & Economics, Education & Reference, Law & Philosophy, Professional & Technical. Non-fiction

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Veteran investigative reporter Johnston reveals how businesses, with the consent of government agencies, rip off consumers in plain sight.

Jul 30 2012 | Read Full Review of The Fine Print: How Big Compa...

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