• U.S.

Your Money: May 31, 1999

2 minute read
Daniel Eisenberg

WEB WARS Attention, e-shoppers: Online stores are now doing silly things to attract your business, including, it seems, selling dollar bills for 50[cents]. Last week Amazon.com upped its discounts on best sellers (hardcover and paperback), from about 30% to 50% off list price, a money-losing move that rivals Barnesandnoble.com and Borders.com quickly matched. Meanwhile, Shopping.com has introduced a 125% satisfaction guarantee, and Onsale.com and Outpost.com are offering free shipping.

NO CHARGES If you have a gripe with American Express, don’t expect to make your case in court. Starting next month, the company can bring customer disputes to arbitration, which, it says, is the most efficient way to settle claims. This will also help the company avoid juries. BankOne and Bank of America have similar rules for Visa and MasterCard, but Citibank does not.

HIDDEN PROFIT Just because a mutual fund bears the name of a firm doesn’t mean that firm is managing your money. In fact, a growing number of investors, whether they realize it or not, are pouring cash into subadvised funds. These funds are farmed out by the likes of Vanguard and Dreyfus to outside managers with special expertise. That’s a good thing, according to a recent study, which showed that subadvised funds, especially in growth, health and emerging-market stocks, initially outperform, by up to 0.5% annually, their in-house peers. Two such choices are Enterprise Growth and Dreyfus Appreciation.

–By Daniel Eisenberg

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