Entries in Charge (4)


Could ATM Ads Replace Surcharges?

Hemera/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- ATM users could soon be able to opt out of ATM surcharges by agreeing to watch an advertisement in the same amount of time it takes for a typical transaction.

Clinton Townsend, a 25-year old Brooklyn, N.Y., resident from New Jersey, is the founder and CEO of Free ATMs NYC.  He created an ATM that uses targeted advertisements to cover the cost of the surcharge of an ATM outside its network. And, Townsend assures, the transactions don't take any longer than they would without the commercial.

The ad plays during the time the screen's message indicates a transaction is processing, typically 10 seconds or less, Townsend said. Or customers can choose not to view the ad and pay an ATM surcharge of $3.

And at the bottom of the ATM receipt there might be a coupon that can be torn off and redeemed at a local business.

Though Townsend has plans to expand through the New York area and eventually beyond, his first and only ATM for now is in a music venue and bar in Brooklyn called the Knitting Factory.

"I've heard nothing but good things from customers," general manager Bob Reiter, who has hosted the ATM since Nov. 4, said.  "I've had a lot of people who come in not for the bar or a show but just to use the ATM.  It's been good for business."

Reiter said he has used the ATM himself and found it "pretty simple."

"I didn't find it any more difficult than any other ATMs," he said. "Instead of a screen that tells you it's processing, it gives you an advertisement.  I hardly noticed there was an ad there."

Townsend has two ATM models: One has a 10.2 inch main screen through which transactions would be conducted and the short advertisement viewed, and the other would have a 15-inch LCD screen above that shows a looping video advertisement.

A 2008 graduate of Morehouse College in Atlanta with a degree in finance, Townsend is mum on the company's specific plans, although he said he planned to "aggressively roll out" additional ATMs and hire employees.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


McDonald’s Skirts Ban; Charges 10 Cents Per Happy Meal Toy

Tim Boyle/Getty Images(SAN FRANCISCO) -- A ban against toy giveaways with high-fat meals doesn’t seem to have fazed San Francisco McDonald’s franchise owners. They’ve found a way to circumvent it.

Instead of doing away with the small Happy Meal toys that usually come free with each Happy Meal purchased as activists wanted, San Francisco McDonald’s owners will now charge 10 cents for the trinket. They say the extra money will go toward the Ronald McDonald House, a McDonald’s charity that supports sick children and their families.

Last fall, the city passed the Healthy Food Incentives Ordinance, which prohibits chain restaurants from giving away toys with high-fat, high-sugar food orders that do not meet San Francisco’s nutrition standards.  The ruling takes effect Thursday.

Scott Rodrick, owner of 10 of the 19 McDonald’s in San Francisco, told the San Francisco Chronicle that the 10 cent cost “complies with the letter of the law."

“This law is not what my customers wanted or asked for, but the law’s the law,” he told the newspaper.

Keith Ayoob, associate professor of pediatrics at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, criticized the city government for focusing on the wrong parts of childhood obesity, saying that the ordinance is really about politics, not nutrition.

“It’s misguided to think that this is going to combat childhood obesity,” said Ayoob, who grew up in San Francisco.  “We should be focusing on school lunches, where there are a lot more calories and fat than Happy Meals, and what kids are eating at home.”

Ayoob pointed out that a Happy Meal isn’t a supersize meal, and has much fewer calories than most other items on McDonald’s menu.

“These politicians want to be seen as childhood advocates, and they were probably feeling the pressure to do something,” said Ayoob. “But their efforts are misguided. If they really want to be seen as that, they should be doing something like mandating physical education for all grades in the school system.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Avoid Extra Charges When Staying at a Hotel

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- From airlines to banks, and even to your cable bill, many companies are charging more fees.  And that includes hotels.  

As the Labor Day holiday weekend approaches, many travelers should beware of extra charges they may incur when staying at a hotel.

Although the basic price for a hotel room may sound cheap, Robert Long of says "it's real easy on your vacation to bust your travel budget with all the fees you might get dinged for."

One example, he explains, are "fees to simply use the spa in the hotel."

Long says one website that may help travelers avoid fees is

"They have a wonderful resource on their site -- a guide to hotels that offer a variety of complementary services," he explains.

And if you're traveling with pets, features hotels that don't charge extra for a dog or cat to stay with you.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Man Wants Payment for 'Charge' Stadium Jingle

Thinkstock/Getty Images(MIAMI) -- The man who created the now famous Da-da-da-da-da-da! Charge! jingle played at sporting events everywhere wants his paycheck.

According to the Miami Herald, 62-year-old Bobby Kent owns the copyright for the song and says that for the past 20 years he has been paid only a fraction of what he deserves by the licensing company.

He now says he plans to sue every pro sports team in the country except the Lakers -- who forked over $3,000 when Kent complained about their use of the song.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio