The Fine Print: How Big Companies Use "Plain English" to Rob You Blind

( 6 )

Overview

David Cay Johnston has made a name for himself as the defender of the common man, calling out the rich and powerful for cheating the system at the expense of everyone else. Whether he's exposing unjust loopholes in the tax code that help the rich get richer or pointing out how powerful corporations pocket government subsidies at excessive taxpayer expense, Johnston is an eloquent town crier for justice and equality.

Now this bestselling author has turned his attention to the ...

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The Fine Print: How Big Companies Use

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Overview

David Cay Johnston has made a name for himself as the defender of the common man, calling out the rich and powerful for cheating the system at the expense of everyone else. Whether he's exposing unjust loopholes in the tax code that help the rich get richer or pointing out how powerful corporations pocket government subsidies at excessive taxpayer expense, Johnston is an eloquent town crier for justice and equality.

Now this bestselling author has turned his attention to the sneaky stipulations hidden in the fine print of just about every contract and government rule. Johnston has been known to whip out a utility bill—any 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 requirements to you, the unsuspecting customer, lie the tools many companies use to rob you blind. Even worse is what's missing—all the contractually binding clauses that companies hide elsewhere, yet still enforce.

The Fine Print is essential listening for anyone who wants to wrest power back from devious corporations and end their longstanding consumer abuse.

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Editorial Reviews

The Washington Post
David Cay Johnston is one of the few journalists who understand and write about the inner workings of the U.S. tax code. He's made a fine career of chronicling how large companies and the wealthy have plundered the government's coffers, often with help from the politicians who write our tax laws. His accolades include a Pulitzer Prize for exposing outrageous loopholes used to shelter vast amounts of income…The Fine Print expands on that theme, showing a gamut of ways in which big corporations, especially regulated utilities, cheat ordinary people (as well as each other) out of their money. Some of the examples could leave you feeling so disgusted and powerless that you might wonder if you were better off not knowing. But if you enjoy learning about the dirty little secrets behind the ways powerful businesses make their profits, you probably will like this book.
—Jonathan Weil
From the Publisher
"Todd McLaren narrates at a good pace, keeping the energy high throughout. Reading with conviction and enthusiasm, he makes it sound as if the words are his own." —-AudioFile
Kirkus Reviews
Veteran investigative reporter Johnston reveals how businesses, with the consent of government agencies, rip off consumers in plain sight. This book completes a kind of trilogy, after 2003's Perfectly Legal (about tax scams) and 2007's Free Lunch (about government subsidies). The "fine print" refers to a variety of bills--telephone, electric, water, insurance, credit card, hospital--and other documents that technically disclose costs to the bill payers but are intended to obscure as many hidden costs as possible. Although Johnston's research is meant to shame the powerful for accumulating eye-popping wealth by exploiting the less fortunate, the book also serves to empower recipients of the bills so they can demand repayment and maybe even systemic reform. In a closing chapter, Johnston recommends self-education by consumers, and he provides a start by delineating, for example, how to analyze a utility bill in order to fully understand the many clever surcharges and fees. The author hopes to encourage organized campaigns aimed at all levels and branches of government. The influence of the ballot box can speak truth to power, Johnston believes--perhaps naively but with heartwarming passion. Minimum-wage laws once seemed hopeless to achieve, he writes, yet they are now prevalent because consumers banded together effectively. Investigative journalism at its best, as Johnston seeks to comfort the afflicted while afflicting the comfortable.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781591846536
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 8/27/2013
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 307,713
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author


David Cay Johnston is a Pulitzer Prize–winning reporter and the author of books including the New York Times bestsellers Perfectly Legal and Free Lunch.

Former radio broadcaster Todd McLaren has been heard on more than 5,000 TV and radio commercials; narrations for documentaries on such networks as A&E and the History Channel; and films. His book narrations have earned him a prestigious Audie Award as well as a Publishers Weekly Listen-Up Award.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 6 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 2, 2012

    Worth reading

    Johnston brings up many points that cost American people and companies excessive money. It will help you understand how we have created the mess that we are in. Primarily he is saying a couple things that I took away; large corporations have excessive influence on what and how something is over regulated or insufficiently regulated & many of our important services (utilities and transportation) are essentially monopolies. Money buys power and influence which is pretty much common knowledge.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 22, 2012

    Highly Recommended - So much to learn!

    David Cay Johnston continues to amaze. I'm learning much about how Goverment and Corporations bilk the common family out of funds that should go to the betterment of all society.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 20, 2012

    NPR

    I just heard about this guy on NPR. This guy is so cool.

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 3, 2014

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 8, 2013

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 28, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

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