finder.com.au Money Podcast #38: Graham Cooke talks to us about supermarket overcharging

Marc Terrano 4 September 2017

Episode 38 news image

This week on the podcast we talk to Graham Cooke about recent supermarket overcharging scandals, consumer rights and why Australians only demand a refund for overcharging over $10.50 and iTunes discounts. Graham is finder.com.au's Insights Manager and produces data-driven content and analysis as well as consumer commentary.

Also on the podcast Adam, Marc and Liz talk about the new Affordable Housing Party, a dilapidated Strathfield cottage that sold for over $2 million, and how disruptive fintech startups really are.

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Read the transcript of this episode

Voice: Welcome to the Money Podcast from finder.com.au, Australia's most visited comparison site. The Finder Money Podcast is your weekly dose of finance and consumer news, tips and tricks without the boredom.

Marc: Hello, weary money travelers. Welcome to the finder.com.au Money Podcast. With me, as always, is myself, Marc Terrano, Liz Barry, Financial Panther.

Liz: Oh, thank you.

Marc: And Adam Scmiddy [SP] Smith, looking quite fresh today.

Adam: Hello, everybody.

Marc: How are we all?

Adam. Yeah, doing pretty good, pretty, pretty, pretty good, I gotta say.

Marc: Well, we have an awesome episode planned today. We have Graham, our InsightsManager coming in.

Adam: I always love when Graham comes in.

Marc: It's nice.

Adam: It's a treat for me.

Marc: Yeah.

Adam: Because I always feel like we learn all kinds of crazy stuff.

Marc: Yes.

Liz: The data doesn't lie.

Adam: Yeah, exactly. And he's got heaps of it. He comes in here with a wheelbarrow full of data. Usually, literally, just brings a wheelbarrow in filled with data.

Marc: And you also get treated to his lovely Irish accent, so it's just all around positive.

Adam: Yeah. Unless you're an Irishman, in which case it just sounds kinda boring to you. We probably sound interesting.

Marc: Yeah. So, everyone, there has been some goings on in the realm of finance lately.

Adam: I think something's afoot.

Marc: Shall we go into a bit of news? Cool. So, something I noticed that recently happened, which is actually pretty interesting, housing affordability is just something that, like, we hear literally every week. There's something new, houses too expensive, houses under 400k are vanishing...

Adam: That's rough.

Marc: It's rough.

Adam: It's rough out there.

Marc So, there has been a new political party formed to combat this called the Affordable Housing Party.

Liz: A whole political party around this?

Marc: Yes. They registered with the Electoral Commission earlier this month, and they basically have like a 6-pronged attack on housing affordability.

Adam: That feels like at least too too many prongs.

Marc: Well, I'll give you some of the choice prongs, obviously negative gearing, got it?

Adam: Got it.

Marc: Capital gains discount, gone. No overseas buyers.

Adam: None. None at all.

Marc: It just says stopping overseas buyers from buying Australian properties.

Adam: That sounds like a terrible, terrible idea.

Liz: Yeah, it's, yeah...

Adam: That doesn't help housing affordability.

Marc: Taxing properties left empty by investors.

Adam: Okay.

Marc: Okay. Cutting down immigration to 70,000 people annually.

Liz: Cutting down immigration.

Adam: That also sounds like a terrible idea.

Liz: That's just basing the assumption that everyone who immigrates is just buying up all the properties.

Adam: Yeah, exactly.

Marc: Yeah. Banning full-time Airbnb properties. And then...so this one is pretty, sort of, interesting and there is definitely a case for this, ending no-fault evictions for rental properties.

Adam: Okay.

Liz: They exist? No-fault eviction, so if you literally do nothing and you can get evicted?

Marc: Yeah, in some circumstances and in some places, you can. I don't know the...

Liz: So if I rent, and then, they could just be like, "Get out."

Marc: I think Adam probably knows more about this than I do, but if someone buys a property...

Adam: Well, if someone buys a property, if they decide to sell your property, then they have to give you notice. I think usually about 90 days.

Liz: Yeah, I was in that situation and I actually can't remember how much it was. It was between 60...I think it was actually shorter than that.

Adam: It varies from state to state.

Liz: Yeah, I think mine was 60 days. And I was quite shocked because I just assumed that they couldn't kick us out until the end of the lease. And then I was talking to my dad and he was like, "No, they can definitely kick you out."

Adam: Yeah, and were you still within your lease?

Liz: Yeah, we had like 9 months left.

Adam: Oh, wow.

Liz: Yeah, and we'd only been living there a few months, and you know, you think that you have until the end of your lease, and they're like, "Oh no, if it changes ownership, and they have, you know, a certain amount of time left." So, we were, you know, talking to the real estate agent every week saying, "Oh, so is the person buying an investor? Are they going to move in?" It's terrifying because you know, sometimes you don't know, so I always the option that I can... My parents live 15 minutes away. So if I can't find another place to live, have a dog, so if I can't find a place to live that allows pets, which is... It's actually really difficult.

Adam: Oh yeah, I know.

Liz: Yes, but I always have the option to go back to my parents, but a lot of people don't have that.

Adam: Yeah.

Liz: So I'm actually quite lucky, but I mean...

Marc: So you have been no-fault evicted?

Liz: Well, I was actually quite lucky because the person who bought it ended up being an investor and they actually wanted us to stay.

Marc: Oh, okay. I like you guys.

Liz: Yeah, that's right. And he loved the dog. Yeah, that's right.

Marc: Rare in an investor.

Liz: Yeah, it was funny. When he actually came in to see the property, he came in and he was actually, he was an Australian, but he had parents who lived overseas, and so he was Skyping his parents and he said, "Oh, this is the dog. This is the place." Yeah, so it was funny.

Marc: That's awesome.

Adam: Do you actually know your landlord?

Liz: No, the real estate agent told us the story of how he was...

Adam: Okay.

Liz: Yeah, yeah, yeah. That would be cool if we knew our owner. Like, "Oh hey, Dave."

Adam: I've met the owner of my property a couple of times.

Liz: Really?

Adam: Yeah.

Liz: That's cool.

Adam: That's the first time I've lived somewhere that I met the owners and they're lovely, lovely people.

Liz: Do you feel safer kinda living in the place?

Adam: I do, because they're really, really lovely people, and they really liked us. And they saw our baby, and now it's like, okay, well now you've got faces attached to the names. You can't do anything like, yeah, without...

Marc: Considering them first.

Adam: Exactly. But they are just really lovely people.

Marc: That's awesome.

Adam: You know, in most cases you kind of don't want your landlord real involved, you know, it's kinda nice if you just don't have any contact or anything. But in this case, it was actually really good.

Liz: Well that's good.

Adam: Yeah.

Marc: Awesome.

Liz: Know a bit about the situation.

Adam: Yeah. But look, a few of those prongs seem a bit...

Marc: A bit iffy?

Marc:... off-kilter.

Liz: I just wonder how many experts, I guess, weighed in on the...

Marc: Actually it was funny. So the news story...this was in news.com today. The news story did interview one property expert that was very, kind of, he really supported the idea that there is a bubble in the housing market, so his comments were kind of, came from that. But he did mention that some of these policies would be good if your aim is to secure renters and help people who wanna rent long term. You can say like the last point, and probably maybe, I don't know, the banning full-time Airbnb properties help sometimes?

Adam: That would probably help because it opens up more rental properties.

Liz: But I suppose even if it's, you know, supporting more long term renters, that's not the ideal scenario. Like, even though people are recognizing it's harder to get into the property market, it's still not the aim for a lot of people to long term rent.

Adam: Exactly. That's not really a housing affordability fix.

Liz: No, that's not making houses more affordable, it's just being like, "Oh, sorry."

Adam: That to me, sounds like the political party in New York, the Rent is too Damn High Party.

Liz: That's what they should call it.

Adam: Yeah

Marc: Yeah

Liz: They would go viral at least.

Adam: Well let's send them something.

Marc: Well, that might be Groupons.

Liz: I'll let them know. I'll send a quick e-mail. It'll be fun.

Adam: That party might be trademarked. So they'd have to check in. But they could be the Rent is Too Damn High Australia Party, potentially.

Liz: Yeah.

Adam: Housing affordability, obviously, huge issue, and here's something that is heavily symptomatic of that issue, is... I came across a news story about a cottage in Stratfield, nice, kind of, inner the west suburb. Yeah, it's very nice, but this cottage was unlivable, right? Absolutely unlivable. It was in horrible disrepair and it sold at auction for $2.2million.

Marc: Wow.

Adam: $600,000 above reserve.

Marc: Oh, why?

Adam: One bidder, who actually didn't win the property, put in a $1,830,000 bid, right? So, it's at 1.2 and he jacked it up to 1.5 with one bid. And every single registered bidder said that they planned to knock the property down.

Liz: So it's just for the land?

Adam: It's just for the land. $2.2 million for land.

Liz: And the location, I guess.

Marc: Look, Stratfield's a nice place, but I mean, unless there's like a box of gold [crosstalk]

Adam: Maybe they all have a treasure map.

Marc: And it was Curly's gold.

Adam: Yeah, there was a legend of Curly's gold.

Marc: It was actually moved to Stratfield.

Liz: Who knew?

Adam: But, yeah, that's the only way that this would make sense.

Liz: Wow.

Marc: See, that right there is why I will never be able to afford a place in Sydney.

Liz: Yeah, and with Stratfield you're right, it's a beautiful suburb, but if you look at how close it is to the city, it's not crazy close.

Adam: No, it's not.

Liz: And it's got a train station. That's about it.

Adam: Yeah.

Marc: There are some good frozen yogurt places.

Liz: Okay.

Adam: Good for the froyo.

Marc: Yes.

Liz: Good to know.

Marc: It's good for the big froyo.

Liz: Oh, well okay, interesting. Well, something else that came out this week, so, I'm a big fan of Fintech.

Marc: Really?

Liz: Yeah, you had no idea. But there was actually a new report this week from the World Economic Forum. They basically said that Fintechs have failed to disrupt the financial services market.

Adam: Well that's depressing. That's kind of their job, isn't it?

Liz: Yeah, I mean, so when Fintech first started, everyone was like, "Oh, it's gonna change everything." And they said that the report basically said that yes, there have been some changes, but the level of disruption that was expected basically hasn't happened.

Marc: It's still early days though, right?

Liz: Well, I mean, it has been a few years. It's been at least 10 years since some of the...

Marc: Ten years?

Liz: Yes, since some of the first, you know, P to P lenders came out in the UK, and things like that. So they've had a bit of time, but basically what the report looked at was that the strategy of a lot of Fintech companies that are coming out has changed. So a lot of Fintech companies coming out now, their strategy from day one is to partner with financial organizations.

Adam: Yeah, yeah.

Marc: Oh, right. Yeah, you're right.

Liz: Yeah, because it's too hard for them to compete with the budgets and all these kind of things, so, yeah, that's basically what the report was saying.

Marc: Well, that's depressing.

Liz: Yeah, it kind of is, because...well consumers are still benefiting, because what the financial, what the large banks and financial organizations are doing is, they're kind of adapting the ideas that these smaller Fintech companies are coming out and doing. And they're either partnering with them or they're adapting their ideas and taking them on.

Adam: That to me, that's a level disruption wouldn't you say? Because I mean, that changes the way that the bigger lenders have to do business. So I'd say that to me seems like at least some level of disruption.

Marc: I don't think we're being too harsh on them.

Liz: You're doing fine.

Marc: Cut the Fintech some slack report.

Liz: Well, this aim got a lot of partnerships have happened, so the disruption is there, but an interesting thing that a report is saying is basically that larger technology companies, that's where we're gonna see real disruptions. So companies like Facebook, companies like Amazon, when they come out with their own financial products, that's when we're gonna see true disruption.

Adam: Yeah, honestly if they ever decided to get into those kind of markets, then even a lot of the traditional finance companies, I think would be screwed.

Marc: I think it comes down to trust, though. That's probably a barrier that the Fintechs face as well. It's like, you know, if your parents and their parents have always put money into a bank, or always done things one way financially.

Adam: But I feel like for some of these tech companies, they've already cleared that hurdle.

Marc: Right.

Liz: Yeah.

Marc: The Facebook, Visa, [inaudible 00:12:33].

Adam: Well think about everything that we've trust Facebook with already.

Marc: That's right.

Adam: Think about all the aspects of our lives we already trust them with.

Liz: The thing about this, if Facebook came out with a home loan, would you take it out?

Adam: I think it would depend upon what set it apart from other home loans.

Marc: Can you imagine how they would evaluate your borrowing power?

Liz: Oh, man.

Adam: I know. They could go through..

Liz: We know.

Adam: I saw that photo. Look at this stupid photo of you from when you were 16.

Marc: Just because of that we're gonna take $10,000 off your borrowing power.

Adam: Yeah. I think not. You're wearing a Spam shirt. But yeah, I mean, I think it would. It would depend upon the actual what set it apart? What made a point of difference? Because I think that's the thing. Is a company like that would have to have...there would have to be a point of difference to the product they're offering that tied into the services that they already provided. You know what I mean? Like there's something that would make a Facebook loan uniquely a Facebook loan, you know? Or like Amazon, like what would make that uniquely an Amazon product? And if they kind of crack that code, then I think, yeah, most people I think would be open to it.

Liz: Yeah.

Marc: And it would have to be backed by another bank I'd say. Like Facebook would have to partner with someone to offer a loan.

Adam: But would they? Because think about... Okay, like we were talking about Apple having those crazy cash reserves?

Marc: Right, that's true.

Adam: Like, I mean, that's an amazing amount of capital to hae just sitting there waiting to do something with.

Marc: Right.

Liz: Yeah. I think even companies like Google, they come at products in such an innovative way. I even think that, you know, that we come up with a product that these other companies just couldn't even imagine. It would be so tailored.

Adam: Yeah, and that's exactly it. The idea of, like, would you take out the loan? Well, you can't say yes or no with that because it could be something so different that it doesn't look even slightly like any financial product we've ever seen before, right? That it completely changes the way you even think about financial products. Kind of the way Facebook pretty much changed the way we think about communication. I mean, it's probably the biggest leap forward in human communication since the printing press, you know.

Liz: Yeah, and they keep innovating it as well. So, you know, people are like, "Oh, it's just another social network." But it's like everyone's still here. Everyone's still making accounts, and it's like, if someone's known on Facebook they're like... That's just weird.

Adam: It's like you don't exist.

Liz: Yeah, it basically is.

Adam: And so, no one could've conceived of that leap forward. I mean, honestly, it's probably...it's like you don't think about it because it's just a silly little social network where you spend time. But honestly, the way it changed how humans communicate with each other is one of the most monumental things to happen in human history. And apply that to finance products. You couldn't even conceive of what it could be.

Liz: Yeah.

Marc: with lots of cat memes.

Adam: Yes, exactly. The cat meme home loan.

Liz: Oh, my gosh. [crosstalk] Tha's great.

Adam: Sign me up.

Marc: Well, I'm feeling suitably informed.

Liz: Yeah, I guess so.

Marc: Yeah.

Adam: I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed.

Marc: Shall we delve into a bit of humorous money stories?

Liz: Humorous finance?

Marc: Funny money perhaps.

Liz: I guess you could call it that.

[music 00:16:06 - 00:16:19]

Liz: Okay, so I have a question for you, guys.

Adam: 300.

[crosstalk]

Liz: You guys suck. Okay, would you like to be paid a salary of $162,000?

Adam: I would love that.

Marc: Yeah.

Liz: I mean I don't even have it on me.

Marc: You promised, Liz. You promised.

Liz: Okay, so I'm gonna go through a list of non-negotiables for you.

Adam: Okay.

Liz: Okay, so you have to have 15 years nannying experience.

Adam: Okay.

Marc: Check.

Liz: You have to have a psychology degree.

Marc: Sure.

Liz: You have to have no children. Sorry Adam.

Adam: That's a tough one.

Liz: Marc, you're still in.

Marc: Okay, I'm still in, yup.

Liz: You have to work six days a week. 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Marc: Okay. For the purpose of this exercise, I'm still in.

Liz: You have to fly internationally up to three times a week.

Adam: What? Three times a week?

Marc: Wow. Where? How far?

Liz: Doesn't say.

Marc: Is it like internationally, Australia to New Zealand? Or is it like Australia to, you know, I don't know, Scotland?

Liz: It's between London, Barbados, Cape Town, and Atlanta.

Marc: Oh that... this sounds super dodgy.

Liz: You have to assist children during homeschooling and obviously further studies.

Marc: Okay. I'm just waiting for the, "must smuggle diamonds."

Adam: Yeah, exactly. When you think about the locations you're travelling to internationally, this sounds super sketch.

Liz: You have to have a clean driver's license because you have to be able to drive a Porsche, a Maserati, and Range Rover.

Marc: Done.

Adam: Done. And getaway cars.

Liz: So, I'm officially out because you must not be binge drink on or...well, not out on this aspect, or take drugs on their day off.

Marc: On your one day off? Okay, done.

Liz: And you must sign a non-disclosure agreement.

Marc: Oh, that's dodgy.

Adam: Wi...Liz, the binge drinking...

Liz: Oh, I'm totally out on the binge drinking.

Marc: Yeah, exactly. Even on the day, like...

Liz: I can't believe someone would finish work and not want a glass of wine. It just confuses me.

Marc: But is that binge drinking? For the purposes of this job ad?

Adam: For Liz' purposes.

Liz: Well, I think binge drinking is only when you drink on the weekend, right?

Marc: Oh.

Adam: Well, I think it's more like how you drink then the timing. And I think that...

Liz: Look, I'm just gonna say I'm out.

Adam: Yeah. Let's play it safe. Let's play it safe.

Liz: Basically, this was a job ad that was put up for a family looking for a nanny on a UK website. And they were non-negotiables. But the salary was so high, so yeah, I just thought it was hilarious.

Marc: Wow.

Adam: Wow

Liz: Yeah

Marc: That's nice. Like, it's a nice little gig if you are single and you wanna see the world.

Liz: I guess so. But it's just those non-negotiables, they're just insane. Like the salary is so high but you get one day off, and during the week you're driving all these fancy cars and travelling, but it's just like you're working what, like 12 hour days.

Adam: Yeah, but what if you did it for one year?

Liz: Yeah, that's true.

Adam: I mean like I could do that for one year. Hell I could go to prison for a year.

Marc: And I wonder if you get taxed. Like, where do you get taxed? What country?

Liz: Oh, that's interesting. I suppose the UK, because you're just travelling.

Marc: Right. Then maybe they've got some kind of underhanded deal with whichever...

Liz: I'm sure you could sort it out.

Adam: Yeah, you're actually considered, like, you're employed in the Cayman Islands, so you don't get taxed at all.

Liz: Yeah, you're fine.

Marc: Well, that does sound like a good job, but yeah, I think it would really rely on the family that you're looking after, and if you really like them then it might not feel like work.

Adam: I mean, they're definitely in organized crime, right? We can agree on that.

Liz: The job ad did specify that the children are quite demanding, and they're homeschooled as well.

Adam: Oh.

Marc: Oh, and it said in the ad they were demanding?

Liz: Yeah, and it also says that even though that they're homeschooled, you don't have to do the homeschooling, but even during those hours you'd still have to, you know...

Adam: Like, you're kinda on call.

Liz: Oh yeah, yeah.

Adam: They basically said in the ad, "My kids suck."

Liz: Yeah, a hundred percent.

Adam: Wow. That's crazy.

Liz: I'd be just so scared of crashing the cars. I'm not a good driver. I know that.

Adam: I'd be scared of the people. Because if you apply for a job with all those kind of, like, stipulations and perks, right, the kind of person that you work for, if you do a bad job, you don't get fired, you end up in an unmarked grave.

Marc: Sleeping with the fishes.

Adam: Yeah, exactly.

Liz: In a ditch somewhere.

Adam: Yes exactly.They find you in a landfill.

Liz: With no fingerprints.

Marc: It's interesting that you would need to travel up to three times per week internationally. What is happening?

Adam: How do you even travel from London to Cape Town three times a week? That's just...

Liz: And yeah why are the children travelling that much? I don't know what these people do.

Adam: There is something really sketchy about them.

Marc: Yeah, this funny money has really raised more questions than it's answered.

Liz: I apologize.

Adam: Man, I feel as confused as when we talked about the Facebook home loan. Everything's still up in the air.

Marc: Well, I'll tell you what, guys, if you do want to get yourself a gig somewhere, you wanna get yourself a sweet gig, yeah of course, you're looking...

Liz: Get me out of here.

Adam: The first thing you need to do, right, is you need to know how to get in contact with the right kind of people, with decision makers. Well, "Time" magazine has actually given us an e-mail template that will get you a meeting with anyone, they say, no matter how successful they are, no matter how intimidating they are, guaranteed to get you a meeting. The CEO of Growth Lab, Ramit Sethi, on his website, "I Will Teach You to be Rich" has posted this e-mail template that he says will 100% of the time get you a meeting with someone, right? And so here's the template that you can use and you just kinda sub out your own details. So subject line, "Michigan State grad would love to chat about your work at Deloit [SP]. Hi, Jane. My name is Samantha Kert .[SP] I'm an 04 grad from Michigan State, and I came across your name on our alumni website." Says tell them how you came across their name so you don't seem like a creep.

Liz: Fair enough.

Adam: "I'd love to get your career for 15 to 20 minutes. I'm currently working at Acme Tech Company, but many of my friends work in consulting, and each time they tell me how much they love their job I get more interested." And so, the first sentence it says what she wants. Most people are flattered that people want/value their advice, okay? "Most of them have told me that if I'm interested in consulting, I have to talk to someone at the Deloit. Do you think I could ask you about your job, and what motivated you to choose the Deloit? I'd especially love to know how you made your choices after graduating from Michigan State." Michigan State reinforces a shared bond. "I can meet you for coffee, or at your office, or wherever it's convenient. I can work around you." It says, the busy person is more important than you. Treat them accordingly. "Would it be possible for us to meet?" Says a busy person can simply reply to this with a "Yes, perfect." Note that I didn't ask for the time or location because that's too much information in the first e-mail.

Okay, so, I decided let's put this to the test, right? Let's try and get a meeting with a busy person, okay? And now, I just sent this out this morning. So, I'll have to keep you updated. But I thought, "Who's a busy person?" The Pope. He's pretty busy, Pope's pretty busy, right? So, I went to the contact on the Vatican webite and I sent the following email, "Hi, Pope Francis. My name is Adam Smith, I'm a journalist in Australia, and I came across your site while researching whether or not the Pope had an e-mail address. I've never been to your home country of Argentina, but it sounds pretty great. I'd love to get your spiritual advice for 15 to 20 minutes. I'm currently a Quasideaist [SP], but many of my friends are Catholic, and each time they tell me how much they love their religion, I get more interested. Most of them have told me that if I'm interested in Catholicism, I have to talk to someone at the Vatican. Do you think I could speak to you about your job and what motivated you to choose Catholicism? I'd especially love to know how you made your choices after growing up in Argentina. I can meet you for coffee, or at your office, or wherever it's convenient. I can work around you. Would it be possible for us to meet? Thanks. Adam." So, I'll let you know what I get back.

Marc: I'm so curious.

Adam: This is guaranteed to get me a meeting, it says. So, look, I'm a...

Liz: You have to, like...

Adam: Book in flights to Rome. And obviously, I'd be sitting down with the Pope for coffee.

Marc: Wow.

Adam: And we'll have a little chat on how he got into this whole Catholicism.

Liz: I actually saw that flights to Rome were under $1,000 today.

Adam: Well, there you go. Was that on the lovely finder.com.au?

Liz: I do.

Adam: [crosstalk] be shameless about that. So you can head there, and if you wanna meet with the Pope, you could use that e-mail template that I did and book a flight.

Liz: I mean, I'd love to meet the Pope.

Adam: Head over to finder.com.au, compare some air fares and fly over and sit down for coffee and just chat it out with Pope Francis.

Liz: I just have so many... How did you even come up with the Pope? That's just...

Adam: I thought he was probably the busiest person I could think of to send an e-mail to, to test this theory because this has...

Liz: I'm surprised you didn't even try and e-mail Obama again about your canny idea.

Adam: Yeah, I was thinking you were gonna say send it to Obama.

Marc: Well, he's not as busy.

Liz: Following up on my previous canny idea.

Adam: He's not as busy anymore because he's retired, so I thought... This thing says no matter how busy or intimidating. Show me someone who's busier or more intimidating that the Pope.

Marc: That's a really good idea.

Adam: So this is proof of concept.

Marc: I think the hundred percent strike rate promise is so, so crazy.

Adam: Well, like I said, this is proof of concept. If this is a hundrend percent effective, then I will be sitting down with the Pope in a week or two.

Marc: Can you imagine if you actually ended up sitting down with the Pope?

Adam: It works. Well...

Liz: Try to get him on to poke us.

Adam: Yeah. That kid's got a lot of money, let's talk finance. You want to give it to the poor and stuff. Let's have a chat about that.

Liz: What's the interest rate on your...

Marc: On your $7 trillion home.

Liz: Yeah.

Adam: So yeah, I'll let you know how it goes.

Marc: Wow. We'll keep everyone updated. Okay, guys, have you ever wished that you could rent a family member for an occasion or rent a partner to fill an awkward situation that maybe, you've told someone that you have...

Liz: Everyday.

Marc: You can, and it's called prostitution.

Liz: But if you, like, wanted to be guaranteed that they'd look like and act like a boyfriend.

Adam: Ah, okay. Well, once again, I think...

Liz: Can you actually rent, like, someone that acts as a boyfriend?

Marc: Well, Liz, I'm glad that you asked, because now you can.

Liz: And that pretends to... Really?

Marc: So in Japan...

Liz: Not that I'm actually really interested, but I'm like, "Tell me more."

Marc: What's their website?

[crosstalk]

Marc: So, a Japanese entrepreneur has started a company where you can basically higher parents, partners, like a best man at a wedding, to fill in roles where you might not have someone to do that. So for example, one of the examples given was a, you know, maybe someone tells their parents, "Oh, I've got a girlfriend." And then he really doesn't. And then he'll approach this entrepreneur and he'll basically hire out someone to pretend to be his girlfriend just to meet his parents. So that they don't think that he's dirty rotten liar. Which he is. And apparently, the most popular service was parent stand-ins.

Adam: That's interesting.

Liz: When would you need that, though?

Adam: Well, what if your parents really suck, you know?

Marc: Yeah.

Adam: And like you want to introduce say, someone you've been dating to your parents, but your parents just really suck.

Liz: But eventually if you get married, they can be like, "Those aren't your parents. "

Adam: Oh, just be like, you know, if your parents really suck and you're not gonna invite them to your wedding or something.

Marc: That's a good point.

Adam: You could just be like, "Oh yeah, those parents, you remember you met them, they died in a blimp accident.

Marc: A blimp accident. They died on Zeppelin.

Adam: Very sad. "They won't be coming to our wedding."

Liz: But I have these other parents.

Marc: It costs $275 per person for that sort of service, for the parent stand-in service. But apparently you can rent like a whole wedding, like a whole group of...like a whole family for a wedding. So just say you don't have, or you don't want to invite your own family. This guy has organized 30 - 40 people in one occasion.

Liz: Oh, my gosh.

Adam: That's pretty impressive.

Liz: I wanna be one of those people.

Marc: Well apparently, he just finds them on the internet and he doesn't meet with them. He just takes into account all their looks and stuff like that, and their demeanor, and I don't know how he does that.

Adam: I'd be a stand-in. I'd be arm-candy.

Liz: Surely you have to do like an audition to make sure that you could...

Marc: Yeah, he must have some kind of quality control.

Adam: No binge drinking I think is one of his stipulations.

Liz: Dammit.

Marc: Out again.

Liz: I'm out again. Oh, God.

Marc: But yeah. I just think it's interesting, like a... Yeah, suppose... Is it maybe gonna come to Australia one day? Could we possibly rent a podcast guest?

Liz: Maybe I could just steal the idea and start it myself.

Adam: There you go.

Marc: Yeah.

Liz: Yeah Stealing ideas is...

Marc: Cooking with fire?

Adam: I don't want "Shark tank."

Liz: Oh hello. That would be a great idea.

Marc: That is a good idea.

Liz: If I could just hire someone to be my stand-in on "Shark Tank." Someone with more confidence.

Marc: And then when they do the bay role, like they take the actor to the office, and they're just in your desk pretending to be you, I'm like, "Hey, Liz." All right, well, are we all suitably laughed out?

Adam: I think so.

Liz: Yeah.

Marc: Shall we maybe touch on some trading of shares, perhaps?

Adam: Oh, mercy me.

Marc: It has been a bit of a roller coaster.

Adam: What a roller coaster. Goodness me.

Liz: Yeah.

Adam: Now, Thunderdome hasn't actually ended.

Marc: Okay, so, I was gonna ask you, Adam why I had a $1,000,000 in my account and it had changed into a currency trading game?

Adam: Has it actually changed into a currency trading game?

Marc: If you look there it seems like it has, and I have like $1,000,000 now.

Liz: I just... I get...

Adam: That's funny. I still have my same amount. So...

Liz: I also have $1,000,000.

Adam: Yeah, see?

Liz: Oh, I feel so much better about my lack of skills.

Marc: You know what the funny thing is? We still didn't pay Adam, though, even with $1,000,000.

Adam: No, not even close. Yeah, it says this contest has ended. So, let's see, rankings. So the final rankings...

Liz: I'm 722 out of 817.

Adam: Does it tell you on Thunderdome? It tells you you ranked out of...

Marc: Well I couldn't say who won our competition because it had just removed everything.

Liz: I would assume that I came last.

Adam: Okay, here's how it ended up, I came in first. Marc, guess what?

Marc: You came in last.

Adam: You came in 2nd.

Marc: Whoa. What?

Adam: You came in 2nd, with a portfolio value of $53,650.63.

Marc: Wow. I'm so curious to see what stocks did the best.

Adam: Pretty good. Al came in 3rd, at $52,654.91. And Liz, you're bringing up the rear. But you still made money, $50,556.41.

Liz: How did I make money? I'm very confused.

Adam: I don't know. You did, though.

Marc: You know, Liz, you ought to give yourself more credit. You were doing really well towards the middle, and the start and the middle of the comp.

Liz: Yeah. I got very stressed out, so I stopped looking at it.

Marc: Well, speaking of that, the ASX game has made me feel like that. So, I think we can both, we can all agree that it's a lot harder than virtual stock exchange.

Adam: Very much so.

Liz: Definitely. I am keen to talk about it, though.

Adam: Yes.

Liz: So, I was actually doing very well at the ASX game. I was consistently coming in 2nd, I had made money, I've definitely adopted the strategy of just set and forget. I felt like my stocks were doing really well, so I just purchased them and left them. And then I hadn't looked at it for a few days, so I was like, "Oh, check that my ranking is still there." And I dropped down to about 10, and I was like, "Oh, no." And I'd actually lost money, and I was very stressed, so I just looked at it now, and I've clammored back up to a position 7, but I have still lost money. So, I'm currently on $49,766, so I've still lost a little bit of money, but I'm...coming 7th isn't that bad in our league. I'm still beating Marc, so it's fine. See, I'm not doing terribly, I think I'm still gonna stick to my... So, I've invested in a certain industry, so I think I'm just gonna stick to that. Basically, because I don't know what to do.

Adam: I'm in this weird place where I've been sitting at 3rd for a long time now. And everything has changed around me. Like the people in 1st and 2nd, Paul and Deb. The whole leader board has shifted around me, but I've stayed in 3rd somehow.

Marc: On $50,548, which is, like we started with 50k.

Adam: It's not terrible. It's not terrible.

Liz: Are you still sticking to the same strategy you were in the other game?

Adam: No, because I was doing that strategy, I'll get back to that strategy when my portfolio recovers, because I'm doing exactly what Chris from Stockspot told us not to, which is chasing my losses. So I've got... all four of the companies I own are seriously, seriously, like below where I bought them. Like big time. One is almost $1,000 that I've lost on. But I'm just, like, these have to come back. They just have to. I'm not gonna sell them. I'm not gonna sell them. And that's probably a dumb strategy, but I just feel like looking at the shares that I have, looking at their performance over kind of the medium term, they performed pretty well. So I just feel like there's room for them to come back and then I can dump them and start anew.

Marc: Right.

Liz: Okay.

Adam: So it's like I said, it's probably a dumb stategy, but that's what I'm doing.

Marc: That's basically what I've been doing. So, let's give a shoutout to the top 3. So, Adam, you're obviously, in 3rd place, $50,548, we have Nadia Perilli [SP] in 2nd place with $51,08.65. And then topping the leaderboard of our little league is Lee Goulet [SP] with $51,094.72.

Adam: Yeah. Not bad.

Liz: Not bad at all.

Adam: I cracke $51,000 one day and I was real, real happy, and then I just absolutely got hammered.

Marc: Well, Dean, so one of the other participants in this game, did really well at the start. He came out roaring stock, now he's kind of taken a hit.

Adam: Yeah, poor Dean. He's...

Liz: Poor Dean is number 15 now.

Adam: Yeah it's been a rough week.

Marc: Yeah, it's been a bloodbath. So, I suppose in my trading, so last week, I, for some reason...so I had a stock that wasn't doing too well, but it was still in the green. Then all of a sudden just lost $500 in like a day.

Adam: Wow.

Marc: So I was just like,"I'm gonna cut my losses and sell it." So now I'm $500 behind. Everything else is doing pretty well, but like , I've had basically another one of those happen with another stock, so I'm about... So I've lost a lot of money just through, like, one or two bad choices. But so far, I've got some stocks in like online listings, education and banks, which are doing well, and technology is where I'm doing badly. So...

Liz: Yeah.

Adam: I'm calling it, "Today is the day that my fortunes reversed and everything goes well for me."

Marc: It's a bold call.

Adam: That today all those stocks are headed back in positive territory.

Liz: Yeah, I think with tech stocks, you're really gonna do really well or really badly.

Adam: Yeah, yeah.

Marc: Yeah it seems like it's a lot more volatile.

Liz: Yeah, a hundred percent.

Marc: Am I using the right terminology there?

Adam: Well, I think that's what we were talking about is that you realize that even these big companies just if you're looking in the very, very short term, are super volatile.

Marc: Yes.

Liz: Yup.

Adam: Like, when you've got a decent amount of money invested in them, it's very volatile.

Liz: Yeah

Marc: That's what Noel was saying as well. The time period kind of fences you in as well, because there's more that could happen in that short period of time that can, you know, screw you up. When really, like over the long term, you'd probably be fine.

Adam: Exactly. Well, that's what Al was talking about, isn't it? That's why you set things and just don't look at them.

Liz: Yeah.

Adam: Because otherwise, if you were to look at the portfolio like I have right now, which probably, over the longer term, is a very solid portfolio. If you look at it right now, you would be absolutely shitting yourself.

Marc: Yes.

Liz: Yeah, and speaking as a non-expert, I'm not giving advice, I would just stay away from investing in any companies that I actually recognize the name of. Just because...

Marc: Really?

Liz: Yeah, a hundred percent. Because it would literally be like gambling, because if they release an announcement, that could just literally, like, it's either sink or swim. Because as soon as they release an announcement everyone knows about it.

Marc: That's true.

Liz: And as soon as they release that announcement, everyone's either gonna sell that stock because they're gonna go out, "Oh, my gosh." All the other investors immediately know about it, and everyone's gonna panic, because they're gonna be like, "Oh." Immediately everyone knows about it, but if it's a smaller company, they're gonna be like, "Oh, you know." And so I'm just thinking about how other people are gonna react.

Adam: That's interesting. That could have something to do with why they're so volatile, because they're much more visible.

Liz: Hundred percent, hundred percent. That's what I'm thinking about it. So, all the companies that I've invested in are smaller companies. Obviously, I wouldn't do this in real life. But I've just thought about it, like smaller companies, like people are just gonna probably be thinking about how other investors are gonna react to those announcements. And probably gonna be like sticking to them a little bit more.

Adam: Interesting. That is a very intriguing strategy.

Liz: Yeah, so I'm not thinking about the companies, but I'm like, thinking about how the other investors are gonna be reacting to those announcements. And be like, "Should I hold on it? Should I not?"

Marc: Interesting. I haven't gone that far down. [crosstalk]

Adam: You're playing head games with people.

Liz: Yeah, well, I just think about how the investors that I'm investing with are gonna react, not about the companies.

Marc: You think of what someone smarter than yourself would do and then you do that.

Liz: Yeah, that's right. Because I can't understand the more technical side of investing, so I just think about what I do understand about other people.

Adam: Interesting.

Marc: That is fascinating, Liz Barry.

Liz: Mm-hmm. Yeah.

Marc: Well...

Liz: I still won't tell you the industry.

Adam: Well, I mean, look for all that you are actually losing, but...

Liz: Oh, I'll climb back up. I'll climb back up.

Adam: I believe you. I believe you. You've actually done very well.

Liz: Thank you.

Marc: Well, we'll keep everyone updated. Look, I don't know if the game is still open. I'm still seeing ads on the ASX website for registration so like I said, if you do wanna play with us, I'll put the notes, the instructions on the notes page, and join. I mean, you'll be coming in with 50k, so you'll actually be coming in better off than I am right now, so...

Liz: Yeah, me too.

Marc: So you're already winning.

Adam: And you know what? You're winning just by getting out there and doing something.

Liz: Yeah, that's right.

Adam: Getting out there and being active.

Marc: Game of knowledge.

Liz: Oh, beautiful.

Marc: Okay, well, speaking of knowledge...

Adam: Yeah.

Marc: Let's get Graham in here with his wheelbarrow full of it. Well, welcome to the studio, Graham.

Graham: Good afternoon, good morning, everybody.

Adam: We absolutely love when we get you on here, Graham, because it always feels like we'll walk away with a lot of...

Graham: I'm waiting for the catch phrase.

Adam: ...news we can use.

Graham: There you go.

Adam: [inaudible 41:01:00] So, we're very thrilled to have you back with your wheelbarrow full of data.

Graham: In this case, I have four pages.

Marc: Yeah, where's the wheelbarrow that he's promised?

Adam: He's still brought in a wheelbarrow. It seemed unnecessary, but it's his thing.

Marc: So, look, Liz and I, last week, we chatted oh so briefly about why you should check your receipt when you go to a supermarket. And we talked about the fact a lot of people don't check their receipts. I don't think I ever have. So tell us, why is it so vital that we be checking our receipts when we go to the supermarket? Are we getting taken for a ride?

Graham: Oh this is the thing, potentially the answer here is obvious. Yes, because you can get overcharged. This is in the news quite a lot recently because, you may have heard of, like a Woolworths overcharge issue that people have been talking about.

Marc: So what happened with that? I didn't pay attention.

Graham: So basically, we don't obviously know the exact details, but one of the payment providers to Woolworths seems to have rerun an old payment for her, or something like that. And everybody who used their credit card in Woolworths via that payment company over a certain set of dates earlier in the year, ended up getting double charged on their bank for those transactions. So if you spent 10 bucks in Woolworths, it might only be 10 bucks, but if you did a whole weekly shop, you get $300 or $400 taken out of your [crosstalk].

Marc: For ghost groceries.

[crosstalk]

Adam: Ghosteries.

Liz: Ghosteries, ooh.

Graham: So people ended up getting these, you know, ghost payments and it all exploded. Woolworths Facebook page lit up, and it was all over the news.

Liz: Because that's so bad, because you could get overdrawn in your account, I mean, that could lead to people not being approved on loans, or something like that.

Adam: They have APs declined, because they, yeah, because they all of a sudden have $300 or $400 less in their account. Like man, that's a big deal.

Graham: Yeah, there was people giving it on the Facebook page about, you know, overdraft fees they have to pay, and all the proper things, so it went crazy. To be fair, Woolworths did commit immediately and acknowledged it, and I think somebody in there must have got a kicking for it happening presumably. And they refunded everybody. They pledged also to refund anybody who had received any extra charges and suchs.

Adam: Ah, okay.

Graham: But this was noticed en masse, but this type of thing could potentially happen with your bank account or whatever. And a lot of people today, I don't know about you guys, but I certainly have more than one account now, and more than one card, you know, so I have a savings account, and I've got a couple of debit cards and a credit card. And sometimes it can be difficult to track every single one of them, and like, take off every single transaction. And often, you know, you get your credit card statement and you'll see names on there, and you'd be like, [inaudible 43:41:00].

Together: Yeah.

Graham: That can be a little bit confusing to try and kinda track all your spending. So it's really important to keep an eye on it. Nowadays, you can make it easier. Rather than having to go and check every single account, getting your hands on one of those accounts amalgamation apps, like PocketBook...

Marc: Which I love, yeah.

[crosstalk]

Graham: So it's not just your supermarket receipt, but also like your bank statement. We need keep an eye on the transactions there and make sure you're not... This isn't happening to you and not getting noticed.

Liz: Yeah, because... Yeah, you're right. Like, having a few different accounts, because, you know, a little while ago, I was like, "Oh, it's just so much easier to have one account." But there are so many benefits having a couple of different accounts and moving your money around, and...but you're right. It is so hard to keep track of, yeah.

Graham: But that's how you capitalize, you write multiple accounts. I mean, if you look at ING at the moment, they have one of the best saving rates in the country, I think it's 3% or 3.05%. And you'll only get that if you have a current account with ING, and you're depositing $1,000 a month. And I still have $200 grand in savings. I may have a similar account, but you can get these little kind of benefits in different accounts, so you know, $1,000 a month doesn't mean that's all of your income, you could divide your income across two accounts, you could get the benefits from two accounts, so, whatever. So, like, you know, the way to hack banking now is to have multiple accounts. And if you do that, you're need to gonna gather everything together, make it easier to see if you got double charged.

Liz: Yeah, hack banking, I love it.

Adam: So what are your consumer rights in this situation, in this scenario, where you've been double charged by Woolworths?

Liz: Other that posting to Facebook and yelling at the social media thing, because I feel like a lot of people are just like, "Ah, I'm gonna yell at Woolworths." But really, you're yelling at the social media team. I hope people understand that.

Adam: It's probably an intern. I't probably an intern.

Liz: A hundred percent it's intern, or it's this poor person who's studying communications at university, being like, "Please, c'mon. I have a template that I just need to respond to you by...c'mon."

Graham: Sometimes that's the only way to get a response, though. But we were in Brisbane recently and had an issue with Transport Queensland ticket pricing. And we tried the phone line, and it was like, a long wait time, and then my wife just tweeted Transport Queensland and got, like, a reply to our issue within 3 or 4 minutes. So, currently people aren't exploiting that enough to, you know, make it clogged as a transport channel, so you know, that can be that [inaudible 00:46:00]. What was your question, sorry?

Marc: Oh, your consumer rights.

Adam: Yeah your consumer rights.

Graham: Yeah yeah yeah. So if you obviously get double charged, you're entitled to a refund. If you get charged more than the sticker price on the shelf, you're entitled to a refund. Woolworths and Kohl's have both signed up for the thing called the "grocery code of conduct". Now this is a voluntary set of morals that bigger retailers will sign up to. It goes above and beyond your legal rights. With Woolworths and Kohl's if you see something on the shelf and you get charged differently on your receipt, they won't just refund the difference. They'd actually give you the money back the whole product. So that's really good. Interesting.

Adam: So, are they signed up to this, or they're just kinda the lawless bad boy riding in on their motorcyle, like, "We'll charge you whatever we want. We don't give a..."

Graham: I have no idea. Potentially the latter. I think they'll probably sort you out if you had any issues.

Adam: Okay, that's good to know.

Graham: Give an IGA.

Adam: They not gonna, like, break a bottle, and like, come at me like, "Where's my money, man?"

Graham: We might be looking to get a receipt in IGA. [inaudible 47:07:00]

Adam: Now, that's an interesting thing that you brought up, though, is getting charged more than the sticker price. Like, is that a big problem that happens?

Graham: Well, with large kind of companies like Woolworths and Kohl's the pricing systems are so kind of large and complex. Now, we've done a survey about people who are overcharged and how often it happens and stuff. From the survey we've seen that only one in four people checked their receipt, which is quite surprising really. But we then asked people, you know, "If you did notice an issue on your receipt, what would be the...say you got all the way back to your car or whatever, what would be the overcharge that would make you turn back and go back to the store, and go to customer service, and you know, ask for a refund?" And the average amount across the country, I found, surprisingly, was $10.50.

Adam: Wow, that's an awful lot.

Graham: Up until that. Yeah, before they'd turn back.

Adam: Wow. Yeah, like what are you just saying they're like "Ah, you know, Woolworths could use the money. I'll let them have it."

Marc: You know what the funny thing is? That I was recently in Melbourne, and I sort of got... It wasn't really an overcharge, but it was like you know, the shuttle to the airport couldn't get us there, so I had to pay for a taxi, and then they said, "Oh, we'll reimburse you." And it was about $10. And basically, like, I still haven't contacted them to get my money, because I'm like, "Ah, It's 10 bucks, and I gotta get on the phone wsit 15 minutes for them, and then give them my bank details." So maybe it's just lazy people like me.

Graham: If it were 50 cents more, would you do it?

Marc: Yes. I'm like, "Give me my money."

Graham: That's the borderline.

Adam: Am I the only one who when you're grocery shopping doesn't like... I mean, look, in a loose way, yes of course, I pay attention to prices, but like, if I got overcharged for something by $1, even checking my receipt, I don't know if I'd notice it.

Graham: You gotta memorize every single price as you go to the store.

Liz: I feel like if I find something, like a really good price, you know how dishwashing towels are really expensive? If I find that for a half-price, and I'm going through self-checkout or something like that, or even if I'm going through the normal checkout, I might look at the price when it goes through, just to make sure it's gone through as half-price. But other prices, I don't notice, and I usually don't get receipts because I think I'm saving paper.

Adam: And that makes you wonder if overcharging is happening more often than [crosstalk].

Marc: With self-service. Yeah. Does that help or hinder or not?

Graham: With self-service, I'll tell you what's happening there is a lot of thievery. So the supermarkets actually with self-service, you know, that they build in an understanding that a certain amount of stock will go through those self-service tills unscanned. This has been discussed in the UK as well. So there's definitely a percentage of lazy scanning/stealing that goes on. And the cost to the supermarkets of that lost stock is less than what they would pay a person to run that till.

Liz: Yeah.

Marc: Wow. Very interesting

Adam: Seems to make sense, yeah.

Marc: I seem to remember something happening with Kohls, I think like, maybe scaling back at a store, or something like that. These people who are, you know like, scanning a lemon as a lime, or whatever is cheaper, or something like that.

Adam: I've definitely before put the Portobello mushrooms up there and thought, you know, I could just say that these are the cheap mushrooms, but then I'm like, "No, that'd be wrong. I'll pay for the Portobellos."

Liz: But I read this interesting thing where, I think it was, I don't know if it was Big W or a store overseas, or something like that where they were scaling back the self-service checkouts, because they were like, "No, we're investing more in customer service." Because they found that people generally just want someone else to scan their products through. And they're like, if given the option and you see someone free, you'd always want... if I see someone with less of a line, you generally want someone else to scan your stuff for you.

Adam: Especially if it's more than like a basket, you know. A basket, okay, but a trolley...

[crosstalk]

Marc: I disagree.

Liz: Really?

Adam: Oh, man. I'm with you on this one, Liz. Like, I am for automated service on almost everything, but when it comes to scanning my groceries, I would always prefer someone else do it.

Liz: Yeah I understand.

Marc: No, I don't know. Maybe I'm a control freak, but I'm just like, I don't want to make conversation, I just wanna scan my groceries and get out.

Liz: All you have to do is say, "Hi."

Marc: It's too much, Liz.

Adam: It's too much.

Liz: But the other thing is like, if you buy vegetables and you have it go through and you're like, "Aah, where are these stupid potatoes?"

Marc: I like, kind of enjoy that. I'm like, "Oh, how many kilos of broccoli did I buy today?"

Liz: I'm gonna say, "A lot."

Marc: It's the little things.

Graham: There's kind of an in-between there, this technology that's not in Australia yet. Like, I'm from Ireland originally...

Adam: What?

Graham: You wouldn't of notice. Ten years ago, Super Queen, the supermarket in Ireland that we shopped in had a system, whereby, you could scan your groceries as you put them into the baskets. You get like a handheld scanner when you enter the door.

Together: That's cool.

Graham: Scan and drop, scan and drop, and then you just walk out the door and give them your credit card.

Liz: Think of the theft, though.

Adam: That's great.

Graham: So, 1 in 10 shops had to be rescanned once you got to the till, with 9 out of 10 you got through. So to prevent... And obviously if, you know, they did a check and you had some items that weren't properly scanned, maybe the next time you're more likely to get caught. But 90% of people got through and it was genius. I don't know why I haven't seen that in Australia anywhere in the last ten years.

Liz: It'd be cool if you did it by weight as well.

Together: Ooh.

Graham: I can't remember what the solution was to weigh the items.

Liz: No, so like, as you scanned them and then it judged it by weight?

Graham: Yeah.

Liz: So like it knew that if your basket was too heavy, [inaudible 52:37:00]? It's like, "Oh, no. Your basket's too heavy."

Graham: That would've been genius.

[crosstalk]

Liz: Right, yeah? I'm pretty innovative.

Adam: Did you hear of that, I think it was Amazon, opened the supermarket in the States where you just walk out. Everything's bar coded and it just knows what you took off the shelf.

Liz: Yeah, crazy

Graham: Amazon opening physical bookstores is just like the world's gone full circle.

Adam: I know, isn't it ridiculous? It's crazy

Liz: Yeah.

Marc: Okay, so what...because the thing is, the thing that I love about when you come on the show, Graham, is that we always have something that we wanna talk about, and then we spar off into all kinds of other crazy stuff that you, guys, have found out. So, what else have you, guys...what other insights have you, guys, come across lately?

Graham: I've kind of come prepped for this particular consumer rights kind of...

Adam: And he didn't come in with the wheelbarrow. He's calling me a liar.

[crosstalk]

Marc: But talking about Amazon, and books, so we recently read something that you had actually written about books and why it's actually sometimes better to buy them through a company like Amazon using your E-reader. So, Liz and I have had a bit of a battle about e-books in the past.

Liz: After you wrote this, I actually... So we have an online messaging system at work, and after you actually wrote this article, I messaged you saying that I hated you.

Graham: Yeah, we can never be friends again. This was about, basically, you saying books are back and that's a very bad thing. And it came from a conversation at work where somebody was like, "I just love the physical book. I couldn't go...

Marc: It was probably Liz, probably Liz.

Liz: Yeah, it might have been me, yeah.

Graham: Essentially, maybe more than one person, a lot of people think that actually. And you see all these articles in the slightly Tweet-ier parts of the internet in the Guardian and stuff about books coming back and the revolvement of bookstores, which is good. I mean, I love the bookstore, I love the physical book, but it was looking at the environmental impact basically of buying books under Kindle versus a physical book.

Adam: Yeah Liz.

Liz: I put this to you, okay. So, a lot of offices and things are becoming paperless, so surely the environmental impact of offices becoming paperless, and a lot less people using paper, and obviously we're going to, you know, computers and things like that now. So surely, books coming back and the benefits of that and the art form of literature, surely it's not that bad considering we're using a lot less paper generally.

Graham: But...so, it's like we've reduced it in one place, it's like, "Hey, yo, we've stopped beating all these people up, so I can kick this one guy in the groin over and over and over. That's fine."

Liz: Yeah. Exactly that's a great [inaudible 55:21:00].Yes, I agree.

Marc: Look, other than the convenience of an E-reader, and I think it does seem like there is a big benefit, I think it was 36 books? You have to read 36 books on a Kindle?

Graham: Yeah.

Marc: And then it starts becoming common positive. So the more you read, the better off you become.

Graham: And you get them immediately. That's what I like about them.

Marc: Yes.

Graham: The fact that, like, if I just think, "Hey, I might like to read this book." Then right away, I don't have to go anywhere.

Marc: Oh, and you can download the pre... This is what I love bout the Kindle, it's the preview. So any book you want, you can get the first four, or five, or six pages for free, and you can judge whether you're gonna like it, and then you can download directly.

Liz: You can do that in abookstore.

Marc: That's true.

Adam: Yeah but you have to go to a bookstore.

Marc: Yeah.

Adam: You have to leave the house.

Graham: And then, what happens if the bookstore doesn't have, like, the arcane book that you want on some really specific subject?

Liz: Order it online.

Graham: And most books that I want are arcane I would say.

Marc: Witchcraft and wizardry.

Liz: All right, I'll make a concession, as long as you're reading, I'm pretty happy. So.

Graham: That's also good.

Liz: Read it any way you want, but I'm just gonna say that, you know, literature, you need to pay for it. So as long as you're paying for it, it's all fine. But authors need more money. [crosstalk] Obviously you know.

Marc: You can't win, Liz.

Liz: Libraries are also great, so you know, as long as you're reading. I'll stick to as long as you're reading.

Graham: But like, the nostalgia that you have for books a hundred percent correct, I mean, nothing kinda changes your mind like travelling. So before I came here, I had, you know, a bunch of DVDs and VHS's, and two bookshelves full of a collection of books and stuff, records and all that. And then when I came to Australia, I was travelling around and stuff, everything went on the Ipad, or the Kindle, and all the physical media was gotten rid of. There's nothing like travelling around like that, light, not having stuff. And all the information being there you kinda realize that all this stuff, these books, these DVDs, these movies, these music, it's all just data. There's no real need to have a physical manifestation of that data. The production of that material is kinda wasteful. It's all just information, you know, so you kind pf... I've lost that wish to have something physical representing all of these media through the travelling. And now, I'm kinda like, the environmental impact is more beneficial than feeling good, because you have a physical book. [crosstalk]

Liz: I just hope you're Ipad doesn't die.

Adam: But no, I had the same exact experience. It was moving overseas, because I was the same, I had, like, bookshelves full of books and just really prided myself on having a lot of books, and then it's like, well these weigh like 5,000 pounds. I can't take these with me when I move overseas. And yeah. So I've kind of reclaimed my library now on my Kindle. All these books that I had that I really, really treasured that I couldn't bring with me, and now I have them again.

Graham: Yeah, and you could bring them everywhere.

Adam: So I actually paid for them twice. So that makes me an even better person.

Graham: I still have so many books at home in Ireland, though. In eight years here, I've got [inaudible 00:58:19] I've got pretty much every single book he published in the U.S. All collectible, the original, not the original editions, but early editions and stuff, and that's too much physical material to bring over here, you know. Their stuck over in Ireland and in my parents attic and it's like, it's kinda crazy, you know.

Marc: It's expensive to bring them.

Graham: The Kindle number of books the the way, it works out if you're talking about a seven year lifespan for a Kindle. Five books per year, if you read any more than that, you're environmentally better off getting a Kindle than having books shipped to you in Australia.

Marc: Ah, okay. That's pretty doable. Five books a year is nothing.

Graham: Unless you're reading five books of like, Stephen King's "The Stand" or some other massive book.

Liz: I am definitely damaging the environment.

Adam: You and your Harry Potter books.

Liz: Something I have been getting into is audio books.

Graham: Yeah, they're good.

Liz: Yeah, especially Harry Potter audio books.

Adam: [inaudible 00:59:14] because I'm not interested in audio books, because I feel like it's cheating.

Liz: Well, if you... only books that I've read before, because I feel like it's quite distracting. Like if you're not reading it. If you're reading it for the first time, I don't know if I'd be able to do it. But Harry Potter, obviously, I've read so many times, so...and it's Stephen Frey [crosstalk]

Adam: I always like to reprove to myself that I'm literate. I will say the one audio book I did get was Bill Clinton's book about like, how he thinks everything should be run. And listening to his dulcet tones...[crosstalk] It was great.

Liz: So he read it? That's awesome.

Graham: Yeah, yes.

Marc: Can you give us a rendition, Adam?

Adam: I probably better not.

Marc: Or podcasts, of course, audio books have podcasts.

Liz: Can you recommend one good podcast?

Marc: Oh, I could recommend loads of good podcasts. Aside from this one, which is [inaudible 01:00:10].Yeah, podcasts I have just become completely addicted to. I've got, like, subscribed to like 30 or 40 podcasts. It's the equivalent of audio books, but especially in work. When you're working our something, you can just listen to it in the background. Then you can find podcasts on any subject you want, including personal finance.

Adam: Although this, to my knowledge, is the only personal finance podcast available in Australia. [crosstalk] I don't know of another one. But you're right, you can get a podcast about personal finance, it's this one.

Graham: On the personal finance topic, there is another recent insights blog, which was called, "You Should Never Pay a Full Price for ITunes Credit in Australia".

Marc: Yeah that's pretty interesting, yeah.

Adam: Really?

Graham: So like, if you're buying tunes through ITunes, if you're buying "Game of Thrones" through ITunes like I do, if you're buying apps on your Iphone, or whatever, there's one way to make sure you never pay full price for that. In Australia, the big supermarkets are kinda flooding [inaudible 01:01:04] door, and they're constantly discounting ITunes credit. You can actually get discounts up to 25%. The average is about 15% or 20%, but you know, 9 months out of the year, there will be a discount running somewhere in Australia, in Woolworths or Kohls. If Woolworths or Kohls introduce the discount, and neither of those two is near you, Office Works will. Their price guarantee means they'll match the cheapest price for ITunes credit. But if you don't want to go and have that conversation with the manager, if that's not your [inaudible 01:01:35]. But usually like officially match the discount in Woolworths or Kohls shortly after Woolworths or Kohls announce the discounts. If you keep an eye out for the discounts, buy your credit, then top off and leave it in your account, you're always gonna get 15% or 20% off every single song [crosstalk]

Adam: I had no idea.

Graham: There's actually a Facebook group, which I'll tell you the name of in a second, which charts, like notifies you when these discounds kick-in. They are always in [inaudible 01:01:59] so you can keep an eye on it.

Liz: That's so good.

Adam: That's interesting. I wonder how long those cards will be around? Like...

Graham: "Gift Card's on Sale" is the name of the group.

Adam: How long will those cards be around for? Because I mean, soon enough everything will just all be on the net, like...

Graham: Well I'll tell you where the ITunes gift cards come in really, really handy is if you want to access to American ITunes, because usually you have to sign up for an ITunes account. You have to have a credit card in that country. But you don't have to have a credit card if you have an ITunes gift card. So if you buy an American ITunes gift card, you've just opened up the entire American ITunes Store to yourself. And I pretty much always have credit on American ITunes account, because obviously, you get movies for rent, sometimes months before they're available here.

Liz: Really?

Adam: It's costly. You get charged a premium because you're paying in American dollars and you're paying a little bit more on top of that to...

Liz: Is it more expensive in the iTunes Store America?

Adam: No, I mean it's reasonably close to Australian prices. If anything, it's probably a little cheaper if you do the exchange rate. But buying the card is costly, because number one, you're paying, you know, if you buy $50 American iTunes gift card, you're paying more like, $70 in Australia. Because not only are you doing the exchange, but you're also paying a little bit of premium on top of that to get access to an American iTunes card. But yeah. that's all you need to get access to that entire iTunes Store.

Liz: Interesting.

Marc: Do you need a VPN on top of that, no?

Adam: No.

Liz: Really?

Adam: I am not sophisticated enough to know how to use a VPN, but I have American iTunes on my Apple TV.

Marc: With VPN, I can't say enough good things about VPN. If you wanna watch restricted YouTube content, [inaudible 01:04:01] for example. I like his show, the monologue, but in the middle is put on YouTube every week when it goes live, but it's restricted to only people in America. If you wanna watch that, VPN.

Adam: There you go. Enjoy.

Marc: Yeah, I love it.

Adam: We actually have a VPN finder. [crosstalk] that compares the various VPN services you can use, both paid and free.

Liz: What great news you can use, Adam.

Graham: Thinking of the international purchases and stuff, in terms of consumer issues we were talking about earlier, this is where it can become a little bit tricky. Getting your consumer rights, first off you buy service, you buy stuff in the store, it has to conform to sample, it has to last for a certain period of time, and you have to be able to get a refund, an all that. Anything you buy online, from somewhere in Australia, you have exactly the same rights, but you can run into issues when you're starting to buy from providers in other countries outside of Australia.

Marc: Right. What do you do in that case?

Graham: There's actually, what you'd need to do if you run into issues, well first of all, it depends on how you pay. If you you're using a platform like YouTube or PayPal, or whatever, those will have consumer protection built-in. They didn't use to. I mean, I remember I had purchased a video, no, DVD player, a DVD recorder on Ebay a few, maybe 12 years ago, or something, and it arrived, and it was completely broken. And unusable, and I had to pay to ship it back to the UK to get the refund from these unhelpful sellers. And it ended up being added pocket for the shipping. But that type of thing doesn't happen anymore, because now you have the PayPal consumer guarantee, so your're completely protected. So if there's a defective product, you won't end up being out of pocket, or whatever. I always use PayPal to pay basically, is the key, but if you do end up paying for something from out of the country, and you haven't used PayPal, there's a website in the U.S. where...I'm just looking for them. The Federal Trade Commission website has a list of the official trading buddies in every single country in the world. So this is essentially a list of, if you're buying something from Ireland, or from Germany, or from Azerbajan you can go here and you can see the guys you need to contact if you do run into any issues.

Liz: Oh perfect.

Adam: Oh that's cool.

Marc: That is news you can use.

Graham: It won't necessarily be easy though, but you'll need to speak the language.

Adam: Well, as we know now, I have an e-mail template that is guaranteed to get you a response from them.

Liz: If you have it and travel and have a coffee.

Adam: That's right.

Graham: Travel three times a year, three times a week.

Marc: Well, thank you so much, Graham. I've run out of time, but thank you so much for coming on. We definitely wanna hear from you when you have your next insight.

Graham: I'll be back.

Marc: Yeah, thank you.

Adam: Cheers, guys.

Marc: Well, that was awesome.

Adam: Man, I love having Graham on. I love it, because honestly, it's like, you always learn something that you can put into practical application.

Liz: I mean, you can't argue with the data, even though I try to.

Marc: You gave it your best shot.

Liz: I mean, yeah, I still agree with me.

Marc: But that was interesting, especially about the books. I didn't realize that like in E-reader, there was a certain number of books you would have to have to read for it to then make sense environmentally, and there is.

Adam: There you go.

Liz: There's a number.

Marc: Yeah. But yeah. Well thank you, guys, again. Thank you to all of our listeners. Please write and review us on iTunes if you enjoyed the podcast and we'll catch you all again next week for another fun episode.

Liz: We hope so.

Adam: See you later.

Marc: Have a goodn.

Voice: Thanks for listening to the finder.com.au Money Podcast. Head over to www.finder.com.au/podcast to find the show notes for this episode and more great episodes. The finder podcast is intended to provide you with tips, tools, and strategies that will help you make better decisions. Although we're licensed and authorized, we don't provide financial advice, so please consider your own situation or get advice before making any decisions based on anything in our podcast. Visit finder.com.au to learn more about how we're regulated, to compare your options or to access our terms and conditions.

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