Home > Uncategorized > Slate Money discusses WMD

Slate Money discusses WMD

September 10, 2016

We discussed my new book, Weapons of Math Destruction, on my Slate Money podcast this week. Take a listen!


Categories: Uncategorized
    September 10, 2016 at 3:48 pm

    We have been having trouble with mail delivery in the suite housing my office. My mail is routinely delivered to the wrong mailbox. As a result, in the past ten days I have received a statement from two different credit card companies that I missed last month’s billing, and was being charged a 26.00 late fee. Upon contacting customer service, I was told by the representative that the payment wasn’t received, and that the fact that I never received the statement didn’t matter. Since she couldn’t waive the late fee, I asked to speak to her Supervisor, and was subsequently told that the bank had changed their policy, and they could no longer waive late fees. Since the balance on my account was only $42.00, and I had never missed a payment in the past, I felt that their charging me a fee that was more than 50% of what I owed was extremely unfair.
    Even when I pointed out that they were close to losing a customer who had been with them for years, she said there was nothing she could do, and the late payment fee would stay in effect. This episode has bothered me a lot, because I felt like they thought I was lying about not receiving their statement, and there was no way to prove that I never received it. Then I began to wonder why they would risk losing a customer over such a small amount, and it hit me. These banks have customers in the millions. If for just one month, they failed to send a statement to one million of their customers, they would receive extra income of 25 million dollars in late fees for that one month! And just like I can’t prove that I never received my statement, they can’t prove that they mailed it. The point is, that for whatever reason, I did not receive a statement, and that cost me money, but THEY made money – maybe a LOT of money. The fact that their new policy of no leniency for late charges is highly suspect if this is a revenue generating ploy. I would like to know if this is happening to others.


    • G.
      September 11, 2016 at 6:33 am

      Did you after all cancel your card and account with them?


  2. Johnny Cilantro
    September 16, 2016 at 12:08 am

    I just read you article in Slate with respect to the algorithms being used to skew college admissions. Of course, you mentioned US News & World Report. You also mentioned bogus job numbers reported by law schools. Unfortunately, this was going on when I attended law school over 20 years ago in Washington, DC.

    It was a well known inside the Beltway that George Washington University Law School played the US News ranking questionnaires better than most. They were known for being more concerned with massaging the numbers and cooking the books to achieve the highest possible ranking, and less concerned with their students’ educations and job security.

    I guess in this age of quants, it’s just become more sophisticated and widespread. What a shame.


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