Consumer Catch-up: Black Friday sales way up, Airbnb splitting payments, Tobacco companies admit wrongdoing

Black Friday spending soars

The numbers are out - and shoppers didn't miss those deals over Thanksgiving and Black Friday. Research company First Data analyzed online and in-store payments from 1.3 million merchants. Spending for Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday combined increased by 11.9 percent compared to last year.

Higher consumer confidence and low unemployment helped those numbers. Hurricane cleanup efforts also helped - Texas saw a 13.4% rise in spending, with big spikes in electronics and furniture purchases.

First Data's research captures about 40% of all credit and debit card transactions in the U.S., but does not include cash purchases.

Airbnb now allows users to split payments

Airbnb is making it easier for you to book a trip with multiple friends or relatives. Starting today, users can split their booking costs between up to 16 people.

If you choose to split a reservation, it will hold for up to 72 hours while everyone in the group pays up. The default is an equal share for each person, although anyone can pay someone else's share. If the full balance isn't paid by the deadline, the reservation is cancelled and any money already paid is refunded.

In a recent study, Airbnb found 38% of trip organizers said they didn't receive all the money owed them from friends or family after a group trip.

Airbnb says the option to split payments was a top request from users.

Tobacco companies required to run ads admitting wrongdoing

You may have noticed a new surge of ads over the weekend - admitting the damaging impacts of tobacco. It's part of what the Department of Justice calls "corrective statements" by big tobacco companies.

The court-ordered ads come after a 9-month civil trial, and include both TV ads plus full-page print ads in more than 50 newspapers.

The court found the tobacco companies in the suit "lied, misrepresented, and deceived" Americans by doing things like minimizing the health impacts of smoking, intentionally making cigarettes more addicting, and marketing to kids.

Tobacco companies will also have to include the statements on their websites and on product packaging.

Click here for a look at more stories by Michael Finney and 7 On Your Side.
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