Here’s to a year of safe travels and smarter purchases — Sponsored by

Welcome to 2012!

I have a couple of really useful consumer columns to ring in the New Year on, including your stories of being ripped off — and surviving it — my true confessions of being scammed (and what you can learn from it).

I wanted to take a moment to recognize Squaremouth, one of this site’s longtime supporters. Here’s a company that really cares about customer service. Every travel insurance policy purchased through Squaremouth comes with the Zero Complaint Guarantee. In the event of a grievance, Squaremouth will mediate with the insurance provider on your behalf. If you need a travel insurance policy, please pay them a visit.

I haven’t made any New Year’s resolutions for 2012, but I have a few for our friends over at the TSA. You can comment on my flame-throwing editorial over at the Huffington Post, too.

Also, check out my Washington Post column on the government’s efforts to help us understand the total cost of an airline ticket — not an easy task, as it turns out.

Over at On Your Side, I have a report on which company offers the fastest refunds on holiday gifts. You might be surprised at the winners — and losers.

Plus …

• A year after a little fender-bender with her rental, one customer wonders: Did she pay too much to have her car fixed?

• Do people fake being sick to qualify for lower airfares? That’s the accusation one reservations agent allegedly makes when a despondent passenger calls from the hospital.

• Should hotels always include mandatory resort fees when they’re quoting a room rate? Find out what happens when one hotel doesn’t, and sound off on the topic.

Related story:   January 3, 2007

Finally, I wanted to add a few words about the coming year. Despite all of the predictions, I have a really good feeling about 2012, and I’m happy you’ve decided to join me. Here’s to a year of safe travels and smarter purchases.

(Photo: flex/Flickr)

Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is an author, journalist and consumer advocate. You can read more about him on his personal website or check out his adventures on his family adventure travel site. Contact him at Read more of Christopher's articles here.

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