Barbara Smidt booked two tickets to Australia to celebrate a special birthday with her husband. But as they were excitedly putting the final touches on this trip, they were shocked to discover that United Airlines had no record of Stephen Smidt ever having a ticket.
You won’t believe what happened last month. We hit 500 cases for the first time, more than doubling our volume from a year ago. Monthly traffic edged closer to that 1 million-pageviews level. And our fundraiser set a new high-water mark, with our citizen advocates donating more than $20,000.
During the last few weeks, I’ve asked what you expect from me at a time like this. And you’ve responded. When I say a time like “this,” here’s what I mean.
From the window of my room, I can see Colorado’s snow-covered Elk Mountains against a perfectly blue sky this morning. I’m lucky to be here for a few days with my kids before we head back to the city.
They’re out to get us.
I know, because I see the “cease and desist” letters their law firms send us, demanding that we remove their executive contacts from our site. I read the hateful comments on their industry fan blogs. I also deal with their Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks that temporarily knock us offline.
Their goal? To denigrate, discredit and dismantle the advocacy you depend on every day.
Are you ready for the best year ever? I am. 2017 has been kind of awful for consumers. So awful that I’m afraid to even look back. Which is why 2018 can’t come soon enough.
Carol Broaddus got an early Christmas present this year. Her new KitchenAid mixer, purchased on Black Friday, wasn’t delivered in time for the holiday baking season. Our advocates saved the day by contacting JCPenney on her behalf.
These aren’t the best of times for American consumers. Net neutrality has just been repealed. The Federal Trade Commission is refusing to end the deceptive practice of mandatory hotel resort fees. And the Department of Transportation appears to be done enforcing its consumer protections for airline passengers.
From all outward appearances, the consumer advocacy site I run with my team of volunteers may look like a runaway success.
There are some days we wish we could take every case that we receive. The fact is, we can’t. And there are several reasons for that.
Jim Dooley asked us for help with a refund for an unused portion of a round-trip air ticket. Years ago, he might have had a case that we could have advocated. Even two years ago, we might have been able to help him.
Robin Stanley’s letter to us was one of the most gratifying we’ve received.
Mary Irwin’s husband booked tickets on Southwest Airlines. Unfortunately, he had to cancel the flights, but his wife was promised a voucher as credit. When the voucher arrived, it was for considerably less than the amount Irwin thought it would be.
As a volunteer organization, Elliott.org welcomes offers of assistance — especially in the writing department. Our requirements are few: strong knowledge of English, the ability to tell a good story in 500 to 1,000 words, sympathy for consumers — and a thick skin.
Their advocacy results in big, embarrassing airline fines. They’ve helped create federal agencies that make air travel safer. And they’ve brought competition and transparency to the skies.
When Nicholas Nygaard and his wife returned home from a trip early to attend a family member’s funeral, he tried to reschedule his trip using Expedia. Then he found that Expedia had sold him tickets with the wrong dates. He asked our advocates for help in getting the dates corrected.
Beverly Murphy wants American Airlines to honor her reservation and assign her the premium economy seat she paid for. Can our advocates persuade American to give Murphy her preferred seat?
You read this site every day. You follow our well-researched, useful stories. Maybe you comment on the posts, too.
A law firm is using Anne Parr’s home address as its business address in the Real Yellow Pages. But she can’t reach anyone at YP to get the listing changed. Can our advocates help connect her to someone at YP who can correct the listing?
Don’t look now, but your consumer rights are vanishing.
Sometimes even our advocates need advocacy. Such is the case with Jennifer Finger, who could not get New York Sports Clubs to stop charging her for a membership she had canceled. Can our advocates help get her?
Andrew Smith purchases two Groupons, each worth three sessions with a personal trainer, for himself and his wife. They complete one session and schedule their second. But then Smith’s wife gets sick. When he tries to reschedule the remaining two sessions, he hears crickets from the trainer. At first, Groupon says it will give him a credit for the two vouchers, but at the last minute changes its mind. Can we help Smith get what he’s owed?
What if they pulled the plug on this site? What if the stories you read here every day vanished? What if I stopped holding companies’ feet to the fire in the pages of the Washington Post, USA Today and in my syndicated columns?
Sheryl and Greg Sneathen sent Christmas gifts that didn’t arrive on time. Instead of blaming Santa, they went after UPS. But did they forget a little something?
Kenneth Giambrone’s months-long case against American Airlines for an involuntary downgrade has just ended, thanks to the help of our advocates and our forum — to his immense satisfaction.
It’s not every day that a consumer advocate is called a traitor, but in the days leading up to the inauguration of perhaps the most controversial president in U.S. history, that’s exactly what happened.
Yes, there is a club worth belonging to.