Here’s your holiday gift. Go on, open it.

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.

Ahmed Abdulrahim also received his holiday present in advance. Remember him? He canceled his flight within 24 hours of booking it, assuming he’d get a $750 refund. He didn’t. Our site’s advocates nudged British Airways into doing the right thing.

This site advocates for hundreds of consumers like Abdulrahim and Broaddus every week. The next person we help could be you.

But the gift of advocacy can’t be given without your support. As we wrap up week one of our winter fundraiser, I hope you’ll consider becoming an underwriter of this site. Here’s how to do it.

Abdulrahim’s case is instructive because it involves the 24-hour rule, which airlines like American are trying to revoke. Let me repeat that. Airlines want to do away with the 24 hour rule, as I explained in a previous post. I’m not making this up; I wish I were. Here’s the actual document in which they ask the government to undo the rule.

Truth is, no matter what you do now, this site will probably go on. I’ve self-funded it for years, covering the costs out of pocket. I work with a dedicated team of volunteers who help me fight for refunds and delayed deliveries.

But combating a concerted airline effort to roll back the 24-hour rule — that takes resources. A few months ago, for example, a U.S. Senate staffer called me and asked if I would testify on the state of consumer protections. I told him I’d love to. The staffer asked me to fly from Austin, Texas, to Washington at my own expense, but I didn’t have the budget for it.

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Supporting this site gives us the resources to fight the small battles. And the big ones. That’s why we need your help now. Here’s how to become a supporter.

I probably don’t have to tell you what we’re up against now. The Federal Trade Commission and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) are being dismantled before our eyes by an administration that believes all consumer regulations are bad.

Think I’m kidding? Consider the CFPB’s new mission statement under Trump appointee Mick Mulvaney.

This is the mission statement before he joined:

The CFPB is a 21st century agency that helps consumer finance markets work by making rules more effective, by consistently and fairly enforcing those rules, and by empowering consumers to take more control over their economic lives.

Here’s the “after”:

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is a 21st century agency that helps consumer finance markets work by regularly identifying and addressing outdated, unnecessary, or unduly burdensome regulations, by making rules more effective, by consistently enforcing federal consumer financial law, and by empowering consumers to take more control over their economic lives.

Hmm. How does that new part about undoing “burdensome” regulations protect consumers?

The Department of Transportation and other federal agencies are not far behind.

If we are to preserve some of the hard-fought consumer protections in 2018, we’ll need to shine bright light on the misdeeds of big businesses and clearly explain why corporations can’t always be trusted to do the right thing. We’ll need to be ready to go to Congress and testify for you.

It’s not just the Abdulrahim and Broaddus cases that matter to us. It’s your next refund, the next mandatory resort fee you’re charged, the next warranty not honored. I want to stop this nonsense from happening before it even has a chance. And I need your help to do that.

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Here’s how to join the fight.

In a sense, you’ve already received your holiday gift. The advocacy you see on this site will be there for you in 2018, and we will help, no matter what happens. But if you also want this site to help prevent the collapse of every consumer protection we take for granted, please get involved. Put your name on this wall.

So far, we’ve raised $5,065 out of $30,000. The second week of our winter fundraiser starts Jan. 1 after a holiday hiatus. We still have a long way to go, but with your help, I know we can do this.

Happy holidays!

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 chris@elliott.org. Read more of Christopher's articles here.

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