“People’s money disappears into black holes”

When Kamuran Alpural returned his broken refrigerator to Sears, the company promised him a refund of $1,000. Sears provided him with a transaction confirmation indicating that the refund had been issued to his account at Commerce Bank. But when Alpural checked his account the next day, the refund was not there. It didn’t show up in his account for five days. Read more ““People’s money disappears into black holes””

Why am I chasing Chase to get my $11,422 back?

When Robin and Arie Genchel heard from Chase that someone in France had charged over $11,000 to their debit card for a jewelry purchase, they had every reason to believe their card would stop payment of the charge.

But the following day, Chase debited their bank account for the full amount of the charge – and more. And it won’t reverse the charge even though it was clearly fraudulent. Read more “Why am I chasing Chase to get my $11,422 back?”

It’s time to fight junk fees, wherever they are

It’s easy to think this is a travel site, considering all the airline and loyalty program complaints I handle every day. But it isn’t and never was designed to be one.
Read more “It’s time to fight junk fees, wherever they are”

Ultimatums that work: 5 secrets to success


President Obama did it recently to Syria. Steve Stokowski made one to a bank in Maryland. And I drew my line in the sand to a hotel in Canada.

We’re talking ultimatums — a final proposition, condition, or demand; especially one whose rejection will end negotiations and cause a company to force or other direct action.

President Obama, of course, threatened use of force against Syria unless it relinquished chemical weapons. Stokowski said he’d picket the bank unless it removed some incorrectly charged fees. I promised to walk out of a hotel unless my wife received the category of room she’d reserved.

But how do you gauge whether your ultimatum will succeed? Here are a few guidelines:
Read more “Ultimatums that work: 5 secrets to success”

Not so funny money tricks the travel industry likes to play

Maks Narondeko/Shutterstock
Maks Narondeko/Shutterstock

Hold on to your wallet. Businesses don’t just want to get their hands on your cash when you’re on the road — they also want more of your money, and on their terms.

Take what happened to Gordon Angell when he was visiting La Paz, Mexico, recently. Many restaurants in town display the “Visa” and “MasterCard” stickers, signifying that they accept credit cards.

But on Angell’s first evening, after finishing a meal at a restaurant, his server informed him the credit card machine didn’t work, and pointed to an ATM. He paid in pesos.

“The following evening we went to another restaurant called The Three Virgins,” he says. “We made sure that we asked them if they accepted credit cards and they said ‘yes.’ Surprisingly, when we offered to pay our bill, it was a repeat of the previous evening. Their machine was ‘not working.’ They told us to use the ATM.”
Read more “Not so funny money tricks the travel industry likes to play”

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