Yes, you can find an honest business. Here’s how.

If I used the words “honest” and “business” in the same sentence, would you burst into uncontrolled laughter? Uncontrolled, incredulous, laugh-until-you-cry kind of laughter? Read more “Yes, you can find an honest business. Here’s how.”

How to get your policy to cover you — special circumstances and all

“I’m at a loss,” Bill Dunn wrote to me recently. “I’m looking for advice on how to appeal a decision against my travel insurance claim.”

The problem: Dunn had bought travel insurance for a recent trip to see his nephew get married. Six weeks before his departure, he lost his job. Read more “How to get your policy to cover you — special circumstances and all”

I can’t believe you fell for that line!

Hi, I’m calling from the Federal Trade Commission to tell you that you have won $250,000.” Oh, really? The FTC — as in, the nation’s consumer protection agency — is having a sweepstakes?

It’s a scam, says the agency. As if it needed to.

To receive the prize, all you have to do is pay the taxes and insurance. The caller asks you to wire money or send a check for an amount between $1,000 and $10,000. What should you do? Don’t send money or account information, and immediately report the incident to the real Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

The FTC sweepstakes con only the latest in a series of scams that begin with a memorable come-on.
Read more “I can’t believe you fell for that line!”

Bad airline service? Try complaining to the Better Business Bureau

Is the Better Business Bureau an effective tool against bad airline service? The surprising answer may be: yes.

Consider what happened to one reader when he had a booking problem with Delta Air Lines that couldn’t be resolved. After some back-and-forth, the airline fixed the problem, but it cost him an additional 16,000 miles and $473, and the airline didn’t seem too interested in helping. (He’s asked me to keep his name out of this story for fear of retribution by Delta, since he’s a frequent flier.)

I suggested he contact an executive at Delta. But he decided to take another route: He complained to the Better Business Bureau.

Yesterday, he got results.

It took a month — the time allowed by the BBB for the merchant to respond — but yesterday I got a call from the Delta Customer Care office and they took care of the problem; they are sending me a check for the majority of the fees I paid and Delta $ for the remainder. A very acceptable offer!

The person that called was very apologetic and said that my complaint was improperly routed inside of Delta. During the review they agreed that I should not have been charged the amounts and Delta should have resolved problem earlier.

Delta has an A+ rating with the BBB and is another technique people can use for resolution.

Indeed, Delta has a sterling reputation. But what about the others?

American Airlines has a C+ grade with the Fort Worth BBB. It isn’t a member of the organization, and probably wouldn’t be swayed by a complaint. Still, it might be worth a try.

Continental Airlines isn’t a member and has an “unsatisfactory” rating. No go.

JetBlue, while not a BBB member, has a “satisfactory” rating. Yes, worth it.

Southwest Airlines is a BBB member and has an A+ rating. Definitely worth it.

United Airlines isn’t a member and has an “unsatisfactory” rating. No dice.

US Airways is not a member and has a “D” rating. (Thanks to commenter Bruce in Charlotte for the tip.)

Has anyone else resolved a dispute through the Better Business Bureau? Please leave a comment or e-mail me directly with your story.