How to fight the coming wave of credit card junk fees

When William Livingstone booked a recent airline ticket from Warsaw to Madrid, he found something unusual on his bill: a $15 “credit card fee” with no explanation. It appeared his credit card was just helping itself to some of his money because it could. Read more “How to fight the coming wave of credit card junk fees”

Help! These phone charges don’t make any sense

Why is R.K. Mohan getting mysterious bills from Frontier? He isn’t even a customer. I investigate. Read more “Help! These phone charges don’t make any sense”

Bogus car rental damage claim? Cancel your credit card, change your email address

Here’s a novel idea for eluding a bogus car rental damage claim while you’re overseas: cancel your credit card and change your email address. That advice comes to us by way of reader William Muto, who used the strategy to fend off a fraudulent claim in Frankfurt recently.

Car rental companies and other merchants can retroactively bill your credit card, and often do. The best example of that is late charges that hotels add to your bill weeks, and sometimes months after your stay. Of course, car rental companies do it, too.
Read more “Bogus car rental damage claim? Cancel your credit card, change your email address”

Which airline makes the most from luggage fees?


That would be American Airlines, according to the latest government-reported numbers for 2009.

The rest of the list may surprise you even more.
Read more “Which airline makes the most from luggage fees?”

Airport payphones are ripping off travelers

Payphones may be an endangered species, but they are not unprofitable. Not if they’re in places frequented by travelers.

Payphone horror stories are not exactly a dime a dozen (or even a quarter a dozen) but they are nonetheless frustrating and generally preventable.

Hilda Vazquez was on a stopover in Memphis, Tenn., when her cell phone ran out of battery. Reluctantly, she reached for the closest payphone to make a call.

When I received my Visa bill, I had a $21 charge by IDL. Not knowing what charge that was I called and found out that it was for the phone call I made from Memphis.

It cost $1.29 for each minute, plus a $10 operator assist charge and taxes. This is a complete rip-off.

IDL’s shenanigans are extensively documented online. To the company’s credit, it offered Vazquez half her money back — but to me, that says more about the company’s questionable business practices than it does about its responsive customer service.

Lesson learned? Don’t touch that payphone.