The only game that really matters

Who’s going to win the big game?

No, not that game.

I’m talking about the game businesses play with us. Mark up, mark down. Bait and switch. And, of course, the loyalty game.

If you’re not thinking about that game, you are going to lose — and that could cost you. Read more “The only game that really matters”

When you hear these words, run!

You can always cancel.

Those are the four most dangerous words a consumer can hear.

They’re often preceded by: “Don’t worry!” Read more “When you hear these words, run!”

In another frenetic month for complaints, American Airlines extends its losing streak

October was another wild month for reader complaints, with the number of grievances jumping an impressive 27 percent from a year ago and coming just a few cases short of tying an all-time record.
Read more “In another frenetic month for complaints, American Airlines extends its losing streak”

For consumer problems, sometimes the best advocate has a law degree

In a do-it-yourself world, when shouldn’t you do it yourself? That’s sometimes hard to know with a consumer problem. Read more “For consumer problems, sometimes the best advocate has a law degree”

Your consumer rights are disappearing. Here’s how to protect yourself now.

It’s not your imagination. Your consumer rights are vanishing.

Not a day seems to go by that you don’t see news of another consumer regulation being dismantled, a law coming undone, an anti-consumer executive order being signed. Read more “Your consumer rights are disappearing. Here’s how to protect yourself now.”

What if they pulled the plug on this site?

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?
Read more “What if they pulled the plug on this site?”

It’s time to awaken your inner consumer advocate

This is the cruise ship Shannon Tait’s mother was supposed to sail on. It was her bucket list cruise. Literally.

She’d been diagnosed with soft tissue sarcoma, and Tait figured she’d have a year or two for one final adventure to the Last Frontier.

She did not. She died in hospice care before she could set sail.
Read more “It’s time to awaken your inner consumer advocate”

Discover the news that shapes this site – here’s how

If you’re a news junkie, I have some good news for you: I’ve launched three new magazines on Flipboard, the popular news app for smartphones.
Read more “Discover the news that shapes this site – here’s how”

Are consumer advocates about to go extinct?

Henry Sheng makes me feel like a failure.
Read more “Are consumer advocates about to go extinct?”

5 things customers say during the holidays – and what they really mean

Iona/Shutterstock
Iona/Shutterstock
It’s that time of year when you follow the herd to the mall and gorge on the displays.

That’s right, I’m talking about the irrational holiday shopping season. Think I’m overstating this? The authoritative National Retail Federation (NRF) predicts a 3.9 percent rise in holiday sales this year, meaning that collectively, Americans will buy $602 billion worth of gifts before the end of this year.

The average holiday shopper will drop $737 on gifts, décor and greeting cards, according to the NRF. That’s some serious gorging!

This year, I’m not going to tell you to avoid the frenzy. (What kind of Scrooge would I be?) Instead, as a service to consumers, let me help you understand what the other members of the swarm actually mean when they talk amongst themselves.
Read more “5 things customers say during the holidays – and what they really mean”