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!
Did you know that when it comes to customer satisfaction, the United States falls short of the top 10, behind Russia, Poland and Chile? That the worst industry for service is social media? Or that the worst time to contact customer support is after 6 p.m.?
Somewhere in the attic of my old house in Key Largo, Fla., a reminder of my biggest consumer mistake ever is collecting dust. I’ve never told anyone about it. Until now.
It’s a profoundly embarrassing tale of negligence and naivete — my own negligence and naivete. By revealing it today, I hope that I can persuade you to share your stories, and allow others to learn from them.
In 2003, shortly after our first son was born, my family lived happily in remote South Florida outpost known for amazing scuba diving and recreational fishing. But since I used the second bedroom as an office, our small home was starting to feel a little crowded. A neighbor suggested we build an addition to our house instead of moving, which seemed like a great idea. Read more “The biggest mistake I ever made as a consumer”
A more activist Transportation Department, which set a record in 2011 for the number of fines it issued against airlines for violating aviation consumer protection rules, appears to have maintained its momentum this past year.
In 2012, the Department issued 49 fines for consumer rule violations and assessed $3,610,000 in penalties, exceeding the previous record of 47 fines and $3,264,000 in penalties issued in 2011.
Among its most significant actions: policing new rules that require airlines and travel agencies to quote a full fare and disclose baggage fees, and fining the first foreign airline for a tarmac delay.