AirTran declined my credit card and now I have to buy a new ticket

Gary Murray’s credit card is declined when he buys an AirTran ticket, but he doesn’t find out until he gets to the gate. How much should he pay for the new ticket?
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Extreme card confusion on my rental car

Harold Nagase tries to add a day to his Hotwire car rental, but when the vehicle is damaged, his credit card company won’t cover it. Why not?
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Don’t be a chip-and-pinhead!

If you happen to drive down the Brenner Autobahn between Austria and Italy this summer, here’s a little advice for crossing the wind-whipped Europabrücke, or Europe Bridge: keep a little cash on hand to pay the toll.
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Who knew Costa Rican food could be so expensive?

Randy Brachman is shocked when his $16 lunch bill turns into a $1,608 bill at a Costa Rican restaurant. Can he get his money back?

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Are e-checks a safe way to pay for travel?

Stevanovich/Shutterstock
Stevanovich/Shutterstock
As she paged through Viking River Cruises’ glossy brochure one recent afternoon, Diane Moskal noticed a new way to save money: If she booked the Waterways of the Tsars itinerary sailing from Moscow to St. Petersburg with something called an e-check, the cruise line promised to knock $100 off the fare.

An e-check is an electronic debit to your checking account, and it’s billed as a quick, convenient way to pay for your vacation that is “as easy as providing your credit card number,” according to Viking.

But like any smart traveler, Moskal wasn’t content with that explanation. “I see that the cruise lines advocate consumer savings if you pay by e-check,” she says. But she also found several complaints online, which made her hesitate. She wondered: Are e-checks safe?
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Keep us posted on that refund

Duzen/Shutterstock
Duzen/Shutterstock
American European Travel’s nine-day ancient Turkey tour looked like the perfect birthday gift for David Olson’s wife, Barbara. With stops in Istanbul, Ephesus and Pamukkale, it fulfilled a lifelong dream of visiting the old Ottoman Empire.

The Olsons learned about the trip through a brochure in The Washington Post. The AET insert bore the newspaper’s logo, so they assumed that The Post endorsed the tour and would stand behind it if something went wrong.

And then, something went wrong.
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When your credit card gets compromised at a hotel

David Eviston/Shutterstock
David Eviston/Shutterstock
A day after Sheilah Reardon checked into the Bellagio Las Vegas, she received an e-mail alert from American Express warning that her credit card had been compromised. Among the fraudulent charges: a $67 bill from an online memorabilia store.

A day later, her friend Jennifer Henderson got a call from a MasterCard representative. Her card number had also been stolen. The thieves had made a $67 charge at the same online store moments after they hit Reardon’s account.

“We had checked into the Bellagio at the same time, side by side,” says Reardon. She and Henderson believe that their credit cards were targeted while they were at the resort — most likely while they were checking in — because it was the only time when their cards were used together. Reardon says that she hadn’t used her card, a “travel-only” Amex, since a trip to Florida last summer.
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The one thing every good customer forgets? You’ll never guess

Petr Kopka/Shutterstock
Petr Kopka/Shutterstock
You’re a smart consumer. Otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this.

You look for bargains, you read the fine print, you know how to navigate your way around the branches of a phone tree.

But aren’t you forgetting something?

Most enlightened consumers fail to do one thing with alarming consistency: they don’t review their credit card purchases in a timely manner – or at all. No one knows exactly how frequently (or infrequently) American consumers review their credit card statements, but based on my own dealings with customers who are disputing a card purchase, I can tell you, it’s not often enough.
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5 summer travel scams no one warned you about — but should have

Jirsak/Shutterstock
Jirsak/Shutterstock
Watch your wallet while you’re on vacation.

You’ve heard that advice before, haven’t you? With the summer travel season in full swing, you’re likely to hear it again, from friends, family and the occasional consumer journalist.

But the real danger isn’t from an overt scam like the “fake” front desk call at the hotel in the middle of the night or the spoofed Wi-Fi hotspot. It isn’t even the predatory timeshare salesmen that take money from you in increments of thousands of dollars.
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