Hey Groupon, what happened to my laptop computer?

After Jennifer Poff pays Groupon $125 for a laptop computer, it doesn’t deliver. But the company insists the laptop was shipped and won’t respond to her requests to send the laptop or refund the money. Can we help her? Read more “Hey Groupon, what happened to my laptop computer?”

5 things you must do before you file your travel insurance claim

Peter Kuhmerker was set for the vacation of a lifetime — a nine-day Ireland tour from Dublin to Killarney booked through Great Value Vacations. As a precaution, he even purchased a “cancel for any reason” travel insurance policy through the company. Read more “5 things you must do before you file your travel insurance claim”

Can you help me stop the cyberbullying on my blog?

I know as much about bullying as the average father of three young children. Which is to say, I’m a subject matter expert. But Stephanie Kong’s request for help may not be easily solved, and I’m hoping you can help me.
Read more “Can you help me stop the cyberbullying on my blog?”

Bait-and-switched into booking a summer “bargain”? Then read this

Now you see those summer travel deals. Now you don’t.
Read more “Bait-and-switched into booking a summer “bargain”? Then read this”

Stuck with a pair of shoes – and confused about Sears’ refund policy

ValeStock / Shutterstock.com
ValeStock / Shutterstock.com
Olga O’Hara wants to return the shoes she bought at Sears.com, but she’s getting mixed signals from the company about how to do so. Is she stuck with her purchase?

Question: I recently ordered a pair of shoes online through Sears.com. The packing slip says I can return the items to any Sears store.

I went to my nearest store and was told they can’t refund my money back to my credit card since I paid with PayPal. The only option they had was to issue a gift card. However, I don’t shop at Sears and I did not want a gift card.

They told me I could ship the items back. Well, I’d have to pay to ship those back, and I don’t want to do that.
Read more “Stuck with a pair of shoes – and confused about Sears’ refund policy”

Where’s my Sears.com refund?

1-Screen Shot 2012-09-28 at 2.30.24 PMQuestion: I ordered three items from Sears.com three weeks ago. Two arrived, but the other — a coat for $75 — was canceled by Sears the same day I placed the order because it was no longer available in a warehouse or store.

It has been 20 days and I’ve received no refund for the canceled item. I’ve done online chat, e-mailed, and contacted Sears on Twitter and Facebook. According to @searscares, I am now on a waitlist for a “case manager” regarding my refund.
Read more “Where’s my Sears.com refund?”

Charged for an online class I didn’t take

Not going back to school./ Photo by Harry Doyle – Flickr Creative Commons
Question: My daughter registered online for a class with the University of Phoenix and filled out a form for financial aid. She decided that the online course was not for her and never took the class.
Read more “Charged for an online class I didn’t take”

When is a confirmation actually confirmed?

When Lefteris Michailidis didn’t get a confirmation email from Priceline for a recent three-night hotel stay in London, he thought his bid wasn’t accepted.
Read more “When is a confirmation actually confirmed?”

The Insider: How should I buy my next cruise?

Editor’s Note: This is part two of a new Insider series on cruising. Here’s the first installation. As always, please send me any suggestions on topics or content I may have overlooked.

Not so long ago, you had to pick up a phone and call your local travel agent to book a cruise. No longer.

Although 90 percent of all cruise vacations are still bought through travel agents, not all agents are the same. You can turn to a full-service, “bricks-and-mortar” agency or an online agency. Or you could deal directly with the cruise line, in some instances.

But which option is right for you?
Read more “The Insider: How should I buy my next cruise?”

Most travelers are skeptical of user-generated hotel reviews

When it comes to online hotel reviews, travelers don’t believe everything they read.

Far from it.

Asked what they thought of property reviews posted by guests online, more than 8 in 10 described them as only “somewhat reliable.” While many of the write-ups are legit, they added, they believe hotels sometimes manipulate the system by posting bogus reviews. Equal numbers of travelers (7 percent) said they thought online hotel reviews were either “very reliable” or “not reliable at all.”

No “be all, end-all”

“I use sites like TripAdvisor to get a temperature or general feel for a property,” says Nathan Kam, a communication consultant who works in the tourism industry. “But I don’t consider it a ‘be all, end all’ source for information. I take what I find there and cross-check it with my other social networks — friends on Facebook, and maybe check in with my followers on Twitter to see what they have to say — and always check with a travel professional or two who might have an opinion. It seems like more work, but it’s worth the time to ensure you don’t end up with something surprising upon check-in.”

Kam’s comments reflect a majority of the reader feedback to this poll of more than 700 readers of this site and Consumer Traveler, which was conducted last week in cooperation with the Washington-based Consumer Travel Alliance.
Read more “Most travelers are skeptical of user-generated hotel reviews”