Ask Tax Dad: Send Us Your Questions For Consumerist’s Tax Columnist

Ask Tax Dad: Send Us Your Questions For Consumerist’s Tax Columnist

It’s almost time for W-2s and other tax documents to start winging their way from employers to our homes, and for the anxiety-inducing yearly tax season to begin. But taxes don’t have to be scary if your dad is there to help. Or, if your own dad isn’t around or doesn’t know anything about taxes, how about my dad? [More]

(Scoboco)

What Is The Gray Market, And Why Should I Care?

Back in February, we posted the story of a reader who got a great deal from an online discount vendor on a Samsung MP3 player, but learned that there was a reason why the deal was so fab. It had been manufactured for the Chinese market, not the United States market, and made its way to her pocket through gray market channels. That meant that it didn’t have a warranty through Samsung USA: if she wanted to fix it, she had to send it for repair in Hong Kong. Okay, but what’s the “gray market?” [More]

Ask Tax Dad: Amending My Taxes, Social Security Disability, And Buried In Online Brokerage Paperwork

Ask Tax Dad: Amending My Taxes, Social Security Disability, And Buried In Online Brokerage Paperwork

Usually, our staff Certified Tax Cat handles readers’ questions about taxes, but he found a particularly good sunbeam and called in for a personal day. Filling in for him is Laura’s dad, a retired accountant and real live independent tax preparer. Exclusively on Consumerist this spring, Tax Dad answers your questions. [More]

Ask Tax Dad: Overfunded 401(k), Living In My Rental Property, And More Tax Returns For Dead People

Ask Tax Dad: Overfunded 401(k), Living In My Rental Property, And More Tax Returns For Dead People

Usually, our staff Certified Tax Cat handles readers’ questions about taxes, but he’s currently at a Warby Parker showroom shopping for some even less fashionable glasses. Filling in for him is Laura’s dad, a retired accountant and real live independent tax preparer. Exclusively on Consumerist this spring, Tax Dad answers your questions. [More]

Ask Tax Dad: A Recovering Slacker, An Incompetent Accountant, And The Tax Return Of The Dead

Ask Tax Dad: A Recovering Slacker, An Incompetent Accountant, And The Tax Return Of The Dead

Usually, our staff Certified Tax Cat handles readers’ questions about taxes, but he got his tax refund early this year and is on vacation, taking a salmon-watching cruise on the Pacific coast. Filling in for him is Laura’s dad, a retired accountant and real live independent tax preparer. Exclusively on Consumerist this spring, Tax Dad answers your questions. [More]

Tax Dad Sez: Send Us Your Questions For Consumerist’s Designated Tax Preparer

Tax Dad Sez: Send Us Your Questions For Consumerist’s Designated Tax Preparer

Seriously old-school Consumerist fans might remember Ask Meghann’s Dad, where readers sent in questions about electrical wiring and home repair, and Mr. Marco was all competent and helpful. During a meeting to think of new story ideas, we remembered this and asked ourselves: what other experts do we have access to who are also related to us? Why, there’s our very own Tax Dad, independent tax preparer John Northrup. [More]

Newspaper Carrier: I Work Hard To Deliver Your Grandma's Paper, And I Exist

Newspaper Carrier: I Work Hard To Deliver Your Grandma's Paper, And I Exist

For our younger readers who aren’t familiar, a newspaper is sort of like Google News, but all printed on a piece of paper, and it doesn’t update automatically. Newspapers don’t automatically appear on your doorstep, though. It might seem like magic, but there’s a real person who bundles up those papers and drives around in all kinds of weather to get them on your doorstep before you wake up. Reader Auron, a newspaper carrier, responded to our call for readers to tell us what they wish the general public knew about their jobs. [More]

Do You Have Questions For A Retail Store Manager?

Do You Have Questions For A Retail Store Manager?

Do you have questions about how the business of retail works from the other side of the register? Are you curious about store credit cards, loyalty cards, confusing signage, women’s clothing sizes, loss prevention, sales goals, the all-consuming power of Corporate, or other things that form the basis of most Consumerist complaints? The Consumerist’s Mystery Manager is here to answer your questions. [More]

Today Is World Consumer Rights Day… Where Are All The Doorbuster Sales?

Today Is World Consumer Rights Day… Where Are All The Doorbuster Sales?

On March 15, 1962, President Kennedy addressed Congress and called for everyone to recognize four basic consumer rights — the right to safety, the right to be informed, the right to choose, and the right to be heard. It’s a message worth repeating. [More]

Ask Tax Cat: Should I Get My Taxes Done For Free At Walmart?

Ask Tax Cat: Should I Get My Taxes Done For Free At Walmart?

Every year around this time, Tax Cat emerges from his basket to answer questions and offer advice to you, the fine people of the internet. [More]

5 Bad Deals In Extended Warranties For Holiday Shoppers

5 Bad Deals In Extended Warranties For Holiday Shoppers

Extended warranty plans are generally known as being bad deals for consumers. But how specifically are they bad? An insider who works, begrudgingly, for an extended service plan company lays out some of the worst extended warranty deals to watch out for when shopping this holiday season. [More]

How A Sheriff Uses His 10,000 Facebook Fans To Solve Crimes

How A Sheriff Uses His 10,000 Facebook Fans To Solve Crimes

Sheriff Al Lamberti, 54, is like The Consumerist with a badge and a gun. [More]

How I Got Hertz To Give Me A Free Double-Tow, 1 Day Off My Rental, And A $25 Voucher

How I Got Hertz To Give Me A Free Double-Tow, 1 Day Off My Rental, And A $25 Voucher

I was cruising down I-95 to Maryland to see my uncle’s bluegrass band with my step-father in the passenger seat and my wife in the back, when I noticed my Hertz rental wasn’t steering as responsively as before. The tire pressure indicator light went on, then the passenger-side airbag light was on steady, and so was the car temperature gauge. [More]

The Electric Car Gets Its Revenge

The Electric Car Gets Its Revenge

Last night I caught an advance screening of a new documentary, “Revenge of the Electric Car.” It’s by the same director who did “Who Killed The Electric Car?” except this story ends in triumph instead of tragedy. [More]

How "Social Media Customer Service" Is Often Either A Failure Or A Lie

How "Social Media Customer Service" Is Often Either A Failure Or A Lie

Frank Eliason is a legend for pioneering @ComcastCares and being the guy who would hunt down Comcast customers who were complaining online and try to solve their problems. So why is the guy who helped invent large-scale social media customer service writing a post titled, “Social Media Customer Service is a Failure”? Well, Frank says that most companies are just slapping a new Twitter account on old broken systems, and are more interested in using social media to get customers to shut up. [More]

Close Up Loved One's Accounts After They Pass Away

Close Up Loved One's Accounts After They Pass Away

If the responsibility has fallen on your shoulders to close up the accounts and cancel the contracts of a loved one who passed away, it can be a painful, slow, and confusing process. Here are 9 tips to make it go smoother. [More]

The Four Most Interesting Finance Sites At Finovate

The Four Most Interesting Finance Sites At Finovate

This week there was a finance technology conference in New York called Finovate. I was able to slip in incognito because my press pass had been printed out as, “Ben Popken, Managing Editor, The Consumer Blog.” Freed from the shackles of people knowing who I was and thereby trying to influence my reportage, I was able to survey the scene with a clear and penetrating gaze. Here are four of the new sites that sounded the most interesting. [More]

What The Debt Ceiling Bill Means For Your Wallet

What The Debt Ceiling Bill Means For Your Wallet

You need a flowchart and a spreadsheet to understand all the different stages of the debt ceiling bill that passed the House yesterday and is likely to pass the Senate today. But let’s not get hung up on who does what to whom at what point, and when that super-awesome “sudden death mode” of spending cuts kicks in. Instead, let’s look at what the debt-ceiling bill means to you and your wallet. [More]