Use The Clock And Google Voice To Actually Reach The IRS

Use The Clock And Google Voice To Actually Reach The IRS

Sure, it’s not peak IRS season right now, but there is quite a variety of reasons that you might have to deal with the ever-present government agency anyway. Tax Cat is out of the office, vacationing at his offshore kitty condo in the Cayman Islands, so it’s up to reader Christopher, a tax preparer, to serve us up with handy tax advice. See, sometimes you have to call the IRS. You can’t avoid it. But so does everyone else in the country. What Christopher figured out is that the IRS call center doesn’t have fixed hours like most. Its open hours depend on what time zone you live in. His solution? Use a Google Voice number to fudge what time zone he’s in, and call late in the evening when the business day is done for most of the continental U.S. [More]

Dear Customers: Stop Making My Call-Center Employees Cry

Dear Customers: Stop Making My Call-Center Employees Cry

This week, we heard from a reader who we’ll call Mr. X. He works in marketing, and handles escalated customer service issues. He’s the guy you talk to when things go horribly, horribly wrong. He listens to your phone calls, and decides whether you should receive bill credits and other nice things. Mr. X has some very important advice for the customer service ninjas of Consumerist: please stop being jerks to front-line employees. [More]

You Don’t Need The Perfect Tortilla Pan. No One Does.

You Don’t Need The Perfect Tortilla Pan. No One Does.

Every time I look at a TV during the last few weeks, I see ads for the Perfect Tortilla, a wavy mold designed to help you make lovely edible bowls out of a regular store-bought tortilla. At home, visiting family, even at a sports bar: the ad is everywhere. What makes it annoying isn’t the spokesman who resembles a bald Billy Mays. It’s that this product is useless, even by the rarified standards of as-seen-on-TV merchandise. [More]

Dirty Air Conditioner Filters Could Be Blowing Your Money Away

Dirty Air Conditioner Filters Could Be Blowing Your Money Away

Has anyone else noticed that it’s been pretty hot this summer? As such, your air conditioner is probably getting quite the workout. But it’s important to make sure you’re getting the most out of it as you can so it can do its very best to cool you down instead of just running up your electric bill. That goes for your dehumidifier as well. One easy way to optimize those appliances? Cleaning out your dirty filters. [More]

I Want To Reunite Lost Kindle And Its Owner, But Amazon Won’t Help

I Want To Reunite Lost Kindle And Its Owner, But Amazon Won’t Help

Matt is trying to do a nice thing. The previous occupant of his seat on a plane left a Kindle behind in the seatback pocket. He took it with him, planning to reunite the device with its owner. But that person has a very common name, and Amazon has no interest in being a go-between to help reunite lost Kindles with their owners. [More]

Do Dollar Stores Always Offer The Best Deal?

Do Dollar Stores Always Offer The Best Deal?

The allure of the dollar store for some shoppers is the idea that they will save money compared to what they would spend going to another retailer. But that may not always be the case, especially if you’re buying larger sizes of some products. [More]

Flying While Fat: Research And Self-Awareness Mean Smooth Travel

Flying While Fat: Research And Self-Awareness Mean Smooth Travel

Reader Mechpaul is a large man. He used to avoid flying, afraid of what would happen if he was too big for his seat, encroaching on his neighbors’ space and potentially being humiliated and marched off the plane. Instead of approaching his flight with fear, he armed himself with two essential tools: a measuring tape and the Internet. He used these to find out whether he would fit in a United Airlines seat, and to plan accordingly. [More]

Washing Your Clothes Now Involves Complicated Flow Chart, Credit Cards

Washing Your Clothes Now Involves Complicated Flow Chart, Credit Cards

Darren’s New York City apartment building just got a new set of laundry machines. Which is all well and good, but the instructions that come with said equipment? Let’s just say the “3 Easy Steps” touted on the in-depth flow-chart appear to be neither three in number, nor easy. Whatever happened to sticking some quarters in a machine and popping your whites and darks in? [More]

10 Signs Your Used Car Is Really A Rebuilt Wreck

10 Signs Your Used Car Is Really A Rebuilt Wreck

We often hear from readers horrified to discover that their perfectly lovely used car was once another owner’s total loss. They only find out much later, once something goes horribly wrong due to the previous damage. But once the vehicle is all fixed up and shiny, how is the average car buyer to know the difference? It turns out that there are distinctive signs that a car was previously in a crash or flood. Some you might notice yourself, and others require a mechanic’s eye. [More]

How Hard Should I Try To Give Back Someone Else's Tablet?

How Hard Should I Try To Give Back Someone Else's Tablet?

Last week, Brian received a package from the ASUS repair center. It was a freshly repaired tablet, the same model that he owns. Except he hadn’t sent his in for repair lately. Someone else’s address appeared on the return merchandise authorization (RMA) form inside the box, but the label on the outside had Brian’s information. He wonders: how much time and money should he invest in getting this package home when Asus doesn’t particularly seem to care? [More]

A Rebuttal To Important News Regarding How Much Money Is In Scrooge McDuck's Vault

A Rebuttal To Important News Regarding How Much Money Is In Scrooge McDuck's Vault

Here at Consumerist, we don’t take vaults filled with riches lightly. So when a recent story claimed to have finally calculated how much money it would take to fill Scrooge McDuck’s swimmable vault of gold, our childhood selves were all atwitter. But then, we started talking about it amongst ourselves. [More]

When To Toss Your Old Ketchup And Mayo

When To Toss Your Old Ketchup And Mayo

I recently got a new refrigerator, and everyone knows what that means: the biennial excavating of the ancient condiments. How old is this salsa? How did I end up with three bottles of ketchup? And so on. Today, though, I learned that my standards have been woefully lax when deciding which condiments to keep around and which to toss. [More]

How Being Too Competent Can Get You Fired

How Being Too Competent Can Get You Fired

Being the weakest performer in the company or performing a service that’s utterly dispensable is dangerous to your continued employment, especially in a weak job market. But working hard and being good at what you do is potentially dangerous as well, especially if your bosses are insecure, paranoid, and just not a good as you are. To people who think this way, having a bright future within the company makes you a threat. Your future endangers theirs. [More]

A 4-Page Paper Arguing Your Case With Physics Will Get You Out Of A Ticket

A 4-Page Paper Arguing Your Case With Physics Will Get You Out Of A Ticket

Trying to argue your way out of a traffic ticket is one thing. But presenting a four-page letter that presents the physical impossibility of the situation described in said ticket is something that could only be done by an expert physicist. So if you don’t want to pay $400 and happen to know such a person, it might turn out handy. [More]

The Supermarket Tricks You Need To Avoid To Save While Shopping

The Supermarket Tricks You Need To Avoid To Save While Shopping

You might have a good set of tactics while shopping at your local supermarket. But are you savvy to the subtle ways food stores (and other retailers) get you to buy more? There might be a few tricks you’ve fallen prey to in the past. [More]

An Example Of When Buying A Generic Drug Can Save You 72%

An Example Of When Buying A Generic Drug Can Save You 72%

Yeah, buying generics drugs instead of their snazzy brand name versions could stifle an allergy, calm a nasty cough or banish that throb on the cheap. But at more than half the price? [More]

For Cheap Toiletries, Don't Turn To Your Local Pharmacies

For Cheap Toiletries, Don't Turn To Your Local Pharmacies

How many times has this happened to you? You’re at your neighborhood drugstore, picking up meds, when you remember you need shampoo or maybe some other personal care product as well. You’re at the store, they have the what you need… But are you gonna get hosed at the checkout? [More]

Making An Early Retirement Work

Making An Early Retirement Work

Some people are so obsessed with their work that they can never envision chucking everything to begin a life of leisure, while others have spent most of their work lives counting the days until they no longer have to clock in. If you opt to jump the gun and call it a career before you hit your golden years, you’re taking a calculated risk, hoping to make your savings stretch out longer rather than spending more time to build it up before you take the plunge. [More]