Look, it’s going to happen eventually. Whether it’s pickpockets or carelessness, you’re going to lose your wallet. When you do, you’ll be glad you took these five steps to make recovery simple and painless. [More]
Get answers to many common Consumerist questions, now in convenient paper form! [More]
Once you get one piece of executive or escalated contact info, you can Google it to uncover more pieces of info. The phone numbers and/or email addresses you’ve got have a good chance of showing up in other people’s blogs and message board posts complaining about the same company. For example,
Here are the 17 of the most popular (as determined by Google Analytics pageviews) of our “news you can use” variety for 2008. If you don’t learn at least one thing from one of these posts that saves you money, something is wrong with your brain.
On The Money’s budget calculator makes it easy to determine how much you should be spending across the seven categories that make up any responsible budget. Regardless of income, tracking and limiting your overall spending is a foolproof strategy for keeping your accounts in the black. Though the percents will vary according to geography and personal situation, On The Money’s calculator gives you a quick glance at concrete spending targets that you can compare against your credit card bills and bank statements. Give it a try and tell us in the comments what other tools you use to control your spending.
Although we are not technically in a recession, it’s starting to feel like one. As gas prices and unemployment continue to rise, we’ve rounded up a collection of useful advice for the current period of economic austerity.
Budgeting a key part of travel, but your usual budgeting tricks lose their potency when you leave home. Get Rich Slowly compiled a handy list of budgeting tips to keep you from overspending on your next vacation.
Meet Doug Steenland, CEO of Northwest airlines. He and his fellow executives can help fix problems left unresolved by tree-bound call center sloths. Here’s how to reach Northwest’s executive management team…
“There’s only one leverage any consumer has with a company. And that’s financial.” So says Ron Burley, author of UNSCREWED: The Consumer’s Guide To Getting What You Paid For. I got to interview Ron Burley to plumb his brain about his customer satisfaction hacks, and the current state of affairs of customer service. His techniques are bold and make no apologies. We’re not talking letters, and forms, and complaint departments. These are real methods for real people that work real fast. He also goes into the mindset that you need to develop if you’re going to get results. Bookmark this post, it’s an epic barnburner. Transcript, inside…
Last week we wrote about I-Can! E-File, a free electronic filing service for your federal income taxes. It’s a great idea, and we’re thankful to the Legal Aid Society of Orange County for doing something like this—but you might want to find an alternative this year and give them some time to work out the kinks. Today a reader emailed us to point out that icanefile.org’s password system can be easily cracked, because instead of letting you choose an original password, it requires you to use your name and social security number to set up an account.
I-CAN! is a web-based tax preparation tool that will file your tax return completely free of charge. I-CAN has no eligibility criteria or income restrictions and will eFile your state return for free if you live in California, Michigan, New York, Pennsylvania or Montana. It almost sounds too good to be true. So why isn’t I-CAN! a member of the IRS’ Free File Alliance?
We’ve posted recently about how to fight back when a business screws you over, and we’ve posted a lot of executive contact info over the years. Now we’re packaging the two together into one big mega-post of usefulness: a one-stop-stop for figuring out what you need to do to start a customer complaint, or how to escalate a stalled one so that it can be resolved.
You can’t really stop identity theft from happening. So many entities have your credit card numbers, social security numbers, date of birth, and address, that it is more or less inevitable that we will all have our identities stolen at some point. If you are lucky, you will just get a credit card cloned. If you aren’t so lucky–like many people I see in my line of work–someone will start opening accounts, buying houses, or doing other nasty things in your name.
Small claims or conciliation court provides a way for individuals to settle their differences with the help of a neutral referee or judge. [More]
One of the main reasons that lawsuits start–or that people give up once they have been screwed–is lack of good negotiating skills. This isn’t always the case, of course. Some corporations, landlords, customer service representatives, etc., are simply intractable. If you negotiate well, you may just get what you want. But even if you don’t, you will set yourself up to take the situation to the next level.