We’re almost through the entire summer: has your air conditioner worked hard for you through the whole season? If it is no longer performing like it used to, here are some quick fix-it-yourself ideas from our optimal-temperature colleagues down the hall at Consumer Reports. It’s possible that you don’t need to junk your A/C: just check a few things that you can probably handle yourself. [Consumer Reports]
Retailer coupons can be your ticket to great deals, but what happens when you forget to clip or bring along your coupon? If you know when to ask, sometimes the store will have your back. If not, these stores often have coupon-stuffed flyers at the entrances, or smartphone apps you can use to dial up your own. [More]
We’ve always wondered precisely when the “holiday shopping season” starts. For us at Consumerist, it’s when we receive the first press release that contains the phrase “stocking stuffer,” beginning the cold clench of dread in the pits of our stomachs. But that’s us. For the rest of the world, it begins before Halloween. So says Kohl’s, in this festive door sign. [More]
Z picked up and moved to a new city for work, and rented a room in a three-bedroom house with an out-of-town landlord. He found the rental on Craigslist. Not his dream home, but not so bad either. Until he came home from a conference and found that the landlord came to visit, and stayed in the house. With all three bedrooms rented out, where did she crash? Z’s room, of course, which she also rummaged through and rearranged the furniture. [More]
A tipster wants to know whether adding his name to his mother’s accounts will open him up to credit issues should something go wrong. [More]
The Department of Transportation has updated its consumer guide to air travel, which provides a quick summary of what to look for when buying a ticket, and what protections you have during travel. It’s also a good starting point when you have an airline-related problem and need more information before deciding what to do next. [More]
Lifehacker reader Apollo Clark has put together a matrix that compares seven of the most popular and/or feature-packed smartphones on the market, as well as the iPad for some reason. If you’re planning on trading up to a fancy new phone/multimedia device in the next couple of months, it’s worth checking out to see which phones best align with your wish list. [More]
Reader Chris got the oil change from hell from a Ford dealer and now doesn’t know what to do about his stinky car and wants your advice. [More]
The FTC has designated this week National Consumer Protection Week, so all scams will be put on hold and businesses won’t overcharge you until next Sunday. What, no? That’s now how it works? Ah… it looks like it’s more about consumer education, which is also a good thing since that will help consumers protect themselves year round. For adults, here’s a whole page of various scam prevention tips, fact sheets, and videos. If you’re an educator, you can enroll in the National Financial Capability Challenge and get an “educator toolkit” to help you teach students how to be smart consumers. There’s a section for businesses too, with information on how to protect customers’ personal info and deter ID theft. [More]
Lifehacker has put together a nice guide to avoiding on-line scams that you could share with those people you felt were likely to fall for them — if Lifehacker didn’t make it so obviously insulting by titling it “The Complete Guide to Avoiding Online Scams (for Your Less Savvy Friends and Relatives).” [More]
Thanks for all of the great feedback on our new site! One reason for our redesign was to make it easier for readers to access our archives, and expand the kind of information we can offer. The navbar on every page is our first effort in that direction, and we thought it might be helpful to explain a little bit about what’s behind each button on the bar. [More]
The USDA and Health and Human Services (HHS) today unveiled a new website focused on food safety at foodsafety.gov. It’s got lots of info on how to keep food from spoiling, but better still it’s a good launching pad for filing complaints, or keeping track of what’s going on in your state (check the “state agency” widget in the bottom right column).
Yesterday, the New York Times wrote about a judge in Arizona who forced Wells Fargo to explain why it keeps stalling and being uncooperative with a customer who has been trying to get a loan modification request approved. Sadly, in the past week we’ve gotten two separate emails from homeowners who are also having trouble with getting banks to approve their requests for the government-sponsored loan modifications. “Who can we contact to complain?” asks one frustrated customer.
Last week we wrote that AT&T charged Spoco’s Amex card twice for the same payment, but their CSRs refused to investigate the issue for him. After we posted his story, AT&T took notice and reversed the charge. That raises the question these stories always raise, which is, “How do I get the same result if my problem isn’t published on Consumerist?”
College career offices aren’t just for students and recent alumni. They’re also for mid-career professionals who want help with resume touchups, interview preparation, and meeting other alums. Best of all, the assistance is entirely free!
Here’s a free handbook that’s full of the sort of stuff we spend all of our time discussing on Consumerist. Sections include how to be a savvy consumer, how to file complaints, and a directory of organizations and agencies to contact when you have a problem. You can view the contents online or download a PDF copy, and you can also request a print version for your doesn’t-go-online relative (although you’ll have to wait for a reprinting).