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).
A company called Help Remedies is offering basic drugs and first aid supplies with simple explanations. Sounds good, provided they remain focused on simple maladies.
If your bank isn’t willing to renegotiate your mortgage, see if your Member of Congress can’t give them a little push. Maxine Waters (D-CA) rings up the C.E.O.s of Bank of America and Wells Fargo on her constituents’ behalf, while Elijah Cummings (D-MD) hired a staffer who’s helping more than 120 constituents avoid foreclosure.
Might I make a suggestion for further Verizon Customer Issue articles? It would be helpful to know where the incident took place. As I’m sure you know, different parts of the county have different installation teams. Here in the New England region, installations are handled by real Verizon employees. Where in other areas, they contract installations to a third party that pass themselves off as Verizon. Also most regions have a VP email address for employees to help expidite such issues.
Starting tomorrow, Virgin Mobile will offer all customers who sign up for $30 or more post-paid plans coverage under their free Pink Slip program, which means if you get laid off and can provide proof, they’ll pay your cellphone bill for three months, and you won’t have to put a Skype number on your resume.
DoomNasty tells us he’s been hit three times in the past week with phishing attempts. The first two were text messages from Alarion Bank, asking him to call 1-877-240-6149 “to find out why my debit/atm card was blocked. I do not have an account, and Privacy Assist shows no account was created behind my back.” The third was from 201-968-0007, but no message was left. He traced the number to Liquidity Solutions, Inc., who told him that “one of their numbers got hijacked and the hijacker is phishing for banking info.”
One of our readers can’t get Sprint to stop calling him. He’s happy with the service, and they just want to make sure he’s happy. Repeatedly. To the point that they’re starting to get on his nerves.
Walgreen has announced that if you’re willing to provide proof of unemployment and sign a form that says you lost your health benefits along with your job, you and your uninsured family members can receive free treatment at any of their 300+ in-store health clinics. What’s covered: “respiratory problems, allergies, infections and skin conditions, among other ailments.” What’s not: checkups, vaccinations or other injections, and prescriptions.
Here’s an example of terrific customer service, this time from the sink and faucet company Kohler.
If you’re shopping around for a TV, computer, camera, or other consumer electronics gadget, you may want to add Gazaro to your online toolbox. The service, which is free but requires registration, tracks items that are listed on sale, then rates the sale price by comparing it to the item’s pricing history. It’s an easy way to quickly scan a list of current sales and see which ones are actually good deals. We like it, but there are still some areas that could be improved.
Someone wrote to us this week that a person in his family is terminally ill, and that he was told “that the cost of the casket, funeral, viewing, and burial would possibly exceed 12,000 dollars.” He thinks that’s an “exorbitant amount of money,” and so do we. There is no reason to pay that much money for a kick-ass funeral that people will be talking about for years to come. You don’t need to be a cheapskate to manage this, either—you just need to be aware of your rights and know what traps to watch out for. Here’s our list of what to do the next time you have to plan a funeral.
Just because the economy is imploding doesn’t mean you should entirely freeze your spending. The Wall Street Journal brings us a list of five things that are well worth their price, even in a recession.
Last week I was watching Lou Dobbs while scrubbing my dentures and complaining about joint pain (two of those things are true, sadly), and I saw a segment on Ohio congresswoman Marcy Kaptur, who is encouraging homeowners to stay put in their foreclosed houses. She argues that many of the loans made during the subprime fiasco may not be legit, and that you should seek legal counseling and demand a mortgage audit from the bank before leaving. Kaptur admits her advice doesn’t trump the sheriff knocking at your door with an eviction notice, but a real estate lawyer told the Toledo Blade that otherwise she has a point.
The website Scam Victims United warned its readers about last week’s arrested ponzi schemer, Nick Cosmo, nearly four months ago, based on a visit one of its forum members made to Cosmo’s office. Reuters points out that this site and others like it—Fraud Aid and Scam Warners, for example—are enjoying healthy traffic spikes right now, which is great news in the fight against fraud.
Ralph discovered a mysterious $18 charge on his most recent AT&T bill. A little research turned up OSP Communications, which is apparently a front for a fraudulent biller that has repeatedly hit AT&T customers with a cramming fraud. Read Ralph’s email below, and be sure to check your own phone bill for charges like this each month.