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59 Articles and Resources. Go to:  [Next 9]

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Jun 27, 2016 Dear Landlord: Don’t Rip Me Off When it Comes To Internet Access When building owners get kickbacks from big providers it’s the tenants who lose

QUOTE: Water and heat are regulated utilities. But when it comes to Internet access, people in apartments (called Multiple Dwelling Units, or MDUs) often have the worst of both worlds: all the limitations of a utility framework — no competition, no choices — with zero protections for consumers. That means unconstrained pricing. Network operators like Comcast, Time Warner Cable, and AT&T, in cahoots with developers and landlords, routinely use a breathtaking array of kickbacks, lawyerly games of Twister, blunt threats, and downright illegal activities to lock up buildings in exclusive arrangements.

Jul 18, 2012 Capital One to pay $210 million in fines, consumer refunds

QUOTE: Cardholders who enrolled in a payment protection or credit monitoring product -- or who tried to cancel one of these products but were persuaded by a call center representative to keep it -- on or after August 1, 2010, will be refunded the money they paid for the product, as well as any finance charges, over-the-limit fees or interest paid....The latest action marks the first enforcement for the bureau since it began regulating credit cards, mortgages and consumer reporting agencies as part of the Dodd-Frank regulatory reform last year.

CNN/Money Magazine
Jun 22, 2012 Getting Lost in the Labyrinth of Medical Bills

QUOTE: With the exception of Medicare and Medicaid, experts say, the amount paid for services — or the price your insurers pay — is based on the market power of the insurance company on the one side and the hospitals and providers on the other, and the reimbursement agreements they ultimately reach. So large insurers that command a lot of market power may be able to negotiate lower rates than smaller companies with less influence.

New York Times
Jun 19, 2012 Online credit card complaint database to debut

QUOTE: A new online database...created by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, will begin by posting grievances against credit card companies...."Disclosing every complaint, without any indication of the veracity of the complaint, is inherently misleading," wrote Fred R. Becker Jr., president of the National Association of Federal Credit Unions.

CNN/Money Magazine
Mar 14, 2012 Waging war on shady locksmiths

QUOTE: [Google says] "We’re aware of the gaming practices happening in the locksmith industry — practices which long predate Google and have affected the Yellow Pages for decades. We’ve implemented several measures to combat this issue, including improving our spam detection algorithms and working with the locksmith industry to find solutions."

Washington Post
Mar 09, 2012 The Web Is Awash in Reviews, but Not for Doctors. Here’s Why.

QUOTE: RateMDs now has reviews of more than 1,370,000 doctors in the United States and Canada. But getting in the faces of the previously untouchable professional class has inevitably led to legal threats. He says he gets about one each week over negative reviews and receives subpoenas every month or two for information that can help identify reviewers, who believe they are posting anonymously.

New York Times
Jun 07, 2011 Companies Offer Free Versions of Identity Theft Services

QUOTE: We here at Bucks typically advocate creating your own free monitoring system....But the idea of a service that is free and automatic piqued our interest.

New York Times
May 25, 2011 PeopleClaim: Taking Complaints Public Via the Web

QUOTE: A site called PeopleClaim aspires to go beyond mere venting, to assist customers in filing a complaint with the service provider in question....PeopleClaim aims to provide an alternative to the legal system for consumers with beefs who may not have the time or money to go even to small claims court...

New York Times
Mar 12, 2011 ‘Complaint Resolved’? Well, Not Exactly

QUOTE: The Austin area’s Better Business Bureau charges consumers $70 a mediation... At minimum, the bureau ought to disclose some of these facts in its online report about PC Drivers Headquarters, right?... The lack of disclosure about the fee only adds to the sense that the bureau is more interested in protecting dues-paying members than in helping consumers, does it not?

New York Times
Jan 30, 2011 How to Fight Back When Your Flight is Cancelled

QUOTE: While flight delays and cancellations are unavoidable during bad weather, some of the related service issues are not.... It’s not just enough to know your rights. You need to be persistent and use everything at your disposal, from social media to the fine print in ticket rules.

New York Times
Jun 16, 2010 Negotiators in Congress to Discuss Rule for Brokers

QUOTE: On the surface, both the brokerage and the financial planning industries appear to agree that advisers of all stripes should be subject to a consistent fiduciary standard. But behind the scenes, the groups are divided on how exactly it will work, while the insurance industry has been opposed to the standard.

New York Times
Aug 03, 2009 DPI vendor says 90% of ISPs engage in traffic discrimination

QUOTE: Sandvine makes deep packet inspection hardware that can identify and then block... user traffic coming from particular applications such as Skype or BitTorrent clients. The 160 worldwide ISPs who use the company's products love this particular capability so much that a full 90 percent of them employ it to "manage" their networks in a discriminatory way.

Ars Technica
Jul 29, 2009 Average UK broadband speeds only half as fast as advertised

QUOTE: UK telecoms regulator Ofcom today released the results of a lengthy study that compared advertised download speeds with the actual speeds received by home users... —average speeds are only half what is advertised.

Ars Technica
Apr 16, 2009 10 Things Cable Companies Won't Tell You

QUOTE: 2. “raise prices recklessly... Bundling your services can end up costing you more.”

Smart Money
Mar 25, 2009 What Do Your Minutes Cost? You Can’t Tell by the Cellphone Bill (Phone Smart)

QUOTE: many people don’t bother to closely read their cellphone bills....Now a consumer advocacy group is arguing that, actually, there’s not enough information on a wireless bill.

New York Times
Dec 29, 2008 Persistence is an art: One reader wins the game of customer service (Gripe Line)

QUOTE: Often, people simply give up, sacrificing their own (or their company's) hard-earned money rather than visit the feeling of helplessness that comes from navigating a bureaucracy. I know from long experience that most of these problems can be worked out given a little time and a lot of patience.

Dec 12, 2008 Visa to the rescue: Caught in the MPC Chapter 11 mess (or any warranty mess, for that matter)? Maybe your credit card can help.

QUOTE: According to the Visa site, "Warranty Manager Service offers you a number of valuable features, including warranty registration and Extended Warranty Protection."

Nov 12, 2008 Hey Priceline, I want my fees back

QUOTE: what happens to all of those extras that get tacked on to your airline ticket. There's a long list of them, including a federal excise tax, a passenger facility charge and a September 11th Security Fee. Do those get sent to the government when you cancel your flight? Or does the airline just pocket them?

CNN (Cable News Network)
Aug 29, 2008 Automated Bill Payments Are a Cinch (Not So Fast) (Your Money)

QUOTE: One other thing to keep in mind: While billers make plenty of errors, consumers probably make even more. People forget to pay, pay late or pay the wrong amount. Part of the point of automation is to protect the mistake-prone from themselves.

New York Times
May 11, 2008 Tricks of the Trade: For every occupation, there is a catalog of secrets only its employees are aware of—such as how waiters with heavy platters know to look straight ahead, and never down.

QUOTE: I recently asked readers for their “tricks of the trade,” and was amazed by the response. It seems every profession is rich with clever little occupational secrets. Here are some of the best of what I received.

Morning News, The (TMN)
Mar 25, 2008 Trust, But Verify: Retail salespeople are often well informed, but there are enough predatory types out there to warrant researching purchases beforehand.

QUOTE: [buying cell phones is a] particular concern since they come with required two-year contracts and cancellation penalties. Granted, there's usually a 30-day return policy (20 in the case of T-Mobile). But once that period expires, you're stuck—and there's certainly reason to be worried.

Smart Device Central
Feb 20, 2008 What You Need to Know About Digital Television

QUOTE: most people don't use an antenna to receive television programming, and viewing digital television (DTV) doesn't necessarily require the purchase of a new TV. The transition to a 100% digital television broadcasting system is all but inevitable, and the good news is that few people will even notice when nearly 80 years of analog television broadcasting service comes to an end early next year.

PC Magazine
Feb 19, 2008 10 Things Your Tax Preparer Won't Tell You (10 Things)

QUOTE: ...recently filed lawsuits allege that the owners of 125 Jackson Hewitt franchises cost the government $70 million in tax fraud and created an environment "in which fraudulent tax-return preparation is encouraged and flourishes," according to the Department of Justice.

Smart Money
Jan 11, 2008 5 things airlines won't tell you about their food

QUOTE: 1. 'There's no food on this flight.' 2. 'Hope you're not on a diet.' 3. 'Our in-flight cuisine is awful.' 4. 'Exact change only, please.' 5. 'There's a secret menu -- and it's better.'

CNN (Cable News Network)
Oct 23, 2007 The next battle for wildfire victims: Insurance: Consumers could get stiffed on reimbursement for razed homes, and even get dropped by their insurance companies, consumer advocates warn.

QUOTE: Consumer advocates warn that insurance firms could take a hard line with their policyholders in the wake of the wildfire disaster, by skimping on claim payments or going so far as to refuse to write new policies altogether.

CNN (Cable News Network)
Oct 07, 2007 Medicare Audits Show Problems in Private Plans

QUOTE: Tens of thousands of Medicare recipients have been victims of deceptive sales tactics and had claims improperly denied by private insurers that run the system’s huge new drug benefit program and offer other private insurance options encouraged by the Bush administration...

New York Times
Aug 18, 2007 Static Mounts Over Cellphone Contracts

QUOTE: Most cellphone owners find themselves committed to two-year service contracts with wireless companies, facing hefty fees for an early escape. But as customer satisfaction with these firms continues to slide, consumers are taking more drastic actions to shed their contracts.

Washington Post
Jul 03, 2007 Hospitals Are Beyond Compare: Data on Cardiac Care Show Almost No Differences Nationwide

QUOTE: The federal government unveiled new cardiac care information last month on a Web site that tracks hospital performance, earning kudos from hospital administrators and health-care researchers but demonstrating how difficult it is for consumers to compare hospital care.

Washington Post
Apr 17, 2007 Adult Education: Are You Getting What You Pay For?

QUOTE: Many schools are pushing certificate programs, groups of related courses packaged together — but quality can vary widely. We spoke with academic experts to find out how you can tell the A-list programs from the duds.

Smart Money
Apr 13, 2007 Five Sneaky Bank Fees

QUOTE: You may have free checking with your bank, but that doesn't mean you aren't paying fees elsewhere. Here are five sneaky fees to watch out for: overdraft shell game fees, paper fees, courtesy-overdraft fees, point-of-sale fees, and last-minute bill pay fees.

Smart Money
Feb 22, 2007 Lesson One: The Price the Contractor Quotes Is an Estimate

QUOTE: Few endeavors seem more challenging than renovating one’s home, whether a 300-square-foot studio or a mansion 30 times that size. Having accurate information about what to expect would probably make things easier. While many consumers could guess the price of a flat-screen TV or a dishwasher, few could easily estimate the cost of even the simplest renovation.

New York Times
Jan 25, 2007 When Air Travel Goes Wrong, Here's How to Get Compensated

QUOTE: Chances are, you can get some form of reimbursement for your lost time or money — but don't expect the airlines to volunteer it. You have to be proactive about researching your rights and an airline's policies, and then making sure the airline holds up its end of the deal.

Smart Money
Aug 05, 2006 Ten Ways Brokers Pick Pockets

QUOTE: look for the fine print on any full-service brokerage's Web site and you'll see the following: "Our interests may not be the same as yours."...Some brokers may try to pitch you products that will earn them higher commissions.

Apr 13, 2006 Many taxpayers getting burned by inept or crooked preparers

QUOTE: Many of the preparers have been accused of using improper deductions and credits to inflate the size of tax refunds in apparent efforts to attract new clients and increase profits...

Nov 20, 2005 An Overheated Car-Repair Bill: Lack of Knowledge Can Lead to Frustration and Suspicion

QUOTE: Car repairs are consistently among the top three or four gripes in consumer surveys. Auto repairs -- faulty repairs, cost overruns and unnecessary repairs -- ranked third behind home-improvement and car-dealer problems this year in an analysis of more than 400,000 complaints conducted by the National Association of Consumer Agency Administrators and the Consumer Federation of America...

Washington Post
Nov 13, 2005 Demonizing the Customer: Some Company Help Staffs Disdain the People They Serve

QUOTE: rage consumers increasingly feel toward inept and uncaring customer service -- and now vice versa.

Washington Post
Nov 01, 2005 Car Repairs for the Automotively Challenged

QUOTE: can the average person who doesn't know much (or anything) about cars feel comfortable making repair decisions? The experts say it's ideally a three-step process:
Jun 28, 2005 Land of the Fee: Stories of Surcharges

QUOTE: Trifling fees crop up just about everywhere these days. From banks charging a couple bucks for what once were standard services to hotel phone connection charges to confounding phone bill tag-ons, everybody seems to be nickel-and-diming consumers.

Washington Post
May 10, 2005 10 Things Your Caterer Won't Tell You

QUOTE: Anyone can call himself a caterer, and that means a huge disparity in the level of service, skill, cleanliness and general professionalism you might find out there.

Smart Money
Feb 08, 2005 Not all tax preparers created equal, so do some checking

QUOTE: ...strong demand for tax preparation also has attracted some unsavory characters. Some are incompetent, overlooking deductions and credits that could lower your tax bill. Others are crooks who manufacturer phony expenses in an effort to pump up your refund.

Feb 03, 2005 Price-Comparison Sites Do the Legwork

QUOTE: The prediction was, price-comparison sites would create perfectly competitive environments in which all firms would have to charge the same price, but then there would be no reason to go to price-comparison sites," Professor Baye said. "We found that the fee structures at some price-comparison sites provide incentives for firms to charge random prices..."

New York Times
Oct 31, 2004 How to Make The Right Call On Cell Plans

QUOTE: But wireless phone service can't be purchased on price alone -- first, you need to decide which carrier to go with, since not all offer the same service. It helps to start with the right questions.

Washington Post
Aug 01, 2004 My top ten consumer tips

QUOTE: If you're renting, take pictures and list all problems as soon as you take possession...Check references when you hire an independent contractor...

Jun 15, 2004 Watch out for bad-loan signals

QUOTE: Bell spotted attractive terms on a television ad, contacted the lender and locked in a cash-out refi at 5.125 percent with $350 upfront as a processing fee toward a 45-day closing. Then trouble began.
May 01, 2004 A Cause for Alarm (Scam Alert)

QUOTE: Many companies that sell home security systems are reputable, authorities point out. But they urge consumers to compare the systems, monitoring fees and contract terms of at least three companies before they make a purchase.

Apr 27, 2004 8 common scams: How to spot them and stop them

QUOTE: There are no new scams -- just new suckers. Scam artists add new spins to age-old scams and go in search of victims.
Sep 01, 2003 Moving Violations (Scam Alert)

QUOTE: many are left without recourse when dishonest movers rip them off. Complaints against interstate moving companies doubled from 1996 to 1999...

Jul 29, 2003 Protect your finances with disability insurance

QUOTE: Car crashes. Heart attacks. Random acts of violence. Back injuries. Cancer. They're all scary things that can change your life in an instant and dramatically impact your ability to work
Mar 06, 2003 The Perils of Online Job Sites

QUOTE: ...job seekers who post their résumés online may be handing their personal data over to marketers and identity thieves instead of legitimate employers...

Jul 14, 2002 No Suits Allowed: Increasingly, Arbitration Is the Only Recourse

QUOTE: "My husband and I are both college-educated, but we did not know that signing a construction contract meant that we forever gave up our constitutional rights to a trial by jury for any and all future disputes with our builder"...Binding arbitration.

Washington Post

59 Articles and Resources. Go to:  [Next 9]