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Holidays, Distractions and Managing Your Receipts

Posted on November 19, 2019 by Chris Bjorklund

At the end of a recent road trip, my husband and I turned in our rental car without taking a close look at the final bill. Yes, we were distracted because we were running late and didn’t want to miss our flight. The attendant handed me a printed receipt and I stuffed it into my handbag.

A couple of days later, I cleaned out my purse and read the receipt more carefully. I found an unexpected $50 charge on top of the expected $50 drop-off fee. I had extended my rental by a few days and remembered being quoted a different total. Fortunately, the rental car agency responded quickly, reviewed the records and agreed they had made a mistake. Read more

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Posted in: Consumers, Customer Service, Personal Stories, Savvy Tips
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Is Lost Luggage a Lost Cause?

Posted on October 24, 2019 by Chris Bjorklund

Have you ever lost your luggage at an airport? I’m not talking about leaving it on the plane or not finding it on the baggage claim carousel. Have you ever left a bag in the airport’s economy parking lot? If so, there’s a good chance you’ll see it again, but it won’t be easy. So, how do you start tracking it down?

Fortunately, this happens to jet-lagged travelers pretty frequently, so airports have a process for bags that are accidentally left behind. (I speak from very recent experience!) The best thing you can do is go back to the airport parking lot or the terminal (if you can) and start talking to people who work there. Read more

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A Welcome Home: My Quest for the Right Indoor Insulation

Posted on October 08, 2019 by Joy Lanzaro

I’ll admit, I like being greeted at the front door. For me, the home environment is the hug that wraps me in a warm embrace on a rainy day or the kiss of cold that greets me at the door when it’s over 100 degrees outside. That’s my kind of “welcome home.”

Unfortunately, my home is insulated to 1970 building code standards, so I’d be surprised if it even had insulation in the attic (I’m afraid of the attic, so I’m not going to check). My home’s exterior walls aren’t insulated and the windows are single-pane, aluminum-framed, and leaking air in all the wrong directions. There’s a fireplace but it doesn’t warm the air in front of it. Read more

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Posted in: Energy Efficiency, Home Improvement, Personal Stories
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Fight Back? Hail, Yes!

Posted on July 25, 2019 by Chris Bjorklund

I recently received an unexpected voicemail from a company representing a rental car agency. The caller said he was following up with me to collect on a damage claim for a vehicle I had rented at Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix, Arizona for my niece’s wedding in February. He said I hadn’t reported roof damage upon returning it and was responsible for $749.13 in parts and labor for repairs.

At first, I thought this had to be a scam call and wasn’t going to respond. But my husband convinced me to call back, ask more questions and request photos of the damage. The representative promptly sent an itemized list of repairs and pictures showing a half-dozen roof dents. Read more

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Protect Yourself From Credit/Debit Card Skimming at the Pumps

Posted on June 25, 2019 by Chris Bjorklund

The last two times my credit card number was hacked, I can trace it back to using the card at convenience store gas pumps. The physical card itself was always in my possession, yet small fraudulent charges (under $50) started showing up on my account. Fortunately, I look at my account online almost every day and receive an alert whenever a charge of $10 or more is made. That’s how I caught the problem early before things got out of hand. Still, my credit card account had to be shut down, which meant I had to contact many companies that bill me automatically for payments. I also had to change the credit card number on file for Uber, Read more

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A Perfect 10!

Posted on May 28, 2019 by Chris Bjorklund

I bet a lot of you have stayed in Airbnbs in the past, so you know how the quality of the accommodations can vary widely. Even when you carefully read the reviews and compare properties, you can still end up renting a real stinker. One time our apartment was in the attic of an old Virginian mansion that smelled like mothballs. Another place looked inviting in the pictures but really needed a deep cleaning. And the worst one was located right next to a fire station! We didn’t sleep too well in Savannah, Georgia.

Mostly though, I’ve had great experiences with Airbnb properties, and my recent stay in San Antonio, Texas was the best one ever. Read more

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Seafood Fraud Persists

Posted on April 30, 2019 by Chris Bjorklund

My husband and I try to eat seafood at least twice a week and look for what is fresh at the market. But the labeling can be confusing and is often misleading. In fact, if you eat a lot of seafood, there’s a pretty good chance you’ve eaten mislabeled fish in the past 12 months. Seafood fraud is a common problem, according to the nonprofit group Oceana, which conducted an investigation across the United States last year. Over six months, Oceana collected 400 samples from seafood markets and found that about 21 percent of them were mislabeled. Read more

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Posted in: Consumers, Health Tips, Personal Stories, Savvy Tips
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