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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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Posted in: Consumers, Customer Service, Personal Stories, Savvy Tips
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In Search of Truth in Advertising

Posted on September 26, 2019 by Chris Bjorklund

I’ve been a label reader for all of my adult life, and I continue to be amazed at the exaggerated (and sometimes deceptive) claims that food manufacturers make. Take vanilla ice cream, for example. When carefully reading labels, you’ll discover that not all vanilla flavoring comes from vanilla beans. Some “vanilla” comes from wood pulp or a coal tar derivative and is listed as a “natural flavor.” A class action lawsuit has been filed against four brands for this practice. Read more

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Posted in: Consumers, Savvy Tips
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Do You Know How to Do a Tick Check?

Posted on August 27, 2019 by Chris Bjorklund

I don’t know about you, but I enjoy long walks and hikes in different parts of the Bay Area. However, there are three things that detract from my enjoyment: poison oak, snakes and ticks. I’ve learned to spot poison oak and can usually avoid it. Snakes have predictable patterns and I’ve only seen a couple of harmless ones in the past few years. Ticks scare me the most because they’re so small and difficult to detect (the bites are painless), and they also may carry Lyme and other diseases. Read more

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Posted in: Seasonal, Savvy Tips
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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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Posted in: Consumers, Personal Stories, Savvy Tips
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Savvy Consumer Tip: Preparing for a Road Trip

Posted on July 02, 2019 by Chris Bjorklund

Headed out on a road trip this summer? Watch this video for some tips on how to prepare your car for a long drive. Read more

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