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Jul 31, 2013

Contractors, cars and debt collectors top U.S. consumer complaints: survey

By Mitch Lipka

(Reuters) – U.S. consumers always complain about pushy car salesmen and debt collectors, but in 2012 they also faced an array of new and sometimes surprising challenges – like getting hit with fees just for questioning their bills, according to a recent survey.

The most common complaints filed with state and local consumer protection agencies once again focused on automotive sales and service, home improvement contractors and credit-related problems, according to the annual survey published by the Consumer Federation of America and the North American Consumer Protection Investigators, a professional group of government investigators.

Jul 30, 2013
Jul 26, 2013

How to avoid ‘gray charges’ on credit card bills

July 26 (Reuters) – A multibillion-dollar business has grown
up around “gray charges” – extra credit card charges for
products and services consumers never wanted or meant to sign up
for. Some experts say these charges are deceptive and
misleading, if not illegal.

An example of a gray charge is a trial offer that expires
and is automatically converted to a full membership or
subscription. Consumers incur these charges often because they
fail to read the fine print in service agreements.

Jul 24, 2013

Real-time sky shopping taxies to the runway

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Want to order a snack or drink on a plane without flagging down a flight attendant? Book dinner and theater tickets at your destination? Watch a catalog of TV shows on demand?

Sure, but why can’t you do it already?

Dave Pedersen, a 30-year-old media director for a tech public relations firm in San Francisco, recently took a flight on Virgin America Airways Ltd where he ordered snacks, water and a movie via a touch screen on his seat-back and paid about $15.

Jul 23, 2013
    • About Mitch

      "Mitch Lipka is editor of and is a veteran consumer columnist, editor and reporter. Most recently, he led a 10-person consumer reporting team at AOL’s personal finance channel, He received the 2010 New York Press Club award for best consumer writing on the web and is the 2011 Best Friend honoree from Kids in Danger for his work covering child product safety. Mitch has been a reporter and editor for more than 25 years and has worked for The Philadelphia Inquirer, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel and Consumer Reports. The opinions expressed here are his own."
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