This very special double issue of Elliott’s E-Mail kicks off the fall season for the #1 site for consumer advocacy. And I promise lots of unexpected twists, turns and surprises. Thanks for joining me!
I have lots of new and interesting cases, including the American Airlines stroller dispute that almost broke the comments. Plus, read about our transformative Adventures By Disney trip to Italy, which wrapped up early this morning after a marathon flight from Venice to Orlando via a rain-delayed JFK. And there are lots of new “What’s Your Problem?” cases that you’ll find entertaining, enlightening and maybe a little disturbing.
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Question of the week: Have you booked a ticket on Google Flights yet? What did you think? Is it better than the other online travel agencies, or does it still need work? Send me an email.
Did someone say “surprise”? Oh, I have lots of them coming up. But first things first. Next week, we’ll be holding our fall fundraiser and I have an extra special premium that I think you’ll find useful and interesting. You can find out what it is by getting a jump on everyone else and becoming an underwriter. Here’s more information.
Case dismissed: The “carefree” rental guarantee didn’t cover her
Amy Hutt is no beginner when it comes to the vacation rental game. She’s booked several homes through VRBO.com, a site owned by HomeAway, in the past, and she felt confident about turning to it for a trip to Bali this fall.
Ridiculous or not? Oops, I forgot to check my credit card statement
It happens all the time.
Is this enough compensation? They downgraded me — but where’s my refund?
Donald Buisman splurged on his flight from Kansas City to St. John in the US Virgin Islands by booking two first class seats on United Airlines. After all, it was his fifth wedding anniversary, and he could pay with a combination of miles and money: 45,841 points and $1,747.
Can this trip be saved? Hotwire didn’t have the best hotel — or the best deal
Hotwire’s low-price guarantee says you can be “sure they’re the lowest prices you’ll find.” But that’s not what Carol McCoy discovered when she booked a hotel in Rehoboth Beach, Del., on a recent holiday weekend.
Case dismissed: “American Airlines completely destroyed our stroller”
Like many new parents, Marissa Maland travels with a stroller. Or, should I say traveled with one.
Ridiculous or not? Lie-flat airline seats = snoring epidemic
While everyone else is touting the benefits of new “lie-flat” airline seats in business- and first class, I know I can count on you, dear readers, to find a “down” side.
Enterprise: “Misinterpretations” over loss of use fees are creating confusion
Since my last conversation with Roger Van Horn, the vice president for corporate loss control at Enterprise Holdings, a lot of questions have been raised about one of the most controversial damage-related fees: loss of use charges. I decided to put some of those questions to him in a telephone interview yesterday.
Is this enough compensation? Crossed wires leads to canceled SeaWorld passes
Annual pass holders are the lifeblood of year-round theme parks. Without these die-hard fans, who often plunk down thousands of dollars for the privilege of visiting the park, Orlando would be a ghost town in September.
Can this trip be saved? Left high and dry by my resort
Club Med Sandpiper Bay is an all-inclusive resort near Port St. Lucie, Fla. — the perfect place to escape the cold December weather in Washington without having to spend hours on a plane. At least that’s what Jane Winfrey thought.
9/11 phobia leads to grounding incidents, evacuations
Anyone who hoped to spend the 10th anniversary of 9/11 in quiet reflection will probably be disappointed. During the last few days, the prevailing sentiment in America has been fear, if not paranoia.
Our Italy adventure
All roads lead to Venice
They saved the best for last.
What did you like the most about Florence?
“So what did you like best about Italy,” I asked as we boarded the bus back to the hotel.
On our way through Orvieto
Travel days aren’t the most glamorous part of a tour. The best you can hope for is an interesting rest stop.
An abbreviated tour of the Vatican
I didn’t think it was possible to see the Vatican in half a day. But after hitting the highlights of Rome in just seven hours yesterday, I shouldn’t have been so skeptical. Yes, it can be done.
Rome wasn’t meant to be seen in a day, but …
Since when has that stopped us from trying? We checked out all the major sites in the Eternal City yesterday, including the Forum, Colosseum, Pantheon and the Spanish Steps.
On Your Side
What’s your problem? I’m not cool with my Nikon Coolpix
When Claudia Krich’s Nikon Coolpix breaks, she assumes the company will repair it. After all, she’s only had it a week. But she’s wrong. Is this camera fixable?
The smarter consumer: How to find any manager’s phone number now
Getting the phone number for a company is easy: it’s listed in every directory, and the company wants you to call it so it can sell you something.
Is this a scam? I’ve won a seven-day cruise! (Or have I?)
Henry Baumgaertel won a free cruise. At least that what the letter he received a few weeks ago claimed.
What’s your problem? Shocked by an $800 phone bill
When Dawn Lyon returns from Canada, there’s a nasty surprise in the mail — an $800 bill for roaming charges from Sprint. But wait! Didn’t she make arrangements before leaving?
The smarter consumer: When to sue a company — and when to shame it
Don’t have a tantrum.
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