This is the online edition of Elliott’s E-Mail, my free weekly newsletter.
□ IS IT TIME TO BAN MINIBARS?
If shelling out $10 for a small bag of M&Ms makes you feel a little scammed, then you’ll love the hotel industry’s latest trend: closing its in-room minibars. But are they going far enough? Read more in my latest USA Today column.
□ CATCH THE ELLIOTT SHOW
Please join me every Monday at 1 p.m. for The Christopher Elliott Show, an irreverent half-hour conversation on Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus. You can find it through the hashtag #elliottshow. Then, catch the live YouTube broadcast on my channel. In this week’s show, we discuss unbundling madness and I take one of your ridiculous questions. You can watch it right here.
□ WHAT DO YOU THINK?
Should travel products include more than they do?
I’m working on a story about travel products like airline tickets, hotel rooms and rental cars that don’t include essentials. For example, some airline tickets now don’t include a seat reservation or a meal; hotels force you to pay mandatory “resort fees” to cover the use of exercise rooms and pool facilities. And rental cars make you pay “tire disposal” and “license recovery” fees. Have you had to pay more for a travel product recently, and do you think the travel product includes what it needs to. Or has unbundling gone too far? I’d love to include your comments in my story. As always, don’t forget include your full name, city and occupation.
Wanna become the world’s smartest traveler?
I know you do. Then do this now: Pre-order my new book, How to Be the World’s Smartest Traveler (and Save Time, Money, and Hassle). It’ll help you navigate the ins and outs of the travel industry and save lots of time and money. Details are right here. By the way, if you’re heading out somewhere on a trip and need help with something, I’d be happy to email you a draft of a chapter, whether you order the book or not.
The stories you see in this newsletter are just a starting point. I hope you’ll take a minute to leave a comment, whether you agree or disagree with something I’ve written. Let’s continue the conversation on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or Google. I’m listening. And of course, I’m also here if you need me.
□ POSTS YOU DON’T WANT TO MISS
Surrounded by Impostors, What’s a Consumer to Do?
You’re surrounded by fakes. The clothes you wear could be fake. The money you use? Not real, maybe. Even your “friends” on social media are sometimes fake. What’s a consumer to do? Read more in my Mint.com column.
Is this airline downgrade disaster a lost cause?
I’ve been struggling with this case for months and am about to place it in the “can’t be fixed” file. But before I do, I wanted to run it past you. Here’s the whole story.
Maybe Anthony Weiner needs this woman’s phone number
No American airline thinks of its customers in quite the same way Spirit Airlines does. And the feeling is mutual, as far as many of its passengers are concerned. If you have any doubts, look no further than last week’s tasteless Anthony Weiner promotion. Seriously, folks. You can’t make this stuff up.
Don’t forget to confirm your hotel reservation
A two-night stay at the Driftwood Inn in Chestertown, Md., was supposed to cost Bruce Romano $138 through a Web site called HotelPlus Destination Portal, as long as he prepaid for his accommodations. That seemed like a good deal. After all, it was Memorial Day weekend, one of the busiest travel times of the year. Here’s what happened next.
Can I get a refund for my stay at the No-Tell Motel?
Gladys Martin’s hotel room is uninhabitable, but the property wants to charge her for it, anyway. Is there any way to undo this mistake? Yes, and here it is.
Nissan dealership won’t honor its warranty on my used car
Reed Scott buys a lemon from a Nissan dealership. Now it won’t cover the repairs for the malfunctioning car. Can it do that?
□ MY PARTING SHOT
We made the difficult decision last week to kill The Scan, a daily synopsis of news affecting you. Why? Well, after lots of soul-searching, we determined that it didn’t quite fit with our mission to bring you original content. We’re redoubling our efforts to do just that. Stay tuned.