Here’s to a year of safe travels and smarter purchases — Sponsored by

By | January 3rd, 2012

Welcome to 2012!

I have a couple of really useful consumer columns to ring in the New Year on, including your stories of being ripped off — and surviving it — my true confessions of being scammed (and what you can learn from it).

I wanted to take a moment to recognize Squaremouth, one of this site’s longtime supporters. Here’s a company that really cares about customer service. Every travel insurance policy purchased through Squaremouth comes with the Zero Complaint Guarantee. In the event of a grievance, Squaremouth will mediate with the insurance provider on your behalf. If you need a travel insurance policy, please pay them a visit.

I haven’t made any New Year’s resolutions for 2012, but I have a few for our friends over at the TSA. You can comment on my flame-throwing editorial over at the Huffington Post, too.

Also, check out my Washington Post column on the government’s efforts to help us understand the total cost of an airline ticket — not an easy task, as it turns out.

Over at On Your Side, I have a report on which company offers the fastest refunds on holiday gifts. You might be surprised at the winners — and losers.

Plus …

• A year after a little fender-bender with her rental, one customer wonders: Did she pay too much to have her car fixed?

• Do people fake being sick to qualify for lower airfares? That’s the accusation one reservations agent allegedly makes when a despondent passenger calls from the hospital.

• Should hotels always include mandatory resort fees when they’re quoting a room rate? Find out what happens when one hotel doesn’t, and sound off on the topic.

Related story:   New on Elliott: Should the TSA pat down kids?, things a customer service rep won't tell you, insurance that doesn't work - Sponsored by

Finally, I wanted to add a few words about the coming year. Despite all of the predictions, I have a really good feeling about 2012, and I’m happy you’ve decided to join me. Here’s to a year of safe travels and smarter purchases.

(Photo: flex/Flickr)