Is Global Vacation Network trying to scam us?

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The postcard in our mail looked authentic — a “parcel” notification from an overnight delivery service. It was addressed to my better half, and without giving it a second thought, she called the phone number to find out when she could pick up the package.he
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Lookit what the stork delivered – a baby forum!

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I’m incredibly excited to share the good news with you today. We’ve launched a new forum that’s designed to help you have a better consumer experience.

She’s still a baby, so please go easy on her.

If you want to post a question, you’ll have to register using WordPress (it’s very easy) but by this afternoon, you should be able to authenticate through the major social networks, too.

The purpose of these forums is simple: Like this site, it’s all about helping people. We have a group of dedicated experts who have agreed to monitor the questions and assist consumers with quick, practical answers. I’ll be there, too, of course.

I’ve divided the forum into several categories — a help desk for complaints, a soapbox for folks who want to sound off about a story, the inside track to help consumers with company contact information, and a suggestions box.

Please jump in and post your comments and feedback. Let me know if I’ve missed any categories or if you can think of a better way to divide the topics. I’m open to any suggestions.

The same rules of behavior apply to the forums as for the comments, so please be nice to each other.

As many of you know, I’ve resisted the idea of starting a forum for many years, largely because the other travel forums (I will not mention names) have become cesspools of toxic rhetoric.

What made me change my mind? I think we have the best team of moderators in the business, and there’s a real need for a forum that does things differently. I hope we can meet those standards.

With your help, I believe we will.

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I know what you sent me this summer

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Archidephoto/Shutterstock

You’ll never believe it, but I’ve managed to sift through all of the June and July emails this weekend. And I haven’t thrown my laptop out the window yet.

The Readers Digest version so far: Since January, 10,000 emails have been stuck in a digital limbo. It’s a mother lode of messages – everything from requests for help from consumers to hate mail.

I’ve already reviewed the September messages and the August emails. I’m happy to report that I’m down to about 3,000 messages, after weeding out the autoresponders and spam press releases.

The most embarrassing email? That would be the one from my sister in Phoenix with pictures of my newborn niece. I’m so sorry I missed that one, Aimee. And a very belated thanks for sending snapshots of the new baby. She’s a cutie.
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Can technology help you turn the tables on your car rental company?

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Peshkova/Shutterstock
If you’re tired of technology being used against you — and how can you not be after the the latest NSA spying allegations — then you’ll probably appreciate this man-bites-dog story.

It comes to us by way of Bryan Lawver, who recently rented a car in Florence, Italy. When he returned the vehicle, an associate told him he was “one minute” past the grace period and would be charged an extra day.

“The agent refused to give us a return receipt, but rather penciled info on our original rental agreement,” says Lawver, who works for the federal government in Livermore, Calif. “I found that peculiar, but I lacked the language skills to explain my complaint.”

Fortunately, Lawver had a more high-tech answer. He used his Sony DSC HX10v, which has built-in GPS and resets its clock to local time, to take a timestamped photo of the car — which, by the way, is always a good idea.
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