What makes you happiest? Your TV — and here’s why

Jessica Beeman paid $779 for her 50-inch TV, a purchase she was pleased with, until one day "it just stopped" working. And then she wasn't.

Hey, that’s no four-star hotel!

Albert Muick books a four-star hotel through Expedia in Prague. Turns out, it's just a three-star property. When he asks for a refund, he's sent a series of form letters. What now?

“The only thing missing is a blindfold and a cigarette”

That's one of the more memorable quotes from this year's Zagat airline survey, which picked the best carriers in the historically customer-hostile airline industry.

Is my hotel’s lost star a lost cause?

When Stephanie Farrow books a nonrefundable hotel room through Priceline, she's promised a four-star property. She ends up with a three-star and when she complains, she's given the runaround. Is her lost star a lost cause?

Hotwire’s half-star mistake

Debbie Burk books a four-star hotel in Chicago, hoping to avoid a particular property, which is rated a half star lower. But when she ends up with a room at that hotel anyway, she ends up in an argument with her online travel agent over its star ratings system. Is she stuck with that room?

Southwest Airlines strikes out in airline food survey; Continental tops the list

Airline food. No, that's not the punchline to a joke.

Does TripAdvisor hotel manipulation scandal render the site completely useless?

How do I boost my TripAdvisor rating? That's the most common question I get from hotel executives. And even though I try to persuade them it's the wrong question -- that there's no proven link between a good review and bookings -- they insist that their TripAdvisor reviews are the be-all and end-all. Now, two of TripAdvisor's most vocal critics, Beat of Hawaii with an assist from guidebook legend Arthur Frommer, have delivered a devastating blow to the Expedia-owned site.