What to do when you fall for a fake star

Fiona Lau contacted me in a panic a few days ago. She’d booked a “three-star” hotel through Hotwire, which doesn’t reveal the name of the property until you’ve paid for a non-refundable reservation by credit card. She ended up at a Clarion Hotel property in Pennsylvania she didn’t expect -- or want.

Did Princess ship ignore a vessel asking for help?

It sounds like something straight out of a nightmare: You're on a small fishing vessel, adrift in the Pacific. You see a ship in the distance, and you signal for help. But it keeps going.

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 Travel Troubleshooter: Star confusion on my Hotwire hotel room

Anna Johnson is unhappy with her Hotwire hotel room. Her problem: The site isn't consistent with its star ratings, and now she's stuck with a room at a property she didn't want. Is she entitled to a refund?

The Travel Troubleshooter: Four stars for that resort? Says who?

The hotel Valerie Acosta booked through Hotwire.com isn't what she expected. The site claims it's a four-star resort, but the reviews say otherwise. How about a refund?

A $387 bill for a cracked windshield? You’ve gotta be kidding

Debbie Vinton saw a star on her recent vacation in Los Angeles, but it isn't the kind that you'd want an autograph from. Instead, her car rental company asked to sign a form agreeing to cover the damage for a cracked windshield "star" on her front windshield.

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?