What’s got you talking? Honest mistakes, emotional support snakes and unconscionable profits

It’s a kinder, gentler world, thanks to our common sense code of conduct. And in that world, it’s unusual for any post to exceed 100 comments.
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Why airfares are actually rising

If you’re looking for a cheap airfare, there’s good news, according to new research from the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA): Continued declines in oil prices are leading to lower ticket prices.

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Should car rental companies profit from toll roads?

Crossing the Golden Gate bridge is the driving highlight of any visit to Northern California. But not for Claudia Moore.
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Read this before you sign up for a loyalty program

luchnyu/Shutterstock
luchnyu/Shutterstock
For years, consumer advocates like me have been warning consumers like you that loyalty programs aren’t the “win-win” propositions companies claim they are.

To which loyalty program apologists, whose judgment is too often distorted by the intoxicating Kool-Aid of points and miles, countered: Prove it!

Well, now we have that proof.

A new study of hotel frequent-guest programs suggests that, far from costing companies money, the programs increase their share of room nights by anywhere from 150 percent to 500 percent. Just over 7 of 10 guests purchased at least one additional room night with real money, according to the study by Phoenix Marketing International.
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Why do companies really care about your happiness? (It’s not a trick question)

Tanata/Shutterstock
Tanata/Shutterstock
Memo to corporate America: Your customers are not walking dollar bills.

You don’t have to be a consumer advocate to know that. Just attend a random corporate event and you’ll see that companies don’t always see their customers the way they should.

The meeting I attended for a major transportation company — that shall remain nameless — was impressive. C-level execs in their Italian suits showed off some brand-new products that wowed everyone in attendance. But whenever they talked about the customer, and particularly customer satisfaction, it was in a detached, almost clinical way.

“Happy customers spend more,” the CEO told me. “So we want happy customers.”
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