Welcome to Consumers’ Notebook, where we feature news-you-can-use and other timely information to help you become a more informed consumer. Check back often to read the latest pieces in our Notebook.
New Report Warns of Bad Actors in the Interstate Moving Industry
During a move, you’re trusting a company to get your possessions from here to there on time, without damage, and at the agreed upon price. All too often that doesn’t happen, especially for long-distance interstate relocations.
Be Safe in the Sun: Top-Rated Sunscreens, and How to Use Them Properly
The Skin Cancer Foundation says a good sunscreen, used properly, can dramatically lower your risk of skin cancer––reducing the risk of developing melanoma by 50 percent.
Is This a Good Time to Buy a New or Used Car?
People are buying cars again. To regain lost business, car manufacturers and dealers are promoting steep discounts and special financing.
Update: Advice from a Patient Advocate for Families with Vulnerable Loved Ones
During the coronavirus pandemic, patient advocates can offer vital assistance to the families of those who are hospitalized or locked down in senior communities.
Air Passenger Rights During Coronavirus Crisis
An airline must give you a refund if it cancels your flight. Many carriers finally are granting more flexibility for flyers who wish to change their travel plans due to the coronavirus crisis.
Headlight Ratings Encourage Automakers to Improve Safety; These 2021 Models Scored Best
To encourage automakers to improve inferior headlights, in 2016 the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety began rating vehicles for this important safety issue. Here are the 2021 models that scored best.
Best Cars for Teens: Vehicles That Are Safe, Reliable, and Affordable
Consumer Reports and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) have combined their data to create an updated list of recommended used cars for teens.
Major Retailers Respond to COVID-19 with Expanded Holiday Gift Return Policies
Dealing with returns during a pandemic can be a challenge. A few prominent national retailers are trying to make the process easier.
Should You Upgrade to a 5G Phone? Checkbook Cuts Through the Marketing Hype
5G is breakthrough technology, but right now, in most parts of the country, it hasn’t yet arrived—and it won’t for several years. That hasn't stopped wireless companies from spending heavily on ads urging their customers to buy new smartphones.
Why You Should Delete Online Accounts You No Longer Use
Chances are you have online accounts that you haven’t used for years. These old and abandoned accounts can be a major security risk.
Con Artists Capitalize on Online Shopping Surge, Send Bogus Delivery Notices to Trick Consumers
Scammers are capitalizing on record e-commerce orders with a fresh wave of email and text message phishing attacks that look like they're from legitimate retailers and package delivery services.
Grocery Prices Are Up. Here’s How to Save at the Supermarket.
If you do the grocery shopping in your family, you’ve probably noticed that the grocery bills keep going up. Blame the pandemic for pushing up the prices of many staples. Here are some simple tips to help lower your food bills.
Financial Toolkit: How to Survive the COVID-19 Recession
Stimulus payments, expanded unemployment benefits, government loans, and payment accommodations from lenders have helped keep many families and businesses afloat so far. But as these programs end, millions will find their budgets stretched to the breaking point.
Latest Results from the American Customer Satisfaction Index Survey of Cell Phone Customers
Every wireless company claims to be the best, but consumer surveys tell a different story—some carriers are clearly doing a better job of delivering network quality, customer service, and value.
Looking to Save Money? Audit Your Digital Subscriptions
Subscription-based digital services are the ultimate in convenience, but their fees can add up to hundreds of dollars in wasted money if you don't cancel unused or unwanted ones.
How to Wipe Your Data Before You Sell, Donate, or Recycle Unwanted Computers and Smartphones
Simply deleting unwanted files, and emptying the recycle bin, does not permanently destroy that data. Here’s how to do that.
What to Do When a Package Doesn’t Arrive?
The delivery fiasco created by an explosion of online orders during the holiday season continues for some consumers, with many packages still out there, somewhere. Tracking information is often useless. Here are some strategies for getting a refund or replacement.
Auto Insurance Companies Provide ‘Tiny’ Refunds While Making Windfall Pandemic Profits, Study Finds
The pandemic has been a financial boon for the auto insurance industry. Since the outbreak, Americans have been driving less—resulting in fewer wrecks, fewer claims, and bigger profits. Few companies are sharing their windfalls with loyal customers.
Why It’s Safer to Use a Credit Card, Not a Debit Card
Some people find using debit cards, rather than credit cards, help them stick to their budgets and avoid going into debt. But credit cards offer stronger consumer protections.
Holiday Shopping: The Pros & Cons of Traditional Layaway and New Buy Now, Pay Later Services
The holiday shopping season is underway and for people without savings or credit, or who have credit cards maxed out because of the pandemic, layaway or buy now, pay later plans may be the only way to buy everything on their gift-giving lists.