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Christopher Elliott
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Christopher Elliott is the reader advocate for National Geographic
magazine and a travel columnist for the Washington Post and USA Today. He writes a syndicated column for King Features Syndicate and publishes a consumer advocacy blog. Elliott is the author of Scammed: How to Save Your Money and Find Better Service in a World of Schemes, Swindles, and Shady Deals. His latest book is How to Be the World's Smartest Traveler (and Save Time, Money, and Hassle).

Entries by Christopher Elliott

Why Travel Companies Don't Trust You

(1) Comments | Posted October 8, 2015 | 9:45 AM


Do you trust your airline, car rental company or hotel? Does it trust you?

It's a question seldom asked. But when I checked into the Mountain Sky Guest Ranch near Emigrant, Mont., this week, I couldn't help it. They didn't issue a customary...

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Help! This Wi-Fi Hotspot is Worthless

(0) Comments | Posted October 8, 2015 | 9:34 AM


Tim Kreth's Wi-Fi hotspot won't connect. Does he deserve a refund?

Question: I recently ordered a $40 Wi-Fi hotspot from FreedomPop, a reseller of cellular data from the Sprint network. FreedomPop advertises that you can get 500 Mb of data per month for...

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Uber Didn't Show Up, So What's With This Bill?

(0) Comments | Posted October 1, 2015 | 8:32 AM


Latonya Holloway calls Uber for a pickup. But when it doesn't show up, she's charged anyway. Is there any hope for a refund?

Question: I recently called Uber for a pickup. I waited for the driver but he never came. Uber charged me...

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Don't Play These Gas Price Games on Your Next Road Trip

(1) Comments | Posted September 27, 2015 | 11:17 AM

Rick Hudnett recently pulled into a Chevron station near his home in Orlando. He wishes he hadn't.

The $2.41 price per gallon was a few cents lower than average, so he assumed he had found a bargain. And he did, except for one teensy detail. When he swiped his credit...

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Comcast Sends Collection Agency After Sick Customer

(0) Comments | Posted September 24, 2015 | 10:11 AM


Comcast has sent a collection agency after Theresa Weir. Is it going after the wrong customer?

Question: I'm being harassed by a collection agency working on behalf of Comcast. Please help me.

Late last year, I closed my Comcast account. At the time,...

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Airline Space Deficit Turns Into a Human Rights Issue

(1) Comments | Posted September 21, 2015 | 3:09 PM


Do you have the right to room on a plane?

If you answered "no," you're probably with the majority of American travelers. After all, airlines are private companies, and you always have the option of paying more for an upgraded seat, don't you?

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He's Ready to Throw His Windows 10 Upgrade Out The Window

(140) Comments | Posted September 17, 2015 | 9:24 AM


Ross Jones's Windows 10 upgrade goes wrong and now Microsoft wants him to pay $499 to fix it. Is that right?

Question: I recently upgraded my computer to Windows 10. After that, my Microsoft Outlook won't stay connected to the exchange server that...

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How to Avoid the Heat on Your Next Flight

(1) Comments | Posted September 13, 2015 | 8:44 PM


When Eric Crusius boarded his recent American Airlines flight from Washington to Dallas, the air conditioning was powered down and the cabin started to heat up quickly, just as you might expect an aluminum tube to do under the heat of the late...

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What Happened to My Bed Bath & Beyond Order?

(0) Comments | Posted September 10, 2015 | 8:59 AM


Ralph Campbell's online order with Bed Bath & Beyond is missing in action. Why won't anyone help him?

Question: I tried to place an order on Bed Bath & Beyond's website and it wouldn't go through, so I called and asked a sales...

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Take These 6 Gadgets on Your Labor Day Road Trip

(0) Comments | Posted September 7, 2015 | 7:31 AM


Somewhere on one of my social media accounts, there's an image of me being pulled over for speeding in Pooler, Ga.

My crime? Doing 67 mph on a stretch of Interstate 95 where the speed limit abruptly drops from 65 to 55. Gotcha!

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Why Won't Verizon Release Me From My Contract?

(11) Comments | Posted September 3, 2015 | 7:24 AM


Anita Bah's mother can't get her cell phone to work. Now she wants to switch to a new wireless carrier. If only it were so easy.

Question: I'm writing on behalf of my mother. Her Verizon phone does not work...

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Your Hotel Is Under Construction -- Now What?

(0) Comments | Posted September 3, 2015 | 7:12 AM


As hotel renovations go, the one Robert Reich experienced was pretty extreme. The property he'd booked in Baltimore, the Mount Vernon Hotel, was being remodeled and reopening as the Hotel Indigo Baltimore -- Mt. Vernon.

"Extreme" might also describe what the hotel did...

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He's No Pirate, So Why Is Microsoft Treating Him Like One?

(63) Comments | Posted August 27, 2015 | 11:22 AM


Josh Weaver's activation code for his Microsoft product no longer works. Why can't he get it reactivated?

Question: I am writing about an issue with customer service and what I believe to be breach of software agreements. In 2011, I...

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Have Air Travelers Reached Their Breaking Point Yet?

(0) Comments | Posted August 23, 2015 | 3:39 PM

What's your breaking point? When do you say, "That's it -- I'm never flying again!"

It's no academic question for America's airlines, which continue to provoke passengers with new fees, surcharges and rules. They want to know when their customers would rather stay home.

As another summer winds down, maybe...

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Should AT&T Refund Mom's Phone?

(27) Comments | Posted August 20, 2015 | 9:30 AM


Jamie LaMoreaux's parents' AT&T phone doesn't work and they want to return it. Why won't the company let them?

Question: My parents, who are 80 and 87, have an AT&T phone that won't charge. They took it to an AT&T store where they...

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Travelers, Beware of This House of Cards

(0) Comments | Posted August 19, 2015 | 11:57 AM


Charles Stewart figures he should have known better. The promises made by his MileagePlus Explorer card from Chase -- yes, the one that's heavily promoted in airports and on travel blogs -- looked too good to pass up.

"In order to qualify for...

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What Should I Do About Comcast's Broken Promise?

(42) Comments | Posted August 13, 2015 | 9:22 AM


Shelby Becker is trying to leave Comcast. Its latest trick: lying to her about a price. Can this relationship be saved?

Question: I've spent hours on the phone trying to disconnect my Comcast service because of their high rates.

The last person I...

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Is It Time for the Uber of Air Travel?

(9) Comments | Posted August 6, 2015 | 1:24 PM

Airbnb changed the hotel industry. Uber changed ground transportation. So why can't the same change happen for air travel?

Airlines are ready for disruption. With only four large airlines controlling more than 80 percent of domestic air travel, the industry is a classic oligopoly. Even the government, which is currently...

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Read This Before You Visit Greece

(2) Comments | Posted July 20, 2015 | 1:23 PM


With Greece teetering on the brink of a financial collapse, Monte Mathews decided to postpone his August trip to Athens. Eugene Emmer didn't.

Their different responses to the unfolding economic drama underscore the strong ambivalence Americans feel about the Greek crisis. They're hopeful...

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Are Mandatory Resort Fees Here to Stay?

(0) Comments | Posted July 15, 2015 | 9:07 AM

The Fourth of July fireworks came a little early this year for participants in the Advisory Committee for Aviation Consumer Protection meeting at the Department of Transportation headquarters.

For several tension-filled minutes, two Federal Trade Commission lawyers stood before the committee last month, insisting their agency had done all it...

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