Monday, October 06, 2008

"The Fixer," Chicago Sun Times Most Popular Consumer Column: Addressing Consumer Alerts, Rip Offs, Etc.

I have an electronic subscription service through my employer to virtually all U.S. newspapers. Excluding the Wall Street Journal and Barron's, the Chicago papers most frequently dominate personal finance issues when I do searches. I'm pleased to present my readers an overview of a particularly useful Chicago Sun Times column called "The Fixer."

Stephanie Zimmermann receives approximately 8,000 consumer letters a year seeking help in fixing any of a myriad of consumer issues. In her last three columns Stephanie addresses:

(1.) Merchants forcing customers to spend a minimum amount to qualify for a credit card transaction. Stephanie states:

"If you encounter a merchant setting a minimum or maximum purchase amount or imposing a surcharge, you can report them to the credit companies, which will intervene through the merchant's bank. For MasterCard, you can fill out a merchant violation form at For Visa, call the number on the back of your card to file a report."

Here's the full article.

(2.) Knowing a store's return policy. Cites cases where consumers should be well aware of return policies when buying Christmas presents or other gifts well in advance of when they'll be opened. Here's the full article.

(3.) When free credit reports aren't free. Article states that the correct site to get a free credit report from is Other sites, if used, may impose hidden charges. Here's the full article.

Here's a YouTube video clip of Stephanie's column, "The Fixer," talking about IRS Scams

As of early October, you can also view 13 of Stephanie's video clips here.

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