I can hardly believe it myself.

Normally, the first week of the year is slow — really slow. But not 2018. It makes me wonder if something is amiss. I’ll tell you about that in a second.

Our caseloads are way, way up. Since Dec. 31, we’ve received more than 120 form requests, up 31 percent from the previous week and up 48 percent from a year ago. As a reminder, these are typically the most intractable and seemingly unsolvable consumer cases, not simple questions that are answerable in an email. We don’t count those.

Traffic is through the roof, too. Pageviews are up 24 percent to 172,827 from the previous week and up 15 percent from a year ago.

My friends, you are keeping us busy with your questions, comments and problems, and my advocacy team and I are beyond grateful for it.

But as we wrap up week two of our winter fundraiser, it’s also a reminder that running a consumer advocacy site is expensive. We have legal bills and development costs, and without your financial help, the site will fail. You can help by becoming an underwriter. Here’s how to sign up.

What’s in it for you? Well, other than knowing that someone will always be here for you to help with any consumer problem? Other than the fascinating, informative stories you read on the site every day?

This week, I’m giving away Bluffworks gift certificates to random supporters. Become an underwriter now and you could be the best-dressed person on the plane in 2018.

I’m a big fan of Bluffworks. They make quality products that are rigorously tested. I’ve also heard from readers like you who have taken their Bluffworks shirts and pants on the road and loved them. Bluffworks is standing with us — and with you — to support the consumer advocacy. I hope you’ll take this opportunity to become a financial supporter of this site.

But what does all of this mean? I think the crazy first week of the year is a sign that consumers are turning to the only source where they can get help. Unfortunately, the government, and especially the federal government, has abandoned consumers. Agencies that are supposed to protect us are instead focused on dismantling “burdensome” regulations.

So what’s left? We are. And that’s why I think we’re being overrun with cases and overwhelmed by traffic.

Truth is, we can’t do it without you. No way. The resources we need to answer every query and to pay all the bills are just not there yet. If you become an underwriter now you can help meet the demand and ensure we’ll always be here for you.

Here are this week’s stories:

What’s missing from your hotel room (USA Today)

As airline rules relax under Trump, here’s a survival guide to flying in 2018 (Washington Post)

Travel Troubleshooter: Hubby fell, flight takes a tumble (Mercury News)

Here Are The Best Travel Insurance Companies For Your 2018 Vacation (Huffington Post)

See you next week. And thank you for your support!

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