Your advocacy family needs you now. Here’s how you can help.

These aren’t the best of times for American consumers.

Net neutrality has just been repealed. The Federal Trade Commission is refusing to end the deceptive practice of mandatory hotel resort fees. And the Department of Transportation appears to be done enforcing its consumer protections for airline passengers.

It’s easy to feel as if the government, the courts and regulators have abandoned us. I hope that’s not actually the case. But if this is the start of a long winter of discontent for consumers, who will protect you?

Well, you can.

You may not realize it, but you’re part of a caring community of advocates. If you’re subscribed to my daily email newsletter or read my consumer advocacy blog, you’re one of us. You’re already backing honest consumer advocacy journalism — the kind that uses our hard-earned media clout to encourage companies to do the right thing.

Every. Single. Day.

Our winter fundraiser starts tomorrow. You can support your extended family of informed consumers by becoming an underwriter now.

What’s in it for you? I could tell you about the amazing premiums we’re giving away. This spring, we had cool travel clothes, gadgets, airline tickets and Wi-Fi accounts, to name just a few of the giveaways. They were really awesome, and this fundraiser is going to be even better. Sign up now as an underwriter and you’ll qualify for the winter fundraiser giveaways, of course. But I’m not going to talk about that yet.

No, today I want to tell you about the results your support has already helped us achieve. You can read about them every day in my nationally syndicated columns, Problem Solved and The Travel Troubleshooter. My team of advocates and I solve seemingly unsolvable consumer problems every hour, offering carefully considered advice both to readers and the companies working with them. This is service journalism in its purest sense.

Ah, but don’t newspapers pay me for these stories? Yes — and no. My pay has been cut in half as newspaper clients have tightened their belts and trimmed my rates. It isn’t enough to keep the bills paid, let alone cover the upkeep of a high-traffic consumer advocacy site. Over the last decade, I’ve turned to the online community — to you — to help fund this important work.

Here’s how you can help.

I’m not asking for me. I’m not even asking for my team of volunteer advocates. I’m asking for you.

Because even though you might not have an unsolvable consumer problem today, you may soon. At the rate things are going in Washington, there will be no one to help you when you do. Every regulatory agency will be gutted and the corporations who funded the political campaigns of those in power will be firmly in control.

Where will you go? I, for one, intend to be right here, fighting for you every day.

I’ve never been more concerned about the future — or more optimistic. Last week, when I briefly mentioned that my winter fundraiser would start Dec. 18, we raised $1,855. That’s a great start, but we have a long way to go to meet our $30,000 goal.

Your advocacy family needs you now more than ever. Please consider becoming an underwriter now and supporting excellent customer service before it is placed on the endangered species list. We can’t let that happen.

Here are this week’s stories:

Thank you for your support. See you next week.

Underwritten by

Underwritten by AirHelp

AirHelp is the world’s leading flight delays compensation company, helping passengers apply for compensation following a delayed or canceled flight or when boarding has been denied. It is AirHelp’s mission to fight for passenger rights by holding airlines accountable for flights disruptions that are out of passengers’ control. AirHelp has already helped 5 million people, taking the stress out of applying for compensation and making it as hassle-free as possible for travelers around the world.

Underwritten by Allianz Travel Insurance

The Allianz Travel Insurance company has built its reputation on partnering with agents all around the world to provide comprehensive travel insurance for their clients. Contact Allianz Travel Insurance for a comprehensive list of coverage.

Underwritten by Chubb

Chubb is the world’s largest publicly traded property and casualty insurance company, and recognized as the premier provider of insurance for successful individuals and families in the U.S. and selected international markets, offering coverage for high-value automobile, homeowners, recreational marine/aviation, valuables and umbrella liability coverage. As an underwriting company, Chubb assesses, assumes and manages risk with insight and discipline, and combines the precision of craftsmanship with decades of experience to conceive, craft and deliver the best insurance coverage and services to individuals, families and business of all size.

Underwritten by Enterprise

A family-owned, world-class portfolio of brands. A global network that spans across more than 85 countries. Some 97,000 dedicated team members sharing common values. And more than 1.9 million vehicles taking our customers wherever they need to go.

Underwritten by Fareportal

Fareportal’s portfolio of brands, which include  CheapOair and  OneTravel, are dedicated to helping customers enjoy their trip. Whether you want to call, click, or use one of our travel apps, one thing is clear: We make it easy to take it easy.

Underwritten by

An independent provider of low cost CDW/LDW insurance for use with rental cars. Up to $100,000 cover with no deductible. Policies available on a per day, per trip or per year basis. Also works with overseas rentals. Try  Insuremyrentalcar.comnow.

Underwritten by InsureMyTrip

It’s simple. InsureMyTrip finds you the right travel insurance plan, every time. InsureMyTrip is the authority on travel insurance. Rated A+ for travel insurance by the Better Business Bureau. All travelers that purchase a policy through  InsureMyTrip have access to Anytime Advocates® for claims assistance.

Underwritten by Mediacom Communications

The nation’s fifth-largest cable operator, serving the smaller cities and towns in the Midwest and Southern regions of the United States. We are a high-performance broadband, entertainment, and communications company that brings the power of modern technology and quality customer experience to life inside the connected home by combining ultra-fast gigabit speeds with personalized local and over-the-top entertainment choices that fit your lifestyle. Details at

Underwritten by SCOTTeVEST

An innovative apparel brand for people who want easy access to everything they need. For those who live for every second, SCOTTeVEST lets you maximize your life. Ditch the carry-on bag and pick up a  SCOTTeVEST.

Underwritten by Virtuoso

The leading global network for luxury and experiential travel. This invitation-only organization comprises over 1,000 travel agency locations with 17,500 advisors in over 45 countries, and holds preferred relationships with 1,700 of the world’s finest travel companies. Virtuoso advisors collaborate with their clients to create personalized itineraries featuring exclusive perks, while also providing advice, access, advocacy, and accountability. For more information, visit

Underwritten by VisitorsCoverage

As a company that is constantly striving to simplify travel insurance, VisitorsCoverage, is on a mission to help travelers make the better decisions about purchasing travel insurance, quickly. VisitorsCoverage has helped millions of travelers globally to buy the suitable travel insurance and explore the world with confidence. Get insurance for your next trip at  VisitorsCoverage. Lowest Price Guaranteed.

Underwritten by MedjetAssist

Medjet is the premier global air-medical transport, travel security and crisis response membership program for travelers. With a MedjetAssist membership, if you become hospitalized more than 150 miles from home, we will get you from that unfamiliar hospital all the way home to the hospital you trust. All you ever pay is your membership fee. MedjetHorizon members add 24/7 personal security and crisis response benefits. readers enjoy discounted rates. Travel safer with  MedjetAssist.

Underwritten by Southwest Airlines

The mission of Southwest Airlines is dedication to the highest quality of Customer Service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and Company Spirit. We are committed to provide our Employees a stable work environment with equal opportunity for learning and personal growth.

Underwritten by Sungard Availability Services

Leveraging more than 35 years of experience, Sungard AS designs, builds and runs critical IT services that help businesses manage complex IT, adapt quickly and build resiliency and availability. A leading provider of critical production and recovery services, Sungard AS partners with customers across the globe, delivering resilient IT systems, infrastructure and recovery services tailored to achieving desired business outcomes.

Underwritten by makes it fast and easy to compare and buy travel insurance online from top rated providers. Our unbiased comparison engine allows travelers to read reviews, compare pricing and benefits and buy the right policy with a price guarantee, every time. Compare and buy travel insurance now at

Underwritten by Squaremouth

Squaremouth helps travelers easily and instantly compare travel insurance policies from all major providers. Only companies that meet the strict requirements of Squaremouth’s Zero Complaint Guarantee are available on the website. Compare policies on to save over 70 percent on your next purchase.

Underwritten by Travel Leaders Group

Travel Leaders Group is transforming travel through its progressive approach toward each unique travel experience. Travel Leaders Group assists millions of travelers through its leisure, business and network travel operations under a variety of diversified divisions and brands including All Aboard Travel, Andrew Harper Travel, Colletts Travel, Corporate Travel Services, CruCon Cruise Outlet, Cruise Specialists, Nexion, Protravel International,, Travel Leaders Corporate, Travel Leaders Network and Tzell Travel Group, and its merger with ALTOUR. With more than 7,000 agency locations and 52,000 travel advisors, Travel Leaders Group ranks as one of the industry’s largest retail travel agency companies.

Underwritten by Travelers United

If you’ve been mistreated by the airlines, Travelers United is your voice in Washington. Join the #1 travel advocacy organization working with Congress to improve and protect travelers. Plus, get $400 of annual benefits you can use for travel for only $29/year. Add your voice to ours. Make travel better.  Join today.

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