This is not another holiday greeting from your favorite consumer advocate

happy advocacy

This isn’t another “holiday greetings” message from your favorite consumer advocate. You probably have enough holiday emails cluttering your inbox already. Instead, let me just say “Happy Advocacy.”

When you’re out there fighting for consumers, you can’t count on a happy ending. Cases don’t always resolve the way they did for Bryan and Gina, who contacted me last week after La-Z-Boy delivered furniture to their home that they couldn’t use.

After I got involved, La-Z-Boy removed the furniture and refunded their purchase.

Many times, it goes the way it did for John, who wanted a refund for his hotel stay. The reason: No hot tub in the resort, as promised in the brochure. I sent that case to the help forums. I’m not sure if he will see a full refund, but it’s worth a try.

And sometimes, it’s an unhappy ending, as it was for the reader who had a strong case just last week but threatened to sue the company. That sent the problem to the legal department, which made it impossible to advocate. (We’re not lawyers.) He’ll have to talk to a judge about his complaint, unfortunately.

Happy Advocacy to you

This holiday season I wish you Happy Advocacy. And with apologies to my Irish ancestors:

May you be happy with all your purchases;
May your troubles disappear;
May the angels of consumer advocacy protect you;
Wherever the road takes you next year

This week’s advocacy update

It was a great honor to be in the San Francisco Chronicle again this weekend. If you live in the Bay Area, please let the paper know how much you value this column. They are making a decision right now about whether to keep the feature in 2019. It’s also a true privilege to share my problem-solving tips with the Hartford Courant’s readers.

Some of you have asked: Chris, how do you stay in syndication? Lots of phone calls, emails, and personal visits. Just last week, for example, I called editors in Alabama to find out if they would be interested in the Travel Troubleshooter or Problem Solved. I spent a memorable summer interning for the Birmingham News, so I consider getting back into the News and important priority. Plus, I love my Alabama readers!

So far, no takers, but I am optimistic.

I had an excellent meeting with my core leadership team at Elliott Advocacy, too. Next year, we have big plans, and I hope you will join me to find out what happens. It’s going to be amazing.

This week’s stories

Legal travel questions every family should answer before their departure
Before you go on vacation, maybe you should ask yourself a legal travel question or two. I’m not just talking about your passport or visa paperwork. A legal travel question could be something as simple as whether or not you’re allowed to pack a radar detector. The answer: In the United States, it’s legal except in Virginia and Washington D.C. Most Canadian provinces don’t allow radar detectors.

I can’t use this Aer Lingus ticket credit. How about an extension?
When Maureen Cosentino flies from Dublin to Chicago on Aer Lingus, the airline removes one of her much-needed extra seats. Is the airline’s apology enough?

Oh no, not another Kenmore shattered glass case!
It happened again. This time, Jocelyn Albertson is the unlucky owner of a Kenmore washer with a shattered glass lid. What’s the fix?

Why are airlines blocking customers on social media?
What can you do when your airline stops talking to you? That’s not a hypothetical question for Kate Sawma, who was recently blocked on social media by Frontier Airlines during a customer service dispute.

Flying with children: A survival guide for parents and fellow passengers
If the thought of flying with children raises your blood pressure, take a deep breath. You have company.

Happy Advocacy!

Posted in This Week Tagged

Christopher Elliott is the founder of Elliott Advocacy, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that empowers consumers to solve their problems and helps those who can’t. He’s the author of numerous books on consumer advocacy and writes weekly columns for King Features Syndicate, USA Today, and the Washington Post. If you have a consumer problem you can’t solve, contact him directly through his advocacy website. You can also follow him on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, or sign up for his daily newsletter.

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