Fight Back. 81 Ways to Help You Save Money and Protect Yourself from Corporate Trickery

  • ID: 2330218
  • Book
  • 288 Pages
  • John Wiley and Sons Ltd
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BECAUSE YOUR MONEY BELONGS IN YOUR WALLET.

What do you do as a consumer when you disagree with a bill or a service charge you′re asked to pay? When faced with a mysterious charge, unexpected or unfair fees, or a poor quality product or service, you′ve got a choice. You can roll over and part with your hard–earned money or you can fight back.

Consumer advocate Ellen Roseman takes you through the most common problems you may encounter with your everyday banking, credit, telecom, travel and retail transactions. She tells you how to detect corporate tricks, how to resolve your complaints and how to get your money back.

You′ll learn how to avoid falling into consumer traps, how to get the best service from the companies you deal with and how to say goodbye to the companies that don′t treat you well. With real–life stories, examples and contributions from specialists on a variety of topics, Fight Back covers:

  • Banking: Get the best rates on savings and mortgages, and avoid service charges and penalties
  • Credit issues: Get mistakes off your credit report, improve your credit score and get the best credit card rates
  • Telecom: Tame your bills or even cancel them by breaking free from the big companies
  • Travel: Avoid trip–wrecking disputes with airlines, hotels, car rentals, cruises, travel insurance and travel rewards
  • Retail: Get refunds, avoid online fraud, understand extended warranties and fight price errors
  • Car and Home: Get value from your biggest purchases and guard against lemon cars, unfair leasing charges, and bad builders
  • Communication: Learn the skills you need to write effective complaint letters, use social media and pursue a company in court.
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Foreword by Dave Chilton xi

Introduction xiii

PART 1: OUTSMARTING THE BANKS 1

1. Get a Higher Interest Rate on Your Savings 5

2. How to Fight Back when a Bank Cuts the Interest on Your Savings 8

3. Look Beyond the Big Banks for Higher Savings Rates 11

4. How to Get Higher Savings Rates without Getting Burned 15

5. How to Trim the Bank s Service Charges 18

6. How to Fight Back when You Miss a Discount You Deserve 21

7. Challenge Bank Fees for RRSPs and Other Registered Plans 24

8. Watch Out for Foreign Exchange Conversion Fees 27

9. Find the Best Credit Cards for Rewards and Benefits 30

10. Find the Best Credit Card if You Carry a Balance 35

11. Watch Out for Credit Card Balance Transfers 38

12. Watch Out for Expensive Credit Card Insurance 41

13. Beware of Penalties when You Break a Closed Mortgage 45

14. How a Customer Fought Back Against a Bank s Mortgage Penalty 49

15. How to Avoid Interest Penalties when Paying Off Your Mortgage Early by Paul Brick 52

16. Why It Pays to Know Your Rights by Ursula Menke 55

17. How to Outsmart the Banks at Their Own Game by Matt Goulart 58

18. How to Get the Best Service from a Bank by Douglas Melville 60

19. How to Get the Best Service from a Bank if You Own a Business by Douglas Melville 63

PART 2: KEEPING YOUR FINANCES ON TRACK 67

20. How to Check on Your Credit Report and Credit Score 71

21. How to Correct Errors on Your Credit Report by Ross Taylor 74

22. How to Fight Back when Your Credit History Is a Mess by Ross Taylor 77

23. How to Make Sure Your Credit History Stays Healthy by Ross Taylor 80

24. How to Fight Back Against Bad Financial Advice 82

25. How to Make Sure You Have the Right Investments by Douglas Melville 85

26. How to Fight for Your Rights as an Investor by Anthony Pichelli 88

27. How to Recover Losses on Unsuitable Investments by Ken Kivenko 90

28. How to Fight Back Against the Canada Revenue Agency 93

29. How to Avoid Getting Penalized on Your Tax–Free Savings Account 96

30. How to Fight Back by Using the Taxpayer Bill of Rights by J. Paul Dubé 99

PART 3: TAMING YOUR TELECOM COSTS 103

31. How to Negotiate for Better Rates with a Telecom Supplier 105

32. How to Cut the Cost of Your Home Phone Service 108

33. How to Save Money on Your Internet Service 112

34. How to Cut the Cost of Your Cable TV Service 116

35. How to Save Money on Your Telecom Bills and Get Better Service by Bob Lepp 120

36. How to Buy a Wireless Phone without a Contract 123

37. How a Customer Fought Back Against Cancellation Fees 127

38. How to Save Money with a Prepaid Wireless Plan 130

39. Avoid Data Roaming Charges when You Travel 133

40. How a Bell Customer Fought a $10,000 Bill for Data Roaming 135

41. Watch Out for Premium Text Messages on Your Wireless Phone 137

42. How to Get the Best Value for Your Telecom Dollars by Kim Walker 140

43. How to Cut Your Telecom Costs by Heather Morgan and Mike Weatherbee 142

44. How We Helped a Household Slash Its Telecom Costs

by Heather Morgan and Mike Weatherbee 144

45. How to Make Effective Telecommunications Complaints by John Lawford 147

46. How to Fight Back Against Big Telecom by Lindsey Pinto 152

PART 4: STRETCHING YOUR TRAVEL DOLLARS 155

47. How to Fight Back when an Airline Damages Your Luggage 159

48. How to Fight Airline Rules Th at Do Not Make Sense 163

49. How to Fight Back when a Cruise Line Loses Your Luggage 166

50. How to Complain to the Canadian Transportation Agency 170

51. How to Enforce Your Airline Flight Rights 173

52. How to Cross the Border with Your Travel Documents in Order 176

53. What to Do with Your Prescription Drugs when You Travel 179

54. How to Avoid Getting in Trouble when Booking Hotels Online 181

55. How to Avoid Being Denied a Refund on Unused Hotel Rooms 184

56. How to Avoid Paying Medical Bills when Crossing the Border 186

57. How to Choose Trip Cancellation and Trip Interruption Insurance 189

58. How to Fight Back when Your Trip Cancellation Claim is Denied 192

59. How to Avoid Losing the Travel Reward Points You Collected 194

60. How to Fight Back Against a Car Rental Company s Damage Claim 198

PART 5: FIGHTING BACK AGAINST POOR RETAIL SERVICE 201

61. How to Fight Back when a Store Refuses to Give a Refund 205

62. How to Get Your Money Back when You Pay with Your Credit Card 209

63. How to Return a Purchase Th at You Make Online 213

64. How to Avoid Getting into Trouble with Online Purchases 216

65. How to Fight Back Against Online Fraud by David Malamed 218

66. How to Fight Back when You Find a Pricing Error 220

67. How to Fight Back Against Automatic Renewals 223

68. How to Avoid Losing Money on a Gym Membership by Nicholas Ross 226

69. How to Decide on Getting an Extended Warranty 229

PART 6: PROTECTING YOUR BIG DOLLAR PURCHASES OF CARS AND HOUSES 233

70. How to Fight Back when Your Car Does Not Work Properly by Stephen Moody 237

71. How to Fight Back Against Car Leasing Charges by Neil Rau 241

72. How Not to Get Stung when Buying a Newly Built Home by Dr. Karen Somerville 245

73. How to Fight Back in a Phony Real Estate Bidding War by Mark Weisleder 248

74. How to Resolve Issues with Your Energy Utility by Paul Green 250

75. How to Fight Back Against Rogue Movers 253

PART 7: USING YOUR COMMUNICATION SKILLS AND THE COURTS 257

76. How to Write the Perfect Complaint Letter by Christopher Elliott 261

77. How to Create a Circle of Eyes on a Company You Want to Fight by Franke James 263

78. How to Be Patient, Persistent and Prepared by Ted Whipp 267

79. How to Use Twitter to Put Pressure on a Business by Scott A.E. Smith 270

80. How to Deal with a Lawyer if You Have a Consumer Problem by Orie H. Niedzviecki 272

81. How to Fight Back in Small Claims Court 275

Index 281

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Ellen Roseman is a journalist who sticks up for ordinary Canadians. As a long–time advocate for consumer rights, she′s become a brand name for activism and a champion at helping consumers fight back against injustices. Her columns appear three times a week in the Toronto Star and her popular blog, EllenRoseman.com, has been online since 2007. She′s the author of seven books, including Money 101: Every Canadian′s Guide to Personal Finance and Money 201: More Personal Finance Advice for Every Canadian. She teaches investing and personal finance at the University of Toronto′s continuing studies department and Ryerson University′s Chang School, and is on the board of FAIR (Canadian Foundation for Advancement of Investor Rights) and Community Legal Education Ontario (CLEO).

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