Consumerpedia

Podcast

From auto repair shops to doctors to plumbers to vets, you can count on Checkbook to help you find the best service—and avoid the worst. Our podcast features advice from experts that empowers consumers to save money and make smarter choices.

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July 11, 2024
Host: Herb Weisbaum /
Guest(s): Kevin Brasler - Checkbook's Executive Editor

When it comes to buying corrective eyewear, the choices seem endless—from dozens of contacts to thousands of fashionable frames. Even so, shopping for new specs or contacts can be a major hassle, and it’s an expensive purchase.

In this episode: Which eyewear stores offer the best advice and service, where to find the best prices on glasses and contact lenses, and who should you see to get your eye exam?

⁠Read Checkbook’s full report on opticians, optometrists, and buying eyewear.⁠

Not a Checkbook member? ⁠Sign up for a free 30-day trial to access all of our unbiased ratings⁠.

Support our podcast: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/consumerpedia/support

June 27, 2024
Host: Herb Weisbaum /
Guest(s): Dr. John Swartzberg - Head of the Editorial Board at the UC Berkeley Wellness Letter; Bonnie Patten - Executive Director and Co-Founder of Truth in Advertising (TINA.org); Caitlin Dow - Senior Nutrition Scientist at the Center for Science in the Public Interest

Many Americans are sold on supplements. They’re convinced the “natural ingredients” in these non-prescription products have powerful health benefits that can prevent diseases, make us feel better, and slow down the effects of aging.

But can you trust what’s in the bottle, and the marketing claims used to sell this stuff?

In this episode, we focus on the false claims, bad science, and marketing tricks often used to sell dietary and nutritional supplements. Plus buying advice for those who choose to take these products.

Additional Resources:

UC Berkeley Wellness Letter:

⁠A Guide to Dietary Supplements⁠

CSPI Nutrition Action Newsletter:

Why the supplement aisle is the Wild West

How supplements distort science to sell

Tricks of the trade: Are supplement companies playing you for a fool?

Truth in Advertising (TINA.org):

Jury Hands Down a Verdict in Prevagen Deceptive Marketing Case

Consumer Alert: Hair Growth Products

Cow Colostrum Supplements

What You Should Know about Apple Cider Vinegar Supplements

Not a Checkbook member? Sign up for a free 30-day trial to access all of our unbiased ratings.

Support our podcast: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/consumerpedia/support

June 13, 2024
Host: Herb Weisbaum /
Guest(s): Kevin Brasler - Checkbook's Executive Editor

Moving is always a hassle. But if you hire the wrong movers, it can be a nightmare. An alarming number of consumers tell Checkbook they’re disgusted with movers who arrived hours or even days late, lost or broke their possessions, reneged on promises, and demanded more money than the quoted amount.

In this episode: Tips on choosing a moving company that provides fair and reliable pricing, gets the job done on time, and takes good care of your belongings. Plus: Why to avoid moving brokers and how to spot moving scams.

Read Checkbook’s full report on how to find a household mover.

Not a Checkbook member? Sign up for a free 30-day trial to access all of our unbiased ratings.

Support our podcast: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/consumerpedia/support

May 30, 2024
Host: Herb Weisbaum /
Guest(s): Alex Knizek, Manager of Auto Testing and Insights at Consumer Reports; Steven Elek, Senior Automotive Data Analyst at Consumer Reports

Americans bought a record 1.2 million electric vehicles last year, and EV sales continued to grow in the first quarter of 2024, although at a slightly slower pace than anticipated.

Buyers have more choices than ever: More than 40 electric cars, trucks, and SUVs from both U.S. and foreign manufacturers. Battery range has improved, and some lower-priced models are now available.

In this episode, how to decide which non-conventional vehicle might be right for you. Do EVs live up to their range promises? Consumer Reports creates a special test to find out. Plus, why are electric vehicles less reliable than conventional cars?

Additional Resources:

From Checkbook:

Consumerpedia Episode 63: The Car Show 2024

Car Buying Strategies

Crash Course on Auto Insurance

From Consumer Reports:

CR’s Real-World EV Range Tests Show Which Models Beat EPA Estimates

Electric Vehicles Are Less Reliable Than Conventional Cars

Best Electric Cars

Hybrid & EV Buying Guide

Support our podcast: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/consumerpedia/support

May 16, 2024
Host: Herb Weisbaum /
Guest(s): Mike Quincy - Consumer Reports auto tester and writer; Keith Barry - Consumer Reports veteran auto reporter

The car market has nearly recovered from the pandemic. Dealers have good supply of both new and used vehicles, and that’s pushing down prices: The average new-car buyer paid $47,000 in March, according to Kelley Blue Book. That’s a two-year low, but still nearly 16% higher than in March 2021. With more cars on the lot, some dealers and manufacturers are offering bigger incentives.

In this episode, the latest new-vehicle reliability ratings from Consumer Reports, the right way to take a test drive, and how to get the best deal on that new car. Plus, should you use a buying service to simplify the process?

Additional Resources:

From Checkbook:

Car Buying Strategies

Crash Course on Auto Insurance

From Consumer Reports:

CR’s Best Cars of the Year: 10 Top Picks of 2024

Who Makes the Most Reliable New Cars?

Four of the Five Least Expensive Car Brands to Maintain Are American

7 Questions to Ask Before You Buy a Car

Support our podcast: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/consumerpedia/support

May 2, 2024
Host: Herb Weisbaum /
Guest(s): Haley Berg - Lead Economist at Hopper.com; Christopher Elliott - Travel Expert, author of the “On Travel” column

It’s going to be a busy summer for travel, especially for those headed abroad. It’s late in the booking season, but some deals may still be available.

In this episode, we’ll look at what you can expect to pay for airfare, hotel rooms, and rental cars. Plus, tips from travel experts Haley Berg of Hopper.com and Christopher Elliott of the “On Travel” column on how to deal with crowds and other peak-season hassles.

Other Consumerpedia travel episodes:

⁠17 – Travel Tips: How to Find the Best Deals on Airfare⁠

⁠41 – Hotel Intel: Finding the Best Rates⁠

⁠60 – How to Avoid a Big Cell Phone Bill When Traveling Abroad⁠

Additional Resource:

⁠Elliott Advocacy⁠ is a nonprofit consumer advocacy organization that empowers consumers to solve their problems and helps those who can’t.

Support our podcast: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/consumerpedia/support

April 18, 2024
Host: Herb Weisbaum /
Guest(s): Eva Velasquez - President and CEO of the Identity Theft Resource Center; James Lee - Chief Operating Officer at the Identity Theft Resource Center

Data breaches are now an annoyingly normal part of life: You change your stolen passwords, cancel your compromised credit cards. But it can be a significantly more serious problem when hackers get your medical data. Last year, about 1 in 3 Americans had their medical records breached, according to the federal government.

In this episode, we’ll look at how hackers are getting their hands on this highly sensitive personal information, what they’re able to do with it, and how you can protect yourself.

Read more on Checkbook.org.

Support our podcast: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/consumerpedia/support

April 4, 2024
Host: Herb Weisbaum /
Guest(s): Kevin Brasler - Checkbook's Executive Editor; Dani Dredger - Checkbook Senior Manager of Digital Marketing

Travel outside the U.S. and you’ll need to make sure your cell phone works wherever you’re headed. With a little advance planning, you can also lower the cost of using your phone on that trip—in some cases, by $100 a line a week or more.

In this episode, what the major phone companies charge to use their roaming services when you’re in a foreign country, and how to pay less by switching to a local wireless carrier at your destination. Plus, the pros and cons of turning off your cell service and relying on Wi-Fi.

Read Checkbook’s full report on how to save money while using a phone internationally.

Support our podcast: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/consumerpedia/support

March 21, 2024
Host: Herb Weisbaum /
Guest(s): Abha Bhattarai - Washington Post Reporter; Edgar Dworsky - Publisher, ConsumerWorld.org; Jamie Lettis - Checkbook Associate Editor

Feeding the family has never been more expensive. Supermarket prices have been going up for four years now, running well ahead of the overall inflation rate. And while increases are slowing, no one expects the cost of food to drop back to where it was before the pandemic.

In this episode, why everything is so pricey, the tricks food manufacturers use to disguise their price hikes—shrinkflation and skimpflation—and how to get the most for your money when you go to the supermarket.

⁠Read Checkbook’s full report on grocery stores and delivery services⁠.

Support our podcast: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/consumerpedia/support

March 7, 2024
Host: Herb Weisbaum /
Guest(s): Kevin Brasler - Checkbook's Executive Editor

You can save a ton of money by comparison shopping.

Checkbook’s surveys consistently find huge price differences—sometimes more than twice as much—from company to company for the exact same product or service. And businesses can get away with this because they know most customers won’t bother to shop around.

Sometimes consumers don’t compare prices because they’re in a rush or they don’t want to scour the internet for the best deal. But we often find buyers don’t compare prices because they’ve been duped into thinking they already have.

In this episode, some of the common manipulative marketing techniques sellers use to convince you to pay up and pay too much.

Read Checkbook’s full report on the 30 Tricks Sellers Use to Manipulate You.

Support our podcast: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/consumerpedia/support

Meet The Host

Herb Weisbaum

Herb Weisbaum is one of America’s top consumer experts. He’s been protecting people across the country for more than 40 years. 

Herb is a contributing editor at Checkbook.org, and publisher of ConsumerMan.com.

During his distinguished career, Herb has covered the consumer beat for NBC News Digital, NBC’s TODAY Show and CBS News.

A five-time Emmy-award winner, Herb’s dedication to protecting consumers has been honored by the Consumer Federation of America, the National Consumers League, United Press International, and the Society of Professional Journalists.

Herb is a graduate of the Newhouse School at Syracuse University.