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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4 days ago

35 – Aging in Place

Host: Herb Weisbaum /
Guest(s): Kevin Brasler - Checkbook's Executive Editor; Tom Minty - Northwest Universal Design Council

For most aging adults, there really is no place like home. Surveys done by AAPR consistently find that nearly 80% of those 50 and older prefer to age in place rather than move in with relatives or into senior communities.

The aging-in-place movement can help you stay safe and comfortable in your home as you grow older. But it’s something you’ll need to plan for, the sooner, the better.

In this episode, learn what’s important when remodeling or retrofitting your house, as well an option that’s growing in popularity across the country: Neighborhood-focused networks, or “villages,” that offer social, medical, and household resources.

⁠Read Checkbook’s full report on aging in place.

3 weeks ago

34 – How to Be a Smarter Consumer

Host: Herb Weisbaum /
Guest(s): Kevin Brasler (; Edgar Dworsky (; Amy Nofziger (AARP Fraud Watch Network); John Breyault, (; and Kimberly Palmer (NerdWallet)

It takes some extra effort to be a good consumer; to make sure you’re getting a good price on quality merchandise, to find top-notch service providers, and to protect yourself from liars and cheats who want to rip you off or steal your identity. But the time it takes to do it right is nothing compared to the hassles of dealing with problems that can result from making poor choices.

To celebrate National Consumer Protection Week (March 5 – 11, 2023), we’ve assembled a group of experts and asked them to share some important consumer advice.

1 month ago

33 – Auto Insurance Based on How You Drive in Real Time. Good Choice or Not?

Host: Herb Weisbaum /
Guest(s): Michael DeLong - Advocacy Associate at the Consumer Federation of America

Auto insurance companies base their premiums on a host of factors, such as the vehicle, driving record, and, in most states, your age, gender, marital status, and credit history. Some also offer discounts if you agree to install telematic technology on your car, which monitors when and where you drive—and how safe or reckless you drive to get there. Is it worth giving up your privacy to see your insurance bill drop by as much as 30 or 40%?

In this episode, we talk to Michael DeLong, an advocacy associate with the Consumer Federation of America, about telematic data collection: How it works, how it can get things wrong, and whether you should even consider trading your privacy for lower insurance rates.

2 months ago

32 – Grocery Delivery Services

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

If you find going to the grocery store a hassle, having your avocados, Doritos, and whatnot delivered is a convenient and time-saving option. And these services are a great help to those who can’t get to local markets due to physical impairments or a lack of transportation.

But you’re going to pay to have someone gather your groceries and bring them to you.  At some stores, extra costs for delivery are only a few dollars per order; at others you’ll pay a sizable fee to skip the store.

In this episode, we discuss the pros, cons, and costs of having someone else do your shopping. How much do prices vary? Which services rate the best with Checkbook subscribers? Plus, tips to help you get the best prices should you decide to shop this way.

Read Checkbook’s full report on grocery stores and delivery services, including undercover price comparisons and unbiased ratings for quality.

2 months ago

31 – Watch Out for These Common Fraud Tricks & Traps

Host: Herb Weisbaum /
Guest(s): Sam Levine - Director of the Federal Trade Commission's Bureau of Consumer Protection

Americans lose billions of dollars each year to fraud. Anyone, even a savvy consumer, can get swindled by professional con artists. The best way to fight back is to understand the tricks fraudsters use to manipulate you.

In this episode, Sam Levine, Director of the Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, explains how dishonest businesses and scammers try to lie, cheat, and mislead you. Plus we cover what the FTC is doing to crack down on these fraudulent business practices.

2 months ago

30 – HVAC: Finding Good Contractors & Choosing New Equipment

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

Keeping your house comfortable requires the heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems to be properly installed and maintained. And when they need repairs or new equipment, you want a company you can trust to do quality work at a fair price.

In this episode, we’ll go over the things you should know about your HVAC before having work done, plus what you can do to maintain your system. And we’ll answer the question: Is it time to consider getting a heat pump?

Read Checkbook’s full report on HVAC systems, including contractor ratings and equipment price comparisons.

3 months ago

29 – Home Security: Installers, Equipment, & DIY

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

It seems like every big company—from Google and Amazon to telephone and cable TV operators—now sells home security services and equipment.

Rather than spend thousands of dollars to have a security company install a system, you can do it yourself for a couple of hundred dollars and monitor things on your smartphone. But does any of this tech do any good?

In this episode, we’ll look at the pros and cons of professional systems vs. inexpensive DIY options, and run down some free security practices that will make your house less attractive to burglars.

Read Checkbook’s full report on home security strategies, including ratings of installers.

3 months ago

28 – Being a Better Consumer of Social Media

Host: Herb Weisbaum /
Guest(s): Bob Costas - Emmy-Award Winning Sportscaster and Journalist

Social media was designed to bring us together, but it often fosters scams, spreads misinformation, and amplifies hate. The problem isn’t going to go away, so we need to become better consumers of what shows up on our feeds.

In this episode, Emmy-award winning sportscaster and journalist Bob Costas talks about social media responsibility. Bob tackled the subject head-on in a recent episode of his HBO show, “Back On The Record,” discussing the highly-publicized case of Brooklyn Nets all-star guard Kyrie Irving, who recently shared a link to an antisemitic movie.

Additional Resources:

Facebook Privacy Settings Checkup

4 months ago

27 – Checkbook’s Top Holiday Shopping Tips

Host: Herb Weisbaum /
Guest(s): Jamie Lettis - Checkbook Associate Editor

The holiday shopping season is in full swing—and you need a plan. The super shoppers at are here to help.

With inflation driving up prices, it’s more important than ever to be a savvy holiday shopper. The National Retail Federation expects the average shopper to spend about $833 on gifts and other holiday items this year, up a few dollars from last year.

Read our full report on holiday shopping tips.

Additional Resources:

‘Buy Now, Pay Later’ Often a Debt Trap

Sale Prices Are Rarely Real Deals

4 months ago

26 – Sale Prices Are Rarely Real Deals

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

Consumers’ Checkbook’s researchers spent 33 weeks tracking sale prices at 25 major retailers and found that most stores’ discount claims aren’t really discounts at all. And the shady sales practice is worse than ever before. Checkbook discovered that most stores’ sale prices—even those that advertise big savings—are bogus discounts, with retailers offering the same “sale price” more than half the time.

In this episode, we’ll tell you which stores ran sales that were USUALLY or OFTEN misleading, as well as the few that had sales that were only SOMETIMES misleading. Plus, tips on how to find the real deals that will save you money.

Read our full report for detailed results about your favorite stores.

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, and publisher of

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.