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.

Listen on:
2 weeks 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.

4 weeks ago

25 – Dealing with Debt

Host: Herb Weisbaum /
Guest(s): Bruce McClary - Senior Vice President at the National Foundation for Credit Counseling

To deal with record inflation, many Americans are making ends meet by piling up record amounts of credit card debt.  A trained credit counselor can help you pay down that debt, even if it seems insurmountable, and learn how to have a successful financial future.

In this episode, you’ll hear a real-life success story. Cara, who lives near Boston, was drowning in credit card debt five years ago. Today she is debt-free and has good credit.

We’ll also talk to Bruce McClary, a senior vice president at the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, a nonprofit dedicated to helping people deal with debt and better manage their finances. Find out how the counseling process works, and why some of the advice provided by for-profit debt relief companies can make your situation worse.

Additional Resources:

To find a nonprofit credit counseling agency, visit the National Foundation for Credit Counseling or call 800-388-2227.

1 month ago

24 – Finding an Auto Body Shop That Will Do a Bang-Up Job

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

The best body shops not only do great work but employ staff who can explain and justify exactly what needs to be done. An articulate representative at the body shop will be the key to getting all the work you need performed and paid for by your insurance company.

In this episode, we’ll walk you through the collision repair process from the estimate to the guarantee. We’ll also explain the differences between the three types of parts that might be used, and how to deal with the insurance company—especially if the shop wants to do one thing and they want to do something else.

Read Checkbook’s full report on auto body shops including ratings and undercover price research.

2 months ago

23 – Frequently Frustrated Flyers: How to Fix a Broken Airline Industry

Host: Herb Weisbaum /
Guest(s): Bill McGee - Senior Fellow at the American Economic Liberties Project

U.S. airlines are failing their customers by prioritizing profits over realistic schedules, resulting in too many cancellations and long delays, according to consumer advocates. They say more could and should be done to protect passengers.

In this episode, we explain what domestic airlines are required to do when your flight is delayed or canceled (spoiler: not much). We also discuss how the Department of Transportation has failed to effectively oversee the airlines, and what consumer advocates want done to protect the flying public.

Our special guest, Bill McGee, is an award-winning travel journalist, and author of the book, Attention All Passengers. Currently, he’s senior fellow for aviation and travel at the American Economic Liberties Project, a nonprofit that works to fight monopolistic practices in the U.S. economy.

Additional resources:

Consumer Advocates Want the Department of Transportation to Fix Our Broken Airline System

New Proposed Rules Would Require Airlines to Disclose ‘True Cost’ of Tickets, Including Fees

2 months ago

22 – How to Find a Top Doc

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

Physicians are at the center of your healthcare experiences. They set up diagnostic procedures, devise treatment plans, guide you through care decisions, prescribe medications, authorize hospital admissions, refer to other physicians and other providers…and much more.

In this episode, we talk about how to find good doctors and the best medical facilities near you, how to take charge of your medical care, and what Checkbook has learned by analyzing data on tens of thousands of doctors across the country.

Additional Resource:

How to Find the Best Doctors

3 months ago

21 – Auto Glass Class: How to Get Repairs and Replacements

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

You’re driving along when a pebble kicked up by the vehicle in front of you hits your windshield… and cracks it. Chances are that little rock just cost you $800 to $1,500 or more, depending on your ride. These days, a windshield is more than a big piece of glass; there’s a lot of technology embedded in it or located behind it. These sensors feed data to software controlling automatic wipers, lane-departure warnings, adaptive cruise control, and advanced steering and braking systems.

No matter how big or small the job, you want it done quickly and for a fair price. In this episode, Checkbook Editor Kevin Brasler explains how to choose a good shop, how to decide about replacement parts—original manufacturer or third-party parts—and how to deal with your insurance company.

Additional Resource:

Auto Glass: Repairs and Replacements

5 months ago

20 – Whatever Happened to Truth in Advertising?

Host: Herb Weisbaum /
Guest(s): Bonnie Patton - Executive Director of Truth in Advertising (TINA.org)

False or deceptive advertising costs American consumer billions of dollars a year. Companies big and small now use blatant lies, clever wording, and fine print to confuse or mislead us.

Truth in Advertising (TINA.org), a consumer advocacy group based in Connecticut, points the finger at bad actors and calls them out for their deception. It also works to empower people to protect themselves against false advertising and deceptive marketing.

In this episode, we’ll explore some of the tricks advertisers use to fool us, explain why some big-name celebrities are on the group’s Wall of Shame, and provide tips on how to spot misleading ads.

Special Guest: Bonnie Patten, Executive Director, Truth in Advertising (TINA.org)

Additional Resource:

Think You’re Getting a Deal? 30 Tricks Sellers Use to Make You Pay Up and Pay Too Much

5 months ago

19 – Estate Planning Tasks and Tips

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

Most American don’t even have simple wills, and even fewer have living wills or designated healthcare surrogates. While doing this work might seem sobering, once you’ve made an estate plan, you’ll find it calming and reassuring to you and your family. The goal is to communicate your end-of-life healthcare wishes, document what you have and who gets it after you die, and set up a trouble-free way to transfer your assets to your heirs or preferred charities while minimizing payouts to probate courts, attorneys, accountants, and Uncle Sam.

In this episode, some basic do’s and don’ts when it comes to planning what happens after you leave this world. We hope these tips will save you hassles and money—and enable you to avoid some common mistakes.

Additional Resources:

Estate Planning Tasks and Tips

Creating a Roadmap for Your Heirs

Hiring Estate-Planning Experts

Wills and Living Wills: Help with Preparing Yours

6 months ago

18 – Lessons Learned: A Visit with Our Founder

Host: Herb Weisbaum /
Guest(s): Robert Krughoff - Checkbook's Founder and President

After more than 45 years, Robert Krughoff, Consumers’ Checkbook’s founder and president, is retiring. Robert joins us to chat about how he got the idea for Checkbook, and the challenges he faced getting it started—and gathering all the relevant data he needed to help readers. Plus, what he learned as he became one of the world’s foremost consumer experts and advocates.

Special Guest: Robert Krughoff, founder of Consumers’ Checkbook

6 months ago

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

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

Rising demand for fewer seats has airfare soaring. Hear advice from seasoned traveler Kevin Brasler, Checkbook’s executive editor, in this episode. He shares strategies for finding low rates and warns about common problems when searching for deals. We also tackle frequent air-travel booking questions, such as: When is the best time to book? Should I avoid basic economy tickets?

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 the Consumer Reporter at NW Newsradio in Seattle, publisher of ConsumerMan, and a contributing editor at Checkbook.org.

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.