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:
7 days 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 weeks 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

3 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

3 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

3 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

4 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?

4 months ago

16 – Dealing with Death: Planning and Paying for a Funeral

Host: Herb Weisbaum /
Guest(s): Joshua Slocum - Funeral Consumers Alliance Executive Director; Kevin Brasler - Checkbook's Executive Editor

Grieving for a loved one is acutely difficult just after the loss, and it’s not a time when you want to sit across the desk from a salesperson in a high-pressure, time-sensitive situation. You’re vulnerable to making hasty, costly decisions that might not make sense if you’d just had a little more time.

Funeral homes provide important services, but they are businesses with a goal of maximizing each sale. They make money by selling products and services, some of which you and your family may not want, need, or be able to afford.

In this episode, we review the many choices you have when a loved one dies, what funeral homes are required to disclose, and the marketing tricks some use to push unnecessary or high-end products. Plus, we explain why it’s important to pre-plan your funeral.

Special Guests: Joshua Slocum, executive director of the nonprofit Funeral Consumers Alliance, and Kevin Brasler, executive editor of Checkbook.org.

Read Checkbook’s full report on funeral homes including ratings and undercover price research, plus advice and resources to help plan a funeral.

5 months ago

15 – Those &#@X%*! Robocalls: Can’t Anything Be Done to Stop Them?

Host: Herb Weisbaum /
Guest(s): Aaron Foss - Nomorobo President and Founder; Amy Nofziger - AARP Fraud Watch Network Director of Victim Support

For years, we’ve been promised that new technology would stop those annoying robocalls. But the phones keep ringing—and now, we’re being flooded with spam texts. Fraudsters use these bogus calls and texts to steal our money and personal information.

In this episode, we talk how to spot a robocall scam, how con artists use them to trick you, and ways to protect yourself.

Special Guests: Aaron Foss, president and founder of Nomorobo, one of the oldest call-blocking services, and Amy Nofziger, director of victim support, AARP Fraud Watch Network.

Additional resources:

FCC: Stop Unwanted Robocalls and Texts

CNET: Are Spam Calls Actually Getting Worse? There Are a Few Things You Can Do About It

PC MAG: How to Block Robocalls and Spam Calls

5 months ago

14 – Growing Concerns: How to Buy Plants and Get Good Lawn Care

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

Even the greenest thumbs need help sometimes—and a lot of it—with where to buy plants, how to keep the lawn lush, and how to keep the landscape in shape. The best-run garden centers, landscape contractors, and lawn-care services have the answers.

In this episode: How to find great lawn-care services, and what to consider when hiring a landscaper. Plus, for DIYers, how garden centers rate for price and quality.

Here are more resources on lawn care services, landscapers, and garden centers. Checkbook’s ratings find that the quality of the work—and the prices charged for essentially the same services—vary greatly.

6 months ago

13 – Thinking About Buying an Electric Vehicle? Here’s What You Need to Know

Host: Herb Weisbaum /
Guest(s): Paul Eisenstein - Automotive Journalist and Publisher of TheDetroitBureau.com; Mike Monticello - Manager of Road Tests & Reviews at Consumer Reports Auto

Higher gas prices have a lot of people thinking about making the switch to electric vehicles, and automakers are racing to provide customers with options—sedans, sports cars, SUVs, and trucks.

In this episode, we look at where things stand right now, what’s coming down the road, and things to consider before buying a plug-in hybrid or fully electric vehicle.

Special Guests: Paul Eisenstein, Automotive Journalist and Publisher of thedetroitbureau.com, and Mike Monticello, Manager of Road Tests & Reviews at Consumer Reports Autos

Additional resources:

How to Decide If a Hybrid, Plug-In Hybrid, or Fully Electric Car Is Right for You

Most & Least Satisfying Electric Vehicles and Hybrids

With Chevrolet’s Under-$30,000 Equinox EV, Battery-Electric Vehicles Go Mainstream

How Much Do Cold Temperatures Affect an Electric Vehicle’s Driving Range?

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.