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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7 days ago

7 – 65 Things You (Probably) Shouldn’t Pay For

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

We all spend money on stuff we don’t need, from top-of-the-line appliances with features we’ll never use to designer clothing we’ll rarely wear. But there’s a big difference between splurging on luxuries and throwing away money on products and services that are worthless or unnecessary—or that you could get for free. Here are some of them and why they’re a waste of money.

Read our complete list of 65 Things You (Probably) Shouldn’t Pay For on

3 weeks ago

6 – Finding a Dentist Who Will Make You Smile

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

No one looks forward to going to the dentist, but oral hygiene is an important part of your overall healthcare. Most dentists do a good job, but some are better than others at making their clients feel comfortable. Price may also be a consideration. Checkbook’s undercover shoppers found astounding price differences from practice to practice for the same procedure. Based on our subscriber surveys, there is no relationship between price and quality. In this episode, we’ll also talk about the pros and cons of dental insurance.

Read Checkbook’s full report on how to find a good dentist, plus see our ratings.

1 month ago

5 – Cyber Crime: A Former Cyber Crook Explains How to Protect Yourself

Host: Herb Weisbaum /
Guest(s): Brett Johnson - A Cyber Security Consultant and Former Identity Thief

Online fraud is a serious problem, and it keeps getting worse. Cyberthieves are getting better at stealing money and sensitive personal information, which is why it’s so important to understand the risk and what steps you can take to protect yourself.

Special Guest: Brett Johnson, a cyber security consultant and former identity thief. Few people know more about cybercrime than Johnson, who was once on the Secret Service’s Most Wanted list. Johnson made millions developing online fraud techniques before getting busted (several times) and spending more than six years behind bars. Johnson started AnglerPhish Security to share his insider’s knowledge about fighting cybercrime.

Additional resources:

Identity and Cyber Theft: How to Protect Yourself

Data Breaches Skyrocket; Here’s How to Safeguard Your Online Accounts

Online Privacy: How to Guard Yours

Computers & Devices: How to Keep Yours Safe

2 months ago

4 – How to Buy a Car During the Pandemic

Host: Herb Weisbaum /
Guest(s): Jack Gillis - Author of The Car Book; Kevin Brasler - Checkbook's Executive Editor

The pandemic has turned the car market upside-down: inventory is low, and prices for new cars keep going up. That means it’s more important than ever to have a plan. Should you wait? Should you buy used? Is leasing something you should even consider? Get answers to those questions, plus learn about a sure-fire way to get the best price on any new vehicle.

Special Guest: Jack Gillis, author of The Car Book, has been steering consumers to safe and reliable cars for more than 40 years. Gillis is also executive director of the Consumer Federation of America.

Additional car-buying resources:

Shortage of New Cars Results in Fewer Choices and Higher Prices

Buying Your Leased Car Could Be a Smart Move (Right Now)

Used Cars Often Sold with Dangerous Defects

Vehicle Service Contract Plans Are Big Hassles and Bad Deals for Most Drivers

CarBargains: Get the Best Price on a New Car

2 months ago

3 – Buyers Beware: Tricks Sellers Use to Make You Buy Now and Pay Too Much

Host: Herb Weisbaum /
Guest(s): Edgar Dworsky - Founder and Editor; Kevin Brasler - Checkbook's Executive Editor

Companies use an arsenal of marketing tricks to convince customers they’re scoring bargains, often duping them into spending more or paying right away without checking the competition. While many of these tactics have been used for centuries, we’ve found that the methods are increasingly sophisticated, and the dishonest claims are bolder.  

Special Guest: Edgar Dworsky, founder and editor of, a nonprofit website that features buying advice, consumer news and information, scam alerts, and bargains.

3 months ago

2 – The FAFSA Form: Your Key to Financial Assistance for Attending College

Host: Herb Weisbaum /
Guest(s): Dana Kelly - A Vice President with the NASFAA

FAFSA is the gateway to your share of the nearly $150 billion in federal aid available from the U.S. Department of Education through loans, grants, need-based scholarships, and work-study. By filing the FAFSA, you are also applying for financial aid available from state governments, and most colleges and universities. The filing period for the 2022-2023 academic year is underway, and the sooner you file, the more money you are likely to get.

Special Guest: Dana Kelly, a vice president with the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA).

Learn more about FAFSA and see tips on how to get started.

3 months ago

1 – How to Hire a Good Contractor

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

Hiring a contractor who can successfully build what you’re planning, at a favorable price, is the most important step in any remodeling project. You need to get bids and proposals from at least three companies, then take the time to check out any possible candidates. We’ll walk you through the process, explain what should be in the contract, and help you avoid fly-by-night contractors.

Read Checkbook’s full report on how to find a good contractor, plus see our ratings.

4 months ago

Introducing Consumerpedia

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

Introducing Consumerpedia, a podcast by Consumers’ Checkbook, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping consumers find high-quality services, save money, and avoid rip-offs. Hosted by “The ConsumerMan” Herb Weisbaum, an Emmy award-winning broadcaster and one of America’s top consumer experts, and Kevin Brasler, Checkbook’s executive editor. This episode discusses how Checkbook’s evaluations and advice are more reliable than the ratings reported by other businesses, plus a quick summary of the type of work we do to educate consumers.

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 KOMO Radio in Seattle, publisher of ConsumerMan, and a contributing editor at

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 graduate of the Newhouse School at Syracuse University.