Many infomercial products aren't worth more than the time you spend watching the frantic pitches. But three that we've tested combine good performance and real value: Lint Lizard, Ninja Master Prep Professional blender, and Ooma.
Q: My husband and I are ready to start investing in a 529 college savings plan for our child. Do you recommend that we go with the one offered by the state where we live, New York, or choose the best performer from another state?—A.D., Eastchester, N.Y.
The recently expanded Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's Consumer Complaint Database lets you submit and view gripes about bank accounts, credit cards, loans, and more, but its use is limited.
The federal government has secret shoppers like Consumer Reports has, and they're not afraid to use them. Last year, investigators with the Government Accountability Office contacted the 30 largest 401(k) service providers to see how easy it would be to move 401(k) savings from one plan to another, as when one joins a new company. What they encountered, in a report the GAO released this week, was inefficiency, and occasional misinformation.
Q: I need information or reviews about trustworthy debt consolidators. Can you point me in the right direction? —J.L., via e-mail
Attention Walmart shoppers (or is that drivers?). The retail giant has just launched a fuel-price rollback that knocks off as much as 15 cents per gallon on purchases at more than 1,000 Murphy USA and Walmart gas stations in 21 states. The promotion runs through July 7.
Q: A storage-company rep told a friend that he had to purchase storage insurance to cover what he keeps there. But his agent says he's covered by his homeowners policy. Does he need the extra coverage? —J.F., Dumont, N.J.
If you're a college student or a young adult, building credit is a smart money move. But finding a credit card with reasonable terms that will help you build credit could be expensive. Many of the cards marketed to young people with little or no credit carry high interest rates and steep setup and annual fees.
Sheryl Sandberg's controversial memoir and handbook for career women, Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead, argues that women can and should act more aggressively and proactively in the workplace to achieve the positions they deserve. Her philosophy resonates with me in another sphere of women's lives: Saving and investing money.
A New York appellate court's decision today to uphold most of the 2009 conviction counts against Anthony D. Marshall, charged with defrauding his mother, the late philanthropist Brooke Astor, calls attention to a crime that's growing nationwide: financial elder abuse.
Some retail stores now have cameras in their dressing rooms so you can more easily check the fit of your jeans from the rear. These "booty cams" ostensibly aim to reduce returns—better fits equal happier customers—but in the age of viral videos that can make instant stars out of the unsuspecting, you may want to ask if that camera feed is secure before turning your back on this latest retailing innovation.
A mid-March decision by the Council of Better Business Bureaus to expel its Los Angeles-area affiliate for noncompliance with BBB standards provides lessons about the reliability of BBB reports and how to use them.
My friend Chris and I recently sat down to prepare her taxes and compare two online tax-prep products: the venerable H&R Block At Home and challenger TaxSlayer. If your tax return is anything like Chris'--she opts for the standard deduction and only reports income from W-2s--you'll likely finish your taxes in around an hour, as we did for each product. (The IRS says two out of three taxpayers use the standard deduction.)
Q: You wrote that applying for a new credit card lowers a credit score about five points. How long does that loss in score last? Also, how does canceling a credit card affect a credit score? And how long does that change last?—J.K., Front Royal, Va.
Our testers put 100s of products through their paces at our National Testing and Research Center. Learn more about how we test for: