Passenger rights are
up in the air
Check flyer rights for summer flights
A delayed flight or missed connection can mean
missing your meeting, wedding or other important
event. You might even get stranded in an airport
without your luggage. But don’t count on your airline
coming to your rescue.
The extent of flyers’ rights depends upon where
you are, where you’re going and on what airline, at
least in the United States. Other countries’ laws are
more consumer friendly: Canada, for example, introduced Flight Rights Canada last September, and
Europe established a formalized set of passenger
rights in 2005.
Currently there is no nationwide passenger bill of
rights in the United States. Although the Department
of Transportation approved a set of voluntary guidelines last year, it has never been implemented on a
national level and there are no mandatory rules in
place. Some states have taken it on individually, but
had little luck standardizing the rules.
To find out what rights apply to a delayed flight,
passengers should check their airline’s contract of
carriage, posted on its Web site. Every airline has different policies, so familiarizing yourself with your
airline’s current rules before you fly may help you
avoid problems later.
Contact your congressperson if you want to
advocate flyers’ rights, or join the Coalition for an
Airline Passengers’ Bill of Rights (strandedpassengers.
cent in the last five years. Homeowners looking for
real help can locate free housing counselors by calling
toll free 1-888-995-HOPE (4673).
I PURCHASED $11,000 worth
of plumbing supplies for my
new home, and paid in full
on March 10, 2009. The company called and told me that
if the items were delivered
after April 1, 2009, when the
new state sales tax went into
effect, I would have to pay
the higher tax rate. Is that
The government is cracking down on mortgage
modification scams, alleging that preying on desperate borrowers caught up in the housing crisis amounts
to criminal action.
As we’ve reported on
www.fightback.com, mortgage modification services are almost always scams,
and real help is available, at low or no cost, from gov-ernment-approved housing counselors.
The Federal Trade Commission cites these typical signs of a mortgage modification rip-off: promises
to stop foreclosure or modify a loan; guarantees that
your home will be saved; claims of a “97 percent success rate”; misleading business names that sound like
they’re government sponsored. The worst scammers
can actually force borrowers out of their homes by
persuading them to sign over the title or grant power
The FBI is currently investigating thousands of
mortgage fraud cases, which have increased 400 per-
Doctors opting out of Medicare
People who are eligible for Medicare are suddenly finding that physicians are opting out of the
insurance system, or not accepting new patients
Doctors in all kinds of practices are citing two
reasons for opting out: Reimbursement rates are too
low, and paperwork is too voluminous.
Out of the system, they are free to charge whatever
they want. But neither they nor their patients can bill
Medicare for reimbursement. “Medigap”
insurance, which covers the balance
between the bill and Medicare contributions, can’t apply either. That
leaves the entire bill as the patient’s
Currently, about 40 million
Americans have Medicare
insurance. Coverage is provided to those 65 or older,
some younger disabled
people and patients with
end-stage renal disease.
should talk to their
doctors as soon as
possible. Even those
who won’t take new
Medicare patients may
be willing to allow existing patients to remain in
their care. If not, it’s
advisable to start looking
immediately, while you’re
still healthy. To find a doctor who accepts Medicare,
for a directory of participating doctors. C
David Horowitz is a leading consumer advocate.
His “Fight Back!” commentaries are heard daily on
the Jones Radio Network. For stations and times,
check the radio page at
© 2009 FIGHT BACK! INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
The California State Board of
Equalization says that the tax
rate is not based on when pay-
ment is made, but on the date
of sale, meaning transfer of
title or possession of tangible
items. So, the company
was correct about the
sumers are techni-
cally not responsible
for paying sales
are. But sellers can
to reimburse them
for the sales tax
they pay to the state.
That is typically designated
in sales contracts, and
consumers assume that the
tax will be added and they’ll
So, did your contract
specifically indicate the
lower tax rate, either the percentage or the actual amount?
If so, you can argue that you
owe the lower rate. But if you
agreed to reimburse the seller
for applicable sales tax at the
time of sale, the seller can
insist you pay the higher rate.
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