The hidden downsides of winning a home

John Matarese  |  August 27, 2019

Wouldn’t it be great to win a house? It’s a lot like winning the lottery, but in most cases, you have much better odds, such as 10,000 to one instead of 10 million to one. Unfortunately, if you don’t know what you are in for, that dream home could turn out to be a financial …

Why you should never wait to open a TV or appliance

John Matarese  |  August 23, 2019

Valerie Merritt was looking forward to putting up a big new 4K TV in her living room, until her handyman tried to hang it up. “He was putting up the bracket,” she said, “and then he opened the box.” The two of them couldn’t believe what was inside. “I said that thing is all smashed …

Best Autobiography Movie

Read this before you send your old family movies to a conversion company

John Matarese  |  August 21, 2019

Do you have a bunch of VHS tapes of family memories? A baby’s first steps, graduations or one of grandma’s big birthdays? Then you need to know what happened to one woman when she mailed in some of her priceless tapes to have them converted. Debi Fields wants to remember her grandmother. “She lived to …

Center For Disease Control Reports Highest Number Of Measles Cases In 20 Years

What you need to know about being denied medical care for unpaid bills

John Matarese  |  August 14, 2019

A mom says she took her daughter to a walk-in clinic, but was denied treatment simply because a past bill had not been paid. Are medical facilities allowed to do that? What we learned may surprise you. Takes daughter with fever into clinic Jessica Vance wanted to avoid a $1,000-plus emergency room bill when her …

Germany Presents Ebola Medevac Plane

Can you resell an unwanted airline ticket?

John Matarese  |  August 12, 2019

Have you ever bought an airline ticket, then discovered you couldn’t go on the trip? At that point, you may have wondered if you could transfer it to a relative, or sell it to someone who wants it. But you can’t. Wouldn’t it be great if you could sell a plane ticket — and even …

This woman lost $1,000 to a Social Security phone scam

John Matarese  |  August 2, 2019

Many believe they would never fall for a phone scam. But one young woman just lost hundreds of dollars and wants to warn others about how easy it can be to fall victim to a scam. Mary Kulik was heading home from her job as a payroll clerk when her cell phone rang. “The caller …

Dollar Tree Store,

Dollar store wars: Which is the best value?

John Matarese  |  July 23, 2019

Shoppers these days are abandoning expensive stores at the mall, evidenced by the thousands of store locations closing in the past year. Many are turning to bargain stores like Marshalls, TJ Maxx and the biggest bargain retailer of all: dollar stores. But which provides the best bang for your buck? Shoppers love the deals We …

Toyota's New Prius Hybrid Cars To Go On Sale In October

These hybrid car owners are angry over new fees and taxes

John Matarese  |  July 22, 2019

Buying a hybrid or electric car used to get you a tax break, back in the Obama era. Now, though, it’s just the opposite in several states, where hybrids are being hit with new taxes. Across the country, states are asking them to pay new fees for road upkeep as lawmakers say these cars don’t …

Aldi

What to buy and what to skip at Aldi

John Matarese  |  April 29, 2019

Aldi has shaken up the grocery scene the past couple of years, moving from a small retailer of cheap no-name products to a major threat to big supermarkets. The German grocer is expanding into a 2,000-store deep discount chain across the U.S. So if one has opened near you, you may want to know the …

An Amazon Fulfilment Centre Prepares For Black Friday

People Say They Are Accidentally Joining Amazon Prime Without Realizing It

John Matarese  |  April 25, 2019

A growing number of people do not want to be Amazon Prime members these days, because they feel they don’t order enough items to justify the $119 annual cost. But some people are saying they were signed up for Prime without their permission, simply because they bought something on Amazon, and asked for free shipping. …

Chrysler Reports 16 Percent Sales Jump In November

These cars hold their value the best over a five-year span

John Matarese  |  April 23, 2019

When buying a car, everyone wants a good deal. But there’s one part of the decision-making process many skip, and it can turn out to be very costly in the end. When looking for a new ride, most are concerned about the interior space — the touchscreen and cameras, handling, and of course how soft …

California Begins Furloughs For State Jobs

These DMV lookalike websites trick drivers into paying a fee

John Matarese  |  April 17, 2019

Drivers who apply for new license plate tags should be careful how they do it, according to the Better Business Bureau (BBB). The BBB has received dozens of complaints about lookalike BMV and DMV websites, and one driver says he fell for a phony site. Brian Morgan recently received a letter explaining it was time …

Still on Windows 7? You must do this critical update

John Matarese  |  March 5, 2019

  Still use Windows 7 on your PC or laptop? Don’t be embarrassed: almost 40% of personal computers around the world still run it, according to Microsoft. But if you still use it, you need to make a very important upgrade soon. Windows 7 is now 10 years old. If you’re still using it, watch …

Are there toys in your kid’s closet that may soar in value?

John Matarese  |  February 28, 2019

Remember those Star Wars figurines you used to have, that you (or your mom) tossed in the trash during a springtime closet cleanup a decade ago? Maybe you had some original Wheels cars with red lines on the tires, or a vintage Stretch Armstrong or GI Joe doll? Emily Eppert, a mom of three, still …

How free video games can cost hundreds of dollars

John Matarese  |  February 12, 2019

If you have kids between 4 and 14, it probably seems like they always want a new video game. Many times they’ll say, “But mom, it’s free!” But caution: That free game can end up very costly, because of a catch many parents don’t quite understand. The days of just driving Mario Kart, or playing …

Used car powertrain warranties come with many catches

John Matarese  |  January 11, 2019

If you’re buying a used car, the promise of a warranty often brings peace of mind. But do you know what kind of warranty you are getting? One woman just learned there’s a big difference between bumper-to-bumper and powertrain warranties, and it can be very costly if you need a repair. College student Ashley Lorenzen …

3 reasons a store may deny your holiday return

John Matarese  |  January 4, 2019

The end of Christmas season signals the start of return season, when Americans take their gifts back to shopping malls and online retailers in pursuit of different sizes, different colors or full-blown refunds. The good news is that stores have loosened return policies in recent years. Many allow customers 30 days after Christmas to make …

Online retailers overwhelmed by orders this year

John Matarese  |  December 11, 2018

WEST CHESTER TWP., Ohio — The coffee was good and hot this December day, here at Cavu Coffee Shop. Unfortunately, customer Nikki Wissel was hot too, after Kohl’s canceled her online order of a Nintendo Switch gaming system. “I ordered it a Thursday night,” Wissel said. “But come Saturday morning, I get an email from Kohl’s saying …

Burger King 1-cent Whopper deal put to the test

John Matarese  |  December 7, 2018

Have you heard the newest promotion from Burger King? The restaurant chain is offering Whoppers for just 1 cent. However, it’s a bit complicated, and it may not be as quite as easy to get your grub as the ads claim.     You first need to visit… McDonald’s To get the deal: You need to have the …

Ebay Motors scam costs woman $500

John Matarese  |  December 5, 2018

Many online vehicle buyers like eBay because of all the protection it provides. But one young woman learned all that protection is worthless if the eBay pages turn out to be fake. That’s exactly what happened to her, and it could target you if you are searching for a car during the holiday season. Great deal …

Warning signs of an online shopping scam

John Matarese  |  December 3, 2018

We’re now well into the hunt for holiday gifts, and it’s easy to let your guard down while shopping online.     Scammers know online shoppers are looking for deals during the holiday season. And they know shoppers are usually in a rush, which means we make not take the time to thoroughly check out a …

Amazon ’12 Days of Deals’ begins Sunday

John Matarese  |  December 1, 2018

In case you haven’t purchased enough items on Amazon this holiday season, the company is kicking off its ’12 Days of Deals’ on Sunday. Deals from a different department will be available every day Dec. 2 through Dec. 13. Here’s the schedule: Dec. 2: Home Improvement Dec. 3: Gaming Dec. 4: Toys Dec. 5: PC Dec. 6: Home Dec. 7: Fashion Dec. …

‘Grinch Bots’ are trying to hijack the hot toys

John Matarese  |  November 30, 2018

Parents everywhere are looking for hot holiday toys — especially online. Unfortunately, so are computerized “Grinch Bots”, which buy up huge amounts of the popular toys so they can be resold by scalpers at 3rd party websites with greatly marked-up prices. “Grinch Bots” are able to search websites and grab the toys faster than consumers. It is …

Scammers spoof USAA financial institution

Melissa Mecija  |  November 30, 2018

CARLSBAD, California — A California says it lost thousands in a bank scam that started with a notice about fraudulent debit charges. Krystal, who did not want to share her last name, lives in Carlsbad with her husband and their dog, Otis. Her husband is in the Marines and was recently in dive school in …

Kitchen gifts you may want to skip

John Matarese  |  November 28, 2018

Next to electronics, kitchen gadgets will be the hottest items this holiday season.  As they were last year, Instant Pot is still a popular gift this holiday season. High-tech pressure cookers and low-tech slow cookers fit a need, and would be welcome in most kitchens this holiday season. But there are some kitchen gadgets most people really …

Find deals on flights, travel right now

Chelsea Davis  |  November 27, 2018

There are several travel deals for the holiday shopping season: Now’s the time to take advantage of those. TRACK THE DEALS: You can go to flight-tracking websites or apps like Kayak or Hopper.  Let’s focus on Hopper. You put in your preferences for destinations, month of travel and more. Then, use the “Flex Watch” feature. …

Retailers rejoice: Shopping records broken

Scripps National Desk  |  November 27, 2018

It’s official: Black Friday and Cyber Monday are still shopping bonanzas for retailers. Mastercard estimated sales on Black Friday hit $23 billion, surging 9 percent from last year. Cyber Monday may have seen as much as a 19 percent increase from last year, Adobe Analytics predicted. (The final numbers are not yet out.) Although it …

Amazon Flex driver tosses holiday gift

John Matarese  |  November 27, 2018

You may have seen doorbell camera videos of sloppy deliveries, deliverymen opening up packages, and those holiday season porch thieves stealing holiday deliveries. But this one really sets new ground. Christa Thomas never thought she’d be one of those unlucky homeowners, with a bad delivery experience, until now. Driver tossed package like newspaper Her security …

These are the 2018 holiday shipping deadlines

Zac Self  |  November 26, 2018

With holiday shopping in full swing you may be thinking about shipping gifts to loved ones who live in another state.  Companies such as UPS and FexEx as well as the United States Postal Service (we mean, Santa…) all have deadlines for sending packages to ensure they make it to their destinations before Christmas.  Check …

Companies rank customers with secret scores

Nicole Brady  |  November 26, 2018

On this Cyber Monday, plenty of online retailers are happy to take your money, but how will they treat you once the holiday season is over? The Wall Street Journal uncovered how companies use a secret scoring system to rank customers, and determine what kind of promotions to offer them, and even what level of …

Heck no! Stores that won’t open Thanksgiving Day

John Matarese  |  November 20, 2018

Are you planning to go shopping Thanksgiving night?  Many shoppers this year are saying “no,” and a growing number of stores are listening. You may remember the days, in the ’90s and early 2000s, when Black Friday was actually on Friday. It was originally designated, back in the 1970s, for “Day after Thanksgiving sales.” Between 2008 …

Kohl's

Kohl’s Black Friday 2018 online sales begin

John Matarese  |  November 18, 2018

While Kohl’s will be one of the big retailers open to holiday shoppers on Thanksgiving, it’s starting to offer deals even earlier as its online Black Friday begins at 12:01 a.m. CT Monday. Kohl’s brick-and-mortar stores will open at 5 p.m. Thursday, so those who want to grab the big doorbusters may have to skip the pumpkin pie. While …

Tips to protect your packages from thieves

John Matarese  |  November 16, 2018

Heading into the holiday season, FedEx is offering tips to protect your packages from porch pirates. FedEx suggests shipping to an alternate destination, like a FedEx retail location, family members’ homes, your work or an Amazon Locker. You can also request a signature. Sign up for FedEx Delivery Manager. Reminder, if your package is stolen, …

Spy cameras popping up in Airbnb, VRBO rentals

John Matarese  |  November 15, 2018

Renting a home or condo for a vacation is more popular than ever, thanks to websites such as Airbnb, VRBO, and HomeAway. Unfortunately, a growing number of those rentals are coming with an unwelcome surprise: hidden cameras that record your every move. It’s happening more and more. Just last month, a British couple found a hidden camera inside the alarm clock …

Beware these Black Friday stocking stuffers

John Matarese  |  November 13, 2018

The ads are out, and many of us are now making our Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping plans. But before you start shopping, make sure you know whether you are getting the name brand item or a lookalike, which could leave your loved ones (especially young children) disappointed the day after Christmas. Black Friday …

Pet buyers beware: Puppy scams on the rise

WMAR News  |  November 13, 2018

If you’re thinking of getting a pet for the holidays, be extra careful. The Better Business Bureau says puppy-buying scams are on the rise, and up to 80 percent of sponsored advertisements about pets may be fake. The BBB says their ScamTracker has 907 reports of this type of fraud and the Federal Trade Commission found 37,000 complaints regarding pets, and a …

Travel Images

Air travel crowds for Thanksgiving to be worse

Scripps National Desk  |  November 8, 2018

Next week, folks who are traveling can expect really crowded airport lines. There will be a 7 percent increase in those flying to their Thanksgiving celebrations, the Transportation Security Administration announced. The Thanksgiving rush at airports will last 10 days beginning Nov. 16 and stretching to Nov. 26. The Sunday after Thanksgiving is likely going …

Walmart Black Friday 2018 ad is out

John Matarese  |  November 8, 2018

One of the most anticipated Black Friday ads of the year is finally out. Walmart has unveiled the deals shoppers can snag in its sale, which starts at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day. Unlike Target, Best Buy and Kohl’s, where lines form outside the store in advance of the opening, Walmart has taken to scattering its lines inside. …

Best Buy 2018 Black Friday ad is out

John Matarese  |  November 8, 2018

Best Buy, the number one destination of Black Friday electronics seekers, is out with its 2018 ad. Once again, doors will open at 5 p.m. Thanksgiving Day, and if past years are any indication, lines will start forming in the morning for the top 4K TV doorbuster deals. While prices may not be as low on the biggest …

Sears

How safe are Sears warranties during bankruptcy?

John Matarese  |  November 7, 2018

It was America’s retailer, long before Amazon. But now Sears is filing Chapter 11 bankruptcy and closing another 140 stores — in addition to well over 1,000 stores the past five years. While the company will remain in business, longtime customers are a bit nervous, wondering about warranties for all those appliances they bought, as well …

Sony 4K Ultra HD TV event

Black Friday 4K TV deals: Real or just hype?

John Matarese  |  November 6, 2018

Black Friday 2018 is almost here. And while it may not be as big an event as it was 10 years ago, millions of shoppers will still head out Thanksgiving night, many of them looking for the best deals of the year on new TVs. But is it really worth lining up on Thanksgiving afternoon …

Macy's Cuts Profit Outlook For The Year After Soft Q2 Sales

Macy’s Black Friday 2018 ad is out

John Matarese  |  November 5, 2018

Macy’s may not get the Black Friday crowds and lines like Best Buy, Walmart and Target, but smart shoppers know it’s a great place to find bargains on Thanksgiving night. Macy’s will open at 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving, and its highlight is several items that are free after using mail-in rebates. Shoppers get Black Friday prices all weekend long and …

Toys R Us

Toy wars: Who will get former Toys ‘R’ Us shoppers?

John Matarese  |  November 2, 2018

News that Toys “R” Us may be planning a comeback has parents of young children everywhere thrilled. Could Geoffrey and company be returning? Possibly. Unfortunately, even if the brand reopens some stores in 2019, that doesn’t help things this holiday season, as there will be no comeback this year. For parents, the toy store of their …

Target’s Black Friday 2018 ad is out

John Matarese  |  November 1, 2018

Target has just released their 2018 Black Friday ad, one week early this year due to the early Thanksgiving this year. Stores will open at 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day, so if you are a traditionalist who likes to enjoy their turkey, pumpkin pie and football, their early bird deals may not be for you. It will again offer …

Kohl's And Peter Som Host An Exclusive Blogger Event With Stylist Mary Alice Stephenson For The Limited-Edition Peter Som DesigNation Collection Exclusively At Kohl's This Spring

Kohl’s Black Friday 2018 ad is out

John Matarese  |  November 1, 2018

The first of the big department store Black Friday 2018 ads are out as we start the month of November. Kohl’s has just released its ad for Thanksgiving evening. And like Best Buy, Target, and Walmart, it will open its doors Thursday afternoon.  Kohl’s will open at 5 p.m., meaning if you want to grab …

Two words you never want to see on a Carfax report

John Matarese  |  October 24, 2018

Drivers purchasing vehicles should always “check the Carfax,” as they say. The report lets consumers know if a car was wrecked, flooded or declared a salvage. If a car has a salvage title, most people would never consider buying it, as it typically means the car was totaled in an accident or flooded. But as one man learned, …

Black Friday sneak peek: What to expect in 2018

John Matarese  |  October 23, 2018

We’re just a couple of weeks away from the release of the “big three” Black Friday ads: Best Buy, Walmart and Target. But rather than just wait for those ads to be released, savvy shoppers are already starting to figure out some of the hottest Black Friday deals on electronics. How? By studying ads from the …

Why every trip to Target seems to end up costing $100 or more

John Matarese  |  October 17, 2018

As the holiday season approaches, many of us will be heading to Target to buy gifts. But have you ever noticed that when you go into Target to buy a couple of $10 items you end up spending $75 or more? We’ve all done it: we have walked into Target for detergent and walked out with …

Apple Watch Available at Retail Locations

Apple users are now being targeted by tech support scams

John Matarese  |  October 16, 2018

Stephanie Golden was shopping on her MacBook when a malware attack took over her laptop’s screen. “Immediately my screen went white with a box that said, ‘You are at risk of spyware, scams, something.’ There was a banner on there that said, ‘Call Apple Support immediately,'” she said. Panicked, since all her personal financial information was …

Hurricane Michael Slams Into Florida's Panhandle Region

Hurricane Michael: How to donate and avoid being scammed

John Matarese  |  October 11, 2018

As the pictures come in from along the Florida panhandle, especially from devastated Panama City and Mexico Beach, many of us are feeling a need to help those who lost their homes. Should you give cash, donate cleaning supplies or collect canned goods? Giving is good. But giving to a good charity — one that …