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Does cheap gas damage your car?
The Survive and Thrive Boomer Guide Recall of the Week: Blinds and shades being recalled due to risks of strangulation

What were the best and worst consumer experiences you had this week?

Recently, I launched a best and worst consumer experience feature on The Survive and Thrive Boomer Guide.

I think looking weekly at our best and worse experiences as consumers helps us learn from our successes and mistakes.

Each week, we have dozens of consumer happenings, some good and some bad. Here’s one each of mine for this week:

My best consumer experience: A better price for organic berries

Berries Blue Straw IMG_2413_2

Two weeks ago when I went to the Olympia Farmers Market, I bought a pint of organic blueberries and one of strawberries. The price was $3.50 each or $7.

As I was leaving with my berries, another customer purchased a half a flat of berries. It had six of the pint boxes, and the price was $15. That’s $2.50 a pint.

This week, I selected the half flat, so I saved $1 per pint. And I have more berries.

I think I’ll make a blue berry pie with stevia. I hope it turns out as well as the mulberry pie I made recently.

My worst consumer experience: An expensive car repair

Fuel Pump IMG_2447_2

My car broke down on the freeway Wednesday. I was about 10 miles south of Seattle and had to be towed back to Olympia.

The problem was a damaged fuel pump. It cost was $556 for a new one.

My mechanic said the problem could have been caused by the kind of gas I’ve been using, gas from Costco. He said his shop doesn’t often replace the fuel pump in Honda Accords.

I wrote “Does Cheap Gas Damage Your Car?”

Car Talk advises against running your car for 100,000 miles only on cheap gas. They recommend switching back and forth between Tier 1 and Tier 2 gas – maybe every other tank full – to keep your engine running clean. See my post for information on which companies make top tier gas.

Let me know your best and worse consumer experience of the week.

Copyright 2009, Rita R. Robison, Consumer Specialist


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My worst consumer experience this week was with Suntrust online banking. I had signed up for online banking for my checking account before I left town this summer and specifically requested to keep receiving paper statements since I perfer to have hard copies of my banking records. Yesterday I realized that my Suntrust credit card statement hadn't arrived this month and the payment was late - signing up for online banking for my checking account had automatically enrolled me in the program for online credit card statements, without my knowledge or consent. My payment was late and I had no idea. I called and the late fee was reversed but I'm afraid it will hurt my credit score. I'm extremely upset and feel like I was conned.

My best experience this week was at Staples. A friendly clerk helped me find an item I had looked for at 3 other stores without luck. I needed primary composition books for my Kindergarteners, and she made sure I bought the right books, not the ones for older kids I had picked out. I'll definately check Staples first next time!



Thanks for letting me know about your best and worst consumer experiences of the week. Banks really need to do a better job about disclosing the terms of their programs to consumers. I think this will change under the new credit card rules going into effect early next year.

So far this week I've had two bad consumer experiences. No good ones so far.


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