Smart Talk

Smart Talk is a daily, live, interactive program featuring conversations with newsmakers and experts in a variety of fields and exploring a wide range of issues and ideas, including the economy, politics, health care, education, culture, and the environment.  Smart Talk airs live every week day at 9 a.m. on WITF’s 89.5 and 93.3.

Listen to Smart Talk live online from 9-10 a.m. weekdays and at 7 p.m. (Repeat of 9 a.m. program)

Host: Scott LaMar

Radio Smart Talk: Are you an educated consumer?

Written by Scott LaMar, Smart Talk Host/Executive Producer | Dec 12, 2012 8:50 AM

Radio Smart Talk for Wednesday, December 12:

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It's the holiday shopping season when most of us are buying gifts, spending money, and trying to find a bargain.  But with all the hustle and bustle, are we as focused on not getting ripped off as we are at other times of the year?

Wednesday's guest on Radio Smart Talk is always on alert for just that.  Consumer advocate Mary Bach is best known for suing Wal-Mart and winning after she was overcharged two cents for a package of sausage.  While some may accuse Bach of filing a frivolous lawsuit, she makes the case that the suit made its point.

The brown and serve sausage was listed at 98 cents.  When Bach checked out, the cash register charged her one dollar.  The two cents was refunded but when Bach returned a week later, the same 98 cent package rang up as a dollar.  That's when she acted.

On Wednesday's program, Bach will discuss making sure consumers get what they pay for, don't pay sales taxes on items that aren't taxed, sales taxes on purchases made online, scams and money-saving tips. 

Do you have a consumer related question for Mary Bach?

Listen to the program:

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  • Radio Smart Talk img 2012-12-12 08:59

    E-mail from Randall:

    "I have noticed for some time that while some prices at the grocery store have not increased, in effect they have, because the packaging is changing. There are less crackers in a box, less cereal in a box, less ice cream in a carton, and even less flour in a bag. You cannot buy a 5 pound bag of flour anymore it is now four pounds.
    Question: When the Federal Government calculate the cost of living, does it take into account these changes in packaging? Does it use the weight of the package to calculate cost?"

  • stauchistory img 2012-12-12 09:17

    Over the years I've shopped at several Wal-Mart stores that had just recently opened. At each of those stores, sales tax was charged on items that were supposed to be exempt. I've often wondered if this was a simple mistake or a way for the store to pad their profits?

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2012-12-12 09:20

    E-mail from Ben:

    "Assuming that some of your experiences are honest mistakes and poor administration, do you have experiences with undercharging for an item? Do you bring that to the attention of the store? Is the charge corrected? If not, have you sued?"

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2012-12-12 09:28

    E-mail from Diane:

    "I totally agree about package downsizing. I now need to open several containers to get the same amount of product.

    How can companies claim to be green when we use (and pay for) so much more packaging? My sister and I have been complaining about this for several years."

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2012-12-12 09:34

    E-mail from Susan:

    "I recently purchased a T Shirt online for a gift. The merchant charged me tax on this item. Is this legal as we would not be charged tax if this purchase was made in a store?"

  • Robert Heim img 2012-12-12 09:35

    I love using the handheld scanners at GIANT that you take through the store with you. This way when I scan an item I can assure that it shows for the accurate price. If one pays attention, you will often find that sale prices aren't accurate and by scanning at the shelf, you can verify accuracy right away.

  • Diana img 2012-12-12 09:40

    I try to use the self service checkouts so that I can watch what I am being charged because in the past I have found many errors. At one point grocery stores were giving the item free if there was an error. I was getting so much free I felt bad. I didn't want anything free I just wanted to pay the advertised price. It has gotten better, but as much as it happened I alsways felt that they were charging the wrong price on purpose because alot of people weren't checking their receipts or watching while the product was being scanned. Thank you

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2012-12-12 09:44

    E-mail from Manuel:

    "I have had issues in the past where the store will post a price stating Cookie Brand A $1.35. But the half the boxes of cookies above the sign are Vanilla Crème filled and the other boxes are Chocolate Crème filled. When I get charged $1.50 for the box and bring it to their attention. They say, 'Oh, no, that sale is only on the other flavor.'

    Is this a form of fraud?"

  • shaunlevi img 2012-12-12 09:46

    I have chronic billing issues with Verizon. They constantly add services I don't request to my phone/internet/cable bill. What is the most effective way to register complaints about such practices as well as protect one's account?