We’ve all heard the advice “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!” and in some cases that’s all you need to know to avoid a scam.
But the reality is, big corporations and small time crooks have an almost infinite number of ways to cheat consumers out of their own money.
Clark Howard, podcaster and friendly consumer advocate lives by the motto, “Save more, spend less, and avoid getting ripped off!”
For years, radio listeners have found helpful tips on the Clark Howard Show as the host shoveled out truckloads of consumer-friendly advice. Though his nationally syndicated radio show ended in 2020, he and his team are still doling out money-saving advice on his podcast, and his websites Clark.com and Clarkdeals.com.
Clark focuses on useful tips geared towards the average Joe because most of us can not spend hours every week studying financial websites and publications to stay abreast of all the financial landmines in today’s world. What’s more, he doles out his advice without the condescending tone common to some other so-called experts.
He gives consumers the real deal regarding a wide variety of situations, from timeshare scams to sneaky marketing tactics used by corporations.
Clark especially loves to inform people of little known scams and sneaky practices by banks and credit card companies. For instance, did you know that banks sometimes change the order that checking account transactions are recorded? They do this to hit the consumer with more overdraft charges.
For sound advice on almost any financial issue, Mr. Howard and his talented team deliver practical advice to help you out. In addition to the daily podcast, Clark’s Consumer Action Center takes questions and gives free advice day in and day out.
One caller told Clark he had been informed he was a sweepstakes winner. Almost immediately Clark recognized it as a scam and explained to listeners exactly how the scammers work.
He’s also a whiz at calculating the most cost-effective route for various loan payoffs, leasing agreements and other contracts.
In a short 30 - 40 minute episodes, Clark discusses cell phone music downloads, savings accounts that offer 5% interest, credit problems, exchanging unwanted gift cards and buying new or used cars.
He delivers his advice with the informed passion of a lifelong consumer crusader. Here’s a great Clark-zinger about buying a car from a dealership:
“You should never be negotiating the purchase of a car AT the dealership unless you want to pay too much. You will always lose every time if you negotiate on their turf.”
He advises car shoppers to visit dealerships only to test drive a vehicle or to pick up a car you’ve already paid for.
He also doesn’t mince words when it comes to calling out bad customer service. When it comes to airlines and other large companies, he likes to call their phone support “Customer No Service”.
But he doesn’t stop there. He’ll often explain step-by-step the best way to get around the Customer-no-service crew and gets some real help when you need it. Clark ran a travel agency for many years and also held several government positions.
Along the way, he’s picked up some keen insights about how corporations work to steal consumers’ money, legally and illegally. He also understands the practical realities of business, such as what does and what does NOT motivate big companies to fix your problem to your advantage.
Through the Clark Stinks segments, he even invites listeners and readers to call him out if any of his advice doesn’t hold water.
Whatever your income situation, Clark Howard will tell you how to make best use of your money with friendly, unbiased advice.