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Michelle Couch-Friedman

Consumer reporter and ombudsman

Michelle Couch-Friedman is the founder and CEO of Consumer Rescue. She is a consumer advocate, ombudsman columnist, mediator, writer, and licensed psychotherapist. Michelle is a public speaker, and her expert guidance has been cited in MarketWatch, Consumer Reports, Travel & Leisure, The Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, Popular Science, CNN, CNBC, Boston Globe, CBS News, National Geographic, Travel Weekly, Reader's Digest and more. You might even catch Michelle on TV reporting on a situation. :) Michelle is also the travel ombudsman columnist for The Points Guy and is the former executive director of the nonprofit Elliott Advocacy. During her six years in that position, she resolved thousands of cases for troubled travelers and other consumers. You can read hundreds of 5-star reviews Michelle earned during her service to the nonprofit since 2016 here on Great Nonprofits. She is also a member of the Society of American Travel Writers. Today, she continues to spend as much time as possible fiercely defending consumers and traveling the world with her family. Contact her at Michelle Couch-Friedman or on Linkedin, Twitter or Facebook.
Zelle scammers, Zelle scam alert, consumer advocate fights scams, Michelle Couch-Friedman

7 Zelle scams that will quickly drain your bank account!

Zelle users, beware: Scammers are aiming their sights right at you. It’s true – the money transfer service has quickly become the preferred method of thieves everywhere looking for instant cash. In fact, I receive daily pleas for help from bewildered victims of these Zelle scams.

Here are seven of the latest Zelle scams that you should know about in 2024.

Swiss Air denied boarding aircraft mistake, refused boarding this aircraft, SWISS, Swiss Air International, airplane in the sky

Swiss Air denied boarding to me by mistake. Who will pay for this?

Stepping up to the Swiss Air check-in counter at Newark International, Zivia Berkowitz didn’t expect any problems. She was excitedly on her way to join an expedition team to hike to the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro. 

At least, that was the plan. But that isn’t what happened. Swiss Air denied boarding to Berkowitz – she says by mistake. So, instead of flying to Africa, she spent the night in an airport hotel scrambling to find last-minute replacement flights.

Victims of the Vantage Travel bankruptcy have credits to spend on Aurora Expeditions. This is an Aurora ship with an X. Confused claimants are rejecting their credits.

What Vantage Travel customers need to know before rejecting their credits

Confusion remains high for the former customers of the bankrupt tour operator Vantage Deluxe World Travel. The legalese in each notification from the bankruptcy court invariably brings a new wave of bewilderment for those unsecured creditors. Unfortunately, that confusion has now reached a fever pitch.

The ultimate guide to planning a cruise, expert cruise guidance, what cruisers need to know about planning a cruise, taking a cruise guide, Michelle Couch-Friedman cruise fiasco expert

Planning a cruise in 2024? Here’s your guide to avoiding common mistakes

Over the years, I’ve mediated hundreds of requests for help from distressed cruise line passengers. Many of these cruise fiascos were the result of passenger mistakes and could have been avoided by following some simple guidelines. With wave season just beginning, now is the perfect time to review Consumer Rescue’s ultimate guide to planning a cruise.

Here’s all the information you need to know about planning and taking a cruise.

Taking a United Airlines flight to Greece, Santorini hillside.

United Airlines switched us to another airline. Can we get a refund instead?

United Airlines surprised one family after it canceled their flight – an automatic switch to another airline. But the new itinerary on the new carrier didn’t resemble the original, and the passengers didn’t want it. So why did UA make the option of a refund seem impossible?

Delta Air Lines aircraft, getting denied boarding a Delta Air Lines flight

Delta Air Lines rejected me and my expired passport by mistake, right?

A Delta Air Lines passenger believed she could fly to China with an expired passport, but was denied boarding. She says Delta made a mistake rejecting her documents and should have allowed her to take the flight to China.

Now she’s hoping for a refund and additional compensation for her troubles.

What’s going on here?