Ellen Phillips (Reporter)

Phone: 423-756-6900
E-mail: consumerwatch@timesfreepress.com
Ellen Phillips is a retired English teacher who has written two consumer-oriented books. Her Consumer Watch column appears on Saturdays in the Business section of the paper. An expanded version is at www.timesfreepress.com under Local Business.

Consumer Watch: Finding the right pet

Published Oct. 15 2017

We lost our dog "child" several weeks ago and are now ready to give a home to a new puppy.

Consumer Watch: How to avoid overcharges and overbilling

Published Oct. 8 2017

In checking my monthly bills, I've noticed several billing mistakes in the past few months.

Consumer Watch: Your rights and steps you should take if your credit is hacked

Published Oct. 1 2017

The exact same day my husband placed credit/security freezes on Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion credit reporting agencies ("The Big Three"),...

How to budget for and save on weddings

Published Sep. 24 2017

My daughter and her fiancé plan to marry in December.

Consumer Watch: How to respond to Equifax hack

Published Sep. 17 2017

Yes, news of Equifax's massive identity-theft cyber break-in is everywhere, including a big article in this paper's last Sunday edition.

Consumer watch: Cost saving ideas for health insurance, medical care

Published Sep. 3 2017

With the Labor Day holiday on Monday, piggybacking on last week's column is a reminder that paying less for these...

Consumer Watch: Cost saving ideas for medical care

Published Aug. 27 2017

The biggest political hullabaloo lately has been health care and what to do about potential changes.

Consumer Watch: Back-to-schoolers buying tips that save you money

Published Aug. 13 2017

Today's column features stores (online and bricks-and-mortar) that have the best sales on special items for most back-to-schoolers.

Consumer Watch: What are the best web sites and apps to sell your goods online?

Published Aug. 6 2017

People move during summer and throw things away, others weed out belongings for garage sales, while many donate to charity....

Consumer Watch: What travel devices you should consider for overseas trips

Published Jul. 30 2017

Last week's column featured useful gadgets to pack to safeguard your health when traveling. The devices suggested today help make...

Consumer Watch: Healthy items to pack when traveling abroad

Published Jul. 23 2017

Q: I'm going on an extended vacation next month and am purchasing items to make my travels safer. Any suggestions?...

Consumer Watch: Where to report fraudsters

Published Jul. 9 2017

Q: It seems like your columns concentrate on fraud issues and how they affect consumers in such negative ways. Once...

Consumer Watch: Dog-loving locals can help pet sit

Published Jul. 2 2017

"Rover." What a perfect name for a dog-sitting company. I first heard about this national franchise from one of my...

Consumer Watch: How to save time, work, and money on your summer vacation

Published Jun. 25 2017

Today's column is a lazy one for me. No real writing, no attempts at humor, just a plain old list...

Consumer Watch: Scrutinize your packing list when heading out on cruise

Published Jun. 18 2017

Continuing last week's tips on cruising vacations: You've done your due diligence so far as the line, the ship and...

Consumer Watch: Hints to booking and enjoying a summer cruise

Published Jun. 11 2017

For the next two weeks, I will concentrate on specifics many of us generally don't consider; some provisos appear in...

Consumer Watch: What questions you should be asking your doctor

Published Jun. 4 2017

Members of my immediate family have recently experienced some pretty serious illnesses which, of course, involved patient/family/physician communication (or, in...

Consumer Watch: Online courses offer low cost way to learn new skills, build knowledge

Published May. 28 2017

Whether retirees wish to learn new skills to return to work, current employees need recertification, or younger folks wonder how...

Consumer Watch: How to avoid getting the 2.4 billion robocalls made every month

Published May. 7 2017

Several days ago, a reader asked about a website I suggested to help eliminate robocalls to cellphones. A USA Today...

Consumer Watch: Four steps toward wiser use of money

Published Apr. 30 2017

I subscribe to a few AARP services. As a consumer advocate, I'm always searching for relevant information that may be...