Ellen Phillips (Reporter)

Phone: 423-756-6900
E-mail: consumerwatch@timesfreepress.com
Bio:
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: Scam terms and what to guard against

Published Apr. 23 2017

Hopefully, no reader felt any unwanted twinges from last week's scamming procedures. Combine those with today's list for savvy consumerism.

Consumer Watch: Scamming terms to know and be on the watch to avoid

Published Apr. 16 2017

I'm getting ready to speak to my buddies at Scenic City Friends, and it seems like fraud is all anyone...

Consumer Watch: Keep computers, phones, household germ free — and avoid illnesses

Published Apr. 9 2017

Q: This question isn't really consumer related, but it runs right up your alley. My husband says I'm germophobic. He...

Consumer Watch: No time for tax cheaters

Published Apr. 2 2017

Uncle Sam is a knockin' so we better be ready, 2016 tax return in hand. Even though the IRS no...

Consumer Watch: Tips for saving to build your emergency fund

Published Mar. 26 2017

Q: I know families should have at least three months of emergency funds. While we do save a bit each...

Consumer Watch: Be wary of online medical scams

Published Mar. 19 2017

It seems like all I've featured the past few weeks has been the overabundance of scammers. As stated upon multiple...

Consumer Watch: Four seasonal scams to watch out for

Published Mar. 12 2017

This time of year, fraudsters commit four particular scams that I saved for this week's discussion. I first learned of...

Consumer Watch: How to protect your credit rating and avoid scams

Published Mar. 5 2017

We recently featured the top complaints of 2016. If you've been victimized in any of those circumstances, then continue reading...

Consumer Watch: Simple methods to turn your trash into cash

Published Feb. 26 2017

Today's column features that infamous offender that haunts many of us — clutter — along with a few simple methods...

Consumer Watch: Auto issues top list of consumer complaints in 2016

Published Feb. 19 2017

Many of us gripe about issues of personal concern. When looking at the Top 10 complaints of 2016, I was...

Consumer Watch: How to get the best deal for a used car

Published Feb. 12 2017

Q: I'm in the market for a good used car. How can I get the best bang for my buck?...

Consumer Watch: When and where to get the best deals

Published Feb. 5 2017

Last week's conversation concerning money-saving resolutions brought a number of questions from interested readers. Let's discuss these and others to...


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Consumer Watch: Ways to limit healthcare costs

Published Jan. 22 2017

Picking back up on the topic of health care for 2017, we continue this week with suggestions from AARP to...

Consumer Watch: Tips for the best-priced health care

Published Jan. 12 2017

The swearing in of our new president means many things to many people. However, one issue is common to all...

Consumer Watch: How to save more in the new year

Published Jan. 8 2017

Now that some of us have already broken our New Year's resolutions and enjoyed the forbidden cigarette, chocolate cake or...

Consumer Watch: How to 'negotiate' best deals

Published Jan. 1 2017

Q: I've read that shoppers who ask for a discount usually get one. While I don't know if I have...

Consumer Watch: A consumer poem for Christmas

Published Dec. 25 2016

I hope you all (re)enjoy my revised poem from a December 2010 column. And regardless of your faith, culture, or...

Consumer Watch: Charitable ideas for Christmas

Published Dec. 18 2016

In a panic because your gift list has yet to be checked off? Rather than gifting loved ones with more...

Consumer Watch: Common sense protections you should use at the holidays

Published Dec. 4 2016

If you're like me, you're somewhat paranoid this time of year — with good reason. Holiday disappointments can mean scams...

Consumer Watch: Holiday shopping tips in order to avoid online, charitable scams

Published Nov. 27 2016

Now that Thanksgiving is over and Christmas shopping has begun, it is time to think about consumer savviness. Starting today...