PhotoWhen your new, expensive smartphone breaks in the first few months of use, what happens? Rocky, of Manassas, Va., found out, and isn't happy about what he learned. He said he purchased a Blackberry through Verizon Wireless in January and it broke in May. He said he next took it to a Verizon store.

“The customer rep said 'we don't fix phones,'” Rocky told “I explained that Verizon is responsible for fixing phones because of the expense and they have a one year warranty. The rep said 'you have to buy insurance on the phone.'”

It's true. When you purchase a new phone the last question the sales rep asks is if you want to buy insurance on the phone. But doesn't the manufacturer – RIMM, in Rocky's case – have some responsibility? Indeed they do, and according to RIMM's Web site, Rocky's phone should be covered by a one year manufacturer's warranty

Rocky's mistake is his assumption that Verizon Wireless would take care of the repair for him. They won't, and in fairness, neither will other retailers who sell products that have a manufacturer's warranty. The consumer must deal directly with the manufacturer. Verizon only gets into the act if you buy one of their insurance policies.

Let's see some ID

Lisa, of North Port, Fla., signed up with because the dating service said it checked members' IP address, profile and picture before they post information. But after using the service, Lisa says she doesn't think that's true.

“I found that every person that contacted me was a fraud,” Lisa said. “I learned this after losing money to an online scammer, and have since learned that many, many of members are actually Nigerian or Turkish scammers. could easily check this if they did check IP address with physical location the member says they are from.”

It goes without saying you should exercise a healthy dose of skepticism about anyone you meet on a dating service until you meet them face to face – and maybe for a while afterward, too.

Expensive loan

Stephanie, of San Diego, reports her husband borrowed $700 from Cash Yes, a payday lender, in January. As of last week, she said the company had taken $1,974.50 from her checking account.

“When my husband called they told him we still have a balance of 300.00 dollars,” Stephanie told “That means we will have paid over $2200.00 dollars by the time this $700.00 dollar loan is paid off? I'm not sure how this is legal.”

It isn't in 16 states. Unfortunately for Stephanie and her husband, California isn't among the states that have banned payday loans. Stephanie's loan balance mushroomed, in all probability, because the loan was renewed every two weeks.

The Center for Responsible Lending says payday loan terms include high-cost fees and triple-digit interest rates. Instead of a small amount owed for a couple of weeks, borrowers become trapped in thousands of dollars of debt from fees and interest that can last a year or even longer. Most payday borrowers have nine repeat loans per year and 400 percent interest, the group says.