PhotoThe U.S. Postal Service (USPS) is struggling with well-publicized financial problems and this week announced it is reducing some service. Jennifer, of College Station, Tex., thinks the level of service at her local post office is pretty low already.

"My young daughter used her allowance money to order her sister a Christmas gift," Jennifer told "It was due to arrive over Thanksgiving, so I had the post office hold our mail while we were away. When we got back, we got a box of mail with other packages, but not that one. I followed the tracking number showing that it was delivered to our post office, scanned and sorted. So where is it? I filed a report at the post office, but they haven't contacted me. There is a second package without a tracking number missing. I don't expect to get that one either."

Jennifer said the loss of the money is secondary to her daughter's disappointment.

Don't touch that dial

We heard a lot of complaints a couple of years ago when broadcast television dropped its analog channels and went digital, requiring either a digital TV or a converter box. While the issue has been largely forgotten by some, it hasn't been forgotten by Linda, of McMinnville, Ore.

"The conversion from analog to digital has been a very poor experience, and I mean this in both senses of the word," Linda said. "The change has meant a big problem to the low-income in this country. We are forced to either purchase expensive new equipment, lease such equipment or do without. To top it all off, the digital equipment is far more susceptible to poor quality, with the consumer completely at the mercy of big business. Broadcast may have been at the mercy of the weather at times, but at least it was free--or we had a choice. Now we have to pay for cable or satellite. What a scam. This was a really bad idea, and very expensive for the people of this country."

Linda says the promised benefits never materialized and now she has to put up with pixelization, black screens, and slow or interrupted picture.

Time to be assertive

Elizabeth, of Larksville, Pa., says she ordered an iPhone through her local AT&T store at the end of November. She says she was informed the phone was damaged in transit and therefore, was not delivered as promised.

"I cannot get anyone to either return my money or deliver the phone," Elizabeth told "AT&T has not resolved the issue through their Wilkes Barre store as was promised. Now the store manager has not called back. I need my $212.00 back or the phone."

Well, this may call for a little persistence on Elizabeth's part but should be resolvable. Hopefully she has paperwork from her order and a bank or credit card statement showing she paid. Elizabeth should return to the store at a time when they are not overly busy and politely insist that someone either give her a phone or her money back. Increasingly, when businesses make errors it seems it's harder, and takes longer to resolve the problem than it used to.

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