Latest The Fine Print headlines

Sharon, MA - 6/12/18 - Barry Arntz talks about the $119, 425.61 bill of deferred taxes and interest due to the town of Sharon, for his mother's home. Photo by Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff Topic: 18consumer Reporter: Sean Murphy

Sean P. Murphy | The Fine Print

An inheritance damaged by delayed property taxes

Barry Arntz thought he and his sister owned the house passed down to them by their deceased mother “free and clear” — no mortgages, no liens, no encumbrances of any sort.

Zhongmei (left) and Gunnar Vincens have gotten the runaround for almost a year.

Sean P. Murphy | The Fine Print

Apartment management won’t return security deposit? That’s just one problem at this Revere complex

Gunnar Vincens simply wanted his $1,700 security deposit after he moved out of Water’s Edge in Revere. At first, he got lots of assurances he’d get his money. He’s still waiting.

Wendy Dodek said that while her experience has been frustrating, “maybe it can serve as a warning to your readers.”

SEAN P. MURPHY | THE FINE PRINT

Fidelity sent back a $6,500 IRA payment because the postmark was smudged

Fidelity said Wendy Dodek missed the deadline to invest in her IRA because the smudged postmark from the post office was illegible.

Many funeral homes now sell merchandise adorned with the fingerprint of the dead. (Legacy Touch)

Sean P. Murphy | The Fine Print

Sneaking a fingerprint of a dead body to sell tokens

A couple days after his father’s death, a grief-stricken man named Eric escorted his 87-year-old mother to a Malden funeral home that specializes in cremations.

No matter what the paperwork said, it was clear Vivian Murphy had been scammed.

Sean P. Murphy | The Fine Print

With promise of $1.5m prize, scam artist bilks woman out of nearly $28,000

A Worcester resident who was falsely told she’d won a Publishers Clearing House sweepstakes is sharing her story.

Waltham, MA - 5/2/18 - Linda Abrams (cq) took a picture of the booth. Instead of a chance at the $500 Whole Foods Market shopping card she thought she was signing up for, Abrams realized she had filled out a slip for a hard-sell vacation time-share company. (She dug through the box and retrieved her slip.) The booth was set up at a sheep shearing festival in Waltham. Photo by Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff Topic: 05consumer Reporter: Sean Murphy

Sean P. Murphy | The Fine Print

Beware of that free raffle: It may be something else

Linda Abrams’ eye caught the familiar logo of Whole Foods. But the raffle had nothing to do with the grocer — only with a time-share telemarketer.

Sean P. Murphy | The Fine Print

Government demands back $1,600 it paid to a quadriplegic while he worked as a summer intern

The government claimed Jared Coppola owed the money because he earned a few thousand dollars as a summer intern in 2014, disqualifying him for benefits during those months.

Elijah Botkin has refused to pay a renewal fee that appears to be illegal in the state.

Sean P. Murphy | The Fine Print

Watch out for fees when renting an apartment

Elijah Botkin did something few tenants would dare to do: He refused to pay a surprise charge sprung on him by his landlord’s agent.

Sean P. Murphy | The Fine Print

At Downtown Crossing Roche Bros., skipping the longer line can cost you

It’s quicker to pay upstairs at the Downtown Crossing Roche Bros. Market, but you may end up paying sales tax on items that, under the law, are simply not taxable.

When Albert Pierce ordered a new key fob for his Nissan, it cost him $347 for work that he expected to be around $100.

Sean P. Murphy | The Fine Print

Why a new car key might cost you $1,000

In all likelihood, replacing the fob will cost hundreds of dollars — maybe even more than $1,000.

Paulette Renault-Caragianes feels cheated by the RMV. She renewed her old-style license last month, not knowing the Registry was about to unveil its RealID.

Sean P. Murphy | The Fine Print

RMV letter offered convenience but led some drivers to miss out on Real ID

Drivers who renewed early at the urging of the Registry of Motor Vehicles will have to pay a $25 upgrade fee if they want the new licenses before their current ones expire.

Patti MacDonald held up a copy of her credit card statement showing a Starz charge from Amazon.

Sean P. Murphy | The Fine Print

This Amazon one-click can easily leave you on the hook for $8.99 each month

It has become more and more confusing to order and pay for the video entertainment that comes into our homes.

The towing contractor who stored the ruined car of Nick Attella (above) also happens to be a Sturbridge selectman.

Sean P. Murphy | The Fine Print

Tow company’s unfair bill has driver on hook for $7,000

Sturbridge officials said a man owed more than $7,000 to the towing contractor — who also happens to be a selectman — who stored his ruined car.

Lower Mills, MA - 02/28/18 - Tom Donahue (cq), who wound up in detention in Rio de Janeiro after Delta Air Lines gave him bad information about visa requirements. He is pictured in his home in Lower Mills. (Lane Turner/Globe Staff) Reporter: (Sean Murphy) Topic: (03consumer)

Sean P. Murphy | The Fine Print

Trip to Rio tripped up by Delta’s bad info

When Tom Donahue landed in sunny Rio on Feb. 17, he was greeted by two grim-faced, uniformed officers who escorted him into a small, windowless room where he would remain for 14 hours.

A package from Amazon on a UPS truck in New York.

The Fine Print | Sean P. Murphy

Amazon customers frustrated by company’s response

Two recent Globe stories about Amazon customers receiving packages they never ordered generated tremendous response from readers who have experienced the same thing.

sean p. murphy | The fine print

‘I just want it to stop’: Women get sex toys in packages they didn’t order

Nicole Slotterbeck wasn’t just annoyed by the “mystery” packages that kept arriving from Amazon. She was frightened. First was the bra — in her size. Then came even more intimate merchandise.

Last month, 11 years after a horrible sledding accident and now old enough to have expensive implant surgery, Victoria Crovo got a new smile.

Sean P. Murphy | The Fine Print

This woman’s restored smile came at a hefty price

After a sledding accident in 2006, Victoria Crovo has required extensive dental surgery. But her insurer is denying coverage for much-needed implants.

Mike and Kelly Gallivan in their Acton home, where they have received more than 20 packages from Amazon — but they ordered none of them.

The Fine Print | Sean P. Murphy

This couple keeps getting mystery packages from Amazon they didn’t order

At first, it was fun to rip open the mystery boxes. Then they kept coming.

Bernie and Dolly Wax were not refunded the $2,300 they paid Norwegian Cruise Lines for a trip they were kept off of because of a mistake with passports and luggage.

Sean P. Murphy | The Fine Print

Norwegian Cruise Line changes course, offers couple apology, refund, and ‘dream’ trip

The offer came as hundreds of readers posted stinging criticism in the comments to an online version of a Globe column that detailed how the couple had been marooned last month.

Bernie and Dolly Wax were not refunded the $2,300 they paid Norwegian Cruise Lines for a trip they were kept off of because of a mistake with passports and luggage.

Sean P. Murphy | The Fine Print

Left at the dock and looking for a refund from a cruise line

“This was to be our last trip together,” Bernie Wax wrote to Norwegian Cruise Line after officials barred him and his wife from boarding.

Keh-Jiann Pan and his wife, Meijung, got an astounding electric bill from Eversouce.

Sean P. Murphy | The Fine Print

After they decided they’d better call Sean: A look back at consumer problems solved in 2017

The lights are still on in Keh-Jiann Pan’s office. Marjan Sadegh has a beautiful new deck on the back of her house. Denise Roney is on the road again after settling with the T.

Bob Coyne and his wife, Linda, had epic battle over the phone with United Airlines to get the airline to honor their ticket for a flight to San Francisco.

Sean P. Murphy | The Fine Print

A leader in service? United falls short after the storm

It was the day after the storm. Like thousands of others who’d had their travel plans upended, Linda Coyne spent all morning on the phone arguing with an airline.

Boston, MA., 01/05/18, Niko Kovacevic managed to get the $500 deductible on his auto insurance waived after his car door was dinged in Haymaker parking garage. Suzanne Kreiter/Globe staff

Sean P. Murphy | The Fine Print

He was determined to get the ding fixed — without paying

Niko Kovacevic got the $500 deductible on his auto insurance waived after his car door was dinged in a Boston parking garage.

“I can’t afford to spend $65 for a state identification card” to enter what ostensibly is a public building, said Penny Shaw (above).

Sean P. Murphy | The Fine Print

When ‘public’ buildings cease being fully public

Under regulations that took effect Nov. 20, you need a driver’s license, passport, or state or college ID card to enter a 21-story tower next to the State House.

Tom Bluthardt says he’s done with Boston Matchmakers.

The Fine Print | Sean P. Murphy

For $1,000, Boston dating service disappoints a client

Seven months have passed without so much as a just-checking-in e-mail from Boston Matchmakers, and one user says he wasted his money.

Len Zavalick took his neighbor's recycling and garbage to the curb for pick-up in Holliston.

The Fine Print | Sean P. Murphy

Holliston condo owners feel they’re being trashed in fight over garbage collection

Condo owners want to know why certain services are provided to single-family home owners but not to them.

Some of Jim Crawford’s happiest moments come when he relives college days singing in an alumni group with Ivy League buddies he’s known since the 1960s, but when he ordered gray pants for a performance, he received black (left).

The Fine Print

When that rush delivery shows up late — and it’s the wrong order

The pants Jim Crawford ordered for his alumni concert arrived in the wrong color, wrong size, and too late to be exchanged.

Doris Toohey, 85, walked down the stairs at her condo in Brighton with her dog, Bonnie.

Sean P. Murphy | The Fine Print

Thanks to a billionaire, 85-year-old can avoid the stairs

Doris Toohey will move into a suite at the spiffy new Marriott Residence Inn in Watertown until her building’s elevators are repaired.

Keh-Jiann Pan and his wife, Mei-jung Fan, were billed nearly $30,000 by Eversource for years worth of electricity at their office.

The fine print

Forgotten by Eversource for years — and then hit with a $29,000 bill

When Eversource discovered the oversight last year, rather than writing off the loss as a mistake of its own making, the company aggressively demanded payment.

Judy White’s phone held the crucial evidence — an electronic receipt that showed she did not park illegally in Brookline.

SEAN P. MURPHY | THE FINE PRINT

Pay-by-phone meter feeding goes awry

Since Brookline launched its pay-by-cell phone technology for parking meters, dozens have complained that they received tickets even though they paid up.

Raynham, MA -- 10/12/17 -- Farmers Marie Kaziunas (left), and Chuck Currie, pose for a portrait with their chickens, at Freedom Food Farm, on October 12, 2017, in Raychem, Massachusetts. (Kayana Szymczak for The Boston Globe)

sean p. murphy | the fine print

An accident at a farmers’ market, and then a frustrating battle for restitution

As he loaded his truck early one Saturday morning last May, farmer Chuck Currie had high hopes of raising some badly needed cash by selling fresh veggies and pasture-raised beef.

Marjan Sadegh, next to the remains of her backyard deck.

THE FINE PRINT | Sean P. Murphy

A homeowner’s deck nightmare

A $25,000 contract with Lowe’s left a Newton woman with no deck all summer long.

The Circle of Remembrance on Waltham Common has denied a brick to Tony Mangini, 87, because he never saw active duty.

THE FINE PRINT | Sean P. Murphy

He served in the Naval Reserves, but he’s not considered a veteran. He wants that to change

At age 87, Tony Mangini wants to finally be called a veteran.

Doris Toohey, 85, walked down the stairs at her condo in Brighton with her dog, Bonnie.

Sean P. Murphy | The Fine Print

‘You’re on your own’ — broken elevator leaves 85-year-old climbing 56 stairs

Since her building’s elevator broke down in August, 85-year-old Doris Toohey has had to climb 56 steps to get to her fourth-floor condo.

Kathie Florsheim very much wanted to keep her Canon printer cartridge out of a landfill but not at the expense of her privacy.

Sean P. Murphy | The Fine Print

Should you have to give up privacy to recycle a printer cartridge?

What Kathie Florsheim learned on Canon’s website stopped her in her tracks.

Aspiring professional jazz singer Kadean Jengelley.

SEAN P. MURPHY | THE FINE PRINT

A dream dashed, now deferred, due to a college deposit

When Kadean Jengelley received her financial aid package after the deadline for requesting a deposit refund, Berklee refused to return the deposit.

FILE - This 2006 file photo provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows a female Aedes aegypti mosquito in the process of acquiring a blood meal from a human host. The Aedes aegypti mosquito is behind the large outbreaks of Zika virus in Latin America and the Caribbean. On Friday, July 29, 2016, Florida said four Zika infections in the Miami area are likely the first caused by mosquito bites in the continental U.S. All previous U.S. cases have been linked to outbreak countries. (James Gathany/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention via AP, File)

THE FINE PRINT | CONSUMER ADVOCATE

Trip insurance wouldn’t cover the risk of Zika

After spending days reading policies and talking to travel insurance professionals, a word of advice: Know what you’re buying.

Denise Roney says a driver of an MBTA SUV struck her car.

The fine Print | consumer advocate

A run-in with an MBTA vehicle creates a big hassle

At first, Denise Roney figured the MBTA would quickly pay up after her car crash. Not so.

08/18/2017 Boston Ma- Joan Tanos (cq) had her phone service abruptly terminated by Verizon despite her being 84 years old. . Jonathan Wiggs\Globe Staff Reporter:Topic.

THE FINE PRINT | CONSUMER ADVOCATE

Verizon cuts off elderly woman’s phone — on her birthday

The state needs better rules for determining if a utility customer is elderly.

Watertown, MA -- 7/18/2017 - JoAnn Becker a travel tour company denied her a chance to join a scheduled tour of Vietnam because she is blind. (Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff) Topic: 21consumer Reporter:

THE FINE PRINT | CONSUMER ADVOCATE

Travel company offers blind woman free trip

The chairman of Overseas Adventure Travel wrote a letter to JoAnn Becker to say he was “very sorry and saddened by the way our organization communicated with you.”

JoAnn Becker says a travel company unfairly thwarted her trip to Vietnam.

The Fine Print | Consumer Advocate

Blind woman told she couldn’t join a travel tour without a companion

A Boston-based tour company wants JoAnn Becker to find a traveling companion before it allows her on the trip, and she says that’s unfair.

Len Evans of Burlington had the nicest lawn in the neighborhood until they hired Lawn Dawgs to fertilize it and kill weeds.

Sean P. Murphy | The Fine Print

Ruined lawn leads to a fight over how to fix it

Hiring people to work on your home or yard is often stressful. Here are a few suggestions to keep in mind when dealing with contractors.

Madeleine Maldonado in her home.

the fine print | sean p. murphy

Insurer reverses decision, restores elderly woman’s coverage

AIG has agreed to restore long-term care coverage for the 87-year-old Concord woman whose policy was canceled when she wrote the wrong amount on the check for her premium.

The Fine Print | Consumer Advocate

Submit: Are you a consumer with a question?

Sean P. Murphy is the Globe’s new consumer columnist -- and he’s here to take your questions.

Madeleine Maldonado wrote out “three thousand three hundred and 99/100” dollars on a check for $3,399.91. But on a chekc, words control the payment, not the numbers written in.

The Fine Print | Sean P. Murphy

When a small error on a check costs you everything

Insurer AIG terminated Madeleine Maldonado’s long-term care insurance due to a $98.92 error.

The Fine Print | Consumer Advocate

What to know if you maxed out a credit card and then stopped paying

The thing to know and pass along is that you don’t have to be bullied.

Comcast says technicians will come to your home at no cost if there’s a performance gap.

The Fine Print | Consumer Advocate

When it comes to Internet service, being passive does not pay

Being passive with your Internet service provider can lead to slower connections and wasted money.

Sean P. Murphy | The Fine Print

The Globe’s new consumer columnist is open for business

Sean P. Murphy will advocate for you when you feel you’ve been wronged in a business transaction with a retailer, an insurer, a lender, a lawyer, or others.

The Fine Print

//c.o0bg.com/rf/image_90x90/Boston/2011-2020/2017/07/11/BostonGlobe.com/Business/Images/gas-6708.jpg Submit: Are you a consumer with a question?

Sean P. Murphy is the Globe’s consumer columnist, and he’s here to take your queries.