Tag Archives: rants

damn!

i have recently discovered that i have been ripped off by two different companies since december. the first one was the host servicie that i was so excited about a few months ago, 1&1 internet, who, i have since discovered, earned an "F" from the Better Business Bureau for “Number of complaints filed against business, Failure to respond to complaints filed against business, Number of complaints filed against business that were unresolved and Overall complaint history with BBB”. they “bait-and-switched” me into a contract for hosting services that ended up costing 12 times more than i would have agreed to, and then, in spite of the fact that their headquarters is in germany, they claimed to not understand when i told them that 4/10 didn’t mean the 10th of april, it meant the 4th of october…

the second company is Pipeline Data Processing, otherwise known as SecurePay, which also has an "F" from the BBB, has a reputation for holding funds, and charging you for things after you’ve already cancelled your account – like they did with me. and they said that it was all in the contract i signed, but i never signed a contract. the contract they sent me when i complained about the $300 withdrawal had a scan of my signature that could have been off a check or something… but i NEVER signed a contract. i was actually lead to believe that there wasn’t going to be any long-term contract.

the thing that pisses me off so much, though, is the fact that i would have learned about these rip-offs simply by typing the name of the company and the word “complaints” into google. instead, i figured that it was okay because the people sounded sincere, and signed up with both of them, and got ripped off. i am not immune to the very big stupid… 😡

i’m going to have to close my business account and open another one, because of pipeline data processing’s propensity for random charges well after my contract was cancelled, i’ve already got an investigation going at the bank, and the pipeline representative recommended that we file a police report for fraud, because they weren’t going to look into it otherwise.

garbage drama

back to mundane stuff…

they haven’t picked up our trash for two months, ever since we switched to once-a-month trash pickup, so i called to find out what was going on. it’s not that we haven’t paid, either, because we haven’t gotten a bill in two months as well. in fact, they sent the bill on the 14th, and it’s probably already been paid, but that’s beside the point. when i called to switch to once-a-month pickup, they told me that it would be on the first thursday of the month. so i put the trash out and they didn’t pick it up, so i called and they said that they had made a mistake, that they would pick it up on the last thursday of the month. so i waited for 3 weeks, put the trash out, and – they didn’t pick it up… 8/

so i decided on another tack, and put the trash out every week last month. they picked up our recycling (which is most of our waste these days, fortunately) on the second and fourth thursdays, just like they’re supposed to, but they didn’t pick up the trash! 8/

so i called them this morning. they told me that the pickup would be on the first thursday of the month, then they changed their minds and said that it would be on the last thursday of the month. then, realising that they had just given me conflicting information, they said that they would check it out and call me back. about a half-hour later, i talked with the dispatcher for the company that covers south king county waste management, who told me that the real pickup date was the thursday of the first full week of the month. not only that, but she said that, because of the fact that customer service was confused about our pickup dates, our address was not even included on the route list that they gave to the driver, which is why we haven’t had a pickup in two months.

that’s all very well and good, i said, but the fact is that our trash hasn’t been picked up in two months, and i’m running out of space. so the dispatcher for south king county says that she will request a “courtesy pickup” (“for no charge”), since there was a screwup on their end. a half-hour or so later, i heard the garbage truck backing up, and fifteen minutes or so after that, i get another call from the dispatcher, who says that they tried to pick up the trash, but the can was too heavy and their driver couldn’t lift it. we have our own, 33 gallon container, which has to be loaded by hand, rather than paying the county for a 35 gallon container that the truck can pick up, and the driver has a weight limit to spare him having to lift heavy trash bags into the truck, so if i wanted our trash picked up, i was going to have to go down and “portion it out” into chunks that were small enough for the driver to lift.

so i broke it down into three garbage bags and the remaining garbage in the can, and supposedly they’re supposed to come back tomorrow, and of course, now that we’re back on the route list, the next trash pickup is supposed to be next thursday… 8/

i’ll believe it when i see it. meanwhile, if i reckoned correctly, we just paid a bill for $60 for the past two months… when, because of a screwup on their part, we weren’t getting any service at all

grumble, mutter… and they wonder why i get upset about things like this… 8/

fucking cunt-shit on a gold-plated platter!!!

i decided to check my bank account. i have only had one order since i unveiled the new site, and i had around $200 the last time i checked, but i was shocked to discover that pipeline data processing – the company i thought was going to help me process credit cards, before they charged me $45 for a month’s worth of services that i didn’t use because my site wasn’t set up for it yet, and subsequently, on april 7th, cancelled the account without ever processing even one credit card through them – had withdrawn $300 from my bank account yesterday! of course, this left me with a -$100 balance, plus a $35 fee from the bank.

naturally, i called them up to find out what was screwy. i didn’t use their services, i hadn’t incorporated their services into my web site, i had been a customer of theirs for less than a month – i originally signed up for a merchant account on march 16th, and cancelled it on april 7th – and they were withdrawing $300 that i didn’t have from an account that, presumably, they didn’t have access to any longer.

they told me that the $300 was an “early termination fee” and that it was “in the contract you signed”.

i didn’t sign any contract.

the entire transaction went on over the phone, and through email, and they have no record of anything other than a typewritten signature, which was not written by me, on a mishmash of text that they said was a contract.

as you can probably imagine, i was not very happy. unfortunately, since my injury, instead of being able to discuss the reasons for my unhappiness in rational words that actually make sense to anyone (including myself) i raged and ranted and stuttered and drooled and made a complete fool of myself to at least 4 different “customer service” representatives, before i finally got fed up with attempting to find out why a company that makes hundreds of thousands of dollars a day was, apparently, unable to waive a $300 “early termination fee” for services that had never been used, and hung up.

i called the bank and told them that $300 had been withdrawn from my account without my approval. they said that someone would be getting back to me “in writing” – read “by snailmail”. they also said that if my account remained in an overdrawn state for more than 10 days, it would be suspended.

$#%&*@$!!%&*@?##!!!%!?!!

plagiarism

gah… i’ve been sicker than i have been in a long time over the past few days, which has left me in a fouler mood than normal, and it hasn’t been being helped at all by the person i mentioned in my last post. i’m on the uphill swing, at this point, but i’m still pretty sick, which is going to be interesting, since i have to take a five-mile walk to pick up Ganesha The Car from the shop this morning, and later on i have a fremont philharmonic rehearsal, which is probably not going to end up happening, because i’m so sick.

i was reviewing my web statistics a few days ago, and discovered that the person, a nandita prabhu who has several other blogs as well as the one linked in my previous post (which no longer exists), posted a new entry in one of her blogs called Plagiarism, where she outlines the process by which she gets artwork to post in her various blogs. she says things like:

People allow me to use these copyright images (I take their permission)

and

I think it is “Ok” for my readers to “borrow” the content of my blog but please ask me before you decide to do so.

and

To sum up, You want to borrow something that’s fine all you have to do is “ASK”.

not only that, but all of her blogs are released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License, but the images that she hotlinked from me, and the images from other sources that i checked on his “The Broken Tusk” blog (which is now deleted) all had very clear watermarks or other indications that they were actually copyright to other places, and there’s no indication, not only that she has permission to relicence the images, but that she has permission to use the images at all.

strangely, when i received email from her on friday, she said

i had no idea of this at all. Infact I have been doing this from so long and i had no idea its wrong. Is it a problem even if i say that the pic is from this website ( like source) ?

and other things that, if i hadn’t actually read her blogs – all of them – would make me believe that she has any idea that this is the wrong way to approach “borrowing” other peoples’ artwork.

normally i don’t give much credibility to any laws governing “intellectual property”, but in this case, she’s coming across to me as one thing, and she’s posting on her blogs something entirely the opposite, which makes me very suspicious indeed. it seems to me like she is trying to come across in her email as a clueless newbie, and in her blog as a person who has her shit together, which is not a way to gain my confidence in the least.

i commented on her blog, and have received several emails from her. i guess i’m going to have to wait to see how this all works out, but at this point, i don’t hold out much hope. i’m certainly not going to prosecute myself, but considering how many other web sites she “borrowed” artwork from (several of which replace the hotlinked graphics with ones that say things like “this image stolen from…” – i’d be willing to bet that someone else will, unless she gets her shit together.

brain injury, paypal, credit card accepting, spam and frustration – in that order

so, now that the moisture festival is over with for another year, i decided to get to work on the “accepting credit cards using some other service than paypal” part of my web site. they have been sending me two or three messages a day concerning different aspects of getting my site set up. i had told the guy initially when i signed up that i wasn’t actually going to be able even to look at email about the web site until after the moisture festival was over, so i was somewhat surprised when i got a statement in the email this morning, saying that my checking account had been billed $33. i called them up, and the customer service lady said that she couldn’t help me, and transferred my call to a sales representative, who, after some convincing, admitted that he had the email where i said that i wasn’t going to be able to start until april, but said he couldn’t help me, and transferred me back to customer service.

this is after i got an email, last week, in my “spam” folder (in other words, it was downloaded directly from the server into my “deleted items” mailbox, which gets deleted when i shut down the computer). the email contained a “From:” address at CheckCare.com – which i seem to recall them saying something about when i signed up with the credit card accepting place – but nothing else that indicated where it was from or who i should contact if i had any questions – which was the primary reason it ended up in the spam box. the email also contained a “Merchant” identification which was “SPAY60102”, which i considered rather odd, and a list of fees, most of which were $0, except for the last one, a “Gateway fee” for $11.85. i called the credit card accepting place and went through a couple of hours of being connected to people who reputedly were going to be able to help me, but finding out that they couldn’t help me and putting me on hold while they transferred me to someone who could. at one point i ended up being put on hold, which was answered by someone who not only doesn’t work for either of the companies in question, but works for one of their competitors. needless to say, i hung up and called in again. as it is, the whole process of getting set up to accept credit cards is way more irritating than a person with a brain injury – such as myself – can handle, and i certainly don’t want to be the focus of two competing companies attempts to get me to give their company money i don’t have to begin with. eventually, after two hours and calling the main number 3 times, a guy answered who, before i had the chance to regail him with the entire sordid story, said that he “was aware of the situation” that had caused me to have to call back three times, and he would figure it out and get back to me… and i’m still waiting to find out whether or not it was spam or an actual bill.

you would think that a company which presumably does hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of business each day would be a little more lax about a $33 dollar refund, but no, the customer service rep that i was connected to said that i would have to talk with a manager if i wanted to complain about the sales representative’s misunderstanding. i said that if it was not resolved to my satisfaction, that i would gladly take my business to a service provider that cares about its customers, so she emailed me a (.doc file!!!) “Merchant Request to Cancel” – which has to be faxed or scanned and emailed back to them, but i don’t have either a fax machine or a working scanner.

they make it as difficult as possible – something which i don’t completely disagree with – to get an account in the first place, but once you have the account they start spamming you just like that was their business, and they make it even more difficult to cancel your account… it makes me wonder how any of these companies stay in business at all, especially with the economy the way it is these days.