based on what i have read in a variety of places over the past 6 months or so, i have apparently been one of the few negative interactions with 1&1 which have had positive (to me) reprocussions. i just received a phone call from a very pleasant sounding lady who was a 1&1 representative, who wanted to know why i had cancelled my account. when i told her about being bait-and-switched (i only told her an abbreviated version of the entire, sordid story) she agreed that she would probably have done the same thing. then she asked if there was anything 1&1 could do to entice me back, to which i responded “absolutely not”. what i didn’t say is that i would find it rude and insulting if they offered such a deal, and the fact that they offered it made me think even less of them that i already did. i may have been sucked in by the very big stupid, but i learned something from it, which, i suppose, is the important part.
i figured that i would file a fraud complaint with the police concerning 1&1. my experience has been that frequently the person who goes to the authorities first is the one who gets the authorities’ sympathy, and if you don’t go to the authorities until they come looking for you, even if you’re the one who is “right”, they have a tendency to look at whatever you say with suspicion, simply because someone else complained about you.
so i called the auburn police department to file a fraud complaint. even though our address is in auburn, the auburn police department doesn’t serve our area, because it is in the “unincorporated area” of king county, and is, thus, covered by the king county sheriff’s department. the king county sheriff’s department won’t take a fraud complaint, because there’s nothing they can do about it – despite the fact that fraud is a crime, they said that it is a civil matter, not a criminal one. they recommended that i file a complaint with the better business bureau, so i did. my complaint number is 0EC37-D0640-8140C-191A4-D2E85-C1D85-E0.
they want me to wait 30 days before inquiring about my complaint, and i’d be willing to bet that, complaint or no, 1&1 is going to try to contact me prior to that 30 day period. at this point, it’s a waiting game. we’ll see what happens.
i got another email from 1&1 today, which said <ominous music>
please find the attached screenshots showing the offer you acceptted & the terms of said offer INCLUDING THE 12 MONTH CONTRACT.
with three attachments.
the first attachment is a screen shot from their current web site with the “specials” that they offer, all of which include a 12 month contract – but none of which i agreed to.
the 2nd attachment is the funny one. they said that it’s a screen shot of the contract i agreed to, except for the following items: 1) i never agreed to that particular contract. 2) it says “Recurring Payments, $19.95 per month; 1 time setup fee, $9.95”, and it has verbiage about a 12 month contract. the document i agreed to said “Recurring Payments, $9.95 per month; 1 time setup fee, free” and it had verbiage about a 3 month contract. finally, the “free domain” in their screen shot is blurred out so that i shouldn’t be able to read it, but i can make out enough to be able to tell that it is not my domain.
the 3rd attachment is a screen shot that i faxed to them, that shows their offer of an unlimited account for $9.95 per month, with no setup fee and no mention of a 12 month contract, except in very tiny print at the bottom – which, on my print, is actually not there!
furthermore, none of the three attachments have anything like a date on them, whereas the 5 items i faxed to them all have very clear dates on them.
okay… bring it ON!
so i called up 1&1 this morning and explained that i had cancelled my account because when i signed up for it, it was a month-to-month contract for $9.95 a month, and i DID NOT sign up for anything different (and i’ve got the prints to prove it), and that if they attempted to debit my account it would notify the authorities, because the account has been cancelled.
the lady replied “oh, in that case i’ll make a note not to debit your account any further. is there anything else i can help you with?”
i just got an email from them threatening me with an interruption in my service…8) i’ve already moved all of my domains, so an “interruption of service” from their point of view won’t make an awful lot of difference in the long run… 8)
of course they’re probably going to sic the collection agency on me next. fortunately i’ve got the prints, with dates of the web pages about the account i really signed up for, to prove that i’m right, so they won’t get too far…
i got an email from 1&1 today, saying that my (now inactive) credit card will be debited for the next three months according to the cotnract that i DIDN’T SIGN. i look forward to calling them tomorrow, telling them that if any money is removed from that particlular accont, the authorities will be notified, and then gloating when they demand a new credit card number and i refuse to give it to them… BOY do i look forward to that situation…
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.
i did something to my back within the past three days that is causing me enormous pain when i stand or sit… currently i am under the influence of ibuprophen, which diminishes it from enormous pain to a nagging reminder, but at the same time, i think that loading, unloading and re-loading hybrid elephant at the FSM yesterday, and then unloading it again at home this afternoon was no help at all. at this point, i can hope that it goes away or fixes itself soon, because any further medical intervention is more than i can afford.
i made $70 at the FSM. not my best day, but not my worst, either. the next time i know i can go will be in three weeks, because i have a banda gozona gig (in mt. vernon?) in two weeks. also, since i redesigned the site, hybrid elephant has shot to the #1 position when you search for swastika button, which is especially cool since the #2 position is currently occupied by a white supremacist… 8) furthermore, i now occupy position #2 when you search for finest incense in the world, which is exactly what i was hoping would happen!
ned had to cancel, because he’s sick, and his son goes to one of the schools shut down by
swine flu H1N1 (pronounced “heiney”). he says that he and his wife and kid have been sick for about a week, and while he doesn’t think he’s got H1N1, the fact that his kid goes to stevenson means that he doesn’t want to take any chances. another school that was shut down due to the overblown H1N1 scare is woodmont, where i went to first through third grade.
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/
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.
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)
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.
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.
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.
i subscribe to this blog, pharyngula, which is written by professor p. z. meyers. he is a prominent evolutionary biologist and athiest whose rantings about “christianity” and the anti-scientific are the primary reasons why i read his stuff, although i freely acknowledge that the only reason i find him amusing and not childishly disgusting is because he’s not making fun of me, and i have no doubt that he would make fun of me if he knew that i exist. nevertheless, his rants about chiropractors and acupuncturists have gotten to me on several occasions, and i was going to ask my acupuncturist about it when i saw him today, but before i even remembered to bring it up, he mentioned something that convinces me even more that amusing as p. z. meyers is, he doesn’t come close to knowing everything, and about “mystical” stuff he is hopelessly clueless and will likely remain so for the rest of his life.
what he brought up is the fact that i have been expanding my right earlobe for the past year and a half (i actually stopped about 6 months ago because my wife doesn’t like it). he’s been studying auricular acupuncture recently, and has noticed that a lot of people self-treat with piercings and modifications without realising it. he then showed me this page from his auricular therapy manual. i may agree with p. z. meyers about the perils of “christianity” and “intelligent design”, but this, if nothing else, convinces me that there are a lot of things that science knows about and dismisses as unproven, that are just as real as things that you can hold in your hand. clarke’s law: any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
I was quiet because I didn’t deal drugs.
When they took the sixth amendment,
I was quiet because I was innocent.
When they took the second amendment,
I was quiet because I didn’t own a gun.
Now they’ve taken the first amendment,
and I can say nothing about it.