Thursday, February 14, 2008

CAN WE DO SOMETHING ABOUT THIS PLEASE?

What country is this anyway?

President Bush said today that he plans to veto legislation passed by the Senate that would bar the CIA from waterboarding.

Think about this. Our President is going to use his VETO to overturn legislation PASSED by the Senate that would ban TORTURE? He's going to veto in SUPPORT of torture. Am I the only one who finds this fucking insane beyond all comprehension? What in the wide, wide world of sports is going on here?

And why is Congress grilling baseball players while the Executive Branch is giving our country an Extreme Fascist Makeover? Could it be because the Legislative Branch is complicit in freedom's undoing? Did you see how many Senators voted to grant retroactive immunity to Telecommunications companies? That was the big news earlier this week. The bill absolving these guilty fuckers actually PASSED by a large margin. Not surprising, I suppose, when you consider the industry is a top 5 lobby in Washington. And our Senators voted with THEM, at the expense of US. All while we sit glued to American Idol.

Not all Senators, I should note. A good number of Senators chose to stand by the American people, do the right thing, and vote against it so we could hold these powerful corporations accountable for the lawless invasions of privacy they enabled. Kudos to them. Here's an article for more on the Spy Bill.

Here's the Cliff's Notes version. Your Republican nominee McCain voted to grant the Telcomms immunity. And to think that guy used to stand for something. Obama, not surprisingly, did the right thing and voted against it. Hillary did the Clinton thing and didn't show up for the controversial vote so there wouldn't be a record of her taking a stand one way or the other. It's easier to tell people what they want to hear when you have no record on the subject. That's institutional politics 101.

I hope the people in Pennsylvania and Ohio reward her courage with a vote for the O Bomb. We could use a little integrity up in here.

SIPS FROM THE FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH

So I got my back waxed yesterday for the first time. How's that for an icebreaker?

As you may be aware, I am off to Maui to be married next week. Thank you. Yes, we are very excited - especially in the middle of this brutal global cooling spell.

In preparing for our Hawaiian adventure, it was suggested I consider a simple spa treatment that would give my back a more "youthful" look. I have discovered that, as the hair mob gets older, its dying members join the follicle relocation program. Hair that had once thrived on the top of my head get old and head south, putting down new roots in warmer climes. The result is a receding hairline and awkward patches of fur and stray hair sprouts all over my back, neck, and arms. Just when I got comfortable with the idea of never taking my shirt off at another baseball game, I book a Destination Wedding to the Hawaiian Isles. So off to spa I went last night to try something new.

Let me begin by saying that it did not hurt nearly as bad as I thought it would. We've all seen that scene in "The 40 Year-Old Virgin" where Steve Carrell has his chest hair waxed off. A back wax is nothing like that. Don't get me wrong - it was not what I would consider a pleasant experience. But it wasn't quite waterboarding with the Cheneys, either.

If you've ever thought about getting a back wax, here's what you can expect. I showed up for my appointment and checked in at the reception counter. The hair removal specialist walked me back to a private room where I was politely instructed to remove my shirt and lie face down on a massage table. She left the room for a couple minutes so I could watch myself undress slowly in a very large mirror while calming nature sounds piped into the room. After getting a good look at myself in the mirror, I put my pants back on and spread out on the table - face down. My waxpert returned, made some idle chit chat to put me at ease, then began smearing a hot sticky liquid on my back with a paint brush. This was not unpleasant.

Then she put the brush down, pressed a cloth of some kind hard into the warm, wet wax and gave a rip like she was starting a lawnmower. This didn't really hurt all that much, either. She pushed another cloth into my back and tore it off again. That one hurt a little more. The third time I started to figure it out. It only hurt when she pulled out hair. That third one had some hair. My eyes watered suddenly. My voice broke as I spoke. She kept pressing and ripping. And then suddenly it ended. Round one, that is. She dipped the brush back into the wax and started applying it again. I gripped the table and waited.

RIP!

RIP!

RIP!

When she was done, she treated my back with some oil and said I was free to towel off and get dressed again. The whole thing lasted about 12 minutes and cost $45 (not including tip). I got home and showed the 7-year-old H Man my back.

"Check it out, my man. My back is smoother than yours!"

He was totally jealous. And then he pointed at my chest and told me they had forgotten about the front.

"No way, dude. This here is the difference between a boy like you and a man like me."

He thought about that for a second, stuck out his tongue at me and said. "You're kooks. And I'm almost taller than you anyway." Sassy kid, the H Man.

Anyhow - there it is. The back wax. Not as bad as I thought it would be...and the waxpert tells me it gets easier the second time because the hair grows back in much finer. I can hardly wait.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

NO ADULT LEFT BEHIND

Did you hear about this one? A teacher in California named John Corcoran revealed that he graduated from college and taught high school for 17 YEARS without being able to read, write, or spell! Imagine that. Couldn't read, write, or spell...and actually managed to get a degree in Education...then went on to TEACH high school for 17 years. What does that say about our education system? Might explain a few things.

This glorious American success story probably would have been more shocking to us 7 years ago, before we all learned that you could actually go onto become President of the country without those very same skills. And all this guy did was teach high school for 17 years?

Bah. That's nothing!

RUNAROUND...SUE

Year of the rat? I'd certainly say so...

---------------------------------------------------------
This form was submitted by AYNtK <@yahoo.com> on Friday, January 18, 2008 at 21:26:59
---------------------------------------------------------

Referring URL: http://www.rcn.com/contact/index.php

city: Chicago
state: IL
zip: 60618
account: 1001-079XXX1-02
comment_related_to: hdtv

comment: I recently switched to RCN from Comcast and have had a few problems already. First, the installation person did not show up on the designated day/time after we took off of work to be home. He ended up coming the following day. Now we are having problems getting the DVR to work properly - it keeps giving us an error message and will not allow us to record programs as intended. And then we just received our first bill and it has a $25 installation fee on it! This was never detailed for us in any discussions we had with sales staff. We were not notified of this charge and were unpleasantly surprised to find it tacked on after the fact. No one explained that we would be responsible for this, and we do not feel we should be required to pay it. Especially in light of the problems we have had to start.

I hope someone will be able to remedy this situation to our satisfaction as we had hoped for a different experience with RCN than we had with our previous cable services provider.

Sincerely,
AYNtK

----- Original Message ----
From: Lanae
To: AYNtK
Sent: Sunday, January 20, 2008 9:54:14 AM
Subject: Re: RCN - Customer Feedback Form Submission <<#28223-151855#>>

Dear Customer

My name is Lanae. Thank you for contacting the Email Support Staff. We are happy to provide you with the exceptional customer service you deserve.

In response to your recent email, I would like to apologize for the inconvenience caused. At this time the account is noted that the $25 install fee was to be charged onto the account. Thus, at this time I can not remove the charge, due to the fact that it shows to be a valid charge. Also, if the DVR is still giving you an error message, please contact RCN Technical Department at 1-866-832-4726, 24 hours a day seven days a week.

Thank you for your patience in this matter. If you should have any further questions or concerns please feel free to contact the Email Support Staff. We appreciate the opportunity to serve you.

Lanae

--- Original Message ---
From: AYNtK
Received: 1/20/08 10:36:31 AM EST
To: Lanae
Subject: Re: RCN - Customer Feedback Form Submission

Lanae,

Thank you for responding. I did call RCN technical support and they were able to resolve the issue with my DVR. Hopefully it will work now!

As for the installation fee, I still do not understand why I am being assessed this additional charge when it was never made known to me that I would be responsible for such a charge. Neither the phone representative or the serviceman notified me that there would be a charge for installation. I feel like I am being penalized for switching from Comcast and should not have to pay this. Had I been aware of the fee up front, it may have influenced my decision to switch. It is unethical to withhold the actual cost of anything. Why wouldn't RCN disclose its installation fees at the time service is requested? Doesn't that seem a bit dishonest to you? This is the kind of corporate harassment I expected out of Comcast - which is why I switched to RCN. I had hoped for a different experience with RCN, but right off the bat I'm being hit with hidden fees and charges.

Please remove the $25 install fee as I DID NOT AGREE to pay for an installation charge, and it was at no time disclosed to me that any additional installation costs would be incurred.

Thank you for your understanding,

AYNtK

----- Original Message ----
From: Tarneisha
To: AYNtK
Sent: Monday, January 21, 2008 7:11:13 AM
Subject: Re: RCN - Customer Feedback Form Submission <<#28223-151855#>>

Dear Customer,

My name is Tarneisha. Thank you for contacting the Email Support Staff. We are happy to provide you with the exceptional customer service you deserve.

In response to your recent email, you can remove the installation fee from your account, by signing up for automatic payments, or having your credit run.

Thank you for your patience in this matter. If you should have any further questions or concerns please feel free to contact the Email Support Staff. We appreciate the opportunity to serve you.

Tarneisha

--- Original Message ---
From: AYNtK
Received: 1/24/08 10:23:23 AM EST
To: Tarneisha
Subject: Re: RCN - Customer Feedback Form Submission

Tarneisha,

Thanks for your response. I do not believe I should be required to sign up for automatic payments in order for RCN to waive an installment fee I never agreed to pay in the first place. This is a suspect business practice I will be reporting to the Better Business Bureau. A company cannot assess fees that were not disclosed up front and then agree to waive them in exchange for a separate and unrelated consumer behavior. This is an egregious violation of business ethics and tantamount to holding my money for ransom.

If this is RCN's best and only compromise to the situation, then I will agree to sign up for automatic payments to have the fee removed. But when I do I want to be absolutely sure the $25.00 charge is credited to my account, as it was never disclosed to me and should never have been assessed in the first place. Please advise me as to the best way to sign up for automatic payment so that I can be sure the charge is removed.

Thank you for your help.

AYNtK

----- Original Message ----
From: Tarneisha
To: AYNtK
Sent: Thursday, January 24, 2008 2:31:49 PM
Subject: Re: RCN - Customer Feedback Form Submission <<#28223-151855#>>

Dear Customer,

This is Tarneisha and thank you again for contacting the Email Support Staff. We are happy to provide you with the exceptional customer service you deserve.

In response to your recent email, I could imagine how disappointing this is for you, and I apologize for any inconvenience this has caused you. You can signed up for automatic payments by contacting our Customer Service department. Once you are signed up, the representative will reverse the $25.00 installation fee. Our Customer Service department can be reach by calling 1-877-RCN-BILL (1-877-726-2455) between the hours of 8AM and 5PM, Monday - Friday.

Thank you for your patience in this matter. If you should have any further questions or concerns please feel free to contact the Email Support Staff. We appreciate the opportunity to serve you.

Tarneisha

--- Original Message ---
From: AYNtK
Received: 2/11/08 3:51:27 PM EST
To: Tarneisha
Subject: Re: RCN - Customer Feedback Form Submission

Tarneisha,

Thank you for getting back to me with this information regarding the installation fee that was tacked onto my account without warning. Unfortunately, the solution you provided was deemed "incorrect" by the customer service representative I just spoke with on the telephone. In the e-mail attached below, you instructed me to call the RCN Customer Service department and sign up for automatic payment to have the $25.00 fee waived, but when I called the number to have this done, I was told that this is not RCN's policy and you should not have told me this was the case.

I don't know who I need to talk to about this, but I am growing very frustrated with the situation. I have contacted RCN 5 times now to have this fee removed and I keep getting excuses and the run-around. I was told that there was NO WAY to have this fee removed, which I know for a fact is not true. This installation charge was not disclosed prior to installation and I did not agree to it. I will be reporting this matter to the Better Business Bureau unless the matter is promptly resolved and the fee removed. RCN is one of the shadiest companies I have had the displeasure to do business with and I will be sure to let everyone know what they can expect from you.

Thanks for nothing.

AYNtK


----- Original Message ----
From: Landry
To: AYNtK
Sent: Tuesday, February 12, 2008 9:03:17 AM
Subject: Re: RCN - Customer Feedback Form Submission <<#28223-151855#>>

Dear Customer,

My name is Landry. Thank you for contacting the Email Support Staff. We are happy to provide you with the exceptional customer service you deserve.

In response to your recent email, I apologize for any inconvenience this has caused you. I can understand how this could seem very confusing to you but our installation fee is something that is paid by all of our customers and the fee can not be waived due to the fact that you were made aware of the fee at the time of the install and you agreed to have the install done.

Thank you for your patience in this matter. If you should have any further questions or concerns please feel free to contact the Email Support Staff. We appreciate the opportunity to serve you.

Landry

--- Original Message ---
From: AYNtK
Received: 2/12/08 10:00:45 AM EST
To: Landry
Subject: Re: RCN - Customer Feedback Form Submission

Landry,

With all due respect, I am not entirely convinced you know what you are talking about.

If you had taken the time to read through the threads below you will notice that I was NOT - at NO TIME - EVER made aware of this fee. The fact that you would ignore this important fact is somewhat insulting at this stage in the dialogue. Had I been aware of this charge and agreed to it, as you stated in your e-mail, then I would have no reason to be upset right now. The fact that I was not made aware of this fee is central to my complaint. It is, in fact, the basis of my argument. I do not believe I should be made responsible for a charge that was not disclosed in advance.

This complaint has all the makings of a good class action lawsuit. I imagine there are a LOT of customers like me who were not told about this fee in advance - but were later assessed it as a matter of "policy." Since most consumers won't spend the time to fight a $25 installation fee, and those who do are told there's nothing RCN will do about it, RCN gets away with it. Shameful.

The fact is, consumers are protected against this kind of business activity. We have a right to know UP FRONT what the total cost of something will be before we agree to pay for it. I assure you, I was not made aware of this up front. If you can access the sales call during which I agreed to service, you will note that I asked TWICE what my total would be. I also asked if there were any other charges or fees I should worry about. I was assured that my bill would be in the $90 range after taxes. There was no mention of an installation fee. None. When my bill arrived it was for $126 and included a $25 installation charge. Surely, as a person, you can identify with my frustration here. Imagine you order a meal at a restaurant and your waiter assures you the final bill will be no more than $50 - but when it arrives the bill is $75 because of some automatic restaurant policy that tacks on $25 for the heck of it. You would not be pleased, and you would likely refuse to pay - as I am doing now.

One final note. It is becoming clear to me that your "customer service" is little more than "lip service," as this is now the 5th e-mail I have received regarding my complaint and I remain wholly unsatisfied with the service I am receiving. How many times are we going to go back and forth like this before someone over there gets the attention of someone who has the authority to DO SOMETHING ABOUT THIS? Or is it your recommendation that I would have better luck getting my $25 back through litigious means? Either way is fine - I just need to know my next course of action.

I'm starting to understand why so many people think it's okay to "steal" cable. It's because the cable company thinks it's okay to steal from people.

AYNtK


----- Original Message ----
From: Landry
To: AYNtK
Sent: Tuesday, February 12, 2008 12:10:19 PM
Subject: Re: RCN - Customer Feedback Form Submission <<#28223-151855#>>

Dear Customer,

My name is Landry. Thank you for contacting the Email Support Staff. We are happy to provide you with the exceptional customer service you deserve.

In response to your recent email, I apologize for any inconvenience this has caused you. I know that is is hard to understand that we can not and will not be able to issues you the $25.00 install fee. As you were informed in the earlier email the only possible way that you may be able to receive a credit back for the $25.00 install fee would be for you to call in and request to speak to a supervisor and they may be able to work something out with you but I can not make an guarantees. Once again we are sorry and we hope that we may be able to assist you with this issues.

Thank you for your patience in this matter. If you should have any further questions or concerns please feel free to contact the Email Support Staff. We appreciate the opportunity to serve you.

Landry

--- Original Message ---
From: AYNtK
Received: 2/12/08 1:26:48 PM EST
To: Landry
Subject: Re: RCN - Customer Feedback Form Submission

Landry,

I appreciate your prompt response regarding this matter.

I have already been on the telephone with customer service and was not permitted access to a supervisor, if such a person truly exists. I was given, instead, the address of RCN corporate headquarters so that they might be copied on any formal complaints I might decide to file. Speaking of which, this morning I filed a formal complaint against RCN Cable with my local Better Business Bureau chapter and have requested arbitration to help settle the matter.

I have also launched a word-of-mouth campaign I am absolutely certain will cost RCN far more in lost business in the years ahead than the relatively insignificant $25 your greedy company would not budge on. I am also now in the market for a DISH satellite system, which will likely result in thousands of dollars of lost business from me alone over the next several years.

Have a very nice day.

AYNtK

----- Original Message ----
From: Landry
To: AYNtK
Sent: Tuesday, February 12, 2008 2:15:08 PM
Subject: Re: RCN - Customer Feedback Form Submission <<#28223-151855#>>

Dear Customer,

My name is Landry. Thank you for contacting the Email Support Staff. We are happy to provide you with the exceptional customer service you deserve.

In response to your recent email, I apologize for any inconvenience this has caused you and I could see how this could seem confusing to you. If you requested to speak to a supervisor then you should have been permitted access to one unless they all were busy at the time on other supervisor call and could not get to you in time. That is why you may have been given the corporate information so that you may have been able to file your complaint to get your issues resolved as soon as possible. If you still would like to speak to someone about this issues you may contact us at,

1-877-RCN-BILL (1-877-726-2455) between the hours of 8AM and 5PM, Monday - Friday or Technical Support at 1-866-TECH-RCN (1-866-832-4726), 24 hours a day seven days a week.

Thank you for your patience in this matter. If you should have any further questions or concerns please feel free to contact the Email Support Staff. We appreciate the opportunity to serve you.

Landry

--- Original Message ---
From: AYNtK
Received: 2/12/08 2:44:55 PM EST
To: Landry
Subject: Re: RCN - Customer Feedback Form Submission

Landry,

Thanks again for the prompt response. I am going to let Better Business Bureau case # 94165905 do the speaking from this point on.

Best,

AYNtK

THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK

This morning I discovered a powerful consumer tool - the Better Business Bureau's online complaint system. I immediately took advantage, and now post for you the unedited sum of my complaint that the company charged in the complaint, RCN cable, get the widespread attention it deserves. At least when Comcast was buttraping my bank account they were up front about it.

*********

Thank you for using the Better Business Bureau's Online Complaint System.
Your complaint has been assigned case # 94165905.
Correspondence regarding this complaint will be emailed to : address@yahoo.com
Please print a copy of this for your records.

Filed on : February 12 2008

Filed by :
AYNtK


Filed against :
RCN Chicago



Complaint Description:
Account: 1001-0793XXX-02 for service to Street Address in Chicago beginning in January of 2008.

This dissatisfied Comcast customer decided to call RCN cable for a quote on digital TV and internet service. We discussed options and pricing, and ultimately agreed to terms. At the conclusion of the call, I asked what my final cost would be, with and without taxes and fees. I also asked if my monthly charges would be going up at some point. The friendly salesperson informed me that my bill would be around $90 total and would not be going up since the monthly rates were standard, not promotional. I accepted the offer and requested service beginning that week.

When my bill arrived, it was not $90...it was $126. I noticed there was a $25 installation fee tacked on - a mysterious fee that had NOT been disclosed to me at any time during the sales process. It was not on marketing literature I received in the mail. The salesperson on the phone had not disclosed this additional charge. Even when I'd asked her for a final amount, she quoted me a total inconsistent with the bill I was looking at. The RCN man who came to the house to deliver our box never mentioned that there was a fee associated with "installation." I was in complete shock and immediately called and e-mailed customer service to resolve the issue.

At first I was told there was no way to reverse the charge, which is complete and utter nonsense. Charges can always be credited back to the account - customer service representatives are clearly instructed to give consumers zero leeway with regard to claims of this nature. Undeterred, I pressed them for resolution via e-mail. A friendly representative instructed me to sign up for automatic billpay and the fee would be waived. I considered this tantamount to coercive blackmail - if I wanted MY money back, I had to perform a behavior of their choice.

While I did not feel good about the option, I did not feel I should have to pay for a $25 fee I never knew was coming. So I reluctantly called to sign up for automatic billpay. But the customer service representative told me over the phone that it was not their policy to ever waive that installation fee. She told me that whoever had instructed me to sign up for Automatic Billpay to have that fee waived was in error.

At this point I began to unravel. I asked her to put me in contact with someone - anyone - who had the authority to do something about this. She said there was no one who could help me and that according her "records" I knew about the fee in advance. How this could be a matter of record I do not understand. Further, the systematic dismissal of my appeals to a higher authority was unnerving. At the end of the call, I was given the address of corporate headquarters in Hendon, Virginia. As if that was going to help me get my $25 back.

I immediately responded via e-mail to the representative who'd originally instructed me to sign up for Auto Billpay, asking for an explanation and resolution. The following day I received a response from a different RCN rep informing me matter-of-factly that I had been notified about the charge in advance and that I had agreed to it, so I should not expect to have it removed. This is called the "Jedi Mind Trick," a fictional mind control technique that does not work in the real world. Despite the RCN rep's best effort to convince me otherwise, I knew very well that I HAD NOT been told of the charge and I NEVER would have agreed to it in advance.

It was actually insulting that a representative who would have no way of knowing whether I was told of an installation charge could possibly make such an assertion. The truth is, the installation fee was NEVER at any time disclosed to me. If I had known about it in advance and had agreed to it, then I wouldn't have spent so much time and energy over the past 6 weeks trying to have it removed! How many other consumers have been fleeced by unseen fees?

Your Desired Resolution:
I just want a $25 credit applied to my account to offset the $25 installation fee that was not disclosed to me at the time service was requested.

This case will be reviewed by a complaint specialist at the Better Business Bureau, and then forwarded to the business for their response. It is our policy to allow the business 30 working days to respond to your complaint. You will be notified when the business has responded.

***************

In my final bit of correspondence to RCN prior to filing this complaint, I noted an observation:

I am beginning to understand why so many people feel it's okay to "steal" cable when cable companies clearly think it's okay to "steal" from people.

I SEE YOU!