March 13, 2013 |
Some taxpayers splurge on big-screen televisions or pay off their credit cards with their tax refund, while others, like Brandon Frank, count on it to pay rent. The 25-year-old former construction worker from Michigan and father of three may have to wait as long as six weeks before he sees his refund, because of a filing error by H&R Block. "I was counting on it for rent," said Frank, who's been unemployed since October and is attending college. "I'm probably going to have to go to one of the cash-advance places, because the money I was expecting isn't there.
April 3, 2011 |
Dorothy Ouma began trading foreign currencies after seeing a TV commercial touting it as a way to make extra money, something she could use as a single mother raising three children. "The ads made me think, 'This is easy,'" said Ouma, 52, an administrator with the Grand Prairie, Texas, police department. Ouma used her credit card to fund an account with an online currency broker. Within a few weeks of swapping dollars for yen and euros, she said, her $3,000 of borrowed money was gone.
September 20, 2013
Re "Senator tells Edison to fix blackouts," Sept. 17 Cheers to state Sen. Ted Lieu (D-Torrance) for his work in making Southern California Edison aware of its responsibilities to its customers. Thinking back on my experience with utility service failures, a better solution to the problem of making utilities like Edison responsible might be to require the company to give deep discounts to customers affected by "massive, recurring and unacceptable power outages," as Lieu called them.
January 29, 2014
Re "Cluing in AT&T to its own cellphone rules," Jan. 24 David Lazarus mentioned the discrepancy in information provided by different AT&T service reps. That brought to mind my recent experience with the company. I spoke with one service rep on the telephone and later chatted online with another one. Each quoted a different selection of long-distance plans and different charges for the same plans. The online rep told me that the telephone customer service people might offer different options than those online.
June 24, 2010 |
Cutting inscrutable health insurance jargon out of their communications. Opening retail stores to answer people's questions and offer wellness classes. Measuring customer-service efforts to give callers a better experience. More insurance carriers are ramping up their services as they prepare to compete for millions of new customers starting in 2014, as a result of the new healthcare-reform law. That's the year health insurers will be barred from refusing coverage to people with preexisting conditions or charging them exorbitant rates, and the first time individuals will have to carry health insurance or face a financial penalty.
October 31, 2013
Re "Program for UPS customers delivers unnerving surprise," Column, Oct. 29 David Lazarus' column on UPS having so much personal information from certain customers didn't report anything new to me. I have researched and found that information in my life could come from a state contractor's license that expired in 1984. A recent property refinancing is the source for some other similar information used by those checking my credit. A document recorded by a government agency is another source for information.