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May 5, 2012 | By Ken Bensinger, Los Angeles Times
There are frequent fliers, and then there are people like Steven Rothstein and Jacques Vroom. Both men bought tickets that gave them unlimited first-class travel for life on American Airlines. It was almost like owning a fleet of private jets. Passes in hand, Rothstein and Vroom flew for business. They flew for pleasure. They flew just because they liked being on planes. They bypassed long lines, booked backup itineraries in case the weather turned, and never worried about cancellation fees.
April 24, 2014 | By Christie D'Zurilla
Justin Bieber didn't get to slide right through a U.S. Customs  and Border Control checkpoint at LAX upon his return from Japan, according to reports out Thursday.  After his arrival at approximately 1 p.m., the pop star was held up for hours by a secondary customs search while his entourage, luggage and ride home were seen waiting for him outside Los Angeles International Airport's Tom Bradley International terminal, TMZ  reported.  ...
When Halina Douglas and her family gathered at a Sizzler's restaurant five years ago to celebrate her certification as a paralegal assistant, it was a poignant measure of how far she had come from the days when she was forced to flee war-torn Ukraine during World War II. But Douglas' moment of victory turned to disaster when a large menu sign fell from the wall and slammed into her head.
April 24, 2014 | David Lazarus
As far as corporate notices go, they don't get much creepier than this recent alert from Verizon Wireless. The company says it's "enhancing" its Relevant Mobile Advertising program, which it uses to collect data on customers' online habits so that marketers can pitch stuff at them with greater precision. "In addition to the customer information that's currently part of the program, we will soon use an anonymous, unique identifier we create when you register on our websites," Verizon Wireless is telling customers.
January 25, 2013 | By Tiffany Hsu
No more missing inches: Subway says that never again will a Footlong sandwich meet a ruler it can't match. In the company's own words: “We regret any instance where we did not fully deliver on our promise to our customers. We freshly bake our bread throughout the day in our more than 38,000 restaurants in 100 countries worldwide, and we have redoubled our efforts to ensure consistency and correct length in every sandwich we serve. Our commitment remains steadfast to ensure that every Subway Footlong sandwich is 12 inches at each location worldwide.” This after an outcry when an Australian customer posted a photo of a Footlong sub on Subway's Facebook page.
March 13, 2013 | By Ricardo Lopez and Adolfo Flores, Los Angeles Times
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.
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 | Kristen Gerencher, McClatchy Tribune Newspapers
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.
April 22, 2014 | By Hugo Martin
A national study on customer satisfaction suggests that passenger satisfaction ratings slump after airlines undergo a merger with another carrier. The nation's top airlines received a combined score of 69 on a 1-to-100 scale, below the average scores for banks, insurance companies, gas stations, hotels and the U.S. Postal Service, according to the American Customer Satisfaction Index, an annual study released Tuesday. The airlines' score remained the same from last year's customer satisfaction score.
April 19, 2014 | By a Times staff writer
Dozens of customers at a Del Taco restaurant in Santa Paula were mistakenly charged thousands of dollars for their fast-food tacos, drinks and other menu items. One customer said he was charged $4,050 for one CrunchTada Pizza and two beef tacos, according to the Associated Press. The meal should have cost less than $5. Michael Cole said he noticed the overcharge when he could not draw cash Friday from an ATM. A Del Taco spokesman told the Ventura County Star that the glitch involved computers dealing with credit card and ATM transactions at the store and that all charges would be refunded.
April 18, 2014 | By Salvador Rodriguez
Google has begun contacting customers and offering them the chance to try out the company's Glass wearable device before committing to pay $1,500 for the gadget. The company is offering to send those users trial kits that come with Glass units in four different color options along with the device's various frame styles. "We've heard from potential Explorers that they'd love to be able to try Glass on at home before committing to purchase it," a Google spokeswoman said in a statement.
April 15, 2014 | By Lauren Beale
Greg Louganis, the Olympic diving champion, has put his personalized retreat in Malibu up for sale at $2,999,999. The ocean-view home opens to decks and a custom swimming pool with a diving platform. The Olympic rings insignia is on the bottom of the pool, which has blue tiling. The 3,385 square feet of interiors include living and family rooms, three bedrooms, four bathrooms and a guest house. The master bedroom features a sitting area and a fireplace. There also are fireplaces in the living and family rooms.
April 14, 2014 | By Salvador Rodriguez
T-Mobile is on the offensive against its rivals again, calling for the top U.S. wireless carriers to end their use of overage fees. The Seattle-based carrier launched a petition on on Monday morning that said 20 million Americans were hit with overage fees by carriers in 2013. T-Mobile estimates that customers pay AT&T, Verizon and Sprint more than $1 billion in overages per year.  "I'm laying down a challenge to AT&T, Verizon and Sprint to join T-Mobile in ending these outrageous overage penalties for all consumers -- because it's the right thing to do," T-Mobile CEO John Legere said in a statement.
April 14, 2014 | By Dan Weikel
Ken Dobson, a retired police officer, said he received quite a welcome when he landed his single-engine Cessna in Detroit two days after leaving his home in Palm Desert. Five sheriff's cars surrounded the plane and deputies got out with guns drawn. Then a helicopter arrived with four federal agents and a drug-sniffing dog. They demanded to see Dobson's pilot's license, asked about the flight and mentioned that his long trip from Southern California was suspicious. Fearing he would lose his flight credentials if he didn't cooperate, Dobson consented to a search of his plane.
October 27, 2009 | Dan Fost
Perhaps the most compelling reason for a business to get on Facebook is the likelihood that its customers are already there -- and talking about it. Charles Nelson, president of Sprinkles Cupcakes in Beverly Hills, said it's crucial to pay attention to what people are saying about your business online. He and others at Sprinkles respond to every person commenting on its Facebook page. "Requests. Complaints. We're watching. It's not just me, it's our entire team -- store managers, the corporate team -- who are paying attention," Nelson added.
February 2, 2014 | By Victoria Kim
Football fans across a large swath of Southern California were deprived of live coverage of the Super Bowl on Sunday evening when Time Warner Cable's feed appeared to cut out in the second quarter for about an hour. The outage, which began shortly before 5 p.m., appeared to affect customers in and around Los Angeles County, from Hacienda Heights and Hancock Park to Santa Monica, and in some parts of Ventura County. In South L.A., Merv Evans said after his screen went black, he called his aunt, who was also watching in the area and became convinced it was a conspiracy to deprive the neighborhood of the Super Bowl.
April 13, 2014 | By Stuart Pfeifer
Jack, the round-headed fictional chief executive in Jack-in-the-Box commercials, is not only a hit on television. He's also popular on Wall Street. In the last year, investors have driven the company's stock price up more than 80% - and industry analysts are bullish about the company's future. Jack in the Box Inc.'s profit was up sharply in its recently completed fiscal first quarter, as sales increased at its flagship restaurants and at the company's other brand, Qdoba Mexican Grill.
April 10, 2014 | By Salvador Rodriguez
T-Mobile announced that it will sell iPads capable of connecting to LTE networks at the same price as iPads that can only connect to Wi-Fi networks, essentially offering customers a $130 discount on the Apple tablets. The Seattle-based carrier said the special prices would be available for a limited time starting Saturday. Customers can get the discounted iPads, as well as other tablets, for nothing down followed by 24 monthly payments that vary depending on the tablet chosen. Under this promotion, for example, customers can get the LTE 16-gigabyte iPad mini with Retina display, which normally retails for $529, for a total of $398.88.
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