Soapbox

Timmus writes:

    “Since you all go on break every weekend, I was thinking that you ought to have a weekend soapbox article where readers, in the comments, can discuss any consumer grievance or issue that’s on their mind. This might be a good way of funneling information upward as well as downward, and would help bind the community together better during these weekend respites.”

What a great idea! Let”s do it, starting with the comments on this very post. Talk amongst yourselves. — BEN POPKEN

Comments

Edit Your Comment

  1. kidnextdoor says:

    Great idea Timmus! I’ve enjoyed reading your comments as much as I’ve enjoyed seeing an upswing in cat-related pictures in here.

  2. cudthecrud says:

    T-mobile recently helped me out a lot (granted I’ve been a customer for almost 5 years and I just signed 2 more 2yr contracts). They went so far as to unlock my new samsung t629 to try and get it to run Opera Mini/gmail mobile/gmaps mobile (or anything else that requires internet access). They also did some special in house tracking when office depot and UPS couldn’t tell me where my phone return was, or what the real tracking number for it was after their UPS shipping computers and software tanked and they assured me that the UPS pickup driver would make a new label with the same tracking number (my fault for trusting them). I was impressed with all the CSRs I talked to, especially the “account specialists” who quickly gave me a good deal on the phones when I was talking to them about the option to cancel my accounts and open new ones with the new customer specials and the upper technical support people who grabbed co-workers phones to try the same things they were asking me to do (and tried to call his brother inlaw who had my phone). I’d submit this as a story, but I didn’t write down all the names and dates and details.

    The experience was still painful, but Tmob was pleasant and left me feeling a bit more satisfied (even though I’m trapped for another 2 yrs).

  3. ChiSoxFan says:

    Great idea. With my first post here I’ll start I guess. I have wood flooring on the first floor of my condo. Over the last few months, the wood flooring has been getting dark and felt damp to the touch. Last weekend we decided to cut out that portion of the floor to put in tile and grout. When we pulled it up, the floor was soaked underneath both above and below the plastic barrier. The floor was also completely eaten away and had black mold on it.

    It looks like the water is coming from underneath my back door frame but we’re not sure. I called State Farm and a guy is coming out tomorrow (sat). Is this something they should be taking care of or is it my condo association? Or, should I be talking to the builder? I just have the feeling we’ll need to replace the whole floor (over $5,000) and am not sure what I should do so I don’t get screwed over. Thanks in advance.

  4. alicetheowl says:

    If any readers are in the NC area and live near a Capital Bank, I advise you check them out. My husband and I have an account with them. Our checking account earns 4% interest, they call us when odd-looking charges post, they process debits in lowest-to-highest order (so in case of an overdraft because of the biggest transaction, you only get 1, not 15), and they’ve waived a number of overdraft fees in the past. They offer overdraft protection, and by default, pay outstanding checks, rather than bouncing them. Also, no sustained overdrafts, and all ATM fees are refunded at the end of the month, including those assessed by other banks.

    I cannot recommend their services enough.

  5. bluegus32 says:

    ChiSoxFan:

    How old is your house?

    Other than that, submit the claim to your homeowner’s policy, your homeowner’s association, and the builder. One of them should pony up.

    Also, you need to be careful with any kind of mold, especially black mold (also known as Stachybotrys.) Many people believe that it is a major health hazard. Although I think the health claims are mostly bunk, I do know that a mold problem GREATLY decreases the value of your home — primarily from the mass hysteria regarding mold in the last 10 years.

    Thus, whoever does pick up the tab on your problem, make sure that they (1) find the cause of the problem; (2) replace, not repair, any water damaged materials; (3) inspect the rest of the house for any water damage, water intrusion, or mold; (4) remediate the mold.

    When I say “remediate” the mold, I mean bring in an environmental specialist to properly remove all traces of mold and then perform detailed air quality samples to ensure that your mold spore count is within acceptable levels.

    This is not a light process. If anybody convinces you that all they need to do is replace a few floor boards, do not believe them. If you do not do this right, the value of your home will be greatly reduced and you may face personal exposure to any subsequent buyers for your failure to properly address the mold issue.

    Take this seriously. Do it right. And don’t let anyone bully you around on this. I’ve litigated many mold cases and this can be a very serious matter.

  6. Sudonum says:

    ChiSoxFan,

    Bluegus is right about the mold but you have to address the source of the water first.

    What is the sub-floor made of? If it’s concrete slab on grade it could be a couple of different things. I have seen water leaks below grade (below the slab) seep up though the slab so that the concrete almost looks like it is sweating, sometimes sweating ALOT. This is usually caused by a leaking copper supply line under that area of the house. However if there isn’t much water it could be a problem with the vapor barrier between the slab and the ground.

    I had a house do this before with a wood floor that I had installed. The wood kept on swelling in certain spots. I had to keep on going out to replace it, until finally I was able to convince the homeowner that he had bigger problems than a swelling floor. I believe they had to take out sections of the slab between the footings and replace the barrier (a sheet of plastic) and repour those sections of the slab. I never got an answer from the homeowner as to the cause and who paid for the repairs.

    Contact your association and try as hard as you can to make this their problem. If it is a multi -unit building the leak could be coming from one of your neighbors pipes.

    Good Luck and keep us posted

  7. Trai_Dep says:

    Ben -

    Really stand-up job on the Lycos thing. BOY it’s great to have companies do absolutely the wrong thing to fuel the fires. Well done on you & your staff’s part, though. Posting a 150+ comment topic on close of Friday? PRICELESS!

  8. Dacker says:

    Soapbox Mode ENABLED:

    Have you all noticed how the sizes of many, MANY products are getting smaller, yet prices have not been reduced?

    Here are a few examples:

    * A “half-gallon” container of ice cream is no longer two quarts — its 1.75 quarts.
    * When was the last time you were able to buy a quart of pasta sauce? They are all 28, 26, 24,even 22 ounces.
    * Toilet paper. The diameter of the core is larger than it used to be, which reduces the size of the roll. Also, there used to be just one size — single. Now there are single, double, even triple rolls. If they can actually put three times the length on a roll and still fit it into a toilet paper holder, than why isn’t that a standard ‘single’ roll?
    * Macaroni and cheese mix. Yes, the old standard bachelor foodstuff has shrunk in size tremendously. While the box’s size has not changed, the package is now about 50% air.
    * I’ve even seen a “five-pound” bag a sugar that was actually four pounds.

    Soapbox Mode DISABLED:

    BRING-EM-ON!!!

  9. matto says:

    Ben hates me and my anti-DirecTV jihad, but I hope you will enjoy my last-ditch attempt at getting some sort of customer service from them.

  10. faust1200 says:

    So your beef with DTV stems from not getting the HD feed from American Idol? I guess you’ll have to cry yourself to sleep while biting your pillow. Dude, get a pair.

  11. volsfan91 says:

    Being 16, I don’t frequently get screwed over by companies.

    I just thought that I would use this comment to say thanks for running Consumerist. It’s so great that there is a site that can really put the pressure on companies treating their customers so horribly. It’s time to get back towards the days of the customer always being right. You guys really have an impact, so keep up the good work!

  12. KesCaesar says:

    I have a question that goes along with the Lycos thing- Do you refuse to edit any post? I respect it in the case of the Lycos issue; the information and graphics were already available on the internet.
    But the BBB post with the tranny comment? That could easily be edited; with minimal effort and impact to the subject matter.
    I will, however, still respect you if your policy is to publish and ‘never look back’. I would just like to hear it from you.
    Thanks again for your tireless efforts.

  13. hahaha, Amen faust1200… it’d be a travesty if they didn’t carry HD for the Super Bowl but American Idol? I dunno….

  14. paulinsanjuan says:

    Wanted to know who designed the consumerist. Are you open to some recommendations? I kinda liked the last version with the black background and cheesy logo — it had a “so bad, its good” thing. This one is a bit boring. The illustration is so-so. What if you had a contest and had everyone vote on submitted redesigns of the consumerist?

  15. lookzgood2me says:

    ChiSoxFan -

    This may be long, but hopefully it can help others.

    I went through the problem of black mold after buying a house. Water heater was new. First clue. Old one went, flooded their basement. Ok. New paint around it, but I didn’t think anything of it. But, they missed the corner which I saw on inspection. Still, I NEVER suspected anything until later.

    After the closing, I knew the kitchen was going to be replaced and started working. Through normal demolition, black mold was discovered behind the counters from back splash down all the entire kitchen walls.

    From there, I went downstairs and sure enough, the owners had painted over a mold problem by the water heater. Never replaced the sheetrock and they never cleaned it. It gets better.

    Ventilation or lack thereof is a HUGE factor in why mold starts by the way. These people never had air conditioning and the house is by a lake and VERY humid in summer. All the bathroom vents went directly into the attic space, not outside. There were also no vents in the eaves as the house had been sided, and the eaves were covered up. Coupled with lack of attic vents, yep, mold formed in there too.

    As to your concern, insurance companies really hate dealing with it because it can be costly to clean up. I’ve had remediators come out and give outrageous quotes to do the work to fix stuff. 10K, 15K and even 25K for two rooms.

    Having done renovation work and additions in the past, I opted to do it myself after seeing the estimates. It’s not for everyone though. Pros seal off rooms and use full-body suits, etc.

    As for the mold affecting people, I talked to a pulmonoligist who said mold can affect people differently. One person not allergic to molds can be fine while anothjer can have serious problems. (My son was actually in a school that had to be torn down due to a mold problem with several classmates ending up in the hospital. Google McKinley School Mold Fairfield to read more.) So to say it’s not real, well, I just can’t because I lived through it. People who are bothered can really be at risk even though I’m not allergic to it.

    I learned a lot after researching it prior to removing the mold. Check the EPA’s website. But, since this is a relatively new trend, they still don’t know everything, but they have a lot of info. One thing I learned that is that regular bleach doesn’t kill it as the mold spores can actually return stronger in a few weeks time. I always thought bleach killed everything.

    Detergent or TSP (Tri Sodium Phosphate used to prep walls for wallpaper, etc. from Home Dept) is what they recommend. Cut out all affected sheetrock and even the studs behind it as needed. Fully dry the wood and seal/prime it. Tricky part: the pros use Fosters 40/20 or the 40/51 to seal it. Kilz primer and other Home Depot primers won’t work. The Foster’s is HIGHLY DANGEROUS. I say that because that’s the fear of God they put in me about this stuff.

    I got it from Sherwin Williams, the only commercial retailer to carry it that I found. $110 or so per 5-gallons. HIGHLY TOXIC if it gets on your skin or you breath it, that’s why you need to wear full body protection. Pros are covered with breathers/masks etc. when applying it. Unless you know what you’re doing with it, they recommend that only prfessional contractors use it. Once it dries, it’s rock hard and you can paint over it with regular primer.

    Faced with paying as much as $25,000 to fix my problems, I opted to go this route and do it myself to save the money. I heard once insurance pays a claim for mold, your rates skyrocket and it follows you on your next house. I have to say this is unconfirmed by them, but I’ve read and heard ancedotal stories about this that the mere mention of mold is a red flag for insurance companies. Paying for a fence because a tree takes it out is one thing. Demolishing the house and starting over is a whole other thing which people have had to do.

    But, the paint kills everything on contact and locks in whatever mold may be left after cleaning. Useful for when you can’t remove or cut out the affected wood, (the preferred method of remediators). I also left the house for a day to vent it out and let the paint set.

    I learned more about mold than I ever wanted to going through this. Hopefully this can help you. Don’t underestimate the seriousness of this though. The insurance co will try and protect themselves. Look out for your health first though and get the work done right.

  16. lookzgood2me says:

    ChiSoxFan -

    This may be long, but hopefully it can help others.

    I went through the problem of black mold after buying a house. Water heater was new. First clue. Old one went, flooded their basement. Ok. New paint around it, but I didn’t think anything of it. But, they missed the corner which I saw on inspection. Still, I NEVER suspected anything until later.

    After the closing, I knew the kitchen was going to be replaced and started working. Through normal demolition, black mold was discovered behind the counters from back splash down all the entire kitchen walls.

    From there, I went downstairs and sure enough, the owners had painted over a mold problem by the water heater. Never replaced the sheetrock and they never cleaned it. It gets better.

    Ventilation or lack thereof is a HUGE factor in why mold starts by the way. These people never had air conditioning and the house is by a lake and VERY humid in summer. All the bathroom vents went directly into the attic space, not outside. There were also no vents in the eaves as the house had been sided, and the eaves were covered up. Coupled with lack of attic vents, yep, mold formed in there too.

    As to your concern, insurance companies really hate dealing with it because it can be costly to clean up. I’ve had remediators come out and give outrageous quotes to do the work to fix stuff. 10K, 15K and even 25K for two rooms.

    Having done renovation work and additions in the past, I opted to do it myself after seeing the estimates. It’s not for everyone though. Pros seal off rooms and use full-body suits, etc.

    As for the mold affecting people, I talked to a pulmonoligist who said mold can affect people differently. One person not allergic to molds can be fine while anothjer can have serious problems. (My son was actually in a school that had to be torn down due to a mold problem with several classmates ending up in the hospital. Google McKinley School Mold Fairfield to read more.) So to say it’s not real, well, I just can’t because I lived through it. People who are bothered can really be at risk even though I’m not allergic to it.

    I learned a lot after researching it prior to removing the mold. Check the EPA’s website. But, since this is a relatively new trend, they still don’t know everything, but they have a lot of info. One thing I learned that is that regular bleach doesn’t kill it as the mold spores can actually return stronger in a few weeks time. I always thought bleach killed everything.

    Detergent or TSP (Tri Sodium Phosphate used to prep walls for wallpaper, etc. from Home Dept) is what they recommend. Cut out all affected sheetrock and even the studs behind it as needed. Fully dry the wood and seal/prime it. Tricky part: the pros use Fosters 40/20 or the 40/51 to seal it. Kilz primer and other Home Depot primers won’t work. The Foster’s is HIGHLY DANGEROUS. I say that because that’s the fear of God they put in me about this stuff.

    I got it from Sherwin Williams, the only commercial retailer to carry it that I found. $110 or so per 5-gallons. HIGHLY TOXIC if it gets on your skin or you breath it, that’s why you need to wear full body protection. Pros are covered with breathers/masks etc. when applying it. Unless you know what you’re doing with it, they recommend that only prfessional contractors use it. Once it dries, it’s rock hard and you can paint over it with regular primer.

    Faced with paying as much as $25,000 to fix my problems, I opted to go this route and do it myself to save the money. I heard once insurance pays a claim for mold, your rates skyrocket and it follows you on your next house. I have to say this is unconfirmed by them, but I’ve read and heard ancedotal stories about this that the mere mention of mold is a red flag for insurance companies. Paying for a fence because a tree takes it out is one thing. Demolishing the house and starting over is a whole other thing which people have had to do.

    But, the paint kills everything on contact and locks in whatever mold may be left after cleaning. Useful for when you can’t remove or cut out the affected wood, (the preferred method of remediators). I also left the house for a day to vent it out and let the paint set.

    I learned more about mold than I ever wanted to going through this. Hopefully this can help you. Don’t underestimate the seriousness of this though. The insurance co will try and protect themselves. Look out for your health first though and get the work done right.

  17. lookzgood2me says:

    ChiSoxFan -

    Long response, but hopefully it can help others.

    I went through the problem of black mold after buying a house. Water heater was new. First clue. Old one went, flooded their basement. Ok. New paint around it, but I didn’t think anything of it. But, they missed the corner which I saw on inspection. Still, I NEVER suspected anything until later.

    After the closing, I knew the kitchen was going to be replaced and started working. Through normal demolition, black mold was discovered behind the counters from back splash down all the entire kitchen walls.

    From there, I went downstairs and sure enough, the owners had painted over a mold problem by the water heater. Never replaced the sheetrock and they never cleaned it. It gets better.

    Ventilation or lack thereof is a HUGE factor in why mold starts by the way. These people never had air conditioning and the house is by a lake and VERY humid in summer. All the bathroom vents went directly into the attic space, not outside. There were also no vents in the eaves as the house had been sided, and the eaves were covered up. Coupled with lack of attic vents, yep, mold formed in there too.

    As to your concern, insurance companies really hate dealing with it because it can be costly to clean up. I’ve had remediators come out and give outrageous quotes to do the work to fix stuff. 10K, 15K and even 25K for two rooms.

    Having done renovation work and additions in the past, I opted to do it myself after seeing the estimates. It’s not for everyone though. Pros seal off rooms and use full-body suits, etc.

    As for the mold affecting people, I talked to a pulmonoligist who said mold can affect people differently. One person not allergic to molds can be fine while anothjer can have serious problems. (My son was actually in a school that had to be torn down due to a mold problem with several classmates ending up in the hospital. Google McKinley School Mold Fairfield to read more.) So to say it’s not real, well, I just can’t because I lived through it. People who are bothered can really be at risk even though I’m not allergic to it.

    I learned a lot after researching it prior to removing the mold. Check the EPA’s website. But, since this is a relatively new trend, they still don’t know everything, but they have a lot of info. One thing I learned that is that regular bleach doesn’t kill it as the mold spores can actually return stronger in a few weeks time. I always thought bleach killed everything.

    Detergent or TSP (Tri Sodium Phosphate used to prep walls for wallpaper, etc. from Home Dept) is what they recommend. Cut out all affected sheetrock and even the studs behind it as needed. Fully dry the wood and seal/prime it. Tricky part: the pros use Fosters 40/20 or the 40/51 to seal it. Kilz primer and other Home Depot primers won’t work. The Foster’s is DANGEROUS. I say that because that’s the fear of God they put in me about this stuff.

    If anyone wants to get it, I got it from Sherwin Williams, the only commercial retailer to carry it that I found. $110 or so per 5-gallons. HIGHLY TOXIC if it gets on your skin or you breath it, that’s why you need to wear full body protection. Pros are covered with breathers/masks etc. when applying it. Unless you know what you’re doing with it, they recommend that only prfessional contractors use it. Once it dries, it’s rock hard and you can paint over it with regular primer.

    Faced with paying as much as $25,000 to fix my problems, I opted to go this route and do it myself to save the money. I heard once insurance pays a claim for mold, your rates skyrocket and it follows you on your next house. I have to say this is unconfirmed by them, but I’ve read and heard ancedotal stories about this that the mere mention of mold is a red flag for insurance companies. Paying for a fence because a tree takes it out is one thing. Demolishing the house and starting over is a whole other thing which people have had to do.

    But, the paint kills everything on contact and locks in whatever mold may be left after cleaning. Useful for when you can’t remove or cut out the affected wood, (the preferred method of remediators). I also left the house for a day to vent it out and let the paint set.

    I learned more about mold than I ever wanted to going through this. Hopefully this can help you. Don’t underestimate the seriousness of this though. The insurance co will try and protect themselves. Look out for your health first though and get the work done right.

  18. pronell says:

    Alright, I’ll bite.

    I don’t watch much television anymore, but found myself watching Groundhog Day on Comedy Central this afternoon.

    Each time the commercials came up, there was one ad for a weight-loss pill just too exclusive to be sold in stores, one ad for text messages from Snoop Dogg, and one for cable internet service with a low limited time rate.

    My problem? In each one of these commercials, the true cost was either never stated or made as obscure as possible.

    Why do we allow this, the small print so small it’s blurred out of recognition on a non-HD television, the limited-time rate with no mention of later cost, and the “call in the next ten minutes for a special limited time offer.”

    It’s just ridiculous where advertising has gone in this country. It all makes me watch less television, go to less movies, and actually ‘consume’ less because I’m so disgusted at HOW they want to market these things to us.

    I know I’m a curmudgeon, and that we make up a very small portion of the market. But I can’t eat Burger King’s chicken fries. It makes me think of the “cock rock” commercials and how .. pathetic they were. Really? Chicken is punk, now? And in an easy to consume format, you’re really breaking all the old conventions!

    Don’t even get me started with the animated graphic billboards.. I can’t even see the road through the glare of those things..

    *wanders off, muttering to himself*

  19. Zagroseckt says:

    cudthecrud

    They went so far as to unlock my new samsung t629 to try and get it to run Opera Mini/gmail mobile/gmaps mobile (or anything else that requires internet access)
    Did it work i have the same phone…. and same problem… i don’t want to loos the phone its the best bluetooth/internet service i’ve ever had for my laptop.
    17Kb (170kb) on the run ant nothen to gripe about.
    but i miss my google maps on my phone :p

  20. Zagroseckt says:

    Quote didnt work :(

  21. timmus says:

    Well, since this whole thing was my idea, I’d better post something.

    Kudos to:
    Fantom for making a decent Firewire HD that took a beating with some massive data processing work I’m doing. Yeah, weak kudo, I know.
    Meghann Marco… I don’t think she gets enough credit from us. Keep up the good work.

    Boo to:
    Papa Johns… not only has my local place mysteriously stopped answering the phone, but Papa Johns corporate didn’t respond to my nice email asking if the store folded. Bleh… all I have now in my town is Dominos and Pizza Hut. I’ve already stocked up on Freschetta.
    Taco Bell… I grew up on your stuff, but you guys didn’t step up to the plate about your veggie suppliers. You had the might to make a positive change, but chose to play the PR two-step until the media moved on. I want to like you still, but I don’t trust your food anymore.
    United Airlines for dicking the Mahesh family over and pretending that the VP was going to fix things. This kind of thing makes me think Consumerist should have a monthly Dirtball Award. The winning corporate office gets just that, a ball of dirt, via FedEx, with accompanying citation.

    Not very consumery, I know. I guess lately I’ve been in “save my money” mode and lurking.

  22. infinitysnake says:

    ChiSoxFan, be real, real careful with the mold issue- mold hgas gotten a lot of homeowners blacklisted by their insurance companies.

  23. JohnOB1 says:

    I’ll chime in as well. Recently I updated my Sprint phone to the KRZR… I bought it from Best Buy and got a great deal on the phone, but unfortunately the salesperson knew NOTHING about the machinations that is the Sprint PCS service.

    Apparently my phone is no longer just a VISION phone, now it is a POWER VISION phone. My cashier didn’t know this, and according to the Sprint rep I talked to later, POWER VISION was indeed offered to me, but I probably just waved it off, thinking I already pay for VISION, why do i need POWER VISION???

    Well I do need POWER VISION because my phone doesn’t support regular VISION. That and I racked up, in a matter of two weeks – $200 in internet usage fees. (At $.03 per KB of data, every 700k Google map you look at on your mobile phone will end up costing you A LOT.)

    My charges were taken care of and I did indeed subscribe to POWER VISION, otherwise this beef would have been aired out months ago. My problem is the lack of customer support DURING this insane inflation of my bill.

    Normally my bill is $80 per month. Period. In what world does a $200 AND RISING bill fly? How can a company watch as a customer’s bill SKYROCKETS and not do anything about it? The guy whose phone was stolen and calls were made to Algeria got me thinking about this.

    If your bill is $80 and it flies past $100 in a given month, shouldn’t they have the courtesy to call and say, “Hey… friend… everything OK?” I know the answer… sadly, they are banking that it is you screwing up. They LOVE it when you screw up.

    I’m just saying…

  24. ElizabethD says:

    Oooo, good, a Consumerist fix for weekends.

    Next up: The Consumerist Convention. What facility would dare host us, for fear of snarky blog comments after the fact? :-)

  25. lookzgood2me says:

    “The Consumerist Convention.”

    Lol, yes, but what brand would have the guts to sponsor it.

  26. critical_matt says:

    ChiSoxFan said:
    It looks like the water is coming from underneath my back door frame but we’re not sure.

    It’s not going to be covered by your H/O or condo policy due to the following (fairly standard) exclusions: 1. surface water is excluded. 2. dry rot, wet rot, mold are excluded. 3. repeated or long term damage is excluded. 4. weather conditions (ie. cold caused condensation build up).

    Is the wood floor over concrete? Depending on the application, different methods are used when installing this type of flooring. If the property is more than a few years old, you’ll not be able to subro the builder.

    The ONLY chance you have at coverage is if there is a plumbing leak. Your policy will cover the cost to tear out to get to the leak. You pay to repair the leak in addition to your deductible. They will then pay to ‘cover’ the plumbing, which means replace whatever had to be removed for the plumbing repair. That’s your only hope.

  27. critical_matt says:

    Bluegus said:
    “When I say “remediate” the mold, I mean bring in an environmental specialist to properly remove all traces of mold and then perform detailed air quality samples to ensure that your mold spore count is within acceptable levels.”

    Having air tests done counts against your mold limits on your policy. They are not cheap. Pre and post tests together will cost $1200-$2000. Most policies have set mold limits of either $5k or $10k. You can spend 20-40% of the money available for remediation in testing alone before any actual work is done. There is a better way to handle this. 1. Skip the pre test. If you have more than 100SF of visible mold, you have spores all over the house. Have the remediation company ‘nuke’ the house and get rid of the mold. Do a post test if you’re paranoid. The only time any type of testing is not counted against your limits is if the insurance company orders a cause & origin report, and the C&O will only discover why and how the mold got there. They will sometimes process a sample, but not usually. The only thing the sample will tell you is the type of mold you’re dealing with. Not all mold is dangerous, but any mold in high concentrations is really irritating.

    This, of course, is going to vary by state. It may be state law to handle mold losses in certain ways – ie. testing. A good remediation company will have you sign a waiver for a proscription and be able to complete the work without a pre-test. It’s all about what is acceptable to you. Before having my kids, I wouldn’t have bothered with any testing, now I would at least get a post test.

  28. critical_matt says:

    Here’s the NYC Dept of Health guidelines for mold remediation. Most insurance companies follow these pretty closely.
    http://www.moldetect.com/nyc-mold-remediation.htm

  29. RapperMC says:

    Timmus — you’re mention of Papa John’s reminded me of something I am just LIVID about. PJ in the last year or so has started to charge a “delivery fee” for their pizza deliveries. For what? Where does this money go?

    To the drivers, to help cover their driving/gas expenses? Nope. They still get the same $1.00 per delivery.

    It is just this superfluous charge that they stick on there, and it means, more often than not, that the drivers don’t get tipped as well as they would, with buyers assuming this extra dollar goes to the driver.

    Papa John’s says, when asked, that the “delivery charge” is in there for “escalating gasoline costs,” which would lead me to believe that since it isn’t the drivers gasoline that is being supported, it must be the delivery trucks…(?) If that is the case, then, why are only the families being delivered to having to shoulder that burden? Everyone, even those who pick-up, had to get the materials delivered.

    Consumerist.com should check into this. It’s not fair to anyone, especially their own drivers. People say to me, “You must have been the driver,” and I say, “No I wasn’t, but I sat next to the driver.” And I studied him. (That is my loosely quoted line from Waiting for Guffman to explain that I am not a Papa John’s driver.)

  30. luliegirl says:

    What really gets me mad is when I want to buy one of something and I have to buy two or three because of the way they are packaged. By the time I need one again, I don’t remember I already have one or two and go out and buy more. Maybe I’m getting senile, but who do you complain to?

  31. etinterrapax says:

    Cheers:
    Had great service at the Container Store in Natick, MA again yesterday. From a woman, doubters. Except they’re all out of a sort of essential part for elfa frames, so if you’re looking to take advantage of the 30% off sale that ends Monday, be aware that you might not be able to get all that you need in one trip. You can get the discount for web orders, though, and the store will make good the missing parts at no additional charge when they’re in stock. I have not checked with the Chestnut Hill Mall store, though.

    On the off chance that any of you are interested in antique needlework, this newsletter mentions that definite fakes/reproductions have been spotted in eBay’s antiques–>textiles–>sampler listings. It is entirely possible to get authentic antique samplers in the low three-figure range, but if you’re serious about this sort of thing, I’d recommend going with a reputable dealer or auction house instead. Because many reproduction patterns are available, this is an especially easy kind of antique to fake. If you don’t care that you have a reproduction for decorative purposes, that’s okay, but don’t encourage dishonest people by paying them for their fraud.

    Last, but not least: The Silver Needle is having its annual Super Bowl sale this weekend and they carry the full line of Vera Bradley. It’s 20% off, but in-stock only and first-come. They have the new spring patterns.

    I wasn’t paid to shill for any of these people, and I feel like I ought to have something to complain about, but on the consumer front, all is well. If I get my tax refunds back promptly (TurboTax: cheers!), I’ll be as close as I get to perfectly happy.

  32. cudthecrud says:

    zagro: thats a big neg. I’m waiting for the RAZR v3t to get in as a result. I liked the phone outside of the fact that neither samsung or t-mob had any idea why the phone wouldn’t let me change the permissions to allow the program to access the network. something shady was going on, but it’s deep within the bowels of phone co/phone manufacturer relations… not something anyone with tech support can help with. good luck.

  33. rebecca l says:

    aw man, i’ve been waiting for this moment…

    SENDCO magazine service is the lying, evil version of the devil.

    I recieved a telemarketing call from them. they promised magazine subscriptions at a fairly high cost, but a free watch. i should note, i needed a new watch. I repeatedly asked CSR#1 if i could cancell their “services” (basically you did get serviced — you got screwed over) at any time, or if there was a required waiting period. cheerful no, I can cancell at any time, even before my first magazine comes! sweet. free watch.

    2 days let, CSR#2 calls and wants to run through the whole thing again because CSR#1 was “new”. no prob. I broach the “can i cancell at any time?” question again. once again, yes you can. OK.

    2 days later my “watch” and “welcome packet” come. the watch is, uh, not a watch. it’s one of those dinky clock keychains from the dollar store. also comes a “terms of service” which include… suprise! you can’t cancell! ever!

    I call the customer service number. they get me through quickly, I speak with CSR#3. I explain that two CSRs previous to her have told me that i could cancell at any time, contract says I can’t, I’m pissed. she quickly says she’ll cancell my account that instant, she just needs my account #1 and some other info. sure, no prob. she then says I should write a letter to their customer service office explaining my reasons for cancellation.

    six months later, magazines mysterious start showing up at my door. then a bill. from sendco. and a late fee. and… bastards.

    I’m calling them monday and bitching them out for being ridiculous scumbags. they can take me to court for those 75$ dollars they charged me, and I’ll tell them where to take their bill and shove it.

    granted, I am spoiled by the customer service of apple, but seriously, guys, BBB will be hearing from me and… argh.

  34. Zagroseckt says:

    Cudthecrud
    Well thanks for your info :)
    i do know just why the t-629 wont allow UN kissed java apps T-MOB asked Samsung TO LOCK THAT FETURE!!!!! “to protect there network” stupid considering i pay for use of that network (internet access not just t-zones) were talking i use my phone AS an internet portel .. stupid t-mob. i’m probly stuck with this silly java junk for a long time… Oh well other than that VERRY anoying problem i love the faster data throughput and the easy acces bluetooth link to the phones data network :)
    has many other bugs though :( this phone was released way to soon. Hard ware is fine but the built in software is still running the ALPHA release..

    1. never release hardware to the publec with a bios/flash version under 1.0
    2. NEVER NEVER NEVER RELEASE AN ALPHA VERSON RIDDLED WITH BUGS :p.

  35. Kornkob says:

    1. never release hardware to the publec with a bios/flash version under 1.0
    2. NEVER NEVER NEVER RELEASE AN ALPHA VERSON RIDDLED WITH BUGS :p.

    One problem: it is nearly impossible to define ‘Alpha software’ (and therefore not-Alpha software) in any meaningful fashion besides ‘good enough to ship’. Defining the difference between alpha and first release version is a negotiation between the team’s attention to detail/desire for perfection and the economic realities of sales and marketing.

    And as for defining a ‘release’ based on a purely arbitrary numbering system– that’s silly. Where I work the first released version will probably never be ‘version 1.0′. One product we’re working on now (which hasn’t even been announced to the public yet) is already into v100+ because of the way we increment our builds. We could easily use the same numbering system with the decimal point shifted over 4 places and have a version number that was always less than 1.0, no matter how many revisions we made.

    The point is: it’s not about the version number of the arbitrary title of ‘alpha’ (which for us is a state of a game that hasn’t even been fully monetized yet and thus would NEVER be released without significant revision). The problem is that many companies don’t put enough stress on a balanced negotiation process. Development and production need to be equal negotiating partners incented such that both parties find the best possible compromise between delivering on an accelerated schedule and delivering a product with a number of flaws approaching zero while not shorting feature development.

  36. heypal says:

    I recently bought a couple of LaCie external firewire drives. They were each billed as 320Gb, yet when hooked up to my computer, each was barely able to hold 300Gb of data. I’m pissed and meant to write something to them on Friday, but couldn’t take time off work. Anyone else have this issue?

  37. Awesome suggestion Timmus.

    About the Super Bowl vs American Idol in HD debate…

    I agree that american idol is silly, but how many viewers does it have? approx 26.5 million? I do believe that it would behoove Dish to offer one of the most watched television programs in the format that many more consumers are subscribing to.

    ElizabethD
    I propose that the consumerist convention either takes place near (referring to both time and space) the H.O.P.E. conventions in New York, or near DEF CON in Vegas. I believe organizing a consumerist convention would increase our progress exponentially. Then we would have a real world consumerist revolution and not just an online manifestation.

    There were a few other items of importance that I was going to share. Since I forgot them, I must relegate them to items of non-importance.

  38. It is just this superfluous charge that they stick on there, and it means, more often than not, that the drivers don’t get tipped as well as they would, with buyers assuming this extra dollar goes to the driver.

    Well, I know better than to think that now. :(

    Why do we allow this, the small print so small it’s blurred out of recognition on a non-HD television, the limited-time rate with no mention of later cost, and the “call in the next ten minutes for a special limited time offer.”

    I never understood the ‘call in the next…’ ads. How would they know? Unless I’m mistaken (and I may be) generally companies pay to have their ads run at a certain time of day but not at a specific time. So Nintendo may pay for 5 ads for the Wii to run during Toonami but they don’t pay for it to run specifically at 8:05 instead of 8:20.

    Am I wrong? If I’m not, do most people think otherwise?

    As for tiny type, I never understood making text small in a web page. People looking at the page can either increase the font size in the browser or copy and paste the text into an editor and increase the size of the text there. Why bother making it small in the first place?

  39. WindowSeat says:

    I never understood the ‘call in the next…’ ads. How would they know? Unless I’m mistaken (and I may be) generally companies pay to have their ads run at a certain time of day but not at a specific time. So Nintendo may pay for 5 ads for the Wii to run during Toonami but they don’t pay for it to run specifically at 8:05 instead of 8:20.

    I don’t know if the business has changed (probably not) since I worked in a retail call center a million years ago, but we used to have a schedule showing what time our commercials were going to run in a certain market.

  40. Mr. Gunn says:

    About the whole locking of unsigned applications by cell phone manufacturers/service providers… If it’s so hard to get your app signed that even Google maps and Opera don’t have theirs signed, you’re making the process way too difficult. It bugs me that I can’t select a default connection and have to give permission at every runtime even for google apps on my symbian phone. What kind of security purpose does that serve, considering that you still have to grant permission to install and access the network the first time? And the locking down of bluetooth needs to stop, seriously!