Arbitration is even worse than we thought. We already knew that consumers lost 94% of the extra-judicial proceedings, but new data shows that the few who manage prevail are likely to have their wins overturned on appeal.
Georgetown law professor and Credit Slips blogger Adam Levitin is having trouble disputing an erroneous $176.96 charge on his Citibank Amex card from PACER, the federal court’s online docket system, which he accesses for free. The professor is a consumer credit expert and should have no problem understanding and fixing the error, right? Fat chance.
A CBS investigation has revealed that parking tickets stemming from 85% of the parking meters in Philadelphia are invalid. Pennsylvania law requires inspectors to certify each parking meter for accuracy once every three years, but the single inspector working for Philly’s Licenses and Inspections Department, the city agency in change of certification, has visited less than 15% of all parking meters—but he has found the time to certify some meters 8 times while others go completely unchecked. As a result, thousands of parking tickets are invalid under state law.
Burger King has been fighting with tomato pickers in southern Florida for two years, refusing to pay a penny more per pound. Now the burger chain has announced that they may simply buy their tomatoes somewhere else.
Joanna writes, “Here’s my tip for using Cellular Abroad: don’t. They totally charged me tax on a ‘security deposit’ and then refused to refund my tax on the returned portion of the deposit.” When she wrote to Cellular Abroad to dispute the tax, she was told that technically it wasn’t a security deposit but a purchase, and that when they refunded her the difference after she returned the phone, that wasn’t a refund—they were buying it back from her, and because they have a reseller’s license they don’t have to pay taxes on their “re-purchase.” Whaaa?
Consumers may finally escape from the clutches of mandatory binding arbitration if the House Judiciary Committee smiles favorably today upon the Arbitration Fairness Act. Arbitrators rule against consumers in more than 98% of all disputes; the Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law is currently meeting to consider H.R. 3010, which would restore consumers’ rights to resolve disputes fairly and openly.
Hi Ben -
Tiffany’s cellphone was stolen right before she got on a chartered sailboat for a week of vacation. When she got back, AT&T told her she was responsible for the entire week of soft core porn downloading that the thief had enjoyed during the time she was away.
Ever wonder how credit repair services work? According to the FTC, they take your money, often illegally, and then perform services that are available to any and all consumers. The shops start by charging an initial registration fee from $20 to $100. This is against federal law, which prohibits payment until the repair has been performed. The shops then charge a fee to obtain your credit report, even though you can access one free copy of your report each year at AnnualCreditReport.com.
For a pre-paid one month economy car rental for $632.03, on January 16th Hertz rented me a 2007 Blue Chevrolet , Lic#5981AVB in good condition at the Los Cabos airport. I declined to purchase insurance. Late on the night of January 20th, during a rainstorm, a tire blew out on the vehicle; so, after exchanging the tire with the spare the following morning, on January 21st, I returned the vehicle to the agency at their suggestion and wrote a full report. The agency assured me there would be no problem of any charges.
Sprint gave Seth a terrible plan when he tried to activate an old phone onto his account. Seth had enjoyed a $105 per month retention plan that provided unlimited text messaging and 2,000 minutes. In November, Seth noticed several charges for text messages. He called Sprint and spoke with Kiyana, who made several changes and gave Seth her direct number in case there were any additional problems.
In December, my bill came in at $450. I called Kiyana’s direct line, which was actually a number for a sheet metal company or something similar.
January’s bill was $500. Seth paid the minimum and was told Sprint would fix the problem. By February, the bill was $600.
I called Sprint and spoke to Jason, he offered a 28 day credit to keep my service from being cancelled. I wanted an investigation – something wasn’t right. I scanned the bill while on hold and noticed something: nights and weekends weren’t mentioned at all. Jason, there’s no way Sprint would charge me for nights and weekends, right? No, sir. Sprint doesn’t offer a plan that charges for nights and weekends, but it looks like that’s what’s been happening. That’s why I was 1500 minutes over each month — because they were charging me for free minutes. When Kiyana changed my plan around back in November, she left off nights and weekends completely — and nobody had noticed until now.
The investigation, and Seth’s email, after the jump…
If you order something using Google Checkout and there’s a problem with you order, there is a standard mediation process to follow.
While it doesn’t compare to Michelle’s $27,933.55 bill, last year we received what can only be called a totally bullshit $170 electric bill for a month when everyone was out of town. The problem was–we had no idea how to dispute it. Call in our Uncle Mickey? Scream colorful metaphors into the telephone?