Billy’s wife owns a small flower shop near Austin, Texas. The shop’s floral cooler broke down recently. They can’t afford a new one, and can’t find a used one for sale in the area. A misunderstanding when taking out an insurance policy means that the business’s insurance won’t cover the cooler malfunction.
We’ve heard from many, many readers who are Advanta cardholders since bringing the impending account freeze to their attention before the company did. Some people are just annoyed. Others don’t know what to do to keep their businesses afloat.
Allen Harkleroad of GMP Services writes, “A warning to all Sprint corporate customers that have dedicated access (T1’s, etc.) if you are out of contract Sprint may be gouging you and claiming outrageously high local loop charges as the cause.”
With this homespun sign, Shapiro Hardware in SoHo New York politely asks that you please wait until the restroom is unoccupied before using the microwave. Huh? A commenter on the Copyranter blog where we found this notes that he used to work in a jewelry store where the electrical box was installed in the bathroom. “we got shocked when we washed our hands.” says Anonymous, “25 year old owner’s son didn’t care. I hope his balls fry some day. There are many small businesses like this I bet.”
A coffee shop in Montreal has removed a “dud” security camera from its bathroom after news of it hit the local papers. Corporate headquarters asked the franchise owner to take it down, and apologized/avoided blame in a press release that said they were “not consulted in advance.” The franchise owner had installed it as a sort of junkie scarecrow, to frighten away heroin users who were leaving dirty needles in the bathroom stall.
Last week, Pennsylvania’s Attorney General filed a consumer protection lawsuit against the PA-based company Pure Weight Loss and its owner, Vahan Karian. Pure Weight Loss, which has about 400 stores nationwide, announced last December that it was going out of business, and yet continued to accept pre-payment from unaware customers up to four days after posting the announcement on its website. Since closing, it has failed to reimburse customers fees for unfulfilled contracts or deliver the supplies they’ve already bought.
The “Shine the Light” law passed in California in 2005 requires all businesses to tell customers who they sell their private data to, and to provide a no-cost way to remove your name, address, and phone number from their lists. Unfortunately, it’s not being followed by more than half of the companies tested in a new report: “The California Public Interest Research Group found only one third of the survey participants received responses from companies consistent with the law.”
After hearing from over 10,000 users wary of Windows Vista, Dell has decided to once again sell computers loaded with Windows XP. Most computer makers stopped offering XP after Vista’s launch, even though many users, especially small businesses, are wary of the newfangled operating system. Dell did not consider these concerns reasonable at first.
But on Dell’s IdeaStorm Web site, where visitors can post suggestions for the company and vote on the ones they think are important, a plea titled “Don’t eliminate XP just yet” racked up more than 10,700 votes.
The consumer outcry has restored XP as an option to four Inspiron laptop models and two Dimension desktop models. Dell will only make Windows XP available to U.S. customers. Sorry foreigners, you are stuck with Vista. — CAREY GREENBERG-BERGER