If you’re a gadgetophile like me, you love firmware updates because it’s like giving your smartphone, camera, or other mp3 player a mini-makeover. If you’re normal, however, don’t rush into it—the best thing to do is wait a bit and see what problems are reported from the front line. Take for instance this issue between 3G iPhones and Exchange servers, which no longer play well with each other after yesterday’s 3.1 iPhone OS upgrade.
NetworkWorld published its findings on the suspicious histories of the men behind new cellphone company Zer01 just two days ago, but they clearly sent someone behind the scenes scrambling. This afternoon they reported that Zer01’s parent company “has stripped its Web site down to only basic information,” and that “new details have also come to light suggesting a past connection between two of the involved companies, despite claims to the contrary.”
Earlier this week we wrote about how BoA told Jesse he could never have an account with them, but they wouldn’t give a specific reason. A lot of readers and tipsters suggested ChexSystems was the culprit, so we asked Jesse if there was something in his credit past causing the problem.
After reading about how Jesse was banned for life from Bank of America for no clear reason, other readers wrote in with similarly bizarre BoA stories. Wayne was locked out of his new account after he opened it and charged a $75 overdraft fee. Chris was sent checks linked to a duplicate account and then charged penalties when the checks bounced. Edward’s new account was closed but the CSR refused to tell him why, and he was charged a $60 “research fee” for the closing. When Edward went to a BoA branch to clear things up, he says the employee there told him, “That’s why you don’t open up accounts online.”
Vonage apparently rustled up a map and is now apologizing to customers who were accidentally charged international rates for their domestic calls. Reader J.R., who in April received a $38 bill after Vonage billed a call to Los Angeles as a call to Algeria, sent us the telecom’s apology note…
REI’s Director of Corporate Communications contacted us with an official statement about the recent showdown between two Loomis security guards and a customer with an iPhone at one of their Seattle stores. She says despite the document Shane says he was forced to sign at the police station, he is not banned from their stores. Below is REI’s official statement.
It took a while, but Bealls Florida has sent us their official explanation for why people who thought they were buying 12 plates through an Amazon sale received just 1 earlier this month.
Last week, we wondered whether Tentacle Grape soda was a real product or a funny/tasteless joke that had turned into a scam, since people had placed orders for it with real cash and had yet to see any product. A reader named Harley emailed us to say a box of the soda just arrived at his address today, along with a condom, naturally. Because that’s just classy. He adds, “I can’t comment on the taste as I haven’t yet tried it, but I don’t think I’ll be using the condom.” Click through for a bigger pic.
Well, yesterday’s Facebook post certainly blew up today, and it looks like Facebook is currently preparing an official response. In the meantime, a Facebook rep has written to the Industry Standard to emphasize that all rights are subject to your privacy settings, so even if they don’t expire when you close your account, they’ll still be subject to whatever restrictions you had when the account was active. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has also posted a more philosophical response on the Facebook blog saying that while the new Terms of Service are “overly formal,” they’re only meant to give Facebook the legal ability to enable content sharing among users.
Remember that Norwegian site that was offering Beatles songs for legal download? Yeah, well, not anymore. It turns out their licensing agreement stipulates that the shows they put online have to have been aired within the past 4 weeks, and all the Beatles shows are from 2007. [Exclaim News] (Thanks to elc81!)
XBOX Live member ForceTrainer writes in with an update about his issue with Microsoft. In our last episode, ForceTrainer has been charged $50 for 2 months of a XBOX Live gold membership– the price of a year of service.
The makers of Five-seveN handguns finished their evaluation of the gun the blew up in an owner’s hand and have determined that it was due to his error and not theirs. Details, inside…
A month ago, we wrote about Brice’s struggles with E*Trade to recover the balance on an account they closed. After eight months of letters and phone calls, Brice got E*Trade to close the account, but it continued to accrue interest and Brice never received the balance. Finally, after launching eight Executive Email Carpet Bombs, Brice has his money.
If you read yesterday’s article Best Buy’s “Same As Cash” Credit Card Conceals Major Hidden Fees, you should remember Jason who got socked with some serious fees on his Best Buy/HSBC credit card. Jason wrote back to us to say that within a mere 3 hours after the deployment of his EECB, Best Buy reversed all of his fees. Jason’s and Best Buy’s letter, inside…
Reader Katy, whose laptop had disappeared into the black hole that is the HP repair department, writes us with an update. HP sent her computer back, but it’s still sort of broken. She’s going to work with HP to get the laptop fixed under warranty (so she can give it to her brother), but she’d had enough and went out and bought a Macbook.
Last week’s news that the Westin Casuarina hotel in Las Vegas was surreptitiously charging conference attendees for the organizer’s unpaid bill generated enough bad press that the Westin did an about-face this week, and sent out letters on Tuesday telling affected customers it is reversing the extra charges. A Westin spokesman said, “We’ve decided as a matter of customer relations to issue the refunds while continuing to pursue payment from The Coaching Center” in Austin, Texas. The Westin also says the refunds are an “effort to show our good faith,” which we assume means “please don’t sue us.”
Here’s one reason to use an online service to store financial data: no buggy updates to deal with.* Intuit’s December update for 2006 and 2007 versions of QuickBooks Pro on the Mac platform wiped the user’s Desktop folder and anything stored there. The company released a patch, but it didn’t work if you launched QuickBooks while connected to a wireless hotspot, oops. The latest patch, so far as we can tell, simply disables any further updates to the application—on January 3rd the company “began automatically feeding a patch to Mac QuickBooks users that permanently switches off the program’s upgrade mechanism to prevent a repetition of a data disaster.” In the meantime, since they can’t offer a way to fix the deleted Desktop folders, they’re offering rebates to users who buy a copy of the data recovery program Data Rescue II.