Ryan recently went to a clinic operated by Western Dental Centers, a franchise that operates in California, Arizona and Nevada, and now he regrets that decision. He writes that first he was forced to endure $800 worth of upsells while he was stuck in the chair, even though he was just going in for a cleaning. What happened with billing, though, was worse and may lead to lasting credit issues.
Elliot has a unique problem in this recession. He tells Consumerist that recruiters claiming to represent the insurance company AFLAC have been calling, emailing, and otherwise harassing him and other people he knows who are looking for work. He doesn’t want to work for AFLAC. How can he make them stop calling?
Jon says someone called him earlier this month and claimed to be from a company called Target Point Consulting, and asked Jon to answer a survey. When Jon said no and asked how the caller got his number, which is on the Do Not Call list, things got interesting.
David owes a bundle to American Express, but wishes the company would keep the debt between them. Instead, he says AmEx is calling around on him, tracking down a coworker in order to harass David into paying up.
A man in New Mexico is suing Verizon Wireless over a series of harassing phone calls made by Verizon bill collectors last year. The man, Al Burrows, says the calls were concerning a relative’s unpaid cellphone bill. When he hung up on one of them, the disconnected Verizon rep called back, said she knew where Burrows lived, and added, “I am gonna blow your mother fucking house up.”
According to a lawsuit filed in New Jersey, a CSR at Wells Fargo’s Home Mortgage Division refused to correct a payment error for Jamie Nelson unless she had some “phone fun” with him first. Phone fun, in this case, seemed to mean naked pics of the woman. She’s suing for emotional distress, since you can’t take someone to court simply for being a skeevy jackass. Wells Fargo says they’re taking the allegations seriously.
Rent-A-Center, the furniture/appliance rent-to-own company (“For When You Want to Piss Away Your Paycheck!”), has settled with the Washington Attorney General’s Office over charges that its employees harassed customers who were late on payments. Last year, the company’s employees in Washington were accused of trying to kick in one customer’s door and threatening another one with jail, among other things.
Kevin Trudeau, a diet and disease cure-all peddler who has a rich history with the FTC, just earned himself a fat 30 days in jail for encouraging his fans and followers to email a U.S. District Judge. Last Wednesday, Trudeau posted a request on his website asking supporters to email the judge who is presiding over an FTC civil suit against him. The idea, apparently, was for Trudeau’s happy customers to convince Judge Robert Gettleman to go easy on the pitchman. Instead, it had the opposite effect.
Laura has a pretty good description of what an anxiety attack feels like to her: “First, your chest starts to feel tight, like you are wearing a corset. You can’t breathe properly, your heart rate starts to skyrocket, causing a pounding feeling. It’s very out-of-body. You can’t figure out what’s going on. It’s like being trapped by your brain into a tight corner.” If the skeptical gate agent for Continental had ever experienced this–or had just been given adequate training for dealing with passengers with disabilities–maybe she wouldn’t have told Laura her doctor’s note looked fake, or asked her to stay put when Laura said she needed to get her meds.
Last week, Daynah wrote about how she was forced to stop writing anything down during a recent shopping trip to the cosmetics store Ulta. At the time, Daynah grudgingly gave in because she really wanted to make a purchase (she tests products for consumers). But once she left the store, she took the fight back to Ulta.
Jay’s parents have gotten quite, uh, spendy with their retirement income, and now they’ve got a lot of debt they can’t pay off. This has become Jay’s problem not because he’s a party to any of the debt, but because they’ve put him down as a reference and now bill collectors are harassing him.
In a world where smartphones can shoot video, snap photos, record audio, scan barcodes, and let you make price comparisons via text message, it’s almost funny to run into a paranoid manager like the one at an Ulta makeup store in Seattle. Well, funny except for that petty tyrant part where she tells you that you’ll have to take your old-school pen and papers out to the car and come back empty handed before she’ll sell you any makeup.
Walmart can try to spin itself as being on the side of good all it wants, but if it ever suspects you of shoplifting, you may find that you’re powerless to fight back. In the case of a couple accused of shoplifting some Bic lighters in Niles, Michigan this past August, Walmart detained them, the police came and cuffed one of them, their two kids were taken to a security room, and—after a review of security footage proved the couple’s innocence—they were banned for life from all Walmarts. To top it off, Walmart’s legal team has sent the couple a letter asking to be reimbursed for 10 times the value of the lighters, even though the police determined no shoplifting had taken place.
It’s probably a bad idea to market to consumers by tricking them with practical jokes. It’s definitely a bad idea to make a consumer fear for her safety over a five day period because she thinks a stalker is coming after her. That’s why a woman in Los Angeles is suing Toyota for $10 million after being on the receiving end of a Punk’d-style stunt to promote the Toyota Matrix.
When a Florida man suffered a heart attack, he needed to leave his job. Between everyday expenses and medical bills, he fell behind on his mortgage and other bills, and debt collectors began calling. And calling. And calling. Eventually, a lawsuit alleges, the stress from the harassing and abusive phone calls led to the man’s death. Frivolous lawsuit? Maybe not.
The New York Attorney General shut down a network of debt collection agencies today that were run by convicted felon Tobias Boyland, who along with his colleagues impersonated police officers, threatened debtors with arrest, and told them they were being sued in civil court. Boyland is also an author and a musician, and he has an awesome website, bagsofmoney.us, which—warning—launches into a street-friendly rap song as soon as it loads.
Back in March, Steve Bierfeldt was pulled aside while going through the security line at Lambert-St. Louis (Missouri) International Airport, taken to a room, and questioned for half an hour about the box of cash he was trying to check through. Bierfeldt, who works for a Ron Paul organization, recorded the conversation. Now with the help of the ACLU he’s suing the TSA.