As you have no doubt already heard, flood waters are wreaking havoc in Louisiana, displacing many thousands of residents and doing untold damage to their homes. When the waters eventually recede and people return home, there will inevitably be scammers ready to take advantage of their situation; just as there will be bogus charities and other fraudsters waiting to cash in on the good will of other Americans. [More]
Flood waters recently tore through Ellicott City, MD, forcing some businesses to close up shop. One store says Comcast tried to rub salt in this fresh wound by demanding it pay hundreds of dollars to cancel service it can no longer use. [More]
Over the weekend, tornadoes ripped through the Dallas area, rending homes into piles of wood and destroying lives. Additionally, bad weather in the region resulted in damage to the property of countless other Americans. We can understand the desire to get your life back in order immediately — or to donate money to help victims — but don’t let yourself be taken in by unscrupulous scammers. [More]
Whenever there’s a natural disaster wreaking devastation upon people and their homes, it seems there will, unfortunately, always be cable customer service representatives who respond less than sensitively. Here’s another: a couple whose home burned down in a California wildfire says they were shocked when Dish demanded they return equipment that was destroyed.
I’ll never forget the one time I’ve felt an earthquake in New York City. Not because it was anything scary — it was only a brief, jarring moment in an elevator — but because it seemed like every person I knew outside of the area was reaching out whether through text, phone call, email or social media to make sure I was okay (I was totally fine, but it was nice anyway). Facebook has a new feature called Safety Check that it says will make that whole process a lot easier. [More]
Over this past weekend, some crazy rains tore a path through a portion of the Mid-Atlantic, leaving entire areas without power or other utilities and forcing some residents to turn to hotels for shelter. But some people in New Jersey have accused local hotel operators of trying to cash in on area residents’ misfortune.
When we hear that fellow humans in faraway places are suffering, we want to help. Some of us write a check, sign in to PayPal, or make a donation using our phones. But there’s nothing quite as satisfying as sending tangible goods to people in need. The problem is that well-meaning people can waste resources and time on the ground in the disaster area by sending inappropriate items that will ultimately end up in the dump.
Efforts to clean up the destruction left in the wake of Hurricane Irene will charge a tab of $1.5 billion to taxpayers. The White House budget director released the estimate, which adds to $5.2 billion needed to mop up other disasters. The problem is that the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s funds are tight until Oct. 1, when the new budget kicks in.
Despite the destruction and death caused by Hurricane Irene, the disaster generally wasn’t as awful as advertised. But even if the storm didn’t harm you directly, it still just may mess with you by spurring insurance companies to hike their rates.
Last week, we reported the story of more than two dozen Walmart who became trapped inside an Ames, Iowa, store by rising flood waters. At the time, it was unclear as to just why the workers were in the store — authorities had warned managers of the impending flood the night before — but now Walmart says it was the employees’ choice to stay.
You can’t expect every person to be up to date on the latest news cycle, especially not on a global scale. But there’s a Virgin Atlantic Airlines CSR who not only somehow missed that Pakistan just suffered its worst flooding in 80 years, but who kept insisting the Elisa, a customer trying to make her way back home to NYC, prove that the flooding happened. Elisa says the CSR “insisted that there were no indications in her notes that a flood had happened in Pakistan,” and that Elisa would have to prove the news or pay $933 for a “service change fee” to get back home.
Reader Mars tips us off to this Brandweek article about Land Rover’s soon to be launched commercial campaign where Land Rover sends film crews to the sites of actual natural disasters while they are in progress to get footage of the Land Rovers “in action” as “hero cars.”