Wednesday, December 29, 2010

From Scam to Scram! Credit Card Follow-Up.

When I finished my last posting about the credit card scammers, I said that I would be calling  to speak with supervisor.  Here is what happened:

I called and was connected to a supervisor after the representative on the phone apologized to me for what had happened.

After explaining the situation to the supervisor, she asked me what I wanted her to do about it.  Could she at least have come up with a solution on her own?

"I want my money put back into my checking account and I will pay you in January, when that amount was due, that is what I want!"

She agreed but never apologized for what had happened.  

I also inquired as to why, when they call, do they not state who they are and only ask if "so and so" is home?

At first she said she didn't know why the collection dept. did that, but stated that it is the policy.  I suggested that possibly, if they said who was calling, the person called may hang up.  "Yes, that could be the reason," the supervisor responded.

If only she had shown as much concern about what was done as did the first representative I spoke with, I would be inclined to continue using the card.  But instead, she chose to act as if the matter was just another annoyance to her.

Goodbye credit card. 

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Sometimes Credit Card Companies Are Better Scammers Than The Scammers.

My morning starts off with a call from one of my credit card companies.  They don't state right away who they are, they just ask for my husband. I ask them who is calling, they tell me and then they ask if I am "Shelley," since my name is also on the account.

I ask them why they are calling.  Apparently my payment is 5 days late. What payment?  I have no statement.  The representative tells me that some customers have said that they hadn't received their statements, possibly with all the Christmas mail, maybe things just got lost.  This is interesting.

I am then told that she will waive the late charges if I pay right now.  Since I am not at my computer, I can't see the statement, the late charges or anything else to know what I will be paying for.

I am given a total amount due and told this is what I have to pay in order to get the late charge removed.  I take her word for it and give her my checking account number etc., so she can show that I made a payment in good faith.

When I was able to get to the computer, I checked and realized that I did not actually owe the amount this representative told me I owed. What I really owed were the charges from  last month's statement only - the one I never received.  The representative also had me pay for the current month's charges which were not due until 1/21/11. She just lumped the totals together.  Now I am angry. She also did not reveal to me an interest payment for the money owed, charged to my account, which she obviously did not remove.

I quickly called the credit card company and got a very nice representative. She said that I have an excellent payment record and removes the "interest" charge. She also lets me know that on the next month's statement, I will again see interest charges for the days the payment was overdue.  I am to call when I get this statement and this will be removed.

So here is the scam:  I don't have my statement.  I am given an amount to pay.  I pay it.  I find that I have overpaid.  Now they have more of my money than they should have.  And I have to wait for my account to get credited for the late fee and the interest.  They now owe me money.  I will be calling to speak with a supervisor after the holiday. I will ask them to reimburse me the interest I am charging them for having more of my money than they actually were entitled to at this date.

All this because I never received a statement. And now I have the burden of having to call them to get the other fees reversed.

This is the first time I have ever experienced this situation.  I am telling you about it so it doesn't happen to you. 

I will not be using this credit card again.  My business will be better served elsewhere.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Opening A Bottle of Wine The Easy Way

I need to update a previous posting about an electric wine bottle opener.  While I enjoyed using it, I was getting tired of having to recharge it.

When I opened my "wine accessories drawer," I found an old Screwpull by Le Creuset, wine bottle opener.

It is called a "Pocket Corkscrew," and you can't ask for an easier way to open a bottle of wine, no recharging necessary!  It has a small knife on the side to cut the foil so no need for an additional foil cutter, which is also available on many sites, including

The one I found in the drawer was all taped up since it was old, but it worked perfectly.  I went out and purchased a new one for $14.99.  These are not hard to find, but I purchased mine at

There is another version of this one called "The Table Model," and it functions the same way.  It is just a matter of your handle type preference. This one does not have a small knife  so you will need a foil cutter or your own knife. There is a Table Model which comes with  a foil cutter but this unit costs more.

Enjoy drinking your wine and make opening the bottle enjoyable!

Where to buy:

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Gift Cards Have New Regulations

In the past, I have had a few gift cards I had forgotten about, only to find them and discover that they had expired.

Here are the new rules for gift cards if you are considering buying them or if you are given any this holiday season.  These rules apply to specific type of gift cards so read all the way through:

New Federal Reserve rules provide important protections when you purchase or use gift cards. Here are some key changes that apply to gift cards sold on or after August 22, 2010:

Covered by the new rules

  • Store gift cards, which can be used only at a particular store or group of stores, such as a book store or clothing retailer.
  • Gift cards with a MasterCard, Visa, American Express, or Discover brand logo. These cards generally can be used wherever the brand is accepted. (Not all cards with a brand logo are covered; see "Other prepaid cards" below for exceptions.)

New protections

  • Limits on expiration dates. The money on your gift card will be good for at least five years from the date the card is purchased. Any money that might be added to the card at a later date must also be good for at least five years.
  • Replacement cards. If your gift card has an expiration date you still may be able to use unspent money that is left on the card after the card expires. For example, the card may expire in five years but the money may not expire for seven. If your card expires and there is unspent money, you can request a replacement card at no charge. Check your card to see if expiration dates apply.
  • Fees disclosed. All fees must be clearly disclosed on the gift card or its packaging.
  • Limits on fees. Gift card fees typically are subtracted from the money on the card. Under the new rules, many gift card fees are limited. Generally, fees can be charged if
    • you haven't used your card for at least one year, and
    • you are only charged one fee per month.
    These restrictions apply to fees such as:
    • dormancy or inactivity fees for not using your card,
    • fees for using your card (sometimes called usage fees),
    • fees for adding money to your card, and
    • maintenance fees.
You can still be charged a fee to purchase the card and certain other fees, such as a fee to replace a lost or stolen card. Make sure you read the card disclosure carefully to know what fees your card may have.

Other prepaid cards

These new rules apply only to gift cards, which are just one type of prepaid card. The new rules do not cover other types of prepaid cards, such as:
  • Reloadable prepaid cards that are not intended for gift-giving purposes. For example, a reloadable prepaid card with a MasterCard, Visa, American Express, or Discover brand logo that is intended to be used like a checking account substitute is not covered.
  • Cards that are given as a reward or as part of a promotion. For example, a free $15 gift card given to you by a store if you purchase merchandise or services of $100 or more may have fees or an expiration date of one year rather than five years. Regardless, you must be clearly informed of any expiration dates or fees for these cards.