Netgear Rebate Ripoff

by Randy Cassingham
(Updated! See below.)

I do backups of my files daily, but wouldn't you know it, the first time I ever had a hard drive fail, it was my backup drive! Sure enough, I was in the process of reorganizing my laptop at the time, and I lost some files. ("If your data is in only one place, it's not backed up." --Leo Notenboom)

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No One Else Can Say That!

by Randy Cassingham

Or: Uh Oh, I Read the Label!

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Food Contamination

by Randy Cassingham

When people talk about food safety, usually the topic is food for humans. But in the Spring of 2007, the topic expanded with a huge recall of pet foods -- for dogs and cats -- after the deaths of hundreds of pets from kidney failure were linked to their food, which was contaminated by melamine. The contamination was found in pet foods in the U.S., Canada, Europe, and South Africa.

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"The World's Most Advanced E-Book Reader"

by The Barking Unicorn

"The World's Most Advanced E-Book Reader"

That's what Barnes & Noble says it's selling. I idly tried it at their downtown store today.

"Press button at top ↑ to open book" its screen read when I picked it up.

"There is no button above this arrow," I told the lad behind the counter.

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"Paypal Sucks"

by Randy Cassingham

PaypalSucks.com's version of the 'Paypal Certified' shieldSome people really hate Paypal. I have a love-hate relationship with them: I love that it's easy and secure to move money around online without having to type in credit card numbers on a site with dubious security. I hate that Paypal tries to dodge federal regulation by insisting it's not a bank, when it probably really is. Indeed, their customer service is very bank like -- it sucks!

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VistaPrint: Bait and Switch?

by Randy Cassingham                                                        Update: VistaPrint Responds

This isn't the usual, uninformed whine about VistaPrint -- that (sob!) they charge shipping and handling on their "free" stuff. No, they have to stay in business, I understand the game, and that's fine (and still a pretty good deal) -- it's how they stay in business.

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Can't Navigate Out of a Paper Bag

by Kit Cassingham

I recently bought a Mercury Mariner Hybrid. I selected the Mariner over Ford's Escape because Mercury is known for slightly higher luxury and more amenities. I opted for their $1,200 navigation system because I need help getting to emergency calls (I'm a first responder with the local EMS agency), especially in the middle of the night in my rural location. I thought if it's a Mercury, it's got to be good. Not!

I love my new car. Except for the navigation system.

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Punished by eNom for a Registration Placeholder

by Randy Cassingham                                                                                 Updated! See the End

I'm posting this minutes after my sites came back online. As I was writing this, most of my web sites were offline, thanks to proactive (that is, on purpose) action by enom, the huge domain registrar which provides registration for the "domain names" for more than 8 million web sites. The registrar, of course, I (used to?) use. And here's the unbelivably scary thing I learned while struggling to get them back up: any web site, including yours, can be knocked off the 'net without warning and without notice, and for the most mundane of reasons, by the people you pay for your most basic online service: your domain registration. Even if it's not enom.

Your site is your sole source of income? Too bad. Your site is depended upon by thousands of people for critical information? Tough. You're expecting an urgent e-mail? Shrug. The weekend is coming up? They may or may not be able to help you until Monday -- check back later. We'll see -- the only guy who can help has a long lunch planned.

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FedEx: They Absolutely, Positively Should Have Gotten it Right the First Time

by Randy Cassingham

I just about tore out most of my hair trying to ship a package via FedEx, and it should have been a piece of cake.

First, since the last time I logged in to my account, they changed something and wanted me to add some information. No problem: I did that. Then I had to "confirm" my address. It showed me the address it had on file. It was correct, so I clicked "Continue". Bzzzt! "Information doesn't match what we have on file." Huh? And it wouldn't let me "update" my address info without typing in what they had! How can I possibly do that if they have an error and won't show me what the erroneous info was!

I couldn't go forward and thus had to call FedEx. The agent who answered couldn't help and I was transferred to "tech support". But they couldn't figure it out either! So I was transferred to the billing department. After I explained the problem for the third time, the clerk there found the problem: they had my Zip Code wrong in their system -- they had the Zip for the local FedEx office, which is in the next town (and the next county), rather than mine.

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At My Bank, NSF = Non-Sufficient Friendliness

by F.W.

I've had a checking account at a Compass Bank branch since November 2004. The branch's staff have always been rather cold and indifferent (except for a young puppy named Christopher). But I never had any real problems until this May.

Then I ran afoul of a classic bank trick: post debits before deposits on the same day, and ding the customer for multiple "Non-Sufficient Funds" fees (at $36 each!) on trifling debit card transactions. Four debits totalling less than $10 resulted in $144 worth of NSF fees.

I regularly pass a different Compass branch. I got in the habit of making my deposits there, and found the staff much more congenial. So I thought I might have better luck negotiating my way out of these NSF fees in there. I was right.

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