Thursday, February 19, 2015

I'll Just Stick with the Coffee

Broccoli.I went shopping last week, back when the weather was a bit more pleasant.  Seriously, it was a nice day - snowed in the morning, and then the sun came out and it was practically balmy.  That isn't the point, but what's better than talking about the weather?  It's practically the only thing anyone talks about these days.  Cold, cold, cold.

Anyway, shopping.  I usually look over my receipts before I leave the store, just to be sure everything rang up right.  It just seems to be that, if I look at it in the store, everything will be fine, and if I don't, something will be wrong.  Not always, but looking at the receipt in the store means I can take care of any problems right then, while I'm there.  This time I did look it over, but not well enough, I guess.  That evening I noticed that the broccoli crowns I bought had been rung up as just regular broccoli.  So instead of paying 99¢ per pound for approximately 1 pound of broccoli, I paid $1.99 each for 2 bunches of broccoli, or $3.98.

If I still lived in Wisconsin and had to drive 15 minutes to get to the store, I'd probably have let it go or called the store to see if there was anything I could do about it the next time I got to the store (probably not for 2 or 3 weeks).  But, since the store is only 5 minutes or so away, I decided I'd run back to the store the next morning and get it taken care of. And, since they recently opened a Starbucks in the store, I thought I'd treat myself to a salted caramel mocha from Starbucks.
So, I did.  I ended up getting the broccoli for free, and I grabbed a few things I forgot to grab the day before.  They were things we could have lived without, but since I was there...

Next time (because there will probably be a next time, no matter how careful I am) I'm just going to skip the coffee.  I'll make coffee at home.  I got $4 back from the broccoli and spent $5 on stupid coffee.  Do people really do that all the time?  (Obviously they do; just search Starbucks on Flickr.)  How?  Why?  I mean, it was good, but it just doesn't seem worth it.  I can buy an entire bag of coffee and make my coffee at home for weeks for that same $5.

I might buy a flavored syrup to use occasionally, should I want something a bit different.  I have been mixing my coffee up with some coconut oil and milk in the mornings - whir it up good in the Ninja so that it's foamy, and that's pretty yummy.  I bet a little syrup would be nice once in a while.  And not quite the waste of money Starbucks seems to be.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Fast and Thorough Tenant Verification

If you're a landlord, you should definitely check out Tenantify.  It's a site that helps prevent fraud risk, and makes renting worry-free for landlords.  While I have never personally been a landlord, I've heard some horror interesting stories from some of my friends.  It's not always easy finding the right renters, and it doesn't sound easy to get rid of the bad ones once you've got them in your place.

Tenantify gives landlords tenant screening powered by employment and income verification, allowing landlords the ability to assess a potential renter's ability to pay rent each month.

It's a fast and thorough tool that makes it easier for landlords to verify income and employment of a potential renter conveniently, securely and without fraud risk.  Even better, it's a free service for landlords.  The potential renters pay all fees once verification is complete. Fees are very reasonable and can enhance the chances of application success for a qualified renter.

Tenantify empowers landlords to make informed decisions and helps to reduce friction in the housing market and build trust between landlord and tenant.  If you're a landlord looking for a better way to screen potential renters, be sure and check it out.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

The Rest of the U.S. Cellular Story

Anybody remember when I posted all the problems we were having when we canceled U.S. Cellular service? - Nothing BUT Empty Promises

I said I was going to post the rest of the story, and then I never did.  First we were in the middle of trying to get things resolved, so I didn't want to cause any extra problems - though it probably wouldn't have made a difference anyway.  And then, I just didn't do it.  So, in case anyone is still interested...

We left off when Jeffrey finally got our account canceled and the charges reversed, and we finally got the cases we ordered.

Then - a couple weeks after we thought the account was canceled, our daughter, who was still a U.S. Cellular customer tried to get one of our old phones activated, only to find out that it was still active on our account.  So he again had to call and see where things stood.  Apparently the account was in line to be canceled, but no one had gotten to it yet.  That customer service agent took care of it right then, I think.  But then when we passed another one of our old phones on to one of our daughter's friends, who is still with US Cellular - this was several weeks later - they were told that the phone had been reported lost or stolen when they went to activate it.  Being the owner of the phone, I know I never reported it lost or stolen.

We eventually received a final bill, which was supposed to be automatically zeroed out (promised by the customer service rep who actually did cancel our account), but Jeffrey called just to be sure it was taken care of - can you really blame him, after all of this?  At that time, he was told that the phone could not be activated because there was still a balance on the account - NOT because it had been reported lost or stolen.  At that time, while he had the customer service rep on the phone, he specifically asked about each of the phones we had on our account - 3 of them - to be sure that each one was free to be passed on and activated by current US Cellular customers.  He was told that they were all good to go.

Then, a few days later, Beth called again.  They were in a US Cellular store trying to get the phone activated.  Again.  Guess what?  They couldn't do it because "the phone has been reported lost or stolen."  We were just told a week or so before that that it was available for activation.  Guess not.  Since we were on the road, Jeffrey told the customer service rep at the store to put her on the account so she could deal with it.  It was supposedly going to be taken care of, except that she called again the next day.  When they told her that they couldn't activate the phone because it was supposed to have been returned, which was another lie. That phone was part of my compensation for working with the U.S. Celular Better Moments Blogger Brigade, and  there is nothing in the contract saying the phone was to be returned at the end of the program.  In fact, if we hadn't moved out of the US Cellular coverage area, they would have given me a new phone to use, again as part of my compensation.  My phone was part of my payment, making it mine to do with as I chose.  I chose to let someone who is a current US Cellular customer use it.

Why is that so hard??

This is when I posted to U.S. Cellular's Facebook page because I was just so frustrated.  I got a pretty immediate response, telling me they would look into this and that this was not the experience they wanted me to have.  After giving all the pertinent information about the account to the USCC Social Team representative, I got this email:
Hello, Anna.
I want you to know that we have not intentionally caused these difficulties with transferring your phones to other US Cellular customers.  We would have nothing to gain by doing that. 
I have taken a long look at your account and there is not any apparent reason why this is happening. I have submitted a research ticket to our Internal Support department to resolve this issue. This process will take a few days.  I will contact you by email on Wednesday with an update.
Thank you for your patience.
Best Regards,
Danielle G.
USCC Social Team     

and then I waited... and asked for updates, and never got an answer - from the Internal Support department.  I got emails from Danielle telling me she hadn't heard anything, but the ones who were supposed to look into it and resolve the issue never responded.  2-1/2 weeks later we still hadn't gotten an answer.  But then I talked to Beth, and she told me they'd tried again and got the phone activated after all.  So, I guess someone at U.S. Cellular got things taken care of, but they never bothered to get back to us and let us know what was going on.

But at least it got taken care of, right?  And I never had to think about U.S. Cellular again - and never bothered to finish the story - until recently when I was talking to a friend who still lives in Wisconsin and recently changed cell phone providers and signed up with U.S. Cellular.  It all sounded good - national plan, better signal, etc.  Except they didn't bother to tell him that when he got out of a U.S. Cellular area, they'd really throttle his data speed.  Did you know that U.S. Cellular doesn't have much area anymore?  They've sold out in many markets.  And since my friend is a truck driver, he's out of the U.S. Cellular area often.  Oh yeah, the signal is great at home, but when he's on the road that data he needs to do his job is not available.  Does U.S. Cellular care?  Not at all.  They got him to sign a contract.  Sucker!

So, if you're looking for a new cell phone provider, do not look at U.S. Cellular.  It's just not worth the headache and the hassle.