Anything New York



by on Sep.15, 2009, under Posts>Complaints

I have had bad experience with Bank of America credit card service also. After I have paid $5000 to reduce my credit card debt, they raised the interest rate from 1.90% to 7.24% and reduced my credit line on my personal credit card from $14,500 to $8000 and on my business credit card from $8000 to $1200. When I told them I had difficulty making payment because of a major loss in my business, they told me I had to have fixed income to get on a hardship program and get my interest rate reduced.

I think it is unreasonable for banks to try to profit from people who are having a difficult time. If the government can not do anything to stop this, the economy can not recover. All the money made will just go to pay off debts and pay for profits for creditors. In time of financial hardship, creditors may have more opportunities to profit from the loans they have made. But their pursue of profits hurts the economic recovery.

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The Shameful Columbia University

by on May.30, 2009, under Posts>Complaints

The news of the New York State Attorney General cracking down on debt collection agencies who collect debt that consumers do not owe reminds me of the harassment I got from a collection agency hired by Columbia University.

It was years after I briefly attended Columbia University when I got the phone harassment from that collection agency. At first, they would not tell me what I owed Columbia University. But I thought there was nothing that I had to pay Columbia University other than tuition. So I faxed them the receipt from Columbia University for the tuition that I had paid and told them that I would not have been able to take classes if I had not paid my tuition. After some time, they told me that I owed Columbia University health insurance. It was a big surprise for me because I was never offered any health insurance by Columbia University. I asked them why I had to pay for health insurance that I had never got. They said I was supposed to pay for health insurance as an international student. Nobody had told me that before. If that was the rule, they should have told me before I paid for the tuition, not years later.

And can you guess how much they wanted from me for one month of health insurance? Over $600. And that was not it. They charged another $300 plus for being over due and had to be collected. So they wanted almost $1000 from me for something that they had never offered.

As a student from China, going to Columbia University is like going to Harvard for an American. Can you imagine what we have got from Columbia University for all the admiration we had for it?

By the way, there are two other things that I did not like about Columbia University: racism in their curriculum and their teachers, and thieves on their campus.

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Credit Cards Pitfalls

by on Mar.06, 2008, under Posts>Complaints

There are three major problems with credit card services that have affected me.

1. They piled money on me at 0% interest rate so I could pay for things that I would not have been able to pay for without the credit cards. Then they raise the rate just when it is more difficult to make money to pay back. This is a recipe for getting into a bankruptcy.

2. They allow merchants to charge for services that the merchants never deliver and force me the credit card user to pay for nothing or get reported to the credit bureaus and get barred from getting new loans.

3. They allowed merchants to continue charging my credit cards for services that I no longer want because of contracts that I have been cheated into or contracts that I have unknowingly signed. Private gyms use this technique to get customers locked into years of contracts.

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Prepaid Service Shut Down Without Warning

by on Jul.19, 2007, under Posts>Complaints

This is probably the most despicable of all frauds.

SunRocket – The No Gotcha Phone Company has shut down their service without giving their prepay customers like us a chance to cancel their service and get our refunds. A lot of us have prepaid for one year or more of service and have only got a few months of service.

What a great way to rob us of our money! We thought we got a good deal even though we had to pay for one year of service in advance at once. We could not have imagined that we were actually just paying for a few months.

What all these corporate crooks are trying to do? Basically, it does not matter who gets hurt. They just have to make their money. And it is not regular amount of money that they want to make. They want to compete with other crooks to see who can steal more. So it does not matter that the company is running out of cash. As long as they can make many more times of money than they deserve, they just have to take the money and run. We the customers will have to foot their bills.

I switched from Vonage to SunRocket, thinking that this is a better company. I was badly burned by Vonage at their IPO. It looks like I can only climb out of one pitfall into another pitfall. Once a victim, always a victim?

Is there no law to stop this kind of fraud from happening?

By the way, SunRocket’s web site just underwent major changes a few weeks ago. If they were going to have to go out of business in a few weeks, why would they have spent that money. I think they are just going to do the same business under a different name. But as a new business, they get to charge their customers again.

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Has UPS changed recently?

by on Jul.12, 2007, under Posts>Complaints

I used to like UPS. But I guess they have outsourced their jobs, not to China – it is not possible, but to some small business owners.

Recently I had UPS shipped eight boxes of my company’s promotional products – swivel quartz desk clocks, to my new address. These boxes were among the ten boxes that have been shipped by UPS to my old address in White Plains, New York, from Bridgeport, Connecticut, two or three years ago. Only three of those ten boxes have been opened and two and a half boxes of clocks had been given away. Seven of these eight boxes had never been opened when I arranged for the shipment. The eighth box was half filled with the clocks and half filled with books and photo albums, which actually weighted less than the clocks.

Before I arranged for the shipment by UPS, I had called a moving company to estimate the cost of moving these boxes from my old address in White Plains, to my new address in Midtown Manhattan. I was told that the total would be $90 for the moving because they would have to move the boxes from third floor to the first floor by stairs. I wanted to save money. So I decided to move the boxes myself to the first floor and then had UPS to ship the boxes. I made the decision to use UPS because they only charged a little over $20 last time they ship those ten boxes to me.

When the UPS bill came, I could not believe it. This time, they charged me over $160.

I later found that they had put new shipping labels on all the boxes, covering the old shipping labels which show the weight of each box 3 pounds less.

Also, they charged me for getting one of the boxes lost for one or two days which is really absurd. I thought they would have to compensate me for getting one box to my new place one or two days late. I had to call them to enquire about the lost box and ask them to look for it. That box was just one of the eight boxes shipped. They were all shipped together. I could not even tell which box was missing. It was not the one that had been opened and had books in it. How could UPS blame me for getting it lost themselves?

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Are All Gyms Like This?

by on Jun.14, 2007, under Posts>Complaints

I recently signed up for a membership at Boom Fitness. I remember I was told that it would be month to month – there would be no contract. But after I gave my signature which I thought was for card verification, I received a contract in my email with my signature on it.

After one month, I told them that I needed to suspend my membership. I was told that they would charge me $5 for suspending it. I agreed. So I thought I did not have membership for this month. But when I received my credit card bill, I saw a full month membership charge for this month on my credit card. Their explanation was that the membership was taken care of by another company and that the request was submit by the gym too late. Any way, they charged me membership fee and suspended my membership at the same time.

Also I was told that unless I can prove I have moved out of the city, I can not cancel my membership.

I have heard of similar business practice by Bally Total Fitness. I wonder if all gyms are like this and why?

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Disputing a Credit Card Charge for a Service

by on Jun.13, 2007, under Posts>Complaints

I wonder if anybody has been able to dispute a credit card charge for a service.

A business consultant charged $3000 on my Chase credit card for business consultation service. But he never provided any service. I disputed the charge. Chase initially promised to send the dispute to arbitration if the merchant challenged my dispute. When the merchant did challenge the dispute Chase sided with him and insisted that I had to pay and ask for an arbitration from an outside arbitrator myself. They imposed high finance charges and late fees on my account to pressure me to pay before I ever got any chance to have my case looked at by an arbitrator.

I did not want the case to go away by paying to avoid finance charges and late fees. So I refused to pay. And since I had no time to send the case to an arbitrator before getting finance charges and late fees, I did not ask for an arbitration from an outside arbitrator myself.

In stead, I filed a complaint to the BBB against Chase. Chase responded by simply waiving the finance charges and late fees. But they still would not give me time to have the case looked at by an arbitrator.

After that I started to receive calls several times a day, seven days a week from people who claim to be Chase. Their calls had no caller ID. And they initially refused to give me their mailing address. I consider that phone harassment. And I think it is from a collection agency, which makes the phone harassment illegal.

Chase also sent my account to the credit reporting agencies without noting that it was a business credit card account and that the transaction was still in dispute.

After quite a lot of efforts I found out that I could submit my complaints against Chase to the Office of the Controller of the Currency. I did it. Chase responded by waiving the finance charges and late fees again. And they also gave me $1000 credit. But they still did not send the case to arbitration as they initially promised, or give me time to have to have the case looked at by an arbitrator.

I do not understand why nobody understands the basic issue here. Chase is basically forcing me to accept the charge. In doing so, they are helping the merchant in their scam scheme. A merchant can just charge a credit card for a service and never has to deliver the service.

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Getting the Government to Investigate Something

by on Jun.13, 2007, under Posts>Complaints

Half a year has passed and I am still not able to get the government to investigate a company for frauds.

When I went to a police precinct for the first time, the policemen who were standing at the door simply whisked me away telling me that I needed to go to court even though I told them the company has disappeared.

Later I learned from a paralegal that I need to contact the DA office. I looked up the Internet and found all the phone numbers for the DA office. I called them all up. They were mostly answer machines. Eventually I got through to a person who told me that I needed to go to the police precinct to talk to the police and that if they would not talk to me, take down their badge numbers.

This time, the police did talk to me. But they had me to come back with all the physical evidence. When I brought the evidence to the police precinct, they said they needed me to go to the court house to get a letter from the DA office to start an investigation.

When I went to the court house, I had to register and wait to meet with one person who took some notes and gave them to another person, who after some time produced a letter for me to bring to the DA office. With that letter, I was able to get someone at the DA office to meet with me after a long wait. She also took some notes and told me to wait for them to call in one week.

Two weeks passed and I still did not get any call. I went to the DA office again. They told me the paralegal in charge was on vacation and she would call me the next day when she came back. I did not receive any call for another week.

Only when I went there again that they let me talk to the Assistant DA and get a letter from him to bring to the police precinct to get them start the investigation.

I brought the letter to the police precinct and got the chance to make a report. But two days later, they told me that this is a civil matter and I should go to court instead.

I called the DA office to find out what I should do. I was told that I would have to hire a private investigator instead.

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