Anything New York

Why was the immigration bill stalled in the Senate?

by on Jul.01, 2007, under Posts>Opinions>Politics>Immigration & Globalization>Immigration>Immigration Reform

There has not been enough time for consensus to be built on most of the issues addressed by this bill. In a rush to pass an immigration bill, instead of trying to build consensus on each issue in immigration reform, the Senate had put together in one bill all the things that different people want and push everybody to accept what others want so they can get what they want. This strategy did not work.

I think that the hard work of building consensus on every issue can not be substituted with a grand bargain. We will just have to work hard to build consensus on every issue and try to get them passed one by one.

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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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A British Business Consultant

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

He charged me $1500 a month for two days of his service plus $35 a month for cell phone usage. At first he tried to work as many hours as he could and kept track of how many hours he had worked for me. But I thought it was more important that he was able to accomplish something than to just spend time with me. So I did not try to keep track of how many hours he had worked for me. So eventually he did not work at all. And he never made any phone call to anybody on my behalf to justify the charge for cell phone usage either.

After our three months contract ended, I did not want to hire him any more. He said that I needed to give him 30 days notice. By the end of the fourth month, he tried to keep the job by promising to get me a part time consulting job that would pay me $4000 a month. So I continued hiring him. But because I had run out of cash, I paid with a credit card. According to our contract, he was supposed to get paid every two weeks after he had offered me two days of service a month. But he charged me $3000 on my credit card for two months of service at once.

He used that money to set up a new office space for himself and his partners. Then he told me that I should rent his office so that I would be able to get the consulting job. I rented his office at a high price. He did not give me any furniture other than a round table which was not suitable for office. And he had me to build my own file cabinet.

He got a lot of opportunities to help my business. But he did little to help me even though he got paid over $9000 for consultation. He did not write a business plan or a contract or a patent.

If I told him that I wanted him to talk to someone on my behalf, he would ask for a free meal in a good restaurant paid by that person.

He never got me the consulting job that he promised even after he became the CEO of that company.

After our relationship had ended, he went to other clients and told them about my business secret and helped them to email me threats of law suits against my business.

Can you come up with a word or a phrase to describe such a person?

By the way, I am an Asian woman. And he had two Southern girlfriends and several Southern business partners. I wonder if the British and the Southerners are racist against Asians.

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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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