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Tuesday, August 04, 2015

GETTing shafted in NYC

It's been some kind of week.  I wrote about the problem with Time Warner and Acceller in my last post.  I am waiting for my reimbursement that was promised AFTER I wrote a blog about it, tweeted it, and forwarded it to Acceller.

So everyone knows not to trust Time Warner, that is not a big surprise. But what about your friendly hot dog vendor.  A couple of days into my first trip to NY to apartment hunt back in April, or was it May, I heard about the following new story where a hot dog vendor was caught charging $30.00 for a hot dog.  This was the day after I paid $6.00 for a hot dog and a Snaffle.  I found out later that should have cost me $3 to $4 and prices should have been posted.  I walked by that same vendor yesterday, and I really wanted to punch him.  I'm just tired of people being dishonest like that.

Speaking of dishonesty and over charging, GETT, a car service/App similar to Uber and LYFT overcharged me this morning on my trip to the airport.  I am just so livid right now.

Let me start from the beginning.

I ordered the car before I went to bed. I was estimated a ride of $31.00 to go to Laguardia from the Wall St Area of NY.  I thought that was great.  Since UBER does not take preset rides, I chose to go ahead and order the car from GETT.  As was promised, I got a notification at 20 minutes to 4 that my car was on its way.  I gathered my adult kids that were with me and we were walking out of the front door of our building at 4:50.  At that moment, I looked at my iPhone to see that the car said it had arrived... before my 4pm appointment time.  It took a second to find my BLACK CAR because it was WHITE.  I thought that was curious and disappointing as the service promises a black car (or is that a euphemism) and even charged a black car tax??? sooo... white car... but I checked the plate and it matched, so fine.

Now, to recoup it was five minutes to 4 when we took off in the car. I know this because my husband texted me at 4:01 after he'd gone back up to the apartment and we were well into the ride... and I we continued to post my entire trip.  Here is a screen shot. Notice my comment on the person's driving. He literally drove down the middle of two lanes, down the dotted line most of the trip.  Got us there in record time, but little did I suspect his accounting would blow the actual unnatural trip times out of the water!

Here is the screen shot of the trip he recorded and what he charged me.  Notice, that he said my trip started at 4:05 when we got to the airport at 4:18, and we did get to the airport at 4:18.  Here's the problem.  It normally takes 28-30 minutes to get to said airport.  He is claiming it took 14 minutes to get to the airport... it actually took 23.

But wait!  If you look at my invoice, you will see he not only charged my for making him wait 6 minutes (first 3 minutes free, following minutes $1.00 each), but he also charged me for a stop. If I had stopped say for 5 minutes... cuz I couldn't do anything in less than 5 minutes, then he would have gotten me to the airport in 9 minutes.  Funny, I don't remember an S on the drivers chest. He was not Superman, nor was he driving a light speed rail.  It is impossible for the trip he charged me for to even happen.

So let's go over the lies and what they cost me.
1.  The tip started at 4:05, vs 4:55 after which he waited 6 minutes  $3.00
2.  I stopped somewhere, at some time in this very fast trip $5.00
3.  The car was black... it was not, it was a white Toyota Camry $1.12 (this is negotiable, black car means any kind of car for hire, but the description on the car was black and it was not.
4.  Based on the lies, and unsafe driving, I want my tip back. I think I deserve it. I will never set a pre-set tip again either. $5.58

So if I ignore the black car tax, GETT owes me $13.58 back.

So why am I writing this blog instead of just calling the company to complain.  Well, I did that.  They seemed to agree with me, but offered a $10.00 credit toward my next ride.  At the time, I wasn't even asking for the tip back, and told them, no, just give me my $8.00.   So the person then says that will take 3-5 business days.

Wait a minute.  You overcharged me immediately.  Do I really have to wait a week to be reimubursed?, I asked.  Yes, he responded.  I have no power over it, it the the way the company works.  Well, you lost my business I said, and we said, sorry, and we hung up.  To pour more salty into my already salty wound, I received an email that said

Gett NYC Support Inquiry [#25269], Refund for a stop charge and wait time on order 1650994 ... Thanks for reaching out. We’re looking into it and you’ll hear from us within three days at most.
In the meantime, feel free to email us with any other questions.
Happy riding!
The Gett Team

That made me really mad because they didn't even verify that they had promised to refund me.  It just basically says "we'll let you know."  Well, I call BS!

At this point, I will never use the service again, will call a yellow cab, and will warn others agains this service. And... I demand satisfaction.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

When Time Warner and Acceller ripped me off

Don't mess with a woman who takes notes
I knew getting an apartment in NYC had its pitfalls.  Needless to say, I got ripped off by companies that you would expect to do good business... but wait, they are monopolies, why should they bother.  I should have expected to get ripped of.

It went like this.  I called ConEdison to set up my electricity.  That went well. Before I ended the call, I was asked if I wanted their help in setting up my TV and Internet. I said sure.  They said, OK we are transferring you over to someone who will verify that your Electric was set up properly, and then they will help you with your TV and Internet.  I thought this meant I would be sent to another department within Con-Ed, but that was not the case.  They transferred me to a company called Acceller (AKA Home Connections), and no one ever once mentioned that I was now dealing with a company that gets paid to "help me" set up my utilities.

I asked the operator (name I was given is Cody Bland) what my options were.  He Strongly sold me on Time Warner.  I made it clear that I needed the smallest TV package as watching TV was not the reason we were getting an apartment in NY.  I was told, and I quote, " Basic service at Time Warner is $44.99 for 126 channels".  I said fine and move forward, and even paid a $50 deposit even though my credit is stellar.  I then asked about Verizon Fios, my other option and was quickly told, "Their service starts at $79 and $81.97 with tax and it won't be nearly as many channels, so I would not want that.  Time Warner was a better deal.  Oh, by the way, there said there was a 30-day full money back guarantee if I was unhappy for any reason.  In total, I paid out $135.00.

Fast forward to move in day and the service person arrives on time (this is the only thing they did right). As he is setting up my TV, he asks why I got such a basic plan. I pulled out my handy-dandy notes and said, this should be enough, he shrugged and told me that we could call the company to upgrade, and left.  After a couple of days, we realized that we pretty much had NO channels. I called the company and was told that to get the 126 channels I was promised would cost well over $100.00... more than Verizon Fios.  They then tried to talk me into upgrading my service.

I also called back ConEdison and was informed THEN that they had transferred me to another company unbeknownst to me, and I needed to call them.  They promised me that they had made a horrible mistake and "Cody" would NEVER EVER do that on purpose.  Vladimir, the manager promised they would help me set this right, and to call them back when I had my other service set up.

I hung up and called Verizon and set up my service and when it was installed, I called Time Warner back to cancel. That was an experience... it was very much like many others have described. I had to get pretty mad to complete the phone transaction and get the information I needed to return the cable boxes.

Remember that 30-day full money back guarantee?  Ha-ha-ha!  Nope.  I had Time Warner for all of 10 days and they sent me back a check for $50.73.  Is that my deposit?  Is that my installation? What is it?  It certainly isn't what I paid out.

And what does Acceller have to say about that?   Nothing, I called and spoke to Vladimir again, and they promised to follow up and email me back.  Nothing.  I got nothing.

I believe they are a scam company set up to make money "helping" people, but steering them toward the service that pays them the most, and leaving the customer out in the cold.

Anyway, thanks for listening.  Next to the whole applying for an apartment part which was a lot like childbirth, this was the most annoying part...  According to my calculations, someone owes me $85.00.  I will be tweeting and linking this blog post like crazy.  Maybe I will get some satisfaction, maybe I won't, but I also won't roll over and play dead.

UPDATE:  After sending the link of this blog post to Acceller (also called Bridgvine) I got a call promising the rest of my money back.   The power of the pen, huh? 

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Purging and simplifying

At the end of my last post I mentioned that being in a small apartment made me want to simplify at home.  After being in this house for 15 years and raising my kids, and homeschooling them here, I have accumulated more stuff than a girl can possibly need.  Even after giving away a lot of the homeschool curriculum and such, I am still overwhelmed with stuff.  Having the spare apartment in NYC makes that crystal clear when I come home.

So I have been home in Atlanta for just over two weeks and working on costuming a show.  It opened this weekend, and I am finally coming up for air.  Right before I started sewing, immediately after I got home, I cut the contents of my closet by 2/3.  I kept 1/3 of the items in my closet.  It was quite a feat, but I had to do it while I was still excited about it.  Since then, I have not done laundry, but have had something quite decent to wear every day, and could probably squeeze out 2 or 3 more outfits before I had to wear winter clothes or something exceedingly fancy.  So, I now know I did the right thing by paring down my closet!

I have spent all of last few weeks furiously sewing for Cabaret.  I am so pleased that so many people are mentioning the costumes in their comments and reviews.  We are so proud!  The show is definitely rated age 16+, I'd probably say 18+.  It is of course about a seedy night club and the happenings of people involved in it as Hitler came to power.  Suggestiveness, scant costumes, and violence.... but it is more than anything else, historical, and a reminder that if we look away from atrocities happening to other people, we are also perpetrators... AND it is just a matter of time before those horrors are turned on us.

I haven't had the time to take photos of costumes and did not get permission from the actors, so I will be posting costume photos later.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

My first month in NYC

My cell phone camera is like a memory bank.  I don't use it so much to take photos of beautiful things I see... first, because I don't fancy myself a tourist.  Second, because everything is beautiful.  I can get caught up in the most fascinating textures of gritty places, and gleam of glass and steel buildings.  In NY, It's all art to me, but I digress.

<<Here's my most used photo.... a reminder of when the ferry to IKEA runs.

It can be kind of hard to ignore social issues when you are in NY. Right now everything around here is rainbow colors in celebration of the right for gay people to marry.  People are literally celebrating in the streets, since there is an actual parade going on not too far from my apartment, and this week I went to Broadway sings for Pride, which was an AMAZING show and since the main goal was preventing young people from committing suicide, then heck.yes. I was there.

So, how do I reconcile being Christian with going to a Gay Pride fundraiser, and not being offended by the gay marriage legislation?  It comes down to a meme I put on my Facebook page today. >>

It's that simple, my only job is to love people. My neighbors.. all of them.  And already being from the school of "that is none of my business" outside of atrocities toward others, I have no problem not worrying about what people are doing with and to themselves, and loving them whole-heartedly.

Speaking of atrocities, my heart is very heavy due to the murders of the 9 black church members due to racial hate. I am glad I was in NY when it happened because in all honesty, I felt freer to speak about it. In GA, I know that people would prefer you quickly acknowledge, but not address because it is uncomfortable. There is a desire to call each of these horrible actions an enigma that won't happen again, but unless we address the issues, it will continue. It makes me want to force my kids back into the home and have none of us ever leave... but I am actually doing the opposite, because we only get one life and we can't afford to live it in fear.

And then there's the whole rebel flag thing.  I hope some of that furor dies down before I get back home. I want that thing gone forever... from government property.  They can call it heritage and a battle flag if they want to, but it seriously only belongs in a museum. But the fact is that it wasn't flown on government property until the federal government issued racial integration orders.  It was flown as a symbol of hate.  A message to say, we don't want black people here... and whenever I see it, my mind goes.. RETREAT... RETREAT.  They don't want me here... and I'm not going there (if it is private property).  BUT.  I don't have a problem with bumper stickers and ornamental flags in people's yards because it tell me clearly, that the people who are loving these flags are people that I need to avoid, for my own safety and well being.  This girl likes a good warning.

In other news, After failing subway 101 last month by trying to take it to Ikea and ending up in an UBER before finding out there was a free ferry, I can say I am conquering the subway.  So not only did I pass subway 101 the other day, by getting to my destination, but I passed Subway 102 today.  I got to my destination and home which included transferring trains and getting back home.  Phone apps really help!

I just look up where I am going and figure out the closest subway stops.  Then I plug it into the little app, and where I am, and it tells me where to get on, where to get off, and where to transfer.  Note:  Figure it out before you leave though and take a screen shot of the route because the app my not work under ground.  I do the same with my map app when I am walking, because these apps get very confused around tall building, so make your map, screen save and proceed.  Plus that is a huge battery saving. 

Finally, being in a small apartment with a modest amount of belongings is having an effect on me. I love it. It is making my want to go home and throw away half of the items in my closet.  I am going to do it too.  Get rid of half my belongings because I don't need them, and I don't use them. I am starting with my closet, but over time, I plan to go through the entire house and give myself the minimalistic uncluttered environment I deserve.  I am very excited, and I can't wait.  

I completed a video this week that talks about the process of finding an apartment.  I think my next video will be in my Atlanta closet.

Until next time...