Fearless Consumer

Shining light: But not through the roof!
Published on Dec 11th, 2003
0 comments The sigh of relief that Diana Bolden's going to breathe when she finally moves into her new home may be more forceful than most such sighs of relief. That's because the construction process, which...
Preferred provider: Who to call when a tree falls
Published on Dec 4th, 2003
0 comments On the night of August 27, during a thunderstorm Donna DeGroat describes as "furious," an 80-foot white pine fell almost parallel to one side of her house. A gate was destroyed, and a fence, some...
MSN billing: This issue is not resolved
Published on Nov 20th, 2003
0 comments "What a bunch of idiots." That's Robert Crytzer's assessment of the folks at MSN after almost five months of trying to intervene on his 80-year-old mother's behalf. It begins with her purchase of a...
Smoking! What messed up the engine?
Published on Nov 13th, 2003
0 comments When it comes to items you hope you'll never have to return, truck engines have to be near the top of the list. William Mason, sadly, is about to do just that. Mason bought a new engine for his 1986...
Shattered: Case of the exploding cooktop
Published on Nov 6th, 2003
0 comments Last June's happy hour and barbecue for regional neuropsychologists included some unplanned fireworks: the explosion of the hosts' glass cooktop. Fortunately, no one was hurt– but the aftermath...
Gone cuckoo: The case of the missing clock
Published on Oct 30th, 2003
0 comments It seemed like serendipity when Katherine Russo saw the ad for cuckoo clocks; she knew that her youngest– of 10– grandchildren wanted one. And this one sounded perfect: "Authentic looking...
Sterling treatment: No refund on 'amenity'
Published on Oct 23rd, 2003
0 comments Daniel McNamara was among the first wave of residents when he moved into Sterling University Place on August 1. The sparkling new apartment complex, which is located at the intersection of Ridge...
Weighty records: Dieters to get files, not money
Published on Oct 16th, 2003
0 comments Positive Changes Hypnosis promised its clients that they would "adopt the characteristics, behavior, and habits of naturally thin people." Instead, at least three of their clients adopted the...
Shining Knight? One down, one to go
Published on Oct 9th, 2003
0 comments "He never showed." That was Floyd Artrip's report on John Knight, who had promised, many times since last March, to do some repair work on gutters he'd installed on Artrip's home in Inglecress. I...
Cheaper rub: Why Tess was hospitalized
Published on Oct 2nd, 2003
0 comments The Hartz Mountain Corporation bills itself as "Every Pet's Best Friend," but Joyce Hillstrom's tortoise-shell kitten, Tess, might quibble with that. Hillstrom adopted Tess last May, and, over the...
Test pattern: Dish rebates prove elusive
Published on Sep 4th, 2003
0 comments Last week I wrote about Ann Neumark's frustration because she can't get local stations on Dish Network; last January I wrote about Elizabeth Sutton's frustration because she couldn't get her $140...
Dishing it: 'I want my 'VPT'
Published on Aug 28th, 2003
0 comments When Ann Neumark and her husband moved from Mill Creek to their new house on Route 20 South four years ago, they could no longer receive cable TV, and so they switched to satellite–...
A painted house: Is it smooth or slick?
Published on Aug 21st, 2003
0 comments It's been nine months since Brenda Beverly moved into her house on Chippewa Lane at Lake Monticello, nine months since she walked through the house with her real-estate agent and one of the builder's...
Does not compute: Is it those Dell interns again?
Published on Aug 14th, 2003
0 comments Two weeks ago, I covered Kay Slaughter's go-round with Dell Computer, about which, after almost 10 months of problems with her Inspiron 4100 laptop and multiple efforts to solve the problem over the...
Bed check: couple ticked by $2,300 mattress
Published on Jul 17th, 2003
0 comments "I didn't pay almost $2,300," Ruby Keffer declared, "to have the springs popping." Keffer is describing the Kingsdown Body System 3 mattress set she and her husband Randy bought from Mattress Gallery...
Double-dip: Concert-goers, bring your email
Published on Jul 3rd, 2003
0 comments For Valentine's Day this year, Lynn Ramsson bought tickets for herself and her fiancé to hear Southern Culture on the Skids at Starr Hill Music Hall– or at least she thought she did. The...
Satellite hassle: Look up, down... all around
Published on Jan 9th, 2003
0 comments Twice during the last couple of weeks, ads for Directv have popped up while I've been online– and when I walked into Circuit City one evening before Christmas, I practically tripped over signs...
Infuriating! Scams, dodges, bumblings madden consumers
Published on Dec 26th, 2002
0 comments 2002 yielded a wide variety of consumer concerns, from an Internet scam (foundmoney.com) to animal cruelty (Sterling & Reid Bros. Circus). Most businesses made only one appearance, but over the...
No smiley face
Published on Apr 25th, 2002
0 comments This week's consumer contretemps started when the aggrieved parties failed to define the terms of their relationship and relied, instead, on assumption. That's a common feature of many relationships...
Promises, promises
Published on Mar 28th, 2002
0 comments The theme this week is broken promises. To illustrate, I have two consumer tales; one ended well and the other one didn't. First, the success story, which began with an email message from bluegrass...
Notice: this training can be hazardous to your wallet
Published on Mar 14th, 2002
0 comments "NOTICE TO THE GENERAL PUBLIC," blares the full-page ad in the Daily Progress. The official look continues below: "Federal Job Eligibility Orientation. GREAT BENEFITS AND JOB SECURITY With Starting...
Down memory lane
Published on Mar 7th, 2002
0 comments The death of a business is dismal for everyone involved, especially if the business began as a dream. Once you've weathered that kind of devastation yourself, it's not possible to watch someone else...