Better Business Bureau

Consumers have filed more than 1,400 complaints to the Better Business Bureau in the past year alleging two debt collection companies are going after them on behalf of now-bankrupt Hollywood Video to pay late fees they don’t owe, according to Stltoday.com. The two companies, West Bay and Universal Fidelity, are working on behalf of the trustee in charge of Hollywood Video’s bankruptcy, and, in most cases, they’ve stopped pursuing the debts once consumers disputed the claims.

Hollywood Video’s Debt Collectors Allegedly Demanding Bogus Late Fees

Cracked Deal: Top scams of 2010 (lesson for 2011)

Are you a sucker?

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No need to be! Instead, learn from other suckers’ mistakes. The Better Business Bureau released its ‘Top 10 Scams and Rip-Offs of 2010,’ and warns these are mistakes that can and will easily be repeated this year as well.

So educate yourself and don’t be a fool for any of these scams:

Job Hunter Scams – If you’re looking for a job, beware of any ‘recruiters’ or potential employers that ask you for personal information (like a bank account #) or charges a fee claiming it’s necessary to be considered for the job.   

Debt Relief and Settlement Services – Watch out for any 3rd-party debt settler that asks for upfront fees; chances are they won’t help you manage your debt but cause you more!

Work from Home Schemes – If everyone made thousands of dollars a month from working from home, we’d all do it. If it sounds too good to be true, it is. Avoid any scheme that promises to teach the secrets to making money online—like by buying adwords for example.

Not So “Free” Trial Offers –  This is one of my biggest pet peeves: 1. companies offer a ‘free’ trial of a product or service, 2. to start the trial, they require your credit card info, 3. you get the free trial but you also get billed subsequently for more product/further service. They make it impossible to cancel once you’ve gotten the freebie! AVOID.

For the full list, go here.

Valve Received "F" from Better Business Bureau

Valve Received “F” from Better Business Bureau

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) recently gave Valve Corporation an “F” in their rating system (check here for more on how it works). That doesn’t mean that Valve is untrustworthy, manipulative, or trying to swindle you out of money, but that they are doing something terribly wrong – something that all businesses should hold in high regard. It will come as no surprise that Valve Customer Service…

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I visited this Buddhist temple in Chinatown. I always feel peace and mild joy when I see the beautiful shrines with colorful offerings. When I got home I decided to check out what the meaning is behind some of the items typically placed on a shrine.

From buddhanet.net

[• We make offerings to create positive energy and develop good qualities such as giving with a respectful attitude and gratitude.

Offering of Water

• Water symbolizes purity, clarity and calmness.
• This reminds us to practise the Buddha’s teachings, so as to cleanse our minds, which are full of desire, ill-will and ignorance, and to attain the state of purity.

Offering of Fruit

• Fruit symbolizes the ultimate fruit of Enlightenment which is our goal.
• Fruit also reminds us that all actions will have their effect.

Offering of Flowers

• The freshness, fragrance and beauty of flowers are impermanent.
• Fresh and beautiful flowers will soon become withered, scentless and discoloured.
• This reminds us of the Buddha’s teaching that all things are impermanent.
• We should value what we have now and live in the present.]

This is just a sample of some of the objects seen in the picture and their meanings..no amount of googling turned up the significance of Cheez-its.
On a related note (of offering, not Cheez-its)- I want to offer what I can to the people of Japan who are suffering through the devastation of the tsunami/earthquake. I chose to donate to International Rescue Committee. If anyone is thinking of donating, the Better Business Bureau has a list of accredited organizations from which to choose. 
http://www.bbb.org/us/article/charities-providing-japan-earthquake-relief-26046
https://www.rescue.org/donate/japan?ms=ws_ircz_jpn_zzzz_ts_1103zz

Don’t fall for the ‘One Ring’ cell phone scam

Word to the wise: If your cell phone receives a one-ring phone call from a number you do not recognize, do NOT call the number back to inquire about whom was calling you.

The Better Business Bureau Serving Wisconsin is warning cell phone users about a new scam that can result in unauthorized charges appearing on monthly wireless statements.

It’s called the “One Ring” scam because the scammers program computers to send thousands of calls to random cell phone numbers, ring once and then disconnect. The scammers then hope you are curious enough about the phone call that you return the call right away…

Continue reading “Don’t fall for the 'One Ring’ cell phone scam” on OnMilwaukee.

Guys! Really important PSA.

Do NOT EVER trust Kay Jewelers to do a credit check on you for anything in their store.

It is completely up to you whether you decide to support them by buying their stuff in the future after reading this, but please BEWARE:

A couple months ago I did a credit check with them for an engagement ring my boyfriend and I were looking at, to give us an idea of what we could afford in the future. My boyfriend didn’t have his information on him so we used my information to gauge our eligibility since we got our credit cards at the same time and both paid our cards off every time we had a bill.

The lady said I had to give her some information in order to find out whether I was eligible to be accepted for a payment plan and what it would look like.

Of course, I had fantastic credit so I was approved for the ring if we wanted to purchase but we were window shopping so I forgot about it even happening until today.

When I received a Kay Jewelers CREDIT CARD. With my name on it.

The people in the store had signed me up for a credit card WITHOUT my consent.

I’ve read online about a bunch of other people complaining about this underhanded, grossly deceitful behavior from this company. I am definitely not alone. Please, please signal boost this fraudulent behavior so it doesn’t happen to someone else.

I now have to go about canceling the card, reporting it as fraud, and reporting them to the Better Business Bureau. Which is basically the only thing you can do to a business that so takes advantage of people like that.

m.youtube.com
BBB Scholarship Finalist: McKenna Johnson, Kentwood High School - YouTube

Hey guys! So I’m a finalist for this $10,000 scholarship and 25% of the decision for the winner is based on the number of video views, so it would be super awesome if you guys could check it out real quick and maybe share it. It’s only 90 seconds! Thanks!

Happy Hundred Years, BBB!

K got to go to a party this month celebrating the centennial of her employer, the Better Business Bureau. Held at the New Children’s Museum downtown, the event was an evening of live music, delicious food and drink, and costumes - in a nod to the era in which the BBB got its start, the party was 20s themed. We had a photo booth with lots of props; the live band was a big band featuring our CEO on trombone; and the cash bar was tucked into the “barn” portion of the museum to mimic a speakeasy. Everyone in attendance had a great time, including all of the employees (several of whom are pictured below)!

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The Better Business Bureau and Charity Navigator are two of the best impartial sources of information on charities and how they are run, and neither one of these resources has a very good picture of Kony 2012. Huffington Post reported on an alleged instance of fraud related to an online voting drive

There are always the Red CrossDoctors Without Borders and other well-established organizations to donate to, any of which have high ratings and long histories of helping people in need. But in the same purview as Kony 2012 and Invisible Children, Charity Navigator has a list of other organizations with better track records and ratings that may be a better use of your money. They include the East Meets West Foundationthe Bishop Gassis Sudan Relief Fundthe Haitian Health Foundation, and Fonkoze USA.

But the record of the group is anything but solid, as evidenced by The Council on Foreign Relations, which has critiqued Invisible Children and similar groups:

“In their campaigns, such organizations have manipulated facts for strategic purposes, exaggerating the scale of LRA abductions and murders and emphasizing the LRA’s use of innocent children as soldiers, and portraying Kony – a brutal man, to be sure – as uniquely awful, a Kurtz-like embodiment of evil. They rarely refer to the Ugandan [government] atrocities or those of Sudan’s People’s Liberation Army, such as attacks against civilians or looting of civilian homes and businesses, or the complicated regional politics fueling the conflict." 

As a registered not-for-profit, Invisible Children’s finances are public. Last year, the organization spent $8,676,614. Only 32% went to direct services, with much of the rest going to staff salaries, travel and transport, and film production. This is far from ideal, and Charity Navigator rates their accountability ¼ stars because they haven’t had their finances externally audited. 

In response to this explosion of interest about the Kony 2012 film, there have been hundreds of thousands of comments in support of the arrest of Joseph Kony and the work of Invisible Children. However, there have also been a few pieces written that are putting out false or mis-leading information about these efforts.

You can evaluate Invisible Children’s 2011 budget, which is public online, for yourself: $1,074,273 was allocated to travel and $1,724,993 was allocated to staff compensation, the rest went to making the video.

visiblechildren.tumblr.com

stopthescam.tumblr.com

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Hey.
So yeah.
This again.
Please.
We’re really close.
But someone’s catching up.
I’ll love you forever and ever.
Please.
My friends are leaving for Europe and can’t share this video.
Tarrlok hates this video.
Don’t be like Tarrlok.
The Doctor would like this video.
He would.
Obama approves.
Probably.
Please.
….heeeeelp meeee….