Thursday, August 29, 2013

Let's try it again... this time in three part harmony.

It has come to my attention that I have again neglected to write anything in months... it is not that I do not have anything to say its just that I think I sometimes hold it back.  Do I have to be inspirational in posts? Do I have to write something of value to others?  What if my mom reads it or far worse my boss?  These are the things that go through my mind and cripple my virtual life.  I think perhaps it is time to let it all hang out.  The thing about most online experiences is that you can be something other than who you are.  You can portray the perfect you by only sharing the good or providing the right advice or the textbook insight but really, who is that perfect?

I am determined to get back two writing regularly and share my experiences and thoughts as they come, not as I want them to be perceived.  I would also vow to stop complaining so much about certain companies.  It is not important in the end (although I will say Chase can suck it).  Back to being just me, like it or leave it.

More to come.

Monday, December 31, 2012

A nod to the past, a wink to the future!

New Years Eve 2012

It is New Year's Eve and like many, I am thinking about what I hope to accomplish in 2013.  For me, this starts with what I started in 2012 and what I will carry forward into the new year.  The past year has been somewhat of a blur although, I will remember it as the year I finally took charge and started many of the things I had been talking about or thinking about for many years.

A brief look back!

In July of 2012, I decided I wanted to run a 5K race.  I had not run or really exercised in a good 20 years.  So with that, I signed up for the Color Vibe 5K. I gave my self 8 weeks to get ready and I completed the race in a respectable time.  But that was not enough, shortly after completing the race, I was talked in to running a 10K trail race at Mendon Ponds Park with an incline of 1,000 ft per 6 miles.   Again, I had just about 8 weeks to prepare.  Throughout training, I managed to run a personal best of 9.5 miles.  I completed the trail run and had a blast.  Again, a respectable time for a beginner but nothing to right home about.  I completed the running season with a great Thanksgiving run at the Webster Turkey Trot.  This was a 4.4 mile run with 5,000 of my closest friends!  All in all, I went from not running at all to completing three races and managed to run about 200 miles from July through November.

In addition to running and trail running, I also managed to get a good mountain biking excursion in also.  Nothing to fancy but it had been almost 25 years since I had rode so it was great to get back out there an try it again.  I can definitely see this as something that I will pick back up in the spring and throughout the summer.

It wasn't all about exercise over the past year, I also fed my mind!  After several years of thinking about it, I went back to school.  I was accepted into the M.S. in Business Management program.  With any luck, I will graduate from the program in the spring of 2014.

A brief look ahead

So what will 2013 bring?  What personal goals to hope to achieve?  Well, for starters, I will continue on with my education.  Classes will start on January 14th so that will keep me busy.  I am looking forward to learning new things and getting a different perspective.

I have a renewed commitment to blogging and for getting my personal blog and my professional blog on track and increasing readership.  This will of course depend on content but I am hopeful that I can establish a good rhythm and get things off to a good start.  This will also require getting out of the comfort zone a bit and  increasing my use of social media.

One of the more tangible goals is that I begin training for my first half marathon starting January 1st.  I am planning to run the Flower City Half Marathon on April 28th, 2013.  This will be a big challenge for me and I am looking forward to the training and focus that will be required to complete the race.  If this goes OK, I may even try a full marathon!  I will be blogging about this journey (or at least that is the plan!).

Simplicity:  Above all this coming year, I would like to try and achieve as much simplicity in my daily life as possible.  I will try to remove as much clutter and noise from my life as possible and will try to achieve a harmonious balance.  We all have room in our lives to cut through the noise and simplify life to necessities.

Happy New Year to all!

Monday, October 1, 2012

T-Mobile Responds

For those of you keeping score, I received a response from T-Mobile on Friday regarding my attempt to get my bill reduced.  Prior to sending the letter that precedes this post, I took it upon myself to plead my case to the FCC by submitting a complaint.  The gist of my complaint was that the Terms and Services were only available on the website and that I wanted proof that I agreed to the those terms and conditions noting that simply posting things on a website does not make them binding.

I received a message from T-Mobile Friday who referenced my FCC letter stating that while it was against their policy, they have adjusted my bill and prorated that amount for the four days of service I actually incurred.  I am totally fine with this bill and am happy to pay the amount I actually owe.  As soon as I receive the new bill, I will pay it in full!

There are two things that come from this.  First, it is too bad that one has to go through all the trouble of writing letters and making formal complaints in order to get a result that is fair both to the company and the consumer.  Again, had they shown me where I agreed to the terms posted on the website, I would have gladly paid.  Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, the FCC follows through on complaints that are submitted.  This is good for consumers and provides some level of comfort that following the process can work.

More importantly, this is my second successful use of government resources to lodge consumer complaints.  You might remember a year or two ago when Chase Bank was giving me grief about interest rates.  Again, through the proper process, I was able to resolve that issue as well.

The moral of the story is to stand by your morals and convictions and don't give up.  If you believe you have been wronged, you have the ability to correct it.  Be creative, understand the company policies and understand what federal agency oversees the industry.  It may take time but if you are determined you can do it!


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Open Letter to T-Mobile Customer Care


T-Mobile Customer Care
P.O. Box 37380
Albuquerque, NM 87176-7380



To whom it may concern:

I am writing to you in regards to account number XXXXXXXXX which was inactivate on August 9th, 2012.  The cell number that was attached to the account was XXX-XXX-XXXX which was originally established in 2002.  The purpose of this letter is dispute the final bill on the account which I received by mail on 9/11/12 in the amount of $60.16.

The bill reflects charges from 8/3/12 – 9/2/12.  On August 9th, I ported the cell number to a different service which inactivated my T-Mobile account.  I fully expected a bill that reflected partial charges covering the 8/3/12-8/9/12 dates.  The bill I received was for a full month of service.  When I called your customer service line, I spoke with a representative who explained that the terms and conditions listed on your website state that the charge is valid.  When I asked to speak to a supervisor, I was placed on hold for roughly 15 minutes before being disconnected.  When I called back, I was again placed on hold and eventually spoke with Briana F, a supervisor in the call center. 

I asked Briana to please send me the contract that I signed where the terms and conditions listed on your website were acknowledged.  Briana explained that she could not do that because she does not have that information again, she directed me to the website.  My complaint and dispute is that simply adding new terms and conditions to your website do not prove that they have been acknowledged by the customer.  I do not question that I should pay for service for the portion of August I held an account, I dispute that I should pay for the entire month based what is listed on your website.  Your Customer Service team stated that the only time I would have been made aware of this is when I originally signed up for service back in 2002.  Furthermore, they stated that had I cancelled the number, I would not have incurred a charge for the full month.  These are their words.  I would like some proof that I acknowledge these terms other than “please go to the website” as website pages can be updated at any time and simply posting an update without user acceptance seems like it is cheating the consumer.  In addition, it seems shady that if I terminate the number there is no charge but if I port it there is.  This seems like a “jealousy” tax.

The resolution I would like to see is simply an adjustment to my bill reflecting the usage from 8/3/12 – 8/9/12.  I would also like to formally acknowledge my dispute of the charges so no interest rates accrue while this is being sorted out.  Please be advised that short of resolution, I will continue to dispute the charges through the proper government consumer channels.

for information on how to submit a complaint regarding billing practices to the FCC or the Attorney General, please visit: http://www.the-cell-phone-advisor.com/file-your-cell-phone-complaint.html

T-Mobile: Terms and Conditions

I wanted to share an issue that I am currently involved in with T-Mobile to hopefully keep come of you from experiencing the same issue.  The problem revolves around cancellation of your mobile server, how you cancel it, and what charges you incur.

I had been a 10yr customer of T-Mobile with lines for both my wife and I.  When I opted to move to an iPhone, I opted to leave T-Mobile.  I first move my line, which was out of contract off the T-Mobile service. When I did this, I moved the line, after a billing period, ported my number, closed my account and received a bill for partial usage for the day or two of service.  This seems reasonable and at best, a non-repeatable process.

My wife's phone came off of contract on Aug 9th, the billing cycle began on Aug 3rd.  When the phone came off of contract, I purchased her an iPhone and ported the number.  When I arrived home, I tried logging into my T-Mobile account and sure enough, it would not let me stating the account is inactive.  This is where the fun begins.  I anticipated a bill from T-Mobile for the partial usage incurred from August 3rd - August 9th however, what I got was a bill for the entire month from August 3rd - September 2nd.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Customer Service is Dead!

I recently had an experience with my wireless carrier that left me feeling less than satisfied with the company.  In fact, it seems to be a growing trend not only among wireless carries but many types of service providers and it begs the question, what ever happened to customer server?   There was a time where companies, great companies, prided themselves on customer service.  Some companies such as L.L. Bean and Apple still thrive on this concept while others seem to only care about the bottom line.

I will begin by sharing my experience with Sprint wireless.  I had been a long time customer of T-Mobile but when I decided I wanted to move from Android to iPhone, I had to select a new provider (or buy a hacked phone).  After looking into the options, I opted to go with Sprint as my provider.  I moved my phone over a few months back when I came off contract and in general have been happy with the service and the customer service.  In early August, my wife's phone came off contract and when it did, I ran down to my local Sprint store to purchase her an iPhone and move her line to the service.

To understand the costs involved, I had several online chat sessions with Sprint asking a number of questions etc.  When I showed up at the store, I was informed and new exactly what I wanted to do.  I selected the phone, and asked for an upgrade to a family plan.  I was told at the store that the cost of the service monthly would be $149.99 plus tax and that there would not be an activation fee for adding the new line.  This all sounded fine and I signed away.

My bill came and in reviewing it, I immediately noticed that I was being charged an activation fee.  At that point, I immediately contacted billing support and outlined the issue.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Spotting Disruptive Technology

This was a pretty good clip.  Entrepreneur turned investor.  In case you missed it on Mashable, here it is!