Entries Tagged as 'Complaints'

Kingston Counterfeits

Around the end of last November I ordered a Kingston DataTraveler 150 32 GB USB 2.0 Flash Drive (DT150/32GB Orange/Black).  When it came in it seemed to work, and I didn’t really think anything of it, but when I started to try and copy large files to it, or put a significant amount of information on it (which actually wasn’t until around the first of this year) I continually had issues with it.

I contacted Kingston the first week of March to try and get a handle on the problem or an RMA to return it for a replacement.  Kingston then requested that I send them some identifying markings from the metal USB plug — well my unit didn’t have any of those identifying markings, and since those marking would have been covered by the cap I couldn’t have told whether a new product I was interested in purchasing had them or not without opening the package in the store and taking off the cap (and of course mail order there’s no way to do it).

What was really alarming is I had a few other Kingston USB flash drives, and I took a look at them — they also didn’t have any markings on them.  So from that I would have to conclude either Kingston just implemented this and the units I have are from before that time, or all the units I have are counterfeit.  The truly alarming thing is I’m 99.9% positive that all of these units came from Fry’s Electronics, Microcenter, and Amazon.

This indicates to me that there’s a severe problem with the distribution channel of Kingston products, and that the Kingston name brand (and the Kingston warranty) is worthless.  Which means, the purchase of Kingston products should be avoided since they are frequently counterfeited and Kingston appears to be only interested in protecting themselves, not the consumers of their products (since consumers really have no way of knowing if a product is counterfeit).

As Nancy used to say “JUST SAY NO” to Kingston products.

Kingston DataTraveler 150 - 32 GB USB 2.0 Flash Drive

Originally posted 2010-03-15 02:00:19.

AT&T, the company we love to hate.

On May 2nd AT&T will implement usage caps for all their DSL and U-Verse.

ADSL customer will be allowed 150GB per month, and VDSL (U-Verse) customer will be allowed 250GB per month. There’s vague language about exceeding the caps incurring a $10 fee for every additional 50GB used. And I say vague because it seems somewhat discretionary.

AT&T stated that only 2% of their customer would be effected by the changed in the terms of service imposing the new caps (that seems to be what AT&T always says, but if only 2% are effected it would seem that they are going to a great deal of trouble to address a non-issue).

AT&T will provide tools for monitoring usage, as well as pro-actively alert customers when there usage approaches the caps.

Using a notification structure similar to our new wireless data plans, we’ll proactively notify customers when they exceed 65%, 90% and 100% of the monthly usage allowance.

We are committed to providing a great experience for all of our Internet customers. We will communicate early and often with these customers so they are well aware of their options before they incur any additional usage charges. Importantly, we are not reducing the speeds, terminating service or limiting available data like some others in the industry.

And while AT&T insists that this change is only to deter the bandwidth hogs — one has to ask the question, what about people who just want to watch Netflix (or other streaming video) every night… are they “hogs” or just using their internet service in a manner that AT&T originally committed to them they would be able to.

To me this is yet another case of bait and switch where American big-business does as they want.

I certainly have no love or allegiance to AT&T — and I will be happy to jump ship the moment something better comes along; and something better always comes along.

Originally posted 2011-03-24 02:00:09.

Can you hear me now?

Does it occur to you that if a company has a slogan like “Can you hear me now?” perhaps that’s because it’s a question many of their customer have to ask over and over…

I’ve had Verizon Wireless service since the late 90s — and except for a two year period where I had a flat rate regional service in San Francisco I would say I was relatively happy with them.

Two years ago, when I started to make preparations to move, I opened an account with AllTel.

In San Francisco, I roamed on Sprint with my AllTel phone, but I still had my two Verizon phone.

I have to say, in San Francisco there’s no question that Verizon offers far superior service to Sprint.

However now that I don’t live in San Francisco, and Verizon has purchased AllTel I’m just not that happy with service any longer.

Frequently I have cases where my phone doesn’t ring… I don’t get a SMS message or voice mail notification for a day (or more)… in the middle of a call the other party can’t hear me, or I can’t hear the other party for thirty seconds (or so) and then it’s fine… twice I’ve been the unwilling participant in conference calls (right in the middle of talking to someone I wanted to talk too, suddenly I had two strangers on the call instead of who I’d called)… constantly I have issues with data connections.

The funny thing is everything worked just fine here before Verizon took over AllTel — but the cellular service is getting to be extremely unreliable, they’re closing several of their stores, and they keep trying to coerce old AllTel customers to change over to Verizon plans and pay more for less.

Well — I’m tired of it… and I’ve started looking around.

I pay about $110 [including fees and taxes] month for 350 minutes of voice, unlimited data, unlimited text, free nights starting at 7:00 pm, free weekends, free mobile-to-mobile, eleven air time free numbers I designate, and nation wide roaming (of course they did try and charge me $86 for roaming in my home area and that took three months to correct).  For that I use about 2.5GB of data and 3700 minutes per month; and don’t incur any extra airtime charges (but it does require being cautious and having to plan ahead; I have to put customer service number I intend to call in my air time free number the day before I call them).

For about $90 [including fees and taxes] per month (with a regional carrier) I can get unlimited voice, unlimited data, unlimited text, and nationwide roaming — no games, no need to plan ahead, simple.  I’m asking myself could service be any worse?

The only down side is a new two year contract.

Originally posted 2009-10-09 01:00:25.

Define Your Vehicle’s True Identity

“Define Your Vehicle’s True Identity”, that is the slogan of carID — http://www.carid.com/ –I found this company when looking for a trunk mat for my new vehicle.

I’ve got a great deal of experience with WeatherTech — http://www.weathertech.com/ — I’ve used those in a number of vehicles, but they didn’t make a mat to fit.  So I did some reading and I liked what I read about Lloyd Mats — http://www.lloydmats.com/rubbertite.htm –Rubber Tite series.  They got favorable reviews, and they seemed at a fairly reasonable price point.

Well, like always, I started out pricing by using the internet to see where I might be able to save a little money…

That’s when I stumbled on carID — I’d never heard of them before; and frankly based on my experiences to date I certainly won’t be recommending them.

Here is the note I sent to them on 14-Mar-2011 at 1:36AM CDT

I came in with a 20% off coupon; and the first page says $44.91 for the mats for an 2011 Elantra (Limited – Sedan) — I was looking for cargo and front+back; but when I try and add either to my cart they appear at $67.41 — that’s a pretty hefty difference.

Referrer: http://www.carid.com/2011-hyundai-elantra-floor-mats/lloyd-floor-mats-161257.html

Here is what I got back from them on 17-March at 3:12PM CDT

Hello Soles,
Thank you for you interest in our products, we look forward to serving you.
Unfortunately we don’t provide discounts on weathertech items.

Sincerely,

Anthony Vertser
Customer Service
Tel 800.505.3274 Ext 883
anthony.ve@carid.com

Right… Lloyd and WeatherTech are two separate companies…

So here is what I sent back to them just a little while ago:

I do appreciate you taking the time to reply to my inquiry.. but I don’t think Lloyd (makers of Rubber Tite) and Weather Tech are even slightly related companies. In fact, I don’t think Weather Tech makes a custom mat set for 2011 Elantra Sedan (I’m quite happy with those in my 4Runner – I looked at their offering first).

I’m beginning to get the feeling that your company might not quite meet the bar for ethical advertising and business practices… it just feels questionable at best, with great potential for at least bordering on fraud.

Perhaps I’ll just take my money else where… I get the feeling it would hard to be more disappointed in dealing with an eTailer than I have been with yours.

I’ll be happy to share my experience with others – I wouldn’t want you to be deprived of the exposure.

– LR Soles

Maybe it’s unfair to gauge a company from one interaction — but you know the old saying

Fool me once, shame on you.

Fool me twice, shame on me.

I’ll take my business elsewhere – I don’t mind paying a couple dollars more for an item to avoid what looks like it has great potential to become a nightmare situation quickly — particularly with a statement like:

NOTE: These mats will be custom manufactured to your specifications and once ordered may not be returned for credit or exchange.

On their order page — what if there’s a mistake in their processing, a defect…

I certainly offered them a chance to explain the pricing discrepancy to me; and perhaps there is an explanation — perhaps I made an error… but their response just doesn’t cut it; and doesn’t encourage me to want to spend money there.

If you purchase from them, use a credit card that’s issued through a financial institution you have a good relationship with — sometime tells me you just might need a charge back to get satisfaction.

Originally posted 2011-03-18 02:00:25.

Is Adorama a SPAMmer?

At the bottom of this post are links to the first and second post I made concerning an order I’d placed with Adorama.

Yesterday I recieved an Unsolicted Commercial Email (UCE) from Adorama; apparently they felt it was quite acceptable to subscribe an email address they obtained from Amazon as part of order fulfillment to their mailing list.  While the email did contain an “unsubscribe” link, I never authorized any use of my personal information beyond the fulfilment of my order (and I just terminated the disposable email address on file with Amazon and created a new one).

I have written a complaint to Amazon; we’ll see what action they take (my guess is none, even though UCE is illegal in Washington State as well as California).

I don’t do OPT-OUT, I don’t do business with SPAMmers, and I don’t do business with businesses who support SPAMmers — so at the moment Adorama is back on my shit list, and depending on the action Amazon takes they may be on my shit list as well!

It always amazes me companies that think so little of themselves and the value of their advertisements that they need to force customers to get their junk mail, rather than provide them with the opportunity to specify their interest upfront.  Seems a consistent gauge of a bad company — they do what ever they want, why should they care if it’s legal, ethical, or good for business in the long term.

 

References:

  • California Business and Professions Code Section 17538.45
  • Chapter 19 of the Revised Code of WA, RCW 19.190

 

Previous posts:

__________

POST-NOTE:

Adorama assures me that email addresses obtained from Amazon are not automatically subscribed to their mailing lists.  However, customer’s who place orders directly with Adorama appear to have their email addresses automatically subscribed to their mailing list.  And my address was automatically subscribed because they placed a replacement order for me as part of the fulfillment process of my Amazon order.  From my perspective subscribing any email address to a mailing list without first obtaining a customer’s permission amounts to UCE and it totally unacceptable irrespective of the fact that you include an unsubscribe link in the email — it would have been far more acceptable to include a subscribe link in the order acknowledgement or shipping notice (and allow the customer to decide).

You need to make your own decision as to whether or not Adorama’s actions are ethical (and legal in your state of residence); but for me I don’t deal with companies who feel they may do as they please with my personal and confidential information (and my email addresses are personal and confidential).

Originally posted 2009-01-21 01:00:20.

The new SPAM medium…

It looks like Facebook and Twitter and the like are the new medium of choice for unethical companies to send SPAM via…

This morning I received a message from SurfCanister via both Facebook and Twitter (I don’t have an account on either of those, and both were sent to the same [free] email address).

I don’t do business with companies that send SPAM or any sort — and it appears that neither Facebook or Twitter have created sufficient safeguards to protect the public from companies with low ethics.

Here’s a good policy for both of them:

1) A single complaint of SPAM, suspend the offender’s account for 30-days.

2) Two or more complaints of SPAM, permanently close the offender’s account.

That should put a quick end to using social media for SPAM… though it seem to me that the social media companies are not very ethical themselves, and they seem to want to encourage this type messaging.

Someone might want to point out that California has an anti-SPAM law, and both Facebook and Twitter are headquarted in California.

Originally posted 2012-06-08 09:00:56.

Windows 7 User Account Flaw

I’d say this is just an issue with Windows 7, but it’s actually been present in Windows and Windows Server since Vista…

Plainly put, the organization of information in Windows can become corrupt to the point that Windows is unable to create new users.

Really?

Windows (based on NT) is over a decade old… and to have such a basic flaw seems un-thinkable!

Let’s see, to create a user…

  1. Check to make sure the log-on identifier is unique;
  2. Create a security descriptor;
  3. Create a user home directory;
  4. Copy user default template files to the home directory;
  5. Apply the security descriptor to the user home directory and files; and
  6. Update the user database.

Seems pretty straight forward to me.

And not only is it an essential function of an operating system, but it’s one that we should have every expectation shouldn’t ever fail — and if it does, there should be a procedure to fix it.

Oh, there are procedures to fix it — in fact that are so many procedures you could probably re-install the operating system a hundred times before trying all of them… and there are more than one “Microsoft Fix-It” automated fixes as well, and trust me — your odds of winning the lottery are probably better than one of them actually resolving your issues.

All I can say is that regardless of the potential Windows might have, Microsoft’s actions indicate that it’s not intended to be anything more than a toy operating system — and never was.

Originally posted 2013-09-03 12:00:00.

Amazon Merchants

Once again I’ve been disappointed with the “service” and “products” provided by an Amazon merchant.

I’ve ask Amazon how to inhibit the display of any and all items except those sold by them; I don’t care to deal with the questionable merchants that use Amazon’s sites.  And obviously Amazon doesn’t stand behind them either (look over their A-Z Guarantee, and notice that a person who buys an item every day has the same lifetime limits as one who rarely buys — sounds to me like Amazon is afraid to offer a real guarantee — why should I have more confidence).

Anyway, rather than play the game with Amazon I’ve just opened a charge dispute with my credit card company (which in this case happens to be an Amazon credit card).

If Amazon doesn’t have a way to block the display non-Amazon merchandise I’ll close my account (and credit card).

Originally posted 2009-04-08 12:00:24.

Here’s what happens to most printed phone books…

If you advertise in a phone book, here’s where your advertising dollars are ending up — and you’re helping to destroy the environment as well; cutting down trees, wasting energy to produce and distribute (and recycle). Think about where you spend your advertising dollars and make both effective and green choices.

Phone books in a recycling dumpster in Milton, Santa Rosa County, Florida, US.

Originally posted 2013-11-29 22:00:39.

#MeToo

I’ll open by underscoring this is my personal opinion.

I’ve read and watched a number of individuals come forward about being sexually harassed in the past — and I think that’s a great travesty that people would take advantage of another based on their position, social status, wealth, or power — but let’s wake up here… that is how the world has operated (and we’ve all turned blind eyes for years, decades, millenniums), so let’s ratchet down the (false) indignation and work for a newer world order where harassment is a thing of the past.

I see this as an issue were we need not only looks at who did what — but when it was done.

Yes, the standards 10, 20, 30, 40, 50… years ago were very different than it is today.  And the way things were done might be appalling by today’s standards, but none the less that’s how they were done and we all knew it (don’t even try to pretend you thought all those stories of the “casting couch” and “sexitaries” was just locker-room banter… you knew it was true, and simply chose to do nothing about it).

Here on MLK day I’ve decided to share my thoughts — though let’s not pretend like MLK was a saint… he too was a sinner. He too (seemingly) had issues with equal rights for all (you didn’t hear him mention women, you didn’t hear him mention races other than white and black, you didn’t hear him mention gays).  The one thing Dr King did do: he opened up dialog which started to move this country forward from a long period of stagnation.

My feeling is actions which happened many years ago need to be looked at in the light of the prevailing time… those people need to be admonished at minimum, but if they didn’t cross what was the norm at the time that needs to be the end of it.  We just need to make sure that we update our image of the past and those personalities to include that they failed to treat everyone with the respect they deserved, and failed to take a stand to end harassment.

However, when similar things are happening now, or within the past several years — that’s different.  Clearly these events are transgressions that go far beyond the accepted norms.  Not only do we need to admonish these individuals, but we need to take action to insure that they and the industries they are in change.  That change needs to occur sooner, not later.

Should they be fired — yes — if they don’t have the courage and integrity to resign.

But should individuals who committed transgressions many, many years back when times were different be fired — that’s a little more complex; we need to look at the individual now, appraise what changes have been made to their life, and if they are still that same person.  If they are — then they’re out; however, if they’ve made change… we can give them a little time under the microscope before we make our final decision.

I’m all for zero tolerance, but zero tolerance never seems to be that (just check when the local school’s sports hero crosses the zero tolerance line, there always seems to be tolerance for at least a second chance — so something else we need to be honest with ourselves about — rarely do we really have zero tolerance, it’s just a catch phrase).

Personally I abhor harassment of any kind, I abhor those who feel they are better than others and can get away with it, I abhor those who help hide it and punish the victims… but this is a problem where we have to start to resolve today, and not get carried away with witch-hunt after witch-hunt of “dark” figures from out past.