Showing posts with label Better Business Bureau. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Better Business Bureau. Show all posts

Saturday, September 11, 2010

If You're "HAMP-Y" and You Know It, Clap Your Hands!!!

We finally did it! We got our modification. It took nearly a year and a half since we first applied, but it's a done deal. We got the signed papers back from the bank last week and the new statement came in the mail with our lowered payment.

A Bank of America service agent told me that they've also put in the order to fix our credit, so that it will show that we've been current (this should be a big boost to our credit scores, which took a big hit when they wrongly reported us as delinquent during our year-long "trial" period).

It's been a long drawn out process, but I'm so happy that we saw it through to the end. I'm sleeping much better at night now. I know my prayers have been heard and I'm so thankful for how this has turned out.

I'd like to caution any of you out there who are trying to modify your mortgages, to watch out for the scammers out there. I know of people in our neighborhood, as well as family members of friends, who have gone to and paid outside sources to help them save their homes, only to watch their homes go into foreclosure when they've been told by the company they hired that everything was fine. Please make sure you check with the Better Business Bureau before paying ANYONE to help you.

Help is out there. You can do it on your own, as we did; or there are companies that can help you for free. For more information on this process, you can read about our experiences and all we've found out here.

God Bless!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Saving with Your Newspaper Subscription

Today's blog was inspired by this morning's events. I received the renewal notice for one of our newspaper subscriptions, and cringed when I realized I have another check to write--small though it may be. Some may ask why I don't just let the newspaper subscription go, especially considering I have two of them. I'll tell you why, it's because those two subscriptions (both with the Sunday papers) save me a lot of money on groceries, and consequently, more than pay for themselves.

I'm guessing, with my Sunday and groceries clues, you know how I save money with these papers: I clip the coupons. I save money on toilet paper, granola bars, cereal, diapers, wipes, toiletries, pet food, produce, etc. I have even, on several occasions, gotten coupons for free items (ranging from salad dressing, gum, cough drops, frozen shrimp--you get the idea).

Because of this, I can justify the expense of both subscriptions, but with hubby's pay cut, money is very tight. I decided to call my subscription service (MediaOne of Utah) to test what I'd heard about most companies being willing to give existing customers the promotional rate if they call in and ask for it. Turns out, it was no myth. I got one year for the price of six months, all because I asked if they could offer me a better deal! So now my newspaper is even more valuable to me.

My green readers may be wondering what I do with all those papers after I'm done reading and clipping out of them. No worries! I take them to my children's school, put them in the recycling dumpster and they get money for the school! So it's a win-win.

So if you haven't done this already, I suggest you do. If you currently have a subscription, call to see if you can get a better rate. If you don't currently have one, get one! If you aren't clipping coupons for items you're already buying, that's the same thing as throwing away your money.

If you're not in my area, then you can find your local newspaper, or whichever paper you're looking to subscribe to online. I found a site that offers discounted newspaper subscriptions, and it's backed by the Better Business Bureau. It's called Discounted

None of these things take much time. Calling to lower your rate is easy, subscribing is even easier. Clipping coupons isn't much work either. You can get a coupon organizer for cheap, or you can even keep them in an envelope or sandwich bag (I did this for years). And Newspaper recycling sites are everywhere. You can usually find them on school grounds or even in some store parking lots. If you don't know where one is, check out Earth911.

Do what you have to and lower that budget. Saving money is always a good thing, especially in this hard economy.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Don't Be Afraid to Ask for What You Want

Have you ever gone to the store, had your hands full at the register and not noticed until you got home and went over your receipt that you were overcharged? Have you ever purchased an item or a service, only to find out it wasn't all it was promised to be or it broke with normal use? Most of us, if not all of us, have had some bad experiences as customers. The good news is that there is something you can do about it.

Often, you can get what you want over the phone. If you've got decent verbal skills, this can be an effective way to resolve your problem and get what you want. The key is persistence and patience. When we bought our house nearly four years ago, we upgraded the appliances. We thought if we went with the higher brand name that they would last longer and work better.

In our case, we were mistaken. The first year we had to call on our freezer twice (the ice maker was having issues), our microwave once (it started sparking when we used it), our dishwasher (the silverware tray hinges broke), and we had to trip the breaker on our electrical to get the self cleaning oven to turn off (thankfully that never happened again). We couldn't believe it! But thankfully everything was covered under warranty, and so we didn't have to pay for anything.

I can't believe, considering all the trouble we had, that I didn't get around to extending the warranties. Blame it on being busy with the little ones and working on getting all our landscaping done. In any case, we didn't extend our coverage. Six months after our coverage expired, all of our lights and the digital display in the refrigerator when out. I called, hoping that it was one of the few parts that was covered under the longer warranty. It wasn't, and it was going to cost several hundred dollars to replace.

I was furious, but I kept my cool when I called the company to see if they would pay for it anyway. They told me no. I asked to be transferred higher, that person told me no, I asked to be transferred even higher, that person told me no. I told them I wasn't getting off the phone until they told me yes. I told them how we had bought all of our appliances from them, and they were supposed to be top of the line. I told them how many times we had to call on said appliances, and how we were less than satisfied with their performances. I told them how I would tell anyone and everyone who would listen about my experience with said appliances and their manufacturer if they didn't do the right thing and cover the part. I basically let them know that I wasn't going away. Finally, over an hour later, they said "okay, we'll pay for the part if you'll cover the labor." I took it. The labor was only $60 and so I was satisfied with that deal.

Never once did I raise my voice, curse (though believe me, there were times I wanted to--haha!), or act offensive to them. I let each person know that I realized that they weren't actually the ones who made my appliances, and that this was just their job, but I wasn't going to let this go. They listened.

Another customer service issue: If I've been overcharged at the grocery store by a few cents, or even a dollar, I'll usually let that go. But there was actually a time that I was overcharged over five dollars. That was when gas prices were much higher, and I would've spent about that much to go back to the store and get my money back. That didn't appeal, so I wrote a letter to their corporate office, letting them know my experience, how I was overcharged and how it made me feel as their customer to know that if I took my eyes off the scanner for a moment, I would lose money. They sent me a $10 gift card and a letter of apology.

I've received refunds on items, replacement products and other things, all as a result of being able to keep my cool over the phone or in a letter. This can be a great way to get your money back, or to get something replaced. Sometimes they'll even send valuable coupons with your replacement (usually food manufacturers do this).

If phone calls, or letter writing doesn't get you anywhere, you can always file a claim with the Better Business Bureau. I did this with AT&T once. They charged me $3 for a collect call I refused. It wasn't the amount of money I was upset about, it was the principle of it, and the way they treated me when I asked them to remove the charge. Their representative really should've considered their words when they told me that it was basically too bad, I had to pay it and there was nothing I could do about it. That was a challenge to me, and I accepted it. I went to the BBB's website, filed a report, and what do you know? My account was credited! Hah!

I thought I'd share this information with those who haven't tried this. You don't have to settle for less. Get more for your money, or at the very least, what you paid for. Go get what you paid for!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Scams and more scams

As cautious as I am, I suppose even I miss things. I decided to look further into the company I mentioned to you all not too long ago. It was called My-Data-Team. When I read the review, it said that there was another company by the same name who had a bad reputation, so I didn't focus too much on the name, but the detailed review I found on them.

Since then, I've continued to look into it and found another report on them on Reviewopedia. One part of that review says:

"I wouldn't call a scam as they do provide some links to freelance resources and show you how to get jobs doing things for webmasters and bloggers such as getting paid to write articles.

They are different enough from the common data entry programs to not be called a scam but their main section on global data entry is still a training system that deals with affiliate marketing."

So while it may not be a scam, perhaps they aren't all they claim to be. I took their link off my "Make Money" listings and am going to modify my posting about them. I'm doing this because I'm not going to refer anyone to what I myself am not willing to try. That would be bad business on my part.

I found several sites that you can look up scams on. I'm going to give you the links here, so you can do your own homework too. I advise you to always check things out for yourself. Don't just take anyone's word for it, no matter how convincing they sound. I'm going to continue looking for legitimate work at home opportunities, as I know there are some good ones out there.

Ripoff Report
Better Business Bureau

If ever you're being asked to pay money for something, I would advise you to go to any or all of those sites to find out more about the company you're thinking of paying. If it turns out to be legit, it will only make you feel better in the end. If they aren't, then you won't be out that money and will be patting yourself on the back.

Best of luck to you! I'm going to keep on looking for us all:)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Making Money from Home

Well, folks, making money from home isn't easy, and don't let anyone ever tell you it is. There are a lot of scams out there, and you have to weed through those to find the good opportunities. A lot of the working at home jobs are in sales, and I'm not much of a sales person (though I could be, I suppose, if I had the time and wanted to put the effort into it).

Some of the work-at-home opportunities I've been alerted to just aren't feasible for me with four very noisy little ones at home. But I'll pass on the information to you. These are call center jobs you do from home. They used to be sent overseas, but these companies realized they could still save money by letting people do these jobs from home.

The time is dedicated, so you can't have a lot of background noise going on while you do it (exactly the reason why I can't do it). Apparently you can set your own hours, so that's a real plus. I guess if I wanted to go to bed later, or get up earlier, I could do this, but I really value the little sleep I get with a baby in our home! Haha

Here's the links to those sites (thank you to Jody Connolly, for sending them my way):

Alpine Access
West at Home

On another note, I've made a few bucks off the survey sites (you can find the links to the ones I use on this site), and I also made a bit from youdata (which they transferred right into my paypal account at the end of the week.

My most promising opportunity ($50 from surveyspot for shopping at a location I've never been to before) has hit a glitch, in that I had problem with the links, but finally got through to participate in the 60 minute panel. There was an issue in the end where the link took me back to surveyspot and mistakenly said I didn't qualify for the survey (which obviously I did, and had already completed it), so I've emailed their member services and hopefully it will be taken care of. They are backed by the Better Business Bureau, so I have high hopes.

I've been checking out some of the employment websites we got at the agency last week. One that is all for those who want to work from home is called Rat Race Rebellion. They try to check out all their opportunities before listing them, but wisely caution you to be careful and check things out for yourself before signing up for anything (especially jobs that you have to pay for).

That's all for today. More to come.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Back to School

So my husband and I were given some food for thought. He went into an employment agency yesterday to talk about his options. While he does still have a job, he's not getting enough hours to cover the bills right now. We're digging into our savings, which will only last so long.

So, in the interest of being proactive, we went to see what was available to him. We actually got quite a bit to think about. I'm going to have to split things up into different posts because there was so much information. Today's post will focus on furthering education.

My husband has a diploma and 3 1/2 years of trade school. He was able to skip the last half of the the fourth year because he had enough school and work experience to take the test. He took and passed the journeyman test and got his license as a journeyman plumber. While he does believe that things will eventually pick up (most people in this country do have indoor plumbing after all--and several even have outdoor), he didn't become a plumber because it was his dream, he just sort of fell into it. He does have interests in other areas, but never really had a strong motivation to look into any of those areas--until now.

So, the woman who helped us at the employment agency talked to him about (among several other things) going back to school. She told him it would be beneficial for him to get his associates. He could even, if he wanted to, look into getting an education in another field of work. Of course, he would have to continue to work while attending school, if we went this route.

We automatically told her that we didn't have the money to go back to school. It's odd that what she told us next had never even occurred to us. She said with the cut in pay we've experienced, that raises our chances of qualifying for financial aid. We were stunned that we hadn't thought of that. So now we have pamphlets of information on how to apply for grants and other financial aid.

I thought I'd pass on the information here, since it very much applies to both saving and making money. Applying for Federal Aid is free. These are funds available through the U.S. Department of Education for eligible students enrolled in eligible programs as regular students at schools that participate in the federal student aid programs. These funds cover tuition and fees, room and board, books and supplies and transportation. It can also help pay for a computer and child care expenses.

You can get more information from a school counselor if you're still in school, or the financial aid office at the college you're wanting to attend, or from the US Department of Education, Federal Student Aid or 1-800-433-3243.

If you're not planning on attending college this fall, but want an idea of how much aid you might qualify for you can go to the FAFSA4caster to check things out. You can apply online on the FAFSA website and find a full list of the documents you need there.

When considering a college or career school to attend make sure you do your homework. Find out if you meet the admission requirements, if the school offers the courses for the type of program you want to go into, if they participate in the federal student aid programs and if there have been any complaints filed against the agency with the Better Business Bureau offices.

Be careful of scholarship scams. According to The Guide to Federal Student Aid, millions of dollars are lost every year to scholarship fraud. The Federal Trade Commission cautions students to look for these types of lines.

-"The Scholarship is guaranteed or your money back."
-"You can't get this information anywhere else."
-"I just need your credit card or bank account number to hold this scholarship."
-"You've been selected by a 'national foundation' to receive a scholarship."
-"You're a finalist" in a contest you never entered.

For more information on scholarship scams or to file a complaint with the FTC call 1-877-FTC-HELP or visit the FTC website.

Well, I hope this information has been useful to you. I'm going to dive right into it all here, too! Who knows, maybe both the adults in this household will be furthering their educations! Best of luck!