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Allen W.

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Experience: Computers & Technology, Pets & Animals, Health

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Model Railroading

21 Reviews by Allen

In this age of economic turmoil brought on by Covid-19, states are having to scramble for new sources of income to make ends meet because they will not control spending. This situation is particularly egregious due to the state Supreme court dictating the amount of revenue that must be spent on schools and various lawyer's endlessly suing the state legislature.So every return is considered a possibility for squeezing out extra revenue.

In late June 2020 I received a notification from the infamous Kansas Department of Revenue that my personal exemption was NOT allowed. Yes, you read that correctly my $2250 standard deduction was not allowed! Why how could that be possible?, you ask. Because that deduction is available to every taxpayer filing a return you state. Yes, but only if you are NOT claimed as a dependent on someones else's return. According to KDOR instructions recorded in Kip19.pdf for 2019, LINE 5:
LINE 5 (Exemption allowance): Multiply the total number of exemptions claimed on Form K-40 by $2,250. ImportantIf you are claimed as a dependent by another taxpayer, enter "0" on line 5.

Of course, I didn't record a zero in line 5 of my K-40 State income tax form ostensibly because I thought I was not subject to reclassification based on another person's filing. See the K-40 'adjustment' schedule from KDOR regarding my tax submittal.

I had just 30 days to respond. (See KDOR letter dated June 24, 2020). THIS NOTIFICATION SHOULD SERIOUSLY DISTURB EVERY TAXPAYER IN THE STATE. If this can happen to me it certainly can happen to anyone over 55.

First of all look at line 2 of KDOR's letter regarding, 'RE': their revision reasons. My return status is listed as part of a 'joint filing' submission made by parties unknown. Whoever it is I'm not related because I have no relatives residing in Kansas. But claimants are more likely to be an assisted living, nursing home or convalescent center businesses who handle a lot of clients where relationship is not relative. (Never mind the technicality that I've never been in any such facility.)

I've not signed any kind of guardianship documents naming individual(s) that could affect such a claim and there is no court order adjudicating my dependency. I have no medical conditions that would support a dependency claim and I have given NO consent to anyone to do so. Therefore there is no legal basis for this reclassification, it is PURELY outrageous FRAUD!.

The 'Exemptions and Dependents' category of he K-40 tax form requires each dependent's social security No. and date of birth to be listed along with their relationship so whoever has perpetrated this fraud has acquired my S.S. Number and date of birth otherwise KDOR would have challenged the claimant(s). However, unsurprisingly Kansas has no requirement, as does the IRS -1040 form, for the dependent to certify that he is a dependent on claimant's filing. Typically when you claim a dependent on a state form you have to FIRST claim them on the Federal form but interestingly enough I NEVER heard from the IRS. If KDOR had performed this simple check of my 1040 they would have noticed that I DID NOT check this box and coupled with my years of single filing status should have triggered a warning flag.

But remember the purpose here is to generate extra tax revenue (and ethics really isn't a consideration), so as long as the claim is reasonably accurate no need to do anything more than perpetrate the fraud because this year it costs me $111 and every subsequent year the claimant(s) wish to perpetrate it. KDOR gets the money and the claimant gets an extra $2250 deduction against their income so everyone wins but me. You may remember my 2019 KDOR posting where they had no record of my $18 tax payment (even though I gave them the check No. and date). They attempted to charge me again if I didn't produce a copy of their endorsement seal on my check. This year they're increasing the stakes.

On June 26, 2020 I filed a rebuttal to the Kansas Dept of revenue emphatically denying that I am a consensual legal dependent on any persons or business firm's return and copying the Kansas Attorney General along with the Governor. In my correspondence I demanded that KDOR take remedial action against claimants which would infer producing signature evidence of my agreement or a COURT ORDER affirming said status and in the meantime to honor my return as filed.

These people aren't particularly friendly or cooperative as they regard taxpayers as something simply to be milked. So we'll see how this goes as I await their response.
Recently I had to pick up some items for a luncheon gathering on Sunday May 31st. The meal plan called for baked lasagna and Caesar salad with others of us bringing various side dishes and culinary accoutrements.

We each volunteered to bring various items from a prepared list for our luncheon. I chose dessert and offered to bring several kinds. I selected baked goods because I have a bit of experience in selecting tasty examples of the pie variety.

It was Thursday May 28th and I was out running errands anyway so I thought it would be a good time to pick up my choices since I was in the vicinity anyway.

I stopped by Price Choppers at 87th and Antioch to pick up several pies for the occasion, one cherry and one apple.

Arriving at the bakery department there was quite a selection of baked goods but after a bit I selected what I thought were outstanding examples of both pastries. After paying for the items i checked out and went home. I didn't refrigerate the two items because they were left in their respective sealed packages.

Besides I remember my grandmother baking pies and putting them in a pie safe sometimes for well over a month in the summer. Fruit pies and canned jellies are not subject to bacteria spoilage as in the case of raw fruit. As long as they are stored in a dust free environment, they are fine. Dust causes poisonous growths in uncovered jams and jellies.

The pies were loaded into my automobile and I left early Sunday morning (May 31st) for the luncheon arriving at my destination in about two hours. I brought them into our gathering and all seemed well. Somewhere after one we finally got to dessert. I asked to have a piece of the cherry pie I brought. One of the young ladies sliced the pie and I removed a piece. One of the ladies next to me started to get a piece when she asked what was this dark object next to the piece I had just gotten. Examining it a bit closer, it looked to be mold.

We quickly checked the apple pie and it too was showing small spots of green mold. I was both surprised and embarrassed because I had never seen pie that was sealed grow mold.

It occurred to me that Price Chopper's bakery was not handling their product very carefully because mold doesn't grow overnight so these pies were contaminated before they were ever packaged.

When I returned to the Overland Park location where I purchased them and told the bakery what I found,they made no effort to even apologize.The woman behind the counter just blabbed some meaningless nonsense and made no offer to refund my purchase price.

I informed them that I would not purchase any further baked goods at this store in the future.

Update 6/4/20: I was unable to attach photos of the pies because resolution is only '300 x 240'and the system won't accept them. However the pictures of the Price Chopper pies (after just three days) are available here: https://newpatriotsblog.com/overland-park-price-chopper-pies-go-moldy-in-just-3-days
Recently I ordered a health supplement online from a company in Oklahoma called AmerMed. It's a small company but they have a good inventory of excellent supplements but shipping choices are only USPS .

A number of years ago, before internet tracking became common; I made the mistake of shipping an antique gasoline tank sending unit to a company out east that specializes in rebuilding such devices. It disappeared soon after shipment without a trace and even a postal investigation found nothing. With the advent of internet tracking, anything I don't want lost I pay extra for tracking notification.

On May 18th I placed my order with AmerMed who shipped priority mail with tracking number identifiers and information to follow an article's path from Oklahoma to my door. All went well until the item arrived at the postal facility in Overland Park, KS on May 20th. The delivery estimate had indicated arrival by May 22nd no later than 8:00 pm that evening so I was suspicious that the item arrived on Wednesday the 20th. As I entered the tracking number I expected to see a revised delivery date that day but to my surprise I was greeted with a large ALERT on the screen with a message .. no access to delivery location'. (See the attachment below.)

"May 20, 2020, 2:11 pm
Delivery Attempted - No Access to Delivery Location

Receiving notices like this makes one wonder if postal carriers ever undergo drug screening, periodic mental evaluations or even spot checks for inebriation. I've lived at the same address for more than 10 years and it has a common delivery location a ¼ block up the street.

However nothing in Kansas is anything like the other 49 states. It is truly the land of OZ. The state Supreme Court dictates what must be spent on education, etc. The governor has to appoint judges from a list the state bar builds and maintains. Every few years the state's lawyers sue the worthless state legislature and win. The state dept. of revenue loses ones tax payment forcing victims to produce a cancelled check with the department's endorsement seal or pay again. (See my July 15, 2019 Site jabber report "Kansas Dept of Revenue Outsourcing is Self Immolating")

Mail delivery can be anywhere from 2:00 to 8:00 pm if the carrier shows up at all so haphazard service is nothing new or unusual. Mistakes are covered up not corrected in Kansas.

At first, I thought that AmerMed might have used another address since the owner had recently been hospitalized:


What is going on here? I got an email 'alert' from the post office this morning at 9405 5036 9930 0382 5080 56 saying that they tried to deliver yesterday at 2:00pm but there was no way to do so. (???) When I went to get a copy of the postal alert to send to you, they erased the shipping record! Now I happened to be standing right next to our carrier at my mail box at the same time so that makes me think the package has the wrong address. I've ordered from you several times before and my address has not changed. Did you accidentally ship to another address because of being in the hospital?

AmerMed confirmed the address shipped to was correct so I contacted the Post office via the online form available with USPS.com tracking.

"Dear Allen Williams,

Thank you for contacting the United States Postal Service® and taking the time to share your concerns with us. Your inquiry has been processed and assigned to Service Request # 10062641.
Your inquiry has been forwarded to the appropriate management team for research and response. You can expect initial contact within one-business day. We invite you to visit our Frequently Asked Questions page at: https://faq.usps.com/s/ for help with your future mailing and shipping needs."

What sense does this make? How do you research a nonexistent mail location? Either it exists or it doesn't. If you call the Post office over a problem, even if they left a message for you and that contact person is unavailable, whoever answers the phone will either hang up on you or be too incoherent to assist as I experienced.

Fortunately I was able to describe the circumstances of delivery failure online sufficiently to dispel the idiotic claim that I didn't have a means to receive packages, having noted in my complaint that I was standing at the community delivery point 1/4 block up my street, at 2:11pm with the carrier present and I could see the front door of my home from this point.

Postal employees can say and do anything regardless of how stupid or outrageous the responses are because workers can't easily be fired for other than shooting their boss. (https://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=123223)

On May 21st, I received several messages from a Rhonda at the local Post office asking me what I wanted done with the package, i.e. did I want to come get it or have it delivered. No explanation of what happened to cause the delay or why the bizarre message was posted. They didn't understand it themselves as to how it happened so they said. Likely the carrier came down off his high or sobered up sufficiently to realize he was in the wrong locale. The USPS tracking history for the package was now rebuilt and accessible. Before I had time to respond, the package showed up in my mail location.

"Your item was delivered in or at the mailbox at 4:27 pm on May 21, 2020"

Another nonsensical statement, so how do you deliver at the mailbox? Leave it on the ground nearby? Is it any wonder the postal system is losing money while Fed-x and UPS are thriving? If the Post office was half as reliable at delivery of priority and first class mail as they are in delivering junk mail, they wouldn't be losing money.

In 2019 the Post Office lost 2 billion in the second quarter alone finishing the year some 7 billion in the red. (https://reason.com/2019/05/10/post-service-lost-2-billion-in-three-months/)

The answer; Privatize the Post Office.

UPDATE 6/10/20

In April of this year I had to file a National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) complaint because I still did not have access to my account and interest was 8 days late. At this point I wrote the President of Andrews, J. Hays, on their secure messaging system, copying as many support staff as I had email addresses for and informing him of my NCUA complaint and referencing this sitejabber report link: " Mr. Hays: There are unresolved issues with Andrews Federal Credit Union beyond what my NCUA complaint has addressed that require additional consideration. Having previously experienced great difficulties in actually becoming a member through what Andrews euphemistically refers to as online membership plus having to endure nearly a month of being locked out of my own account...
The hell your goofy system has put me through demands additional compensation. " Soon afterwards Andrews rebuilt my account manually because it failed to transfer and I was contacted by Andrews IT specialist, Nikia Hackley, who took an additional two hours to finally get me into their system where I could login and access my account.

Another two months slipped by before I received a letter by postal mail on June 10th of 2020 from Andrea Ashcraft, Director of Sales and Service and apparently part of Andrews supposed 'member advocacy' group (I use that term loosely). Again the Andrews secure messaging system was wiped clean Including all contacts. There was no evidence of my letter to J. Hays summarizing my complaints and indicating the additional compensation I demanded. The $75 additional compensation was posted to my savings account. See the attached photocopy. However, I'm still not out of the woods yet because I have to use their goofy system to transfer money to my home account as I doubt they will honor my preference to pay future interest by check. So that will be another fun experience I'm sure.

UPDATE 4/10/20

At the time I completed my initial review on Andrew's Member application system I optimistically made the statement We'll see how it goes with investment performance . My desire not to repeat the same experience as their application platform was short lived.

I was able to briefly access my account under the old system that supported their moronic online member application form but the new digital system was to be even worse. It's apparent that Andrew's wanted the additional capability that allowed members to do all kinds of interesting things with their phone app like paying bills, managing personal finances, securing loans as well as accessing one's credit union account. But I wouldn't know because It would be nearly a month and a half after i joined before I would gain access. They soon began a transition to the new digital platform

My first indication that there would be problems in this undertaking was when my existing password abruptly got cancelled. This is a periodic nuisance in the banking industry at large where every year financial institutions require you to change your password. However the new credit union system would not allow me to change mine because well.. it no longer existed!. So now you can appreciate the level of intelligence of the vendor responsible for implementing this transition. And as you might expect on my third attempt to initiate a new password I was summarily locked out. Now the fun begins!

But you say, Hey you're still on the Andrews secure messaging system so no problem!. True I do have my old password and they didn't cancel it so I could get help. That may be how a secure messaging system works elsewhere but I was told during the application process that not everyone was on it. Now it's still true that their member support group is on it but alerting them to a problem is akin to the notice that your mailman gets when he sees the little flag raised on your mailbox. Ho Hum! Besides when I actually did get a response from support on the secure messaging, I was greeted with the same demeanor as one uses when they have to inform some kid that he needs to zip up his fly. The best response in this category was You can't login because you're using the Opera browser! AND the most revealing response was support stating due to the sensitive nature of my request" I would have to talk to them directly which means they didn't want any evidence of the problem leaking out to the public.

Complicating credit union support was their phone queue where virtually each and every time I called they were experiencing heavy call volume. I now believe that was rigged to both free up support to concentrate on the immediate upgrade problems at the expense of the membership. During this time I actually did get several support people to force the system to generate a special secure pass code required to gain access so you could set your new password but none of these codes ever worked which made me suspicious that the problem was far deeper than Andrews knew. I was involved in other pressing matters during this event so I didn't have the time to pursue this issue consistently.

After several weeks of sporadic contact in which I witnessed cases where the system continued to reject multiple pass code attempts in succession that I realized present entry was impossible. In subsequent phone calls to Andrews I happened upon one honest individual in the support group. Statistically that had to be true because nothing is zero probability. This lady told me there was no record of my being in Andrews system. Suddenly like a load of hay falling on me, It all made sense. I figured if I was ever going to gain access to my account it was going to be from outside pressure. I filed a complaint with the National Credit Union Administration here: https://complaint.mycreditunion.gov/CAC/500t000000TEruP

In a little over a week tone of their IT people called and set up a time to assist me in gaining access. It still took over two hours before I was able to get in the system and no surprise that some of the software features weren't working as I expected that the upgrade debugging process would be ongoing for some time.

I still don't have my interest now 10 days late but I expect this to be resolved fairly quickly because Andrews doesn't want the bad publicity. I think I'll hang on to the NCUA complaint link, I have the feeling I made need to use it again.

Member Application Process

In today's world one is often compelled to do things out of the ordinary because of prevailing market conditions. Investing in a credit union instead of bank or brokerage offering to get decent interest rates is an example because you need to be a member and historically membership was limited to military or government personnel resident in a specific area. However today the requirements have relaxed considerably but the easier standards have provided a platform for abuse. Companies get away with the abuse because the FED has enabled them by artificially suppressing interest rates.

In December of 2019, I applied to Andrews Federal Credit union to take advantage of a particular investment. Although I didn't reside in their geographic location I met alternative requirement criteria.

The first step at Andrews was to complete a comprehensive three page online application. In today's financial world there is a recognizable move towards fascism. Essentially having to demonstrate that one isn't laundering money by giving information that must be confirmed real time is suggestive of what happens when you're arrested. (Just so you know freedom is essentially dead in the finance world.) This has to be done online because people will simply ignore these questions otherwise. Online you are prevented from going further until the machine verifies the response as dictated by its programming protocol.

I had to provide my membership number in the American Consumer Council which the system verified in real time or I couldn't continue.

For some time I could not get beyond the first page of the credit union application although it contained nothing more than my Name, Address and Phone number, etc. Finally I noticed that the machine only accepted street direction notifications with a period' at the end of the street direction, e.g. west 47th street would have to be input as w. 47th street.' It failed to recognize the abbreviated street direction preceding the name without a period. You may be able to input the complete street name but it's just another case that must be tested by trial and error which I didn't care to investigate. Generally there were no instructions on the form except in a few specific instances. This is because the machine checks the address in real time which suggests that no real person ever looks at anything other than the completed form. Now the second page..

The form asks me to upload a photocopy of the back of my driver's license BUT then WOULDN'T UPLOAD IT! (It's either a glitch or the system expected to verify my identity directly with the Dept of Motor vehicles. Somewhere along the way in this process I received notification that I was added to the Andrews secure messaging system, remember that because it will come up later. I had to provide a photo copy of my social security card as issued and write a short note, scan it and transmit it to Andrews before they will process my application. If I didn't want them to process this monstrosity why the hell was I bothering to complete it?!

I had to READ their lists of credit union rules and conditions and check off that I had read each one. The system verifies each Read' and doesn't let one continue until every choice offered has a check mark next to it which puts an extensive labor burden on the applicant I now got to the part which asked for my social security number. This was the only page that offered instructions as to the required input form. The number was to be input without any dashes - I entered it both with spaces and then running all the numbers together to no avail. The popup window gave two choices (1) Confirm social security number or (2) confirm by email. (See Error5)

I called an Andrews Rep drawing Marla Bethell and explained what I experienced and she assured me she would pass it along to their IT group or whoever is responsible (Obviously it was ignored.) The problem persisted and I sent a 2nd screen shot in a subsequent call to another Rep informing them I reported this bug to Marla earlier but the young lady s response was just try it again.

Even though they had a photocopy of my social security number the system would not confirm it so no one is looking at the individual pages. I quit for the day and decided to try the email confirmation option the next day.

So I selected the confirm by email option.. But when I tried the system came back with a message telling me that I wasn't on the same computer as yesterday! (Error8) I had to completely exit the Andrews online application and come in fresh before it recognized my IP address and allowed me to proceed. The system sends a security code to the email address you enter. When you receive the email there is a code phrase you are to place in the confirmation box' and thereby allowed to move to the next page.

Again the same two choice confirmation screen appeared so I selected the email option which worked before but as soon as I did, it flipped the screen to ask me to confirm my social security number. (Error4) Why give the user two choices when the system rejects the one chosen? It would not confirm my s.s. number. Some system!

As I indicated to the Andrews rep whom I had to call again the system does nothing when the social security number option is selected. It simply cycles infinitely (Error6) sending you more emails with security codes to enter every time you click this option.

I called the rep again and she must have done something because I got to the next screen when I got back into the online editor. Finally I was confronted with funding my account. I encountered another two tab choices to fund the account (1) Fund from an Andrews member account or (2) Fund from an external source

The choice was obvious as I wasn't a member nor do I have relatives who would or could fund my account. The only way I could fund was to authorize a five dollar ACH transfer in an attempt to complete the application. I exited the system twice before on this point because the ACH option offered incomplete funding information. The system only allows one to fill out the top line on opening amounts under the ACH option but puts whatever amount you place in the first line directly in the LINE BELOW! WTH? The maximum you can input is $10,005 dollars. How useless is this?

It quickly becomes obvious why Andrews earned a Better Business Bureau custom review rating of 1.5. https://www.bbb.org/us/md/suitland/profile/credit-union/andrews-federal-credit-union-*******2626 Be sure and read the BBB report before you borrow money from these people,

So I had to get on the phone once again drawing a young Rep named Laura or (Lauren) for help. Her first suggestion was to print out the form and complete it by hand. That defeats the whole process, huh? Then I asked if I could use the ACH option although there was still no way to input my bank and routing number. She didn't know but suggested I try it and it worked! I wouldn't have had to do that if Andrews's goofy computer system allowed me to fund with a check. But the option worked and I exited this idiot system. Now the fun really began!

After a couple of days I got a message from the credit union with another security code to access the communication:

"Please enter the following security code to check the status of your application(s). 2bb928"

The message was that my application was being processed and they would inform me via email when approved and provide an account number, etc.

In a few more days, I received (you guessed it) another email referring me to the Andrews email system but I could not gain access because it rejected my confirming information. Once more I was on the phone to a Rep whom I asked why didn't Andrews send the message over its secure messaging system where I could login? The response was the membership uses a different system! What sense does this make?

Processing time on the application was now approaching seven days and I was hot. I sent an email suggesting that if the credit union couldn't process my application in less than 7 days they should get a new computer system or get out of the business.

On Jan 4th I received an email on their secure system which asked if I would accept adobe's electronic signing. I declined. That got their attention because shortly thereafter I received a call from one of the executives at Andrews and I stated that I didn't trust their system and explained the difficulties their system was causing and that if they required any signatures, they would have to mail them to my residence.

Finally I received a regular email with their signature forms etc. I copied it, signed it and mailed them back. Shortly afterwards I got a message in their secure email with my account number and thought I was all set. But I WASN'T.

In order to actually open the account I had to click on the link in the secure message system which took me to another security screen (SCN7) which had 3 input fields, (1) account Number, (2) social security number, (3) and email address.

At this point I had had it when I called Andrews Support. The Rep I drew was named Sabrina (how appropriate because you'll need mystic powers to complete this on-line application). I explained all the incidents I've experienced with the Andrews system and then being sent yet another secure message asking for the same information that I've already input and I wasn't going to continue.

Apparently the problems I identified finally made it to the right places. But I was appalled that they would wipe my Andrews email account clear of all documentation of the errors I encountered but I had anticipated that so I made copies of my secure messages.

Sabrina's job primarily involved setting up accounts for new members manually. So why didn't they offer me that option initially? Because it's likely they needed a guinea pig to help develop their convoluted on-line system.

As the Rep talked me through the manual process all I needed to do was enter a dummy ID for the member name and password and I was in. Next change the user name and password to my choice and I was nearly done. Once inside I was able to set up the type of investment instrument desired and the funding method, etc.

I checked my Andrews secure email account again on Jan 28, 2020, it was still empty. No messages of any kind Why? Perhaps to prevent this very performance review.

We'll see how it goes with investment performance but this was an experience I NEVER want to repeat.
In today's business world where profit maximization techniques rule and where companies dictate the quantity and appearance of products they offer that has even crept into the hobby industry including JTIM or Just in Time Manufacturing Techniques. So, it was a pleasure to do business with a family owned company with which in general I have had little experience.

I had been looking for an HO interior for my MOPAC Eagle passenger car for some time since IHC had gone out of business a number of years ago when I stumbled upon Hobbylinc. I was surprised to find that they manufactured simple passenger seats as back in the days of real American rail service and for only $5.89 plus shipping which was $6.00 a bit pricey but I got the seats at a 19% discount.

I couldn't believe it because other hobby outlets were gouging, I mean charging far more and offering less quality because typically IHC interiors when still around had to be trimmed to fit older style passenger cars properly. These didn't. So, I thought this was a pretty good deal and ordered a set of blue seats (Blue, green, brown and red are available) on Nov 12th, 2019. I got a prompt email from them informing me that my order was received and to my further surprise it shipped the next day with a USPS tracking number! Delivery was guaranteed by 8:00 PM on Saturday Nov 16th.

I was further surprised to find the order in my mailbox on Friday afternoon Nov. 15th. Opening the package I found 36 blue seats that could be properly aligned with armrests facing towards the center of the car. The seats are pretty good quality and can be further detailed with typical model paints. I have to rate Hobbylinc as a five star service operation.
This past week I attended the 2019 annual Feast of Tabernacles located in the Ozarks. It is an annual eight day celebration depicting world peace and prosperity in the millennial.

The event was held at the Four Season's Lodge, a plush resort featuring championship Golf, a Japanese garden and SPA, ample meeting room accommodations and other amenities. Services were held in the Lodge's Marbella rooms located on the lower level of the main complex lobby with seating for more than 400+ attendees.

The hotel complex was built in 1964 before the Americans with disabilities act' was passed and so has a number of shortcomings although there has been an attempt to make internal improvements such as adding parallel ramps for those who prefer to avoid the stairs where small elevation changes permit. General lighting conditions are deficient in the Marbella room unless you're fortunate enough to be sitting directly under one of the overhead lamps. Lighting is poor in the hotel corridor access to a number of the hotel rooms and outside lighting along the walkways is virtually nonexistent and a sure fall hazard unless you have a cell phone or separate flashlight. There is only one elevator around the bend from the hotel's front lobby desk. I did not see a route to that elevator upon exiting several locations around the lower level Marbella room where we met. Stairs appear to be the only access in or out.

On October 18th about 30 minutes prior to daily services in the Marbella location we were informed that the water would be shut off for the entire complex for TWO HOURS. And when I say the entire complex, I mean ALL of the corresponding hotel rooms as well.

I immediately went to the hotel lobby desk to get confirmation of the shutoff as I was not certain that it hadn't been somewhat exaggerated. When I spoke to the young lady behind the hotel desk, she seemed somewhat shocked and promptly called hotel maintenance who confirmed the two hour shutdown. Why was this action necessary for the entire duration of our service? Why not two hours before or two hours afterwards? This maintenance effort is something you'd expect to be done in the off hours of the night when people are asleep, especially since there was no indication of serious leakage. The Four Seasons management likely wanted to save repair costs at the expense of the hotel guests. A likely consequence from Cornell University's School of Hotel Administration titled Environmental Sustainability in the Hospitality Industry.' https://scholarship.sha.cornell.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1199&context=chrpubs

Later I checked with several patrons who confirmed water was shut off to their rooms. If someone was ill and needed to use the facilities during the shutdown, they were simply out of luck. In all the years that I've traveled, staying at some of the best hotels, I've never experienced anything like this! No word of apology from the hotel management,, nothing..It's as if this was just another normal occurrence and according to Cornell it's entirely plausible.

Some individuals dared using the restrooms during the shutdown reported that hotel staff inside the restroom offered a bucket of water to patrons to flush the commodes. I can't confirm that as I hurriedly left to use the facilities at my hotel some 3 miles away as Erskine Caldwell's," Tobacco Road" came to mind.
In early July 2019 I received a notification from the Kansas Department of revenue that I had not paid my 2018 taxes amounting to $18.00! Yes, you read that correctly as I owed no federal income taxes thanks to the Trump tax cut but the state of Kansas still manages to squeeze out revenue from its denizens despite zero liability on one's federal return.

I had just 15 days to respond. If I didn't there was a list of options the agency could choose from including but not limited to:

* File a tax warrant resulting in a lien on your assets
* Levy your bank accounts
* Garnish your wages
* Seize your property including motor vehicles, boats and recreational vehicles
* Suspend or revoke any liquor or dealer licenses you may hold
* Refer your account to a private collection agency and a fee will be added to your account

So I phoned the agency to try and clear up the matter and as expected the system is fully automated. I was immediately dumped into the queue with seven people ahead of me. I continued holding until I was No 5 when suddenly a connection was made and I was on the line with someone from the revenue department who identified herself as Martha.

Before I could discuss the tax problem with Martha, I had to jump through a number of hoops to identify myself with name, address, telephone number, date of birth, SS number, etc. It was unacceptable to give the agent my case number of *******941463 as I could be someone impersonating me trying to claim I paid the bill or to make arrangements to pay the delinquency. Yes, these people really are that dense.

Despite my having given this woman my check number, amount and the date that payment was made, Martha wanted a copy of the check with the department's endorsement. All that was really necessary was to do a system search for the check number and within minutes she would have been able to ascertain its disposition. But that assumes these people are willing to assist taxpayers as well as the preexistence of adequate department infrastructure, e.g.: (1) the department is not understaffed (2) Incompetence throughout the department is not a factor (3) a weaponized response via political referral or previous encounter is not a factor.

I went to my bank with the same information I gave to Martha and in about ten minutes they discovered that KS revenue cashed my $18.00 check four days after I mailed my tax return on April 11th but then failed to record it for whatever reason. Obviously, the department of revenue has shorted its ability to monitor payments into the system and may not have had the means to verify my payment. This is irresponsible. But given the dismal oversight in the department, the lack of vision and the stupid political decisions, I expect things to grow progressively worse in the future due to the state's escalating debt.

I should note that the department of revenue would easily have accepted a second check to settle my account but due to its outsourcing tax returns likely would have resulted in the same outcome. The agency has little regard for the people it allegedly serves.

Kansas is a small state with a population of around 2,911,505 persons as of July 2918. The state has a myriad of debt problems between funding public education and the Kansas Public Employees Retirement system (KPERS) and is desperate for money.

'Kansas agency laid off dozens of employees last year. Now it wants them back' https://www.kansas.com/news/politics-government/article230757674.html#storylink=cpy
"KDOR announced in May 2018 that it would eliminate 56 positions as part of a contract with CGI to provide professional services to operate, maintain, enhance and support the Department of Revenue's tax systems He said the state will own certain "deliverables" produced by CGI and reiterated that taxpayers won't experience any disruptions." Really? so what do you call the disruption I received from the Kansas Dept of Revenue.. an enhancement? - https://www.kansas.com/news/politics-government/article230757674.html

Despite increased computer technology the Kansas Department of Revenue is a poorly managed state agency. Contracting out services with increased liability for school lawsuits and public employees' retirement obligations is a fool's errand and has worsened the agency's ability to perform.

Kansas is at the center of endless lawsuits over school funding and keeping the state employees retirement fund up to date (https://business.ku.edu/sites/business.ku.edu/files/docs/pdfs/centers/bcae/TR%2017-0901--Underfunding%20KPERS%20%28Hall%29.pdf) such that there is little money for anything else. School funding in Kansas consumes over 51% of the state's budget and taxpayers are on the hook for some 8 billion in unfunded actuarial liability for public employees.

Kansas currently features a per capita debt higher than the US average."Overall, the State had used debt sparingly in prior decades and was previously considered a low debt state. Now we are a moderate debt state with Moody's Net Tax Supported Debt of $1,575 per capita. The US average is $1,473"- (https://www.kdfa.org/sites/default/files/uploaded_files/2017%20Debt%20Study%20Rev%200.pdf) The media buffoons think that when a state's per capita debt is higher than the US average, it's a moderate debt state.

A commission consisting of four lawyers and four non lawyers selects the state's Supreme Court justices who inure the school's right to sue the state legislature. It's a win-win' for special interests like Alan Rupe and associates who have made a career out of suing the state legislature over school funding.

Look for future difficulties in this haphazard agency chiefly due to good old boy politics and the state's failure to get the Kansas Supreme court out of dictating school funding.
I had been looking for a MIG welder for some time to do work on my antique car when I stumbled on a sale at Harbor Freight. Their website listed a Flux 125 welder by Chicago for $89.00 dollars. I thought this welder was a good deal since I had already bought an air compressor and vacuum pump that have provided very satisfactory service at sale prices at their store but never bought from them online since past purchase items found on Harbor's website were always available at one of their stores but when I contacted their rep (there was a 10 minute wait) I was told that this item had to be ordered on line to get the sale price. The best sale price I could get at their store was $114.95 so I decided to order online.

There were two warehouse locations I could choose from California or New York, so I picked California because I'm closer and placed my order on Thursday March 14th During the conversation I was told that I would have to pay California sales tax in addition to the shipping charges even though I'm not a resident. This set off a red flag because the California law based on the Supreme Court's decision South Dakota v. Wayfair, Inc. wasn't to go into effect until April 1st, 2019. https://www.avalara.com/us/en/blog/2018/12/california-will-tax-sales-by-out-of-state-sellers-starting-april-1-2019.htm

I was told that HF had to collect this tax by law which struck me as somewhat odd because sales taxes of this nature have always required the physical presence of the purchaser. However CA law stipulates: "Businesses that were "engaged in business" (i.e., have nexus [over $100,000 in gross sales]) in California prior to April 1, 2019, could be held liable for taxes owed on those sales." Socialism costs money. Now by the time you add 7.25% CA sales tax along with shipping to the $89.00 sale item you owe $105.81 but still better than HF's store sale price of $114.99 plus 9.6% KS sales tax.

Order Confirmation

We have started processing your order and will send you an email when your order has been shipped. You can always check the status of your order by viewing the Order Status page in My Account. If calling Customer Service, please reference Invoice 4830507.

Shipping Method: Standard Ground
Billing Address: Shipping address

Allen Williams OVERLAND PARK KS, 66212

Description SKU QTY PRICE Subtotal

Flux 125 Welder 63582 1 114.99 114.99

Shipping & Handling 6.99

Discount -25.00

Sales Tax 8.83

Order Total $105.81

I was told by the Harbor Freight rep.that I would receive a confirmation email 0n my order and another one when the item shipped. The confirmation email arrived promptly on the 15th of March but still no shipping notice by March 19th. Since delivery is promised in 5 to 7 business days from order placement I wanted to be sure it was shipped the following week.

I called the HF representative on Tuesday the nineteenth (another 10 minute wait) to inquire as to why they hadn't sent me a shipment notice. I was told that the item was shipped on Monday the eighteenth and that I would receive it by Friday March 22nd.

The item was coming by FEDEX which has been very reliable in past experience compared to UPS but did not show up on Friday the 22nd as I was told.

I discovered that Harbor Freight didn't charge for the item until the day after the item supposedly shipped which sent up another red flag.


DBT CRD 2045
00241824 HFT*
CA C#5135


On March 26, I went to the website to check on the order. To my surprise, the HF system said that the order was complete when I had not received the welder. I again contacted the HF rep to find out why the system was claiming the order was done.

After another 10 minute wait I was connected to a young lady in the customer assistance group named Aurora. I asked her why I had never gotten an email indicating that the item was shipped when the previous customer Rep. indicated that it was shipped on 3/18.

At first Aurora told me that my card had not been charged for the item but I was in my bank account at the time telling her that the charge was clearly listed. She put me on hold for a few minutes to do some checking elsewhere finally reporting that the item had not been shipped but was back ordered. So the company is putting items on sale that they don't have but we know that the individual stores carry the item because I could have gone to any number of Harbor Freight locations and bought a welder for $114,99 plus tax.

So this is another company ruse to get people to order sale items at a bargain price and then take 3 to 6 months to fill them on back order.

I told the customer Rep. how unhappy I was with this practice. It was disingenuous to offer an item for sale when you don't have it. So I requested that my order be cancelled and purchase price refunded to my card account. She said this would be done in 24 to 48 hours so by March 29th I would have the refund.

Her explanation as to why my order was not filled was that the company didn't realize that the item was out of stock until March 25th! So either we have some pretty stupid and careless people running the operation, the best example of the Peter Principle I've seen yet or this was a crazy attempt to increase business without inventory.

Aurora offered me a discount coupon giving me the number over the phone and telling me to contact Chad whom she called to confirm the arrangement. The coupon brought the flux welder store sale price down to $99.99 plus 9.6% Kansas sales tax reducing my cost to $109.59, just four dollars more than the original sale price and still a bargain.

On March 28, the money was returned to my account and I picked up the welder locally on a verbal coupon. I expect the welder to be the same high quality equipment that I bought from Harbor Freight in the past.

UPDATE 1/24/2020

In January I finally got around to setting up my MIG welder. Using
The first problem was I couldn't open the top to get at the wire spool. Yje spring catch wold not compress enough to let me lift the lid. After some fooling around and WD-40, I managed to get it open. Consulting the installation operation manual, I loaded the flux wire spool threaded it into the feeder checked it was the 0.03 size and prepared to load it into the hose. The first surprise I got was the manual said pull off the Nozzle ,when it simply unscrews. Then the manual says to remove the top so the wird can feed through to that location. But I couldn't unscrew it, so I sent pictures (included) to product support thinking Ithat had gotten an older model nozzle so I sent the following email:

Product Support:

I bought Harbor Freight's 125 volt flux wire welder but I can't get the Contact Tip out. because the instructions don't match the welding tip. See the attached photographs.

Page 9 of your manual:
11. " Pull the nozzle to remove it' IS not only FALSE but it's a statement NOT an instruction.
12 "Turn the Contact Tip counterclockwise and remove" is FALSE. I can't screw it in either direction nor can I pull it off

The nozzle screws off and I don't know how the Contact Tip comes off because I don't have a pet gorilla to get this off for me. And since it is a brass tip I'm not going to use vice grips on it. If it needs a wrench or special tool THEN INDICATE IT IN THE MANUAL!

On 1/22 I get the following response:

Dear Allen,

Thank you for contacting Harbor Freight Tools. User manual had typo; nozzle should be unscrewed to remove. Contact tip should unscrew counter-clockwise and does not require special tool. No updates to the welder regardless of note in user manual. If you are unable to remove contact tip for some reason, please exchange welder within its warranty.

We greatly appreciate your business.


So Not only was there a typo in the manual but the contact tip holder was not shown, The manual picture shows the tip going directly into the rubber hose very shoddy.

I wasn't any closer to getting the issue resolved so I loaded up the unit and went to the local Harbor Freight in my area. Upon arrival I asked for the manager and showed her the problem in the HF welder manual and how I wasn't able to remove the tip.

She and an assistant opened another welder box and immediately unscrewed the tip with ease but she couldn't remove the one I had. She went to get a pliers and finallt got mine losose; it had really been jammed om. The store offered me another welder but I declined since my tip was now functional and was not damaged. returned home and finished loading the flux wire perfectly.

Harbor freight store personnel work had to take care of their customers and I have always received good service at their facilities, However their Internet sales people and their support group leave something to be desired. It's inexcusable to have major faults in a piece of equipment's installation manual and dumping the responsibility on the stores. HF might be better off dumping both their support and internet sales group since the stores are doing the work anyway.

Overall I now have to downgrade the HF rating from 3.8 stars for the extra effort they made in correcting a serious bungle in website sales and the bungles of an incorrect installation manual to 3 stars. I never had a problem with their in store purchases.

00241824 HFT*

I acquired Time-Warner's Everyday Low Price Internet plan about six years ago as I'm not a gamer and I don't stream movies from NetFlix. I just enjoy reading the news and making occasional online purchases. So I didn't feel the need to pay for Hi speed internet. Time Warner was a pretty good plan with decent service.

About 5 years ago Time-Warner was bought out by AT &T who sold off the
cable service to Charter Communication's Spectrum.

Right from the start I began getting calls from their representatives for me to upgrade my service, add phone, TV and what not which I declined. I have my own broadband phone installation which works fine so I didn't need another. At the same time I was
receiving saturated mailings from Spectrum informing me of what extra service
packages I could order. The phrase not interested' has absolutely no meaning to the company.

In December of 2018,I opened my Spectrum bill and found that it had jumped 25 percent, down slightly from the 33 percent increase of 2017. I promptly called them to discover the reason for the latest increase.

The Representative I talked with either wasn't very knowledgeable of Spectrum
plans or was deliberately misleading me on the various options. It's likely a corollary of the axiom "Tell customer anything to get the job or keep the service."

The Time-Warner Everyday Low Price (ELP) Internet plan is no longer offered on the Spectrum Website and the company will not let customers sign up
for that plan even though my monthly bill continues to show the ELP
selection. http://concerningconsumers.bangordailynews.com/2017/03/16/home/spectrum-discontinues-time-warners-14-99-everyday-low-price-internet/

After informing me several times that Time-Warner no longer exists and that essentially I didn't have a right to the ELP service at Spectrum, she continued to evade my
questions on the reason for the price increases. After much persistence on my part she finally told me that Spectrum initiated a company wide price increase.

However, despite the representative's assertions, the pricing increases appear to be some sort of punitive measure to force the consumer on to a plan of the company's
choosing rather than honoring the user's preference. There's also nothing like subsidizing Spectrum's acquisition costs for Time Warner.

Today's business strategies concentrate on forcing customer's to buy services they don't need or want at outrageous prices in a captive market created by government regulations and other federal enablers. Remember Net Neutrality..a half baked government plan to equalize broadband speeds, no blocking access or throttling traffic,

Broadband competition is intentionally muted to force prices upward and holdovers from less expensive plans are targeted for forced upgrades: https://eu.democratandchronicle.com/story/money/business/2017/06/08/spectrum-customers-not-happy-in-time-warner-cable-changeover/376695001/

I'm not alone in experiencing Spectrum's abusive rate hikes; Charter Communications has lost roughly 100,000 subscribers during the switch from Time -Warner Cable to
Spectrum. Here are more customer's thoughts:

"After being a customer for 18 years they are trying to increase prices well above their ongoing advertised prices of TV Service, Internet Service."

"When Spectrum purchased Time Warner I kept getting letters in the mail from Spectrum stating save $10 to switch to Spectrum, reading the fine details, year two would increase by $10, year 3 would be what ever going rate is. I just hit year 2 and price went up $20. I called and spoke to 5 people. All said I am getting the correct rate. If anyone has a copy of the letter to prove me right or wrong would be appreciated" Read
more Spectrum complaints at: https://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/spectrum/internet/spectrum-spectrum-internet-service-took-over-time-warner-cable-industry-california-1338932

Spectrum offerings differ from locale to locale usually pushing phone, Internet and TV services at three to four times the cost of Internet alone. The cheapest Internet
offering I saw was a promotional at $44 per month soon to become $65 a month. And Spectrum only offers two speed tiers 60 Mbps and 100 Mbps, "with no data caps, usage-based pricing or additional modem fees," according to a recent company press release.

60 Mbps =
$64.99 ($53.99 for customers who also have Spectrum TV)*100 Mbps =
$104.99 ($93.99 for customers who also have Spectrum TV)*

I asked the Rep if there were any changes to my broadband speed. Spectrum responded that I'm getting 3.5 MB service but clocking the Internet speed with Speedtest shows 2.3Mbps. http://www.speedtest.net/#,
Download at 3.02 Mbps; Upload 0.25 Mbps

Spectrum's own speed test is pretty comparable with a slightly higher Upload speed at 0.5 Mbps but these will vary from day to day based on traffic load, etc. https://www.spectrum.com/internet/speed-test.html

Both tests confirm that I'm getting less than 3.5 Mbps service so either the Rep doesn't
know what speed is supposed to come with Time-Warner's old ELP service or one
gets whatever the company feels like providing.

In Oct of this year (2019) I received a notice from Spectrum that they were increasing my monthly fee for ELP service $3.00 which now totals $27.99 per month for an alleged speed increase that I didn't request. So I performed another speed test (same independent source as above) which now shows me getting 4.65 Mbps download speed and 1.93 Mbps upload speed an actual overall increase from what I had before. In reality, there should have been NO COST increase because I demonstrated that I was not getting what I was paying for originally so their speed increase simply brought me in line with what I was supposed to be getting in the first place. Interestingly enough Spectrum would NOT let me check my internet connection speed using their platform as I did earlier. Instead you get two choices from their results screen, Login' and View'. (See the attached screen shots.) I didn't try the login choice because I would either have to create an account or use my existing one, slick method huh?

They must have read my earlier review because now when you click on their second choice 'View" it's nothing more than detailed plan advertising including projected' speeds for different packages. You never get an actual speed result for your connection. While I was there a window popped up asking me how I would rate my site experience. I replied with a zero' and another window immediately popped up asking me to explain why I gave that rating, which I did. It's obvious Spectrum doesn't want to provide evidence that speeds provided aren't up to what they advertise. So the bottom line is that deceptive advertising laws are worth exactly nothing.

I would still rate Spectrum at zero if the Sitejabber system would allow me for Spectrum's deceptive business practices, disingenuous advertising, credit billing irregularities, minimal plan choices and unwillingness to allow people to keep their current plan and an endless solicitation harassment to upgrade services from both mail and phone calls.

Spectrum is a dud, best to avoid it.
Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) is a huge conglomerate featuring global asset management which "is the asset management division of Royal Bank of Canada" located in Canada, the United States, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Middle East and Africa, Latin American and the Caribbean.

Your investments work hard to build the globalist vision of a new order. "RBC is the 12th largest bank in the world based on market capitalization and the fifth largest in North America." Barron's notes that RBC Wealth Management is looking to Grow having actively recruited a significant number of high profile investment managers over the last 8 years.

But all is not well in the RBC golden world of investment as RBC is charged with Negligence and Elder Abuse: (http://www.whitesecuritieslaw.com/2017/09/15/rbc-wealth-management/) If you have a few bucks to invest and you're of retirement age then beware because the wealth management brokerages are going to milk you. What do you mean? Well, older people are prime targets for abuse by investment firms because the money is there and ripe for the taking and seniors tend to be overly trusting. We're already seeing evidence of this in RBC's late December 2017 User Agreement modification. RBC blocks you from viewing your own account unless you agree to their terms.


This statement also removes liability from the transfer of erroneous information from
typos' and other such glitches which may cost you money.

RBC Capital Markets, LLC60 South 6th Street Minneapolis, Minnesota 55402

Attention: Client Support Services, Mail Stop P12Phone: *******946 (Weekdays 8:00am-10:00pm ET and Saturdays 10:00am-6:00pm ET) The White law Group reports:

"According to The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, (http://www.finra.org/) an all-public FINRA arbitration panel has awarded $212,000 to the estate of a former RBC Wealth Management client who had charged the firm with negligence and elder abuse."The attorneys of the client, the late Hazel Kitzman, charged that RBC Wealth Management engaged in the unauthorized sale of shares in the client's account and in the unauthorized transfer of funds from an account at another firm. The attorneys requested compensatory damages of at least $1.5 million, treble punitive damages and reimbursement of all legal costs, all of which the FINRA panel denied."

Remember that unauthorized RBC broker activity' because we'll see that again
shortly. Think this is just sour grapes or a few disgruntled clients? Well, take a look at a host of other complaints (https://topratedfirms.com/brokers/customer/rbcwealthmanagement-review.aspx) as RBC Wealth Management Reviews compiles complaints summed up nicely by RK' back in January of this year with "Money sucking leeches. No fiduciary responsibility. Will suck you dry with fees." RBC Wealth Management meets that assessment.

Then there's just the run of the mill abuse like a $140 yearly account' fee charged to me for not buying anything. Remember interest rates are barely 3% and inflation is currently at 2.3%. As a big or small investor you pay for not buying the financial investments a brokerage offers, even if you lose return on that investment. The forced purchase of unwanted goods or services from corporations has become a global hallmark. This policy causes older investors with smaller portfolios to purchase less desirable investments to keep their accounts from being pillaged by excessive and ruthless RBC fees.

If you're an elderly or a new retiree investor expect to be milked if you don't know the ropes. And, even if you do, the financial industry is structured such that there are no real penalties for fund mismanagement or cheating a client because the account holder must agree upfront to binding arbitration as a condition of getting an account Outside a court of law the odds swing dramatically in favor of the brokerage, so do not count on FINRA for any real relief. The centralized global banking system is designed to extract wealth from the general populace virtually at will simply by changing the prime rate. Fees for any alleged services are just icing on the cake.

Be sure and read the fine print in the RBC periodic account updates so you're not surprised as I was by the latest excursion into your back pocket. Controlling
the investor market is the key to successful brokerages because interest rates are rock bottom low in the public sector. And, it's risky for individuals to play the stock market or derivatives in today's environment. So offering investments priced slightly above what's available at the trough guarantees a pool of people with above average financial strength.

Managing a brokerage account at RBC will tax your time as much as if you were actually a broker yourself, from watching for mistakes in tabulated interest to your accounts to buying financial instruments that you didn't want just to satisfy an order.

Here's an example of what can happen, even if you watch, from December 2016 as I purchased a financial instrument from BOFI federal through the brokerage: I did not
authorize a purchase beyond the BOFI investment. But the broker bought $2000 worth of another bank's offering shorting the BOFI investment without consulting me first. The Broker's email response:

Date: Thu, 29 Dec 2016 13:53:06 +0000From: Pellicoro, B <*******@rbc.com>To: *******@NETZERO.NET <*******@NETZERO.NET>

Mr. Williams,

I will call you shortly, but wanted to assure you that I would never take it upon myself to buy something you did not order..I only have human error to blame as I inadvertently bought the wrong bond. But I will make sure that THE ERROR IS CORREC TED TODAY!

B. Pellicoro
First Vice President - Financial Advisor AWM
RBC Wealth Management

111 Rockville Pike
Ste 825
Rockville, MD 20850
Phone: *******604
Fax: *******681

How do you buy the wrong bond? The RBC Broker's reason for the investment snafu? Why a typo', what else? But the spelling of the 'bond' he bought wasn't even close to the four letter spelling of BOFI. Note that elderly investors don't have the time to make up losses from bad deals that their brokerage might buy like zero coupon J.P. Morgan chase bond securities that can pay zero interest for months until the consumer price index rises. If you have more than one brokerage account, then you must be prepared to buy something within the specified time frame for each account. If you don't buy regularly in a calendar year then you pay an RBC 'inactivity fee' under the following conditions:

First, investment maturity doesn't count. If you have an existing security and it matures then you get no credit for reinvesting that principal with RBC. Interest from other investments that pay into your brokerage account isn't considered activity either, activity' is only new purchases that lead to the broker making a profit from your account. So, why keep it there? Because it will cost you another fee to close the account anywhere from $90.00 upwards. Pursuant to the RBC user agreement', I bought another financial instrument in January 2018 with an end of the month settlement date to avoid the penalty for not investing'. This is extortion plain and simple.

I received the RBC purchase confirmation in the mail. But at the end of January the capital was still in my investment account so the purchase was in doubt as my agreement with the broker stipulated the money was to be transferred after the 26th of the month. I had to call the broker to discover that they had bought the instrument with their own money. Why?

This is highly irregular. I've never had securities bought on credit before without my knowledge and so this experience was of some concern given the wording of their user agreement: "..until payment is made by you, securities purchases by you or held by us for your account will be or may be hypothecated comingled with securities for other clients. If payment or delivery is not made by the settlement date, we reserve the right without further notice to charge interest on the amount due shown on the face hereof.."

Likely I would have been charged interest for RBC using their money to buy my investment without my knowledge or permission if I hadn't checked up on them. So despite what RBC brokerage may tell you, there is a good chance that an interest charge could still appear on your next statement. Also, guess who will be keeping the interest on the investment until the funds are transferred? If you can buy something on credit without client approval, why not double my order as well and hold me liable?

Even RBC's instrument purchase confirmations are full of additional clauses that work against the account holder. And there's no recourse provision in these clauses for RBC negligence when a buy order isn't executed because the user agreement requires client agreement to binding arbitration instead of a court of law or you don't get the account. So to find out what additional fees may have been dumped on you in a given transaction, you must request an explanation in writing or you get nothing: RBC notes in their client agreement that ".this transaction may have incurred other fees..a complete breakdown of fees associated with the transaction will be provided on your written request.."

In December,of this year I transferred my account to another broker using the RBC system. RBC like many large banks earns its money by gouging clients with outrageous fees as the loan industry is no where near as lucrative. And fees aren't subject to the same scrutiny as loan interest. I was charged a $125 fee for transferring my holdings to another financial adviser even though the funds remain at RBC. Then I was charged an additional $45.79 for electronic transfer of my records to the other adviser within the same bank.

As RK aptly noted, they are 'money sucking leaches..'

UPDATE 3/6/2019

I discovered that RBC was holding the proceeds from one of my investments, $200 plus a $125 fee. Immediately I sent off a letter of protest to Warren Bischoff, the RBC Complex Director taking issue with the transfer charge on my investments moving within the same bank to another broker. After several weeks of non-response from RBC, I wrote a letter of complaint in January of 2019 to both the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and Comptroller of the Currency (as the latter regulates all foreign banks) to protest this outrageous fee. Shortly after getting my letter off to the regulating agencies,

RBC reversed the fee.After I had contacted FINRA, in early March of 2019 $325 dollars was refunded to my new brokerage account. To date I have not heard from Comptroller of the Currency as apparently this case did not fall under their jurisdiction.

If you're looking for a place to invest, look well beyond RBCs client satisfaction hokum.
In October of 2017 I was returning from a trip On US 64 which brought me through Louisville, Kentucky. Just about a half to three quarters of a mile before the Shively 264
exit, I was bumped in my rented 2017 Chevy Impala by an individual in
some sort of green sports car. I saw him or her swing in behind me from an
angle consistent with someone entering the highway from an on ramp.

It looked to be a woman or a guy with long hair from my rear view mirror who fell in behind me after the hit and slowed down. I had expected him or her to pull in behind me after the bump event. I signaled to pull over to the shoulder where we could exchange insurance information. I stopped on the shoulder about 100 yards from
the Shively 264 exit. Instead of pulling directly in behind me, the guy sped away on the 264 exit just as traffic began to back up at the Shively exit. However, I got his license number '840 CAL' before he fled the scene. Looking at the rental vehicle right side damage, the collision was consistent with an onramp entry and appeared
to be more that $500.

Two Louisberg police officers showed up about a minute or so after the individual sped away. I thought they might have witnessed the accident but instead they began clearing debris off the Shively exit to free up traffic. Lacking a working cell phone I
was unable to contact the police. One female officer at the scene I attempted to talk with said they were 'super busy' and that another patrol car would be coming. At that point, she and an accompanying officer jumped into their cars and left the scene. I waited 30 minutes at the Shively exit for the promised patrol car but it never showed. I hen left and continued my journey home. The next day, I filed a Kentucky Civilian Traffic Collision Report with the state police. (http://www.kentuckystatepolice.org/forms.html)

The civilian traffic collision report I filed is a joke. It gets no identifying number after it's filed; nobody appears to do anything with the report. It's likely a convenient archive that allows insurance adjusters to determine your 'risk' factor in premium assignments. Otherwise, it's a worthless document for anyone who has filed it. After I arrived back home I called the Kentucky state police but they wouldn't run the license plate I recorded. They suggested that I talk to Louisville police at
Division 4 of Jefferson County. So I called there and the officer tells me they don't have jurisdiction and they wouldn't run the plate because I'm not a law enforcement officer or an insurance representative. They suggest I call the Jefferson County DA. So I talk to a Jefferson County assistant DA who tells me that I cannot file a
criminal complaint over the phone and that I would have to return to Kentucky. Neither would they accept my complaint in a notarized letter. Only a local lawyer could file my complaint, I was told. I believe the reader can see where this might be going.

Talking to a number of lawyers in the Loiuisville area that handle auto accidents revealed a host of solutions for the hit and run accident I was involved in but none of them were viable. I should point out that few attorneys called me back the same day as either business was exceptionally good or the amount of damages I experienced wasn't sufficient to peak their interest.

One attorney suggested that I file a civil action to recoup the rental losses. But unfortunately, even if I returned to Kentucky and filed a civil and criminal action, I was told that the accused could simply deny it. (The perpetrator obviously didn't have insurance which was why the person fled to begin with).

Another lawyer said paying the damages myself (or my insurance
company) would be cheaper than hiring a lawyer to resolve the issue.
What this translates to is unless there's sufficient money in play
because of an incident we're not interested in pursuing it even if it's a
felony. Remember that statement because it's nothing more than 'pay to
play', And even if you win the civil suit; it's doubtful that you'd be awarded attorney's fees. It's characteristic of the endemic corruption in America's legal
system. You'll understand this a bit further down.

My personal favorite was a local lawyer who advertises 'How to Get a Car Accident Report or Police Report in Kentucky'. Nothing gauche about tooting your own horn. The process is actually quite simple, "There is a company that has a website to handle requests for car accident reports for Louisville and all of Kentucky. The website is called www.buycrash.com (www.buycrash.com/Public/Home.aspx).
There is a fee for each accident report that can be paid by credit card
(MasterCard, Visa, Discover, or American Express) or PayPal...Written
requests need to be addressed to the Kentucky State Police post that
worked the accident. Written requests should include a self-addressed
stamped envelope and a $5.00 check or money order payable to Kentucky
State Treasurer...If you believe another person was responsible
for your car accident in Louisville or elsewhere in Kentucky, you may
want to contact a Kentucky attorney to assist you with filing a
claim or pursuing a lawsuit..You can contact Brett via email or call
*******700, toll free *******729.."

So the lawyer's advertisement suggests that what I experienced outside Louisville is quite common in the area. His site has a number of testimonials from happy satisfied clients So there you have it, if the monetary damages are sufficient to make it worthwhile for the attorney then a claim will be pursued. Apparently the same condition applies to the Jefferson county D.A. Never mind that a particular law
has been violated, after all we break the country's laws every day where
immigration is concerned.

One final call to the Jefferson County DA to suggest that their office pursue the criminal charge against the individual who fled the accident scene as it was at least a Class C misdemeanor. (My guess is it wouldn't be a felony unless it was something like $5000 or more in damages) The assistant DA that I talked to said they don't pursue individuals and that I would have better luck with a civil complaint through an attorney. Now the DA had to know that a civil complaint against an individual without auto insurance was futile so his recommendation was more 'pay for play' rhetoric. I retorted with 'I bet if I robbed a bank and someone got my license
you'd run it. That's no different than someone leaving the scene of an accident.' There was complete silence from the assistant D.A. I thought he had hung up. He reiterated that there was nothing he could do and so the call ended.

Travel through Kentucky at your own risk.
Recently, I was in the market for some new R-12 hoses to refurbish an older AC gauge set when I happened on an advertisement from Amazon featuring all three replacement hoses for about $17+ bucks. It seemed like a good deal except for the long delay in shipping the goods but I wasn't in any hurry so I thought I'd sign up.

Unfortunately, I quickly discovered that Amazon.com doesn't allow guest purchases' as does EBAY, it's members only' at Amazon and your order is conditional upon membership acceptance. I received the following confirmation memo Jan 16, sent to me at our sites email address.

Order Confirmation

Hello Allen Williams,

Thank you for shopping with us. You ordered "Atoplee 3pcs (2500~500)PSI...". We'll send a confirmation when your item ships.

Details Order #**************812


Monday, February 6 -

Tuesday, February 28


This was the typical automated response however, the next day I received a follow-up email which I expected to be an actual ship date but instead my account' was frozen!

Subject: Re: Your Amazon.com order cannot be shipped On 1/16/ 12:24 PM, *******@amazon.com wrote: There was a problem processing your order. You will not be able to access your account or place orders with us until we confirm your information.

You can help us resolve this issue by replying to this message with the billing name, address, and phone number registered to your card. Please reply from the email address registered to your Amazon.com account.

If needed, update your information with the card issuer.

For your security, we restrict access to your billing details to a team of account specialists. Our Customer Service team cannot access these details or provide you with more information on this issue. They can only verify that we sent this request.

We ask that you not open new accounts as any order you place may be delayed.


This makes no sense unless the real purpose of being an Amazon member is to open all of your transactions to government phishers. All the personal 'verification' needed was to PING the card in amount of $1.00 to confirm its validity otherwise the card would be rejected outright. What Amazon is really saying here is that we don't trust you to be who you claim to be without outside confirmation. That's not membership, it's just abuse.

Apparently Amazon no longer limits abuse to its employees but is now including customers as Salon reports: Worse than Wal-Mart: Amazon's sick brutality and secret history of ruthlessly intimidating workers. (https://www.salon.com/2014/02/23/worse_than_wal_mart_amazons_sick_brutality_and_secret_history_of_ruthlessly_intimidating_workers/) "You might find your Prime membership morally indefensible after reading these stories about worker mistreatment." Don't be overly shocked, this is simply globalism and its New World Order business practices. It's the future of American business. Oh that's just sour grapes. Really? Well how about Amazon used neo-Nazi' guards to control workers in German factory?
(https://www.rt.com/news/amazon-abuse-staff-germany-310/) Oh, too harsh, still? How about the Orwellian work environment at Amazon as in Forbes' assessment, "What Amazon's Work Culture Tells Us About Employee Disengagement (https://www.forbes.com/sites/causeintegration/2015/08/21/what-amazons-work-culture-tells-us-about-employee-disengagement/#6316bac454f0)

But what disturbs me most is the Huff Post Blog reporting a $600 million dollar deal Amazon struck with the CIA for cloud services (https://www.huffingtonpost.com/norman-solomon/why-amazons-collaboration_b_4824854.html) which likely means the CIA has access to all purchases made by Amazon customers. The Blog further reports: ".. a signer in Cincinnati wrote: "If Amazon chooses to sell out their customers to the CIA, I will never visit their site again. Betrayal shouldn't be the price of convenience." This certainly goes a long way towards explaining why Amazon would be so interested in confirming' mine and others customer information.

On Jan 17th, I called the company and spoke to a representative who was to look into the problem.' I told them what had happened and the lady I spoke with indicated that I had to respond with the email address that I opened the account with. Well, duh.. I DID that and they acknowledged it by responding to the ORIGINAL email address that I opened the account with!!. (Actually, I responded with both my email addresses and still received the same mind numbing response.)


We encountered an issue with your account, and have removed your access to this account because the card issuer has refused to confirm your name and billing
address for your Visa ending in 56. You will not be able to access your account or place orders with us until we verify your information.

To resolve this issue, please allow the card issuer to grant our request, or send the information below to our secure fax line:

-- A copy of your statement for the payment card used, including the billing address
-- The last two digits of the payment card
-- Your name, phone number, and email address
You can find our fax number on the Amazon.com Help page: ttps://www.amazon.com/help/addressverification

We will convert your fax to a secure electronic image. To protect your information, we restrict access to your billing details to a team of account specialists.

Our Customer Service team can confirm that we sent this email, but they cannot view your fax or share more information about this issue.

You can expect a response from us within 24 hours of sending your fax. If you would like us to confirm your information with the card issuer, reply to this email after you have arranged for them to grant our request.

In the meantime, please do not open new accounts because any new order that you place may be delayed. We are sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused.


Yes, secure like Yahoo and Facebook which had millions of their 'secure' customer records hacked. And might they also be passing my business information along to the NSA or FBI as BEST Buy technical people are currently doing for the FBI? (https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-03-08/fbi-has-been-paying-geek-squad-spy-customers-over-decade)

The customer rep never addressed my reply or indicated why my bank had to confirm my identity. A few days later I got another email asking why I discontinued my account. Interesting enough, Amazon's Bezos owns the Washington Post and since I have been a written critic of that intellectual rag, the Amazon episode begins to make a bit more sense.

Trump may be on to something in Donald Trump's war on Jeff Bezos, Amazon and the Washington Post Looks like Amazon.com has been getting a pretty cushy tax break in their rise to economic fame. (http://money.cnn.com/2016/05/13/technology/donald-trump-jeff-bezos-amazon/)

And of course, we all know the journalistic integrity' of WAPO as in After the WaPost's Latest Shot, It's Time to Call Fake News' By Its Real Name Weaponized Journalism' (http://thefreethoughtproject.com/wapost-fake-news-weaponized-journalism/) My observation to the WAPO editor on instructions from Jeff Bezos for their news coverage is that company policy (written or otherwise) dictates news coverage just as it would with any other firm subsidiary. Don't think for a moment that WAPO isn't looking out for the Amazon billionaire's interests.

There is another possibility, the company is advertising the sale of an item they don't have and won't have available unless a sufficient number of people express interest before they order from their China supplier. In that case you might want a verifiable customer base to motivate the Chinese.

If you're an Amazon customer get prepared for more invasive scrutiny of your account information, and if you're not, don't JOIN!.
Observing operation at Walgreens pharmacy located at 78th and State Avenue in Kansas City, Kansas was a wonder to behold. It is a modern drug dispensing facility with computer oversight, featuring a drive through, two service lines, an information window and a huge alphabetical prescription holding rack containing drugs for A to Z recipients, ready to dispense.

The first time I was there to have a prescription filled, the two service lines were six and seven persons deep and the drive through window processed a steady line of prescription orders. (Eat your heart out McDonalds!) From what I could see there were a half dozen or so pharmacy techs of various nationalities scurrying about keeping the drive through window supplied and placing orders in the holding rack. It was by far the most intensive activity in the entire store and undoubtedly responsible for Walgreens 2016 billion dollar profits. It is for all practical purposes a highly successful retail network pharmacy. But what about real healthcare?

Only one pharmacist oversaw this circus of activity that I could detect with who knows how many unseen individuals behind the scene hastily filling little plastic pill bottles with various medicines. It was Obamacares assembly line medicine in full operation, a boon to the fortunate few who hold exclusive distribution status.: The Obama administration decided to make a deal with the PhRMA to get them to support the legislation, he told Morning Consult. PhRMA got a number of favorable provisions in the legislation.

As you might expect, in any quasi chaotic operation born of special interest deals, things were bound to go wrong. In the multicultural - multinational drug market, the mission statement is more important than the reality of care. Walgreens president, Greg Wasson claims: One of the most unifying forces behind Walgreens 113 years of success is our purpose: to help people get, stay and live well.

Really? But shouldn't that process commence by ensuring that patients obtain ALL their prescribed medicines and not someone elses? After arriving at Walgreens about a month ago, I had requested my prescription records be transferred to Walgreens from CVS. You AREN'T ALLOWED to retrieve your own prescription from a pharmacy under Obamacare; it has to be requested by ANOTHER PHARMACY.

On March 27th, I went to get my 2nd prescription filled that clearly indicated there were two remaining refills on the bottle. However, I was told at the counter that they had NO prescription records for that medication. I informed them you should have the records as I had requested them to be transferred from CVS the last time I was at Walgreens. But I had to request the transfer of my 2nd prescription a second time and indicated that I would return on Wednesday of that week to pick it up.

When I arrived at the counter on Wednesday a multicultural tech informed me that my pain killing medication was ready. I didnt have a pain killing medication, I replied. Oh, then your Prednisone prescription is ready, the tech said. I dont have a Prednisone prescription either; I wouldnt take that stuff I replied. Makes you wonder if diabetic customers are getting the correct medication and dosages, hmmm? Nothing quite like being knowledgeable about whom youre serving.

But regarding my 2nd prescription they said: CVS didn't send that prescription to us because you have no refills remaining. But that wasn't true as the prescription vial I handed Walgreens clearly displayed TWO refills and it had not yet reached the 12-month expiration limit.

The pharmacy didn't seem to care about the administrative foul-up and refused to honor my request for a few emergency pills to hold me over until I could get the doctor to write a new prescription because as their pharmacist told me .. it wasn't legal. KMART did this regularly. So was it legal to push off narcotic pain killers and prednisone on me because they mistook my identity? It doesn't invoke much confidence on my part in their professional capabilities. Instead they had my third prescription ready (which I didnt need) and tried to get me to take that in lieu of what I requested. The service there feels like 'Give me the money.,.shutup...get out! Starting to get the picture, yet?

Discussion with the pharmacist led to an agreement for Walgreens to contact my doctor and their automated system would then call me when my 2nd prescription was filled. But, there was no call from Walgreens automated system and I had to call it myself (and my doctor) to find out that my prescription was ready to pick up nearly a week later. It doesn;t matter what you arrange with Walgreens, you will only get what they decide you can have. Is it just me? Well, read some of the 1220 Walgreen complaints and decide for yourself. (https://www.consumeraffairs.com/rx/walgreen.html)

UPDATE 1/24/2020: Recently my doctor put me on a new blood pressure medication starting at 0.1 mg dosage to allow me to increase it gradually as needed. It's common for physicians to allow patients to adjust dosages of their medicines because a given drug doesn't work the same on every individual.

I started the new Clonidine prescription on Jan 11th with just 30 pills continuing on the lowest dosage for about a week. The numbers were moving in the right direction but I decided I needed another small increase and so I went to 0.2 mg. That change got me closer but I still needed a bit more. I increased to 0.3 mg and was finally where I needed to be but had used all but 4 of the original prescription. At this point I had three days left before my next doctor's appointment and since their were 5 refills listed that could be refilled before 1/08/21 so I headed to the pharmacy to get a quick refill to avoid shorting dosages before my doctor appointment.

When I got there I handed the bottle to one of the staff who promptly told me they couldn't fill the prescription before Feb 9h
because this restriction was on the label. Well, I was a little surprised because this was a brand new prescription and no one new if the original 0.1mg dosage stated on the label would work. So I asked the tech if I could just have a few extra tablets to carry me over the week end. Something I never had a problem with at Kmart; the pharmacists there always accomodated my requests.

The tech excused herself and went back to see the pharmacist. when the woman pharmacist came out, I explained I just needed a few pills because it took a bit more to get my BP under control. The young woman immediately got upset and asked If the doctor approved my taking the extra pills. How could he know how many I needed. It was a brand new lowest dose medication, any of three dosages might have worked, who knew until I took them. Well, she flatly refused to give me a few extra pills to tide me over because the doctor had not approved my taking the extra pills. I had to call the doctor, get a revised prescription which the doctor's staff sent electronically to the pharmacy. When I called to confirm the pharmacy computer wanted me to pick up the prescription the following day. Note that there is no real change here it's just for the same 30 days at the same dosage. How stupid are Walgreens Pharmacy people?

I told the computer I need it today. The computer finally said I could pick up the prescription after 3:15pm.

Well by now I'm getting pretty hot under the collar. I arrive and the tech said It would be ANOTHER 20 minutes before it could be filled. I exploded since I had been told it would be available after 3:15pm and I arrived at 3:20pm.

I told the tech there is no reason why you people should have denied me a few extra pills to tide me over because the medication was not opioids or narcotics. Well the pharmacist heard the commotion and came out, I reiterated what I told the tech and repeated it was a new medication and I didn't know what dosage would work so the doctor expected me to find the level that worked for me. It wasn't rocket science, it was just blood pressure medication.

She then claimed that I didn't say that before. Well I didn't use those exact words because I thought she was smart enough to realize it was a new medication not in their system, it was a very low dosage and I only needed a few pills NOT a whole bottle. It was really a non issue the woman obviously lacks common sense.

Again I told her it was not for opioids or narcotics but she responded it was blood pressure as if I was getting something dangerous like nitroglycerin. I told her it was NOT her responsibility to take care of my blood pressure and to mind her own business. I additionally informed her this would be written up AGAIN on Site jabber. And maybe when there are sufficient reads to impact Walgreens business maybe they'll stop the bull$#*!. This is the worst pharmacy I have ever had to deal with, staffed by minimally qualified people and professional morons.

CVS and Walgreens are battling it out to control the market for prescription drugs so customer care is way down the line. Patient care comes in number four right behind legal liabilities, HHS directives and company policy. Emphasis is on pushing the distribution sales of prescription drugs to the dehumanizing level, everything else is secondary.

I arrived at Walgreens on April 3rd to pick up the 2nd prescription, the pharmacist waited on me directly. I informed him that Walgreens automated system didnt call me and that I had to call it instead. He did the usual security check with my birth date and then asked me to type in the last four digits of my telephone number which the system didnt take. This suggests that I quite possibly could have left Walgreens with narcotics never prescribed for me because of their malfunctioning system. He continued to try to get the system to accept my phone number and I finally had to tell the Pharmacist to ring up my charges as he wasnt responsible for the malfunction. It was the people who installed it. They could play with their computer later; I just wanted to complete my business and leave.

My first hint that Walgreens was more a greed driven enterprise than a healthcare outlet occurred when I was forced into their system from the collapse of KMARTs pharmacy. And mind you, not that KMART provided inferior products or service but it simply wasnt as good as Walgreens in marketing their slice of the Obamacare drug cartel. KMARTs final pharmacy closure sent my prescription records to CVS, the bottom of the birdcage in prescription medicine.

The reader is well advised to seek other drug store providers if at all possible.
I'm one of those individuals who does virtually everything across the Internet. It is in that spirit that I sought and found a set of replacement radiator cooling fan motors on Junkyard dog.for my dad's 1991 Nissan Sentra E (which I now own since his passing). The car has deep sentimental value and I have sought to maintain it as it was when he was alive. Photo: The parts carton delivered by UPS..

Although the company that I ultimately ordered the parts from, Sunrise Nissan- California, didn't show up on the Internet search, they obviously got the information that I filled out in the salvage query because they sent me an e-mail with price and availability. Their shipping cost was the lowest of any of the companies that I had negotiated with for transport. (And now I know why)

I decided to order. The item arrived from Sunrise Nissan delivered by United Parcel Service (UPS) on the evening of June 8th, some 15 days after it was ordered.

I could hear things rattling around inside as the UPS agent handed me the carton. The package was wrapped around multiple times with plastic wrap and quite difficult to get open. The packaging was not at all like the shipping containers that I've received with vintage auto parts in the past; this one had a noticeable dent on one end and it looked more like a cocoon than a box. {No, I didn't mistakenly show the wrong shrimp, I mean shipping carton here. The parts were actually delivered in an old frozen shrimp carton. Frankly, I was surprised not to find any dead shrimp along with the fans when I opened the box.}

At this point, I'm not certain if this particular auto salvage operation also sells or prepares shrimp at their location but it might be wise to scan any shrimp you order from California with a metal detector before serving.

Both fan assemblies were broken. The driver's side was the least damaged with only one mounting tab missing. I found it at the bottom of the box. Fortunately, I was able to repair it satisfactorily

The second fan shroud was extensively damaged. One of the broken frame sections was lying underneath the fan blade as you see top center.

There is a fracture about 3/4" from the right hand side of the missing top piece penetrating through the entire shroud assembly. The lower frame was broken clear through at its bottom as shown in the photo top. It was not found in the shipping carton. Either, the shipper or UPS, placed the broken shroud parts in the bottom of the shrimp carton along with the two fan assemblies.

The supplier was: SUNRISE NISSAN & KIA AUTO DISMANTLING, 3450 SUNRISE BLVD, RANCHO CORDOVA, CA 95742. PHONE *******795 FAX *******849 e-mail: (now protected) STORE HOURS - M-F 8am-5pm SAT 9am-4pm STD PACIFIC All parts guaranteed 6 months

After placing a complaint call, UPS made arrangements the following day to pick up the packaging for 'inspection'. What? They didn't photograph it after picking up such an unusual package from the shipper? I e-mailed both UPS and Sunrise Nissan the evening of June 10th complaining of the damage and including these photographs. UPS sent an e-mail acknowledgement of receipt of the pictures on 6/11/09, stating:

"Thank you for sending us the photos of the damaged package. We will now inspect the package and notify your shipper of the results. We will contact the shipper by the end of the next business day. If you are the receiver, please stay in contact with your shipper for additional information regarding the final disposition of the claim.


Gregory Marshall

UPS Damage Exception Group

*******352 ext. 4511"

Photo: Original Fan Shroud assemblies..

Sunrise Nissan has not responded to date. Lacking the common courtesy to respond to its customers gives one an indication of what their 6-month fan warranty might be worth. Is it a wonder that California is going broke?

So, whose fault is it for the damaged items? Both the Shipper and Carrier will blame each other for the damage; it's the consumer who loses.

I was fortunate, neither fan motor was damaged, both work satisfactorily and replacing the shroud will cost about $52.08.

But why not just use the original fan shroud assemblies already on the vehicle which were in good shape? Well, ordinarily that would have been a viable solution but in this case, the replacement fans mount differently in the shroud assemblies than the originals as shown below.

Photo: The Nissan original and replacement fan shroud..

Although both are '91 fan shrouds, the replacements ordered from Sunrise Nissan utilize a triangular mount that's actually part of the motor and can't be removed.
Swampers or auto dismantlers have no particular incentive to remove parts undamaged.. getting orders filled quickly is what counts.

And, UPS already has quite a reputation for damaged goods and often refuses to pay claims on things it wrecks in transit.

One claimant writes: "I shipped a wall sculpture at THE UPS STORE in Lagrange KY on February 25, 2009. The item was undamaged and in good condition when I took it to them for shipment to my home in Virginia. I paid 90.50 for shipping, handling and insurance on my sculpture. When it arrived in Virginia I found my 822.50 sculpture had been totally destroyed. "

Another writes: "I shipped a desktop phone system to a customer by packing it in a heavy box, wrapping each phone 2x in large-cell bubble wrap, and adding styrofoam peanuts for extra protection. The customer contacted me stating the phones arrived looking like they had been smashed by hammers.."

It's why consumer advocacy sites like "Angie's List and others have sprung up on the Internet. Angie's List serves some 750,000 consumers with ratings on who's good, who isn't and who's in the 'penalty box'. Suppliers do not pay to get on Angie's List, they must earn their way on in either in providing good or unsatisfactory service.

Today's consumer not only faces the risk of receiving merchandize like this from unscupulous sellers, but also has to deal with callous shippers like UPS who often damage otherwise satisfactory and serviceable goods in transit. Carriers make their money on the sheer volume of merchandize they ship; careful handling is NOT conducive to maximizing company profits. It's better to push the volume to the highest maintainable level and let the smashed articles accumulate as they may. After all, UPS faces no real retribution other than unpopular publicity and if you deny most of the damage claims, you're profit ahead.
Shipping UPS should not be a first choice. It should only be done for items that are inexpensive and easily replaced or simply can't be broken. Remember, your money is never damaged in transit and seldom lost.
On March 30, a small group of about 20 people including myself gathered to celebrate the days of unleavened bread at a special dinner at the Doubletree Hotel Trofi restaurant in Overland Park.

A number of local eateries offer private dining for a fee or on a food and beverage basis.

**Doubletree Hotel **
(by Hilton)

Trofi Restaurant

10100 College Boulevard,

Overland Park, Kansas, 66210-1462, USA

We had negotiated with a young lady there named Adrianne, the hotels evening restaurant manager, for a suitable private dining area some months prior to this event. I and another individual met with this person and looked over the private and semi private areas available.

At the time of our viewing these facilities we were more than 6 months out from our March 30th dinner event. We looked at several locations inside Trofi ; one was a semi-private area located on a small mezzanine just above the main dining area and a larger enclosed room away from the dining area that would accommodate up to forty people. After some deliberation, we decided on the larger room expecting that we might add individuals to our 20 person minimum.

We had guaranteed the Hotel a minimum of 20 individuals for the event and asked to be notified of any pending price adjustments in advance. During the meeting we were informed by several restaurant staff that Trofi was looking to renovate their restaurant sometime in 2018 and might be adjusting Menu prices.

It took Adrianne nearly 3 months to get us a copy of the menu for our event with prices. As our event drew closer, I stopped by the Hotel to enquire as to whether Trofis renovation might occur at or near our dinner event. When I arrived, I found that Adrianne was in a meeting so I asked the Hotels front desk if someone else could be available to update me on the Trofi renovation. Gary Rodgers, the Director of Catering and Convention Services for Doubletree met with me and I was told at that time that the restaurant was in the process of hiring a new manager, a Mr. Kevin Gunn and we should consult with him.

However when I called the hotel several days later, I was told that there wasnt any Mr. Gunn. But finally I got hold of Adrianne and after several email requests; she finally sent a firm price Menu.

Everything now seemed in order and we were nearing the event when a series of illness cancellations caused us to drop below the guaranteed 20 person agreement. I expected that we might wind up somewhere between 17 to 19 individuals. Adrianne indicated that number would suffice,

So now fast forward several weeks to the night of the event, we arrive at Trofi shortly before 7:00 pm to discover there is no Adrianne and the Hotel switched our private room to the semi-private mezzanine which was essentially open to the main dining area. Our server and what appeared to be the night manager, a late 40s or early 50s man, began to herd us toward the large table along the length of the mezzanine. At this point, about 17 people were present.

I questioned the night Managers assertion that we had negotiated originally for the mezzanine which wasnt true. During this discussion interval three more people arrived bringing us up to our 20 person minimum.

I told the manager that there appeared to be adequate private space available as the restaurant was nearly empty. He replied that there was a private room adjacent to where we were but that it could only hold 16 people because of Overland Parks fire code However, Doubletrees own website indicates capacity is just 14 people.

I recalled that the room we viewed earlier in our negotiations was one of three banquet rooms located down the connection corridor to the hotel rather than in the restaurant proper. It then occurred to me that this room was misrepresented by Trofi at the time having been quoted at $600 for our event which later gradually morphed into a 20 person minimum; the hidden assumption being a $30.00 food and beverage purchase for each individual which isnt realistic if there are children involved. Its just the old bait and switch marketing scam.

So realizing that we had been duped, we sat down to make the best of the evening but that notion could not be further from the truth. We could not play our pre-recorded opening message because there was background noise from our server as well as a few people seated outside near the mezzanine. It was intended that we would play our message first and then the server would be admitted to take orders but the server was already engaged in bringing tea, water and whatever else as we haggled with the manager.

This is supposedly a 4-star restaurant (3.8) according to Open Table.com but considering the events of the evening, by whose standards? Im finding it hard to believe, its the patrons evaluation. Its interesting to note that Trofis own Doubletree website fails to tout the nearly four star rating from Open Table, as the difference in quality cuisine and service from Hiltons Johnnys Italian Steakhouse in Olathe was far superior.

At 7:30 pm our server began to take our orders, running back and forth with drinks, etc but it was nearly 9:00pm before all orders for our group arrived. I received mine at 8:50 pm but the lady across the table to my right still didnt have hers. Given the lengthy serving times involved, one wonders if this was the chefs first commercial experience.

Now patrons that had received their meals between 8:15 pm and just past 8:30 pm were already eating as there was no point in having them wait for everyone to be served at that point. During my wait I had been talking to the gentleman directly across the table from me as he ate his order of Burnt End Mac and Cheese. Suddenly, I saw him stop and quickly bring his hand to his mouth. Inserting two fingers he pulled out a small sharp curved object about ¾ of an inch long. The object had pricked his gum and he had his wife look to see if any blood was drawn.

The foreign object was unknown to most of us around him but the fellow who had bitten into it thought it might be a piece from a grill brush.

Quick View.. Just Grillin' Oversize

Unfortunately, some of the grill brushes depicted on the Bed, Bath and Beyond' site could potentially be used in other tasks that would render them unsuitable for further grill use. The discovery of this metal fragment in a patrons food suggests that there isnt much management scrutiny over the condition of food utensils employed at Doubletree. It also gives one cause to wonder if there has ever been an FDA inspection at this facility.

When my dish arrived, it had a hastily prepared appearance. As I began to eat, I found the rice pilaf quite dry which set me off on a 10 minute coughing fit. By the time my cough subsided, it was past 9:00 pm and I elected to take the rest of my meal home in a takeout container.

Dining at the Doubletree restaurant was a miserable experience and I certainly wouldnt recommend it to anyone much less the hotel guests.
Recently, I had the need to send money to a company overseas to purchase a service. I normally use PayPal because its readily accepted for overseas transfers unless you happen to bank with Security Bank of Kansas City, formerly Valley View Bank.

On April 28, 2017, I attempted the transaction but it was blocked. Whats interesting here is that I got an immediate notice from PayPal indicating that the party I was attempting to pay was blocking the transaction. Why would the people Im trying to fund block the transfer? They don't want the business?

I didnt find the answer to that question until the morning of May 1st when I received several email notifications and two automated phone calls from Security Bank asking me whether or not I was the originator of the $140 dollar transaction on April 28th and May 1st, 2017 respectively. After I confirmed that I was the originator, the transaction was still blocked.so what's the point of asking? It would be a good thing to verify the originator and then proceed with the transaction if the originator is who he or she claims to be but Security Bank is only concerned if it's an identity problem that they would have to refer the transaction attempt to the FBI. And a bank attempting to verify an overseas transfer of money would be a good thing if the queries had not occurred three days after I attempted the transfer. Why so fast, why not wait until the end of the week? No need to inform the owner of the account immediately- well just block the transfer and see if it goes away on its own.

The experience gives one a feeling for just how much a bank exercises control over your own money being mindful that once deposited its not your money anymore. Youre just another creditor. And it gives new impetus to the scriptural text, No man may buy or sell save he that have the mark. It also reaffirms my oft repeated comment that control over money is control over you. Its a major reason why the banks are warring against cash. It gives far greater power to the money barons over who buys what and when. Just wait until these morons have us all on electronic currency, where not only can and will they block transfers they dont like, but will charge you VAT fees as well on both ends of the transfer.

Whats scary is that I could have been attempting to send the $140 bucks to a vacationing family member overseas who unexpectedly ran short. But that doesnt matter, bank POLICY comes first, everything else be d_____! Ever wonder how the banking cartel and the government can quickly wreck your money portfolio along with your day? Read on!

Note that it doesnt matter that I had set up a pre-arranged transfer annually for this event and that Valley View (now Security) had paid the same company at the same location for three previous years running. I affirmed that request with the same bank just last year but the only valid agreement with Security Bank is what you can make at the moment and even that agreement doesn't necessarily hold and is time limited. (These are the same YOYOs that offer you the opportunity to download your bank statement electronically BUT IT DOESNT WORK! All you get is an error notification. Once inside their system youre on a 3-minute egg timer clock after you login; instead of counting inactive time and resetting their clock if you change the page or click on something else; they simply dump you out of your account. Ive had to log back in multiple times to complete a single task. And along with that policy they required you to show your drivers license each teller visit with your hat off so they could recognize you. Consider that you may not really be you, you could be someone that looks like you wearing a hat to pretend to be someone else. Never mind that you come in more than once a week for over 10 years, that's irrelevant. Policy is policy. I could go on and on.) Its complete lunacy and its about time the public found out the kind of nonsense they can expect in doing business there.

The Banks President and his security advisor appear to be a couple of flakes bereft of common sense but theyre actually getting help Thanks to Government, Banks That Treat You Like Crap and Spy on You (https://danieljmitchell.wordpress.com/2014/01/28/thanks-to-government-banks-treat-you-like-crap-and-spy-on-you/) After all, I could be a terrorist buying a raft for some illegal to float into the country or maybe I was buying a bomb part or stock in a chemical weapons factory.

But I digress. So I called the bank to get some answers as to why my payment wasnt going through. After giving a young lady in the customer support group my identification information, she answered my questions indicating that Security blocks ALL foreign transactions. The government limits taking money out of the country to $10,000 but these people block all foreign transactions involving your money! The customer rep then promised that the bank would allow me to make the transfer if I performed it before May 2nd but then refused to identify herself. Incredibly, the customer Rep refused to give me her name citing it wasnt needed! Now you know exactly what those canned statements informing you that calls are recorded for quality assurance are really worth. Further questioning revealed that the transfer would have to be before 12:01 am on May 1st. So, I hung up and tried the transfer again .. now wait for it.. THE TRANSFER STIILL was NOT made!

I was a little steamed when I called back the second time because they reneged on the agreement but this time I was able to get a customer rep with a little more savvy to manually process the payment, finally receiving confirmation from PayPal that the company had received the funds.

If youre looking for a bank, I d suggest that Security Bank of Kansas City isnt it.

UPDATE 5/5/2017
Today, I received a response from the Bank's vice president :

Id like to take his opportunity to pass along our apologies regarding the difficulties you experienced while trying to conduct a recent debit card transaction. However, I wanted to make you aware that the transaction posted to your account on May 3, 2017.

I want to assure you that we make it our top priority to provide reliable payment processing systems to our customers. We understand that customers depend upon debit cards for their everyday needs. We take that responsibility very seriously.

At the same time, I am sure you have heard on the news that debit and credit card fraud is a global epidemic. Criminals use multiple tactics to steal card numbers. Such methods include online and telephone scams; skimming devices placed on retail terminals, ATMs and gas station pumps; etc. International transactions (especially those conducted on the internet) are one of the biggest threats.

I have reviewed this incident. I can see that you needed to make several phone calls to resolve this issue. We apologize for the inconvenience that caused. As fraud issues continue to evolve, all financial institutions are facing similar challenges with balancing security and customer convenience. We are continually monitoring and revisiting our fraud protection procedures, so your feedback is truly appreciated.

Rest assured, we really are attempting to keep your best interests in mind with our efforts to protect your account. It is time-consuming and disconcerting to become a victim of fraud. We want to do our part to help minimize the opportunity for that to happen to you.

If you have additional questions, please do not hesitate to contact me. I will be glad to assist.
Best Regards,

Cathy Keeling
Senior Vice President
Security Bank of Kansas City

My response:

Mss Keeling:

What kind of remark is "the transaction posted to my account on May 3rd mean other than being patronizing? That didn't happen because of anything Security bank did. I got one of your support reps to push it through manually. What you're saying is 'well, it went through so get over it.' There's not much point in having your system make several automated calls to confirm my transfer request (not to mention 2 separate emails regarding the same issue) and then when satisfied the request was indeed made by me, simply ignoring it and continue to block my transfer.

And yes, I'm aware of the the scam tactics used to victimize Debit card holders but that's not an excuse to ignore the requests of valid card holders.

I have updated my May 2nd article with this information as its important that our 200,000+ readers be informed. If you continue to block my transfers when you have confirmation that I'm the originator, THERE WILL BE ADDITIONAL PUBLICATIONS about security bank policies and practices.

Consider it free advertising.

Update May 2018

Sometime beginning around March of this year, I began to experience increased difficulty logging into my Security Bank account using Tor. At first, I thought it was just their goofy system as it's always been clunky and now they were upgrading it. When I complained, i was told that Security was having software issues. However my logging in difficulty continued to worsen, sometimes I could only view my account for a minute or so and then suddenly I was logged out. Other times, their system would cycle me around from the login screen to the security questions and then to a different login screen before letting me into the system. I would then get to view one or two entrres in my account before getting dumped out.

Then somewhere towards the end of April, I found that I could no longer get into my account using Tor despite always using the latest software version. I checked the browser list on their site that Security claims to support and Firefox was on it. I then logged into my account using a conventional version of Firefox and got right in without further trouble. At this point I realized that the bank was deliberately sabotaging my use of the Tor browser.

Entering their internal memo communication block I advised the bank on line that if they continued to block access to my own account after I have provided both the correct login information as well as correctly answering their secuity questions that I would be filing a formal complaint with the Kansas Attorney General's Office along with whatever federal agency regulates them, e.g. the office of thrift management or whomever, etc. I obviously got their attention because one of their executives called me a couple minutes later and I reiterated what I had said in the written correspondece plus advised them that both my complaint and an article detailing the events would be published for our quarter million readers.

Keep in mind that banks will promptly take advantage of you if you're unaware of your rights as a depositor. Hopefully, this review will benefit some of you in your own circumstances.

If Security Bank was truly concerned about security and not simply collecting data they wouldn't have been blocking the Tor browser in the first place.

Allen W

A. Williams
[Source Picture from: KCP&L Smart Grid from Missouri Public Service Commission]

Missouri Public Service (MPS) has accepted KCPL's 5-year plan for sustainable smart grid development. The DOE funded MPS version can be accessed here. (http://files.newpatriotsblog.com/200004101-31a7a339b2/KCPLSMARTPresent.pdf) What does this mean to you as a consumer?

There are few benefits for the electric consumer, the majority of infrastructure is aimed at collecting utility customer information and transmitting it via WIFI back to the Great Plains Subsidiary. KCP&L claims increased system reliability and fewer outages to their smart grid: "There will be increased information about customer energy usage and the ability to monitor, manage and ultimately reduce energy consumption and bills.."

But how's that different from the histogram of usage that already appears on my monthly bill? The answer is KCP&L can determine exactly what is being operated in the home. The company is marketing the smart grid as advantageous to customers but what are claimed as benefits actually favors KCP&L not the consumer. The KCP&L plan version is available here. (http://files.newpatriotsblog.com/200004106-023b7042f0/KCPLSmartGrid.pdf)

For the system to produce the greatest economic benefit, individual homes must allow KCP&L to remotely control their household thermostat. There is a good possibility that participation will become mandatory at some point just as smart meters have been mandated by the company. Can you refuse? I was told by the KCP&L installation technician that I couldn't opt out. When companies dictate to you what you must do in order to receive their services, you are ruled by fascism. In a similar event in Nevada, the power company took the smart meter and left a hole where the meter was, leaving the woman without electrical power. (http://stopsmartmeters.org/2012/09/12/smart-meter-or-no-power-at-all-power-company-sends-three-armed-men-to-disconnect-power-just-for-opting-out/)

One wonders what payoff the KCC and local politicians are getting to ignore consumer health and security issues and just look the other way.

KCP&L 's plan states that the thermostat is one way communication but MPS indicates that it's bi-directional as it has to be to cycle your AC compressor and provide feedback data to the company. KCP&L has the ability to send a signal providing instructions to the thermostat in to reduce cooling demand... programmable via the Internet " Note that cycling your air conditioning unit benefits KCP&L because you pay for the surge current (inrush) for each 15-minute cycle as well as the added wear and tear on the unit. Inrush current can be as much as 3.5 times as high as the normal load current, so if your unit typically uses around 20 amps during operation that amounts to 70 amps-4 times and hour plus the normal operating current.

KCP&L claims that "Cycling event-cycle compressor off and on for 15-minute increments, for no more than four hours." However, if KCP&L and its affiliates don't like your politics, you could be 'off' a lot longer than 4 hours.

There are some 25 additional disadvantages for the smart meter consumer as documented in a sample utility letter from stopsmarmeters.org (http://stopsmartmeters.org/sample-letter-to-utility/) concerning Pacific Gas and Electric customers who have a similar program. PG&E issues are common to KCP&L's five year plan and it's no surprise that KCP&L omits the disadvantages of their smart grid program. Utilities stand to make enormous profits long term from smart grid technology, so it's understandable that they'd hide any consumer disadvantages. Here is a brief summary of customer concerns:

* [Smart Meters] individually identify electrical devices inside the home and record when they are operated causing invasion of privacy. Smart Meters" are, by definition, surveillance devices which violate Federal and State wiretapping laws by recording and storing databases of private and personal activities and behaviors without the consent or knowledge of those people who are monitored.

* Smart meters are not protected from EMP attacks, large EMPs or localized EMPs as simple as a kid with a battery and a coil (Electro Magnetic Pulse)

This second case will be a lot of fun for the consumer trying to prove that he or she hasn't consumed the kilowatts that a compromised meter is now claiming. Note that the KCPL system permits the company to download whatever EER/ECA cost factors are desired directly into your meter and who's to know? Remember, that the social mindset is always to believe the machine because computers, etc... don't make mistakes!

* They {Smart Meters] transmit wireless signals which may be intercepted by unauthorized and unknown parties. Those signals can be used to monitor behavior and occupancy and they can be used by criminals to aid criminal activity against the occupants.

Once a hacker gains access to your programmable thermostat via any internet connection, he's uniquely positioned to know the best time to burglarize that home and sexual predators could know when young children might be alone. Those with access to the smart meter databases can review a permanent history of household activities complete with calendar and time-of-day metrics to gain a highly invasive and detailed view of the lives of the occupants. Those databases may be shared with, or fall into the hands of criminals, blackmailers, [NSA] corrupt law enforcement, private hackers of wireless transmissions, power company employees, and other unidentified parties who may act against the interests of the occupants under metered surveillance.

Newer appliances with microchips will broadcast their ID so the utility (and others) will know exactly what you're doing in your own home in real time. And, like Microsoft, Google and other collaborators who have given the NSA access to their customer databases, KCP&L will lie to its ratepayers, denying that NSA or anyone else has acquired such information. Even if KCP&L's smart meter employs encrypted WIFI signals, the NSA will be provided with the encryption keys and/or direct access to the consumer's account at KCP&L's data hub despite a particular customer not being a terrorist threat. KCP&L is bringing the public a step closer to the government's Total Information Awareness system.

There are also health and fire hazards associated with smart meter use but simply chalked up to the cost of doing business. "The Saskatchewan government has ordered its power utility SaskPower to remove 105,000 so-called smart meters installed at homes and businesses across the province, following concerns about eight unexplained fires associated with the units." (http://news.ca.msn.com/top-stories/saskpower-to-remove-105000-smart-meters-following-fires-1)

Then there are reported health problems due to the radiation emitted by the devices. (http://www.wnd.com/2012/12/health-hazards-linked-to-utility-meters/)

There are some 25 stakeholder lobby groups involved in the Great Plains Smart Grid project, "..including neighborhood groups, Congressman Cleaver, MARC, MEC, KCP&L, MGE, KCMO water, UMKC" but no mention of the KCP&L pledge to cooperate with the radical Sierra Club on legislative and regulatory changes that would reduce the company's overall emissions of carbon dioxide by 20 percent by the year 2020. (http://files.newpatriotsblog.com/200000775-556ca5666d/KCPLtoJumpStartcapmTradePayoffs.htm)

The George Soros driven Sierra Club association tends to explain why KCP&L wants so many EER/ECA type surcharges. The KCC has already approved 99% of KCP&L's surcharge requests. The latest request is for Time of Use (TOU) because smart grid development and operation costs are driven by fringe environmental groups to the detriment of ratepayers but you won't hear that from the utility or local media outlets. Currently, KCP&L profits are more than adequate to enable them to pay some $1.65 per shareholder as listed in the Great Plains Energy Corp 2nd quarter 2014 report. (https://uk.finance.yahoo.com/news/great-plains-energy-reports-second-211100461.html)

The KCPL smart grid is clearly an Agenda 21 sustainable development program that will impose cap and trade on the American public via subterfuge. The EER/ECA/TOU surcharges are simply a hedge against lawsuit and regulatory threats. Utility rates will continue to increase to the planned benefit of the electric cartel owners, not the consumer. Rest assured, the smart grid concept is planned to be the electric supply standard across North America including all rural areas.
Today's insurance market is simply the pits especially where automobile coverage is concerned. Consumer complaints are on the rise and even though one can get a feel for how he or she may fair under insurer policies from these complaints, there is little relief from industry abuses. One such example is Farm Bureau Financial Services of West Des Moines. Iowa, a holding company that has acquired a number of state farm bureaus through the years including Kansas in 2001.

Farm Bureau is a financial conglomerate that provides Home and Auto coverage through its subsidiaries as well as questionable innovative technologies like driveology': (https://www.fbfs.com/insurance/auto-insurance/driveology)

What's that you may ask? View the FB Driver real time monitoring brochure here. Note that the company's safe driving software will be rating YOUR contribution to global warming as a qualifier for premium auto discounts.

We now live in a technological age where government and its affiliated partners can render total information control over every individual. Under real time driver management surveillance, most people will never qualify for any significant discounts. It will be nothing more than an intrusive incursion into ones privacy.

Farm Bureau has a history of making promises which never materialize. I was involved in several rate saving programs in the past promising discounts but about halfway through, a general rate increase nullified the discount. I even requested a 7500 mile travel limit option but it didn't result in any noticeable rate reduction (Update 6/19) as I wound up with double digit rate increases of 18%, 13.5%, 13% and 36% for the last four years. See my complaint filed with the Kansas Insurance Commissioner.: http://files.patrioteponym.webnode.com/200010164-7f88d8082f/Consumer%20Complaint78756.pdf UPDATE 7-15-19: On June 6th, I received notification that my case was being investigated. The end of June I received notice from the insurance company that my 36% increase would be just 10%.

The company raises insurance premiums on drivers with no accidents to help offset its uninsured loss claims. As you might imagine in new technologies, the Farm Bureau website doesn't give any system details on its driver monitoring package. Their safety brochure mailed to potential insurance renewals is all the information that is available. They want you to talk to their agent where nothing promised is in writing to establish that the insurer wasn't acting in good faith in the event of future litigation. I'll define what that means a bit later.

Now before one can actually qualify for the kind of savings they hint at with their driver monitor (up to 30%) you need to own the right car. What might that be you respond? Well the advertisement I received with this years 13.5% rate increase infers that I may only expect to receive the maximum discounted savings IF my car qualifies. Now given the fact that Farm Bureau raised my auto rates 18% last year with no claims for the last 15 to 20 years that Ive been insured, I have to conclude that one must have the latest vehicle technology in addition to their software if any real savings are possible. So, what must a person do?

Well for starters I must accept their electronic surveillance package in my car (it could be as simple as a flash drive plugged into my cars USB port, if I had one) that would query and store my vehicles health, environmental and operating data.

Expect this to be a points based rating system not unlike trading carbon credits. For example, you just had a new CO exhaust monitor installed in the vehicle, that's +5 points but you also have a substandard performing catalytic converter and that's -50 points. Get the drift or am I going too fast?

In addition, the FB insurance system records how often the brake pedal is actuated, your distance traveled, the speed of the vehicle and if the driver is wearing a seat belt. I bet it will also test driver alertness on long trips as most new cars have a camera screen which is perfect for receiving visual messages and alarms from your driving safely monitor. It will send various messages that need to be responded to in a certain amount of time along the lines of a drunk detector on start-up which requires you to type in a random series of numbers in sequence in 10 or so seconds or you can't start the car. or continue driving. Remember, older drivers with arthritis and other physical impairments will be challenged to satisfy such tests. And, it would most likely result in a serious penalty (-1000 points, etc) in the driveology system if you fail it.

The Farm Bureau software surveillance system is capable of virtually infinite expansion as any new WIFI device can communicate with your vehicle WIFI. So say, there's a new device marker for a school zone, the marker will notify the FB system in your car enabling it to determine if you're speeding in that region, and if so - 100 points. And lets not forget that weather is available across the WIFI network which allows insurers to determine that you're driving too fast on wet slippery roads and then more point penalties. Also, they'll know what you're listening to on the radio and if you're texting because these are all WIFI access devices. And because most fast food restaurants also have WIFI, the company will be aware of what you're eating and drinking. This information will be sold to their business partners per their privacy notification policy.

The Farm Bureau driver monitor will also know the last time your car was serviced and if the environment is being harmed by using the AC too often. [UPDATE 7/6/17] These intrusive measures are being offered as a 'social responsibility' effort but also a 'profit enhancer' for companies. Telogis offers real time monitoring.
Here's an example of what's already underway in commercial fleet operation: "Using Telogis Fleet (https://www.telogis.com/solutions/fleet) you can measure progress on green metrics. Using baseline data, ongoing collection and record-keeping of GHG outputs, you can report on your current carbon footprint and track green fleet initiatives. ..It all adds up to shrinking your carbon footprint and minimizing carbon emissions. Calculate your potential CO2 reductions using our GPS ROI calculator."

Driver monitors can interface with the police license scanner system ALPR
(http://www.theiacp.org/ALPR) alerting an expired license -1500 points (plus a ticket). Or perhaps, you didn't schedule that emissions test when told to by the system within the time window allotted -500 points. The FB driveology data is viewable externally as their brochure claims but you can't correct it. It will testify against you in any legal proceeding resulting from a citation or an accident.

Now after your car has spied on you for a period of time, I mean monitored your driving habits for a year or so, you become eligible for advanced premium discounts. But I'd be surprised if anyone could qualify for a dime of rebate under such a program, more than likely the FB system will document scores of reasons why one can't earn a premium break and will then be justification for endless rate increases just as one experiences each year for those over retirement age.

Statistics is the lifeblood of the insurance industry; these people are always looking for ways to minimize their risks and boost profits at the drivers expense so your personal freedom and privacy under the 4th amendment is of little concern. So, don't be surprised if the insurance industry is already lobbying government to require this invasive technology under penalty of law. Forcing individuals to upgrade equipment and purchase services they don't need or want is a time honored globalist tradition right along with getting the government to do their dirty work. (If you've forgotten that principle just revisit Obamacare.)

Companies like Farm Bureau also force you to subscribe to their quarterly Kansas Living magazine as a condition of purchasing their auto insurance. Kansas Living is no longer the voice of agriculture but a paid platform of partner advertising subsidized by the policy holder. You can't cancel it because your FB auto insurance is contingent upon remaining a Kansas Living subscriber.

So, how effective is Farm Bureaus claim management you may think? Well, in short, they almost never return your phone calls. Particularly, if you have a question about their rates don't expect to get an answer in your lifetime. For a supposedly rural company they come off like the snobbish global company they truly are. One recent user named Rachel from Kansas (https://www.consumeraffairs.com/insurance/farm-bureau-homeowners.htm) laments: Extremely dissatisfied with Farm Bureau. We have paid additional to get residential home equipment breakdown coverage. Our heat and air unit outside needs replacement. It has been eleven days since we have filed our claim. We have tried to contact the insurance agent several times. He does not pick up his phone and neither does he answer back. I certainly have to agree with her assessment based on my personal experiences with Farm Bureau.

Then there's Debra (https://www.consumeraffairs.com/insurance/farm-bureau-homeowners.htm) from the Indiana branch of Farm Bureau: I've had Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance for 6 SIX years, paying approx $200/month which equals over $14k and had NO ZERO claims, not even 1 speeding ticket, yet my insurance rates keep increasing - on my 11 yo vehicle! I am even over 50. Called my agent and he said "Well, I can't explain it. Sorry. I'll even shop around for you!" Here are more FB complaints from the consumer protection website (https://www.consumeraffairs.com/insurance/farm_bureau_auto.html).

Folks there's a reason behind Farm Bureaus rude and callous behavior, they simply don't have to perform because if there's any misdoings you're the one (or your attorney) who has to prove that the insurer wasn't acting in good faith and its just about impossible to prove given the legal boundary conditions that have to be satisfied simultaneously. Now you know the value of insurance lobbying. Yes, state governments have provided some cushy legal protection for the insurance cartels deep pockets. Here's an excellent example from Findlaw as to how the claim game is played.

On October 9, 1999, Roger Bellville (Bellville) and his wife, Sue Ellen, were involved in a motor vehicle accident with Guy Schueler. Ellen died at the scene Bellville was unharmed. (http://caselaw.findlaw.com/ia-supreme-court/1256710.html)

2. Subjective element: knowledge of lack of reasonable basis. Even when the insurer lacks a reasonable basis for its denial of a claim, liability for bad faith will not attach unless the insurer knew or should have known that the basis for denying its insured's claim was [Sampson, 582 N.W.2d at 150; Kiner v. Reliance Ins. Co]., unreasonable. An insurer's negligent or sub-par 463 N.W.2d 9, 13 (Iowa 1990). investigation or evaluation of a claim is relevant to the fact finder's determination of whether the insurer should have known its denial lacked Reuter, 469 N.W.2d at 254; Bad Faith Actions a reasonable basis. 5:08, at 5-42 ([A] breach of the duty to investigate constitutes a § But an improper investigation, standing substitute for knowledge.). alone, is not sufficient cause for recovery if the insurer in fact has Reuter, 469 an objectively reasonable basis for denying the claim. N.W.2d at 254-55; accord Seastrom v. Farm Bureau Life Ins. Co., 601 5:08, at 5-42 (stating N.W.2d 339, 347 (Iowa 1999); Bad Faith Actions § a negligent investigation does not constitute bad faith by itself). With this background, we turn now to an analysis of the plaintiff's bad faith claim.

So bad faith actions ARE NOT proof of bad faith itself and precisely what insurance adjuster actions could ever be deemed unreasonable in a court of law? And how could you prove that the insurer knew or should have known that his basis for denying the claim was unreasonable? Anything the adjuster does will be deemed reasonable; the appellate court has already affirmed that assumption in this particular case.

Farm Bureaus real time driver monitoring system is a privacy threat and a consumer rip off..
A few weeks ago, I decided to have a look at one of the web visitor data recording companies out there to see what kind of information they could collect.. Motherboard reports that a Princeton study revealed that over 400 companies (so far) record your every keystroke and them transmit it to a third party website.

Typical companies providing this service are FullStory, SessionCam, SmartLook, UserReplay, etc. I opted to try SmartLook simply because the geniuses at Webnode provided a convenient widget to insert their tracking code.

It just isnt enough today that American Intelligence agencies are spying on everyone with their Prism software, but they are partnering with major business and social media like the CIAs 600 million contract with Amazon .com
[http://www.businessinsider.com/cia-600-million-deal-for-amazons-cloud-2013-3?international=true&r=US&IR=T] for cloud access. We already know that Facebook and until recently Twitter provide information to the CIA. The bad news here is that all purchases through Amazon are retained on their cloud servers and the CIA will have access. You can be certain that any cloud service that your application communicates with will be available to the intelligence services as well as a host of unknown third parties because the data is NOT encrypted.

Its far better to get the mark to provide personalized data on him or herself to the tracking recorder thinking that hes browsing anonymously or at least ignored but many of these companies have dashboards where clients can playback the recordings they collect. Yandex, Hotjar, and Smartlooks dashboards run non-encrypted HTTP pages, rather than much more secure, encrypted HTTPS pages. The biggest liability is that once the data is removed from your site all control is lost, virtually anyone could have access to this data and youd never know.

I was curious to find out just what could be collected by SmartLook. However, I was surprised to find that the actual service is quite haphazard. Either SmartLook is developing their recording software on the fly as the saying goes or you really dont get much on the free side. But upgrading the service means youre paying to have your readers spied on.

Fortunately, the SmartLook collected data is not totally accurate or reliable. Primarily because the staff is not well organized, knowledgeable or well versed in English. After adding their code to The Patriots header and getting nothing, I contacted SmartLook support where a woman named Sofie informed me by email that In one case Only in webnode premium you can add code directly to the HTML header of the whole website. In webnode free, you need to install the code in all pages you wish to track. Anyone, who is remotely conscious or understands the language, knows that free websites dont have custom registered URLs as we do, ergo, we are a premium user! So this individual is likely responding with canned phrases from the companys data forum without any understanding of what was conveyed because they cant communicate beyond an elementary level in English.

In another case, two different users known to me personally, one residing in Kansas and the other in Ohio accessed our site but showed the same IP address in the data collection set. Upon questioning one of the support staff as to how this could happen, I was told that The only explanation is that it was the same person and the two different names appeared because you have wrong code settings. The companys help link indicates that if you want to track a particular user, you have to type their email address directly into the tracking code and they give an example case. The SmarLook tracking code is paste-in and Webnode provides the widget access so unless you cant type an address within the two apostrophe markers, you cant have wrong code settings unless either SmartLook or Webnode made them.

Individual email identification is no better as I have seen a whole day of data collection of 6 or more people with the same email but different IP addresses. Guess the user has multiple identities so he or she switches every couple of hours throughout the day. The responses Ive received from their support staff are disingenuous and you cant really trust their assessments.

After some $#*!ering back and forth with their support personnel to get things working the way SmartLook advertised, I indeed found that I could watch a visitor enter our site and view virtually everything he or she clicked on. This kind of information can and will be abused down the road and It's already happening as "The CBS report suggests in no uncertain terms that the personal information pertaining to millions of Americans collected by one of the Worlds largest ad agencies is sold to the CIA." [https://www.cbsnews.com/news/social-media-is-a-tool-of-the-cia-seriously/]

SmartLook claimed their software only retained three days worth of data but thats because I wasnt paying them to collect it. Data was collected from approximately Nov 3rd to Nov 24th obviously more than 3 days. There was no data collected beyond Nov 24th, 2017 by their system even though I still had their code installed on the site for several more days. At first, I thought it was yet another glitch but when nothing more was recorded, I removed the code. On Nov. 27th, all archived data subsequently disappeared from the SmartLook control panel or at least was interred somewhere where I couldnt access it. You can be reasonably certain that its still archived there even if I no longer have access to it.

UPDATE 12/12/17 Why Have you Stopped Using SmartLook?

I have noticed you removed our code from your website. Can you tell me why did you stop using Smartlook? Just pick a letter:

A) Smartlook doesn't record my website properly
B) I dont have time to watch the recordings / I find no added value in Smartlook
C) I just removed Smartlook temporarily - plan to use it again
D) I am missing feature X (please fill in)
E) Neither of those, let me tell you why...

I will be glad for any feedback, even if it's negative.

Best regards,

Vladimir Sandera
cofounder, optimist

I received this correspondence from one of the SmartLook co-founders in early December after removing their code from our header. Why was this an issue? Could it be that they wanted me to leave the code installed to keep recording visitor data whether or not I chose to use it?

Update 1/24/2018

[Smartlook] We're excited to tell you we're migrating all our data to more powerful cloud service (AWS)! Your account included. The process is time-intensive, but we're working hard to complete the migration by the end of next week.

While the long-term benefits will be great, we wanted to let you know you might experience a few bumps and minor interruptions along the way. (Might.)

The good news:
AWS provides us with more safety, stability, and speed
Your data will be better serviced and stored securely
Smartlook features will run faster
This migration is a lot of work, and we appreciate your patience during the next few days while we finish up Your Smartlook Team

Long term benefits for whom? This move simply presents more opportunities for data to be accessed by more persons unknown as its unlikely that Smarlooks new AWS storage is any more secure than Yahoo who experienced a major hack.

I recommend readers give serious consideration to a good AD blocker: If you want to block session replay scripts, popular ad-blocking tool AdBlock Plus
[https://adblockplus.org/] will now protect you against all of the ones documented in the Princeton study.
Recently, I had to upgrade my automobile air conditioning system from R12 to R134a. Getting AC parts for a 1991 Nissan is no easy task. After some research on the Net, I happened upon Parts Geek which seemed to have exactly what I needed at reasonable prices.

I did most of the AC work on my own car, flushing the lines, installing a new compressor, o-rings, etc. I ordered a new Filter-Drier from Parts Geek and it arrived promptly, now note their return policy:

We have a 30 day return policy. We must be contacted within 30 days of receipt for an RMA number. We will not accept any returns after 30 days, no exceptions. All returns including cores require an RMA number. You MUST fill out a support ticket on our website for an RMA number. We will NOT accept return requests via phone. DO NOT send back any parts without first obtaining an RMA number via e-mail, or else your credit will be delayed significantly. Please visit our website and click on Customer Service for further details."

I installed the new filter-drier and pulled down the system to 29 inches of mercury but the AC system began to leak as soon as the vacuum pump shut off. I checked the system for leaks but couldn't identify any even though the system had green dye in the PAG oil and had been run briefly.

I had to put my car in a local Kansas AC shop and they called to tell me the new Filter-Drier was defective, leaking around the sight glass. The shop replaced the filter drier, pumped it down and charged the system with R134a. It then worked fine.

Now instead of being able to repair and upgrade my auto AC system for less than $200, I wound up paying over $500 because of that defective drier not to mention the time and aggravation I experienced getting an approved RMA number to get the defective part returned for credit. And then they wouldn't pay the shipping for me to return their defective part!

You get a confirming email from Parts-Geek on any order which contains the customer order number, if you don't have that number they won't assist you. They have no other way to identify your order. And Parts Geek has no telephone contact number on their website, I had to do a separate search to acquire their 800 number. When you call, you get their automated menu so they can screen customers by the type of part ordered. Parts-Geek customer representatives are rude, not very knowledgeable and like to make you keep repeating the order number as you attempt to resolve a parts issue.

Here is their order policy:

"Please do not reply to this message. This e-mail was sent from a notification-only e-mail address that cannot accept incoming e-mail. If you need to contact Customer Service, please open a support ticket on our Customer Service page.

To track your package, please visit the carriers website and simply input the tracking number. All UPS tracking numbers begin with 1Z, (e.g., 1Z69R2R*******544) All FedEx numbers are 15 digits long and do not include any letters (e.g., *******8048715). All US MAIL tracking numbers are 20 digits long and do not include any letters (e.g., 0123 4567 8910 1112).

* Please note that ALL tracking information may not be available immediately or at the same time. Please allow 24 hours after receiving the tracking number for the shipping carrier to update their web site.

* As indicated on our website, we do not offer weekend or holiday delivery. Therefore, any overnight or second day orders placed on Friday will not arrive until the following business day.

* If you receive a damaged package, do not accept the package. You can either refuse the package or contact the shipping carrier to refuse the package. You have 24 hours to refuse the package. We will not be responsible for the return of carrier damaged products.

* We have a 30 day return policy. No returns are accepted without a return authorization number. We must be contacted within 30 days of receipt for an RMA number. We will not accept any returns after 30 days, no exceptions."

How would you get an RMA for a carrier damaged package? The answer: You wouldn't and if that carrier turned out to be UPS, you'd likely be out the entire cost of whatever you bought. I had to get an approved RMA to return the defective filter-drier. I included an email from my local AC Shop indicating the filter-drier was defective.as I wasn't certain they'd take my word for it. I also had to pay to ship back the defective filter-drier; they refuse to pay any return shipping charges no matter what the circumstances. Here are some further testimonies to Parts Geek's crappy service, there are plenty of other complaints. http://partsgeek.pissedconsumer.com/

I was asked to rate Parts Geek on Trust Pilot: Click here to rate us on Trustpilot

I gave them one star out of five because that was as low as the system would let me go. Here was the Parts-Geek credit response on the defective filter-drier I returned.

"Please DO NOT REPLY to this message. (we will not receive it) To contact us you MUST open a support ticket on our Customer Service page.

This is to inform you that your credit was processed today.

Invoice Number: 15-xxxxxxxx
Shipping: $9.95
Parts: $12.08
Total Credit: $22.03"

UPDATE ***** Bank ledger entries show the following credits from Parts-Geek..same order..same carrier..same destination

CREDIT 1831 PARTS GEEK, LLC *******352, NJ $9.95

CREDIT 1834 PARTS GEEK, LLC *******352, NJ $22.03

But on the second filter-drier I inadvertently ordered I only received $9.95 credit. When I asked the customer rep why I didn't get the full amount of $12.08, he hung up on me. The next time I called, I asked why is there a difference in shipping charges, i.e. (1st - drier) $22.03 - $12.08 = $9.95 and (2nd Drier) $12.08 - 9.95 = $2.13? He claims I had to pay return shipping on an order that I refused delivery on. This makes no sense! You can also read my complaints on Yelp.at

During the 2nd call to Parts-Geek, the customer rep said he needed to put me on hold while he checks into the shipping discrepancy and then after about 10+ minutes on hold, listening to their endless repetitive elevator music, the connection was terminated. Both of these identical parts traveled via the same carrier to the same location, so the refund should have been the same. The order refund was INTENTIONALLY shorted, there is no other plausible explanation. No doubt, it's how they limit their expenses on damaged or defective items.

Parts-Geek also overcharges you on the shipping, I spent $9.02 USPS charges to use the same carrier as Part-Geek to return a defective filter-drier to the same location that I was charged $9.95 to have it shipped to me originally from a commercial business. It's not a lot of money to be out for sure but if this is done on small orders what might you expect on a large one when returning a defective item?

Apparently, Parts Geek doesn't bother checking anything before it ships out, What's quality control? Basically you get whatever is on the shelf in whatever condition it is at the time. Who cares? They already got your money. And, they'll probably put your item right back on the shelf when they receive it and then ship it out to someone else.

Second Update: I can see why Parts Geek is not a member of the Better Business Bureau but I went ahead and added my complaint to the New Jersey affiliate anyway, complaint ID 11568737. I'd say the following complaints pretty much characterize Parts Geek practices, i.e. problems with Product/Service.

"This business is not BBB accredited.
Customer Complaints Summary Read complaint details :"http://www.bbb.org/new-jersey/business-reviews/auto-parts-and-supplies-new/parts-geek-in-marlton-nj-26001418/complaints#breakdown

628 complaints closed with BBB in last 3 years | 201 closed in last 12 months

Complaint Type Total Closed Complaints
Advertising/Sales Issues 59
Billing/Collection Issues: 31
Delivery Issues: 104
Guarantee/Warranty Issues: 20
Problems with Product/Service: 414
Total Closed Complaints: 628

As long as there are no consequences to their business the customer abuses at Parts Geek will continue. Firing inept and/or rude representatives will not accomplish anything, Parts-Geek will simply train new inept and rude ones to take their place,

UPDATE final CREDIT 1803 07/20/16 74948702 PARTS $12.08
GEEK, LLC *******352

After this article posted on NewPatriotsBlog.com with its BBB Parts Geek complaint history, the company finally saw the error of their ways and repaid me for the expenses of returning the defective filter-drier and the shipping costs associated with refusing a second filter-drier. Now that's properly serving your customers, just as J.C. Whitney and other great companies do without having to be forced through bad publicity.. Apparently, Parts Geek had to learn the hard way!

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