Thursday, September 24, 2009

Inspired Tuna

The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss, but it is too low and reach it. -- Michelangelo

This past weekend I had the honor and pleasure of watching several of my Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Realty colleagues (pictured above) participate in the Wilmington YMCA Triathlon. Participants swam 1.5 kilometers, then biked 20 kilometers and finished with a 5k run. All summer long, these athletes have been training. I photographed most of them along the course and was witness to their dedication. It was not a surprise to me though, as I see the same dedication in the way they approach their daily real estate business. These are people you want as your advocate because they have trained for the business of representing their clients and they are prepared for the task. It's my privilege to have them as my colleagues.

I'm not sure where their inspiration will lead me, but I know that I am a better person for having their friendship. I've thought about their amazing accomplishments all week.

I did not participate in the triathlon, but I do have the training and dedication to go the distance for you in your real estate transactions. Visit me at my website, friend me on Facebook or contact me the old fashioned way -- by phone at (910) 619-1501.

Who inspires you? Who do you inspire? Aim high. Scoot on.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Tuna Surprise

Bart Simpson: I am through with working. Working is for chumps.
Homer: Son, I'm proud of you. I was twice your age when I figured that out.

There's a company called Predicto that's figured out that working is for chumps. They have a way to make money by taking it from working chumps . . . you and me. They can take your money from right in front of your nose and you may never realize it.

Here's how it worked with me. Apparently, my wife received a text message on her wireless phone from 654654. Although she did not ask for this message, she did not respond to this message and she probably ignored the message, because she RECEIVED this message, she was automatically subscribed to a service that bills $9.99 per month on my Verizon wireless account. Now, my wireless phone bill has 77 lines of charges, credits, discounts, surcharges, taxes, etc., so it's pretty easy to miss one line item. Who among us understands how our $129 wireless package winds up costing $165?

When I saw the $9.99 charge last month on my bill, I went to the Verizon store to inquire about it. I was told that my wife had SENT a text to some premium service -- like texting a vote for your favorite performer on a TV contest show. I was skeptical, but I did not have my wife or her phone with me, so I accepted the charge, but asked how I could prevent future charges. A very helpful Verizon rep checked her computer records, found a telephone number and talked to a Predicto rep who refused to cancel the service without talking directly to the account holder -- me. So, I took the phone, politely explained that I did not want to continue the service and that I wanted to cancel my account. The Predicto rep told me that by maintaining the account, I would be eligible for contest prizes. I told her again that I wanted to cancel the account. As a matter of fact, I told her more than a dozen times that I wanted to cancel the account, until my polite self was exhausted and replaced by a less kinder and gentler persona. By the end of my phone conversation, I noticed that the store rep had retreated to what she considered a safe distance from me. I think she was wondering where she left her pepper spray. However, the Predicto rep had finally agreed to cancel the account.

Upon checking my most recent wireless bill, there was the charge again. This time, I called Verizon's customer service. I had determined that my wife had NOT sent the text, so I figured that I was being slammed. The customer service rep told me that my wife had actually RECEIVED a text from 654654. While still on the phone with Verizon, I Googled "text 654654". The results were overwhelming and all negative.

The Verizon rep told me that, to cancel the service, I HAD TO SEND A TEXT TO 654654 with the word "STOP" and then have Verizon put a block on my account so that I cannot receive or send premium text messages. The rep offered to credit the most recent charge. However, he also told me that the charges had begun three month ago. I simply had not caught them. I'm still trying to get Verizon to credit ALL of these charges, but here's the best part of the story.

After the telephone conversation, I went to the local Verizon store to pay my bill. Thinking that I had discovered some new scam, I told a different store rep my story. She said, "Yes, I know. We see it all the time." So here's the deal: VERIZON AND ALL THE OTHER WIRELESS PROVIDERS KNOW THAT PREDICTO IS SLAMMING THEIR CUSTOMERS. Predicto's charges appear on your wireless bill tucked in with TXT/PIX-FLIX, Megabyte Usage and dozens of other line items.

For a sampling of what others have to say about Predicto, click HERE. And then, my friends, check your wireless phone bill.

What's this have to do with Wilmington NC real estate? Nada, but I hope it's helpful.

Scoot on. Don't be a chump.