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Thursday, January 29, 2004

I'm Worried About My Sanity

Ok, so I'm posting twice in a row, and about a TV journalist no less...

John Stossel has several great articles listed here:


And one in particular that addressed another pet peve of mine here:


I've been the "beneficiary" of three class action suits that I know of. One was settled a few weeks ago. A former credit card company had done something unethical in either charging interest or making unauthorized charges or something. It happened 7 or 8 years ago, and I had none of the records any more, but I did remember being "charged" for something that I didn't order, and it was in the magnitude of $50 to $100. I paid whatever, after not getting any answer from the company as to WHAT it was, cancelled my credit, and left them behind. The suit was "won" and I recieved a check a couple weeks ago. For 39 cents. I was informed that if I didn't cash the check within 60 days, that money would be donated to charity. I hope my 39 cents did some good.

Another class action suit was the CD price-fixing suit recently settled. I'm supposed to get like 12 bucks for that, I think, but I haven't seen a check yet. At least that one will be something substancial...

Stossel actually writes about the other class action I've been "in"...

"[Judge] Bono was the judge in a big class action suit filed against the phone company Ameritech. The lawyers claimed Ameritech charged a fee for a warranty on people's phone lines without first making sure people wanted it. It's impossible to judge who's right ; the company settled, they say, just to avoid time consuming litigation. Bono approved the settlement.

How much did the settlement award the lawyers?

He said, "The lawyers got $16 million — I believe the settlement had a $200 million value; $27 million cash, and other benefits."

But the customers didn't get checks for a million dollars.

Some got checks for small amounts. More got credits, discounts to rewire their house, and phone cards that gave them a maximum of $15 in calls — calls that had to be made at Ameritech's pay phones."

That's what I got: a calling card that allowed me to make $15 in pay phone calls from Ameritch pay phones. And, if memory serves, they had to be made within 30 days of "activating" the card. This, combined with terrible customer service and price gouging has led me to change my local and long distance telephone provider on over 20 business and residential lines (as well as 2 high speed internet connections) that I have influence over. I may have been shafted with a "settlement" that did no one any good, but I've enacted my revenge by depriving SBC/Ameritech of nearly $2000 per month of business.


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