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April 11, 2016

This University Educates Crooks

Filed under: Internet,Uncategorized — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 6:22 am

It seemed like a fine school. The University of Northern New Jersey had both undergraduate and graduate programs. It specialized in business administration, computer science, and health sciences. It was accredited by two organizations and maintained an elaborate website for students and prospective students.

Hertz

 

The school had its own Facebook page:

Facebook unnj

 

The university was recognized by the state of New Jersey’s Department of Higher Education:

Dept. of Higher Ed

 

There was just one problem.

*MOUSE PRINT:

The university was fake. It was set up as a sting operation in 2012 by Homeland Security to catch scamsters who forged documents and paid bribes to get foreign students admitted. That would then qualify the foreign student to gain entry into the U.S. via a fraudulently obtained student visa.

Here is the story from the New York Times (click top link on redirect page).




  ADV


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March 28, 2016

“Use Only in the Case of an Apocalypse”

Filed under: Business,Computers,Humor,Internet — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 5:46 am

Just in time for April Fool’s Day…

Amazon recently released a software gaming platform for developers called Lumberyard. Buried in its terms and conditions is this unexpected little ditty:

*MOUSE PRINT:

57.10 Acceptable Use; Safety-Critical Systems. Your use of the Lumberyard Materials must comply with the AWS Acceptable Use Policy. The Lumberyard Materials are not intended for use with life-critical or safety-critical systems, such as use in operation of medical equipment, automated transportation systems, autonomous vehicles, aircraft or air traffic control, nuclear facilities, manned spacecraft, or military use in connection with live combat. However, this restriction will not apply in the event of the occurrence (certified by the United States Centers for Disease Control or successor body) of a widespread viral infection transmitted via bites or contact with bodily fluids that causes human corpses to reanimate and seek to consume living human flesh, blood, brain or nerve tissue and is likely to result in the fall of organized civilization. [emphasis added]

So only if science fiction zombies come to life, then and only then, can this software be used to save lives.

The world can rest easy now. Thanks, Amazon.




  ADV


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March 7, 2016

New Rebate Requirement Easy to Overlook, Hard to Swallow

Filed under: Computers,Internet,Retail — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 6:21 am

Over the years, manufacturers have come up with a variety of obnoxious rebate requirements to trip up purchasers or to dissuade them from filing for their money back in the first place.

This new one from Laplink is a doozy, which was required to get the $30 PC Mover full price rebate that Consumer World promoted a few weeks ago as a “Bargain of the Week.”

Laplink rebate

Easy to miss is this fine print requirement to include personal identification.

*MOUSE PRINT:

¹To avoid fraudulent requests, you are required to submit evidence supporting your name and address. Acceptable evidence is a copy of government-issued identification (such as a driver’s license) or the front page of a utility or credit card bill. Account number or similar information may be blacked out. The name and address are required to match the name and address on the rebate request form.

What? They want a copy of your drivers license or credit card statement? Are they crazy (albeit they do allow you to blacken out account numbers, etc.)?

No company in memory has ever conditioned a rebate on what some might consider an invasion of privacy or a security risk. We asked Laplink why they are doing this considering that the rebate is in the form of a check that has to be either cashed or deposited at a bank in an account that matches the payee. The company did not respond.




  ADV


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February 29, 2016

What a 14-Day Return Policy Means on eBay Sometimes

Filed under: Internet,Retail — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 6:14 am

Many people are reluctant to shop at eBay because unlike buying from a retail store, many items are sold by individuals and don’t come with any return privileges. When you are purchasing antiques, for example, it is often hard to tell just from the pictures what the actual condition of the item is, what the flaws are, and even what the true colors are.

So, it certainly can relieve some of that anxiety when you see that an individual seller has a decent return policy. Take for example this one, that offers a 14-day money back guarantee.

eBay returns

When clicking that “details” link, the truth is revealed.

*MOUSE PRINT:

14 day return policy

I accept returns only on items in which I have made a mistake in the listing. It is the buyer’s responsibility to ask any and all pertinant questions about an item prior to bidding. I require immediate notification, (within 24 hours of receipt of the item), of intent to return by the buyer. I do not accept returns for buyer’s remorse or for items that the buyer assumed could be purchased on approval. If you want your friend’s “expert” opinion on a piece, you need to have them view the listing and read the item description prior to bidding. You do not get to do this after receiving the item because this constitutes “buying on approval”. The returned item must be received by me in the same condition it was in when inititally shipped to the buyer.

Basically, what this seller is really saying is that you have no regular return rights, including 14 days to try out the item. You only have a right of return for a misrepresentation and YOU have to pay the return shipping!

That certainly is far different from what the average consumer would understand “14 days money back” to mean. So as with everything we write about in Mouse Print*, you have to read the fine print or you could get snookered.




  ADV


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February 15, 2016

If You Don’t Check Your Cable Bill…

Filed under: Electronics,Internet — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 6:24 am

How good are you at scrutinizing your monthly bills for your cellphone, cable, Internet, telephone, credit card, and other services? Many people simply don’t have the time or inclination to do so, or are so turned off by the complexity of these bills that they have given up even trying to decipher them.

If you fail to do so, however, you are putting your wallet in financial jeopardy, as this story illustrates.

We received a complaint from Paula G. who noticed a charge on her Comcast bill for $4.20 for something called “The Cable Guide.” She believed this was the onscreen programming listing, or maybe even an enhanced version that appeared on her TV set.

*MOUSE PRINT:

Comcast bill

When she called Comcast to find out, the representative couldn’t explain what it exactly referred to, but volunteered to remove it from her bill going forward. Not satisfied, the consumer contacted us.

We asked her if this was something she had ordered, and how long she was being billed for it. The consumer indicated that she has been a Comcast customer for about 20 years at her location, that she generally just pays her bills without reviewing them carefully, and that a review of the oldest Comcast bill she had — from January 2007 — showed the same $4.20 a month charge on it too.

Yikes! She’s been paying over $50 a year for nine years for this program guide.

TV GuideWe contacted the PR folks at Comcast, who were extremely responsive. Within a few days, they offered an explanation. Our consumer was being billed for a TV Guide subscription that they say she ordered. “The Cable Guide” was a separate magazine that Comcast offered years ago. TV Guide purchased it, and subsequently sent subscribers TV Guide instead.

When told of this, Paula G. contended that she never ordered TV Guide or The Cable Guide– and that it might have been crammed onto her bill. After all, she contends, why would she have directed the magazine to be sent to her work address where there is no television.

Comcast strongly denied that it would add something like this onto a customer’s bill without them actually ordering it. Nonetheless, as a goodwill gesture, the company agreed to refund one year’s worth of TV Guide — about $50.

Incidentally, it should be noted that Comcast is charging up to three times the going subscription rate for TV Guide — it sells for only $16.50 a year on the magazine’s own website. And unlike virtually any other magazine seller, Comcast does not send you an annual renewal notice that you affirmatively have to return in order to continue the subscription.

We suggested to Comcast that at the very least the line on monthly bills for “The Cable Guide” really should say “TV Guide magazine subscription” so customers would know exactly what the $4.20 charge was for. As of last Thursday, Comcast reports that they have changed the wording on customers’ bills.




  ADV


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