Post-Tribune http://posttrib.suntimes.com Latest news from Post-Tribune Online en-us webmaster@suntimes.com (Editor) http://posttrib.suntimes.com/csp/cms/sites/STM/assets/img/logos/posttrib.gif Post-Tribune http://posttrib.suntimes.com 84 34 30 Copyright 2014 <![CDATA[ Illinois attorney general sues Boobies Rock after Sun-Times investigation ]]> Lead story image

A California company that claimed to raise money for breast-cancer awareness is being sued by Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan after a Chicago Sun-Times investigation last year found that some charities the company claimed to benefit received little or no money. ]]> Tue, 02 Jul 2013 07:43:43 -0500 http://www.suntimes.com/news/zimmermann/20436472-420/illinois-attorney-general-sues-boobies-rock-after-sun-times-investigation.html http://www.suntimes.com/news/zimmermann/20436472-420/illinois-attorney-general-sues-boobies-rock-after-sun-times-investigation.html <![CDATA[ The Fixer thanks Sun-Times readers ]]> Lead story image

Dear Readers: After seven wonderful years of writing this column, I’m leaving for a new opportunity in consumer reporting with another organization.It’s bittersweet, because being “The Fixer” has allowed me to get to know Sun-Times readers in ways I never did as an ordinary reporter. I was right there with you, getting frustrated over your inflated bills, your missing refunds, your broken appliances, lopsided car contracts and lost luggage. That includes one reader’s bag I managed to locate three and a half months later, untagged, in a warehouse in Cozumel, Mexico. When I was able to get your money back, … ]]> Tue, 08 Jan 2013 06:21:52 -0500 http://www.suntimes.com/news/zimmermann/16849073-452/the-fixer-thanks-sun-times-readers.html http://www.suntimes.com/news/zimmermann/16849073-452/the-fixer-thanks-sun-times-readers.html <![CDATA[ Misplaced decimal point creates explosive headache ]]> Lead story image

DEAR FIXER: On June 30, I purchased $190.04 in fireworks from Johnny Rockets Fireworks in Highland, Ind. I paid with a credit card. But when I got my credit card bill, I saw that I was charged $1,900.40. To my horror, I realized I had signed a credit card slip for an extra $1,710 due to an apparent error with the decimal point. ]]> Thu, 27 Dec 2012 06:13:53 -0500 http://www.suntimes.com/news/zimmermann/16578879-452/misplaced-decimal-point-creates-explosive-headache.html http://www.suntimes.com/news/zimmermann/16578879-452/misplaced-decimal-point-creates-explosive-headache.html <![CDATA[ Frustrations of a call center worker ]]> Lead story image

Dear Readers: This holiday season when you’re tempted to scream at a customer service worker in a call center, try to refocus your frustration on the corporation instead. Sasha T. of Chicago explains why: “I was one of those call center employees, working for a major telecommunications company. It is true that they give the customer service reps numbers and quotas to maintain. If you don’t hit your numbers, you are sent through intensive training or handed your walking papers. “The quicker I could get you off the phone, the better my numbers were. Quantity always came before quality. “All … ]]> Mon, 24 Dec 2012 07:25:41 -0500 http://www.suntimes.com/news/zimmermann/16563724-452/frustrations-of-a-call-center-worker.html http://www.suntimes.com/news/zimmermann/16563724-452/frustrations-of-a-call-center-worker.html <![CDATA[ Stranded in Frankfurt with no refund in sight ]]> Lead story image

Dear Fixer: I have debated contacting you over this situation. I made a stupid mistake, but was still left high and dry. In August, I took a flight on US Airways from Chicago to Charlotte, N.C., where I was to continue to Dublin, Ireland, to see my teen-age son play football. In Charlotte, I volunteered to give up my seat and take a different flight from Charlotte to Frankfurt, Germany and then connect to Dublin on a Lufthansa flight. For this, I received a $900 voucher. They gave me two tickets for the new flights. I was put on the … ]]> Wed, 19 Dec 2012 12:55:42 -0500 http://www.suntimes.com/news/zimmermann/16412111-452/stranded-in-frankfurt-with-no-refund-in-sight.html http://www.suntimes.com/news/zimmermann/16412111-452/stranded-in-frankfurt-with-no-refund-in-sight.html <![CDATA[ Smartphone turns dumb after iTunes account hacked ]]> Lead story image

Dear Fixer: I cannot download any apps on my iPhone. It says my account is disabled. After I sent a request to the Apple support email address, I received a response from an iTunes adviser who said it appeared that my account had been disabled due to “chargeback orders” they had received from my credit card issuer. That did not make sense, as I have not charged anything on iTunes for several years. The rep said they were unable to activate accounts with this sort of issue, but she added that they were working on it and would send me … ]]> Thu, 13 Dec 2012 10:25:06 -0500 http://www.suntimes.com/news/zimmermann/16280553-452/smartphone-turns-dumb-after-itunes-account-hacked.html http://www.suntimes.com/news/zimmermann/16280553-452/smartphone-turns-dumb-after-itunes-account-hacked.html <![CDATA[ He’s an alum, so where’s his alumni discount for doctoral work? ]]> Lead story image

Dear Fixer: I am a current graduate student at the Illinois Institute of Technology. Last summer I finished up my M.A. in industrial organizational psychology and was automatically admitted into the doctoral portion of the program. As such, I was supposed to be eligible for an alumni credit of $1,000 per semester. I have since been enrolled for a total of three semesters since my M.A. completion date. However, I was not given the credit. I was only recently made aware of this credit by some classmates who received it without having to do any legwork. Once I found this … ]]> Mon, 10 Dec 2012 06:28:05 -0500 http://www.suntimes.com/news/zimmermann/16256191-452/hes-an-alum-so-wheres-his-alumni-discount-for-doctoral-work.html http://www.suntimes.com/news/zimmermann/16256191-452/hes-an-alum-so-wheres-his-alumni-discount-for-doctoral-work.html <![CDATA[ Fixer: Nuwave moves on refund ]]> Lead story image

D ear Fixer: I bought the Nuwave Precision Induction Cooktop after seeing their TV commercial. I bought it along with the Nuwave Oven Pro. They came fast, the next day. I tried both, but the Nuwave cooktop, which uses magnetic energy, wouldn’t work with my cookware. So I boxed it up and started calling the phone number on the invoice. It took two weeks to get someone to answer my call, and I had to act like I wanted to purchase something in order to do that. I was transferred around until I finally got someone to give me instructions … ]]> Thu, 06 Dec 2012 06:11:43 -0500 http://www.suntimes.com/news/zimmermann/16113676-452/fixer-nuwave-moves-on-refund.html http://www.suntimes.com/news/zimmermann/16113676-452/fixer-nuwave-moves-on-refund.html <![CDATA[ Long ride to Harley warranty refund ]]> Lead story image

D ear Fixer: I purchased a Harley-Davidson motorcycle from Chicago Harley in May 2008. I also purchased a full warranty that was good until May 2014. I sold the motorcycle on Feb. 4, 2012, and also canceled the warranty on that date.The Harley-Davidson service center told me I would get a refund of $888 for the remainder of the unused warranty plan. I contacted Chicago Harley and they said they would send me a check for the remainder in six weeks or less. Well, now it’s October and I have yet to get my check. I have been in contact … ]]> Mon, 03 Dec 2012 06:37:06 -0500 http://www.suntimes.com/news/zimmermann/16086291-452/long-ride-to-harley-warranty-refund.html http://www.suntimes.com/news/zimmermann/16086291-452/long-ride-to-harley-warranty-refund.html <![CDATA[ Let your fingers walk from  this ‘Yellow Pages’ scam ]]> Lead story image

D ear Fixer: I work for a college. A couple of weeks ago, a representative from Yellow Pages called to demand payment for some advertising services. They said the fee for listing our company information on the Yellow Pages website for the past two years came to $400. The caller said the offer had been accepted two years ago by my supervisor over the phone. She went on to say that we had to confirm the listing for an additional two years before their offer expires, and that we are still liable for the $400 balance. She turned what I … ]]> Fri, 30 Nov 2012 06:16:43 -0500 http://www.suntimes.com/news/zimmermann/15984920-452/let-your-fingers-walk-from-this-yellow-pages-scam.html http://www.suntimes.com/news/zimmermann/15984920-452/let-your-fingers-walk-from-this-yellow-pages-scam.html <![CDATA[ Bill for cancelled service has customer seeing red ]]> Lead story image

D ear Fixer: I have a receipt showing I switched service on two phone lines from T-Mobile to Cricket on Sept. 8. Both of the contracts were over, so I was free to go. Now, T-Mobile says I owe them $90.35 for the billing period of Sept. 10 through Oct. 9 on one of the lines. They claim the number wasn’t switched over until Sept. 10, after the new billing cycle started. Calling them got me nowhere. After waiting on the line for 30 minutes, the person on the phone just kept saying it is their “policy” to do this … ]]> Tue, 27 Nov 2012 11:03:14 -0500 http://www.suntimes.com/news/zimmermann/15964668-452/bill-for-cancelled-service-has-customer-seeing-red.html http://www.suntimes.com/news/zimmermann/15964668-452/bill-for-cancelled-service-has-customer-seeing-red.html <![CDATA[ Target misses mark on iPad2 warranty ]]> Lead story image

Dear Fixer: I bought an iPad2 on May 11 at a nearby Target store. The salesman offered me a three-year warranty to cover any damage or problems, including breakage if dropped. I accepted the policy. The iPad was $399.99 and the warranty was $45. Five months later, the iPad suddenly started freezing up and powering down by itself. After a few minutes it would come up again and stay on for several minutes. I took it to Target along with my warranty card. But now I was told the policy that they sold me does not cover iPads. I spoke … ]]> Fri, 23 Nov 2012 06:12:56 -0500 http://www.suntimes.com/news/zimmermann/15852675-452/target-misses-mark-on-ipad2-warranty.html http://www.suntimes.com/news/zimmermann/15852675-452/target-misses-mark-on-ipad2-warranty.html <![CDATA[ Rebate gremlins strike again, this time on iPhone deal ]]> Lead story image

Dear Fixer: I’m a divorced father of three. On July 2, I went to a local Verizon store to shop for four iPhones for myself and my kids. The salesman there said I was in luck — because I am a Comcast customer in good standing, I qualified for a $50 rebate on each line, for a total of $200. The rebate was to be paid with gift cards. The salesman got us all signed up for the phones. He told me I would get an email soon and would get the gift cards in 30 to 45 days. The … ]]> Tue, 20 Nov 2012 11:15:40 -0500 http://www.suntimes.com/news/zimmermann/15833859-452/rebate-gremlins-strike-again-this-time-on-iphone-deal.html http://www.suntimes.com/news/zimmermann/15833859-452/rebate-gremlins-strike-again-this-time-on-iphone-deal.html <![CDATA[ She says bus caused up to $9k in damage to her viola, but CTA offers just $1,500 ]]> Lead story image

Dear Fixer: On April 29, I was riding the No. 6 bus from Hyde Park to downtown with two colleagues. We are musicians. We were on our way to a conference, with our violas in tow. We were in the middle part of the articulated bus. As we neared downtown, someone needed to get by, so I lifted my instrument to the side to let them pass. Just then, we went around a corner and the turntable on which we were seated started to move. I felt the side of the bus touch my arm, which was around my instrument’s … ]]> Tue, 13 Nov 2012 06:36:55 -0500 http://www.suntimes.com/news/zimmermann/15700490-452/she-says-bus-caused-up-to-9k-in-damage-to-her-viola-but-cta-offers.html http://www.suntimes.com/news/zimmermann/15700490-452/she-says-bus-caused-up-to-9k-in-damage-to-her-viola-but-cta-offers.html <![CDATA[ Runaround ends in Sprint discount ]]> Lead story image

D ear Fixer: My soon-to-be ex-husband and I have been Sprint customers for many, many years. We have received a 25 percent discount through my job. Now we need to separate this account into two. I called Sprint in June about my leaving the account since it was under my husband’s name, but I wanted to confirm that I would still receive the 25 percent discount. I was told yes.After opening my account, I awaited an email giving me my 25 percent discount. When it never came, I contacted Sprint again. I spoke with three different reps on separate occasions … ]]> Fri, 09 Nov 2012 06:08:47 -0500 http://www.suntimes.com/news/zimmermann/15580302-452/runaround-ends-in-sprint-discount.html http://www.suntimes.com/news/zimmermann/15580302-452/runaround-ends-in-sprint-discount.html <![CDATA[ Good news at end of headlight tunnel ]]> Lead story image

Dear Fixer: I divide my time between Orland Park and Las Vegas. My problem began back in October 2011, when the high beam/DRL bulbs went out on my 2008 Toyota Avalon. My car had 62,447 miles on it at the time. I had this fixed on Oct. 6 at a local Toyota dealer in suburban Chicago. The cost was $161.46. After I got it fixed, I received a “warranty enhancement notice” pertaining to high beam/DRL bulbs. It said that if the consumer had already had repairs done, they could apply to get their money back. I did, and I received a check from Toyota for $161.46. Now comes the problem. In the spring of this year, I was in Las Vegas and by now, my car had over 91,000 miles. I had the same problem with the lights. So I looked at the warranty enhancement notice and saw that it applies for 72,000 miles or five years from the date of first use, whichever occurs first. It said, “If the vehicle’s High Beam/DRL Bulb(s) becomes inoperative during the warranty extension coverage, any authorized Toyota dealer will replace the driver and passenger bulb housing assemblies. The new assemblies contain a different type of bulb.” The dealer I went to in October 2011 did not do this. They only put in the same bulbs. This was when the car still had 62,447 miles on it – under the 72,000 miles specified. I went to a different Toyota dealer in Las Vegas. They said it would cost over $2,600 for the assemblies and bulbs (the bulbs are in the assemblies). So I made more phone calls and sent faxes, all while being unable to drive at night. Finally, the manager of the service department was able to get a district manager to agree to only charge me for the labor and Toyota would supply the parts. That left me paying labor charges of $243.89. I paid it so I could get the lights fixed, but I feel that Toyota should reimburse me for the $243.89 because if the first dealership would have installed the assemblies the first time, I would not have had the second problem. The corporate office did offer me a $100 coupon, but I would have to submit all my bills to get it, and I really think I should get the labor charge refunded. James Utz, Orland Park Dear James: The Fixer could see your point right away. Like you said, if this repair had been done right the first time, you would not be in this situation. But after so many years of hearing stories of unresponsive corporations, we weren’t quite sure if your point would be heard. Well, we have happy news to report: Customer service is not dead! We got this to Curt McAllister in Toyota’s corporate communications, who took it to the customer relations folks here in the Chicago area. They agreed with you, and are sending you a check for the $243.89. They’ve also given us their phone number in case you need to follow up. More election season scams As if it weren’t enough to sift through the claims and counter-claims of various politicians, now voters have to worry about scammers taking advantage of them. In our last column, we told you about the robo-calls people were getting in which they were asked to take a political survey in exchange for a “free cruise” (they were asked to provide a credit card for supposed port fees and taxes). Now comes word that other scam artists are calling and emailing voters, saying they are election officials who need to verify the person’s voter registration. They ask for a Social Security number or financial information —which you can bet will be used for identity theft. Even those who want to donate to their favorite political party need to be careful: ABC News reported last month that a Massachusetts man had put up two similar websites, one for Democrats and one for Republicans. Both had a prominent “DONATE” button people could click to send money — except the funds were going to him, not to the candidates’ campaigns. ]]> Tue, 06 Nov 2012 06:34:43 -0500 http://www.suntimes.com/news/zimmermann/15568857-452/good-news-at-end-of-headlight-tunnel.html http://www.suntimes.com/news/zimmermann/15568857-452/good-news-at-end-of-headlight-tunnel.html <![CDATA[ 7 years of helping consumers ]]> Lead story image

D ear Readers: Arlene is in her apartment, Patricia still has her house and Michael left us one year ago but frequently laughed about his brush with celebrity. ]]> Fri, 02 Nov 2012 06:12:39 -0500 http://www.suntimes.com/news/zimmermann/15449703-452/7-years-of-helping-consumers.html http://www.suntimes.com/news/zimmermann/15449703-452/7-years-of-helping-consumers.html <![CDATA[ British Airways sets speed record in fixing priest’s non-refundable dilemma ]]> Lead story image

D ear Fixer: I was to attend an international meeting in Rome from Sept. 12-21. I made my travel arrangements with British Airways. Unfortunately, I entered the hospital on Sept. 4 with acute bronchitis. I was released on Sept. 7, and my doctor advised me to cancel my trip. My ticket was non-refundable, but I thought that maybe I can use it at another time. I contacted British Airways and was told to have my doctor send a letter. That letter was sent. However, each time I called — one time waiting on the phone for 30 minutes before a … ]]> Mon, 29 Oct 2012 06:59:34 -0500 http://www.suntimes.com/news/zimmermann/15420981-452/british-airways-sets-speed-record-in-fixing-priests-non-refundable-dilemma.html http://www.suntimes.com/news/zimmermann/15420981-452/british-airways-sets-speed-record-in-fixing-priests-non-refundable-dilemma.html