ďAs I See It: I Wanted to Let You Know"
By Capt. Fred Davis
Published: Saturday, March 13, 2010

Have you noticed Credit Card Company notices flying at you in the mail? They innocuously are titled; “Changes to your account.” If you ever read them, the changes are outrageous. The government chastised the card companies and told them there were several things they could not do. When you read the fine print contained in your “Notice of Change” you will discover two things. One, they are doing other things no one told them they couldn’t. Two, they are still doing the things they were forbidden to do, but calling it something different.

Is there no end to the phone company rip-offs? When I wanted to shut my phone down in Michigan and forward calls to Florida I was offered such a deal. For only $19.20 a month, all of my calls would be forwarded to my cell phone so I could get them anywhere. Boy I thought that was just great — until my first bill arrived and reality set in. The monthly charge was $22.19 (not so bad), then there was the one-time charge $23.60 detailed as a Minimum Usage Commitment Charge (no kidding). Next came a per call fee of $.08 for each forwarded call (I would also be paying charges on my cell phone bill for each incoming call, most of which are solicitors). So my $19.20 deal, after additions and of course, National Access Fee, Universal Service Fund Surcharge, federal and state taxes, totaled out at a mere $54.57.

And another thing, As I see it foreign car makers are finally getting their share of bad press headlines. Don’t misunderstand me; I’m not saying I am glad those that own foreign cars are having problems. Nor am I happy their lives are endangered. It just seems the American car maker’s recalls always made such a big splash whereas foreign manufacturers were fortunate for years in sidestepping the inspectors.

A real surprise was that the Japanese manufacturer (Toyota) did not want to accept responsibility for the problems their cars were having. They actually tried to blame others. I remember when U.S. automakers had to do massive recalls due to faulty tires that were actually supplied by a separate manufacturer.

It is good to see that all car makers must admit their mistakes and recall automobiles or trucks to correct safety problems.

I really wanted to let you in on this recent event. I happened to be riding along with my daughter, Lu, when she stopped in Lake Orion at a gas station located on M-24. Lu put her credit card in the pump, and all of a sudden all the pumps stopped. When she went to inquire at the window, the attendant held up a note that said, “changing shifts.” Lu asked the person what had happened to her card she had placed in the machine, had it registered. At this point there were several people lining up wanting to know the same thing, but the woman screamed at Lu saying she had to leave the station or she was calling the cops. When Lu inquired about who she was, first she said, “the manager,” then elevated her position to being the owner.

My daughter saw I was standing outside the car, (it was bitterly cold) and she didn’t want me to wait so she reluctantly came back to the car. Evidently not fast enough, because as she pulled into another gas station just down the street, a police car drove in behind her. A sheriff’s deputy got out and came over and demanded she give him her license. After he returned it and my daughter explained what had happened at the station up the road, he left. When Lu went to pay for her gas, the clerk said the screaming attendant from the other station sent new customers to her frequently.

Later that day Lu called the Lake Orion police station to inquire about the occurrence and learned no report had been filed by the deputy, just an incident notation.

So my final words to you today are; remember if you’re traveling on M-24 through Lake Orion there is an abusive, screaming attendant at one of the gas stations. If you forget, or get drawn in with a cheap price and she tells you she is the owner, it’s not true, we checked that out when we reported the encounter to the company.

Capt. Fred Davis is a retired charter captain and nationally published author of boating articles. His “As I See It” column appears weekly in the Tribune. His Boat Smart articles are published in each edition of the Thumb Resorter and on-line at www.captainfredsboattips.com.

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