Sunday, May 30, 2010

Episode 5 Aftercast: Gift Card Legislation, ETF Cell Phone Fees, Bank Overdraft Lawsuit in Australia and we read a consumer's letter about Qwest!

1:15 Continuing on regarding the gift card fees, Scott covers how the Fed's new gift card rules addressed and did NOT address many of these fees.

show audio here

Consumer Reports article here. Here are the new rules on the Fed's website.

7:00 we suggest solutions to these gift card fees, and also how to escalate to complain to the Comptroller of the Currency about a bank adding fees to their card.
Complaint Form:

8:50 Banking Reform Act Passes!

13:30 Hearings on Goldman Sachs corruption and insider trading: Henry Paulson, former CEO of Goldman, was Bush's Secretary of the Treasury.

An excellent Frontline PBS episode on how Rubin, Greenspan and Summers engineered the derivates market mess back in the Clinton administration.  Rubin and Summers are still in Obama's cabinet!

14:05  AT&T raises their Early Termination Fee to $325!  We read from this article, and then discuss AT&T and Verizon's games and collusion around fees for contracts.

18:50 Austrailian class action suit seeks money back for consumers from Bank overdraft fees. We read from this article. And we talk about how the banks rape us right and left with fees and high interest rates on loans and credit cards.  Banks make $38 billion a year in fees.

23:55 We attended a local symposium on Saving Money in a tough economy hosted by our State Senator Morgan Carroll.  Here is a summary.

Need help with an insurance issue?  Did they deny your claim? Find your state insurance commission here.

We also mention Michael Moore's awesome movie Sicko about how health insurance companies are literally killing people by denying their claims. Elaine talks about Blue Cross / Blue Shield Anthem denying her claim in New York and Scott relates a story of one of his friends wiped out financially by medical bills.

We also talk about the National Healthcare legislation that passed, and while it is good in many ways, Elaine doesn't like the mandatory fee everyone has to pay to buy into it.

31:15  In our new Consumer Fee Letter feature, we read and respond to Sarah22Morrow's letter from the website about a Qwest ETF they unfairly put on her account.  They charged her a $200 fee for disconnecting!  She says they promised to waive it and is watching to make sure she actually gets the credit.  We review her letter and talk about the art of fighting fees and escalating to decision makers who can make them go away. Great letter, and way to go Sarah!

Scott and Elaine go on to discuss the death of customer service, and how it's important for these companies to empower entry level employees to waive fees. Elaine will be telling her story about the Verizon ETF on her account in an epsiode soon!  Scott mentions it IS possible to get through to a CEO and get a personal response on your complaint, relating two CEOs that responded to him on previous complaints.

42:15 We then thank Sarah by giving her the executive contact info for Qwest:

Mueller, Edward (Ed) A
Chairman and CEO
Qwest Corporation
1801 California St
Denver CO 80202-2658
Office: +1 303 992 1414
Houston, Brenda L
Manager Administration

Executive office is on the first floor!  Scott has been in the building :) 

Also here is much more info about contact info for other Qwest contacts as well on  

Remember folks, when it comes to getting what you want, you have to make up your mind, stand firm, don't back down and DON'T take no for an answer until you get what you want!

45:00 FInally Scott previews in the next aftercast he will be talking about the history of ATM fees and Elaine will talk about free software to protect your computer!  

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