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Money Wasted

Lake Worth Utilities
Waste Meter
$50,000
... for an arc flash study that Mr. Reyes was qualified to do in house and at no cost to taxpayers.
$200,000
... the estimated engineering cost of the express feeder which could also be done in house at no cost to taxpayers.
$591,898
... wasted when insurance requirements were circumvented by the city manager and utility director.
$123,098
... wasted when plant manager Dave Mulvay’s first attempt at writing a scope of work contained a defect that cost taxpayers an extra $123,098 for tainting the bidding process and giving unfair advantage to one bidder over another. - April 2009
$64,000
... wasted when the Matrix organizational study to save taxpayers money was scrapped in favor of higher cost outsourcing by city manager Stanton.
$450,000
... wasted engineering design cost of water piping and tanks (original county water deal) that will never be built.
$59,975
... wasted when additional costs were incurred for not following insurance procedure on transformer repair.
$82,620
... wasted when the commission unanimously voted to order transformers when we had equivalent replacements already in stock since the upgrade. - 15 Sep. 2009
Total Taxpayer Dollars Wasted:
$1,621,591
 
 

 
 
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Lake Worth Media: Consumer Info

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  Consumer Info PCTOOLS SCAM... the fine print

AUTO RENEWAL SCAMS... reading the fine print

Scam

PCTOOLS and other software and service companies have gone to great lengths to make it as difficult as possible for customers to stop the automatic renewing of their products and services. The fine print is in the “terms of purchase” where PCTOOLS claims that by buying their product you agree to have your product, service, or subscription automatically renewed. And of course, you never agreed to that since the salesman never told you anything about it and you didn't see it on any of the PCTOOL advertisements. So it's a big surprise when you get the email notice of automatic renewal and you discover they've rigged everything so you can't just cancel this renewal... you're going to have to WORK HARD AT IT. They've already got your credit card number and they know that a certain percentage of novices will probably give up and let the renewal go through.

Looking on the email, you see no customer service phone number so you can pick up the phone and call… there's no convenient “cancel automatic renewal” button or link somewhere... they made sure of that... so what do you do?

You can follow the directions in the email notice for “opting out of auto renewal,” which say “go to my account” but the last thing you needed when you bought the software was to set up another unnecessary account and password to remember. After finding yourself in an infinite loop of being bounced back and forth between two screens it becomes apparent this doesn't work either.

It’s likely this interruption in your day will cost at least a half hour of your time as you go through the rat maze of figuring it all out and finally getting someone on the phone who speaks and understands English to stop the runaway train.

The first number google listed as PCTOOLS support ended up with someone from "Iyogi" (tech support outsource for PCTOOLS) with a heavy accent who wanted to backdoor into my computer. That was a totally ridiculous request... but they do that so they can terrorize you into thinking that if you don't renew, you may end up with a dead computer and none of your files.

When I refused to allow it, he didn't understand and finally got his supervisor on the phone who couldn't even find the correct number of PCTOOLS for me to call.

This is what’s happened to many American businesses where most everything is outsourced and greed reigns supreme. I do not recommend this product as there are many comparable products that cost less, one for free (CACHE CLEANER) ...some even packaged within security software that offer the same features and performance. And most important... they won't be automatically stabbing your credit card with renewal fees you didn't agree to pay.

 
 
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| 3244 bytes more | comments? | Score: 0|
Posted by admin on Wednesday, August 31, 2011 @ 10:35:47 EST
 
 

 
  Consumer Info Product Reviews: JIFFY LUBE... oil change from hell

JIFFY LUBE… the oil change from hell

Now you might think that when you have what appears to be a well organized quick oil change station with employees in uniforms that rattle off an impressive list of what they did to your car to justify that $40 dollar oil change... that you would get a good quality oil change.

 
 
  >>> CLICK HERE to READ MORE of this ARTICLE >>>

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Posted by admin on Sunday, May 09, 2010 @ 20:25:21 EST
 
 

 
  Consumer Info Product Reviews: Review of BlueAnt V1 and Plantronics Voyager Pro - the two most expensive blueto

Review of BlueAnt V1 and Plantronics Voyager Pro - the two most expensive bluetooth headsets

Blueant V1 $130 at Best Buy $69.99 at Compusa
Plantronics Voyager Pro $99.99 at Best Buy

The scoop on the (supposedly) two top Bluetooth headsets paired up with a Nokia N-95 shows both are poor performers.

Both headsets had poor communication with the phone and garbled most speech with the phone strapped to my waist. Most of the time, it was necessary to have the phone within 18 inches of the ear piece to prevent garbling. And it had to be oriented just right.

This poor communication, losing communication, garbling, static and other interference that often requires ending a conversation seems common among those who have tried blue tooth headsets for hands free cell phone operation.

It’s not that they don’t work, it’s that they don’t work well. And the market is so flooded with an infinite variation of these trinkets that advertisers have resorted to all kinds of hype to attract buyers. One good example is the Plantronics Voyager Pro. The video shows a girl in a wind tunnel with the wind blowing sideways across her face. She is speaking beautifully clear despite the intense wind. What the video doesn’t show is what happens if she turns slightly one way or the other. Even a slight breeze when your faced into the wind will make enough wind interference to preclude intelligible speech.

Voyager: We paired this up with a Nokia N95 after seeing the video. It was big and clumsy, too much wind noise even with a slight breeze, and it didn't communicate well with the N95. Audio quality was okay. So much for the voyager… it went back the same day.

Blueant V1: If you’re a busy person on the phone a lot, the V1 will drive you nuts. Things like having to recharge it once or twice a day, having to remember commands that allow you to turn off the annoying LED every time you turn on your headset. This LED flashes every few seconds drawing attention from everyone who thinks you’re trying to be a kid with those flashing LED sneakers.

But even more annoying for busy people on the phone a lot… its battery is far too weak and although they claim 5 hours of speech, it’s probably more like 3 hours before its in trouble communicating with your phone.

And usually once or twice a day in the midst of a conversation, it will totally freak out and becomes unusable. We had to wait 5 minutes to get it to turn off. Then we had to reset it to get it going… embarrassing when important business is being conducted.

We found for an average busy day it had to be recharged at least once. Despite all the fancy battery charging options, who wants to carry around a bag full of wires and adaptors where ever they go?

And its performance like the Voyager Pro was dismal at best although better in the wind head on. Audio quality was okay but not up to the clarity and intelligibility of the handset. We found that the Nokia N95 couldn’t be more than two feet away to eliminate static and garbling. And if you carry your phone on your waist on the opposite side of the earpiece… even that will cause garbling. So much for the 30 feet they brag about. We found out from the manufacturer, that 30 foot range is under optimum conditions for communication… not necessarily clear speech.

On the good side, some of the voice commands are useful but we found it doesn't always understand the voice commands. And occasionally in some environments, saying the word “answer” to receive the call didn’t work and so we lost the call.

It fits nicely and wears well although like most it blocks out a little high frequency sound from your ear.

It easily is better bang for the buck than the Voyager Pro but don’t get shafted at Best Buy where you pay full list price. Save yourself $60.00 and buy on line or at Compusa.



 
 
  comments? | Product Reviews | Score: 0|
Posted by admin on Wednesday, July 29, 2009 @ 07:00:05 EST
 
 

 
  Consumer Info On File: Go Daddy Web Hosting... is it what they say?

Go Daddy Web Hosting... is it as good as they say?

High site downtime, server down, slow server, 20 minute waits for tech support are serious indications Go Daddy is not what it used to be.  Having had a good experience with Go Daddy from years ago (immediate tech support, site always up, fast working site, I recommended Go Daddy to many friends), in March of 2007, I placed a new site on Go Daddy and at first everything went well. But after 6 months with a few major problems like not being able to upload/download anything to my site for 8 hours… other more serious problems arose causing clients to call with complaints of a slow or non working site. This is truly embarrassing for any site owner. Go Daddy performance claims weren’t adding up.

 
 
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| 3157 bytes more | 4 comments | On File | Score: 5|
Posted by admin on Saturday, May 03, 2008 @ 09:00:18 EST
 
 

 
  Consumer Info Publix responds to LWM inquiry

Publix response to LWM inquiry

Wonder why your spending so much on food lately and why prices keep going up? 


March 7, 2008


Dear Lake Worth Media reader,

At Publix Super Markets, we understand that rising food prices is a major concern to you and your family. Therefore, we felt it was important to share with you our take on the situation and offer tips on how to reduce register shock.

 
 
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Posted by admin on Tuesday, March 18, 2008 @ 08:44:22 EST
 
 

 
  Consumer Info On File: Comcast - good speed when it works, lousy service

COMCAST - lousy service

"It's way faster than DSL..." yes, there is truth in advertizing and you pay more for that speed by the way.  We purchased the ultimate super charged premium service which costs about $73 dollars a month and Comcast has been improving its speed.  But why pay for the premium service when someone on the $47 dollar plan is downloading faster and has the same upload speed?  But that's only part of the problem recently experienced with Comcast performance and service.

For some reason the download speed dropped to a little above a 56k modem one day and a speed test determined that my upload speed was faster than my download speed.  Since this was the third time this had happened, I was noticeably irrate when they accused my system of being the problem.  I was tired of ripping it apart but when they offered to send a tech out the next day, I agreed.  The problem was not my system, not the modem, it was the Comcast circuit I was on.

Without typing a book, it's now six days later and still nothing is fixed.  I was told that Comcast doesn't work on weekends; that they would be out Monday (they never showed), I was told I was next in line to get service and they never called or showed up and so if you want reliable Internet service and Comcast has a problem with their circuits... you might be a long week without what they guarantee... "you should always be surfing at broadband speeds."  I'm still down around 56k modem land and its been seven days.

NOTE: the actual time down with the slow speed was 10 days before Comcast fixed the problem.
 
 
  comments? | On File | Score: 0|
Posted by admin on Wednesday, March 05, 2008 @ 01:50:54 EST
 
 

 
  Consumer Info On File: Mona Vie, vertical market scam or fountain of youth?

Mona Vie - snake oil or fountain of youth?

Always keep in mind that vertical/pyramid markets are extremely lucrative business opportunities with a serious downside... greed usually overwhelms common sense. 

We decided to try out this "miracle health drink" to see if it worked as claimed.  Of course the claims are diverse and seem to depend more on what health problems you talk about with whoever is trying to hook you into the scheme.  At $35 dollars a bottle we found little if any health improvement after more than six months of regular use.  With that kind of inflated price tag and no health benefit, we reluctantly (we kept thinking something good would happen) decided to discontinue spending a fortune on what we think is just another drink of some sort.

Perhaps the best way to view it locally, is to travel down to the Lantana Lutheran church and see the half million dollar fancy bus paid for by this vertical market scheme.  Unfortunately for the more business minded folks, all the upstream profit making positions have long been filled by the "Black Diamond" group and the individuals trying to sell it to you are just looking for you to provide downstream revenue for their pockets.

So buyer beware... our experience though limited, is shared by many more and by the way... if you haven't already bought your $40.00 introduction package... we have one you can buy for half that and its unopened.  We were only interested in the health benefit of Mona Vie and never had any interest in hustling a vertical market scheme.

Perhaps there's a reason this product never became part of health store or super market inventory.  Think about it.

 
 
  comments? | On File | Score: 0|
Posted by admin on Friday, January 25, 2008 @ 15:09:46 EST
 
 

 
  Consumer Info On File: Buyer beware - CARMAX/ARRIGO

BUYER BEWARE - CARMAX & Arrigo Dodge/Jeep Stealership

This is a two fold problem, so let's see just what happened so you won't make the same mistake with either company. Above is the bill to replace 4 brake rotors which were "out of spec" according to Arrigo mechanics.

The 2005 Jeep Grand Cherokee (26,000 miles) was purchased from CarMax in April for $20,000+. CARMAX advertizements say they check everything to make sure it's to specifications... safety systems such as brakes receiving special attention. The salesman told the customer that "the brakes are new" and even asked for the car back at one point to "touch them up a bit." But in fact, it was only the BRAKE PADS that were new. At first everything was fine but after 6 months, the car began pulsating when the brakes were applied. This was a potentially dangerous situation that reduced the effectiveness of the brakes. The owner had purchased an extended warranty and was certain that the problem would be fixed under warranty.

Previously, the car's engine warning light had flashed and CARMAX told the owner that only a Jeep dealer (Arrigo) could deal with that problem. Turns out the warning was bogus and the dealer reset the computer. So at this point, the owner made arrangements to get the brake work done at ARRIGO... the first mistake, as you can see by the outrageous prices charged for service. It has often been said that new cars are not where dealers make money, it's on the service.

But if we believe ARRIGO mechanics, the real deception came from CARMAX who failed to live up to their stated standards of thoroughly going over the car and replacing the rotors. However, it doesn't seem normal that rotors are too thin at 36,000 miles. If they were too thin, then they must have been turned at least twice which seems unlikely. Either way the owner was at risk perhaps to save a few bucks. CARMAX said they were not bound to provide any credit toward the brake job, admitting that ARRIGO DODGE/JEEP prices were well beyond reasonable. And further, they said they would have done the same job for much less.

Summary

If you buy from CARMAX, beware... paying top dollar for a clean looking car might still cost you nearly a thousand dollars 6 months down the road... extended warranty or not... IF you take it to a dealer to have it serviced. Either way it appears that CARMAX missed something they should have known about. In this case, the safety of the vehicle may be limited to this one car... but maybe not. Regardless of circumstances, the brakes needed fixing and they shouldn't have.

And of course, unless you want to hear that ripping sound from your wallet, don't get your car serviced at the Arrigo Stealership.

 
 
  comments? | On File | Score: 0|
Posted by admin on Friday, November 30, 2007 @ 08:21:35 EST
 
 

 
  Consumer Info Product Reviews: Vonage Woes

VONAGE

In the beginning, this company had good customer service and it still does, if you care to wait. For the past few days some callers have received an “ALL CIRCUITS ARE BUSY” message when calling me. Vonage said it was an ATT problem. So I missed some calls… big enough problem. But now for the past 24 hours, I haven’t been able to get my phone messages that may or may not have accumulated over the past few days. Although Vonage provides Internet access to your voice mail, their site often works so slow (or not at all) that it doesn’t pay to retrieve them via Internet.

All this was aggravated over an 18 minute wait for support to find out what was going on… sounds like Bell South all over again. I have noticed the waits are getting longer to resolve problems. Meanwhile the annoying ads and promos you’re forced to listen to as you wait have gotten even more annoying.

No doubt this system can save you money. It has saved me thousands and happily, I finally eliminated Bell South out of my life. But Vonage is not a professional system. It’s primary drawback is the latency (delays and sometimes echoes) that occur especially when calls get forwarded to cell phones. These latencies bog down communication with parties stepping on each others talk when they don’t intend to.

 
 
  comments? | Product Reviews | Score: 0|
Posted by admin on Wednesday, August 15, 2007 @ 05:17:28 EST
 
 

 
  Consumer Info Transportation >> Lake Worth: AIRPORT TRAVEL WARNING

AIRPORT TRAVELER BEWARE

If you haven't checked the price of leaving your car at PBI... check again. The rate is $12/day and short term parking $16/day.

We recently took a a trip to NC and left the car for 6 days. We had no idea the fee had gone that high. When we got to the airport, it said LONG TERM PARKING FULL and we then followed the signs to the PARK AND RIDE section. That led directly to the SHORT TERM PARKING where we didn't have ten minutes to travel over to a remote parking lot and another 15 minutes to wait for a tram. So we called the Department of Airports to see if they could do something. Of course, they were delighted to insist on collecting $112 dollars for the 6 days our car was there. No mercy.

 

 
 
  comments? | Transportation >> Lake Worth | Score: 0|
Posted by admin on Wednesday, August 01, 2007 @ 13:48:28 EST
 
 


 
 
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