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Comment: Want more profit? Just do right by the customer (Score 1) 16

by MikeRT (#47564865) Attached to: Comcast Confessions

I don't know any Comcast customer who has had a positive experience with their customer service. I also know some who've had Comcast blatantly disregard the details of their contract with respect to price and features a few months into a 12-24 month contract. Frankly, what Comcast needs besides competition from more companies and municipal broadband (via utilities) is a few strategic arrests of employees and executives for fraud. Put a few of their guys in prison for fraudulent business practices, and I'll wager their billing and sales people will wake the f#$% up and do right.

Comment: Re:um yea... (Score 1) 346

by Sycraft-fu (#47563353) Attached to: 35% of American Adults Have Debt 'In Collections'

Also with regards to the 3% charge rate, that is something that likely wouldn't go away, even if everyone went cash. Thing is, cash takes a lot of work to manage. You have to count it (*and account for it) secure it, get it to the bank, etc. If you look at a cash heavy place like a Las Vegas casino you can see the large amount of infrastructure they have in dealing with that. It isn't free. Turns out 3% isn't such a bad charge for not having to deal with that.

My parents ran a small business and they really didn't care for cash transactions. They took it, of course, and it was maybe 10% of their business. However despite not having 3% (or I think like 2.7% with their processor) shaved off the top, they prefered less cash because of the extra work. If they had a cash heavy day it meant having to cycle money out of the register in to the safe, potentially having to go to the bank to get more smaller bills/coins, and having to make bank runs more often per week. All the time spent doing that was time not spent doing something else for the business.

Cash costs money too, which is why most places don't really mind the credit surcharge. Cash might not have a direct surcharge, but there's a cost to dealing with it and the more you deal with it, the more it costs, just like the credit surcharge.

Also, in the rare occasion you do find a business that'll give you a discount for cash (contractors are often like this) you always have the option of using it. It isn't like Visa pays for goons to follow you around and force you to use your card.

Comment: No they don't (Score 1) 346

by Sycraft-fu (#47563321) Attached to: 35% of American Adults Have Debt 'In Collections'

You have no idea how it works, do you?

Debt collectors are nearly always separate companies. So what happens is you get way behind on a payment, the company you owe tries and tries to get money, but they fail. Finally, they just write it off. They then sell your debt to a debt collector. These debt collectors buy it cheap, usually 10% or less of the original amount. The company takes the loss and goes on with it. The collector then tries to get money so that they make a profit on the debt, and not a loss.

Companies do not want to sell a debt because there's no way they can sell it for what it is worth. They'd much rather have the money.

Student loans are a little different, since Sallie Mae does both loans AND collections, and student loans they offer are usually government insured (so they get their money no matter what) and you can't discharge student loan debt. Also they are a complete cluster fuck of stupidity since they are basically the worst combination of private enterprise and government agency (they were originally government, now private, but have something of a special status). They are currently under investigation regarding their practices.

Normal consumer debt though, they don't want you to default on. What they would like is that you run up a lot of debt and they pay it off slowly, paying a lot of interest, but pay it on time and completely. They would not like you to default.

Comment: Bullshit (Score 2) 346

by Sycraft-fu (#47563289) Attached to: 35% of American Adults Have Debt 'In Collections'

Now I should note everything I'm going to say here applies to FICO credit score. Banks are certainly welcome to delve deeper and look at individual account performance and make a determination that way. So maybe, and there's no way to know this, the bank would evaluate that pattern more favourably when looking at the account and considering an upgrade to an unsecured account.

However for credit score what matters is (in order of importance):

--Payment history. Paying as agreed (meaning not more than 30 days late) is the biggest thing. Having no delinquencies, collections, defaults, etc is the prime thing. A long history of "pays as agreed" is what matters most.

--Debt burden, meaning how much you owe. For revolving accounts that is the amount of credit available vs the amount used. So having a number of high limit unused credit cards helps your score. For installment/mortgage accounts it is more about how much has been payed off.

--Length of credit history. The longer you've had a credit history, the better it can be. Also the longer you have specific accounts, the more they help.

--Types of credit. The more kinds of credit you've had, the better. This means revolving (like credit cards), installment (like a car loan), and mortgage. If you've multiple categories, that helps more than just having one.

--Credit inquiries. Each time you seek credit, it hurts your score a little for a short while. It isn't much and it doesn't last long, but is has an effect.

That's it. That's how it is calculated. Of those, payment history and debt burden are by FAR the biggest part. So if you have accounts that show you always pay as agreed, and you don't owe much, you'll have good credit.

As an example: I have a mortgage on my primary house, also a paid off mortgage on file since I refinanced (which is technically a new loan so the old one shows as paid off). I have a bunch of credit cards, probably $40,000 in credit, most of which don't get used, I got them because they offered a bribe and then never made use of them again. I have a primary card that I use for pretty much all purchases, and pay off in full each month. My credit score was 820, last time I checked.

The reasons are I have a perfect, lengthy, payment record, two kinds of credit, and I owe very little in relation to my available borrowing power. Hence, good score.

Also when I did a secured card, which admittedly was like 2 decades ago, I paid it off in full every month, and after the prescribed period, 6 months I think, they gave me an unsecured card no issue.

Comment: Re:Such a Waste (Score 5, Informative) 85

by Culture20 (#47562897) Attached to: The Hobbit: the Battle of Five Armies Trailer Released

What's so horrible about The Hobbit?

Gandalf knows that Sauron is back. This directly contradicts LotR. In fact, there's no reason Gandalf would let Bilbo keep the ring once he knew Sauron existed. And what's up with the Smaug fight scene? Instead of deducing Lake Town as the source of the intruder and exacting his revenge on the town (since he can't find the intruder), the movie version of Smaug runs around under the mountain for a while (so they can show off all the cool under the mountain visuals) then inexplicably decides to leave the dwarves without killing them. And the barrel riding was supposed to be a leisurely ride down the river; an escape plan showing the dwarves how clever their burglar really is, escaping with no danger or bloodshed. Also, Smaug didn't die in the second movie. That's the climax of the second portion. The cliffhanger should have been the first hints of the gathering of the five armies.

+ - Ford, GM Sued Over Vehicles' CD-R Ability To Rip Music To Hard Drive->

Submitted by Lucas123
Lucas123 (935744) writes "The Alliance of Artists and Recording Companies is suing Ford and General Motors for millions of dollars over alleged copyrights infringement violations because their vehicles' CD-Rs can rip music to infotainment center hard drives. The AARC claims in its filing that the CD-R's ability to copy music violates the Audio Home Recording Act of 1992. The Act protects against distributing digital audio recording devices whose primary purpose is to rip copyrighted material. For example, Ford's owner's manual explains, "Your mobile media navigation system has a Jukebox which allows you to save desired tracks or CDs to the hard drive for later access. The hard drive can store up to 10GB (164 hours; approximately 2,472 tracks) of music." The AARC wants $2,500 for each digital audio recording device installed in a vehicle, the amount it says should have been paid in royalties."
Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:Radicalization (Score 1) 706

by sumdumass (#47562815) Attached to: Gaza's Only Power Plant Knocked Offline

Umm.. if you would have watched that charlie rose interview with Iran's last president "imadinnerjacket" or whatever his name was, you would know that Iran has no gays. That is a western thing.

This was on the "Bush is teh satan" tour to the UN if you want to look it up. He hit quite a few of the news shows on thst tour.

Comment: Re:Not surprised. (Score 2) 346

by sumdumass (#47562297) Attached to: 35% of American Adults Have Debt 'In Collections'

They likely sold your debt to another company who packaged it and sold it yet again. The debt is probably so far down the line that they probably sell it as soon as they figure they won't collect.

If they take you to small claims court, counter sue them for the amount. Someone will show up, or you will win by default and can pay them with their own money.

Also, send request for a validation of the debt in writing. Your state may have other solutions, but I believe federal law requires them to validate the debt once you do this. If they do not, they lose the right to try and collect it.

Comment: Re:Lies and statistics... (Score 1) 346

by sumdumass (#47562225) Attached to: 35% of American Adults Have Debt 'In Collections'

I don't think you understand what he was talking about.

It isn't a matter of no insurance or inability to pay that he describes, it is a matter of something not being billed correctly or coming in later and being missed by the insurance payments (as well as you needing to pay your portion too). So you go through life thinking everything has been taken care of and review your credit report because you are thinking of some major purchase (car, home, RV- whatever) and discover that you have a bill in collections.

You see, this would be in spite of having insurance.

Comment: Re:Lies and statistics... (Score 5, Insightful) 346

by Shakrai (#47562169) Attached to: 35% of American Adults Have Debt 'In Collections'

Yes, since the bills would be covered by insurance.

After the deductibles and co-pays. I have a "platinum" plan through my employer; better insurance than anyone else I know and the co-pays still total up to a considerable amount. No deductibles for in-network on my plan, which makes me extremely fortunate. As a single guy I can afford the co-pays even with my modest salary but I can see how quickly they would bankrupt someone with a family, particularly if said family had one or more members with a chronic illness.

Incidentally, I was just exposed to rabies a few months ago:

Strike One: The only place to get the immunoglobulin is the ER, because it's very expensive (>$4,500) and has a short shelf-life. ER co-pay: $150
Strike Two: There's a set schedule for the vaccine, Days 0, 3, 7, and 14. You can get the vaccine from your primary, in theory, but of course my primary has a months long waiting list because we're driving PCPs out of business. Bottom line, I can't get appointments with them for Days 3 or 7, so that's two more trips to the ER. Additional co-pay total: $300
Strike Three: New York State ostensibly has a fund to pay for out of pocket expenses related to rabies exposures, but they only reimburse for the rabies vaccine and immunoglobulin. Since the ER decided to give me a tetanus shot on Day 0 NYS won't reimburse me, even though my out of pocket would have been $150 with or without this extra shot. Hooray for bureaucracy!

Totaling all this up, that stupid bat that found its way into my apartment has personally cost me $465 ($450 of ER co-pays, $15 of PCP co-pay) while my insurance company is on the hook for close to $7,000. My annual premium is about $6,000. So this one incident wiped out every penny they made on me and then some. I'm an otherwise healthy 32 year old marathon runner that ought to be subsidizing those who are less fortunate. Now imagine a family of four that were all exposed to the same scenario I was.....

Comment: Re:Radicalization (Score 1) 706

by mi (#47562143) Attached to: Gaza's Only Power Plant Knocked Offline

Not everyone in Israel agrees with this.

Not everyone in Israel... Two Jews will, infamously, have 3 opinions on most matters...

Arabs, on the other hand, are much more determined — 2/3 voted for Hamas in the free elections of 2006. 2/3rds wish to destroy Israel and drive the Jews into the sea. Any state living next to such enemies is absolutely justified in doing anything to defend itself.

Comment: Re:Radicalization (Score 1) 706

by mi (#47562097) Attached to: Gaza's Only Power Plant Knocked Offline

What you mean is that Israel doesn't consider what is 'currently' Gaza to be its own terriitory -- but that its own territory expands inch by inch at the crest of a bulldozer

Ariel Sharon demolished Israeli settlements in Gaza and forcibly pulled all of the "encroaching" settlers back. Hamas' charter did not change — they still aim for destroying Israel...

Lets at least keep reality on the table here.

And reality is, the Arabs should've accepted the UN partition plan of 1947 and built their own state. That they chose to instead wage war — and not just one, but many — is their own fault. And the fitting punishment for that aggression is loss of land. And as long as the morons keep shooting at Israel, they will (or should) continue losing land. Occupying the enemy's territory is perfectly proper conduct in war — and if the stupid enemy is not giving up for decades, then the loss may become permanent.

Comment: Re:Radicalization (Score 1) 706

by mi (#47562007) Attached to: Gaza's Only Power Plant Knocked Offline

Majority of people are arguing against Israel because they want the senseless killing to stop

Where was this "majority of people", when Hamas were firing dozens of rockets per day at Israel? Watching soccer? Why don't you go back to that — and leave the arguing to people with attention spans longer than 30 minutes...

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