I love a good working holiday.
Our newsroom was pretty quiet today. We had fewer newscasts on the air and lots of people out for the holiday weekend. It meant I finally got to answer a lot of your emails. I thought I would post some of them here in case you might be having the same problems.
Q: I am really hoping that you can help me. I just tried to get my eye care records from my eye care place, Pearl Vision on Fry Rd. and the Katy Frwy. I have been a long time loyal customer there, going every year for my yearly check up for glasses and contacts. The only exception was I didn’t go last year because money is tight and without eye insurance, it can run over $200.00 for a checkup and contacts. So, now I have insurance and called them to make an appointment. They don’t take my insurance, so I asked for my medical records to go somewhere that does. They said they don’t have any record of me. They said after 2-3 years, they delete you from the system. What? Then I asked about paper files. They said it would probably be in storage, but unless I was the government, they wouldn’t help me. I am completely dumbfounded as to why an eye care place, that to me these are my medical records for my eyes, would completely banish someone from their entire system after 2 years. Nothing in the computer, nothing on paper to help me. I now have no way of knowing my entire eye care history. All of the tests that have been done, the results, my glasses prescription, the prescription of my contacts, nothing. Can you please help me? Do you know of any legal recourse I might have? Any help you can give me would be extremely appreciated. Thank you so much for your help. Jennifer in Katy
A: Pearle Vision has optometrists on staff, not opthalmologists.
The difference is that opthalologists are licensed medical doctors and must follow the laws made by our state legislators and enforced by the Texas Medical Board. Doctors are generally required to keep a patient’s records seven years from the date of their last treatment.
Optometrists, while trained professionals, are not licensed doctors. They follow the rules of the Texas Optometry Board. Unfortunately, those rules put no guidelines on how long optometrists are required to keep records. You can call the Board to ask these questions (which is what I did) at 512-305-8500.
They also directed me to this information on the TOB’s website:
Q: Hi Amy! I am fired up. I have been a loyal customer of Sprint for several years. In the last few months I started paying closer attention to my bill. Not only were they charging for my plan, government taxes & fees, but also for “sprint surcharges.” Well, on the bill it reads (in much smaller print): ” Surcharges are not taxes or amounts we are required to collect from you by law.” So…I stopped paying the surcharges. When I get my bill I subtract the surcharge amount and pay the rest. Now, they are saying I owe them and if I don’t pay within ten days my service will be terminated. When I spoke to a representative and I read the fine print about it not being required by law, he said the amount would not be waived. Can this be investigated? Do you have any suggestions? Thanks for your help! Rachel in Friendswood
A: It seems you are not the only one who is fired up over these surcharges. I found a few forums online where other unhappy Sprint customers are venting.You do have to consider this though… Just because a charge or a fee is not “required” by the government, that doesn’t mean the business is not allowed to charge it. They should disclose and explain that it is a charge from the company and not a tax passed along by the government… And Sprint does give that disclaimer. Your right, as a consumer… Is to take your business somewhere else.
Q: My friend is in need of your help. Her husband has done some apartment rehab work here in Houston and is having a hard time getting the pay he is due. The sub contractor who hired them is saying that the man who hired him is not releasing the money, while the main guy in Ga is saying that the sub contractor here in Houston is the one not releasing the money. My friend is due $700 and is facing eviction from their apartment since they cannot pay their rent. We don’t know where else to turn and need some help to seek justice here. Any help you can offer is greatly appreciated. Liz
A: I am sorry your friend’s husband is having such a hard time getting the money he worked for. I am not an expert on employment and wage issues, but your friend’s husband should contact the Texas Workforce Commission’s ombudsman. She is very helpful and will tell him what rights he has and what steps he should take to get paid.
Here is her info:
Q: Hi Amy, I just wanted to share with you an internet scam that I received last week. I will forward you the rest of the emails I have received from this guy. He sent me a check for $2300 and wants me to keep $400 and send him the rest via Western Union. I finally took the check to Wells Fargo and they let me know that it was a fake. Just want viewers to know about this scam. Michael
A: I’m so glad your bank told you immediately the check was a fake, They can’t always tell right away. I did a story with one woman who got one of these checks for more $8000. The bank let her deposit it and even gave her $1000 which she immediately sent back to the person by Western Union.
Three days later, the person emailed her to say he was sorry… but his mother has died. He wanted the rest of his money back. The bank let her withdraw it. She sent that back too. About 2 weeks later, the bank notified her that the check was no good and she owed them more than $8000.
We have done several different stories on this, but the scam has so many variations, people keep falling for it.
You can file a complaint with the Internet Crime Complaint Center. It’s a law enforcement agency (made up of FBI agents and HPD officers) that investigates all web-based crime. You can submit your complaint online at www.ic3.gov.