Archive for February, 2010

America’s Credit Crisis
February 25, 2010

Credit card debt, subprime mortgage loans, unexpected medical bills, layoffs and payday loans. They’re just a few of the reasons America is in a recession.

But none of those terms put a face or a feeling on what it means to your family. Have you lost your job? Are you unable to pay your student loans? If anything, these last few months have taught many of us it only takes one thing, one emergency to knock us off the safe nest we worked so hard to build.

It’s why we want to hear your stories. We’re hosting a round table discussion at KPRC Local 2 on Monday, March 1st at 6pm. If  you think you have something to contribute to the conversation, let me know. Please send me an email at adavis@kprc.com by the end of the day Friday, Feb. 26th.  We only have room for 12; so send your stories quickly.

I love a great bargain!
February 25, 2010

On the 610 Loop, I checked the clock on my car’s console. It was 2:01pm. I had 49 minutes to spare before I had to get to work… and the new Nordstrom Rack on Post Oak was on the way. Half an hour is a safe time limit for me. Not long enough to do major damage, but enough to find out if I want to go back.

The store was bustling like the Friday after Thanksgiving; but clerks kept the lines moving. I grabbed a new dress for $59.99 (originally $149.99) and 2 sweaters for $14.97 each.  I was out by 2:35pm.

And I will be back. I didn’t even have time to look at the shoes! Great new addition to the Galleria area.

Still Facing Problems from Ike?
February 18, 2010

Hard to believe this year will mark 2 years since Hurricane Ike hit the Gulf Coast. And yet, we’re still hearing from people everyday who are mired in legal problems- either battling insurance companies or contractors- to get back to where they were before the storm.

Fortunately the University of Houston Center for Consumer Law just received a grant to help people with legal problems stemming from Hurricane Ike.

The help is free. You can contcat the Texas Consumer Complaint Center at www.TexasCCC.com or call them at (713) 743-2168 or toll-free at (877) 839-8422.

SWA’s “Customer of Size” Policy
February 16, 2010

 You may have heard the story this week about the movie director,Kevin Smith (“Mall Rats,” “Clerks” & “Dogma”), who was kicked off a Southwest Airlines flight in Oakland being he was too large. Apparently when the producer tweeted about the embarrassing ordeal, the airline refunded him $100.  Some reports say Smith twisted the airline’s arm with his Tweets to his more than 1.6 million Twitter followers bad-mouthing SWA.

If you buy that, wait til you hear Jon Kruger’s story of Humble.

Kruger wrote me when he returned home from a trip to Vegas. Apparently, he gained weight on the trip because he says he fit in his seat just fine on the leg from Houston  to Las Vegas. No one said anything to him about purchasing an extra seat.  It was while he was waiting in the boarding area for his return trip that a Southwest employee approached

Jon Kruger, when we interviewed him for another story last summer

him and told him that he would have to buy an extra ticket “for the safety and comfort of all the passengers.”  The employee told him it was a full flight. To which Kruger’s wife responded, “If it’s a full flight, what will happen to the other passenger whose seat we’re purchasing?”

Turns out, it was not a full flight. Kruger wrote SWA a letter when he landed, expressing his disappointment with the treatment he received. It wasn’t Twitter, but I’d say Kruger got a better  resolution than the movie director. Southwest refunded the $241.60 Kruger paid for the extra seat AND gave him a voucher for $907.40 (the cost he and his wife paid for their roundtrip tickets to Vegas) to use for future travel on Southwest. 

Folks, it’s why I always say “Write a letter.”  Good job Jon!

Haiti Relief
February 12, 2010

In tonight’s “Ask Amy” segment, we showed you how some charities are using the millions of dollars donated for Haiti relief.

The Amerian Red Cross says, so far, it’s received $32 million from texts alone. By texting “Haiti” to 90999, you can make a $10 donation. So naturally, we asked how much are cell companies making off of all those texts? The answer is nothing.

All of the cell companies I called waived all fees and charges for donation texts. Some went even further to help their customers who are either in Haiti or have family in Haiti.

 T-Mobile waived all long distance charges for its customers calling Haiti through Jan. 31st.  Customers still in Haiti can get free long distance and no roaming charges to call anywhere in the world through the end of February.

T-Mobile also donated 12,000 cell phones to the area, 10 mobile cell sites, 77 generators, 45 solar chargers, 11 SUVs and 980 ground kits.

Verizon is waiving all long distance calls and charges to Haiti through Feb. 14th.

Verizon employees donated more than $1 million to the Haiti relief effort, on top of money donated by The Verizon Foundation.

Sprint has waived all text messaging charges to and from Haiti through Feb. 28th.

The Sprint Foundation donated $50,000 to the American Red Cross International Response Fund. Sprint employees have also contributed more than $102,000 to the American Red Cross – which Sprint will match in its entirety – bringing the total contributions of Sprint and Sprint employees to the Red Cross relief efforts to over $250,000.  Sprint also donated cell phones, generators and other equipment to help in the relief effort.

If you plan on making a donation (or another donation), but you don’t know where you want to donate, check out Charity Navigator.  The website has a list of the most highly rated charities providing relief in Haiti.