PhotoCynthia, of San Francisco, has a Credit One bankcard and isn't very happy about it. She thinks the bank targets consumers who have seen their credit scores fall due to unemployment, foreclosure, or other economic factors.

“They charge you $9.95 if you want to make a payment by phone, even if its to avoid a late fee of $25.00 on the due date,” Cynthia told ConsumerAffairs.com. “And they use Eastern Standard Time, so if your payment on the west coast is not made by the EST deadline, then you are also issued a late fee, even if on same day of due date. There are sneaky fees at every turn.”

If you ask the banks, they'll tell you they must charge a premium to offset the added risk of lending in the subprime market. It still doesn't lessen the aggravation for consumers.

Disposable TV

Here's another consumer with an LCD flat screen TV that didn't last very long. In the case of Preston, of Sayville, N.Y., three years.

“I purchased a Toshiba 32" IHD LCD television model 32A500U in 2008,” Preston said. “In July, 2011, the picture feature failed completely although the audio was functional. I took the unit to a factory authorized repair shop; paid $50 for an evaluation of the problem, and was informed a week later that it would cost $300 to make the repairs. As this is almost the cost of a new TV, I declined. I then called and wrote Toshiba requesting some financial assistance in repairing the unit. Their response in all requests was that since the unit was outside their one-year warranty, there was nothing that could be done.”

As we have previously reported, it seems flat screen TVs are becoming a disposable product.

Caught in the middle

There's really no way a consumer can know that the chain store where they bought a new kitchen and the contractor the store hired to install it are in the midst of a major spat. Sandra, of Virginia Beach, Va., says she suddenly ended up in the middle.

“I had no idea the contractor, and Home Depot, were in the middle of a contract dispute, Sandra told ConsumerAffairs.com. The contractor explained the situation when he was out installing everything that he could before counter tops were installed. The rest, had to be done after countertops installed.”

But by then the contractor was history and Sandra said she had a hard time getting Home Depot's attention.

“I decided it was time to seek out legal representation,” Sandra said. Once I made that decision, I let Home Depot know what I was about to do, and they have finally gotten back to me, and are trying to resolve this mess.”

Sandra probably couldn't have anticipated she would be caught in the middle of this dispute, but she seems to have found an effective way to resolve it. Threatening to bring an attorney into the picture usually gets things back on track.

Not even close to an express line

Allan, of Breaux Bridge, La., seems exasperated with his local Walmart. Getting off from work late at night, he says he goes to the 24-hour Walmart because its about the only thing open at 10:30 pm. The problem, he says, is the store is always crowded at that hour but usually, only two check-out lines are open.

“Why even be open if you can't staff the registers?” Allan asks. “Surely you can hire more people. And if not, surely you can cross train people to work a register when its busy. I shop there often, two, three nights a week, and its always the same thing. Last night I stopped counting after 34 people waiting in line.”

With a 9.1 percent unemployment rate, it would see that there should be plenty of applicants if the store wanted to staff up.


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