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Just need to get a few things off my chest

Just need to get a few things off my chest

Old Dec 13th 2010, 10:03 pm
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Angry Just need to get a few things off my chest

Why oh why oh why oh why is America (especially California) so retarded? It REALLY IS like living in the dark ages, or some third world country. Especially when it comes to utilities (or anything to do with this doo-hickey redneck state). Today's major whinge is CONVENIENCE FEES. On top of the ludicrous "taxes and fees" that are applied to EVERYTHING, these retards want to charge a fee for me to pay my bills online - saving THEM the cost of employing someone to open the envelope containing ye olde cheque, dip their quill into the ink well and scribe the amount into their ledger. Setting up a "direct debit" is such a protracted task, involving sending a voided cheque, printing out and filling in forms, that it discourages all but the most unemployed, bored person from doing it.

My water bill (which has a $52 account setup fee on it ) has no indication at all of how to pay, other than "mail your check to...". No website, no "save 5% and set up a direct debit"...none of those 20th Century essentials which we so rely on.

Laughably, to get paperless billing and/or online account management with AT&T, you have to jump through all sorts of hoops on their appalling website (well, ok by American standards - the number of good websites in USA can be counted on one hand)...then they POST out a "code" which you have to then enter on the website...and then they will "process your request" and in a few days send out an email to confirm that it may have been set up.

And while I'm ranting, why can I walk into the DMV in South Carolina, take my 'written' driving test using their touch-screen computers, then get my driving license printed out there and then, whereas the yokels in olde worlde California have you do a written test on a scrap of paper, and then take nearly TWO MONTHS to issue the license?

Anyone who is under the impression that America is somehow living in the 21st Century is VERY misguided - if you assume that everything in California is kind of like England in the 1970s, but a bit more knackered and impoverished, you'll be sort of on track.

The internet is a novelty to the country (other than a few retailers) and they really haven't figured it out yet.


Rant over. Thanks for hopefully ignoring this post!
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Old Dec 13th 2010, 10:08 pm
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Default Re: Just need to get a few things off my chest

The DMV is just hilarious. After many days of telephoning the 'problem resolution line' every day, I was told that the item would be faxed to me 'by noon'. The next day it was 'it takes 24 hours'. The next day it was 'it takes 24 hours to be prepared for the runners.'

RUNNERS???
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Old Dec 13th 2010, 10:10 pm
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Default Re: Just need to get a few things off my chest

While I'm complete agreement about some of the more frustrating elements of bill-paying over here, might I suggest you edit your post and delete the word "retarded"? It is not commonly used by British Expats abroad, and many of us find it incredibly offensive.

There's a whole thread on it somewhere...

Thank you.
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Old Dec 13th 2010, 10:12 pm
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Default Re: Just need to get a few things off my chest

They charge us convenience charges because they CAN, and because most state utilities are desperate for money.

This is a sad, sad state - don't want to pay taxes (or additional ones anyway) but don't want to cut any services (even though the money to pay for them is not there).

We are ungovernable and out of control ..........
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Old Dec 13th 2010, 11:05 pm
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Default Re: Just need to get a few things off my chest

Originally Posted by Hellopaul View Post

The internet is a novelty to the country (other than a few retailers) and they really haven't figured it out yet.
You think the UK is a step ahead? I won't go into details about the amount of time I have wasted recently trying to order gifts for my family in England from UK web sites (for major retailers) that won't permit someone from another country to make a purchase that will be delivered in the UK. If you don't have an address in the UK (and, of course, your credit card has to be registered to that address) you are out of luck. Yes, eBay and Amazon are wonderful, but they don't quite offer everything . . .

And I won't just single out the UK, a friend from Germany has run into the same frustrations with her holiday shopping.
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Old Dec 13th 2010, 11:14 pm
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Default Re: Just need to get a few things off my chest

I use my bank's online billpay system. Enter the name on the bill and account number, they find it in their database of utilities and it is all dealt with.

Turns out, the bank doesn't make a clever electronic payment as I thought, they actually print out a check and mail it to the recipient.
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Old Dec 13th 2010, 11:14 pm
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Default Re: Just need to get a few things off my chest

Originally Posted by Hellopaul View Post

The internet is a novelty to the country (other than a few retailers) and they really haven't figured it out yet.
I had to laugh when I read this as well..... Not anything to do with retailers, but my SIL just moved back to the UK from living in Hong Kong for a year. It is going to take 1 month for BT to hook up broadband, etc for her home.
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Old Dec 13th 2010, 11:16 pm
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Default Re: Just need to get a few things off my chest

Originally Posted by AmerLisa View Post
I had to laugh when I read this as well..... Not anything to do with retailers, but my SIL just moved back to the UK from living in Hong Kong for a year. It is going to take 1 month for BT to hook up broadband, etc for her home.
At least verizon will send you a self hook up kit with adapters for the outlets until they can get out to do it properly.
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Old Dec 13th 2010, 11:16 pm
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Default Re: Just need to get a few things off my chest

Originally Posted by sir_eccles View Post
I use my bank's online billpay system. Enter the name on the bill and account number, they find it in their database of utilities and it is all dealt with.

Turns out, the bank doesn't make a clever electronic payment as I thought, they actually print out a check and mail it to the recipient.
I found that out a while back..... I just pay most of my bills on the internet through their own websites, mortgage payment, credit cards and yes utility bills.
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Old Dec 13th 2010, 11:18 pm
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Default Re: Just need to get a few things off my chest

Originally Posted by bevinva View Post
At least verizon will send you a self hook up kit with adapters for the outlets until they can get out to do it properly.
Will they? I've never lived in an area where I had to wait weeks to have internet, phone, cable, etc to be hooked up.
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Old Dec 13th 2010, 11:34 pm
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Default Re: Just need to get a few things off my chest

Originally Posted by Hellopaul View Post
... Especially when it comes to utilities (or anything to do with this doo-hickey redneck state). Today's major whinge is CONVENIENCE FEES. On top of the ludicrous "taxes and fees" that are applied to EVERYTHING, these retards want to charge a fee for me to pay my bills online - saving THEM the cost of employing someone to open the envelope containing ye olde cheque, dip their quill into the ink well and scribe the amount into their ledger. Setting up a "direct debit" is such a protracted task, involving sending a voided cheque, printing out and filling in forms, that it discourages all but the most unemployed, bored person from doing it.

My water bill (which has a $52 account setup fee on it ) has no indication at all of how to pay, other than "mail your check to...". No website, no "save 5% and set up a direct debit"...none of those 20th Century essentials which we so rely on.

...

The internet is a novelty to the country (other than a few retailers) and they really haven't figured it out yet.

...
Taxes and fees are called out separately because in this tax-averse country, they want you to be sure you know which parts of your payment is going to (eg) the utility vs. the state. In the UK, you just 'pay the big number' and behind the scenes they divvy it up in a far less transparent manner. I find it tedious but I can't get excited about it.

As for online bill payment - only suckers setup online bill payments on the 'recipient' side (registering multiple accounts with each different payee). I have bank accounts with both BofA and Schwab. Both have VERY convenient (and free) bill-pay services where you go into your account (the source of funds) and enter info about the recipient. It all works magically and efficiently. I pay all my utilities and a whole lot more this way ... Even my local storage facility; I just set that one up and they are not set up for receiving automatic payments, so the bank (apparently) mails a check to them the old fashioned way - but it's all transparent and free to me.

To the person that posted that they mail checks behind the scenes - they do a lookup on the account and if the payee is a major player (credit card, utility, etc) then it's an electronic transfer but some smaller outfits do get the check in the mail - but it's all transparent to the payer.

Originally Posted by gingerert View Post
While I'm complete agreement about some of the more frustrating elements of bill-paying over here, might I suggest you edit your post and delete the word "retarded"? It is not commonly used by British Expats abroad, and many of us find it incredibly offensive.

There's a whole thread on it somewhere...

Thank you.
Err, doesn't bother me ... we should not be so politically correct that we can't use such terms casually. I'm not going to call an actual mentally retarded person 'retarded' to his face but using the term in casual conversation is perfectly fine. Ban the PC-police!

Originally Posted by Nutmegger View Post
You think the UK is a step ahead? I won't go into details about the amount of time I have wasted recently trying to order gifts for my family in England from UK web sites (for major retailers) that won't permit someone from another country to make a purchase that will be delivered in the UK. If you don't have an address in the UK (and, of course, your credit card has to be registered to that address) you are out of luck. Yes, eBay and Amazon are wonderful, but they don't quite offer everything . . .

And I won't just single out the UK, a friend from Germany has run into the same frustrations with her holiday shopping.
I can buy and sell stocks on a whim on my schwab website in the US; been doing it since the 90s. I tried to setup an account in the UK about 5 years ago to do the same, and there was no way. Only brokers or people with hundreds of thousands of dollars were allowed to do it, it seems (I don't know all the details, all I know is, the only way I could do stock trading was through a broker). I believe this was the government 'protecting me from myself' (and keeping the stock brokers in work).
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Old Dec 13th 2010, 11:41 pm
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Default Re: Just need to get a few things off my chest

Originally Posted by Steerpike View Post
Err, doesn't bother me ... we should not be so politically correct that we can't use such terms casually. I'm not going to call an actual mentally retarded person 'retarded' to his face but using the term in casual conversation is perfectly fine. Ban the PC-police!
Well it SHOULD bother you. It's as offensive as the "n*****" word, especially if you're acknowledging it's a derogatory word to a person with disabilities, but while you're happy to use it to mean something bad, you wouldn't say it to their face. That's even worse, come to think of it. That implies you're happy being an ignoramus.

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Old Dec 13th 2010, 11:42 pm
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Default Re: Just need to get a few things off my chest

Originally Posted by Steerpike View Post
To the person that posted that they mail checks behind the scenes - they do a lookup on the account and if the payee is a major player (credit card, utility, etc) then it's an electronic transfer but some smaller outfits do get the check in the mail - but it's all transparent to the payer.
Smaller outfits that happen to have accounts at the same bank get an electronic transfer too.

Like you I pay virtually every bill online from the bank end. Seems pretty efficient and convenient to me.
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Old Dec 13th 2010, 11:48 pm
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Default Re: Just need to get a few things off my chest

Originally Posted by gingerert View Post
While I'm complete agreement about some of the more frustrating elements of bill-paying over here, might I suggest you edit your post and delete the word "retarded"? It is not commonly used by British Expats abroad, and many of us find it incredibly offensive.

There's a whole thread on it somewhere...

Thank you.
It's not a word I like but many don't think the same way.

Is this the thread?
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Old Dec 13th 2010, 11:54 pm
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Default Re: Just need to get a few things off my chest

Originally Posted by Jerseygirl View Post
It's not a word I like but many don't think the same way.

Is this the thread?

so what was the outcome are people insulted by the use of the word retard or not....can't be bothered to read through 15 pages
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