by Matt | Oct 30, 2008 | Personal
After sending a fairly well versed but substantially vemon filled email to the apartment complex’s corporate offices yesterday, to absolutely no surprise I received a phone call from the apartment manager. The one that couldn’t help me yesterday.
Corporate had forwarded on my scathing email to/about her and she had, ummm, made a few corrections to the bill. Most notably, removing the charges I had called them out on.
There was still a minor issue with the water bill, but a logic bomb cured that right up.
What she said to me was this:
When we paid for water, what we were essentially paying for was the last month and a half (1.5) not just the previous month. In her words:
“So, when you paid August rent, you were really paying for July and the last half of June’s water.”
Stay with me now.
So, I said, “Ok, so when we paid Septembers rent, we were really paying for August and the last half of July right?”
“Then, how come it still says “water thru 8/11″, wouldn’t that be the part of August I already paid for?”
“Umm, I’ll have to check with the water company on that and get you those dates”
So, thanks to some “interesting” reverse accounting on their part, we’re now even. Huge surprise.
Just goes to show you kids, it’s always fun to stick it to the man.
by Matt | Oct 30, 2008 | Tech
So, I got sick of not having a cell phone and my wife got sick of having her AT&T phone die, drop calls and be generally a piece of crap, so we bit the bullet and went down to the T-Mobile store. It was pretty much a toss up between T-Mobile and Verizon. I know Verizon has a large network and works fine in New England, that’s what my relatives have and they have no major complaints. I’ve also personally experienced T-Mobile as a provider here, also with no major complaints. It was pretty much 50/50. What sealed the deal was the phone selection. I could find 6 phones with T-Mobile that I wouldn’t mind having. 2 with Verizon. Funny thing was that the two I wanted from Verizon were also offered at T-Mobile. That was pretty much the end of that.
Both of us got the Motorola W490, the mid-level phone that they added to fill the cap when they dropped the v1 RAZR to “entry level” and discontinued their mid-upper level KRZR.
My main motivation for the Motorola over the Nokia and Samsung equivalents was the mini-USB connector. I can charge it at my desk at work, manipulate the data on the phone via the data cable, add ringtones, all that good stuff. Plus I had a selection of accesories from my old KRZR which would also work. I also just liked the fact that it was a standard mini-USB cable and not some proprietary connector I’d have find a replacement and/or adaptor for later on down the road.
So, like all Motorola phones, it’s nearly completely unlocked. I had to find a different driver for it than my previous KRZR, but once I did I was able to view the phone like a regular USB drive, allowing me to add/replace/remove things at my leisure.
I’ve had it 4 days and it already has a whole host of MP3s, wallpapers and sound effects. Having the phone say “Bleep Bloop” every time I get a text message is friggin priceless.
If you guys would like the number, drop me an email and I’ll let everyone know what it is.
by Matt | Oct 29, 2008 | Aggravation
Say that 10 times fast.
This morning, looking through my mail, I found a letter from the apartments we just moved out of. We were expecting a return of our deposit, so I hurridly opened it. Instead of a check, I found a bill. A bill that makes no sense.
Confused I called the apartment management office and asked what on earth they were thinking. They rudely said that if I had a problem I could call corporate and take it up with them. Then they hung up. Saying I’m glad we’re no longer there is a bit of an understatement.
So, I call corporate in Ohio and get some random persons voicemail. I leave a message and I’m still waiting to here back from them.
Now, before I drop some numbers on you, my faithful readers, there’s a few things you have to realize. First, is that everything at that apartment is prepaid at the beginning of the month. So, there should be no “post-month” charges. Also realize that we left on good terms with these people so, at the moment, there’s no reason to believe they’re actively trying to screw us.
So, let’s see… where to start? There are three sections to our bill. “Ledger Balance”, “Deposits” and “Additional Charges”.
Let’s start with “Ledger Balance”, which, in this case, is a fancy way of saying “utilities”.
Trash 08/12/08-9/30/08 : $8.07
Trash “thru 8/11/08” : $5.00
Water 08/12/08-9/30/08 : $32.26
Water “thru 8/11/08” : $20.00
So, now given that I paid rent in August and September, I fail to see why I’m being charged for ANY of that. But, lets for the moment assume that we were not paying forwards, but backwards. That our September rent check was paying for August water. Let’s stay with that for a minute. That would mean that I already paid the charges for “thru 8/11/08” completely. So, I don’t know why those are listed. Then, what’s with this month-and-a-half crap? 8/12-9/30? Huh? Let’s change that to 9/1-9/30 and MAYBE we’re on the right track. So, strike two of the four and adjust the other two and we’re down from $65.33 to $25.83, or $25, which is what we paid each month for water and trash. That almost makes sense.
Then, our deposit it listed at $150. I’m pretty sure it was more like $300, or half the first months rent, but I’ll let that slide for a moment.
Now we get to “Additional Charges”. My favorite part. This is the part where they tack on crap that they feel like because you’re not living there any more to dispute it.
Carpet Repair: $60
Extra Cleaning: $45
Extra Painting (10×10 room): $50
Let’s start with Carpet. I’m actually willing to concede that. We lived there for three years, in a first floor apartment, that was 100% carpet. Obviously, walking in from the outside would make the carpet dirty. I get that.
Extra Cleaning however, is flat out BS. We had our things moved out a week before our lease was up and spent an entire week going over there in the evenings to clean it. There was not one single thing in that apartment that was dirty. Nothing.
Then we get Extra Painting. Now, the “10×10 room” part is kind of a clue here. There are only two rooms larger than 10×10 in that apartment. The master bedroom and the living room. The master bedroom was spotless. No need to paint. The living room had an “accent wall” which was a different color. When we moved in back in 2005, it was actually listed as a “feature” on the paperwork. We picked the color and the apartment maintenance crew, before we moved in, painted the wall for us. It’s listed on our original lease. I’m sorry, but I’m not paying them to repaint the wall. That wasn’t part of the deal. You offer someone a free wall to put paint on, you don’t make them pay for it later on. That’s just bullshit.
So, out of those, I’ll concede the $60 for carpet. $60+25=$85 in “fees”. $150-85=$65. They owe ME $65. They claim I owe THEM $70.33.
That simply isn’t going to happen. I’m not paying them a friggin penny.
What worse is that they flat out refused to do a walk-through when we left. It was post-hurricane and they said they were too busy and would get to it later.
To me, that says that they’re accepting the apartment “as is” and they forfeit any rights to make damage claims later on.
I still haven’t gotten a call back. I can’t wait till I do. This should be fun.
by Matt | Oct 29, 2008 | Culture, Travel, Web
When the U-Verse technician told me yesterday I could “get to the TV stuff online” I assumed he meant I could see channel listings. Of course, the downside was having to endure a trip to att.yahoo.com to do it. I didn’t link that because no one should ever have to see a “portal” page like that unless they’re being subjected to some sort of web 2.0 tourture chamber. Everything that could possibly blink does, and then it slides, jumps, talks, dances, rotates and eventually bends your browser over and has it’s way with it. It’s not good.
However, there is some light at the end of the browser rape tunnel. Once there, a U-Verse customer can find another link, one to a shiny golden place of web goodness. A place that lets you forget the pain you just went through.
Through some bizarre collaboration between the internet gods, you can, actively, through this second website, access your DVR at home. All because Yahoo and SBC teamed up. AT&T re-borg’ed SBC, and thus Yahoo, and now you can access your AT&T hardware via Yahoo’s homepage.
You have access to it’s recorded shows, it’s schedules, it’s settings. More importantly, you have access to all this via an interactive channel guide. Meaning, you can browse the TV listings for weeks in advance, select a show, set the DVR to record and then come home to find that indeed magic has taken place.
Oh, and did I mention it’s cellphone/PDA/iPhone compatible? Seriously, that’s a cool feature.
Lastly, as I mentioned yesterday, after my U-Verse install I took it upon myself to drop my own cable down a couple walls. Something that I succeeded in, albeit at the expense of skin and the fiberglass insulation that decided to cover it. I can’t really blame it though, I was invading it’s natural habitat. Something I’m not likely to do again anytime soon. That said, the mission was a success. Fiber to my Xbox makes me a very happy person.
by Matt | Oct 27, 2008 | Culture, Tech
The U-Verse install just wrapped up and I have to say I’m fairly impressed. The techs showed up at 10am, ran a whole new line from the pole, did 3 wall drops and a couple new outlets and wrapped it up before 3pm. Everything seems to be working perfectly. TV’s and the DVR took under 10 minutes to get up and running. The internet connection was soon after. I just ran a bunch of speed tests and I’m getting a completely steady and rock solid 9.5-10mbps down 1.3-1.5 up. Crazy.
So, now that the tech has left, I’ve gotten my box of Cat-5 out of the closet and I’m going to attempt my own wall drop so I can have a direct connection from the modem to the Xbox. Wish me luck!