Archive for the ‘Small claims court’ Category

Bye Bye, Citizens Bank

Monday, November 8th, 2010

Last July, when we were preparing for our trip to Israel, I called Citizens Bank and asked this simple question: “What is the least expensive way for me to get Israeli sheqels out of my Citizens Bank checking account?”

In response, the customer service representative told me the following:

  • The fee for withdrawing currency from an ATM in Israel is 2%.
  • The fee for exchanging currency at a bank branch is waived because I am a “Citizens Gold” customer, so this is cheaper than using an ATM in Israel.

Unfortunately all of this is incorrect:

  • The fee for withdrawing currency from an ATM in Israel is actually 3%, not 2%.
  • While the “exchange fee” is indeed waived for Citizens Gold customers, the bank charges a hidden fee by marking up the exchange rate by around 10%, so in fact exchanging currency at a bank branch costs 7% more, and is thus 233% more expensive, than using an ATM.


Honda Village is still at it; let’s see if the threat of a class-action lawsuit will put a stop to it!

Thursday, January 21st, 2010

[You can read the whole series of Honda Village postings here.]

January 22, 2010

Ray Ciccolo
Village Automotive Group
75 North Beacon Street
Allston, MA 02134-1912

Dear Mr. Ciccolo,

Once again, I find myself sending you a M.G.L. Chapter 93a letter because of Honda Village’s deceptive trade practices.

In June 2009, Honda Village started sending me promotional materials in envelopes that look like this:

[image elided; see my previous blog posting]

I am not going to waste my time explaining why this is clearly intended to deceive the recipient about the source, importance, and content of these mailings. I know this is so; you know this is so; the methods of deception and intent to deceive are obvious. I’m quite certain that a judge will agree.

I received a number of these mailings before I finally decided to ask you to stop sending them. On October 15, I sent a message through the contact form on your Web site which read as follows:

(Do not add my email address to any bulk email lists as a result of this submission. I am providing you with my email address only so that you can respond to this request. NO OTHER USE OF MY EMAIL ADDRESS IS AUTHORIZED.)

(Do not add my postal mailing address to any direct-marketing lists as a result of this submission. I am providing you with my postal address only so that you can remove me from your direct-marketing list as described below. NO OTHER USE OF MY POSTAL ADDRESS IS AUTHORIZED.)

For months now, you have been sending me junk mail in envelopes that you have intentionally designed to deceive recipients. You’ve made them look like some sort of official certified or registered mail, and you’ve intentionally left your company name and return address off of the envelopes. These envelopes are clearly designed to get people to open them, when they would just throw them in the trash if it was obvious they were from you.

This kind of deceptive direct-mail advertising is exceedingly slimy. It is distressing to me that I purchased a vehicle from a company that employs such slimy tactics. You have proven to me, unfortunately not for the first time, that my initial impression, that you were different from all the other slimy car dealers out there, was wrong.

Whatever mailing list I am on to be sent these slimy mailings — please get me off of it. Right now. And leave me off of it. Permanently.

Honda Village did not have the courtesy to reply. Furthermore, since I sent the message quoted above, I have received at least two more of these offensive mailings, the most recent one today.

If you had stopped sending these when I asked you to stop, I would have left it at that. But since you didn’t, I have decided to teach you a lesson not only about not sending junk mail to people who have asked you to stop, but also about engaging in deceptive trade practices.


The end of the C5280 saga, the beginning of the PIXMA MP830 era

Thursday, June 12th, 2008

The $600 check and the four FedEx return shipping labels from HP arrived. the three C5280 printers and all of the associated photo paper and ink cartridges have been boxed up, labels have been applied, and FedEx has been called for pick-up. God willing, the check will be deposited later today. I just sent a letter to the small claims court telling them to dismiss my case with prejudice.

My new Canon PIXMA MP830 multifunction printer (copy / scan / fax / print) arrived yesterday. I set it up this morning and gave it a whirl. The six photos I printed were all perfect: good colors, fine detail, and no sign of streaking due to misfiring ink jets.

I showed them to my wife, who declared that the prints from the C5280 were better. I’m not sure what planet she is living on, but at least I have a better understanding of why HP has been able to sell the poor C5280 to so many people and convince them that they were getting good photo prints out of it.

The one complaint I have about the MP830, at least so far, is that it is significantly bigger than the C5280. On the other hand, the MP830 has several significant features that the C5280 does not, including two-sided scanning and printing and a built-in fax machine (which we are not using fight now, but probably will eventually). Another big advantage of the MP830 is that it has separate ink tanks for each color, which means that you don’t end up wasting two colors of ink in a tri-color cartridge when the third color runs out.

C5280: Two few labels, no check

Friday, June 6th, 2008

Note that in my last blog entry about my battle with HP over the C5280, the email from HP said that they were going to send me three FedEx labels. I wrote back immediately upon receipt of that letter and told them that if they wanted me to return the ink cartridges and photo paper, they were going to have to send four FedEx labels instead of three. They did not respond.

Today, I received a FedEx from HP with not four labels, or even three labels, but just one label, and of course no check.

I just sent this email:

Ms. [elided],

Not only did I not receive four FedEx labels to enable me to send back all three printers and a box containing the photo paper and ink cartridges I don’t want, I actually received via FedEx today only one FedEx label, and no check.

To be clear: I will not consider this matter resolved and notify the court that the small claims case can be dismissed until (a) I’ve received a check for $600 from HP, and (b) I’ve received EITHER three FedEx labels to send back the printers and a written assurance from you that you don’t want the paper and cartridges returned, OR four FedEx labels so that I can send back the paper, cartridges, and printers.

Thank you,

  Jonathan Kamens

It’s amazing that they can’t even lose properly.

The end of the C5280 saga (almost)

Wednesday, June 4th, 2008

On the morning of May 20, I filed suit against Hewlett-Packard in small claims court. Here’s the filing, if you’re curious (click on the thumbnail for a larger view):

Small Claims form

Shortly after filing the suit, I faxed a copy of the filing to my HP case manager.

On May 22, someone from HP called to discuss the filing. My wife told her to send me email, which she did. I did not have time to call her back or respond to her email before today.