Saturday December 7, 2013
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Remember the "timeshares" string we did a while back?
One thing about it that shook me up was the lousy advice in the article that prompted me to start that string. Believe it or not I just ran across the same dumb advice.
"Scammed consumers should contact their local consumer protection agency in order to raise awareness of these fraudulent practices."
Only this time they were talking about people living in retirement communities.
They said, "Many communities tell unit owners they can recover a large amount of their entrance fee if they move out or die. These refunds are often delayed or never paid as retirement communities wait to fill the vacancy or instead use the vacancy as a 'sales model.'”
I know nothing whatsoever about "retirement communities," but what I don't understand is why people don't just take such things to small claims court, or to the regulatory agency that controls whatever it is they are engaged in. Costs almost nothing to do either one, and the satisfaction of making some creep eat his words makes it well worth the trouble. Or so it seems to me.
I won't repeat the tale of how I got Robert Hardcastle, millionaire lawyer owner of Brooke Utilities, sitting in the hot seat in a hearing room, made him squirm, and walked away with all that money he thought he was going to get to keep.
I don't get it? Why don't people avail themselves of the avenues available to them? It's not like having to go to a regular court, where lawyers and fees can eat you up, and a case can run on for years. It's almost free, it takes virtually no time, the judge or hearing officer will help you with the law during the hearing, the clerical people will help you file the complaint, there are usually no lawyers allowed, you can stand up and say what needs to be said, you can force the people who are screwing with you to answer questions under oath where lying will get them charged with perjury, and if you are right you will win.
Isn't the result worth the trouble?
Beats contacting your "local consumer protection agency" and telling them you got screwed again, doesn't it?
We're from the government and we're here to help you! Even Reagan, after ascending to the highest office in the land knew how laughable that statement is.
You know Tom,
I'm starting to be concerned that I may be too critical/confrontational about my lack of trust or appreciation of our government. At some point I must sound like some type of nut case revolutionary who cannot find even one thing positive about our Federal government in it's current condition. I really want to give credit where credit is due. But for the life of me, I tend to agree with a Florida journalist some years back that penned an article stating, after much research, he determined that every problem this country has faced or currently faces, can literally be laid at the doorstep of our politicians in Washington. Any way we can convince them that they should all take an extended hiatus and simply leave us all alone? Bet we would do just fine in their absence. John McCain only yesterday made the comment that congress has an approval rating that makes it less attractive than a colonoscopy. If he knows that, then why doesn't he acknowledge that he is a very big part of the problem, and has little chance of changing that approval rating by continuing on the same failed approach. Are they all blind, stupid, just don't care, or what? I really do love this country and simply don't want to see it's greatness destroyed by those that are sworn to protect it.
Tom I imagine that a lot of the "victims" were not aware of the contract stipulations when they signed documents. Some of the retirement communities in Phoenix have buy-in costs and such-like. One portfolio that I read contained figures that made it clear that unless a person lived in the facility for a length of time, the return would be low. I did not like the terms. On the other hand, my mother bought a Condo in Leisure World Laguna Hills some years ago and stipulations were virtually non-existent. Of course the monthly fees were very high and paid for the extensive amenities. So, once again, it is buyer beware.
I suppose you're like me; you have no problem with a contract if the person selling it is saying the same thing that the contract does. If you don't think it is what you want, if you think you are being taken, then don't sign it. Three times in my life I've been handed a contract, read it, inked changes at the bottom, and handed it back, saying, "Okay, if you'll just initial the changes I've made we have a deal." All three times time the person was flabbergasted. But once, after thinking it over the woman (this time it was a woman) talked with me for a few minutes and then agreed to the changes.
I have always believed that when a judge decides that verbal promises or statements made are not part of a contract he was dead wrong. The contract is the entire set of words that pass between the two parties.
What got me was when one of the other two salesmen looked at me and said, "But I can't make those changes?"
You know what I asked him? "Then why did you make those statements when you were trying to sign me up?"
He was mad as hell, but he only thought he was mad. I knew someone who worked part time in a piner where he ate (a friend's wife) and she told me that he REALLY got made when he read the letter I sent to the local editor. I had brought two Air Force buddies with me because I knew doggone well he was going to give me the same song and dance he had given another man in our outfit who had ended up being royally screwed. Being the plotting S.O.B. I can be at times, I quoted his exact words in my letter and had two witnesses to that fact.
The guy actually had the nerve to come out to my squadron and threaten to sue me. The Commander had me called in, listened to what I had to say (while the clown sat there grinning and thinking I was going to get my butt chewed) and got told, "Mister Chance, I will bring this is up at commander's call this month. You may rest assured that no man in this squadron will ever set foot on your used car lot again. And I will pass on this information to the base commander. And now if you please, get your butt out of my office before I have you thrown out!"
There's something to be said for working for a military man. :-)
Ron, I think our founding fathers had it exactly right when they made it clear that they were against political parties. They viewed them as groups of men who got together to help each other regardless of what was right or wrong. If we look back at the history of our country that is exactly what they have done. Parties exist primarily as a means of allowing politicians to support each other. I will never forget when I read what the head of the Conservative Party in England said to Winston Churchill when he voted against a critical bill, which was then defeated. Churchill said he had to vote nay because he did not agree with the bill. The party head said, "But that is exactly when you should have felt obligated for vote for it!"
Right now, right this very moment, two thirds of Americans feel disenfranchised because the party in power doesn't represent them. How can we have a "representative government" when at any given time most of us are not represented? What we should have is a Congress which actually represents ALL the people ALL the time; not one that represents one third of the people at any given time. If there were no parties our system would work. But with parties it can't work without some changes.
Solution? We need to change the system. Each party needs to vote for its man, and all three (DEM, IND, GOP) need to go to DC with voting powers equal to party percentage of voters. That would work. It would be the kind of representative democracy our founding fathers envisioned. And that way, by the way, the voters within each party could select the man they thought was best; there would be far less garbage talk during elections.
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