Sunday, April 24, 2011

Spring at last.

At least, I *think* it is.  It feels like it finally, smells like it...and hopefully I can get to my garden at last to remove the almost foot high weeds that had no trouble growing in the colder spring weather.

I would like to say thank you to my daughter Allie for my banner, she loves playing with graphics and creating her own for herself and others.  I may have to recruit her to do more soon.  :)

I have been working on my 70s colours afghan, and am almost done the last square and will be ready to assemble soon, I'm looking forward to having it finished and taking pictures--hopefully some good pictures--and listing it in my Etsy shop.  I love that you can take a few colours from a bright and playful project such as this:

add a few different colours, and have a very different, very retro 70s project! (Stay tuned for pics!)

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Companies are quick to take money, but...

Yes, we all knew that.  But did we know how hard it is to stop GIVING them the money?
A few years back, when our furnace broke down, I called for service and was talked into buying their protection plan, it would cover the visit, maintenance, and any future service calls it may need.  Since it was cheaper to do that than pay the actual service call, okay.  Please note, my husband's name is on the account, I'm not sure if I'm even an add-on.  Most places won't even till you what time of day it is if your name's not on the account due to strict privacy laws here.  Heck, I remember Bell, when I tried to call just to ask if they were having problems with their internet in our area, I had to give them my password...strangely, with Cogeco, a similar call got me an automated message that would tell even a wrong number that their service was down--so, no password required for that sensitive information!

I digress:  I was told then that the furnace was more than 40 years old, that if it broke, chances were, they would not be able to find parts, we needed a new furnace.  (He rigged it so it would work, but he wasn't sure how long that would hold.)  Well, that and I'm pretty sure at that age, the dinosaur is not exactly energy efficient.

Flash forward to today, I've been paying $20 a month, *just in case* the furnace broke down and somehow, they would HAVE to help us.  We've had no problems, have paid them somewhere in the area of $700, and haven't even called for a maintenance check in all that time.  With both of us working full-time, and warmer weather coming (eventually), I felt it was worth taking a chance and cancelling the protection plan.

Yikes.  First, I explained the situation.  She put me on hold, came back, tried to talk me into keeping the plan.  "NO.  If it breaks, we're not looking at FIXING it, we're getting a new one, and do plan to have one by the next cold season anyway."  She puts me on hold again, someone else from some other department gets on, tries again to talk me into holding on to the plan.  I repeated what I told the other one.
She finally gave in, BUT, I have to EMAIL my request, they need a signature.  HUH???  I started to get angry but kept my cool, she explained that because it was a contract...BULLFEATHERS.  I've cancelled other contracts similar to this one without having to act like a circus animal and jump through hoops.

Send them that email?  You bet!  When we do start looking for the new furnace, will it be through them?  Highly doubtful.  And we may start looking to buy a hot water heater as well instead of renting.

And along the lines of companies eager to take your  money...please, be VERY cautious when dealing with retailers that will offer you credit no matter what.  Even if it's a low amount you're paying out per week, most often you'll wind up paying a lot more than if you'd saved up and bought the item cash.
It really does tick me off that people with no/poor credit can so easily be preyed upon.  I know someone who was in very rough financial shape.  Easy Home offered a great way for her to get new furniture, low payments a week, that's great!  Unfortunately, they don't emphasize ahead of time what you will actually have paid by the time you're done...
This friend, seeing that she was doing okay with the payment for one set, decided to purchase something else she wanted.  Then later, another....she wound up going about SIX or SEVEN times.  When she lost her job, she was left with no money to make  the weekly payments, which led to sixty or seventy dollars EVERY WEEK she fell behind.  Why so much?  It was $10 per TRANSACTION, and Easy Home does not combine them easily.
Sadly, Easy Home did get their furniture back, and my friend was left with almost nothing in her house.  Of course, this was after Easy Home drove to her house several times a week, at least once, followed her when she was out driving through THREE towns, and then, according to one neighbour, offered him money to let them know next time she went out so they could come sit on the porch and wait for her return.
To finish this one up, friends got together and helped her purchase a new living room set--and my friend was amazed that  a NEW set could be purchased so inexpensively, when she paid about triple through Easy Home.  :(
I am not saying never use Easy Home or companies like them, although honestly, I'd much rather buy second-hand than through them, I'm just advising that if you should consider purchasing through them, KNOW what you're getting in to, and do NOT be sucked in to buying more than you can really afford.