Monday, August 20, 2012

Theft, The New Boise Business Model

Man, I get tired of fighting the thieves. It's like a full time occupation anymore.

I have basic satellite service. It costs me 34.99 a month. Last month, out of nowhere, Direct TV jacked my bill up to 140.00. It was so ridiculous that I didn't pay the bill except for my usual 34.99. Then Direct TV had the nerve to bill me for a late fee.

Of course all of this attempted thievery coupled with late fees by Direct TV ultimately made it necessary for me to call them and waste 1/2 hour of my life threatening to cancel the service. At the end of the day, my costs were restored.

Late last week, it was the water bill. They love to gouge us during the summer. Bad. Standard watering in Boise, 45 min every other night, will easily cost you 100 bucks a month during the summer. So, I said screw it this year. I water for 2 hrs every seven days. That's it. Late last week I got my bill. Sixty six bucks which includes, get this, a 20 dollar "customer charge."

So they have the usual tiered system of water usage where they gouge the shit out of you for delivering something they don't own nor did they put the infrastructure for that delivery in place to begin with. That was bought and paid for long ago by developers and home owners. That's the theory anyway.

What exactly is a customer charge? Nobody knows. It's just some thing that every homeowner in Boise is forced to pay. I called United Water twice, the City of Boise, and the Idaho Public Utilities Commission. In the old days, when you were given a monopoly, you were highly regulated. Which meant- you could not dream up some ridiculous charge and gouge consumers who have no choice but to pay whatever rates you charge.

As of this writing- I am still waiting to hear from the public utilities commission on what exactly a "customer charge" is. More importantly- why the customer charge is not on a sliding scale. Apparently a family of six burning through 100k gallons a month pays the same as me.

What a good deal that is.

I cancelled my Y membership today. The YMCA  practices some of the purest communism on the planet. Old white guys like me with a steady income pay full price. The underemployed and unemployed, get in for little or nothing. Normally I don't mind subsidizing the poor. I do it with taxes and there's not a damn thing I can do it about it except curse liberals.

So not only do I pay full price but because there are so  many unemployed people and kids, I can't even access the equipment. It's like a zoo. Friday, I gave up. Today I cancelled my membership and I found a place for 30 bucks less a month. When I went in to cancel the Y membership, the gal at the desk told me that they would not refund my money that I paid on the 15th, five days ago...but I was free to come and use the gym through Sept. 15.

I can't use the gym. That's why I quit it. I can't argue with kids. I wrote a letter instead.

In the new world of business, businesses like the Y create an environment where they can't provide the service you signed up for- and then when you are forced to look somewhere else- rather than do the right thing and refund your money- they keep it.

They know that most if not all people will pay rather than fight ridiculous charges. We have a whole health care system predicated on that very business model. I'm not sure at what point American consumers grab their pitchforks. I honestly believe that I could dress up in a business suit, go door to door in Boise, and demand a 25.00 dollar per person sidewalk tax and people would pay it. 


Anonymous said...

Put on your Speedo and go spend a couple of hours a day, EVERY day until your money is used up working that treadmill. They'll refund your money by the end of day one.

Anonymous said...

Every business, goverment agency are trying to put there hands in your pocket.
I also notice that utilitys and the cable services jack up there rates at will.
They know that the public is too "zombiefied" to react. I found life better without cable T.V.