Mar 292013

We opted out of the smart meter bullshit, mostly due to privacy concerns.  As part of that process NV Energy needed to adjust our bill.  However they went back in time, adjusted the bill and didn’t actually send me an updated bill until much later.  As they adjusted the bill after the due date, a late fee was charged AND 4% tax on top of that.

It was a whopping 17 cent late fee and a penny (.6 cents rounded up of course) tax.  As a rather pedantic accounting freak, where was I going to put that?  Rather than dealing with that I killed 10 minutes of customer service time getting it fixed.  At first she waived the late fee, but I pushed for my damn penny as well.  She had to put me on hold for that one.. probably laughing with her coworkers.

I don’t care, NV Energy made an attempt to rip me off. I suspect this is business as usual and likely accounts for 10’s of thousands of dollars of unearned income every year.

Mar 272013

As noted in a previous post the current deal the city struck with Waste Management is effectively a massive increase for everyone.  However there is one way you can save yourself some time and effort.

Section 4.1 B(2) of the Exclusive Franchise Agreement states in part:
Residential Customers are required to subscribe to and pay for Single Stream Recycling Collection Services as part of the Standard Service and are encouraged to utilize such services for recycling, but are not required to Recycle or to accept a Recycling Cart.  Each Customer who recycles shall be responsible for separating its Approved Recyclable Material from all other materials…

So you have to pay the same rates, but don’t have to accept a recycling bin or actually recycle.  If you chose to recycle you’ve made yourself responsible for knowing the current list of Approved Recyclable Material which can change if the city and contractor so decide and if you fail to properly separate they can charge you extra fees (unknown what those are at this time).

Many would argue that recycling creates more environmental problems than simply creating new, the case for recycling aluminum is good (otherwise you wouldn’t be able to get money for it) however everything else is highly debatable and by some accounts the energy and nasty chemicals used to recycle some materials damage the environment more than simply dumping.

And of course Waste Management is making money off your free labor when they sell the materials you’ve already partially separated out for them.

I wouldn’t work for the government, I’m certainly not going to work for a politically connected monopoly.

UPDATE: their customer service initially told me you have to accept both bins.. when I pushed I got this back:

Dear Waste Management Customer,

 I have reviewed the information we have for the change in service. At this time they have not provided the specific date these changes will take effect. It should be late 2013. The information you sent is correct, you do not have to accept the recycling container, nor do you have to use it if you did accept the container. Currently, the information we are requesting as far as choosing your can size, is for ordering purposes. We want to ensure we have enough of the containers sizes customers want when we are ready to proceed with the roll out. The acceptance (or denial) of the recycling carts, does not change the new pricing structure or the new trash containers that will be delivered. I hope this information helps clear up the confusion. Again, I apologize for the inconvenience.

So that confirms it I think.

More on recycling:

There’s a lot more out there, you just have to stop drinking the coolaid and look.

Mar 272013

They’ve been talking about ‘single stream recycling’ for a while, and I received a notice with my bill to ‘pick my new recycling cart’ and a convenient URL

If you read my article on how they’re already screwing people you’ll know that they’d love it if you rent one of their bins, they’re quicker to empty into the truck which saves WM money AND cost you an extra $32.40 a year.  That doesn’t seem like much but it adds up quick.  If you want to ‘sign up’ for single stream recycling you have to choose to rent a trash bin as well, no option for using your own.

Reviewing the latest monopoly enabling document. (edit: they of course got rid of that link, so I downloaded the document local Mirrored monopoly enabling document).  Turns out they are trying to screw customer extra hard.  Looks like there’s no option for using your own trash cans, and you can only put out 20 trash bags a YEAR (using stickers provided by WM).   Currently I can put out up to 6 trash bags per week, that’s 312 bags a year.   This works out to nearly double the previous rate.

Mar 052013


How a Realtors overreaction nearly tanked our house sale

beer/wine makers beware!

Our house was scheduled to close December 21st 2012. A condition of the sale was that we remove all personal items from the house.   I contacted a cleaning service and had them coordinate with our Realtor (Tim Fearon). Imagine my surprise when I receive an email (sent at 8PM 12/20/2012) from our Tim with a subject “Urgent Issue concerning …..” stating the following (emphasis mine):

We have a potentially very serious issue that has presented itself today and must be properly addressed. I allowed <name removed> and her crew access to the property this morning. Shortly after that she called me and said ” What do you want me to do with the meth lab equipment in the basement”. Needless to say I was shocked. For health and safety and legal reasons her and her crew left the property post haste.

We now have a legal obligation to disclose to the Buyer the possible existance of meth activity on this property. (please see the attached document).

Obviously the closing is on hold for now. The buyer is concerned that the house may be contaminated and need a “clean up” directed by the Health Department. He also has concerns about his responsibility to disclose this to potential tenants. And further he is concerned if he can secure a tenant that knows about this.

….blah blah.

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Mar 012013

During a recent trailer purchase there was some confusion about the MSRP, the manufacturer quoted me a wildly different MSRP than the dealer (dealer listed MSRP 30% higher than the manufacturer!).   Normally this isn’t a big deal, unless you live in a state that bases the bulk of vehicle registration cost on the base MSRP (as we do).  If they enter the higher MSRP we’d end up paying more in taxes than are due, and there’s no way I’m going to let that happen.

So I contacted DMV customer service via email, the response I got indicated (emphasis mine):

You may bring a letter from the manufacturer stating the MSRP so we may calculate your registration fees and not use the MSRP listed on the Dealer’s Report of Sale. The letter must be directly from the Manufacturer and must include any additional items added to the trailer.

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