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Archive for January, 2009

 Web 2.0 is more than just a fancy term, it’s a way for you to connect with your consumers – right here on

Friday, January 30th, 2009

A recent article: Business starts to take Web 2.0 tools seriously, details how small companies and big corporations alike are turning to Web 2.0 (and social media and networking in particular) to modernize their marketing efforts; more fully leveraging the power of the internet in brand development and consumer recognition and relations.

‘Mash-ups and widgets may sound like the Wild West to more conservative companies but, to a large extent, it’s a question of extracting more value from the services they already provide, by mixing them with external services and presentation methods to create new markets, new revenues and new products,” says Andy Mullholland, chief technology officer at IT consultant CapGemini.’

Read the full article here.

To learn more about how MeasuredUp can help YOUR company leverage the power of the internet, build your brand, improve your consumer image, and communicate directly with your customers online; all in one place, for freevisit our Direct Connect Company Tools information and signup page.

 How to deal with disputed credit card charges

Monday, January 26th, 2009

From USA Today:

Consumers’ maximum liability for unauthorized credit card charges: $50
Number of days consumers have to report unauthorized credit card use: No limit1
Number of days consumers have to file a billing dispute: 602
Number of days the card issuer has to respond: 903
Maximum number of days a dispute drags on: 2701 = Consumers should notify issuer as soon as possible to avoid complications;

2 = Must be in writing; time starts when the bill with the improper charge is sent;

3 = Within two billing cycles or 90 days, whichever comes first

Sources: USA TODAY research, MasterCard, Visa, National Consumer Law Center

With the slumping economy consumers are paying closer attention to just what it is they’re paying for - from groceries and personal items to electronics and furniture – shoppers are weighing the value of their purchases before making a decision. But what about after that purchase has been made? Consumers are turning to their credit card and banking companies for assistance in resolving fraudulent charges, overcharges, and viable charges made against unreceived goods and services.

So what can consumers do when they find a charge on their credit card statement for something they didn’t buy, didn’t intend to buy, or did buy and didn’t receive? More on this from USA Today:

While it’s not always possible to avoid credit card disputes, here are some tips for dealing with them:

Get promises in writing. Save receipts. For big-ticket items, also ask for written confirmation of when the item will be delivered and what services are provided as part of the purchase.

Know the rules. The Fair Credit Billing Act gives consumers the right to dispute a credit card purchase or withhold payment for a card purchase — but only under certain conditions.

Disputes must generally be filed in writing within 60 days after the bill is sent. In certain disputes, the goods or services must cost more than $50, and the transaction must have occurred in the purchaser’s home state or within 100 miles of his or her mailing address. Although state laws vary, items bought online or by phone are generally considered purchases made where you are, Feddis says.

While disputing a charge, the card holder will not have to pay the contested amount and won’t incur interest on it. If the dispute is lost, the card company is allowed to charge interest back to the date you filed the dispute, after a standard grace period.

File the dispute carefully. Banks classify card holders’ disputes into nearly two dozen categories, such as “merchandise not received” or “canceled recurring transaction.” But generally, if filed as an “unauthorized transaction” — as long as it is unauthorized — you’ll have more protection.

By law, liability for unauthorized credit card use is limited to $50, but most banks don’t hold the card holder responsible for even that amount. Unlike billing-error disputes, which generally must be filed in writing, unauthorized transactions can be reported over the phone. And, there’s no requirement to do so within 60 days

Read the full article, including individual cases of consumers who fought back against unfair, fraudulent, or exhorbitant charges on their credit cards, and find out how their situations have played out, here.

 The worst of the worst: top consumer complaints of 2008

Friday, January 23rd, 2009

Each state’s Attorney General has been releasing their ‘Top 10 Worst’ lists – noting the industries most notorious for fraud, consumer rip-offs and complaints.

In Florida: telemarketing calls top the list of reasons consumers are filing complaints.

In Nebraska: the credit and financial services industry tops the chart with most of the complaints centered on inaccurate billing.

In New Jersey: it’s used car scams inspiring the majority of complaints.

In Oregon: the telecommunications industry holds the top spot with complaints about everything from cable and internet services to cellular, long distance, and local telephone services.

The lists from 2008 from each state share a common theme: angry consumers turning to the Attorney General for assistance in resolving complaints that have otherwise gone ignored by the companies they’re complaining about.

From the NAAG website (National Association of Attorneys General) it’s clear that not much has changed since last year; bad-business is a repeat performance for certain sectors. Their top-ten worst list of consumer complaints, nationwide, from 2007:

Debt Collection
Auto Sales
Home Repair/Construction
Automotive (General)
Retail Sales
Internet Goods and Services
Contests/Sweepstakes/Prize Promotion

 The high price of fake consumer reviews

Thursday, January 22nd, 2009

Via Search Engine Journal comes the story of a large company, Belkin, getting caught with it’s hand in the proverbial cookie jar for paying for positive consumer reviews on sites such as NewEgg,, and others.

Apparently the sincere (and mostly negative) reviews for one of their internet routers wasn’t what the Belkin company had been hoping for – so they went looking for reviewers to flood the market with positive reviews, for $.65 a pop.

The backlash against Belkin’s misuse and abuse of the internet as a shopping hub has already begun – Search Engine Journal notes that Google searches for the company reflect a deservedly negative tone which we can only assume will continue to plummet.

It will be interesting to see what actions the major online retailers will take against Belkin, if any.

 Dell Customer Complaints Case Reaches Settlement

Thursday, January 15th, 2009

33 states reached a settlement with Texas-based computer manufacturing company, Dell after consumer complaints rose to a level that brought the attention of numerous State Attorneys General.

The complaints against Dell range from warranties and service guarantees not being honored to unpaid rebates as well as falsified financing offers.

The settlement carries with it a 3.3 million dollar price tag and the requirement that Dell be more responsive to customer service issues, repair requests, and issue rebates in a timely manner.

Dell is required to pay claims made until April 13th, 2009 by eligible consumers. Consumers who are interested in finding out if they qualify for inclusion in the settlement payout should contact their State Attorney General’s office. To find out more about getting in touch with your local Attorney General, visit MeasuredUp’s Consumer Resources page.

 Better Business Bureau now letter-grading companies

Tuesday, January 13th, 2009

Now, in order to make the grade with the BBB companies must live up to a new ratings system that ranks their standing in the Bureau with letter grades.

 This move, close on the heels of the growing trend toward online consumer reviews and customer complaints, appears to be the BBB’s effort at bringing their system up to date with the type of feedback consumers are interested in. The old system (based on a simple ’satisfactory’ or ‘unsatisfactory’ rating) is slated to be replaced with letter ‘grades’ ranging from A+ to F. The formula used to determine a company’s overall grade is comprised of 16 weighted factors, including a business’s overall complaint history.

The new Better Business Bureau ratings system was tested in Los Angeles in 2008 and has already been implemented in some parts of the U.S.

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