Tag Archives: service

When Google Burps, We Swallow

Yesterday, I was checking out the “new and improved” Google Now feature on my iPhone, and when I pulled up the weather card, I was met with this remarkable temperature:  125 degrees in the light rain in Jersey City at 11:18 in the morning.

What?

Huh!

I quickly checked my other favorite weather site — forecast.io — on my iPad, and learned the actual temperature in Jersey City was a balmy, but humid, 75 degrees with scattered rain.  A 50 degree bogus increase in temperature is a really bad result from a company you pay to trust.

It was a little alarming to see how bluntly and boldly Google Now delivered the absolutely wrong — and dangerous! — temperature.  Sure, mistakes happen, but there was no subsequent notification, or even acknowledgement later, that the 125 degree temperature was a hiccough in the Google world — and that should concern us all.

When Google burps, we all involuntarily swallow.

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The Art of Conditional Pre-Tipping

Getting good service can be a difficult problem in our indecent, modern, world.  One way of guaranteeing good service is to provide a cash tip to the person assisting you.  In restaurants and in service bays where you are well-known, tipping helps get you good service; but what do you do with the incidental worker you may only see one time, like a moving company team, or a repairman?  How can you make sure they’ll get the job done to your satisfaction within your time requirement window?  Conditional Pre-Tipping is one method I use to ensure excellent, one-off, service.

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When Bad Customer Service Stares You in the Face

When a company does you a disservice, they most often if they are a decent company offer an apology and then try to do something to correct the error. When Elizabeth, Chaim Yosef and I were in Florida recently, we encountered a sort of bad customer service that just kept on compounding itself until I had to stare at the offending party and think to myself, “How is it possible that this person was given a job like this?”

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Why I Chose Verizon FiOS over Time-Warner Cable

When I first moved into my apartment in Kew Gardens, I got all of the utilities set up and prepared for the very important step of choosing an internet provider. I then found out that I had exactly one choice for a provider of high speed internet and that was Time Warner. I called them and got the best deal that they had at the time for internet access and television, and signed a two year contract with a guarantee for no increase in price.

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at&t Exploits the Flock by Marking the Spot

If you have an iPhone, you know the new Verizon advertising push humiliating at&t for their lousy 3G coverage is well-earned and deserved. 
Yesterday, at&t released a fascinating app for the iPhone — Mark the Spot — that lets every iPhone user on their network precisely report problem network areas and spotting cellular coverage.  Thank you, Verizon, for pressing at&t into finally doing the right thing… even if it’s three years too late.

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Defrauding the Federal Video Relay Service

UPDATE:  February 18, 2010:

Irma Azrelyant and Joshua Finkle, the former co-owners of New York and New Jersey-based Deaf and Hard of Hearing Interpreting Services Inc. (DHIS), pleaded guilty today to engaging in a conspiracy to defraud the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Video Relay Service (VRS) program of more than $7 million, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division.

Today, Azrelyant, 47, and Finkle, 41, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Court Judge Joel A. Pisano in Trenton, N.J., to conspiracy to commit mail fraud. Azrelyant and Finkle were indicted on Oct. 29, 2009, along with DHIS assistant bookkeeper and video interpreter coordinator Oksana Strusa, as well as video interpreters Natan Zfati, Alfia Iskandarova and Hennadii Holovkin.

In pleading guilty, Azrelyant and Finkle admitted that beginning in approximately October 2007 and continuing through approximately July 2009, they conspired with others to pay individuals to make fraudulent VRS phone calls that were processed through DHIS, and that were billed to the FCC through VRS provider Viable Communications Inc. (Viable). According to the guilty pleas, Azrelyant and Finkle made VRS calls to prerecorded messages and other numbers for the sole purpose of generating VRS minutes and also coordinated with others to generate illegitimate VRS minutes that would be billed to the FCC. Azrelyant and Finkle also admitted to processing illegitimate VRS calls that were routed to DHIS by Viable….

According to information contained in the plea documents, Azrelyant and Finkle admitted that their role in defrauding the FCC’s VRS program led to a total of between $7 million and $20 million in fraudulent billing to the program. At sentencing, Azrelyant and Finkle each face a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, a fine of $250,000, as well as mandatory restitution and forfeiture. Sentencing is set for June 29, 2010 at 10 a.m.

The disabled are always ripe for the raping and the ripping off and when the news hit the street today in New York City that big players at DHIS — Deaf and Hearing Impaired Services — were under Federal indictment for defrauding the FCC’s Video Relay Service Program, hands and heads were shaking everywhere as the Panopticonic Gaze of the Federal government rightly blinked to stop a taxpayer rip off.

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