by Kevin Butterhof
I purchased a home warranty plan through Amazon Home Warranty (not affiliated with Amazon) with my new home back in October. The home I purchased had an 18-year-old heating system, so I knew a warranty would likely be an advantageous buy. Amazon Home Warranty came to my attention as they had over 4 stars on their Google reviews. I called them up, and a sales representative told me that after a 30-day waiting period, my 18 year old heating system would be covered and repaired or replaced should a failure or malfunction occur with no in-home inspection required. I was further lured by the salesman who told me I could cancel my plan at any time and get a pro-rated refund on the months not used if I so wished.
After about a week of almost daily calls, I was told that my unit was not covered since the failure occurred due to a lack of maintenance. I asked them on what grounds they could make such a determination and I was informed that the pictures I had sent of the unit had wires that were covered in dust and dirt. I immediately called the technician the company had sent to my home, and asked if there was any indication that the unit had been improperly maintained. The technician said no and clarified the unit had stopped working due to normal wear and tear.
With this information, I called back into Amazon Home Warranty and spoke with a manager to ask that they honor our contract, but was still told the claim was denied. After asking to speak with the Manager’s manager, I was transferred to the Vice President, Gary Ojeda. The previous people I spoke with over the phone had been difficult yet polite, but the conversation with Mr. Ojeda was much different. As I was explaining how an 18-year-old unit with dirty wires was not indicative of an improperly maintained system, he repeatedly interjected “DENIED” and refused to listen. I informed him if he did not honor our contract, that I would take legal action, which he essentially dared me to do. I asked for something in writing, either a letter or an email, explaining exactly why my claim was denied, and Mr. Ojeda told me the purchase agreement WAS my something in writing.
Defeated, I got off the phone with Mr. Ojeda and called back in to Amazon Home Warranty to cancel my contract and get a pro-rated refund for the portion of the term not used. I had been covered for 7 out of the 36 months purchased (~20%), so figured I would be refunded 80% of my initial payment (~$1087), minus a cancellation fee. Instead, I was offered $321. They explained to me that, even though I purchased the three-year option because of the better rate, they could only give me a pro-rated refund based on the standard rate. Additionally, they charged me a $30 cancellation fee for every term (12 months), or $90 total since I purchased 3 terms. On top of that, they charged me $435 dollars for their supposed costs incurred due to my claims. The only claims I made were for the heating system, which they did nothing to fix, and a drain that needed to be replaced in my sink a few months prior, which I paid $120 out of pocket as a deductible. This leaves a multi thousand-dollar repair on my plate and out over $1000.
After all this I reported Amazon Home Warranty to the Better Business Bureau where I found numerous complaints against the company almost identical to mine. This left me wondering if I had really looked up the right company months ago with better than 4-star ratings. I looked a bit further and found the company did in fact have 4-star ratings on Google, but simultaneously had 1-star ratings on Yelp. How can there possibly be such a large discrepancy between a company’s ratings on two different review cites? It is safe to say there is something fishy going on with their reviews.
When I reached out to Amazon Home Warranty to document their cancellation fee practice for this piece, and after I had threatened legal action, I was by told Mr. Ojeda that their had been a “miscalculation” in my refund and that I would receive $550 rather than the originally quoted $321. When I asked for a break-down of this new number, the proration based on the non-discounted rate for my policy was conspicuously absent. A miscalculation occurs when numbers are computed improperly. This was not a computational error, but rather a standard policy decision from the top that Mr. Ojeda likely knew would be difficult to defend in an arbitration or mediation proceeding. The $321 I was offered was an act of deception, not a good-faith mistake.
While reviewing my legal options to correct this mess, I looked a bit closer into their contract and found the most deceptive part of their business practices yet. Their contract states that all disputes must be resolved through the American Arbitration Association’s “Commercial Mediation Rules”. Through these rules, the entity filing the dispute must pay $1725 in fees at a minimum. The contract further states that any awards granted shall be capped at a maximum $1500, leaving a successful litigant out $225 at a minimum for winning their case. The Commercial Mediation rules are intended for disputes between two commercial entities, not a commercial entity and a consumer. For that, the American Arbitration Association has a different set of rules that requires a flat fee of $200 from the consumer. Because the contract prohibits mediation through the Consumer Arbitration rules, Amazon Home Warranty effectively makes recourse contractually impossible.
Deceit is the perfect word to describe Amazon Home Warranty’s business practices, from their ratings, to their promises, to their contract. So, buyer beware should you be lured by Amazon Home Warranty’s deceitful facade.
Gary Payton joins Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson ALL THE SMOKE - Talk benefits of marijuana, state of the NBA, Shawn Kemp, MJ, and more!
NBA legend Gary Payton joins Matt and Stephen on episode 29 of ALL THE SMOKE. The guys talk about the current state of the NBA, Payton’s run with Shawn Kemp, and listen to him tell stories about Kobe and MJ, and the benefits of cannabis.
Watch it below:
Draymond Green joins Maverick Carter & Paul Rivera talks MJ’s leadership, Pippen’s contract, Kevin Durant and Warriors dynasty comparisons
Draymond Green joined Maverick Carter & Paul Rivera for the first edition of WRTS: After Party to talk all things Chicago Bulls & Michael Jordan following the premiere of the new documentary series. Draymond & the guys get into how his Golden State Warriors teams compare to the 90s Bulls, Scottie Pippen's contract situation, and the ways that media & fame have changed over the years. Watch below:
Watch TV shows and movies online. Stream TV episodes of South Park, Empire, SNL, Modern Family and popular movies on your favorite devices on Hulu.com.
Former NFL Defensive Back, Adam 'Pacman' Jones, joins Matt and Stephen remotely on episode 26 of All The Smoke to talk about his NFL career, his mental health journey, and his Lebron fandom. He also reveals his toughest receivers to guard and discusses who he thinks is the best receiver in the NFL today.
Stream 30 days for FREE. Try SHOWTIME now! https://www.sho.com/stream-showtime
Equifax owes roughly $650 million in its settlement with the Federal Trade Commission for its 2017 data breach that exposed the information of over 147 million people. If you were one of the nearly half of Americans affected by this breach, the good news is, you may be due compensation in the form of 10 years of free credit monitoring and $125. The bad news is, if you were affected by the hack, you can assume your information is out there forever. The Washington Post recommends you check to see if your data was compromised, and if it was, to file your claim ASAP.
I'm sharing this in the hopes that someone else may be able to save money on their monthly bills, OR who knows, it may inspire some of you to quit driving without car insurance😅.
As I was looking at my expenses, I realized, "I'm paying way too much in car insurance ($190 y'all, smh)."
Looking into my car insurance bill has been something that I've put off every month, but I was at the end of the road. I decided that today was the day I call my car insurance company and once I got to a live customer service representative, I began with, "I think I'm paying too much on my car insurance."
The gentleman went on to give me a quote, but, it was only $30 less than what I was paying.
I responded, "That is helpful, but it still doesn't feel right. If this is the best you can do, I'll have to call back to cancel because someone else gave me a better quote."
He responds, "Oh, well, you should've started the call this way. Hold on.."
Now, let's pause here. At this time, I was just furious by the new monthly quote price he gave me. I didn't have the assurance a better quote even existed out there. Yes, I was lying. I asked about 5 of my friends what they paid, and came to the conclusion I was getting the short end of the stick.
He goes on to transfer me to a nice young lady, and she starts with, "Hi Mr., I hear that you received some other options. If there was a number that you'd like to pay per month, what would it be?"
I knew this was my chance, but, I responded, "$90."
With a pause, she answered, "Well, let's verify some of your information here and see what we can do."
She goes on to crunch some data, and comes back shortly with, "Well, Mr. we can, in fact, match this offer and keep your policy the same and lower your monthly plan to $91."
Wow! A short phone call led to over $1,000 a year in savings!
By: Megan Holstein
Most people are sleepwalking through life. They don’t feel the pull of an internal purpose guiding their actions. They are pulled through their life by things like work obligations, school obligations, and family obligations. Their days move forward only because, like water flowing down a water wheel, their commitments push them endlessly forward.
There are also people whose wheels have stopped, people who have lost their jobs or their families. Without these commitments to keep them moving forward, they come to a standstill, passing their time with alcohol or Netflix.
There are people, though, who don’t sleepwalk through life.
They get up in the morning not because they will suffer the consequences if they don’t, but because they are eager to live another day. The sun in the sky energizes them. They wake up filled with a sense of purpose.
Chances are you know someone with a purpose. People with purpose are vivid. People with purpose are full of personality. They understand their life is short and that time is limited, and they know what they are doing with it. They are magnetic in a way other people are not. You can’t help but feel drawn to their energy.
If you’re not into flowery language like that, there are some concrete ways to tell if someone has a purpose:
People with purpose, on the other hand, often say no to experiences that don’t take them further down their path. A person with purpose will say no to an expensive ski trip because they don’t ski and they need the money to invest in their new business. They pick their jobs based on how they align with their purpose, not how convenient they are.
Sleepwalking is easy to identify in others, but not in ourselves. Sleepwalking through life is like dozing on a hot summer day; you mean to get up and get something done, but it’s so warm right where you are… until you wake up and realize fifteen years have gone by.
It doesn’t help that society teaches us to sleepwalk. Schools teach students to wake up at the right time, to get all the assignments done or suffer a bad grade, and to compete with other students for exclusive recognition. All this in service of getting a job at a company where you will wake up at the right time, get all the assignments done or suffer docked pay, and compete with other employees for exclusive recognition. At no point in this process does anyone really sit us down and ask us, ‘what is your unique, beautiful contribution to society?’
To this system, people who don’t sleepwalk through life are frequently a bother. They jam up the works. Albert Einstein was kicked out of multiple schools for laziness (a trait he clearly didn’t have) and bad attitude. Steve Jobs was routinely challenging enough to warrant being fired. My personal favorite is the story of Charles Goodyear, a man with whom the system was not pleased:
Goodyear was exposed to rubber at age 34. “There is probably no other inert substance,” he said later, “which so excites the mind.”He resolved to develop a new form of rubber, as the rubber of the time melted and rotted easily. But when he got home to Philadelphia, he was thrown in debtor’s prison. Not to be deterred, Goodyear continued to experiment from his prison cell. Once out of prison, he found an investor and continued inventing in the house he bought for his family until he ran out of money. He continued inventing, selling household goods and even furniture to get by. There, on the edge of losing everything, he invented the rubber we still use today.
Would someone who is sleepwalking through life do something like that?
How to tell if you’re sleepwalking through life
It’s easy. Take a deep breath. Feel the life in your hands and feet. Feel your connection to the ground holding you up.Ask yourself “Does my life have a purpose?”
If you do not hear a clear yes, it’s a no.
Whether you believe this sense comes from God, your inner self, the universe itself or that silly old goose the subconscious, this sense is reliable. You don’t need to be sure where it comes from to know that.
If you do not have a lot of faith in yourself or do not trust your own judgment, you don’t have to rely on that touchy-feely crap. Here are some handy questions you can answer to help triangulate what you feel:
How to wake up to your life
Waking up to your life is a time-consuming process and it won’t happen all in one day. It takes time. Waking up to your life is the kind of thing where it seems like your hard work is getting you nowhere — until you look back and see how far you’ve come.
The best way I’ve found to wake up to your life is to get rid of everything which sends you to sleep: The selfies you send on social media, the ream of TV shows you keep up with, recreational drinking, and any activity which takes up hours of your week with nothing to show for it.
Get rid of it all at once, if you can. If you can’t, it’s all right to take it slow; give up your least favorite TV show, give up your least favorite social media platform. In a month or two, do it again. Doing this for a few months can turn a life around.
Next, fill the empty time with things which wake you up. This could be interests you’ve always wanted to pursue, languages you want to learn, or relationships you want to deepen. Use your time to do what you’ve always wanted to do, whether it’s learning a new programming language, painting, spending time with a friend, or laying in a field watching the clouds go by.
When I was first adding things which wake me up to my life, I did a lot of two things: Learned Spanish on Duolingo and painted.
Don’t overthink what you spend your time doing; the goal right now isn’t to pick a purpose. Having a purpose is like finding a partner; when you meet the right one, you’ll know. Your goal right now is simply to spend your time doing things that wake you up.
The reason I never pursued these interests before — and, I’m guessing, the reason you haven’t pursued your interests yet — is you never feel you have the time or energy. Once you cut out activities which send you to sleep, you suddenly have this energy. Now that social media and binge-watching television aren’t sapping your energy, trying new things becomes natural and easy.
Cutting out activities that send you to sleep creates a virtuous cycle. As you spend more time doing things which wake you up, you want to spend less time sedating yourself. As you choose to sedate yourself less, you do things which give you life more often. The cycle sends you spiraling up and out, into life.
Read more articles from Megan Holstein here.
Local Columbus shoe boutique Sole Classics has yet another Vans collaboration coming at the end of the month. Sole Classics is a Columbus staple, opening in 2006 and opening a second location two years ago in Dublin. This is a follow up to their 2017 collab with Vans that was released in an LA pop up shop, that collection was based around the idea of old school letterman jackets.
This new collab is based around Ohio's roots throughout the growing funk scene in the US, taking those funk vibes into the shoes you can see four different silhouettes each with different elements of funk involved. Along with the four shoes being released they are also releasing a local Ohio funk album, you can listen to the first song down below. The four shoes and album release June 28th in New York City, June 29th in Dublin, Ohio and online. Check out more about the collection here.
June is national pride month and in Columbus it's become a huge deal. In the past few years we've seen upwards of over half of a million people flock to downtown for the pride parade. This year's pride parade is June 15th, with the grand marshal being announced as Nina West! Will you be coming out to watch?
"We are in the twenty-first century how they can cut the Internet and commit murder and rape ... Help us, please" - Mohamed
Please keep the people of Sudan in your thoughts and prayers. The current situation is genocide-like, and we feel the need to share what is going on there to lead to some kind of peaceful solution. Read more about the current situation in Sudan.
In this day and age it's hard not to notice the effects of technology. A report by Brookings examines into automation and artificial intelligence, taking a deeper look at how our new technological advancements are changing the job landscape. This report explains the susceptibility of certain jobs, places, and demographic groups to "disruption by automation."
Want to know if you or your colleagues might be susceptible? Check out the entire summary of the report and its findings here: https://www.brookings.edu/research/automation-and-artificial-intelligence-how-machines-affect-people-and-places/
New research conducted and published by the Pew Research Center has found an increase in the percentage of low-income students at universities. Compared to data from 1996, Pew found that a much larger share of students are in or near poverty. This increase could be due to the uptick in university attendance and the emphasis on financial aid and scholarships for students.
Image retrieved from: Pew Research Center
The study also found that racial and ethnic minorities are increasing as a share of undergraduate students. This means we are experiencing some of the most diverse university classes in history with students coming from all different walks of life.
Wendy's has come together with GasBuddy to create the new "Badge" that benefits both the restaurant and the GasBuddy app. Since gas prices are currently raising nationally and people are looking for ways to save money, the GasBuddy app helps people find the cheapest gas within the nearest proximity of the driver. Wendy's gets involved by GasBuddy correlating the cheapest gas within proximity to a Wendy's restaurant. This way, people are more obligated to stop at a Wendy's when they go to get gas. With cheap prices starting to become a necessity for people, the badge feature is the perfect way to help drive up sales for the companies and cut down costs for customers.
If you love standing out then you'll love this collaboration. It was announced last year that Raf Simon would be leaving Calvin Klein, much to the dismay of his diehard fans. This collaboration with Adidas, however, gives those fans a glimpse into what his future looks like, and it's interesting. The line is selling fast with customers loving the bulky designs, bright colors, mirrored soles and strategically placed cuts. You're gonna want to get these before they're gone.
Memorial weekend deserves a little EDM treat! House and trap music fans should check out this show featuring Jauz, Baauer and Drezo on May 26 at flannagan's Dublin!
Jauz - The project of Sam Vogel, a 25-year-old, LA-based icon collective graduate is one that combines brilliant production, energetic sets, and underground vibes. Jauz's release of the addictive mid-tempo original "Feel the Volume" earned him international recognition after its release on mad decent.
Baauer - Brooklyn-based producer Baauer broke into the mainstream when his viral sensation "Herlem Shake" debuted atop the Billboard charts, changing chart rules forever. It also earned Dance Song of the Year and EMD song of the Year.
Drezo - It is rare now in a music scene of tiring trends for an artist to break the mold and make a statement creatively that people can connect to. However, based in Los Angeles, Drezo challenges the mainstream standard by staying true to his own powerful underground sound of house music. - AH
(Cincinnati, Bunburry) In past years, Bunbury Music Festival, which takes place along the Ohio River in downtown Cincinnati throughout Sawyer Point and Yeatman's Cove, has hosted top artists including Post Malone, Jack White, MUSE, Tom Petty, Ice Cube, Florence and the Machine, Snoop Dogg, and more. This year, the Fest will take place May 31-June 2. Lineup includes Fall Out Boy, Greta Van Fleet, The 1975, Run the Jewels, Girl Talk, and more! - AH