Things that don’t smell right to me

June 14 2010 by Ellen Roseman

I’m referring to corporate decisions that seem wrong-headed or communications efforts that try to mask the real truth.

Where do I start?

How about a letter from Andrew Pilkington, president of Chase Card Services? He told Sears cardholders that the annual interest rate is going up to 29.9 per cent in September, “in keeping with recent changes to regulations governing credit cards.”

Come on. Ottawa changed a few rules to make them more customer-friendly. Read this summary and tell me where it says credit card issuers have to raise their already high interest rates.

How about Bell adding the HST (harmonized sales tax) to some customers’ bills in Ontario before the July 1 date for implementation? Bell says here that HST may appear earlier for services billed in advance.

Diane called the Star to say her daughter was billed 83 cents in HST for a home phone line that was disconnected on April 30. The 83-cent charge (in addition to GST and PST) was wiped out as soon as I contacted Bell. See Bell’s response below.

How about Maytag dishwashers being recalled over fire concerns? The recall affects 160,000 machines in Canada sold between February 2006 and April 2010.

It’s just three years since the last safety recall of Maytag dishwashers. I wrote a column about the bungling and said Maytag had learned some valuable lessons. Maybe not, judging from what Daniel says about his experience:

We have three kids under the age of seven and waiting (what I expect to be) a month for a repair that was instigated by the manufacturer is unacceptable.

I personally will be wary of buying any brands under the Maytag umbrella in future; a company that makes the same mistake twice is to be avoided.

8 comments

  1. brian

    Jun 14 2010

    Hi Ellen – The most stunning example of an ongoing “communications effort that tries to mask the real truth” is the attempt to convince Ontario’s 9 million motorists that the auto insurance legislative changes scheduled to kick in this fall are all about giving consumers/drivers “more choice”.

    Many policy benefits have been stripped away and now the “choice” being offered is to buy them back – or not.

    Put simply, the choice is this – pay the same for much less coverage OR pay nearly double to buy back the policy coverage you lost.

    God love the auto insurers for giving Ontario consumers “more choices” such as these.

  2. Lynn

    Jun 14 2010

    I just got a letter form the Royal Bank telling me that services that I got for the fees I pay now are no longer “free”. I say “free” because I am paying a monthly fee that is suppose to include them. This is the second time in 6 months that this has happened. But they did tell me that, if I pay 1.5 times more in fees, I can receive the same services I received 6 months ago. This is on top of the fact that 2 years ago they closed my “no fee” account and transferred it to this stupid fee one. Oh yeah, the ting they changed, I know have to pay $6.50 for money orders and 1% on any travelers checks. In the past these were free. Oh yeah, they ended the letter saying they appreciated me. Wow, I can really tell. Time to change to ING Direct.