07-12-10 - Corporate Inequality

One of the things that bothers me is that all the corporations I deal with basically have free reign to fuck me, and I have nothing I can do back. If I every do anything wrong, they charge me fees, and they can fuck up severely and I get nothing.

I deposited a check at Well's Fargo once that was pretty old; I had misplaced it and just found it and went and deposited it. They charged me a $25 fee for depositing a check that was too old.

Recently I had some money taken from my First Mutual account through a fraudulent ACH. They of course reimbursed it - but WTF that is not enough. They allowed someone to take money out of my account when the person didn't even sign my name. The name signed is "Lindsey Meadows" or something and First Mutual just let it right on through. I should get to charge them $25 for their gross incompetence.

Anytime anyone bills you wrong, you get to wait for 30 minutes on the phone. If you are *lucky* they will fix the bill. What about fucking compensating me you cocks? But if I make a mistake and send in my monthly payment with a slightly wrong number on the check I get a fee.

I sent a bike by UPS and they checked it out and told me the rate was $65. Two weeks later I get a notice from them that they measured it during shipping and decided it was oversize and they were charging me an extra $70.

Just recently, UPS has completely fucked up delivery of two packages; one I sent they bounced back to me even though the address was completely correct; I had to talk to them on the phone and send it again. They gave me no reimbursement at all (they didn't charge me for the second shipping, but didn't reimburse the first), and of course no compensation for the trouble or the delay. Recently they completely lost a package that was shipped to me; again it was insured and everything so I'll get it fine, but I should be able to drop a $70 charge on them for failed delivery. Oh you screwed up delivery? Okay, that's a $50 fee you owe me. Oh you don't remember agreeing to that? It's on page 97 of the contract you had to sign to accept my package.

My garbage pickup company will occasionally just drop a $10 oversize garbage pickup fee on me. I never put out anything outside the bin, I have no idea what the fuck they are charging me for, maybe some neighbor sneaks shit in or its just a mistake, but the fact that they can just tack on fees at will without my agreement is the problem.

Of course I signed away permission for them to do that somewhere in the contract. But that is no fucking excuse. Retarded anti-humanists will say "it's your own fault, you had the opportunity to read the contract and you chose to sign it". What? First of all, you can't be serious that I'm supposed to study every fucking contract that's put in my face. Second of all, if I actually didn't sign the contracts that I didn't agree with, I couldn't live anywhere since all the rental agreements are absurd, I couldn't have a phone, a credit card, a bank, utility service, I mean are you fucking stupid? Of course I have to deal with these companies, I have no choice to not sign abusive contracts.

I fucking hate our lack of freedom and independence.

There is no free market solution to these problems. For one thing, there is basically no significant competition in almost every service. Even in sectors that have apparent competition, like say car insurance or banking, sure there are various people to choose from, but in fact they are almost all identical. They all run their business the same way, and none of them is actually good to their consumers.

The only solution is strong government regulation. In particular there are two very simple consumer protection laws that I would like to see :

1. Elimination of non-voluntary fees. All charges to a consumer must be explicitly authorized (and no they cannot be preauthorized on contingencies).

This is extremely powerful, simple, and would make a huge difference. For example it solves bank overdraft abuse. When you try to make an overdraft, the bank has to contact you (by email and cell) and confirm that you want to accept the overdraft (and the $25 fee). If you say no, the charge just bounces (and there is no fee to you). Obviously the same thing would apply to cell phone abuse through roaming or overage minutes or whatever.

Now you the consumer might want to preauthorize $50 a month in fees to give you some wiggle room, but you could choose $0 preauthorized fees if you like.

2. Make user agreements illegal. This is a little trickier because I don't think you can quite ban them completely, so you have to say something about them being "minimal" and "transparent". Maybe you could require that the average person should be able to fully read and understand it within 60 seconds.

Agreements that protect the service provider from lawsuits or that specify settlement through arbitration should simply be illegal.

But this line of thinking is all irrelevant because nothing that significantly reduces corporations' power to fuck us over will ever be done.


Dave Moore said...

Capitalism is a ratchet that only cranks towards a shittier life for all.

Nino Mojo said...

"My garbage pickup company ..."
I don't understand how picking up garbage can be anything else than a public service in the first place actually.

Jon Olick said...

While I agree with you. Most often, lawyers become the law makers. user agreements aren't going anywhere.

I think free markets would work better if there weren't any super large companies. Just lots and lots of little ones. That also is not going to happen anytime soon.

cbloom said...

"I don't understand how picking up garbage can be anything else than a public service in the first place actually."

Yeah, this is one of the big problems with the broken american system. We have lots of things like the basic utility services, cable, telecom, military suppliers, fannie mae, etc. which are nominally "private companies" but get government-gauranteed monopolies, so they have no competition, none of the real forces of the private market.

Brother Dog said...

Don't forget that almost all of those contracts you're talking about have a clause for, "...and we can revise this contract at any time without your review or consent, so just hush-up, bend over, and take it, Mr. Peaches."

cbloom said...

Oh yeah, that's a good one. I specifically signed up for my Chase Freedom card because of the awesome cash back bonus. And then a few months later they send me a contract revision that changes it all. Oh? you know all that good shit we promised you? You can't have it any more.

old rants