Friday, December 28, 2012

Hidden Energy Taxes

Okay, so the blog on "Remember costly EDECA?" was boring -- but true, about 1999's deregulation of utilities here in New Jersey. 3% of our monthly utility bill goes to the State to pay all those extra costs.

Another charge on your monthly utility bill, that isn't shown, is 7% State Sales Tax. Now, I don't mind paying sales tax on energy -- I pay it on everything else, so I don't mind. This tax brings in $380 million annually (Source: March 2012 OLS and Budget Estimate). That's a lot of dough.

The only problem is that this tax does not show up on your utility bill -- at all. I don't like that. I feel that if you're going to tax me, at least show me how much it costs me each month.
Bottom line: 10% of my monthly utility bill is in hidden taxes.

I think that's unfair. The utility companies imply that it will cost too much to break out the taxes on my bill. That's hogwash. With computers and software, it can be done. Okay, I agree, with over a million customers (PSE&G), it would be tedious. Fine, do it and charge me the cost of doing it -- once. After that, its the cost of doing business.

Further, having been in charge of buying the State's own electricity and gas for use by State agencies, for ten years, I know that the State, even though it's a non-profit governmental entity, pays itself the sales tax on energy as well. That's stupid! The State is collecting sales tax, from itself, to pay itself. Hundreds of state agencies could really use that 7% savings, let me tell you. They should also be exempt from the other 3% in taxes for things like the Societal Benefits Charge, also on every urility bill.

When I buy a ream of paper at Staples, I get a receipt that shows the 7% in sales tax. That's only fair and reasonable. Why not on my utility bill?

What are these politicians and government bureaucrats trying to hide? Don't we want more transparency, not less?

So I urge you to write your NJ legislators, the NJ BPU, the utility companies and the newspapers, to simply show us what we pay on our utility bill. It's only fair.

Rodney Richards copyright 2014

Check out my bipolar journey with happy interludes in my memoir Episodes available no from, as well as my other longtime blog, ABlessedLifeinAmerica on Google's Blogger!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Internet Musts?

There's a lot of debate, and attempts in Congress, to pass some Internet rules/laws.

Here's mine:

1. Uniform Internet Sales Tax. Level the playing field. All Internet sales should be taxed, with one uniform tax, say 3-5%. The Feds collect the tax, and it helps pay for their administrators to track them, as well as a little for their General Fund. Based on location of the buyer, that state gets back the balance of tax not used by the Feds, and it goes to the state's General Fund. This would not be difficult with computers today. There would NOT be individual State sales taxes.

2. All opened windows, especially for any utility programs, downloads, uploads etc., would have the four boxes in the top right corner - minimize, half-screen, full screen and close ("X").

3. All sales and purchases:
a. Before buying anything, buyer can read the seller's Terms of Service (Ts & Cs), Privacy Policy, and if applicable, Warranties -- including the manufacturers. These must be printable before or at check-out, and always must be dated, and available on the vendor's site at any time. The date on the sales ticket identifies the Ts & Cs that apply, in all cases, at a minimum.
b. All sales must have stated return policies, before checkout, and must be printable if not in the Ts & Cs. Return policies can't be less than fourteen days. No restocking fee if defects, and postage reimbursed if defective. Other returns, for any reason, can only have a maximum 15% restocking fee.
c. The "I Accept" must have a Comments section for buyer to protest any Term & Condition. If the company receives too many, this should be changed. All Comments also sent to Consumer Protection Board automatically. I'm sure it must have a separate Internet division.
d. Feds should monitor online companies and sales, States should monitor physical/local merchants and stores.
e. Companies can offer subscriptions, third party notices, other products etc. at check-out, but boxes must be unchecked, and only if the buyer consents by checking the box, does the item go into effect. If purchasing an add-on etc., the sames rules above apply.

4. Installs and setups:
a. Can be done in the background, by the user's choice, and can only use max 15% of computer resources. ALL downloads must show size of download in megabytes, BEFORE the user clicks "Download." The user must have the choice of proceeding or not before starting. As a download runs, it should show time and megabytes needed to complete. Any download can be stopped and the files deleted automatically before completion.
b. Folder and filename can be chosen by the user, otherwise the default is the "Downloads" folder.

5. Checkout and payment.
a. No automatic renewals. The vendor can send an expiration notice up to thirty days before, and the user can choose to "See later" (i.e. next day), cancel the product at end of term, or renew. All rules above apply to renewals, especially if Ts & Cs changed. There must be a vendor statement to the effect that the original purchase Ts & Cs apply, or have been changed.
b. All sales must have a stated return, full or partial return policy. If the user has signed up for a term purchase, say one year, then no refunds for early cancellation unless the product or service is defective.
c. Seller must provide written invoice or receipt, with a unique transaction number to buyer, and it must be printable and saveable. No receipt, no sale. This includes free trials.
d. Buyer always given option to leave credit card info on file or not, or change payment type.
e. All Internet sales must be by debit, credit or PayPal type payment. Since its payment in advance, the buyer always has the right to some kind of refund if not satisfied.

6. Seller's Terms and Conditions
a. Must show seller's headquarters full address and contact information including a valid email and phone number. Others like Complaints, or Suggestions can also be listed.
b. Must show Return Policy.
c. Cannot indemnify against manufacturer defects, or gross negligence. All data, downloads, DVDs, CDs etc. must be guaranteed virus-free.

That's enough for today. What would some of yours be? Join the site to leave a comment, its free.

Rodney Richards copyright 2014

Check out my bipolar journey with happy interludes in my memoir Episodes available no from, as well as my other longtime blog, ABlessedLifeinAmerica on Google's Blogger!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Contracts: Two Types of Savings

How do you save money? In my thirty years as a State of NJ procurement officer (buyer), I only learned two: cash-out and cost avoidance.

When you go to Kohl's and buy a pair of jeans on sale, they may be discounted 20% or more off the ticketed price. Janet and Kate both live for Kohl's discount coupons, and have probably "saved" hundreds of dollars in their time. But a discount is not cash, its actually cost avoidance. You would have paid $30, but with a coupon you only pay $20. The vast majority of shoppers would tell others they saved $10. But not so.

This is not cash savings, its cost avoidance. You would have paid $30, but actually only paid $20. You "avoided" paying $10. This principle is the same with all sales, and is usually true for most  discounts. So, on your Kohl's receipt, where it says "You saved $10," well, you didn't. Oh, it may still be a bargain, and probably is, but that's not the point. We all like bargains and savings. It's a major motivator for spending. Almost all coupons are cost avoidance.

But some discounts and coupons actually provide cash-out savings. When we had a $1,000,000 contract, and because of poor budgets or cash availability we had to cut costs, which was our standard modus operandi, we only had limited ways to save money. One way was to cut the inventory covered by the computer maintenance coverage contract. So from 10,000 pieces covered, we'd cut 1,000 pieces, usually the oldest equipment. or, if software, we'd cut the number of licenses. This lowered the actual bill. That's cash-out savings. Real cash. Our cash.

Another way to achieve cash out savings was to cry the blues to the vendor -- to make them part of the problem/solution. So when our budget was cut, we called the vendor in and brainstormed ways to cut their bill. It usually worked, especially in hard economic times, or during budget woes, and most vendors gave us extra discounts, cash-out savings, rather than lose the contract entirely. 

We never threatened our existing vendors by saying we would bid out their services. We didn't have to. They all recognized that could be a real possibility at any time. When we actually did consolidate all our maintenance contracts and bid them out in the 1990s, some vendors cried -- and many lost their contract. We saved money in the long run, but it was always tough severing ties with a vendor who had been doing a decent job, for a new, unproven vendor. But we took the risk, bid out five huge contracts, and saved millions on four. The fifth bid had to be cancelled because the bid was higher than the existing contract. That sometimes happens when you deal with a sole-source vendor.

This was all cash-out savings. We had been paying more, out of our own pocket, now we were paying less.

Another way to cut costs was to twist the vendor's arm for discounts. In this case, when a discount lowered our actual cost, it was cash-out savings. Again, it saved money from our pockets. Sometimes we'd give the vendors targets, other times we asked for creative ways, like refinancing, to lower costs. You can only do so much of that before you're down to bone.

That's where governments at all levels and many businesses find themselves today. Cutting staff equals saving salary expenses. Cutting vendor services cuts out-of-pocket costs. It's the same everywhere, even down to personal levels by cutting out desserts or coffee daily, or forgoing a new TV. Cash out savings means cutting your spending, and its the hardest thing to do.

Avoiding costs, on the other hand, is easy. Just like the example of the jeans at Kohl's. On new purchases, whether for $1,000 or a $1,000,000, we always compared prices for the same products and services. Using the Internet has made that a thousand times easier. We however, usually had to use the bidding process for big contracts, and that's always harrowing. When you're sitting there reviewing seven bids, in manuals three inches thick, it's a daunting task comparing apples to apples. That's why NJ State contracts are so rigidly written. We couldn't evaluate "extras," no matter how nice to add.  That's why bids often get thrown out, some for major deviations from the specifications, and some for minor ones. Ah, but that was part of the job, sometimes the most exciting.

Another example is borrowing. Right now interest rates are low. It's the best time to borrow. Again, its only cost avoidance, but on a 30-year mortgage that's tons of real money.

I've led public bid conferences with a roomful of potential bidders, and I've recommended sole-source contracts where only one vendor was capable of doing the job. That's rarer and rarer these days, what with open standards and architectures in computing and in services. There was a time, in the early 70s, when the State only owned IBM computers. Then Honeywell won a bid after they protested, and ever since we've had to support two completely different systems, with programming staffs, operators, administrators, the whole nine yards. Standardization is easier and cheaper. Getting there is very difficult, especially in government when a lot of purchasing (not all), is open to public scrutiny.

So tell me, do you have any other ways to save money besides cash-out savings and cost avoidance? I'd be interested in hearing them. Join the site to leave a comment, its free.

Contracts: Negotiating

I admit, even after almost thirty years of dealing with vendors and their agreements, I am not the best negotiator. But the State did try to make me one.

In the 90s they sent me to San Francisco for a weeklong Conference sponsored by Joe Auer and ICN. (International Computer Negotiations). It really helped my perspective, insights and negotiating techniques. I got a 200 page manual out of it also. You can find them online at  At the time, after some searching, I thought they were the best company out there, and even though they have more competition now, I still highly recommend them. Their archives of computer negotiating tactics is top-notch.

The conference and manual were very helpful to me in day-to-day business dealings. I won a free ICN shirt there, when I answered the questuion "What does COTSS mean." (Computer Off-The-Shelf Software)  It refers to the two software paths, "make or buy."

You've heard about "make," as epitomized by those multi-year programming efforts writing huge amounts of code for companies, whether accounts payable, payroll, integrated business and marketing apps, ERP, or Customer Relationship systems. You only read about the ones that fail and cost millions of dollars. But Computerworld, the premier IT (Information Technology) magazine, often highlights the successful ones, and successful CIOs (Chief Information Officers).

When I started work for the State in 1970 as a stock clerk for the Bureau of Data Processing, we were using Assembler language to write computer programs, then we went to COBOL. In the 80s we went to structured COBOL. I even took classes in COBOL at Hamilton Adult School. During my long career with the state, I held a programmer title for two years, even though I wasn't one.I also held a DP (Data Processing) Analyst title for some time, which is a person who interprets user requirements in a programming context. I didn't do that either. But I finally found my Civil Service niche as a MISS III, Management Information Systems Specialist, i.e. a catch-all for most everything. At least, until I was bumped back down to my old title, DP I/O Control Specialist II, in 1992, when NJ was in the dumps financially and the State had layoffs.

"Buy" is what most people are familiar with now when it comes to software. There was a time for many years when the computers cost big bucks, and the software was a pittance. Now its almost the other way around. At OTIS (Office of Telecommunications and Information Systems), where I worked for six years, they had as many as 800 COBOL programmers writing computer programs for the hundreds of state agencies. Now they're called applications, or just plain "apps." Everyone is searching for the "killer app" that will make millions for its creators. Angy Birds is a good commercial example.

For most of my thirty years in state procurement, we bought COTSS. We bought tens of thousands of software licenses for state employees. At one time not long ago, the State had over 30,000 PC users. You get the picture. Then we had the big mainframe computers to run the apps like CICS or NJCFS for all the users.

Customer Information Control System was IBM's flagship method of providing transactional processing on computers, mostly terminals before they were replaced by PCs. NJCFS is the State's accounting system used by over 300 state agencies. Software for all these systems, large and small was expensive. One of my contracts cost $399,000 a year, just for maintenance of 10,000 licenses. Maintenance is technical support, updates and the like. I handled one large contract, a waiver, of over 70 vendors and their products for 80 agencies, that cost over $30 million annually. Sometimes single contracts would range from over $1 miilllion to $3 million to purchase.

So learning how to negotiate better was a must. Luckily I had Anne, Chet, Linda and Tony on my staff who were all excellent negotiators, and helped correct my faux pas. Especially Anne, She was the good cop to my bad cop. Carl developed and took care of our website (yes we had our own website), and all our back office databases using MS-Access.  Tony G. before him had started the basic processes.

Heady stuff working with vendors. You have to be confident, and you have to know what you're talking about. We tried to learn as much about products and pricing as we could, but it was difficult, what with all the customer non-disclosure agreements. Our goal was to know as much as the vendor, but they always had us beat. Thankfully now with the Internet, its easier to find information and deal with them as equals. Computer hardware, software and services salesman are like lobbyists -- they know the inside track. But they only had one agenda, and it was transparent, to take your money. And, holding that card, we could negotiate with some strength.

We had a couple of vendors who were exceptional, helping us to find, or make, discounts. But those were rare. We usually only heard from those reps when they wanted to upsell us.

To close, you should have recognized by now, that like any field, there's a lot of acronyms and abbreviations in IT. That's what made it fun, hearing all the new schemes from vendors, like ADABAS, or SAS, or SAP, or RDBMS etc. Lots of fun!

 Join the site to leave a comment, its free.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Contracts: Warranties, Liability and Indemnification

Do you remember the example of a sales agreement I used in my last blog? When you bought Call of Duty 4 at Gamestop? When you walked out of the store with it, it had an express warranty. That is, you assumed it would work properly when you put it into your Xbox. If in fact it didn't, in most stores, you could take it back where you purchased it for a store credit or refund, or refund with a 15% restocking fee (it's all in the Store Policies and Ts & Cs, remember?).

This warranty is tied to the warranty of Merchantability - again, a valid seller, a valid product, consideration etc. -- a valid contract. You expect the CD to work. The merchant, by selling it, has implied it will work.

Well good luck with that. Reputable companies will honor these warranties. Most however, sell their products "As is." No warranties of any kind, or, in their Ts & Cs, they openly deny any warranty of any kind.  So, check the product or service warranty before you buy. In this case, even if Gamestop has no warranty, you may still be protected by Activision, the product manufacturer. Manufacturer warranties are a good deal, and are more common then seller warranties. You may have to pay to ship the bad CD back to Activision, and they may or may not, depending on their return policy, reimburse you. Again, its all in the Ts & Cs.  I'm sure you're familiar with RMAs and the like -- this would be no different.

This brings us to product liability, and liability in general. Product liability means you have rights if the product itself is defective or causes you injury. If you put the CD into your Xbox, and the Xbox blows up and fails immediately after, you may have a case for product liability. Good luck with that too. Most vendor Ts & Cs are written so narrowly you'd probably have a hard time getting money from them for a new Xbox. Again, check their terms.

And here's where I pause to explain what you already know. The reason for Ts & Cs, Terms of Service, or agreements at all, is 1) they are always initiated by the vendor, 2) they always protect the vendor from any liability against anything, or extremely limit their exposure to damages, the money you can collect from them for any reason. And, if you're able to collect anything at all, the most it will be is what you paid for the product or service. That's fair, right?

General liability means that for any reason, and most agreements list them, there's no way you get to hold the vendor (or manufacturer) liable for anything. Again, even if they are found liable, in other words, you hired a lawyer to prove your case, the most you'll be likely to get from the vendor is some kind of refund, whether partial or full. Of your own money. Unless you sue of course, like the lady holding a cup of hot McDonald's coffee between her legs while driving. It spilled and scalded her. She got millions of dollars, and now there's warning labels on all coffee cups. That's fair too, right?

This brings up Indemnification. You may see this in some really paranoid companies, but usually all service contracts, like when an electrician comes to your house to install new circuits, or, my favorite, a repairman of any type, whether for your computer, your car, anything. Even if you haven't signed a contract specific to this, believe me, they're covered. In every contract I recommended or signed while with the State (hundreds), this clause was there. It usually said "You agree to indemnify and hold harmless company ABC from __________, and ____________ (i.e. everything)." Now all vendors expect you to agree to this. Some are so strict, that unless you do agree to their blanket indemnity, they won't do business with you. We had a few like that, and usually we were stuck because we really needed their specific product or service.

However, most reasonable vendors, with price and other terms, we were able to negotiate with. The only reason being that we were spending millions of dollars with them, and they wanted all that money. You can forget it if the deal is worth less than that. Try negotiating with Microsoft. I did, and it wasn't pleasant. The best we could do, to modify this blanket indemnity, was to add that we would NOT indemnify them for "gross negligence." It had to be "gross."  "Negligence" by itself wasn't enough. Now, to my way of thinking, if you're repairman is negligent, and causes my IBM 287 printer to catch on fire, that's negligent enough to get a new printer out of it. But no, the burden is on us, the customers, to prove that the repairman was "grossly negligent."  So, bottom line, guess what, you can't win.

Our only saving grace is that we as the State had a whole floor of lawyers, Deputy Attorney Generals, that we could sic on such a vendor, and the State was self-insured, so that cost was lower also. You, my friend, have neither. See why we need the Department of Justice, UCC, and the Consumer Protection Bureau?  I'm a fan of all three.

What I'm trying to say, is Caveat Emptor, Buyer Beware. As they used to say on NYPD Blue "Watch it out there."

 Join the site to leave a comment, its free.

Elements of a Contract

A contract is an agreement between two entities, either people to people, people to companies, companies to companies, between the government and you etc. Every contract, according to textbooks, has six elements: Offer, Acceptance, Mutual Assent, Capacity, Consideration, and Legality. You can probably tell from the title what each one means, and you'd be right.

But just for arguments sake, let's look at each one. First, Offer and Acceptance. There has to be an offer to buy, or an offer to sell. When you pick up Call of Duty 4 at Gamestop, marked $60, take it to the counter and buy it with your credit card, you get a written receipt. That's Offer and Acceptance -- a contract. An offer to sell was made, and you accepted it at face value and bought it.

Since the clerk only asked you to pay the price marked on the game, and you accepted that, it was Mutual Assent. Capacity relates to the ability of the two parties to enter a contract. The store is established to sell games. It's a known entity. You are just Joe Blow, but you have a credit card. In other words, you both have the ability (capacity) to make the transaction.

Consideration simply means the thing of value needed for the transaction. Call of Duty 4 had a $60 value. You had $60 on VISA to pay for it. The $60 is the consideration paid for the thing of value (to you). Legality simply means the transaction is regarded by the government or lawmakers (local, state or Federal) as having value, AND being between two parties that have reasonable intelligence and free will. In other words, the clerk didn't hold a gun on you and force you to buy it. In other words, based on all the elements described, it was legal.

The legal basis for all business transactions between buyers and sellers in the U.S. is the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC). You can Google it. It's pages and pages long, and contains all the details I'm leaving out, such as delivery of the goods to you, and the means used.  It can be interesting reading. In our example above, you took delivery when the clerk handed you a bag with your game in it.  You assume when you get home and open up the game, that there'll be a CD in it that will work on your Xbox 360. If not, that's also covered by the UCC. And the store policies.  Did you make a note of them?

The governments and all business transactions in the U.S. are based on the Rule of Law. That's why we're lucky we live here. It's order out of what could be chaos or anarchy. If you don't like it, go to other countries and see how they handle it. You'll find that sometimes you have to add a bribe to get what you're legally entitled to. We're lucky we don't (unless it's illegal).

In the transaction above, there is no negotiation. The price is marked and that's what you pay if you want it. Most transactions are governed this way. When you click "I Accept" on the Internet, or put something in "Your cart" on Amazon, then pay for it, you did so with no ability to negotiate. In other words, the transaction was essentially one sided -- in favor of the seller. This is no different than when you open a bank account, buy a CD, sign a mortgage, or buy a Christmas card.

Most of us make simple non-negotiable buy/sell transactions daily. In many other countries, everything except government fees can be negotiated to a degree. When you sell your crystal candlestick holders at your yardsale, its covered by the UCC.  The difference here is that your buyer may have said "Will you take $3 instead of $5?" And you may have said, "What about $4" and both made the deal. This transaction, although very different from the Call of Duty 4 purchase, contains all six elements, including terms equally agreed to by both parties (the candlesticks and the $4).

That's why the UCC exists, to bring balance and fairness to transactions. However, all that's out the window when you click "I Accept" for an Internet purchase. You have agreed to 100% of the seller's terms, with absolutely no input from you. Take 'em or leave 'em. Either buy it under their terms or go somewhere else.  How do you like that? Have you ever signed an agreement where some of the terms weren't in your favor? Or, as is usually the case, only gave you very limited rights? If you look carefully at product sales agreements, you'll  see that the only right you may have is 1) return the product for a refund -- or not, 2) go to arbitration (always in the vendor's favor -- and potentially costly), or 3) take the seller to court -- always expensive.  Is there a better way?

More on this in the future. Join the site to leave a comment, its free.

Free Stuff not Always Free, Duh...

Boy, it's a tricky marketplace out there, isn't it? If you're like me, someone who uses Google a lot to do research on products, companies, doctors etc., you know there's a lot of "Free Trials" going on. You also know by now, it's only been recently that some of those products/services actually are free.

I've already written about my online experience with eCig, an online product for quitting smoking. It billed itself as a $4.95 "trial," and, like a dummy, I fell for it. Also, my biggest mistake when I signed up, was not reading their Terms of Service. I've also written about how important that is, as well.
Needless to say, when I got my first shipment of eCig filters, I also discovered my credit card was charged $69.95! It was a total surprise. And that for only a month's supply! It took me a month to put two and two together, and after some digging, I found their number and called them to cancel.

Their rep was pleasant but firm, "You have to cancel within 14 days of receiving the shipment." This was day 20. No refund. Even I know contract law. Once you agreed by clicking "I Accept," you are bound by their Terms and Conditions. Not yours. Not what's fair. Not what makes sense. Just theirs. That's the risk you take everytime you buy something online, or anywhere for that matter.

However, these companies, like Carbonite (Cloud backup), are now much smarter about it. No $$$ necessary for your "Trial!" None. No credit card info etc. Actually try it free for 14 days. Cool right? Well, yes, if you read their Terms of Service, like the product and the cost, and trust them. You see, they only show you their Ts & Cs at time of signup, not at time of payment, so its easy to forget. I don't. When I buy stuff I like, trial or not, I print out a copy of their Ts &Cs, you should too. It seems only us geeks do that.  Well, you've been warned.

Also, you have to put up with their daily notice "Your trial will expire in 5 days! Don't be stupid! pay now!"

Also, if they won't let me see or print their Ts & Cs, I just don't sign up, or buy from them at all. You may notice some online companies are like that. That's why we need internet usage laws -- and a universal sales tax.

It's no different than going to Staples or Bed, Bath & Beyond. Look for the signs that say "Store Policy. " Like Best Buy or Burlington Coat Factory (BCF). BCF is a good-sized company, and I did a phone interview with them for a Buyer's position, but didn't get it. They seemed nice enough. But, most things at those stores have to be returned within 14 days. If not, you may only get a store credit, if that. That's worth butkus when you don't need anything else there.  But it could make a reasonable Gift Certificate. It's not as good as getting the cash back, however. The deal with eCig was that their fine print said I only had 14 days to cancel a shipment. BUT, I couldn't cancel it AT ALL once I received it. Ha! They had me.

I was able to cancel the contract though, but only after I had to pay them over $75 and insisted over the phone. But it was worth it to learn a valuable lesson.  Now, BEFORE, I click "I Accept" or give credit card info, I read their Terms of Service, their small blue link hidden on the page. I've saved myself $$$ doing that, and agita from bad deals.

Speaking of cancelling, never cancel a service or subscription without first calling the company and telling them you want to cancel. I've written about that as well, when we cancelled Opimum/Xfinity/Comcast? (I get the names confused), and signed up with FIOS for two years at $99.99/month. $99/month! For TV phone and Internet. It should be more like $40 or $50. I'm tempted to get Magic Jack just because it works and is cheap, just to spite all those cable companies who rake us over the coals. Europe's services are much cheaper, and their Internet is much faster.

After Optimum got our cancellation notice from Verizon, a man was at our door two weeks later. Offered us a $50 discount to stay with them, and other services for free! If I had known that would happen, we might not have actually cancelled! But it was too late, FIOS was installed (took half-a-day), and we weren't going through all that again. The Optimum rep came back months later, and actually offered to pay the FIOS early termination penalty if we switched back!  Bottom line, everyone in business knows it is easier and cheaper to retain current customers than it is to find new ones.

So, just a reminder, click the little blue link, and scroll through the company's Terms of Service, what I call Ts & Cs -- Terms and Conditions. You'll be glad you did.

Future blogs: Agreements and contracts, and what terms mean, like Liability and Indemnification.

 Join the site to leave a comment, its free.