Saturday, February 7, 2015

Onward to Ehrenberg BLM land, a frustrating $$$ day, and a RANT

On Tuesday Jeanne and I left Quartzsite and headed west to Ehrenberg.  Our friend, John, is here and we wanted to spend a few days visiting with him.  The weather has been great, warm and no wind, since we've been here.  We're leaving tomorrow, heading to the Yuma area to visit with more friends.

Thursday I had a couple of appointments in Blythe, CA - about 12 miles from where we're camped.  Neither turned out very well:

Social Security Office/Discover Card Issue

1.  First I was off to the Social Security office.  I had an appointment and they saw me right on time.  When the woman asked if she could help me, I told her  "Well, according to Discover Card, you are the only person in the whole world who can help me. "   She laughed.

What is happening is this - since Social Security declared me deceased last August, things have been good.  My banks, credit cards, etc. have all resurrected me, and Bank of America even opened a checking account for me, as well as giving me a debit card and a credit card.  This was when no one else would talk to me because I was dead.  B of A was great.  Of course, I was there, in person, with all my IDs, etc., so they took a chance and believed me.

Anyway, the only credit card I have that wouldn't remove the "Deceased" notation on my account is Discover Card.


I've talked to them twice and they INSIST that they need a letter from Social Security stating "THEY made an ERROR,"  no letter = no removal of that notation.  Period!  I told them I had spoken to the SS four times on the phone, because other businesses also wanted something like that, and I was told they DON'T do that.  So the other businesses accepted a notarized statement that I was alive (Proof of Life), a current Social Security Award letter showing what I receive each month (you can print out a current one with the current date from their website).  I scanned and photo copied and faxed current bank statements showing my Social Security automatic deposits, etc.  LOTS OF PROOF.  Discover card also got all the proof, but they won't accept it.  ONLY A LETTER FROM SS ADMITTING THEY MADE AN ERROR WILL WORK FOR THEM.



So I'm sitting there in the SS office, and start telling the woman my tale, and she interrupts me, "We don't do that."   Don't do what?  "We don't send letters to ANYONE except our clients when we need to inform them of a change in their Social Security Award." 

I told her that I'd talked to various people at SS on the phone and that's what they said, but they suggested that maybe I could get a letter in an actual physical SS office.  Maybe the offices have the letter that is needed.  That's why I was there.

Then I told her that three different people at Discover told me I needed that letter from SS.  I told all of them that SS doesn't send that letter.  They INSISTED they have many, many letters in their files from SS stating they made the error.  One was the first person I talked to, Carlos, the next was his supervisor, Zenda.  I faxed the docs to Zenda, who promised to contact me when she received them.  When I didn't hear from her, I called back two weeks later and talked to Jerry.  (I have names, dates and time of day for my calls.)  He found my documents, proving that Zenda DID receive them, but DIDN'T call to let me know.  Jerry confirmed that I need that letter from SS.  Totally frustrating.

My lady at SS looked me in the eye and calmly said, "They are lying to you."   She said they can't have the letters they are talking about in their files, because this IS no letter like that sent out.  TO ANYONE.  She wouldn't even give ME a letter that said what Discover Card wants.  She told me to call Discover back and keep asking for supervisors until I go up far enough to get one that will remove the notation of my death.  Then she did print out a copy of the letter stating what my benefit will be for January 2015, direct deposited into my checking account in February.  She said that's the only letter she can give ME. 

So....


I'm going to call Discover Card on Monday and tell them again what I need them to do.  I'll write, call and e-mail everyone important in the company up to the President/CEO/Board of Directions if I have to.  And CC the governmental agencies that regulate them.  And I'll CC AARP, too!  After all, they are denying a senior citizen her credit record!

The reason this is an issue for me isn't that I want my Discover Card.  I NEVER used it, and once I was deceased, they immediately closed it.  But that Deceased Notation on my account with them is preventing the credit reporting agencies from showing that I have any credit.  Even though other credit cards have removed the Death Notation.  If I try to log into one of the Credit Bureaus' websites to purchase my credit score or look at my credit bureau account in the "one-free-per-year-per-agency" deal, either there is nothing there and no option to press, or it shows no accounts.  Absolutely no credit account for my entire life.  And until Discover Card cooperates, I have no credit.  If I need to purchase something like a car or a park model, or, say, rent an apartment and they want to run my credit to make sure I'm a good credit risk, I won't have a report.  And that's a really crappy thing for Discover Card to do to me.

I'm putting all this down so that when I call Discover Card on Monday I'll have my post in front of me to fact check as I'm talking to them.  I'll let you know what happens. Fingers crossed. :)  

New Tires

2.  Next, down the road to Standach Tire and Auto - a Goodyear shop - to have my annual tire rotation, balancing, pressure check, and have the front end aligned.



Last year it cost me $89, and that's what I was expecting this year.  Turns out my inner left rear tire was separating inside and had a bubble.


It was recommended that I purchase two new tires.  He said if they put a new tire next to a 4 year old tire with it's wear, it would affect the new tire.  I agreed to the two new tires, and they put them on the front, and put the two front tires on the left rear.  Thank goodness I had that appointment before the tire blew!  I'll be going through the mountains on the way to San Diego for Easter, and that could have been a real problem on those roads.

I checked to make sure they were giving me the same size tire and checked the dates they were made.  They were the same size, and both dates showed they were made the week of November 10, 2014.  I didn't know what else to check, so...  I guess everything's okay.





I kept the other rear tire and when I go to San Diego for Easter, my son is going to take me to his tire guy where he gets a really good deal (he has a fleet of trucks - around 50, I think) and will get me a better deal on the cost of four more new tires.  And I want his guy to see if my current spare, which is 10-years old but in perfect condition, or the tire just removed from the left rear, is a better spare.

They checked my spare at Standich and said it looked perfect.  No cracking, no anything that they look for to show the tire isn't good.  They said because it was covered and on the rear of the RV rather than stored underneath where it would get lots of dust and dirt, etc, it probably would be good longer.  I don't know, though.  I've heard different stories about 6-7 years MAX, but then I've also heard it depends on the actual tire.  So I want another tire guy to give me his opinion.

$520.88 later, I was heading back to camp.  What a frustrating, expensive day!

Hawk

But I did get this great photo of a hawk with his dinner up in a tree.  After leaving the SS office I was driving along a side street when I saw him fly up into the tree.  I stopped to get a picture, not realizing he had the bird in his talons.  I took a bunch of photos, he was turning his head back and forth, wanting me to leave, and checking his exit options.  When I got out of the truck he took off.  But I did get one good clear hawk face:





For My Lazy Daze Friends

I was driving along headed toward Blythe, slowing down for the entrance to California, this older model Lazy Daze was in the next lane.  It was a short motor home. like mine.  It looked to be in very good shape - those LazyDazers take good care of their rigs:

I haven't been doing much here in Ehrenberg, AZ - just hanging out taking an occasional walk with Jeanne and Riley.  They have take some long walks with John, but my heel was bothering me last time I walked a distance.  Today the three of use went to Wal-Mart in Parker and I bought a pair of their good shoe inserts to see if that would help.  I've taken two walks longer than my usual 20 minute ones, and both times I had heel issues.  It went away in a day or so, but still.  Hopefully these things will make the difference.   

Sunsets and Full Moon

I wanted to show you our gorgeous sunsets Tuesday and Wednesday, and the full moon rising on Wednesday evening.  None of these photos have been touched up.

Sunset Tuesday evening:


Then Wednesday evening as the sun was going down, the eastern mountains were beautiful with the glowing colors and the shadows:




The sunset was so brilliant, it was hard to get a picture of it:


A bit later I took Katie out to go potty and saw the moon just peeking over the mountains that were now dark:


I always miss the moon when it first starts coming up, but Wednesday I got to see it from the glow on the mountain top, to the edge of the moon coming up, then almost all the way...

 ...then completely risen from the mountains.  It was really beautiful.



Next time I'm posting a review of a cooking product I just got and tried out.  It got a Thumbs Up from me.  

From me and Katie, have a great Saturday, everyone!  :)

54 comments:

  1. Tires are expensive for sure. A couple of years ago, I had all six of my big tires on my diesel pusher changed and four of my toad (Jeep) tires replace. I could not change one of those big tires so have no spare. If my memory is correct they are 16.5 inch wheels.

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    1. Wow, I'd hate to have THAT bill! In April I'll buy four more new tires, then I'll be done for a while, and I'll spray them with that 303 (30313) Aerospace Protectant that my friends use on their tires and also use my tire covers. Hopefully that will help this batch last longer. :)

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  2. I just typed a long comment and it totally disappeared!

    I just hope when Discover finally gets straightened out, you close that account ASAP. What a company to do business with.

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    1. Gypsy, I CAN'T close it - they closed it when I "died." I wish I could close it!

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    2. Gypsy said "When you DO get it straightned out".

      Good luck. I wish I had a number that counted, I'd call and tell them just why I will never have a Discover card.

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  3. Last year we had a Walmart Discover Card and Walmart changed to MasterCard. I guess Walmart had trouble with Discover Card too.

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    1. That's interesting. I have friends who have Discover Cards and use them all the time. But for me, never again!

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  4. Good to know you are still among the living.....Glad SS knows you are alive....It seems there are all a bunch of drones....I want what the company line says I want...But I am unable to give you what you want even if the original problem is mine....Geezs Hope round 3 goes better! :)

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    1. Yeah, this whole problem would have gone away much, much sooner if SS had given me a letter I could copy and send to banks, credit cards and the credit bureaus myself. :(

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  5. What a frustrating experience. I still can't believe all the trouble you've had to go through since you were declared deceased. Can't they just out "zombie" on your record and insider it done? Sorry I missed you at Q. We webt to see Sassy (Denise) and just missed you by a few days. Looks like I drive right by you in Ehrenbetg too. One day we'll meet! Hope this credit mess gets sorted soon!
    Nina

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    1. Oh goodness what a bunch of auto correct gobblegook I managed in that comment. Hopefully it makes some sense.
      Nina

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    2. It made total sense. And you're right, I guess I AM a Zombie. "Returned From the Dead, Introducing..... Barbara. Of Me and My Dog."

      I'm sure we'll meet up some day. We just keep missing each other. And I'm going to be driving right past you tomorrow on my way back to Quartzsite, and on to Mittry Lake. I'll wave as I go by - LOL. :)

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  6. Reading about your red-tape nightmare gave me a headache. Oy! Fabulous moon shots!

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    1. Me, too. I was so frustrated walking out of that SS office. Yes, wasn't the moon gorgeous? :)

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  7. Good grief, what a total mess! I am so sorry that you are having to go through this. There is nothing worse than having problems that you are totally helpless to correct.

    If we are fortunate, we will be leaving Q tomorrow afternoon or Monday morning. Brian Boone will be done with my honey-do list! Yeahhhhh!

    So thankful for your recommendation of Brian.

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    1. Thanks, Nan. It'll get straightened out, sooner or later. I just hope it's sooner.

      Isn't Brian a cutie? I'm so glad you were able to have him take care of your honey-do list. :)

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  8. You can really say you've had an after-death experience. What a mess that is. Any chance actually visiting one of the credit reporting agencies would help. I can't believe they are so stubborn about it but then again, it's not about them and they aren't suffering. You are. So sorry!

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    1. I know. I thought it was all fixed, until I couldn't get a credit report and Experian told me it was Discover Card causing the problem. You know - I might copy my blog post over to Word, and write the Credit Bureaus a letter with it as an attachment, explaining what's going on. They have all gotten my documents before, but if I send everything again in the mail and attach the blog post, maybe they'll just remove Discover. Discover solicited me on the phone, I agreed, but I never used the card. NEVER agree to anything on the phone when solicitors call. Especially if it's Discover. :(

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  9. Oh what a horrible mess having to deal with Discover Card. Best of luck! If they fail to help maybe contact a local news station, some have those consumer help lines (Channel 7 on your side for example) setup. Will be thinking of you and hoping Discover steps up to resolve.

    Tina

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    1. One of my friends suggested that, too. I sure hope that won't be necessary, but good idea! :)

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  10. I would drop Discover and get another card. It might be a whole lot easier to apply for a new card. I think banks and credit cards forget who needs who. They are here to serve us. I hate to see you waste anymore time dealing with those idiots.

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    1. I can't drop them - when they thought I was dead, they closed my account. I have other credit cards, but it's their Deceased notation on my file that is erasing all my credit - because if they say I'm dead, the credit bureaus will keep my file closed.

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  11. https://www.discover.com/company/our-company/our-leaders/executive-committee.html would start a letter writing campaign to these people. It took a letter to the CEO of Comcast to finally get their attention to a big billing problem.
    Start at the top.
    https://www.discover.com/company/our-company/our-leaders/executive-committee.html

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    1. Thanks! I'll follow those links to see what I can do. - I just checked it out and that link has EVERYONE in their top management. THANK YOU. If my phone call tomorrow doesn't produce positive results, I'll get right on that letter. And CC every one of them! :)

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  12. I have twice contacted the Pres of companies when I had an unresolved issue. Maybe it was just luck, but I got positive results both times. You might want to document all of your efforts and then write to the company president, David Nelms, at company headquarters,
    Discover Card Financial Services Corporate Office & Headquarters
    PO Box 17019 Wilmington DE 19850
    Couldn't hurt - man, it's tough to come back from the dead!! Good luck!

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    1. Well, there you are. Ask and your shall receive! I just sent an e-mail to them asking for the corporate address for a letter to the CEO. Then checked back to continue reading comments and yours was next. Thanks, Donna.

      Yes, coming back from the dead is painless, but very stressful. :(

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  13. I'm with Donna. Start at the top. This has gotten beyond ridiculous. Good luck.

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    1. Thanks Sandi (and Jim). You are right, beyond ridiculous! Hopefully tomorrow something will be done. :)

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  14. Super cool photo of the hawk with dinner... but you have me convinced I don't want to be declared deceased before I actually am...

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    1. Yeah, my ex-husband is happily up in heaven, probably has a full head of hair, doesn't have to watch his weight, and his golf game is probably better than ever. Of course, I don't want to trade. Not yet, anyway. :)

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    2. This comment just cracks me up, Barbara! You have to find humor where you can, eh?

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    1. Thanks, Kathy. Lots of different things on this post, but the hawk is my favorite. :)

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  16. Really good that you got those tires taken car of in time.
    Love the Ehrenberg area and have spent quite a few weeks in that area over the years.
    Enoy!

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    1. Thanks, George - It's not a particularly pretty area, no lakes or rivers nearby, and we were close to the highway, but somehow it was really quiet and peaceful. I could have stayed longer, and next year I probably will. I enjoyed our visit there. :)

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  17. So, if you were "legally dead", does that mean you could have been doing all kind of nasty things and never get convicted? Pretty hard to try and convict a "dead person". I don't think I'd want to test that theory though.

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    1. That's funny! No, Bob, I was only dead as far as my credit and finances were concerned. I guess I could have stopped paying on credit cards - but I pay them off every month. I don't see a way I could have gained from being dead. No income taxes? That would have been nice. I guess if I robbed a bank and made the news, I could have sent the newspaper article to Discover Card. Think they would have believed that?

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  18. Many places no longer take Discover any more. This sure looks like a frustrating situation for you, and I hope it is resolved soon. When you need a smile, remind yourself that you were lucky to get the tires before you had a blow out. Like the accident that never happened. Our lives are really full of good things.

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    1. Oh, yeah, I always figure there's a reason for everything. When the man at Social Security first told me they were showing me as deceased during my appointment in Las Vegas NV last August - right after all this started - I laughed. I thought it was pretty funny. Oh, this will be a good story. Right? And actually it did take some time and effort to get everyone back on board. Only Discover has been an issue all this time.

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  19. Ugh! I cannot believe the issues you have had.....Is there anyway you could perhaps contact a local tv station, one that has some kind of 'we can help' section......sometimes, they have great contacts and can really put the pedal to the metal for you?

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    1. Cindy - if my phone calls and letters don't work, I might do that. I can't really sue them, hiring a lawyer isn't in the budget, but I guess going public might work. I just heard this morning, though from someone who did take them to court, won the lawsuit (someone opened a Discover account in their name-identify theft), and Discover still won't change their account. We'll see .....

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  20. How in the whole world could you be declared deceased in the first place?

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    1. When my ex husband died last August, I was linked to his account because I was able to collect half his SS, while letting mine grow. (Because we were legally married 18 years). When he died, SS made an error and also pulled the plug on me. They admitted it was an error and corrected it. But they don't notify anyone, and won't send letters to anyone to rectify the error.

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  21. Barbara, We are SO much alike !! LOL When I have any issues with any Company I document the date and who I spoke with and what they said. I also always try to communicate via e-mail so that way I have a written record.

    About the tires - I also have to get SIX new tires this year. But thanks to NINA I'll be going through FMCA whereby you get a significant savings !

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    1. After working in a law office, I learned to document everything, even if it seems,at the end of the call, like a good result. I note Date, Time, Person, and Information Discussed. It's given me great ammunition. When I call a management person and say, "I talked to Tim on April 5 at 11:25 am and asked...... and he said.....," I usually prevail. Of course, you know they have it all on tape anyway. But keeping notes liket that stands up in court if needed.

      Thanks for reminding me about FMCA - I'll check them out on-line today. :)

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  22. Discover is unbelievable. I would just cut to the chase & go public. What've you got to lose?

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    1. It's a pain, for sure. I am compiling a list of names and addresses that will be sent a copy of the letter I'll write. I haven't called Discover again, I have to be in the right frame of mind to make this kind of call, and I've been busy. Soon... But if I have to write the letter, it will be only one, with CCs to the rest of the people. :)

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  23. Gorgeous photos in today's post--sleep has improved without the full moon but it was so much fun watching t rise & set!

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    1. Thanks, Dawn - it was fun watching it come up over the mountains. :)

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  24. I hope you can get things straightened out with Discover. My tires have a late 2010 date, so I'll prob be looking at tires next year.

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    1. Thanks, Teri. I figure the tires are the most important thing for safety, so although they are expensive, in the long run they are worth it. I was planning on 2016 for the tires, too - but ... I guess being in the desert all the time dries them out faster? I was told today I should call the tire company because they still shouldn't have deteriorated that fast, and I might get a discount on the replacements. We'll see.

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  25. You posted some really cool photos Barbara...the hawk, sunset & moonscape...very nice! Don't that credit card company have the perfect name? Sign up now and get the "Discover How Much Stress & Anger We Can Add To Your Life Card." Well wishes to getting it all ironed out and behind you.

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    1. Thanks - Yes, I really liked those photos, too. Especially the hawk. I agree - and I've Discovered about as much as I need to know about Discover Credit Cards. Thanks for the good wishes. :)

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