Category Archives: Generic Rant

TD Bank: Fraudulent checks are unstoppable at America’s most inconvenient bank!

Well, unfortunately I had to end my association with TD Bank due to the fact they simply could not secure my account from fraudulent checks and provided absolutely deplorable customer service along the way. This is an interesting story that anyone with an account at TD Bank should read. You won’t find this on the TD Bank website I can assure you! It all started in late April 2016 when I got called by TD Bank that someone may have accessed my account fraudulently. They instructed me to go to the local branch immediately. Prior to doing this, I logged into my online account and was quite surprised to see two checks that were clearing (or attempting to clear) that were ridiculously fraudulent. I mean, these were not even close to legitimate documents.
Ridiculously bad phony check #1. Can you believe TD Bank would cash this?

Ridiculously bad phony check #1. Can you believe TD Bank would cash this?

Ridiculously bad phony check #2.

Ridiculously bad phony check #2.

 
  • These checks did not in any way match the format of my old checks. These were just random checks reprinted with my account number.
  • The numbering was completely out of sequence both with each other, and my real checks
  • The return address is the Department of Health and Human Services in Nashua NH (not my address by a long shot)
  • The signature is not even close to my signature.
I was a bit surprised that TD Bank would cash such checks, but at any rate, I took the afternoon off and headed down to the bank. When I got there, I talked to someone in a side office who was very nice, but I quickly realized….. had absolutely no clue what to do. So, she had to get on the phone to call other offices (Security department, Fraud Dept.. all kinds of departments!). So, I sat there in her office for literally hours, while she called, waited on hold, called again, got transferred, was asked to print forms she couldn’t find, etc. It took all afternoon. Eventually, I opened up a brand new checking account and transferred my money there. TD did return the stolen money in a few days, but I had to sign some type of fraud affidavit, which was notarized at the bank. This was unfortunate, but things like this happen and I was willing to give TD bank another shot, as surely this was a one-time affair, especially now that TD was alerted to the issue. So, I went home and spent the next few days re-routing all my direct deposits and linked accounts. Another couple hours of my time wasted, so much fun! And I had to pay for all new checks, so more money lost to this event. Then, less than two weeks later TD Bank called again. Guess what! Another fraudulent check had arrived on my brand new account. This one really pissed me off. It was from the exact same return address as the last fraudulent checks, and it wasn’t even signed with my name. Who is “Josh Wilson”?  This really infuriated me! Is anyone at TD bank even looking at these checks? Isn’t there some type of mechanism to eyeball checks on an account that was just compromised?  I mean, how ridiculously fraudulent do these checks have to be before they won’t cash them? Could I just write an account number on a napkin and TD would cash it?
Bad Check 2016_05_11

Even more ridiculously phony check #3. I wonder how bad a check has to be before TD won't cash it. This is ludicrous!

So, anyway, I took another afternoon off and headed down to the bank to spend another afternoon with the TD bank clerk (I got the same one, she must have been thrilled to see me walk in!). So, this time, I supposedly had a case worker assigned. However, after spending nearly an hour on the phone, it turns out we couldn’t figure out who it was. However, my TD bank clerk continued to call around various numbers to figure out what to do. Now, before I opened a third account at TD Bank (which I was instructed to do), I asked “How is this happening and can you stop it?” The clerk parroted this back into the anonymous person on the phone… and after a second, just responded back “They don’t know”. Okay… well, I’m sorry TD Bank. If you are telling me you are unable to prevent people from literally stealing my money, and basically that it is my problem… I need to find another bank. At that point, I asked to withdraw all my money and close my three accounts. They half-heartedly tried to talk me out of it, but even one of the TD bank employees whispered  “I would close my here accounts too”. It would have been funny if it wasn’t my money! Some other person came in and said I had to pay 24 dollars to get three bank checks (one from each account), and he was sorry he couldn’t waive the fee! Man, did this piss me off. You are telling me you are unable to stop people from stealing my money, and you are going to charge me to take it out? I suggested, transferring the money from two accounts to one, so at least I would only be charged 8 dollars for one bank check. The TD employee thought for a moment and said he could do that. I guess I am becoming a better banker than the TD employees by this point! So after I got my bank check, the only remaining problem was the 945 dollars that was stolen. Once again, I filled out another affidavit. I was also instructed to get a police report in order to get my 900 dollars back. I asked where? TD somewhat rudely replied with “the police department”. Thanks, but my question was to I go here in Massachusetts (where the branch is) or in my home (New Hampshire) across state lines. They said, go to your home. Hmmm, well, I questioned if my tiny local PD has jurisdiction. They just replied.. “go there”. Okay, so I took another day off of work to mosey over to my local Police department. As I suspected, they did not want to fill out the report! So once again, TD bank had misdirected me.  However, by chance, there happened to be TD Branch in my town, and they did agree to fill out a report, after I begged them. This report is basically meaningless paperwork as no one is going to investigate a goddamn thing from New Hampshire and I don’t blame them! I gave this police report number to TD bank, and as of this posting.. still don’t have my stolen money and was instructed to (guess what), call some random 800 number . However, I am making good use of the time I am sitting on “hold” by typing up this blog post! At any rate, I have opened up a new account at another bank. This new bank seemed to think that someone had hacked into my TD bank online account and that is how they got my new bank account information. They also explained that they verify the computer used to log in and this should not happen with them (We will see!). Also, I was able to get a higher interest rate too! So in summary, I am not too happy with TD bank over these repeated incidents. It has become apparent to me, that my money being constantly stolen is just a tiny bit of overhead to them and this giant faceless corporation, with impotent local branch personnel have no concern over my time and anguish. So after 6 years of dealing with them, I am calling it a day. Good Luck TD! And to the rest of you… Watch your accounts! At least for me, TD Bank is America's most inconvenient bank!

IV Drug Users Get Priority over Veterans

I was helping someone through a tough time recently, and I found myself at Phoenix House in Tiverton Rhode Island. Phoenix House is a nonprofit substance abuse center,  that annually helps more than 3,500 individuals overcome addiction through multiple different programs.   While sitting in the waiting room, I couldn’t help but notice inside a broken picture fram was  prominently displayed sign that declared: “Priority Male Populations for State Funded Treatment” It then proceeded to list out who got priority and in what order.
  • Individuals who are HIV positive or have HIV disease.
  • IV users
  • Veterans and service men and women form the National Guard
  • Individuals who are homeless or at risk of being homeless
  • Referrals state-funded detoxification, inpatient psychiatric hospitalization and diversion/step-down units
Priority of VeteransI am glad to see that Veterans are given third place priority after HIV positive patients and IV drug users. That seems to reflect the general status of our society these days and this really needs no further comment from me.

Nanny State Concerts: Let us tell you how to have fun!

Liberal-Concert-Guide

Nanny-State Concert Instructions: Follow the rules for State prescribed fun! (Purple Text= Commentary from me)

Well, this summer I had the pleasure of attending the "Castle Hill Summer Concert Series" in Ipswich, Massachusetts (at the very heart of liberalism and nanny state mentality). This is a series of fundraising concerts hosted by the Trustees of Reservations, which is a group that preserve historic and scenic properties for public use. Although I should have expected this, upon approaching the concert I was literally besieged with ridiculous, nanny state activities. Please note that this concert was  in an open field in front of some crusty old mansion.  Firstly, I was "searched" to be certain I had no alcohol by two rent-a-cops. After being deemed "safe to enter", I was presented with a pamphlet that carefully explained how I was to enjoy an appropriate level of fun as deemed by the State of Massachusetts, the Town of Ipswich, and the Trustees (see pamphlet above). Basically, a small area was roped off for dancing.. as presumably no dancing was allowed anywhere else. Adults certainly cannot be allowed to drink alcohol... except where prescribed! The "Beer Garden" was conveniently located 300 yards from the music and all alcohol had to be consumed there... totally out of site of the band and barely within audible range. Again, more rent-a-cops patrolled this area. You could only buy two drinks at a time. So if you had three friends with you... at least two people had to go up and wait in the huge line (what is the purpose of this?). The Trustees website thoughtfully explains they have had some "excessive consumption" in the past. So of course, everyone must now suffer rather than just those that cause the incident (typical Liberal mindset). The pamphlet further explained that no smoking was allowed (again this is an open air field!) and even candles are prohibited.. certainly adults couldn't be trusted with a candle in a field.... as green grass is highly flammable. Ughh... it just makes me sick. What is next? Why don't you issue me a "People's Concert Uniform" and make me follow synchronized dance routine as mandated by the "People's Concert Enforcer" standing on a central podium. Give me a break. Seriously... what has happened to freedom in this country? At any rate, the band that was playing ("Orange Crush" and 80's cover band) was actually pretty good! I love those 80's tunes and this band did them all... great! However, due to the assaults on my intelligence and freedom... I will not be attending any further concerts from this group. However, if you enjoy being treated like an imbecile... and want a totally "G" rated concert experience without the slightest possibility of any normal concert activity... I am sure you will enjoy the Castle Hill Picnic Concert Series!

Monsanto 101: Is This Company the Devil? You Be the Judge.

Is Monsanto crushing all competition and limiting consumer information to bolster its nefarious hold on consumers? The jury is still out.....

Today's post is about our latest disgruntled consumer complaint aimed at Monsanto. Usually, when I mention Monsanto... most people say: "Who?" Monsanto is a giant, multi-national agribusiness-focused corporation that raked in 11.8 billion in revenue last year. This makes Monsanto bigger than Starbucks Coffee by a tad (11.7 billion), and more than three times the size of Facebook (3.7 billion)... yet most Americans have never heard of them. Well, they maintain a low-profile mostly selling glyphosate herbicides (aka Roundup) and genetically modified seeds... these products are well under the radar of 99.9% of American consumers even though many (if not most)  of them eat something produced by Monsanto every day. Well, at least to the hippies and organic food nuts.. Monsanto as an entity is something like  if Johnny Appleseed joined the Third Reich... That is to say Monsanto is often seen as a  huge, propaganda-driven organization, slowly and quietlly spreading its reach via agriculture.... and stamping out those it disagrees with. It gets this reputation among the earthy-crunchies of the world for a few main reasons:
  • It is a huge corporation
  • It previously (before 1977) manufactured 99% of the PCBs (a persistent organic pollutant) in the country.. and is infamous for leaving huge EPA disasters around its manufacturing plants.
  • It currently sells genetically modified seeds and actively attempts to prevent their labelling  (to avoid scaring off consumers)
  • It patents living things (most notable: Roundup Ready soybeans) and vigorously defends its patents against everyone. This tactic has become a rally cry for the "food informed" as Monsanto is infamous for crushing small farmers in court.
Now, I take a somewhat more moderate approach when dealing with Monsanto. Regarding GMO food.... well... the population of the earth is 7 billion and rising. Since I am pretty sure, we aren't going to enact any forced planned parenthood on the global scale... I am wondering how we are going to feed all these people without massive improvements in agriculture (no we aren't going to do it with the local, organic food movement no matter what Trader Joe's tells you). On the other hand... I do have issues with their activities around patenting living things (and then claiming the own all the future generations) and I too worry about GMO foods... are we sure they are safe? Really? At any rate, I recently watched the documentary "The Future of Food" (by Deborah Koons Garcia). After watching this, I really became incensed by the story surrounding Percy Schmeiser. Percy is just a regular-Joe farmer from Canada who had a compelling story. He claims that his soybean field had been contaminated along the roadside by a passing truck containing "Roundup Ready" soy. As such, some of his soybeans obtained the genetic resistance to glyphosate. Somehow (details are sketchy) Monsanto found out about this and illegally entered his land to obtain samples. At that point Monsanto sued him for royalties. Percy made a very emotional and common sense warning to farmers and all of us centering on the fact that it is now each and every farmer's job to fence OUT Monsanto contamination rather than Monsanto's job to fence it in. My heart sank when the documentary informed us that the Canadian Supreme Court.. sided with Monsanto. The documentary goes on to suggest that soon, all soybeans will be contaminated with Monsanto genes and subsequently Monsanto will slowly but surely corner the seed market and control global food supplies. Well, I decided to see what Monsanto had to say about this. I submitted a question to Monsanto via their website. They took their sweet time about answering me (a few weeks.. I would have figured they had some stock answer to these questions standing by.. but I guess not). At any rate, here is the email I sent and the correspondence received: Name - Swampy Acres Farm E-mail - webmaster@swampyacresfarm.com City - Hampstead State - NH Country - USA Message - I have seen the movie "Food Inc." and read your side of the story on your website, which answered many questions and presented another possible side of this debate. I have also recently seen a documentary entitled "The Future of Food," where (among other statements) the film makers allege that Monsanto: 1) Illegally enters farmers fields to take samples and 2) More or less states that it is the "Farmers job" to "fence out" cross contamination with your round-up ready seed. That is to say, if a farmers field accidently gets cross pollinated with your seed (the example given in the movie was that a truck drove by accidently spilling seeds), then Monsanto will come after them and destroy their seed. Can I ask for a CLEAR answer on these two allegations from your side of the story? Thanks! Dear Swampy Acres Farm, Thank you for contacting us and your inquiry.  The Future of Foods is a one-sided dramatization that presents footage and interviews with individuals fundamentally opposed to agricultural biotechnology. There is no rule or guideline that requires documentary films to be balanced or factually correct.  Some filmmakers take the approach of presenting balanced information and letting the viewer make an assessment; others are intent on convincing the viewer about a particular point of view. In the Future of Foods there is no effort to provide balance by interviewing any parties that were neutral or supportive of the science. In fact, no federal regulatory experts, academic scientists, grower organizations, government leaders, industry representatives, or farmers not opposed to the science were quoted in the film.   Regarding your questions, the allegation that Monsanto enters fields illegally is false.  As for question 2, Monsanto never had, and has committed it never will, exercise its patent rights where trace amounts of its patented seeds or traits are present in a farmer’s fields as a result of inadvertent means (such as the example of spilled seeds in your message).  If a farmer does not intend to possess, use or sell seed covered by Monsanto’s patents, Monsanto would have no intention of pursuing patent infringement.  We’ve had this commitment on our website for several years.  See http://www.monsanto.com/newsviews/Pages/commitment-farmers-patents.aspx. Hmmm, Well a subsequent internet search of independent websites seems to indicate that Percy's natural soybeans did inadvertently get "infected" with Monsanto Roundup Ready soybeans.. but Percy then selected for these seeds (of course by spraying Roundup) and then he purposefully planted his entire field with these seeds! This situation is a far cry from what "The Future of Food" tried to paint.. that being an innocent farmer persecuted by a multi-national corporation. It would appear Percy tried to pull a fast one on Monsanto and got caught. Maybe he was trying to get out on a technicality ("Hey, I was just planting my own seeds..what's the problem?). Now, I am not saying I am 100% happy with Monsanto.. nor am I saying GMO foods are safe or that Monsanto has the consumer's interest at heart (rather than profits). I guess I am saying.. be extremely careful of propaganda on both sides of the debate. To Deborah Garcia: Because of your clever editing and bending of the truth.... you really did a disservice to your documentary and your movement as a whole. Shame on you! To me, your whole message is tainted now.... To Monsanto: Maybe you won this one.. but I am watching you.... I still don't trust you.... To the earthy-crunchy, organic food nuts that are angry at this post: Well, your champion Mr. Obama.. just 7 months into his first presidency.....appointed Mike Taylor, former Monsanto Vice President as Senior Advisor to the Commissioner for the FDA. Where I am sure he is busying himself with making sure Monsanto's GMO food is safe. I certainly didn't vote for Obama.. but I bet YOU did. To all the regular Americans out there: Pay attention to what you are eating and drinking. Blissful ignorance is what both sides of this debate wish to encounter. Arm yourself with facts. Rant complete!

I am too old to go to Rush concerts

Rush Concert: Sit the F*** Down! I can't see!

I got invited to go see Rush at the TD Garden in Boston, despite my reservations I did end up going. Here is how I know I am too old to go to concerts anymore: 1) I dont want to stand and listen to Rush for three hours: Why is it people buy seats at this concert and then everyone stands? Who wants to stand for three hours to see a mediocre band like Rush? Sit Down! If everyone stands that just means short people can't see a damn thing. Also, it isn't like people are dancing or moshing... most of this crowd was in their 40's and just stood completely motionless gazing at the jumbotron. Uggh.... I am tired after working all day. I just sat down anyway after and hour and took a nap. Thank God for earplugs. 2) I brought my earplugs: Nobody under 30 brings earplugs to a concert. Thank Jesus I brought mine. Holy Christ.... Rush is making up for lacklaster songs by increasing the volume to earsplitting levels. It was so goddamn loud I could hear it through my feet as the floor vibrated. Also.. I really enjoy the indoor fireworks... nothing like a cannon going off 100 feet from your head to increase the musical enjoyment. Excedrin should have been the official sponsor. One thing nice I can say about the venue is that the event security were not overly aggressive and seemed like a good bunch, which is always a plus.

Rush concert or Florida timeshare conference?? You be the judge.

3) I don't like Rush fans: Uggh! If I have to hear one more story about how the Rush drummer is the greatest drummer or how Geddy Lee is the greatest lyricist, or how even if you don't like the music you need to appreciate it or how they have sold the third most amount of singles in 4 of the most populous provinces in Canada... I am going to vomit. I guess you really need to like this band to suffer through points 1 and 2 above... but that doesn't mean I want to hear about it. I barely like Rush.... and just because they might be technically brilliant.. doesn't make me like them anymore. What the hell do any of their lyrics mean anyway??? 4) Rush played all their new stuff. There is nothing worse than seeing a mediocre band and they play all the garbage off their new album and none of the songs you even remotely know. Actually, you know what is worse.. all their fans thinking the same thing, but then proclaiming the new stuff is actually better to keep up appearances. Admit it folks... you don't like this new crap either. 5) Geddy Lee is looking more and more like Susan B. Anthony everyday. I couldn't stop thinking about that.

Geddy Lee

Susan B. Anthony

Geddy Bee Anthony

          So with my apologies to all the Rush fans out there (especially the one that bought me the ticket).........that is why I am too old to go to Rush concerts.