#DontDiscussBusinessInPublicLikeThis

April 19, 2017

Think, for a momentDon't do it. , about the last time you were at the grocery store, a mall, or in any public setting. Did you encounter people on their cellphones and having face-to-face conversations? What did you hear in passing?

Me? I had just dropped off a prescription at the pharmacy in my local grocery store and decided to do a little shopping while it was being filled. Cart and shopping list in hand, I found myself trailing a meanderer who was more focused on her conversation than shopping. Normally, I would have zipped past her, but the aisle was crowded and she kept pausing – not to shop or compare prices. Oy, gott in himmel,[1] that would have been a blessing.

No, my friends, she stopped, every few steps, to emphasize some salient (salacious?) point. Did I mention she was on speakerphone? The subject of the conversation – words I shall never unhear – in graphically intimate detail … the tribulations with her current method of birth control, punctuated by her friend’s excruciatingly, descriptive observations and commentary.

Oh how I wished that a ‘cone of silence’[2] would drop soundly on her (or my) head.

When did we become so complacent and nonchalant about the most intimate details of our lives?

How did we lose the skill to self-censor our actions and suppress the things we say and share?

At what point did we allow technology to override our awareness of the where, when, and what of our speech and actions?

And what, you may ask, does my grocery store encounter have to do with our jobs, duties, and responsibilities as paralegals?

More than you might realize –

You’ve seen the news, reports, and posts about the impact of technology and social media on ethics and confidentiality. Perhaps you’ve read one or more ethics opinions on the subject. As paralegals, we must be mindful of the constantly changing landscape that is 21st century law and give proper consideration to the implications of those transformations within the walls of our offices – you know, the sanctum sanctorum where we adhere to the rules. We know what we should and shouldn’t do. Right?

Just in case, let’s review the rules …

We’ll start with NFPA’s Model Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibility and Guidelines for Enforcement. Ethical Considerations 1.5 sets the standard for confidentiality:

EC-1.5 (f) A paralegal shall not engage in any indiscreet communications concerning clients.

It is derived from Rule 1.6 of the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct – Confidentiality of Information. This rule defines a lawyer’s – and every paralegal’s – ethical duty to take reasonable measures to protect confidential client information from inadvertent or unauthorized disclosures. Paragraph (a) states, in part:

  • A lawyer shall not reveal information relating to the representation of a client unless the client gives informed consent …[3]

In May 2012, the ABA Commission on Ethics 20/20 submitted a Resolution and Report on Technology and Confidentiality to the ABA House of Delegates with recommendations for significant changes to the Model Rules to conform with advances in technology. Subsequently, Rule 1.6 was amended to include the following paragraph, ostensibly in consideration of the effect of technology on the practice of law and to further clarify concerns about inadvertent or unauthorized disclosure:

(c)  A lawyer shall make reasonable efforts to prevent the inadvertent or unauthorized disclosure of, or unauthorized access to, information relating to the representation of a client.

Are you taking notes?

Today, my esteemed colleagues, I’d like you to consider your role in the prevalence of inadvertent disclosure in the real world. Keep the thou shalt nots of the rules cited above in mind while you consider the ramifications and indirect consequences of your interactions once you leave the hallowed halls of your work places.

Let me share a true-life example courtesy of Jennifer Ellis, JD, a respected expert on social media and ethics.[4] On March 6, 2015, Jennifer live tweeted an entertaining, albeit unsettling, account of her observations while waiting for her car to be repaired:

  • At a car dealer. Man is talking to his employee about a third employee. #badidea
  • He is talking to a woman with the same first name as me, which caused me to notice.
  • He gave Jennifer detailed information about how to log into their bank system. I heard the name of the bank and the passcode.
  • #dontdiscussbusinessinpubliclikethis
  • He is explaining his payroll issue. It seems there is an issue with the bank.
  • He needs to pay his employees half in cash
  • I could easily figure out who this guy is, where he works and the location of his safe with money in.
  • He is confirming he has large amounts of cash in his safe.
  • Now I know where they are meeting with a large amount of cash. He even provided detailed directions
  • Now I know his full name.
  • So to recap. I know name, bank, password (I forgot that immediately alas) that Dawn is in trouble. That he is buying a property.
  • Where the property is. And that he will be carrying cash.
  • I will not give in to the temptation to look up his name. Which I will forget very soon anyway. [5]

What happened to common sense? Did he really think no one would hear his conversation? One can only hope that, 1) other customers in that waiting room also chose to ignore temptation; and 2) no one in that room knew any of the named parties.

‘Fess up. You just had a ‘have I done that?’ moment.

Put your on paralegal suit and consider a typical day at work. You’ve settled in to perform your characteristic paralegal magic, and, SCENE:

  1. You’re in the elevator with co-workers talking about opposing counsel.
  2. You’re at lunch with colleagues when the conversation turns that PITT (“Pain in the Tuchas”) client.
  3. You’re driving home from work and you call your BFF (hands-free connection, of course) to whine about your day.
  4. You’re in line somewhere, phone in hand, checking office email or texting a colleague.
  5. You’re at the park on the phone discussing trial details with your supervising attorney.
  6. You’re on the train, a plane, or in some very public waiting area working on your tablet or laptop.
  7. You’re at a professional event comparing war stories.
  8. You’ve posted a hypothetical to an online forum on Facebook, LinkedIn, an ‘old school’ listserv, or discussion board.

If you’re first thought is, ‘she can’t be serious’. You’re wrong.

Remember EC 1.5 (f)? “A paralegal shall not engage in any indiscreet communications concerning clients.” [emphasis added]

What about Rule 1.6 (a) and (c)? For additional insight and guidance, we look to the comments to Rule 1.6, specifically as they apply to paragraphs (a) and (c).[6]

Comment 4 expands the application of Paragraph (a) – the rule that ‘prohibits a lawyer from revealing information relating to the representation of a client.’ According to Comment 4:

This prohibition also applies to disclosures by a lawyer that do not in themselves reveal protected information but could reasonably lead to the discovery of such information by a third person. A lawyer’s use of a hypothetical to discuss issues relating to the representation is permissible so long as there is no reasonable likelihood that the listener will be able to ascertain the identity of the client or the situation involved. [emphasis added]

Comment 18 elaborates on Paragraph (c)’s requirement that ‘a lawyer make reasonable efforts to prevent the inadvertent or unauthorized disclosure of, or unauthorized access to, information relating to the representation of a client.’ In significant part, Comment 18 explains that a lawyer is required:

… to act competently to safeguard information relating to the representation of a client against unauthorized access by third parties and against inadvertent or unauthorized disclosure by the lawyer or other persons who are participating in the representation of the client or who are subject to the lawyer’s supervision. See Rules 1.1, 5.1 and 5.3.  …  Whether a lawyer may be required to take additional steps to safeguard a client’s information in order to comply with other law, such as state and federal laws that govern data privacy or that impose notification requirements upon the loss of, or unauthorized access to, electronic information, is beyond the scope of these Rules … [emphasis added]

In short, we’re bound by the rules to be discreet to avoid inadvertent or unauthorized disclosure. Although the rules seem to place more emphasis on electronic mishaps and that which occurs within the office, I submit that rules extend to the spoken word and the manner in which we conduct ourselves outside the office … at all times.

  1. With the rules in mind – what considerations should have been made regarding the above scenarios?
    1. ‘The elevator’ – Were you the only occupants at the time? Did someone board the elevator while you were in mid-conversation? Is there a chance that OC or the other party has offices in your building and someone overheard your conversation? How much did you say and in what context? From an alternative perspective, you’re alone on the elevator when some attorneys from another firm, in the midst of a heated discussion about a settlement agreement, join you. As far as they’re concerned, you’re invisible.
    2. “At lunch” – Who can hear you? If you think the answer is, ‘It was noisy, no one could hear us.’ You’re wrong. You heard each other, didn’t you? How specific were your comments? Did you name names or other details about the case?
    3. “Driving home” – Granted, you’re alone in your car and your BFF doesn’t even work in a law related industry. How could there be an issue? Did you rant about a colleague or client, or discuss the details of a file you’re working on?
    4. “In line” – I bet you’re thinking, it’s a tiny screen. Who would take the time or energy to read over my shoulder? Does it really matter? A friend recently told me she’d been able to clearly see some random guy’s entire text conversation while she was sitting inside a coffee shop and he was sitting outside merrily texting along.
    5. “At the park” – Who was around you? Did it occur to you to mention where you were or suggest that you would call back when you were in a more secure location? How detailed was your conversation?
    6. “On the train …” – Was it a secure Wi-Fi connection? What about your screen? Could anyone look over your shoulder and read that pleading your drafting? Maybe it’s time to invest in a VPN and privacy screen protector.
    7. “At a professional event” – This one should be obvious. The attendees are about as diverse a group as you can get and you’re in public (semi-private doesn’t count). Unless you’re speaking in Enigma level code, it’s likely you’re unintentionally giving away the proverbial farm.
    8. “Posting to a forum” – How often have you read and responded to questions posted by other paralegals requesting information or clarification on a situation? Or perhaps you’ve posted your own query – how well disguised was your hypothetical? Did you take time to consider that someone from the other side might be a member of the group – lurking in the background? Did you disclose information by way of an innocent inquiry? Did you commit UPL??

These things happen every day and we often let them pass without a second thought.

How much identifiable or confidential information have you inadvertently disclosed?

This is no joking matter!

Think before you speak, type, text, send, post …

 Reprinted by permission from The National Federation of Paralegal, Associations, Inc., www.paralegals.org.


[1] Loosely translated from German as “good heavens”

[2] Get Smart (TV Series 1965–1970)

[3] Rule 1.0(e) “Informed consent” denotes the agreement by a person to a proposed course of conduct after the lawyer has communicated adequate information and explanation about the material risks of and reasonably available alternatives to the proposed course of conduct.”

[4] http://www.jlellis.net/blog/ – @jle_jd

[5] I have redacted a significant number of posts from the original, 1-hour feed.

[6] Model Rules of Professional Conduct Comment on Rule 1.6, http://www.americanbar.org/groups/professional_responsibility/publications/model_rules_of_professional_conduct/rule_1_6_confidentiality_of_information/comment_on_rule_1_6.htm

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(Some) Bankruptcy Rules, Forms & Fees, They are a Changin’

December 1, 2016

When you’ve been doing this as long as I have (no age jokes, thank you very kindly), then you know year-end changes and effective dates are inevitable – 

EFFECTIVE TODAY – December 1, 2016
exclamation pointNew Bankruptcy Rules, Fees, & Forms

The Powers-on-High have blessed the implementation of new bankruptcy rules, fees, & forms.

What does this mean for you? Well, there’s a chance the documents you prepared yesterday, but haven’t filed yet, may need to be updated before you file.

Here’s the scoop: 10 amended bankruptcy rules, a new Rule 1012, a slew of bankruptcy fee increases, and 3 new forms.

Amended Bankruptcy Rules:

  • 1010. Service of Involuntary Petition and Summons
  • 1011. Responsive Pleading or Motion in Involuntary
  • 2002. Notices to Creditors, Equity Security Holders, Administrators in Foreign Proceedings, Persons Against Whom Provisional Relief is Sought in Ancillary and Other Cross-Border Cases, United States, and United States Trustee
  • 3002.1. Notice Relating to Claims Secured by Security Interest in the Debtor’s Principal Residence

Amended to clarify when secured creditors must file a Payment Change Notice (“PCN”) in a Chapter 13 on all claims secured by the debtor’s primary residence for which the debtor or Chapter 13 Trustee is making post-petition payments during the bankruptcy and that the PCN requirement ceases once the creditor obtains relief from stay, unless otherwise ordered by the court.

  • 7008. General Rules of Pleading
  • 7012. Defenses and Objections – When and How Presented – By Pleading or Motion – Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings
  • 7016. Pre-trial Procedures
  • 9006. Computing and Extending Time: Time for Motion Papers

Revised three-day rule – No extension of time when service is made electronically.  (See also revised Bankruptcy Rule 9006(f), Appellant Rule 26(c), and Civil Rule 6(d))

(f) ADDITIONAL TIME AFTER SERVICE BY MAIL OR UNDER RULE 5(b)(2)(D), (E), OR (F) F.R.CIV.P.  When there is a right or requirement to act or undertake some proceedings within a prescribed period after service being served and that service is by mail or under Rule 5(b)(2)(D) (leaving with the clerk), (E), or (F) (other means consented to) F.R.Civ.P., three days are added after the prescribed period would otherwise expire under Rule 9006(a).

  • 9027. Removal
  • 9033. Proposed Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law

New Bankruptcy Rule:

  • 1012. Responsive Pleading in Cross-Border Cases

Filing Fees:

New Petitions:
Chapter 7 $335.00
Chapter 9 $1,717.00
Chapter 11 $1,717.00
Chapter 12 (Family Farmer) $275.00
Chapter 13 $310.00
Chapter 15 $1,717.00
Case Reopening:2
Chapter 7 $260.00
Chapter 9 $1,167.00
Chapter 11 $1,167.00
Chapter 12 $200.00
Chapter 13 $235.00
Chapter 15 $1,167.00
Case Conversions:
Chapter 7 to Chapter 13 None
Chapter 7 to Chapter 11 $922.00
Chapter 11 to Chapter 7 $15.00
Chapter 12 to Chapter 7 $60.00
Chapter 13 to Chapter 11 $932.00
Chapter 13 to Chapter 7 $25.00
Amendments:
Schedules D or E/F $31.00
Master Mailing List (exceptions listed in “Miscellaneous Fee Schedule”) $31.00
Motion to:
Compel Abandonment of Property $181.00
Terminate, Annul, Modify, or Condition of the Automatic Stay $181.00
Withdraw Reference $181.00
Sell Property of the Estate Free & Clear of Liens under 11 U.S.C. §363(f) $181.00
Redact previously filed documents in a bankruptcy case $25.00
Other:
Abstract of Judgment $9.00
Appeal* $298.00
Certification $11.00
Claims Transfer $25.00
Complaint (Adversary Proceeding) $350.00
Cross-Appeal* $298.00
Exemplification $22.00
Filing or Indexing of Miscellaneous Paper $47.00
Issuance of Out of District Subpoena $46.00
Photocopies Made by Court Personnel (per page) $0.50
Printed Copies from Courthouse Public Terminal (per page) $0.10
Registration of Judgment from Another District $46.00
Reproduction of Audio Recording (regardless of the medium) $31.00
Retrieval of Records from NARA (first box) $64.00
Retrieval Involving Multiple Boxes of NARA Records (each additional box) $39.00
Retrieval of Records from NARA via Smart Scan plus .65 per page $19.95
Returned Fee Charge (e.g., insufficient funds, disputed charges) $53.00
Search of Court Records (each name/item searched) $31.00
1 Issued in accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 1930(b) and FRBP 1006.
2 The Court collects the fee unless a party files a complaint to obtain a determination under Rule 4007(b); or when a debtor files a motion to reopen a case based on alleged violation of the terms of the discharge under 11 U.S.C. § 524; or whether the reopening is to correct an administrative error.
* If the Court of Appeals authorizes a direct appeal, or direct cross appeal, an additional fee of $207.00 will be collected by the bankruptcy clerk.

Miscellaneous Fees:

Motion to terminate, annul, modify or condition the automatic stay $181.00
Motion to compel the abandonment of property of the estate $181.00
Motion to withdraw the reference of a cases or proceeding $181.00
Motion to sell property of the estate free and clear of liens under 11 U.S.C. § 362(f) $181.00
Exemplification of any document $22.00
Reproduction of an audio recording of a court proceeding $31.00
Amending debtor’s schedule of creditors, list of creditors, or mailing list $31.00
Conducting a search of the bankruptcy court records $31.00
Filing any document that is not related to a pending case or proceeding $47.00

Official Forms

Amended to conform  with the Forms Modernization Project and to change the phrase “mail” to “send”.

Part 1 Instructions amended for clarification, adding the following language:“If the court has previously approved an amount, indicate that approval in parentheses after the date the amount was incurred.”

Don’t forget to check your local rules and forms for changes!

Happy filing 🙂

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StarrParalegals’ October Schedule

September 27, 2016

I can’t believe September is almost over. Where has the time gone? School has started, the leaves are changing color, and Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, is barely a week away.

To honor our commitment to Torah and our clients, we are providing our holiday schedule.  In addition to our regularly scheduled Shabbas shutdowns, StarrParalegals will be closed (we go completely ‘dark’) the following dates/times in observance of the High Holy Day season:

2016-sched

To offset our holiday closings, we will work outside our normally scheduled hours (within reason) to complete your assignments – keep sending those projects! We’re still in the business of making your jobs easier.

Help us help you – take a moment to review your calendar for any impending deadlines between now and the end of October. Please send us your to-do list so we can modify our schedule.

Please note: Our holiday observances, including Shabbas, begin just before sundown the evening before (“erev”) the calendar date and end after sundown on their final day. This year, most of the holidays ‘come in’ on Sunday evenings. Therefore, we made the decision to remain closed for the hours between the end of Shabbas and the beginning of the holiday (Sundays). If you require our services on any of those Sundays, please let us know soonest. Our normal weekend rates will apply.

Thank you for your understanding and patience. As always, we appreciate you and your business.

Shana tova u’metuka! May you have a sweet and prosperous new year!

Pamela

Pamela J. Starr, CBA, J.S.M., MATD
CEO & Paralegal Extraordinaire 

StarrParalegals, LLC
Virtual Paralegal Experts in all things Bankruptcy & more
Office: 404.317.0129 

pjstarr@starrparalegals.com  |  www.StarrParalegals.com
www.SessionsWithaStarr.com | www.PamelaTheParalegal.com

     NFPA Ethics Board Chair / NFPA – The Leader of the Paralegal Profession®

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NOTICE: STARRParalegals is NOT a law firm; our practice is limited to working with licensed attorneys.

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As 5776 Draws to a Close

September 27, 2016

It’s that time of year … time to reflect, repent, forgive, and rejoice.to those I may have wronged

In these days before the High Holy Days, I ask your forgiveness and understanding and I pray that the coming year is one of peace, prosperity, health, and joy.

As I look back at 5775 (2015) and the past year, 5776, I am humbled by the kindness and generosity of strangers and friends – near and far – throughout the ordeals now known as the Memorial Day and Tax Day Floods (Houston). I am grateful that my mother is healthy. back in her home, teaching, traveling, and doing all the things than make her happy. B”H

I count my family (yes, that includes Sulu & Uhura 😉 ), friends, colleagues, and clients among my blessings. May you all be blessed.

G’mar chatima tova.

Omayn, v’omayn.

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Computer Twilight Zone

July 7, 2016
upsidedown
 What new hell is this??

I was happily composing a response to a client when, flicker … flip.

That’s right, FLIP!

My laptop display reappeared upside-down and backward, as if it had entered a da Vinci twilight zone.

  • Coffee … check.
  • Ground below, sky above … check

Don’t Panic!!

I hadn’t, to my knowledge, encountered a wormhole or stepped through a looking glass. And, no, the laptop shouldn’t have a rotating display. It’s a basic, 6 lb., sits on my desk, no touchscreen, laptop.

I picked up my netbook, turned it on, – breathed a huge sigh of relief when it opened in normal, landscape orientation – and Googled, ‘WTF? My laptop display is upside-down!

Alrighty then. According to the brain trusts at several fora, including HP and Microsoft, it’s a simple fix: Ctrl + Alt + up arrow.

Easier said than done! Have you ever tried to drive your mouse or use a touchpad in a carnival fun house? It was all catawampus!

I figured since I’m already left-handed and dyslexic, it would be easy(ish) to do. I failed to figure in that, although I write with my left hand, I use a mouse like a ‘normal’ right-handed person.

My poor, addled brain couldn’t quite master the inversion-conversion required to mouse upside-down and backward.

No worries; I’ve got this.

I picked up and flipped the laptop. Now the keyboard was upright and facing me and the display was on the desk.

Ctrl + Alt + up arrow. Flicker. Fixed.

NOT!

I was back in da Vinci land as soon as I clicked the mouse.

Back to the netbook. Oh, look, there’s a whole series of ‘thanks for nothing; it flipped back’ posts.

Well, isn’t that special?!?!

New fix:

  • Control Panel
  • Display Resolution
  • Landscape (not flipped)
  • Uncheck ‘Auto Rotate’
  • Apply
  • Pray

So far, so good. Still, it would be nice to know WTH happened in the first place!

And back to work I happily plod.

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Not Everything Your Read on Facebook is True

July 5, 2016

Reality check …

myth factEven if there were ANY truth to the recurring rumors (that’s right myths, BS, blatant nonsense) about Facebook  ‘going public’ or ‘charging for access’, or my all time favorite, that social media users have some right to protection under UCC-anything, do you honestly believe Facebook would be monitoring your pages for posts in which you attempt to invoke rights that you signed away as soon as you created your Facebook account???

Want to know more? Read my posts from November 2012:

Buy a clue people!!!

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#Sears Customer Disservice

July 3, 2016

In mid-June, I purchased a dishwasher and range from #SearsOutlet.com and a washer/dryer from #Sears.com.

It’s July 3rd and I’ve been in HELL for 3 days.

Apparently, there is no one stateside to handle ANY issues to do with #SearsOutlet.com, and far too few offshore call center people willing to release control of calls to US reps on the #Sears.com side.

Let’s start with #SearsOutlet.com … BEFORE committing to the purchase, I called customer disservice at 1-800-KillMeNow, TWICE about installation & haul away. In BOTH calls – placed on different days – I was ASSURED installation & haul away were included.

Yes, I verified that I was speaking with #SearsOutlet.com and asked whether delivery (and the, now confirmed, installation/haul away) charges were per item or location. I was told that if both items came from the same store, the fee would be split.

Thrilled with that bit of news – and no need to hire a contractor to uninstall/remove/haul away/install my dishwasher and range – I completed my purchase. According to the confirmation email, the delivery fee had been split (ergo, same store).

Two days later, I received the delivery scheduling call. The initial delivery date – more than a week away – conflicted with my schedule. I asked why so far out and was told the location only delivered on Fridays. Frustrated, I took a date another week out (July 1, 2016) and juggled my appointments.

I received a robocall the night before with the 2-hour window (8:00 am – 10:00 am). Well, the window closed with nary a peep. I had no recourse but to call 1-800-KillMeNow. It took over TWO hours of numerous transfers and interminable holds to connect with someone with a modicum of a clue. One reason for so many transfers was that the agents kept insisting I’d purchased only ONE item and it ‘was scheduled to be delivered’ that day. Dishwasher AND range EQUAL TWO ITEMS!!!

The customer disservice agent transferred me to the store manager. I was left on hold for 45 minutes during which I tried reaching the store directly from my cell phone. Despite the horrendous phone issues at the store, the store manager was incredibly patient and helpful. She confirmed “my” range was in the store (yes, marked sold to me) but that no delivery had ever been scheduled AND she had NO RECORD of my dishwasher!!

I pulled up the confirmation email and gave her the order/sales check numbers … nope, nothing! I emailed her my copy. Again, nothing. Oh, and HER store only delivers on Saturdays!! I admitted my confusion because I’d been told the store only delivers on Fridays!

She contacted her delivery driver and arranged for my range to be delivered Saturday. In the meantime, she checked her stock, found ‘my’ dishwasher, and offered, if my actual order could not be found, to send it along. She kept digging and I kept fuming – I’d now given almost 4 hours of my life to this crap.

While I waited to hear back, I received a call from a driver ‘with my delivery’. What delivery? ‘Your dishwasher, ma’am.’ I asked if they were coming from the Marietta store (because, I’d ordered BOTH items from the Marietta location), they said no.

Curiouser & curioser!

A few minutes later the store manager called back – she’d turned over every stone she could find and came up empty. I told her about the call and we laughed in disbelief. She asked me to call after delivery to confirm I’d received the dishwasher.

They arrived with the dishwasher and summarily dumped it, box and all, in the middle of my kitchen floor.

WHOA!  What about installation & takeaway??

Oh, no um, we just deliver. UGH!! That’s not what I signed up for!!! Frustrated, I checked the box … it was the WRONG dishwasher! They sent stainless; I ordered white! I refused delivery and sent them on their merry way.

I emailed the store manager while calling the KillMeNow number to resolve (it is to laugh) the installation & takeaway issue and make sure I didn’t get charged twice for a dishwasher.

Another TWO hours shot to hell!

Customer disservice lived up to its reputation … a lot of doublespeak punctuated by “Okay!” – to the extent that it made my teeth hurt – including a transfer (finally) to a US-based agent who told me to ‘be concise because [he] didn’t have time for long stories’ and subsequently hung up on me when I responded, out of justifiable frustration, ‘Well, aren’t you special.”

Meanwhile, the store manager called me back and I could hear her shaking her head disbelief. We decided it would be best to accept delivery from her store and ask the delivery folk if they’d complete the installation. As a courtesy, she said she’d include the parts for installation.

During the entirety of that call, I was on hold with the brain trust at KillMeNow.

I finally got to a mostly helpful agent and described the tsuris of the day, including the installation problem. She was appalled that I’d been so thoroughly misinformed, offered me a ‘for your trouble’ credit, and transferred me (again, hold-hell) to the #SearsOutlet.com delivery & installation people. They quoted me the (oh, so reasonable <sarcasm>) price of $379.99 for installation and takeaway … almost HALF the cost of my purchase!!

Thank you, no!

Seriously, why would I voluntarily put myself in this hell when I could have easily avoided the additional cost and loss of brain cells with a few calls to friends and a local contractor??

They delivered the dishwasher and range – they installed the range, but my dishwasher is still boxed up in my garage. I contend that #Sears should send someone over – at their cost, NOT mine – to install the dishwasher and remove the old one.

But wait!! There’s more!

I reviewed the confirmation emails for my #Sears.com purchases and discovered a glaring discrepancy that could very well lead to a class action against #Sears!

On the same day as the #SearsOutlet.com purchases. I purchased (in two separate transactions) a washer and dryer. Several coupons, discounts, and free shipping/installation applied to each purchase with the option for haul away at $25/item.

Problem?

The numbers on the confirmation email send by #Sears don’t add up. I did the math independently for each purchase and it would appear that I was charged for delivery. Naturally, I called #Sears credit to dispute the discrepancy and was transferred to a ‘manager’ at #Sears.com in NOT the USA!!

I have just spent another TWO hours being told that I am incapable of reading a cost breakdown and that they will happily send me a ‘corrected’ confirmation IN THEIR FAVOR.

Here is the breakdown for the washer … you do the math!

summary

By my calculations, BASED ON INFORMATION GENERATED BY #SEARS, I have been overcharged by $69.99. The same math and overcharge applies to the dryer.

Mind you, these numbers come directly from the confirmation email. The so-called supervisor at customer disservice spent TWO hours trying to convince me that the email I have in my pretty little hands is wrong …

Are you kidding me??

There are so many things wrong with the treatment I’ve received by what #Sears considers to be customer care. I’ve been misinformed at several levels, wasted valuable time, killed off needed brain cells, and been overcharged as a result of creative accounting.

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Things That Make My Work Easier

June 2, 2016

In May 2014, I posted a review of one of the best tools to ever cross my desk – WordRake. I meant to post an updated review in May 2015, but … the Texas floods happened.

You’re asking, what it this WordRake of which you speak?

It’s a software add-in for Microsoft Word and Outlook that acts as an ‘in-line editor designed for professional business writing.’

“WordRake is designed to edit documents and emails to remove useless phrases and words, making your documents and emails clear and concise.” Take the sentence below. The original was composed in perfect legalese, but the raked version is much easier to read and presents a stronger argument.2016-06-02_15-19-21

I write a lot – pleadings, memoranda, correspondence, and more for my clients; magazine articles; my blog; training materials; and homework*. After a week of ‘raking’, I discovered I use ‘that’ a lot more than necessary. WordRake clarified my thoughts without changing my voice.

It’s so easy to use – highlight and rake. Within a minute or so, WordRake scans the document and provides suggested edits. All that’s left is to review the suggestions and decide whether to accept or reject them. I am still surprised by how much unnecessary and cumbersome language it finds in my writing. Bottom line, WordRake continues to make me a better writer.

Click below to see WordRake in action:

Sign up for a free trial today (no credit card required). You’ll be hooked.

* I finally graduated!! On May 13, 2016, I earned the right to add MATD (Master of Arts in Training & Development) to my credentials.

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Makes Sense to Me

May 18, 2016

I’ve always known there was a correlation …

Idiots cause stress. Stress causes depression. Depression causes physical ailments. Conclusion: Stupid people make me sick.

www.facebook.com/ShutUpImStillTalking/

 

 

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banging.head.on.desk.

April 26, 2016

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The phone rings … intelligent sounding idjit just wants to ask me a quick question. Ugh!! I give my standard response – ‘… we only work with attorneys …’.

Idjit replies, ‘ … but it’s just a question. Is there someone there that can answer a question for me? I don’t want to have to have to pay anyone for a consultation or anything …”

ARE YOU FARKING KIDDING ME??!!

‘Sir, that’s how we make our living’ <he cuts me off> “No. You make your living in court.’

I repeat,  ARE YOU FARKING KIDDING ME??!!

“I don’t make my living in court. I make my living by providing paralegal support TO ATTORNEYS, not the public. I answer questions from attorneys. I’m a PARALEGAL. I don’t answer questions from the public because they are usually questions of law and I’M NOT LICENSED TO PRACTICE LAW.”

Idjit: “Well, I know laws are different for paralegals in different states …”

I visualize a thought bubble over my head:

1. You’re calling from Georgia.
2. I’m in Georgia.
3. Georgia limits the services paralegals provide to the public.
4. IDJIT!

“Sir, paralegals are NEVER licensed to practice law. Attorneys go to law school and pass the bar so they can answer legal questions and give legal advice. I didn’t go to law school or take the bar and I choose to provide my services to attorneys that PAY ME for my time and expertise.”

Idjit: ‘Oh, uh, but …’

“Now you want me to violate my principles and possibly break the law AND you want me to do it for free?!?!? Would you call a random doctor or nurse to ask a medical question and not expect pay for their services?”

Idjit: ‘Yeah, because the hospital and insurance companies pay them …’

Oy! For the love of …
<I’ve now successfully burned 1000 calories>

The rest of the conversation is a blur … I think he broke my brain.

 

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