Friday, February 26, 2010

Budget Car Rental Scam Exposed!!!

Over at the blog at AskMrCreditCard, I have been digging into a scam involving Budget rental car.

Budget Rent A Car Gives Out Your Credit Card Number To Scammers

More On Negative Option Billing and Preaquired Account Marketing

Here is the short story.   You rent a car from Budget.   Over six months later you get a "check" that stipulates that when you cash it you get charged a monthly fee to "your credit card on file with Budget".

The problem is, you never authorized Budget to keep your card on file, and as I will write today, Budget can't even tell you which card you have on file, let alone how to get it off their files.

What you are getting is one, two punch of two notorious scams, negative option billing and preaquired account marketing.   Each by itself is unscrupulous, and together they are extra devious.  
Needless to say, these scammers have a checkered reputation, yet they are clearly still in operation via Budget and Your Credit Card Company!

Be sure to read the blog as I unravel this further....

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Shmolympic Season Again

It used to be the world had to suffer through the Olympics every four  years, now it haunts us every two years.   Fourteen years ago, I worked for the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta and I witnessed from an insider's perspective all of the ineptitude and corruption that made me despise this mega-corporation masquerading as some kind of a "sports movement".

This year is no different.  In the run up to the games, they have again demonstrated incredible abuse of copyright and trademark laws, documented here.   Next, we saw their callous attitude towards the death of one of their athletes, an Olympic tradition since 1972.   Not to mention all of their technical failures or their rampant environmental hypocrisy.

Let's face it, the Olympics is a traveling circus that leaves financial ruin in it's wake. It is the worst example of corrupt crony capitalism.   Even the television coverage is a sap filled nonsense.  I want to puke when I hear the NBC affiliates covering the Olympics during the news like it is the top story of the day.

For more of my observations on the Shmolympics, read here.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

What Is The Right Stuff?

Other than my favorite movie of all time, The Right Stuff is that which separates the ordinary pilots from the extraordinary ones.    This is especially true when it comes to the most critical moment in a pilot's life, when a split second decision means the difference between life and death.

In the past I have written about the "Miracle on the Hudson" and expressed my opinion that it was not Sully's superior airplane handling skills that saved the passengers and crew of flight 1549, it was his brave and timely decision to attempt a landing in the Hudson river.

A year later, my thoughts have been echoed over at FlightGlobal in regards to this incident as well as a very similar crash, British Airways flight 38.   Kieran Daly writes this week that the British Airways pilot's "achievement, like Sully Sullenberger´s in New York, was to make the tough decision. Plenty - probably the great majority - of pilots could have landed on the Hudson and made it over the fence to Heathrow - but not all would have taken the decision to opt for the river over a distant but tempting runway.."

On the other hand, you have "The Wrong Stuff" in the news this week as well.   I have also explored the possible causes of crash of Continental flight 3047.   In the immediate aftermath of the accident, it appeared that icing was a likely suspect.    The truth that has been revealed lately is far more shocking.     Both the pilot and the co-pilot displayed a lack of basic airmanship that would be expected of any candidate for a pilot's license.    The pilots failed to recover from a stall, an exercise that I have taught thousands of times to student pilots on one of their first few flights.

In defense of the pilots they were incredibly fatigued and poorly trained, as pointed out in this PBS Frontline documentary that aired this week.  I encourage you watch it online in it's entirety.

I found the report surprising, even as I know regional pilots and was even once offered a job as a pilot for a regional airline.    Many of the issues explored in this report directly relate to my decision not to pursue a career as an airline pilot.