A little more information

The two main activities in my life: Helping the hungry in the late hours of the night and helping guitar players sound better one amp at a time.

I always try to remember that in order to do good one has to take action and actually do something.

I was born and raised in Los Angeles. I have watched the city and Southern California change for well over half a century.

I can be found on facebook at www.facebook.com/mylesr or on twitter at www.twitter.com/myles111us

As of late 2019 the music related links and prints noted on this page which had their links to by GAB (Guitar Amplifier Blueprinting) website are no longer accessible. I grew weary of updating my GAB website and let it go away. You can contact me on Facebook. Saunders Stewart Models continues full operation but we are not accepting new clients without a referral.

Los Angeles Architectural History

Los Angeles Architectural History
1935 Art Deco at some of its finest: No. 168 - Griffith Observatory- (click on the photo for information)

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

FrogLube - does it just work?

Many folks reading this are aware of the testing I have done on vacuum tubes and the claims of cryogenic testing.  I have published reports on many things, based on scientific testing using scientific equipment based on my decades of QA / QC experience and held to ISO 9000 standards. which means the tests are documented and repeatable.

Click on "read more" to continue

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Is it the law or your perception?

Many think that some of the laws in California and/or the City of Los Angeles are somewhat restrictive.  This is far from true.  It is usually the perspective of the individual that guides them in the wrong direction, which is of course, the hope of the government.

The other night I was in Hollywood where I was talking to two Sheriffs next to where selfie sticks were being sold.  I commented.  "Self protection batons are not legal"? Thankfully the large size, the selfie stick is legal?  They did not disagree and found my commentary amusing.  So .... I continued my train of though over the next few days.

Click on "read more" to continue

Monday, February 23, 2015

Wells Fargo Fails

How many Wells Fargo departments and employees does it take to attempt to rectify a $1000 mistake made by them?   I don't know.  The problem is not yet resolved and I am still counting people, departments, and days since the problem occurred.

On February 12, 2015 I discovered that a lot of money was removed from my account.  

This was not an instance of identity theft.  This was not fraud.  What this turned out to be was that a teller at a Wells branch in Houston Texas typed my account number off a sloppy customer withdrawal slip.  Did the teller check the ID of the person she handed my money over to?  Nope.  Did she look at the person and ask why their address was in Houston when the account was not even in the state of Texas?  Nope.

In the process of trying to get this resolved, which is still not the case, I talked to many people in many departments.  The overall service was about as bad as service can get.  

This morning on February 23 I talked to Wanda.  She assured me somebody would call me back. That has not happened.  I am now working with the folks on Twitter.  My confidence level is pretty low.

On 2/12 I talked to Bradon at 0935pst.  He gave me a reference ID that never did work and when I escalated the problem I was given a new number.  He was somewhat helpful but did not win any awards in my book.

Over the last two weeks I have talked to Alyssa in PA, Kenneth Hudson, Charolette (the worst of any of them), Kat (one of the supervisors), Pricilla, who gave me a claim reference number that finally worked, Patrick, Maribel (the Houston Asst. Branch Manager who did help me in one of the aspects of the problem), and today ( 2/23/15 at 9:35am PST) I spoke to Wanda who told me somebody would call me back.  I have not received a call back as a side note.  The only calls back today have been from Wells Fargo Social Media folks who called me after I complained on Twitter.  By the way, the two folks who have called me via Twitter have been useless at best and ineptly unprofessional for the most part.

Bottom line ...  When a bank can take money out of your account in seconds by mistake I think that it is only fair for them to resolve the issue in moments.  As I said, this was an error on their part and as of this moment it has not been fully resolved.

Shame on you Wells Fargo.  As the say in the world of social media ..... #FAIL 

2/23 1:07pm PST Update:  I was just called by Angela from Wells Fargo.  She had no information on my problem and no information on me.  She wanted my full account number and SSN.  I asked if she was empowered to actually resolve my problem, that is, can she access my account.  She said no, and would pass me along to somebody else.  I explained that her intended action had been done countless times already and she has been nothing more than a call to attempt to appease me from my point of view.  I asked her to pass my issue along to a somebody who could actually perform an action.

At this point it is clear that the Wells Fargo customer service organization is little more than a roadblock between a problem and it's resolution.  Too many people, too many departments, nobody empowered to do anything other than pass a customer on to somebody else, VERY slow claim response, and a lack of communication between departments, people and resources.

I will continue to update this if and when there are changes or additional actions taken.

2/23/15 4:42pm PST

Wells Fargo Social Media called me at 3:40pm PST.  Ivan Cathus left a message for me to call him back.  I called back at 4:30pm PST as I had been driving and do not call talk on the phone while in motion.  Ivan was not there.  My call was picked up by Marisol who informed me that Ivan is not in the office.

Marisol wanted all the same information all over again.  Rather than go through this insane process yet again I asked her straight out .... If you verify my account information do you have the ability, tools, and authorization to make changes to the balance in my account?  She said she did not.  She would need to refer me to somebody else.  I was left thinking .... are these folks clueless, incompetent, totally untrained, liars (I was told by Angela that somebody who could actually help would call me), or just plain stupid?

This blog piece was created on 2/23/15 at 11:03am PST.  At this point in time 2,473 people have read this piece.  As of 7:00pm PST there have been 5,433 reads of this piece.  Thanks to many of you on Twitter for the RT.

Update as of 3/9/2015

Well, I did not put this piece into my distribution mechanism but it still managed to receive 11,609 reads as of today.

This will probably be my last entry as it looks like my balance is finally correct once again as of today with the last account adjustment.  Now, as long as things stay the way they are now, I can put this behind me.  Almost a month for Wells Fargo to resolve this problem.  By the way, those folks that promised to call me?  Never happened.

July 21, 2016

Here we go again.  Horrid customer service.  A problem that will not go away.  Another instance of a financial institution hanging on to your money to inflate their reported daily balance to the government.  Basically, fraud, but this is addressed to their customer service.

On July 17, 2016, I ate at the Hamburger Hamlet restaurant in Van Nuys California.  My credit card was accidentally charged for the meal at another table.  The mistake was caught by our server and she brought me a voided receipt for the charge, a charge which I did not sign.  My proper charge was applied to my credit card.

A few days later my correct charge cleared but the voided charge still remained in what the bank calls "pending transactions".  This is sort of a limbo area where the bank ties up your money.  It is not subtracted from your actual balance but it IS subtracted from your available balance.  You do not have access to your money.

When this did not come off my information I called the bank.  Well, to be more accurate, over the next four days I called the bank, their credit card services, their customer service numbers, talked to folks in the Philippines and all over the place.  Seven different people in all, each no help, each providing different information, each telling me I need to call somebody else.  The manager at Hamburger Hamlet also got involved to help.  They gave him a number to call where he and I needed to call them at that number to resolve the problem.  We called.  I was told to call somebody else.

At one point I was offered the option to "dispute the charge".  I explained there was no charge.  It was a pending transaction.  I asked how long it would take to clear the pending transaction via a dispute. I was told it would take up to sixty days.  I declined to take that option.

So, to you folks at Wells Fargo, it has been an experience being a customer of yours for over three decades.  I will be heading down the road to Logix.  You folks have some of the worst customer service in the business, and that includes additional social media contact experience that are not even added to the count of worthless individuals.

Update 7/22/2016 10:00pst

I have just returned from a face to face meeting with David Petrosyan, Branch Manager / Vice President, of the Burbank San Fernando Blvd Wells Fargo office.

He was no help.  He called other folks, and they too, came up with different stories.  In the end I was told that it would be at least two weeks before the voided charge came off my account.

David blamed Hamburger Hamlet.  David blamed Visa.  David pointed the finger everywhere else.  It was clear from the conversation he had with other Wells Fargo folks that he did not understand the processes at all.

I explained that my issue had nothing to do with the banking industry.  It was an issue with Wells Fargo customer service which included him.  A dozen different stories over less than a week with a dozen different people.  Nothing resolved.

I will be tracking how long this takes to reach resolution.  I guess it's in "the cloud" now, far beyond the reach or explanations of Wells Fargo Customer Service (at any level).

As of 7/22/2016 10:30am pst, the transaction and hold on my account remains.
It's a sad day when the VP / Branch Manager, blames everybody else for bad customer service and does nothing to resolve the issue.  What is that old phrase about promoting people to a level of incompetence?  Great example here.  No people skills, not able to do anything other than blame others and is not empowered to do anything to help.
At 11;14am pst I talked for 14 minutes to Wells Fargo corporate who called me.  Guess what?  She did nothing, was not able to help, and told me to wait at least two weeks for resolution.

August 13, 2016

A new issue.  A different subject.  Well, maybe not different as it directly points out more issues of poor customer service by Wells Fargo related to a different incident.

Earlier this week I was in a Wells Fargo branch office, actually, the same one on the card in the earlier post above.  I was there with some other folks and was waiting as they carried out their business.

I noted signs that stated a 1.5% cash back rewards credit card.  My current Wells card only had 1% cash back.  I asked one of the folks that wander around in suits, the plus and minus of the new offering compared to my current card.  He could not tell me much.  First red flag.

He told me, all I had to do was call the number on the back of my card and I would be sent a new card.  The next day I called the number.  Bottom line .... I was on the phone with many folks, all over the globe, from the island of Luzon to the USA.  Over the course of many calls I was told many different things.  One person told me to keep my current 1% card as it might be advertised as 1% but if I look online in the Wells reward program I could pick specific places such as grocery stores, and add them to my bonus program for rewards from 5% to 40% and even cooler offers.  I looked.  The offers that were more than 1% were not applicable to my credit card use to say the least.  Mail order makeup?  If I am going to shop online for savings it will be from Amazon.  As far as Ralph's Market, my most used market, there were no offers.  Bottom line, there was no advantage with my current card including fees, interest, etc.

So ... sign me up for the new card!  Should be simple.  Right?

After numerous calls where I was bounced from credit card services to credit card rewards program to customer service, I was told that "this cannot be done over the phone, you need to apply in person at a branch office".

I then called Fidelity Investments who had offered me a 2% card, $2000 point bonus, lower interest, and the same no fees.  Better in every way, especially the customer service.

So .... looks like my Wells Fargo credit card my be gathering dust in the future when that new green Fidelity card arrives.

September 14, 2016

In case I needed another reason ....

September 28, 2016

This morning I awoke to find no text alert that my social security benefits had been deposited.  For years this has always been the case.  What was the deal here?

Well, over an hour on the phone with Wells Fargo and many different answers.

It seems the funds arrived at Wells Fargo around midnight as usual.  This was according to Joe P at Wells Corporate in Tempe AZ.  It was the same answer I received from the rep I spoke to prior to Joe P.  The rep prior to them?  Well, when I called the account questions number on the Wells website I was sent to card services, and they had to send me elsewhere.

I posted a complaint on twitter.  This was after Joe P told me that the money was in process at I should see it by the close of business today.  While I was on the phone with Wells, after my twitter complaint, the funds posted at 9:20am.

I was told the reason for the issue was that my "personal banker", or the person who is in charge of my account, had neglected, had dropped the ball, on updating my bank info with Social Security.  My original account had been deleted.  Why two accounts?  Scroll way up there to see why I had to close an account and open a new one.  A Wells teller in Texas gave somebody money out of my account, but I digress.  I was told this would be a seamless changeover, and it had been fine for months.  My car payment had problems last month as a side note due to Wells Fargo changes.

So, I asked, who is my account manager?  I was given a number to call.  The number was in the Westlake CA, branch.  I was then speaking to Asst Branch Manager Oshin Artoonian.  This guy did not have a clue.  He said he had the same tools as everybody else yet could not see when the deposit arrived.  Three other people told me exactly, to the minute, when it arrived.  The fellow could not offer any reason why things were late.  He came up with one excuse after another.  He did not really understand customer service as he kept interrupting me.  I finally had to tell him to just shut up.  He hung up on me.

My personal thinking on the delay is Wells Fargo may do this on purpose now to inflate their daily reported balance to the Fed.  It's getting to be pretty clear that some of their banking practices are suspect (as reported in the news) and their customer service has declined in the past few years to say the least.

My earlier report in this piece in regard to my Wells Fargo credit card?  Well, as they can see, I stopped using my Wells card and now use a card from another financial institution.  Better rewards too and MUCH better alerts.  On my Wells card I would get a text alert 24 hours after a charge was posted, that more than $1 was charged to my card.  With my new card from another institution I get a text alert as to the name of the place, the exact charge, and it comes to my phone as I am leaving the place where the charge was made at the latest, and usually, even before I get up from my seat if it was a restaurant.

October 1, 2016

I received a piece of mail from Wells Fargo that stated, due to possible fraud and in order to increase security my debit card would be replaced with a news one.

So, later in the month a new card arrives.  It has a different account number.  The old number is instantly cancelled upon card activation.  Looks like a bit of changing charge card info on accounts that charge to this card is necessary.  Again.

"Wells Fargo - making a bank experience as difficult as it can be".  Feel free to use that new slogan you asshats.

Wells Fargo, in the words of social media .... #fail .... again.

November 23, 2016

I have been a Wells Fargo customer for decades.  Never an issue..... until, the last year or so.  Now a slew of them.  You folks have really gone down to proverbial toilet.

The latest, this  month ... you updated your website account application and your mobile application.

All alerts that were set up for customers stopped working and needed to be set up from scratch, again.

This would have been a step ahead, the updates, IF ..... you would have ported over existing alerts so they just did not stop with no warning or explanation.  At the least, an email or text explaining that alerts were now inactive and one needs to set them up again.

Banking with you folks is like stepping in one pile after another, always an unpleasant surprise.

January 27, 2017

Continuing to watch as your organization falls farther behind in any level of service.

Your mobile app is the worst in the business.

As you can see from time stamps, the alert came a day after the charge.  My other bank sends me the alert within moments of the charge, the exact amount of the charge, the name of the establishment of the charge.  This information arrives even before I get back to my car when leaving the place of the charge.

You folks are pathetic.

3 FEB 2017

My mistake!  It had less to do with technology than poor customer service.

Basically, I had alerts set up at one time.  They stopped because Wells Fargo changed things, without warning or notice, so everybody had to sign up / activate their alerts again.  Then they worked in a limited fashion.  I complained and reported details.  A bit of time went by, and multiple folks and I talked, with no resolution.  Different story from each contact and little understanding from any of them.

I had a thought.  If they changed something again, perhaps one had to sign up again?  Sure enough, in the mobile app there was a new expanded section that had about a dozen pull down menus.  You set up an alert for text, push notifications, email, card, account, and many other options and selections that were necessary.  A shining example of a pathetic excuse for a user interface.

A little tip to Wells Fargo on apps and software development based on my decades of experience in this area .....   If folks use you for banking services .... checking, savings, credit card, loan, whatever ... try wrapping your head around this concept.  A customer is an individual.  A single person. Perhaps a single box to check which says ..... "send me alerts on any of my account activity".... is all that is necessary.

The issue here was once again .... inept customer service which included bad info from your service people and additionally,  bad implementation from your programmers and software developers.