Dell: How someone got a free laptop at my expense

what.can.you.do
I received my credit card statement on May 10, 2016 with a charge from Dell computers for close to 4000 dollars.

A call is quickly placed to my credit card company to dispute the charge as I never ordered anything from Dell lately.  I’m told my credit card will be cancelled and a new one will be sent through the mail in approximately a week.  Near the end of the call my bank suggests that I speak with Dell regarding this if I want to find out some information on my own.

First I login to my dell account that is protected by a 17 character password consisting of mixed-case numbers and letters to see what’s happening.  The only thing I see is my last order dated January 2016.  I call Dell and try to find out what’s happening here.

Lo and behold when I start speaking with their customer service they ask me if I’m enjoying my new Alienware laptop.  Interesting.  I quickly respond saying that I never placed the order, my credit card has just be cancelled and that this is a fraudulent transaction.

The representative explains to me that I placed an order on April 6, 2016 for an Alienware laptop.  This laptop was delivered to my home address on April 14, 2016 at 1:10PM and was signed by myself!

I ask why I don’t see this order on my online account?  No answer.

I immediately assume that someone created a second account with all my personal information and ordered it that way.  They can’t confirm.

I ask whether or not they log ip addresses on a purchase since I’ve had a static ip for close to 10 years now.  Unknown.

I must wait until they “investigate”.

Meanwhile, I’m on the phone getting my credit report to see if this breach is further reaching.

A call is received from the shipping company the next day asking me about the package.  They send me the signature of the received package.   The signature is clearly not mine or anyone else’s at the residence.  Interesting.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016 I receive an email stating that my card has been reimbursed.
I call up Dell to try to get some more information the same day.  What a nightmare this was!

Transferred 3 times, reps who can’t help and are rude.   I had one who directly accused me of trying to scam Dell.  What a joke.

I finally get through to a manager.  I try to explain the situation for the fourth time now.  I keep asking about the secondary account as I still to this day do not see the charge under my Dell account.  He puts me on hold and does a “refresh” on the account.  Suddenly, I see the fraudulent charge!  I ask why this charge wasn’t on my account in the first place?  Some unacceptable response and continues to blame me for not checking my credit card bills.  Unbelievable!

I cannot screen for fraud on Dell because their order system is obviously broken.  I’ve never heard of a company that does not show the items ordered under your recent transactions.  This is a HUGE security issue and according to your customer representatives this is commonplace.

Furthermore I asked if it’s normal for a transaction ie. 4000 dollars to pass without any communication regarding the legitimacy of the order.  As I’ve seen in the past, Apple caught a fraudulent charge before they processed it for around 1000 dollars.  This “manager” said they absolutely do not and they routinely let 20,000 dollar transactions on a non-business account go through without batting an eye.
Now I know that my actual account was compromised.  The account is obviously still active as I was logged into it.  Unbelievable!  What sort of company does not lock an account once fraudulent activity has been reported?  I asked for the account to be deleted and I can’t login to it at the moment.  The question is if it’s deleted or merely closed could not be provided.  Typical.

Now the burning question is how was this compromised in the first place.  Dell doesn’t seem to care as they tell me my original account was used to make this purchase and yet still kept it active after all this.

I’m not sure if Dell accounts store credit card information or not.  I never got the chance to look.  If they do then an account breach would make it easy to order something if the credit card is on file.  If not, the breach widens considerably.  The question is how did the attacker get the username and password combo?

As previously mentioned this is a relatively secure password when compared to most.  A 17 character password consisting of mixed-case numbers and letters stored in a password manager with a 30+ character password on an encrypted filesystem is doing my due diligence.  I find it quite unlikely it was taken from my machine.  The security of third parties; who knows.

Now to the question regarding the supposedly “delivered” package.  There can only be two possible explanations here.  The delivery person came to the address and signed for the package himself (to get around the gps tracker) or the actual thief was waiting in or around my address.  The later is disturbing but most likely the case.

Over the years I’ve had lots of people who have delivered packages to my door.  Sometimes you might catch the delivery person while exiting or entering your premises.  Sometimes they state they have a package for Mr/Mrs X, while others ask who you are in relation to the name on the package and others simply don’t care.  The fact that the thief already had my information made it quite easy to impersonate me but in my case they didn’t attempt to forge my signature.

dell.alienware.fraud.signature
The signature in question.

I have to wonder what this person actually did?  They knew from the tracking details that a package was on the truck for delivery at 8:18 AM, so were they actually waiting around my residence all that time until 1:10 PM?  Does this not set off red flags for the delivery person?  What happened after the thief signed for it?  Pretend to walk towards to residence or say they were walking to their car?

All I know is that this is quite the lucrative scam.  The lack of an invoice on my compromised account did not help matters as the only way to discover the fraud would be to wait for the package to show up at my residence (if the thief didn’t catch it) or wait for my credit card bill. I only got a true notification a month later via my credit card statement.  Good luck trying to find what happened in the meantime.

This laptop would have been flipped on Craigslist, Kijiji or even Ebay by now.

All I know is that due to the discussion with these customer representatives today you no longer have a customer.  My account has been deleted by my request, more than likely not purged.

The lack of true follow up detailing the situation along with the above mentioned security issues are enough reasons to take my business elsewhere.

The business structure of Dell along with those of other companies inhibits any real dialog and seems genuinely uninterested about the actual cause and prevention of incidents like mine.

Nobody has any real authority to get real answers and solutions.   The notion of executive customer care has long since been supplanted by the call center buffer.

Here’s some interesting articles:

Ottawa Police warn of delivery scam

Latest tech support scam stokes concerns Dell customer data was breached
Scammers know customers’ phone numbers, PC serial numbers, and support history.

2016-05-26

I’m starting to receive the Dell automated junk mail delivered to my door for the rest of my natural life. It’s such a nice reminder of past events.

Still no response to my emails that were sent to my original contact at Dell. No return phone calls either. Unacceptable.

2016-06-16

Dell decides to send me the same junk mail as posted above and I mean EXACTLY the same!  Did they think I lost a copy?

Dell: How someone got a free laptop at my expense

Fedex lost my package

That’s what happened.  They lost my package.  The interesting thing about this is that Fedex refuses to actual use the term “lost”, they called it “UTL” Unable To Locate.  My package is currently lost in their own Fedex facility as shown on their tracking website.  After numerous calls to Fedex I finally got the original sender to send it again.

The original sender ended up sending a replacement shipment using the same carrier and it did arrive today.  I find it funny that the sender only uses Fedex and refuses to use any other carrier.  Big business I guess.

Fedex lost my package

Reliance Home Comfort dealings…

angry_customerTo whom it may concern,

The following is the 7 day ordeal of being a customer trying to get their tankless hot water heat working from Reliance Home Comfort. Please forward to those parties that can deal with this extraordinary situation. We have been unable to get anyone to deal with this situation in a professional manner.

We noticed that the hot water was not running on November 19, 2015 from our Navien CR-210A tankless gas water heater. Upon checking the unit in the basement we clearly noticed a huge amount of water flowing out of the unit itself. The fact that water was flowing out by itself and no cut-off valve stopped the flow is extremely disconcerting. A finished basement would have been flooded very quickly! The front door was removed and it was clear that there was a massive leak. The LCD monitor on the side of the unit was giving an error code of E037 indicating a water leak inside the unit. The hot water valve was then turned off and a call was placed to your company, Reliance.

Upon closer inspection there was a blue wire that was clearly hanging and broke off from a component inside the unit. The owner’s operation manual has a section that shows all component diagrams and parts. The blue wire is actually a thermistor that attaches to another part that is called the buffer tank adapter. The thermistor as clearly shown in the schematics plugs into the buffer tank adapter. Since the wire was hanging loose it is very evident that there would now be an open hole in the buffer tank. This is the reason as to why there is water flooding inside the unit.

A technician was scheduled for Friday, November 20, 2015 between 12-5 pm. I cannot believe in this day and age that you would expect people to wait for a 5 hour window. These used to be the insane tactics of cable and telephony companies 20 years ago. These companies do not even employ these practices anymore due to outrage over the years but it seems perfectly acceptable to your company. Not surprisingly the technician showed up at 4:30pm and was here for approximately 5 minutes. The blue wire ie. the thermistor was pointed out to the technician and he deemed it unimportant. This thermistor and accompanying buffer tank adapter is the reason why the unit is not functioning.   He then took a picture with his phone. The technician indicated that he would order a part and hopefully get the part on Saturday.

A call was placed by us on Saturday inquiring about the status of the part and was told that the technician had a family emergency and was unavailable. The part availability was still unknown. Later on a call was placed by us to your company trying to figure out what could be done and get some hot water to our residence. This is the start of a 6 hour ordeal dealing with your employees trying to come to a rational solution to the problem at hand.

We were in contact with numerous people who had no authority to do anything, no managers, no executive customer service and in general a very anti-customer attitude. Eventually we arrived with an individual named XXXXXX who at least gave a direct line to her. Her contact information is as follows: XXXXXX. Unfortunately, I learned that she liked to listen but had no authority to actually resolve the situation. We were told by her that we would receive a phone call very shortly from your senior management so that this issue could be resolved that day. This phone call from senior management never occurred. At one point I mentioned that the company could pick up the tab for a hotel stay since we had guests that weekend and she seemed to latch on to this idea. This is nice and all but does not solve the situation that we are currently in. Numerous times we were told she would call back in 10 minutes and she never actually returned calls. The only callback we received was at 5:30pm on Saturday, November 21, 2015 and offered a $200 hotel reimbursement if we showed them a receipt indicating this. Outrageous! I told her to apply that as a credit on our account. We were then put on hold for 10 minutes while she discussed the situation with someone who could actually make these types of decisions. She came back on the line and said she would pay $100 from her own departments budget and she would have to check with management about the other $100. We would be informed by her that we would be receiving a call Monday, November 23, 2015 from senior management about this remaining money. She also said that she would be calling us personally on Monday morning to follow up in regards to repair and reimbursement.

The major issue of not having hot water was NEVER resolved on Saturday. The reason for our calls was to get hot water flowing in our residence. This was seemingly overlooked for some strange reason. The priority is getting the unit fixed!

That same Saturday we were able to get in contact with a person in your service department. She was able to schedule a person but only on Sunday morning. This woman had no idea about our situation and was not surprised in the least about our dilemma once explained. This scheduling was no problem and done immediately unlike what we were told from your call center people. They indicated that technicians were very hard to come by and that they were completely overwhelmed with escalating issues. The service department scheduler made it very clear that if the technician could not fix the unit that day, a replacement unit would be installed immediately so that we would have hot water that day.

Sunday arrives and the technician arrives and we point out once again that the blue wire is an important part and is the reason of the malfunction. Once again, he dismisses the thermistor and takes a picture of the unit with his phone. During his visit, we received a phone call from a third technician indicating that he has the part (water flow sensor) and wanted to know when he could come. The phone was passed to the second technician who spoke with this third technician and left. The third technician indicates that he will come and install the part between 12-4pm. Not surprisingly he arrives at 3:45pm and we clearly indicate using the schematics what the issue is. This technician says you are completely correct. The water flow sensor is not the issue. He knew before even arriving that this new part was not going to fix the unit. I could not believe that technician actually agreed with our initial assessment. This also means that if this was diagnosed properly as we indicated multiple times, we could have had the correct part ordered and installed at this time. This behaviour is completely unacceptable!

The repair was not completed on Sunday and, of course, the unit replacement that was promised was never discussed. We spoke to numerous customer service representatives that day indicating that the part that was ordered was incorrect and what steps needed to be taken to get the correct part. Nothing came of this. Your people were so off base that they thought we were trying to bar entry to our premises. I have no idea where they got this idea, we want to have this unit fixed not hinder the process. We were trying to get the issue resolved because you will have wasted another day with no backup plan to get the unit fixed. An adversarial position was immediately taken by multiple representatives when we are trying everything within our power to keep you in the loop and get some backup plans going. The communication is absolutely abysmal and treating me like an enemy solves nothing!

Monday, November 23, 2015 arrives. There is no phone call from either XXXXXX or senior management. This is not surprising in the least due to your current track record. A complaint from us was sent from your website using the following url: http://www.reliancehomecomfort.com/Pages/complaints.aspx. An automated response around 1:00PM was received indicating that our complaint was registered and to be expecting a response in 24-48 hours. A message was left for XXXXXX, our only contact at 1pm asking what’s going on with our situation. As of 4:00pm still no response from anyone. A call was received from an unknown party who indicated that a part was available for installation between 6-10pm. The last technician that was sent on Sunday arrived on Monday at 8PM to install the correct part. The part was installed and working by 8:30PM. This man went out of his way to get the correct part and install it in a timely manner. It was evident the this technician was the only person looking out for our best interests. This is a very sad example of your company’s complete lack of respect for their customers.

The installed part was not a complete fix to the issue at hand. The burner inside the unit does not heat up to the required temperature thus the hot water would only remain hot for about 5 seconds. A call was placed on Tuesday, November 24, 2015 around 10:30AM and a technician arrived around 1:30PM. He was troubleshooting the issue while on the phone with the unit’s manufacturer, Navien. The main PCB is supposedly the new issue. I made it very clear and the technician agreed that if this part does not fix the unit that it should be replaced. You cannot keep replacing part after part and waiting indefinitely for a fully functioning unit.

A part was delivered to our residence on Wednesday, November 25, 2015 around 10:30AM. A call was shortly placed to Reliance and a technician is scheduled to arrive between 12-2PM. The repair person arrived and replaced the 2 ordered parts but that did not fix the issue. All manners of tests were done but the unit still refused to give any consistent hot water. Upon exhausting all options he let Reliance know that the unit should be replaced. We currently have an appointment on Thursday, November 26, 2015 between 8-10AM to install a brand new Rheem tankless water heater.

Two installers arrived on Thursday, November 26, 2015 at 10:00AM to install the new Rheem unit. The device was installed by 12:30PM and is currently providing hot water. I would not be surprised in the least if something goes wrong in the near future considering our track record.

As evidenced by our case, your company has serious issues to address. Executive customer service representatives are an absolute requirement as they are the agents with the skills to resolve major issues that your frontline people cannot. I have never dealt with a company that has no managers or executive customer service agents. How can you address escalating problems with 1st line customer service representatives? Your representatives in general take a defensive position and clearly make the customer seem like the enemy. Your company must follow through with what is said over the phone. Callbacks must be returned especially when numerous people are involved. This is business 101 and there is absolutely no excuse for not returning calls. Hold times also factor into this equation as you don’t know if the line is connected or disconnected. You cannot keep people on hold for over 10 minutes without having someone check that you’re still on the line. Your contact us form on your website might as well be a black hole as there is no response at all let alone within your own stated 24-48 hours.

Due to your incompetence you have completely ruined not only mine but my company’s weekend. The rest of the week has been a nightmare. We are exhausted and the stress has been relentless. This ordeal has been drawn out for a total of 7 days. I’ve not even had a single apology from anybody regarding anything.

I expect a response and remuneration equivalent to the gross negligence in this case.

 

ADDITIONAL UPDATES

The preceding information was emailed to XXXXXX (CEO) among others. A phone call was received by XXXXXX who was told to do so on the behest of XXXXXX, the President of Reliance. He apologized for the situation and agreed to honour the $200 reimbursement and that this would take effect immediately.   This entire situation was going to be used as a training exercise to improve customer service. He indicated that the installation of a tankless water heater would never have been recommended for our residence as these units are unreliable and tend to flood the basement. Too bad we signed before your company arrived on the scene!

I checked my bill on December 17, 2015 to find a rude awakening. The $200 reimbursement that Mr. XXXXXX said was already on our account is nowhere to be seen. I immediately called his “million dollar number” in his words and received another individual picking up the phone. XXXXXX seems to be on vacation at the moment and XXXXXX is dealing with his calls. She found no documentation on my initial call but said she would call me back in 15 minutes with more information. Surprisingly, she did in fact call back within the allotted time frame. She told me that the $200 dollars was immediately credited to my account and that she would be sending me a screenshot of my account on “her end” to show that the credit was indeed applied correctly this time around. This “supposed” reimbursement will now be applied on next month’s bill and not the current one. This is unacceptable as your mistake should not have even happened after I was assured everything was in order. I was also informed that this entire conversation was to be relayed to XXXXXX when he arrives back at work. An additional phone call is to be expected from XXXXXX on Monday, December 21, 2015.

I don’t really know what to say at this point as every dealing with Reliance proves frustrating and stress is not what I need.

EVEN MORE ADDITIONAL UPDATES

The following was emailed to XXXXXX on December 22, 2015 and received an out of office email saying she won’t be back to work until Monday, January 4, 2016.

I still have not heard from XXXXXX. You mentioned he was on holidays and would be returning and calling me on Monday, December 21, 2015. Two days have now passed and I don’t see any sign of him following up on his mistake.

I want an explanation from him as to why my case has not handled properly.

The following was emailed to XXXXXX and XXXXXX on December 23, 2015.

You should be aware by now that I called last week seeking your assistance in regards to my $200 credit that was not applied to my account.

I spoke with you on the phone on November 26, 2015 in regards to my email that was sent to XXXXXX regarding my poor experience with Reliance Home Comfort.

Examining my bill on December 17, 2015 I noticed that the credit that you told me was active on my account was clearly not even applied! I called your “million dollar” phone number, in your words, to find out that you were on vacation. XXXXXX was answering your calls and eventually applied the credit that you yourself were supposed to have made weeks ago.

I was informed by Ms. XXXXXX that you were coming back into work on Monday, December 21, 2015 and that I was one of the first calls that would be made by you giving an appropriate explanation for this error. As usual, no communication has been received. Ms. XXXXXX who was nice enough to give me her email address, is now apparently on vacation until Monday, January 4, 2015 and cannot forward the information.

Your company has already put my family through the ringer with no hot water for 7 days and your phone call in November was supposed to resolve the situation in a swift, professional manner. The ball was dropped yet again and there is absolutely no excuse for this!

I am expecting a phone call from you and a very thorough explanation as to why my account was not credited as stated by you on Thursday, November 26, 2015.

Upon checking my bill dated December 31, 2015 the reimbursement was still not applied!

I called XXXXXX on Monday, January 4, 2016 and asked why my credit was still not applied to my account. She is now supposedly crediting the monthly debit directly to my bank account and the money owing will be now be coming out of the $200 credit. I also mentioned that XXXXXX never returned any phone calls as requested. He actually called me 20 minutes later and apologized yet again and explained that the billing cycle did not catch the credit. When I last spoke with XXXXXX back in December she made it explicitly clear that the new billing cycle would apply the $200 credit; obviously it did not.

The refund has finally been applied properly on the Monday, January 18, 2016 dated bill.

Reliance Home Comfort dealings…

Rogers, Pay As You Go and MyRogers – What a mess

Rogers is at it again. All that is left of their services are 2 pay as you go phones and even these are trying my patience. The two plans were on a grandfathered plan called “Unlimited Local Eve & Weekend calling plan”. Grandfathered. This actually means we are gouging you because you haven’t taken the time to research new plans. There is a new plan that is EXACTLY the same but you get an additional 100 minutes and you pay $100 a year for it.

I must mention that this is how I’ve been paying for many years now. I do a $100 payment once a year. Both accounts used to be on some type of monthly charge, $20 if I remember. Since these phones are used very sparingly a huge buffer of money was left in these accounts. To stop the continual wasting of topups that were required to keep this buffer, the $100 yearly offer was used. Now I’m doing exactly the same thing as I always do but now this new plan comes out and I’m not even notified that this is a better deal. Typical. As said previously you must be very aware of all the different plans that are offered at any time. As of November 23, 2015 there are 13 plans.

rogers_payg_plans

One of the accounts has a quite large buffer of cash while the other is almost empty. I wanted to switch both plans to the new plan and receive the 100 minutes.   I wanted to pay for both plans using the buffer of cash from one account. Nope, they refuse to do it. There is no good reason for this.

Trying to get money into the second account is interesting. I go to change my plan type through the MyRogers web portal. The only problem is that it is trying to pay with a credit card that expired 3 years ago. I go into settings to delete the credit and it refuses to do so. I go to add a new credit card only to receive a blank page. So at this point I cannot add, edit or remove a credit card. Their error message requires me to phone the pay as you go number except they are closed. The portal is always like this. Each time I go to do something, which is very rarely it never works. Can’t view invoices, change payments or make payments. This happens way too often.

I finally call the pay as you go people on the cellphone the next day to remove the credit card. The card is removed. The portal after some time shows that the card is removed yet I cannot add a new credit card because the page does not load the form for data input. I explain this to the pay as you go people over the phone yet they can do nothing. The online chat people can’t fix the issue either as they can’t support pay as you go customers even thought the problem is with the web portal. Absolutely ridiculous.

Eventually the credit card is changed over the phone with the pay as you go people. I love how you cannot pay with a credit card without having your credit card registered with Rogers. I’m doing a yearly onetime payment and you still are required to store my credit card information? Not to mention that they must wait 3 days for credit card validation so that I’m not trying to defraud them. WOW!

The funny part now is how you give your credit card information of the phone. The operator punches in a bunch of numbers and then you punch in your card numbers on your phone. I initially called on a cellphone and every time I punched in my digits they said they did not receive them. This exercise in futility was done 3 times before the agent simply hung up on me! I had to call back on a landline because their system is so broken. This new agent says they couldn’t find my account and required me to give them my mobile number 3 times before it was found. Not only this but I was required to enter my card twice again because they forgot to get the expiration date! The funny part is that this operator asks for the expiration date outright, I figured I had to punch it in like the credit card number but no. So why in the hell do I need to input my credit card digits again if you’re simply asking verbally for the expiration date? This makes no sense.

The account was also near its expiration date so of course the 3 day fraud check would more than likely expire the account. At least they added 15 days to the expiry date.

A simple process like this using a working payment portal should take no longer than 5 minutes at the max. The entire process took hours. Simply allow the transfer of funds from one account to another. This is not rocket science!

I once again really have to get off these plans as simple transactions such as editing payment information is a huge ordeal for no good reason.

2015-11-20 UPDATE

The stupidity never ceases.  I decided to check to see if the second phone had passed their fraud prevention and was charged the $100 fee.  Not surprisingly the card was not charged.  Who registers a credit card to pay their bill and the provider does not charge it?  I was explicitly told that the card would be charged after their validation procedure last week.  The current phone would have been disconnected had I not checked it myself.  Unbelievable!

Rogers, Pay As You Go and MyRogers – What a mess

XDIMAX GREX-7.4 Grex Video Stabilizer Review

grexI have a simple requirement to make some backups of retail vhs tapes to a digital format. You may ask why not just buy the new hd remastered version? Well, that is where it starts to get complicated. Not everything has been released in another format. Those that are released may not be the exact same cut of the film.

Macrovision is of course the copy protection that was introduced in the 1980s to thwart dubbing retail tapes from deck to deck. This is where the Grex comes in. I simply wanted to remove the Macrovision and capture the video through my capture device (an ATI All In Wonder card). I have used this same setup to capture non-protected content with no issues at all over the years. My older device, a Sima Color Corrector died and I went looking for another device.

On paper, the Grex sounds wonderful as their selling points include the following:

  • Copy protected DVD to DVD and VHS
  • Copy protected VHS to DVD and VHS
  • Record Protected TV channels from Satellite or Cable Receiver, SetTopBox, PVR, DVR, TiVo
  • Capture protected VHS and DVD with PC Video Capture Card
  • Interconnect any Macrovision sensitive devices like Video Projectors, HDTV and LCD monitors

I decided to take the plunge and order the unit.

The first tape I used as a test was a copy of The Big Hit (1998) that was lying around. I decided to try to capture one of the trailers at the beginning of the tape, John Carpenter’s Vampires (1998). This is where I saw that the device actually does not handle Macrovision protection well at all.

I quickly noticed that when there is a flash or quick cut a video distortion occurs each time. This is not acceptable at all. I wondered if this was an issue with the capture card during the capture phase? Nope, the monitor was displaying the same issue with the distortion. I started to pull out some old gear for testing. I switched monitors, vhs decks, capture cards, av cables and televisions with no difference. There is clearly an issue when the Grex is part of the video chain.

I thought this might be an isolated incident with the tape itself so I made a full capture of Pumpkinhead (1988) as I knew there are many lighting scenes and this would be a good test case. Same issue once again. Distortion occurred on every lightning strike.

I decided to contact their email technical support but that proved quite pointless. They are asking how I am hooking up the device as this will somehow change a flaw in their design. This is a dumb device; you feed it a protected input and it spits out the unprotected output. The simplicity is where the issues are. There is no way to make any adjustments. The unit is just supposed to work but clearly in my case it does not.

There is really nothing else more to do here. The technical support takes it a very long time to respond to issues and in my case kept asking me questions that I already provided in my original correspondence. The fact that I am now getting mail delay failures from their mail servers does not bode well.

The relatively high price given shipping and currency conversion is very disappointing. I have it packed up and am sending it back in for a refund, as it does not work for my purposes.

A time based corrector is the real solution to the issue at hand as it will strip the signal and rebuild the frame thus fixing many issues and as a side effect eliminate any copy protection. The only problem is that they’re expensive, good ones are hard to find and the poor devices are the ones most readily available.

Here are some frame captures illustrating the issue.

grex.failure.02 grex.failure.03 grex.failure.04 grex.failure.06 grex.failure.10 grex.failure.09 grex.failure.08 grex.failure.07

Grex pcb for those who are interested.  Notice the Atmel ATtiny microcontroller and low quality capacitor.

grex_pcb

XDIMAX GREX-7.4 Grex Video Stabilizer Review

The Economist cannot handle merging two subscription accounts

economist.oh.fuck

A friend gave me their Economist subscription back in August 2015, as he did not want it. I ended up calling the Economist and asked to merge it to my current account thus extending the number of issues I would receive. No big deal right? Wrong.

I have done this plenty of times using other magazines and it is never a big deal. I initially contacted the Economist on 2015-08-13 and they said the change would be immediate. I wish this were the case.

I called back a week later to ask why I see no change in the web portal. They tell me it will take more time. Over the course of many weeks, I called in to check the status. I keep getting different responses; 2 days, 1 week, 2 weeks, 5-6 weeks.

What is the issue here? The Economist cannot simply update a row in their database? This is not rocket science!

I sit here now after my latest call where the representative says it is now escalated to their database administrator and my account should reflect in the change in 24 hours. Guess what. 24 hours has come and passed without any changes yet again.

I am going into 8 weeks and nothing has changed. I must mention that this is a weekly magazine so eight issues have been missed for no good reason.

The Economist cannot handle merging two subscription accounts