complaints, money, weather

This heat can go away now! So can scammers!

Yesterday, it got up to about 98 degrees. I spent most of the day in rooms where I have portable air conditioners, which helped a bit. It’s still pretty miserable, though, this time of year in Germany. I was sweating all day, and spent a good portion of the afternoon sleeping and having weird dreams. I even pulled out a cold wrap I bought on a trip to Maine about ten years ago. It can be microwaved or frozen and put over the shoulders. It does help to cool one off, but only for as long as the wrap stays cold… which isn’t that long.

Just before I was about to go to bed, I got an email from USAA. Someone tried to use my credit card to buy $107 worth of chicken wings from Wingstop! I had been watching the card all week, because there was a pending fraudulent charge all week from Stack Magazines. The charge was authorized, but the merchant never took the money. I didn’t call, because in the past, when I’ve called the bank about pending charges, they tell me there’s nothing they can do until it goes through. Obviously, the person who got my credit card number decided to be bold and try to order food. Thankfully, USAA caught it, but now once again, I have to wait for a new card to get to me.

A few months ago, my debit card got scammed, and I had to wait for a new one to get to me. I was pretty angry about it, because they kept denying legit charges, but then when an obviously fraudulent one went through, they approved it. It was obvious, because it was for a food outlet in the USA, and I can’t even access their Web site from my location because it’s geo restricted. They denied charges in Europe, thinking that was “weird”, even though I live in Europe and have for eight years. But then they let some idiot in the USA pay for food and an Uber with my card.

At least this time, they immediately blocked the charge, so good on USAA for that. I see that they’ve also already assigned me a new number, though I still have to wait for the card to get to me. I do think it’s crappy that I’ve had this happen twice now with USAA’s cards, just in 2022 alone. It’s probably not their fault, though. It’s the lowlife scumbags who think they have the right to steal from other people by committing credit card fraud who are at fault. Also, I was happy that the person I spoke to last night was professional and polite. Unfortunately, that’s no longer a given with USAA. They used to have stellar customer service, but things have definitely gone downhill.

I’ve been trying to get rid of USAA’s banking services, but it’s really hard to do that over here. German banks don’t like doing business with Americans, thanks to our tax laws. They are required to report to the US government on any accounts held by US citizens. So, that’s why we use American banks… It’s a pain. Cumbersome banking is a somewhat small price to pay, though, since the lifestyle is good here. Except, of course, when it gets hot, and there’s no air conditioning. Slowly but surely, Europe is starting to embrace the concept of cooling homes… but our house doesn’t have it yet. I bet our landlord will eventually put it in, though. He says he wants to install a heat pump, replacing the oil system we have now.

I’ve been reading more horror stories about the state of the world. I could write about them today, but I think I’d like to take a short break from those headlines and keep things somewhat “light” for my Friday post. Right now, I’m listening to Doris Day and thinking I’d like to try one of her songs. Writing about the usual topics doesn’t exactly contribute to the romantic mood of Doris Day’s songs. So, I think I will close today’s post and do a little music for a change. It’s good for my mood. Better than reading about gun violence, anti-abortion zealots, and child abuse, anyway…

Happy Friday, y’all.

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6 thoughts on “This heat can go away now! So can scammers!

  1. Happy Friday back, my friend!

    I have mixed feelings about air conditioning.

    On the one hand, I was born and (mostly) raised in Florida, so a/c has been part of my natural environment for most of my life. The only places that I’ve lived where air conditioners are the exception rather than the norm in housing are Bogota, Colombia, and Sevilla, Spain. None of the houses or apartments where I once dwelled had either central air or heating. Heck, I don’t even remember if my aunt’s apartment in Bogota, where Mom and I stayed nearly 30 years ago on our last out-of-town trip together, had air conditioning. (Part of me wants to say yes because Torre El Nogal was a post-1970s building and had other amenities, but Bogota is always chilly, so I don’t know. I’ll have to ask my cousin Margarita – who is on Facebook – and find out).

    Since I live in the southernmost of the lower 48 states, I can’t deny that air conditioning makes living here physically bearable. I’m doubly sure that this is even truer in Texas, which tends to be hotter than Florida in the summer. Just as Thomas Jefferson could not live without books, I believe that I could not live in the Sunshine State without a/c.

    Air conditioners are a pain. The last one I owned (I inherited it from my mom) was awful. It cooled the house okay, but either it had a defect, or it was poorly installed because the condensation tended to overflow and leak water all the time. It caused a lot of heartache and damage, and from what I have heard, the new owner of my former home had to buy a new central air conditioner.

    And, as you know, a/c’s are a financial drain, too. Not only do you have to pay higher electricity bills, but you must maintain them. We had an “air conditioner guy” go to the house every six months to clean and inspect it, and of course he had to replenish the coolant gas (freon, I believe it was) every so often. Those visits were $70 each if the a/c did not need repairs, and $100 or more if it did.

    So, yep. Air conditoners are a double-edged sword, and I can understand why they are still not standard issue in Europe.

    As for scammers, no mixed feelings there. I can’t stand ’em. I am also aghast that your USAA card tends to get a lot of unauthorized use. Hackers, thieves, and low-lifes…ugh.

    Good luck with the new card, knotty!

  2. David says:

    I have USAA but I don’t use it much, since it’s easier to use Canadian banks in Canada. I also have a Capital One credit card and bank account. They’re better than USAA these days. I’m not sure why I still have USAA at all, come to think of it. Habit, most likely, since I’ve been a member for decades.

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