Thursday, May 10, 2012

Here ya go.

"Here ya go." What does that even mean?

Just spent $400 at Home Depot. After scanning the little bar codes, the cashier hands me my receipt and says, "Here ya go." Not, "Thank you." Not even the ubiquitous and now meaningless, "Have a nice day."

Here. Ya. Go.

She actually seemed to be waiting for me to thank HER for handing me my receipt--which is actually the proof that she should be thanking me for adding $400 to Home Depot's coffers. This, as astute readers will surmise, results in her company being able to pay her. I have seen many, many polite Midwesterners, after hearing, "Here ya go," thank the cashier for giving them a receipt. And the cashier proudly replying, "You're welcome!" Heck, they have even tricked me into thanking them for handing me a receipt. You would think they would be at least Midwestern polite enough to thank me for thanking them.

This does not just occur at Home Depot, it seems to be very pervasive lately. What happened to thanking your customers? Do employees not understand the process? Money comes in from customers to company in exchange for merchandise. Company doles a small portion of that money out to employees as pay for taking customers' money. Is that too big of a stretch to comprehend that customers pay their wages?

Apparently. Here ya go.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

New car buying

Bought a new car lately? Why, why, why is it still so horrible? In 2012, every dealer must know that most consumers do their homework on the interwebs regarding prices, options, and trade-ins. And they still pull the, "I need to check with my manager routine." I made it very clear what price I would pay, and that I was not going to play the back and forth negotiation game, so they better make sure they give me their last and best offer right out of the gate.

Of course, they came back way higher than I was going to pay, though to their credit they did try to obfuscate it by monkeying with the trade-in value. I asked if this was the last and best offer and was told it was. So I left, and planned to go to a different dealer.

I had a message waiting for me before I even made it back to the office. By golly, they were willing to knock $500 off their last and best offer. Nope, still too much.

Sooo, then "The Manager" calls. "What can we do to put you in this car today?" Charge me what everyone else is paying for this model. "Weeeelllllll......"

Sure, I know they are just trying to stick it to us consumers, just like in the good old days. But it sure left a sour taste in my mouth with regard to this dealer, and this brand. Seriously, does all this dinking around really work on people? Are they just bored and have nothing better to do than to try to squeeze a few extra bucks from people while destroying any goodwill those customers may have had? Are they simply evil?

When I go to Target I am not forced to play games like this. So, notice to all car dealers: Figure out what your overhead is, and how many cars you sell, and price them accordingly. I would have purchased a new car years ago if I was not procrastinating, knowing what horrors awaited me at the dealership. Make it pleasant, charge a fair price, and you will sell more cars. Simple.

And another thing: Do NOT give them your email address. I have been inundated with "Congratulations on your new Honda, please buy this or complete this survey or get a great deal on male enhancement drugs for your driving pleasure." Ok, maybe I made that last one up, but in any event, I set my spam filter to block anything with the word "Honda" in it, so who knows?

Maybe by the time I am ready for my next car, I can just get it on Amazon.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Engelmann in prison

Marc R. Engelmann, a Davenport, Iowa real estate attorney, is now incarcerated. According to the Federal Bureau of Prisons website, he is at the Terra Haute FCI, prisoner number 12846-030. His incarceration apparently began yesterday afternoon.

Engelmann has hired a new attorney and appealed his conviction, still claiming that he acted in "good faith" in his role in this mortgage fraud scheme. This, even though the government put up a veritable parade of witnesses testifying that he was fully aware his actions were illegal, and that he made documented efforts to hide the fraud from the lender and closing agent. If nothing else, he was the self-professed real estate law expert of the Quad Cities, so how could he not know these transactions were fraudulent? Either he knew his actions were illegal, or he is far, far from an expert.

There were actually about a dozen attorneys who represented individuals who sold property to Darryl Hanneken and Robert Herdrich. Herdrich and Hanneken, who along with their real estate agent, Mary Pat Harper (aka Mary Pat Lord), were the center of this large fraud scheme, which involved dual contracts and under the table kickbacks from the sellers back to the buyers in the tens of thousands of dollars per transaction. I would imagine there are about a dozen attorneys in the Quad Cities who are breathing sighs of relief as the statutes of limitations expire on these transactions.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Engelmann restitution set

Restitution for Marc Robert Engelmann, a Davenport, Iowa, real estate attorney found guilty of nine counts of bank fraud, wire fraud, and conspiracy, was set at $392,937.73. The amount, when paid, will be distributed among three different lenders who suffered losses due to the fraud.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Marc Engelmann sentenced

Marc R. Engelmann, a Davenport, Iowa real estate attorney, was sentenced on 26 January 2012 to three years in federal prison for his part in a mortgage fraud conspiracy. Engelmann represented a seller who sold nine properties to Robert Herdrich and Darryl Hannekin at fraudulently inflated prices, which caused the lender to lend more than the properties were worth. That amounts to four months for each property. The court has not yet determined restitution to the lender, but based on the kickbacks to the buyers and the "usual" post-foreclosure, half-off sale price of real estate, I would guess that to be approaching a half million dollars.

More about the scheme here.