Posts Tagged ‘credit card’

Assignment Desk: Just How Fake was the Recent Episode of “Mystery Diners” Taped at Chapeau! on Clement in the Richmond?

Wednesday, February 19th, 2014

I’m saying very fake, or mostly fake.

Last year, Michael Bauer had the Inside Scoop on the recent Mystery Diners fiasco up at Chapeau! on Clement Street in the Inner Richmond:

“It was halfway into our anniversary dinner when things turned for the worst, as the camera crew from Mystery Diners rushed through the dining room with lights and mikes to catch a naughty bartender/actor in the act of giving away free drinks for a group of fake diners.”

I’ll tell you, I don’t have that cable TV so I can’t actually watch all the fakery, but here’s a quite gullible writer on the topic over at Examiner.Com.

I’m auspicious of this whole deal, I tell you.

Oh, EaterSF has this:

This is scripted. This would never really happen in Philippe’s restaurant. I live down the street and go there.”

So, have at it, MSM. Philippe himself prolly would have contractual reasons to tell you to go to Hell, but there are other ways of getting a scoop…

Oh, and SFWeekly had this to say about this particular TV series a few years back

In short, I call shenanigans.

SHN “Book of Mormon” Ticket Lottery a Huge Success – The Only Way to Get a Seat Now – Here’s the Video

Wednesday, November 28th, 2012

Here are the rules of the game.

Here is what the lottery looks like:

I’d say that you’d have had a 10% chance of winning on Preview Night.

Realize that the scalpers and scam artists are going crazy right about now, so paying $29 for a seat what’s worth north of $290 IRL might strike you as a good deal.

Get lucky!

OMG, You Have No Idea How Hard It Is to Get Book of Mormon Tickets – Your Last Best Chance? Daily Ticket Lottery

Monday, November 19th, 2012

This is it.

This is the biggest Broadway roadshow to hit town since forever.

Book of Mormon will play at our Curran Theatre from November 27th to December 30th 2012 and then it will be gone.

There is no way that the run of this smash musical comedy will be extended as the BoM crew will start up in Portland the day after New Year’s.

So here’s what you need to know:

1. This thing is going to be huge – everybody’s going to be talking about it. You know, because it’s ”the best musical of this century” per the New York Times ‘n stuff.

2. You want to go to this show whether you know it or not, even if you’re not into Broadway. Yes, Book of Mormon is profane, but it’s also “an atheist’s love letter to religion.”

3. Tickets are beyond sold out. So the scalpers and the scam artists are going to have a field day.

Check it, from the craigslist:

So that’s hundreds of dollars per seat for tickets what originally cost way less than $100.

So here’s what you do, you show up at the box office on Geary two hours early and enter the lottery.

At $29 a ticket for the winners, this is a steal.

If you don’t want to go through this kind of hassle  day after day, then don’t do it because you are not a true fan,  (The  SHN / BoM people are making you jump through hoops for a reason, don’t you know.)

Now I’ll tell you, when they did this for Rent, back in the day, they lotteried away the two front rows for $19 a piece.

Good times.

Of course the angle was sort of ridiculous and you would see things you weren’t meant to see, but this was quite nice for students of the theatre.

(I don’t know which seats lottery winners will get – they might not get to sit right up front.)

So, have at it.

You Can’t Win If Don’t Play.

Our Schools Win Too.*

PRE-SHOW LOTTERY ANNOUNCED! THE BOOK OF MORMON Lottery Ticket Policy:

THE BOOK OF MORMON will conduct a pre-show lottery at the box office, making a limited number of tickets available at $29 apiece; cash only. This lottery will be held prior to every performance.

Entries will be accepted at the SHN Curran Theatre box office beginning two hours prior to each performance; each person will print their name and the number of tickets (1 or 2) they wish to purchase on a card that is provided. One and a half hours before curtain, names will be drawn at random for a limited number of tickets priced at $29 each.

Only one entry is allowed per person. Cards are checked for duplication prior to drawing. Winners must be present at the time of the drawing and show valid ID to purchase tickets. Limit one entry per person and two tickets per winner. Tickets are subject to availability.

Nine 2011 Tony Awards® say it’s the Best Musical of the Year. Vogue says, “It’s the funniest musical of all time.” And The New York Times says, “It’s the best musical of this century.” It’s THE BOOK OF MORMON, the Broadway phenomenon from South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone and Avenue Q co-creator Robert Lopez. The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart calls it “A crowning achievement. So good, it makes me angry.” Contains explicit language.

For more information please visit www.bookofmormonthemusical.com.

If you come across any website other than shnsf.com claiming to sell THE BOOK OF MORMON tickets for the San Francisco engagement, buyer beware! SHN has no way of validating, or replacing tickets that have been purchased through any website other than shnsf.com. We cannot seat or refund you for an invalidated ticket.

If you have any questions, please call 1-888-746-1799 before purchasing.

*Oh, that’s just a saying – our schools won’t actually win.

Good News for San Francisco Criminals: Visa Raises “No Signature” Limit to $50 at Discount Stores and Supermarkets

Monday, May 7th, 2012

Here’s why you don’t need to sign your name when you buy stuff with a Visa or MasterCard sometimes, below.

Read and learn the best way to get stuff with that Visa card you just stole, or rather, picked up on the ground, yeah, that’s the ticket.

“Visa Raises “No Signature” Limit to $50 to Increase Merchant Efficiency & Consumer Convenience - Visa Also Streamlines Dispute Resolution Process to Reduce Merchant Fraud Management Costs

SAN FRANCISCO, May 7, 2012 — Visa Inc. (NYSE: V) today announced plans to raise its Visa Easy Payment Service “no signature required” limit from $25 to $50 for two key U.S. merchant categories. Starting in October 2012, discount stores and grocery stores/supermarkets in the U.S. can accept Visa cards for transactions up to $50 without requiring a cardholder signature or PIN, or providing a customer receipt unless requested by the cardholder.[1] This change is designed to increase speed at the point-of-sale, cardholder convenience and operational efficiencies for a large number of merchants.

Previously known as the No Signature Required program in the U.S., Visa Easy Payment Service allows merchants to eliminate cardholder verification and receipts on qualifying smaller value transactions. This helps make the payment process easier and more convenient for both merchants and cardholders. The program has been available to the majority of merchant categories in the U.S. since July 2010, for purchases up to $25.

As the $50 limit is introduced, Visa will review merchant, cardholder and card issuer feedback and may expand this higher transaction limit to additional merchant categories in the near future. Approximately 80 percent of face-to-face Visa consumer transactions in the U.S. are under $50.[2]

“Visa is committed to delivering solutions to help our merchant and financial institution partners better serve their customers, reduce costs and grow their businesses,” said William M. Sheedy, Group President, Americas, Visa Inc. “Visa Easy Payment Service has been extremely popular with merchants and cardholders in busy retail environments. As a result, merchants have asked us to expand the program to purchases up to $50, so that they can more efficiently support consumers’ growing preference to use cards instead of cash or checks for everyday purchases.”

Streamlined Dispute Resolution Process

Visa also announced changes to its dispute resolution process to reduce unnecessary chargebacks and merchant documentation requirements and promote faster, more efficient dispute resolution for all participants in its payments system.

Starting in April 2013, merchants will be protected from fraud chargebacks on transactions that have been electronically read (i.e., swiped or dipped in, or waved past, a card reader), helping to reduce merchant fraud management costs when appropriate acceptance procedures have been followed at the point of sale. In addition, Visa will eliminate the requirement for its card issuers to ask merchants for a copy of the receipt when a cardholder disputes a transaction, resulting in back office operational savings for everyone. There is no change to existing fraud liability associated with these changes.

The changes to Visa’s Easy Payment Service and dispute resolution process will help its merchant and financial institution partners to better serve their customers and grow their respective businesses.

About Visa Inc.

Visa is a global payments technology company that connects consumers, businesses, financial institutions and governments in more than 200 countries and territories to fast, secure and reliable digital currency. Underpinning digital currency is one of the world’s most advanced processing networks-VisaNet-that is capable of handling more than 20,000 transaction messages a second, with fraud protection for consumers and guaranteed payment for merchants. Visa is not a bank, and does not issue cards, extend credit or set rates and fees for consumers. Visa’s innovations, however, enable its financial institution customers to offer consumers more choices: Pay now with debit, ahead of time with prepaid or later with credit products. For more information, visit www.corporate.visa.com.”

Here’s the Way Tax Authorities Discover that You’re Undereporting Cash Income at Your Restaurant or Bar – It’s Easy!

Friday, March 30th, 2012

I suppose that somewhere in the universe there are Japanese and Japanese-American restaurant owners operating Chinese food places, but that’s certainly not the case in San Francisco’s Richmond District, which has a mess of Chinese  and Chinese American operators of Japanese restaurants.

As here, at Fune Ya, which used to operate on Clement Street. Read about its tax problems via Will “Big Daddy” Kane right here.

Photo via the Richmond District Blog

How do the state and federal authorities know that you taking the cash that customers give you and simply putting it your pocket? They don’t need to visit your place, they just look at monthly reports and compare them with neighboring businesses. So if you pocket half the cash customers give you that means that your “credit card percentage,” the percentage of sales you make from credit cards, goes up, a lot. And I guarantee you that your CCP will be higher than similar businesses in your area. That’ll make you stand out.

Like these people from this other place down in San Mateo County:

“Taxpayer operates a restaurant. For audit, taxpayer provided bank statements and credit card  merchant statements for the audit period, and guest checks and cash register tapes for December 2007. The Sales and Use Tax Department (Department) found that bank deposits exceeded reported total sales, and, for several months, there were no deposits of cash, which were indications that reported taxable sales were understated.”

In that case, the CCP was an impossible 100%. And also, the owners apparently deposited their cash anyway, which also looks funny.

Anyway, if you skim a little bit occasionally, you’ll get away with it. But you won’t save all that much money and you’ll have to keep up with it on a daily basis. And you’ll have to prevent your lousy employees from finding out and reporting you or finding out and skimming from you yourself. It gets complicated.

Now, if you’re used to flagrantly violating any laws you please, then you’re not going to like dealing with one  THOMAS E. FRANKOVICH (State Bar No. 074414). Why? Because he’ll send somebody in a wheelchair into your restaurant and then it’s game over, man. Game over:

“Plaintiff CRAIG YATES is a person with physical disabilities who, on or about March 10, 2008, March 14, 2008, March 16, 2008, August 15, 2008, August 23, 2008, December 20, 2008, March 7, 2009 and March 26, 2009, was an invitee, guest, patron, customer at defendants’ FUNE YA JAPANESE RESTAURANT, in the City of San Francisco, California. At said time and place, defendants failed to provide proper legal access to the sushi bar, which is a “public accommodation” and/or a “public facility” including, but not limited to entrance, dining area, men’s restroom and women’s restroom.”

So, all the money you “saved” through skimming gets paid out to lawyer Tom Frankovich.

And then you shut the place down.

Oh well.

Internal SFMTA Emails Reveal a “Very Messy Situation” – Why They Want Ad Money From Taxi Drivers

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011

Remember that whole deal about how taxi drivers were fighting the sainted SFMTA, the worst-run agency in town, over those 5% credit card fees and rear seat Passenger Information Monitors (PIMs) and electronic waybills and whatnot?

Well, some people at the SFMTA thinks that the SFMTA should get a piece of the ad revenue pie.

See? 

Read all about this from driver John Han at Taxi Town SF:

“The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (MTA) may explore ways to get a share of taxi advertising revenues in the future.

Recently, the United Taxi Workers (UTW) filed a public information request, and obtained materials regarding the City’s regulation on 5% credit card fees, rear seat Passenger Information Monitors (PIMs), and electronic waybills.

Included in the material was a copy of an email sent by MTA Deputy Director of Taxi Services Christiane Hayashi dated March 25th, 2011, and addressed to Sonali Bose, the agency’s chief financial officer, and other recipients.

In that email, Hayashi responds to two questions being posed at her by Nathaniel Ford, who was the MTA chief at the time, and backed up by Sonali Bose, regarding the distribution of ad revenues generated by rear seat PIMs.

Bose’s first question to Hayashi was, “Who negotiated the 90%-10% split and under what authority?” Her second question was, “Why isn’t the MTA getting a portion of the ad revenue?”

The following is an excerpt from the email in which Hayashi answers Bose’s two questions…

“As to the question of ‘who negotiated the deal,’ I guess my response is that it’s not a deal so much as a regulation – while I did my due diligence and circulated a draft memo to the TAC, it comes from a place of regulatory authority, not negotiation. The SFMTA has no privity of contract with the equipment providers – Veriphone, Wireless Edge and CMT have contracts with the taxi companies.

Why 10% to the Driver Fund? Because, like the medallion sales program, I felt it important to be able to point to some benefit to drivers in order to make the very unpopular change go down more smoothly.

If he question is why not a share to the SFMTA, I guess my answer is that this is equipment that is owned by third party vendors and being installed at no cost in privately-owned vehicles driven by independent contractors. We come at it as a regulator, and the permit fees we receive are supposed to cover the cost of administrating our program. I think that I would have gotten tremendous resistance from both companies and equipment vendors if I tried to demand a slice of advertising revenues for the SFMTA as part of the price for a company to get a waiver from the regulator. It would be like granting a building permit on the condition that the Planning Department could have a share of the advertising revenues from the building.

Of course, as we have discussed previously, there may be a place for bringing taxi advertising generally into the SFMTA, but if we do it would have to be a cooperative situation with the companies, where we agree to bear the administrative burden and use our greater negotiating power to increase their revenues in exchange for a share. That is a distinct possibility that we can continue to explore. I think the companies would embrace it if we can improve their advertising yield and reduce their administrative costs. I think I mentioned to you that the good time to broach this would be when we propose uniform top lights for all taxis with uniform advertising space that we could manage on behalf of the companies. That is something we accomplish during the next fiscal year if that is the policy direction.

I hope I have explained a very messy situation. Let me know if you have further questions.”

A scanned version of the emails text (sometimes hard to read because it’s scanned) is available and can be viewed by CLICKING HERE

Well well.

A messy situation indeed.

Dennis Herrera Throws Down: Announces $5 Million Settlement with Bank of America Subsidiary’s “Arbitration Mill”

Monday, August 22nd, 2011

Here’s another victory for San Francisco’s Happy Warrior, City Attorney Dennis Herrera.

All the deets, below.

“Herrera secures $5 million settlement, tough consumer safeguards against BofA credit card subsidiary

Three-and-a-half-year-old case continues to win industry reforms nationwide to protect credit card holders in debt disputes

SAN FRANCISCO (August 22, 2011) — City Attorney Dennis Herrera today announced a major settlement agreement with the credit card subsidiary of the nation’s largest bank, Bank of America, in his three-and-a-half-year-old litigation against a so-called “arbitration mill,” which banks engaged to virtually assure they prevail over their credit card holders in binding arbitration proceedings. Herrera’s suit sought injunctive relief and penalties. The settlement secures $5 million for City taxpayers, and imposes tough, enforceable protections for California’s credit card holders in their debt disputes with FIA Card Services.

Under the terms of Herrera’s settlement noticed with the San Francisco Superior Court today, FIA will make a one-time settlement payment in the amount of $5 million, and agree not to arbitrate consumer credit card collections in California for two years. The credit card subsidiary has also agreed to not use the National Arbitration Forum in arbitrations with its card holders for at least five years, and to refrain from enforcing unconfirmed arbitration awards obtained through NAF, which was among the nation’s most notoriously anti-consumer arbitrators when Herrera filed his litigation in March 2008. FIA is also prohibited from barring consumer class actions challenging FIA’s practices. Herrera won a preliminary injunction against FIA early in his litigation, in April 2008, to halt the company’s practice of disclosing Social Security numbers and other private information of its customers in publicly available court records in San Francisco.

“This is a very significant settlement — not just because of its blockbuster dollar amount, but because it’s another milestone in a case that has helped reform the credit card industry’s abusive practices,” said Herrera. “For most consumers in debt disputes, binding arbitration was a sham that never gave consumers a chance — and major banks knew it. Credit card holders were often also victimized by outrageous attorneys’ fees and costs, which were illegally tacked onto arbitration awards against them. I’m very proud of a public interest lawsuit that continues to send a powerful message to the financial industry, and that has caused even the nation’s largest financial institutions to reform their conduct.”

Herrera initially filed his litigation against FIA Card Services and the National Arbitration Forum in March 2008 for violations of California’s Unfair Competition Law. The litigation would soon after feature prominently in a BusinessWeek cover story entitled “Banks vs. Consumers (Guess Who Wins),” in June 2008, which relied on key facts from San Francisco’s case, including statistics showing that consumers prevailed in just 30 cases out of more than 18,000 arbitrations brought by businesses that went to a hearing — less than two-tenths of one percent.

In July 2009, the National Arbitration Forum announced that it would cease handling consumer credit card arbitration matters after a state attorney general followed Herrera’s lead in filing a separate consumer protection case. A month later, Bank of America agreed to drop its longstanding requirement that consumers with credit card disputes enter into binding arbitration. That change by the nation’s largest bank freed millions of credit card consumers from binding arbitration requirements, enabling them to pursue civil actions in neutral courts. Herrera’s case remains in active litigation with NAF, which his office continues to pursue for financial penalties and other relief.

The City Attorney’s case is: People of the State of California v. National Arbitration Forum, Inc.; FIA Card Services et al., San Francisco Superior Court No. 473-569, filed March 24, 2008.”

GoogleCache Reveals SFPark Program No Longer Promising That “Drivers Will Love SFPark”

Friday, August 6th, 2010

Remember back in the day, back when the SFPark website promised that “Drivers will love SFPark?” Well, I do, and so does the Google Cache, at least it does for now.

Anyway, below you can see the old SFPark homepage, the one that was up until just recently. (The word “love” is highlighted because that’s the search term I used to find it in the cache.) Click to expand:

Even without the highlighting, that phrase stood out as a boner. Why, for instance, would drivers “love” an extra 5000 parking meters on spaces that are currently free? How on Earth do drivers, in general, “benefit” from that?

But, as stated, that love language is gone now, so that’s a good thing. What’s left is a patronizing, cartoonish website with a patronizing, cartoonish video that talks about how a third of traffic (or something) in San Francisco is made up of people looking for parking.  That, of course, is fucking absurd. I’m sure that stat, employed using the passive voice, if you’d note, might be operational in Chinatown during New Year’s or in North Beach on any given Friday night, but otherwise, it’s fucking absurd.

And do people really all turn into agitated George Costanzas when they park, all raging at the machine? That’s what it’s like, IRL? Really? I’ll bet if you asked what people were thinking about when they’re parking you’d get all kinds of different answers.

But what about these despondent folks waiting for a #5 Fulton for an excessively long time? Could MUNI make a “whimsical video” about what’s on their minds?

(How about a dozen “MUNI sucks” thought bubbles? That would fit the bill.)

The primary beneficiaries of SFPark are those who make money directly off of the program- that includes people making the parking meters, people making commish off of selling the parking meters, people who design the cartoonish website, graphic designers, PR types, people like that. It was the same thing with MUNI’s Culturebus- these types of people make their money whether or not a program succeeds, whether or not a program lives on.

Basically, SFPark will allow the City to collect more money from parking meters. That’s good for some and it’s not good for others. It would be refreshing if the people at SFPark would acknowledge that. Why do they spend so much effort selling a program that’s already a done deal?

SFPark will allow the City to charge up to $18 per hour. That’s something that would be physically impossible with the typical, old-school, non-debit card meters that we’re used to dealing with. Can you imagine putting 72 quarters into a meter to park for one hour? (How often would it have to get emptied?)

Not that it’s not worth it for people to pay $18 per hour to park sometimes. I’m sure that there are lots who would love to pay whatever it takes to park on Columbus right in frontof their restaurant in North Beach on a Saturday night. The problem is that SFPark is going to charge $0 per hour to park in North Beach after 6:00 PM, AFAIK. So does that make sense?

But if  Uncle Sucker wants to pay us eight figures to set up this system, that’s its choice.  

Obviously, there will be winners and losers whenever a government institutes a new program like this, so it’d be nice not to have such a pollyannish, snow-job website.

Anyway, losing the “love” language is a slight improvement, so hurray for that.

Sorry Visa, But Your New Black Card is Not the World’s Most Prestigious Credit Card

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

Visa Inc. claims its new Black Card is “the world’s most prestigious and versatile credit card.”

Srsly, Visa? Haven’t you all ever heard of the Centurion Card from the American Express?  That thang is certainly more prestigious than your Black Card.

Visa, please correct your ad campaign. Forthwith.

Capture1

These cards are made with carbon, just like a rusting, broke down Ford Pinto.

Did Visa actually apply for a patent for the idea of carbon-fortifying these rectangular pieces of black plastic? Sadly, yes.

In Visa’s own words:

“For those who demand only the best of what life has to offer, the exclusive Visa Black Card is for you. The Black Card is not just another piece of plastic. Made with carbon, it is the ultimate buying tool.

The Black Card is not for everyone. In fact, it is limited to only 1% of U.S. residents to ensure the highest caliber of personal service is provided to every Cardmember.

Become a Black Card member today and enjoy our 24-hour world class Concierge Service ready to assist you with all your business, travel and leisure needs.”

And:

“The Black Card is made with carbon, creating a more unique card, guaranteed to get you noticed.”

O.K. fine.

If your sugar daddy and/or mommy ever tries to impress you by whipping out a Visa Black Card, you ought to end it right there and start yelling about how you “don’t want no scrub.”

Anyway, just don’t know what you’re thinking here, Visa. Using this new piece of plastic/carbon merely serves to show how somebody doesn’t have a Centurion, right?

In closing, hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!