Kokua Line

Kokua Line

By June Watanabe

Friday, January 22, 1999

Oceanic Cable defends
charging $5 late fee

Oceanic Cable charged me a $5 administrative fee when my payment arrived two days late. How do they rationalize a late fee on something they collect in advance? You pay your cable bill one month in advance. So if your check comes two days late, it's really not two days late; it's just two days later than 30 days in advance. We had a long fight with them, and they agreed to remove the charge but defended their position.

The late fee reflects the "real costs incurred" in pursuing a delinquent payment, said Oceanic spokesman Kit Beuret.

He noted that the cable company is among a variety of businesses that require advance payment "for very practical reasons."

"If you don't pay your insurance premium on time, your policy may be canceled. Pay your phone bill late and a finance charge is applied. Don't pay for your newspaper or magazine subscription, and delivery stops," he said. "For most of us, a late rent or mortgage payment means an additional charge."

Oceanic did not charge a late fee for years, Beuret said.

"As a result, thousands of customers routinely paid their bills a few months late," he said.

He said it didn't seem fair to spread the expense of reviewing and chasing down late payments to customers who paid their bills on time.

The late administrative fee was instituted in 1997.


I received a letter from Natural Choice USA on a get-rich-quick scheme involving vending machines. These people already have been investigated by the Akron Better Business Bureau. Can you alert the public?

The Hawaii BBB passed on information from the BBB in Cypress, Calif., where Orion Products Corp. is based. Antares Corporation Natural Choice USA is part of Orion Products.

Complaints to the Cypress BBB alleged misrepresentation of profit potential and lack of support in placing machines. Orion responded by offering additional help, but several complaints remained unresolved and customers were not always satisfied, the BBB said.

On July 22, 1996, the Federal Trade Commission announced a settlement with Antares Corp., Orion Products and Dana Bashor, president of Orion, collectively known as Orion.

The FTC charged that Orion "used shills and misrepresented," among other things, potential earnings and profits, substance and success of its location assistance program, the number of Orion distributorships in any given geographic market, testimonials of successful distributors and whether comments of distributors were unsolicited and uncompensated.

Orion paid $1,000 in consumer redress without admitting any wrongdoing. For three years it cannot prohibit distributors from disclosing experiences with Orion to prospective purchases. Orion also is required to disclose the name, address and phone number of five current distributors in the county nearest a prospect.

Call the BBB, 536-6956, for possible information about a company.



To HPD Officer Jeff Pohaku and other officers, who assisted me on Jan. 6 after I had to make an emergency stop on the H-1 freeway, near Kahala Mall, during early evening peak traffic. I appreciated their prompt assistance and professional and courteous manner.

Officer Pohaku also made certain I was safe while I waited for the tow truck to arrive. -- A grateful motorist



To bus riders who sit on the aisle seat when the window seat is empty, making it unavailable to those who come in after them. -- No name

Need help with problems? Call Kokua Line at 525-8686,
fax 525-6711, or write to P.O. Box 3080, Honolulu 96802.
Email to kokualine@starbulletin.com

E-mail to City Desk

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