Steele on Your Side takes your questions
Published Friday, October 14, 2011 10:16AM PDT
Every Friday CTV Consumer Reporter Lynda Steele dips into the CTV mailbag and answers a handful of viewer questions.
Our first question comes from Lynn, who recently purchased a Greyhound bus ticket for her granddaughter. She was charged an extra $18 fee and was told that the fee is charged when the ticket is not purchased by the person who will actually use it. Lynn wants to know why Greyhound would charge such a fee.
A spokesperson at Greyhound told us the $18 service fee is charged to prevent credit card fraud when someone else is purchasing the ticket. It also covers the costs of handling because those tickets would have to be picked up at will call when the person travels.
However, there is a way to avoid the fee. If you go to a Greyhound terminal and purchase a ticket in person you will not be charged the $18. You can then give or mail that ticket to the person you are buying it for.
The next question comes from Kingston, who wrote us after we aired our story about customers who were left with worthless gift cards when companies went bankrupt. He wants to know if you purchase a gift card with a credit card if you have any protection since the goods or services were never received.
RBC Visa says, unfortunately, in this case you are not protected. Many credit cards will protect you for up to 90 days if you damage an item or have it stolen but that protection does not cover gift cards for businesses that have gone bankrupt.
We've also had several emails from viewers concerned about power outages during the smart meter conversion and how that might affect their home computers. We asked BC Hydro for clarification.
BC Hydro says you will experience a brief power interruption when your new smart meter is installed. The power outage, in most cases, will last about 60 seconds. BC Hydro says if you have any critical equipment that requires constant power, double check to make sure that your back-up power supply is working properly.
As well, if you have a home security system, there is a chance that the alarm may be triggered, similar to when there is a power outage.
With a report from CTV British Columbia's Lynda Steele