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Power to the People

Don't Get Angry, Get Solutions

(page 2 of 3)


Illustration by Matt Mignanelli

Problem:

The aerial roots from your neighbor’s banyan tree have touched down in your tranquil rock garden.
 

Solution: 

Turns out, any part of the tree that’s over your property line is your responsibility. “Unless the tree is causing sensible harm to you or your property, it’s up to you to cut the branches back,” says David Callies, professor of property law at the University of Hawaii. In other words, your neighbor is not responsible if the tree is merely casting shade or dropping leaves into your yard. They’re only responsible if the tree poses a danger to you, your family, or your property. On the bright side, if your neighbor’s lychee tree hangs over the fence, the fruit is yours for the taking.

 

Problem:

Though you haven’t looked anything up in a paper phone book since 1999, you still seem to get four phone books dropped off every six months.
 

Solution: 

Over 500 million directories are printed every year, or roughly one and a half directories for every man, woman and child in the U.S. Stop the madness by signing up at www.yellowpagesgoesgreen.org; the Web site will contact the publishers in your neighborhood. Too bad you can’t sell those extra phone books …

 

Problem:

A high-wind warning closed down all public schools; what are you going to do with Junior?
 

Solution: 

Sometimes the best defense is a good offense. Don’t wait until your child’s day-care provider is suddenly closed to find another option. Diane Tabangay, the executive director of childcare at YMCA, advises parents to have two or three backup childcare providers in case of an emergency. You can gather a list of licensed providers in your area by contacting PATCH, Hawaii’s nonprofit statewide childcare referral agency. “Start early, do the research, take the time to meet the daycare providers and see the environment,” says Tabangay. “That way, when an emergency arises, you already have multiple options.” Visit www.patchhawaii.org, or call 839-1988.

 

Problem:

Half the envelopes in your mailbox are stuffed with pre-approved credit card offers.
 

Solution:

Armed with just your name, address, and social security number you can take charge and stop receiving credit card offers. Consumer credit reporting companies have a list of names that they provide to credit card companies. To remove your name from that list go to www.optoutprescreen.com and fill in the required information in the “Opt-Out Form.” The Web site will notify the consumer credit reporting companies within five days. The electronic “Opt-Out Form” will only keep your name off the list for five years. To remove your name permanently you have to submit your request in writing by printing and mailing out the “Permanent Opt-Out Election Form.”

 


Illustration by Matt Mignanelli

Problem:

It’s been months and that rusted Honda is still parked at Waimanalo Beach Park.
 

Solution:

You can report abandoned or derelict vehicles by going online to www3.honolulu.gov/csdavcomplaints or by calling 532-7700 ext. 250. But before you jump at the chance to get rid of your neighborhood’s eyesore you might want to double check that the car is parked on a public roadway. An abandoned vehicle can be reported once it has been unattended for more than 24 hours. You will need the vehicle’s make, type, color, license plate, and location to file the report. In case additional information about the car’s location is needed, both the online form and the phone line will ask you for your contact information. Once you’ve filed a report allow ten business days for the report to get processed.
 

Web Exclusive:

Problem:

The ATM ate your card.
 

Solution:

If your card gets stuck, immediately call the customer service phone number on the ATM machine. If the ATM operator is not able to eject the card, contact your bank immediately. “Consumers have rights under federal law to prompt investigation when they report errors in electronic funds transfers,” says Stafford Kiguchi, of Bank of Hawai‘i. Assuming you reported the incident promptly, you will receive a new card in the mail within 7 to 10 business days. To avoid fraud, stay away from suspicious ATMs. If you see an unusual-looking device attached to the card slots or a transparent overlay on the keypad, it’s best to walk away, these might be fraudulent recording devices.
 

Now more than ever, it’s important to keep an eye on your money. The last thing you need is to be the victim of ATM theft or fraud. Here are some suggestions from the FDIC:

1. Know where your ATM card is at all times. Carry only the cards you think you’ll need that day. The fewer cards, the less likely they’ll be lost of stolen.

2. Destroy old or expired ATM cards as soon as possible. Make sure to cut through the account number and the magnetic strip.

3. Keep your Personal Identification Number (PIN) private. Don’t write it down and don’t share it with anyone who isn’t a co-owner of your account.

4. Stay away from suspicious ATMs. If you see an unusual-looking device attached to the card slots or a transparent overlay on the keypad it’s best to walk away. These might be fraudulent recording devices.

5. Pay attention to your card when you’re making purchases at retail stores. If you see it being swiped on more than one machine report the situation to the store manager.

6. Use ATMs owned by federally insured banking institutions.

 

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,May

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