Alexander: Readers react to discount phone furor

  • Article by: STEVE ALEXANDER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 30, 2013 - 5:56 PM

In a column two weeks ago, T-Mobile customer Kyle McCauley of Burnsville protested that the company’s abrupt switch to no contracts and full-priced phones had violated his right to purchase a discounted cellphone in the future. T-Mobile wouldn’t budge on the change, but did let McCauley out of his contract early, a $100 value. That elicited some strong opinions from readers.

Allan Chermak of Burnsville and Roydell Doss Jr. of Cary, N.C., said it’s clear that T-Mobile gave McCauley a discounted phone at the beginning of his existing contract, and that T-Mobile owed him nothing more for the contract’s duration.

“Have American consumers so lost their common sense as to feel entitled to each and every whim of theirs?” asked Chermak. He called McCauley’s dispute “ludicrous.”

But Jack Mertes Sr. of Edina and Janet Rodriguez of Miami were sympathetic to McCauley’s plight because they believe T-Mobile’s actions are not always fair to customers.

“I was pleased to see that someone was making noise on this issue,” Rodriguez said. “T-Mobile stated in your article that they have not received similar complaints. Are they kidding?”

 

Q: My laptop is 8 years old. The computer screen flickers, then goes dark, but it will stop flickering if I unplug it. I also think the battery is dying. Is my PC fixable? Is it worth fixing?

Judy Cyr, Monticello, Minn.

 

A: It’s probably not worth repairing. Without knowing more about your PC, I’d guess that you could buy a new laptop screen and battery online, then pay a small repair shop to install them, for between $150 and $200. That’s a large portion of the $330 it would cost you to buy a new laptop at a computer store. And, even after the repairs, you’d still have a 2005-era PC that has aging components, such as a hard drive that’s already outlived its five-year life expectancy.

 

Q: What’s the best and easiest way to listen to a radio station in another state? I’m interested in a radio station in Punta Gorda, Fla.

Neil Dutcher, Bloomington

 

A: Many radio stations simultaneously broadcast over the air and over the Internet. To find a station online, go to radio-locator.com and search by city or by the station’s call letters. Some stations play through your Web browser, while others require audio player software such as iTunes (download it at tinyurl.com/cmgnnzt).

Using radio-locator.com, I found two radio stations in Punta Gorda, Fla. (see the list at tinyurl.com/btlltsk). For religious station WREH, click on the station call letters, and click the address under “audio feed.” On the pop-up box, choose “open with iTunes” and click OK. For news station WCCF, click the call letters, then click the website’s “listen live” button.

 

E-mail tech questions to steve.j.alexander@

gmail.com or write to Tech Q&A, 425 ­Portland Av. S., ­Minneapolis, MN 55488. Include name, city and telephone number.

gmail.com or write to Tech Q&A, 425 ­Portland Av. S., ­Minneapolis, MN 55488. Include name, city and telephone number.

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