The Whistleblower blog was started in 2008. Look for posts by these contributors: James Eli Shiffer, Jane Friedmann, Brandon Stahl, Eric Roper and Alejandra Matos. | Check out the Whistleblower archive.
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Over the past year, hundreds of you have asked Whistleblower for help. While we can’t investigate each tip, we want to share more of what you tell us. In 2009, we started publishing a few tips each week to stimulate online discussion and create ways for our readers to help each other. Unlike our news stories, we have not verified this information. If you have a tip, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jennifer Carr knows the Humphrey terminal at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport doesn’t have the same traffic problems as the larger Lindbergh terminal, where most of the airlines operate. Still, she was surprised recently when she noticed that no police officers were monitoring the pickup area. She spotted at least two cars that went unattended for several minutes.
“It just made me uncomfortable,” Carr said. “I don’t know how safe I feel.”
Airport spokesman Patrick Hogan said safety standards are the same at both terminals, but more resources go to Lindbergh. He said nobody should leave cars unattended, even for only a few seconds.
Do you think airport security should be even in all areas?
Over the past year, hundreds of you have asked Whistleblower for help. Even though we can’t look into each tip, we’ve found a way we can share more of what you tell us. We will showcase an interesting tip that we’ll ask you to react to, discuss and even investigate. As always, you can send your story ideas to email@example.com.
On a bitterly cold day in Buffalo, Minn. in December 2005, a propane delivery service hauled away the propane tank from a Buffalo mobile home. The owner was in the hospital at the time and said she owed $11, but the company still removed the tank. It didn’t take long for the pipes to freeze and burst, leaving an icy mess. It’s been several years since she lost her home, but the owner contacted Whistleblower because she thinks it could have been saved if propane was covered under the state’s cold weather rule.
The rule helps natural gas and electric utility customers set up a payment plan and avoid having their heat shut off between Oct. 15 and April 15, but propane and other delivered fuels are excluded.
After charging $58.37 on a store credit card that had sat dormant for years, a Minneapolis man noticed an unusual interest charge. Even though he hadn’t carried over a balance, he was told to pay $2 in interest. His new balance even stated that he owed $60.37. Here’s what he wrote to Whistleblower:
SmartMoney magazine reported on this practice in December and compared it to double-cycle billing, which calculated interest based on the past two billing cycles. The Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility, and Disclosure (CARD) Act of 2009 prohibits credit card companies from charging interest on a balance from a current or prior billing cycle, but that regulation only applies to cards that have a grace period.
Have you noticed this on your credit card statement? What do you think of this practice?
A Minneapolis mother recently found herself in a frustrating predicament when her 20-year-old son got sick before his flight home to Colorado. On the day he was supposed to board his flight, he had a fever of 101 degrees, a sore throat and aches. His mother thought it might be H1N1 flu so she called the airline to change the flight to another day. She was told it would be $150 to rebook plus the price difference between the flights.
A mother found out that the imminent expiration of her daughter’s driver’s license would prevent her from getting on an airline flight. She tried contacting her local DMV, but couldn’t find a way around a renewal rule that left her daughter in a lurch. Here’s what she wrote:
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