LegalShield in Canada – A scathing review

What is LegalShield?

LegalShield, formerly Pre-Paid Legal Services, markets a membership program that offers pre-paid legal plans and identity theft protection.  I like to think of the program as a type of insurance with easy access to legal help, especially in the event of an emergency. The latter of which was my main reason for subscribing to their program.

A Real Estate transaction and a dying parent

It’s January of 2022.  My parents have moved into a care home and I’m in the process of helping them sell the half duplex where they lived for the past 35 years.

During the morning of Sunday, January 09 I receive notice that my father has been taken to the hospital with a lung infection and isn’t expected to make it.

By Monday morning we had received three offers on the house and need to make a decision regarding which one to accept.  Since Dad is too sick to  sign, we need to enable the Power of Attorney process that Dad had set up many years ago.  

Enter Foisy Law, St. Albert

Foisy Law is a legal firm based in St. Albert, Alberta. They are the law firm assigned to me by LegalShield.

On Tuesday, January 11, I reach out to Foisy Law to submit a request for help with the Power of Attorney paperwork. The lady who answered the phone had difficulty finding my membership. After some difficulty with the computer system a file is created and I’m told someone will get back with me before close of business.

By the afternoon of Wednesday, January 12, I hadn’t heard back from Foisy Law so I make a follow-up call. The male who answered the phone couldn’t find my request in the computer system. Since I didn’t have a file number, another request was generated.

 

Dad passes away

Thursday morning I check my phone and find an SMS telling me that Dad has passed away.  Since I’m now extremely irritated that Foisy Law hasn’t returned any of my calls I decide to contact a different law firm, unrelated to Foisy Law or the LegalShield program.

I reach out again to Foisy Law and am told they can’t talk to me and that my file has been transferred to the Conflict Department of LegalShield and they will let me know which law firm my case has been referred to.

FOISY LAW:  Incompetent meatheads

One of your first tasks is to determine if there’s a conflict with taking my case. Why didn’t you tell me there was a conflict when I initiated my request?

LegalShield Conflict Line

No word from LegalShield regarding where my file was transferred so I reach out to the Conflict Line. I’m unable to reach anyone.  Only a weird outgoing message saying they’re closed or unavailable.

I call the regular LegalShield help line and find out Conflict is unavailable due to the American holiday, Martin Luther King Day.  Yet another bit of stupidity:  I’m in Canada dealing with a Canadian law firm and have to face yet another delay due to an American holiday.

It is now Saturday, January 22 as I write this and still no contact from LegalShield or their conflict line.

Bottom Line

Foisy Law dropped the ball big time by not telling me right away about the potential conflict with them helping me. 

One of the first thing a law firm is supposed to do when a request is submitted is check for conflict of interest to make sure they aren’t already representing one of the parties on a different matter.

It is my opinion that Foisy Law messed up and caused me undue delay and stress by not telling me right away about potential conflict.

As often happens with American firms, LegalShield are a big dumb company not prepared to do business in Canada. Among other things, I shouldn’t have to be delayed by an American holiday when the matter involved has no dealings outside the province of Alberta.

My final verdict is I recommend against LegalShield for Canadians.  In fact the person who recommended LegalShield to me and I have both canceled our memberships as the result of this debacle.

 

Kraft Lies: Not 100% Parmesan

Recent concerns surrounding GMO, MSG, Aspartame, and other   potential  garbage in our food has had me looking a little more closely at food labels.

Today while shopping I picked up I container labeled Kraft 100% Parmesan Grated Cheese.

The label gives even more detail:  The label doesn’t just say parmesan, it says 100% parmesan.  That’s because we only use the finest ingredients, carefully crafted and aged for a sharp, distinctive taste that enhances your favorite dishes — a taste that’s 100 real, 100% parmesan.  Below is a scanned graphic of the actual label.

Kraft 100% Parmesan

Kraft is a brand well known for quality.  Or so I thought.  Let’s take a closer look at the ingredient list.  Rotated and enlarged for your convenience.

Ingredients:  parmesan cheese (milk, bacterial culture, salt, lipase, microbial enzyme, calcium chloride), cellulose powder, potassium sorbate.  May contain modified milk ingredients.  (A061l) contains:  milk.

  • Parmesan cheese contains milk, bacterial culture, and so on.  Looks good so far.
  • Cellulose powder is also known as food grade wood pulp.  Huh?  In at least three places the label reads, 100% Parmesan.
  • Potassium sorbate is a food preservative.  Whether it is healthy or not is a story for another blog post.
  • May contain modified milk ingredients.  This may be another way to label MSG.

The fact food grade wood pulp is found in this product means it is not 100% parmesan cheese as the label suggests.  Kraft Canada has a label that is just a little bit misleading, don’t you think?.

 

 

Spruce Grove Upgrades Photo Radar

Photo radar camera upgrades

According to the March 16 edition of the Stony Plain Reporter, The City of Spruce Grove is in the process of upgrading their photo radar system.  Mobile units will be replaced with stationary red light and speed on green cameras at four intersections along Highway 16A.

As usual, safety reasons are touted and revenue generation is downplayed.

Guilty until proven innocent

The most serious issue I have with the photo radar system is the Spruce Grove Mayor, Stuart Houston, seems believe in a system where people are guilty until proven innocent.  According to the Stony Plain Reporter, Mayor Stuart Houston says…

The undeniable fact is that anyone who receives a red light, speed on green, or photo radar ticket is breaking the law.

From this statement I understand that the photo camera systems are absolutely perfect and that everyone who receives a ticket in the mail deserves it.

What a load of steer manure.

My questions for Mayor Stuart Houston

  1. Are you telling us that the photo enforcement system is absolutely perfect?
  2. Are you telling us that all tickets issued are 100% valid 100% of the time without fail?
  3. Are you telling us that anyone who receives a ticket is automatically guilty?

 

 

Today is Mental Health Day

I live with someone who has been diagnosed with a mental illness.

For the most part, the care we get from health professionals is good.

Now and again we are reminded that many people who are diagnosed bi-polar end up abandoned by their spouse or significant other.

Most of the time these comments come from health professionals that are supposed to be helping us.

I have no intentions of leaving my best friend during some of the worst times in her life.

My question back to those who bring up the statistics is, “Why?  Is that what YOU would do?

Money Mart Titanium+ & BMO Prepaid Travel Card (Conclusion)

My last and final post regarding my Money Mart Titanium Plus Mastercard.

I have been using my BMO Prepaid Travel Card for just over three months now and have had no difficulties.  It has been accepted everywhere I have needed to use it.  Loading it is as easy as transferring money from my regular BMO bank account.

The only snag I hit is I am unable to transfer money to the BMO Mastercard from my TD account.  Documentation from BMO says I should be able to deposit money to the Prepaid Travel Card from any Canadian bank the same way I would pay any other Mastercard.  However, TD does not support this.  The BMO  chequing account costs me $4.00 per month.  This is cheap compared to the fees and hassle that come with the Money Mart Titanium Plus card.

Since I began my search for a better prepaid card another option has been presented to me.  Easy Financial Services offers a prepaid card that they call the EPIC Mastercard.  The web site does not mention or list service charges though there is no credit check as is required with the BMO card.  It is worth checking out.

http://www.easyfinancialservices.ca/

My Money Mart Titanium Plus card has officially been canceled.  For me it was not worth the hassle.  For someone who may not pass the credit check required by BMO, this card may be a temporary option or last resort.

Money Mart Titanium+ & BMO Prepaid Travel Card (Update)

In a previous post I vented frustrations with Money Mart and their Titanium+ Prepaid Visa card.  This is an update.

On March 26 I received my BMO Prepaid Travel Mastercard.  Activation via their web site is fairly simple.

Documentation that comes with the card indicates that I may add money to this card online from either a BMO account or, if I am with a different bank, set it up as a bill payment.  My main bank is TD Canada Trust.  I quickly find out that TD Canada Trust will not let me pay money to a BMO Prepaid Travel Card.  TD Canada Trust is usually very helpful, but not this time.

Since TD Canada Trust is unable to help me load the card, I decided to open an account with BMO.  The process was fairly painless and the lady I met with was very helpful.

My Titanium+ Prepaid Visa from Money Mart continues to be a royal pain.  Most noticeably for Internet transactions that require an address.  Often these transactions are rejected even though the address is entered correctly.

I am in the process of migrating all credit card transactions over to my new BMO Prepaid Travel Mastercard.

Look for a conclusion post on this topic in a few weeks.

Frustrations with Money Mart Titanium Plus Prepaid Visa

The Titanium Plus Prepaid Visa from Money Mart was recently recommended to me.  This post is about my experiences with Money Mart and the Titanium Plus Visa card and the frustrations I faced dealing with Money Mart and their Customer Service department.

The card was easy to get and is easy to load.  A trip to my local Money Mart, answer a few security questions, give them some cash, and viola!  A card is issued.

Several purchases were made with the card.  Then I tried to make a purchase and received a notification that there were insufficient funds.  One would think that the remedy for this would be to go back to the local Money Mart store and top up the card.  I was wrong.

I did make a trip back to Money Mart where I gave them $75.00 to cover a purchase of $53.00.  Back at the computer I was again told there were insufficient funds.  I log into my Titanium Plus account and find there are two pending authorizations or holds on the card for the amount I wanted to charge and still not enough money to complete the transaction.  This is where the nightmare begins.

The image below is a screen shot of Money Mart Policy as taken directly from the Titanium Plus web site.  It clearly states that authorization removals under $100 can be removed over the phone.

Money Mart: Authorization removals under $100 can be done over the phone
Money Mart: Authorization Removals Policy (click to enlarge)

I call the toll-free number on the back of my Titanium Plus card and spend over 30 minutes on hold.  Finally I get to speak with a woman I will call Laura.  Laura tells me that she is not able to remove authorizations over the phone and that I must have the merchant fax Money Mart a release form.  She offers to e-mail me a release form to forward to the merchant.  I accept.  Laura is the type of person who is all yap and no listen.  It took me nearly ten minutes to sort out with her what exactly my concern was.

In frustration, I ask to speak with a supervisor.  After more time on hold, I am put in contact with Jennie.  Jennie tells me that she is unable to help me beyond the little that Laura has already done.  She does provide me a tip in that one of my options is to contact the Better Business Bureau and confirms that Policy as outlined on the web is different than what Customer Service can really do for me.

Thanks to spending over 30 frustrating minutes on hold and another twenty minutes with two people who are unable to to resolve my problem quickly, I have to wait another day.  The merchant is now closed.

The next day I talk with the merchant who is very helpful.  The fellow I spoke with is fine with me sending him the release form, filling it out, and faxing it to Money Mart.  He does this and I wait, checking my Titanium Plus account online every half hour or so for funds to be released.

I receive a telephone call from a client and am out for a few hours.  When I get back, I check my Titanium Plus account and funds still have not been released.  I call Customer Service and spend another 40 minutes on hold.  Finally I am able to speak with Matt.  He tells me that the fax was received but is missing the Merchant ID number.  The merchant is now closed so this again will have to wait one more day.

[This section will be updated as events unfold.]

Money Mart consistently over promises and under delivers.  Customer Service does not understand the urgency of helping clients and/or is understaffed.  Later I discover that I am being billed $1.50 for each call I make to Customer Service.  This only adds to my frustration.

Over all, Customer Service have been extremely frustrating to deal with and I do not recommend doing business with Money Mart or using their Titanium Plus Visa.  I have applied for a BMO Prepaid Travel Mastercard.  Once I have had the BMO card for a while and am satisfied, I will be canceling the Money Mart card.

I welcome comments, especially if you have experience with Money Mart and their Titanium Plus Visa.

http://www4.bmo.com/creditcards/prepaid/0,4978,35649_78277469,00.html