Heck Yes I Want a Receipt!

Every time any of us uses an ATM, fuel pump or similar device and transaction, we are asked if we want a receipt. I urge you to answer YES, every time.

Here’s why, from my own experience. Twice, in the last six months, our office has made a bank deposit at our local branch where, “upon further review”, our account was not credited with the deposit. Twice! While the vast majority of our deposits were processed correctly, one error is excessive, much less two, in a short time period. We discovered this error by checking our account on line and matching the deposit receipt. As a result, apparently because of human error (on the part of the same bank employee both times) we corrected the errors by taking the receipt to the bank.

For the same reason, we should all take a receipt for such transactions, electronic or otherwise. It bears checking to see that your ATM deposit was the amount that you selected and matches the cash dispensed. Likewise with a fuel, food, or any other purchase. I advise you to, when safely able to, check the ATM withdrawal by counting your cash against the receipt.

We become trusting and complacent when it comes to our business dealings, perhaps because there is some computer or electronic system involved. But errors occur; some device caused and some human caused and one must be diligent to protect one’s assets.

So when the device or a person asks if you want a receipt, say YES, loud enough for our office to hear you!

Allan Opsitnick

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The Lawyer Gets Schooled

I’m a fan of electronic gadgets and everything Bluetooth. I recently purchased Bluetooth headphones that have an excellent sound quality, especially for the modest price that they were. They’re large and unsightly, but when I wear them which is around the house or in the car, I’m not really bothered by the appearance, as they dramatically enhance my listening pleasure.

Recently I carried the headphones into the office and mentioned to our assistant Kaitlin that I use them in the car (because they have a built in microphone for helping to make telephone calls), she asked me whether or not driving with headphones on was prohibited. Not knowing the answer off the top of my head, I asked her to research the Pennsylvania Motor Vehicle Code for the answer, which she promptly went off to do.

Much to my dismay, when she came back with her findings, it appears that headphone and earbud use while operating a vehicle is prohibited under Section 3314 of the Motor Vehicle Code which states:

‘No driver shall operate a vehicle while wearing or using one or more headphones or earphones.’

There is, naturally, an exception for hearing aids and for a cell phone headset “… that provides sound through one ear and allows surrounding sounds to be heard with the other ear…”

Even if a driver is only using one earbud of a set that’s designed for both ear usage, this is a violation of the Motor Vehicle Code. While there are no license points involved currently, the violation is a summary offense which can result in a fine of up to $300 plus costs.

Consider this when driving. I know I for one will be leaving my headphones at home. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to e-mail or call us.

Allan Opsitnick

Free Credit Report: Fact or Fiction?

We have received inquiries from clients about how to get a “Free Credit Report.” Let’s clear that up.

There is only one way to obtain a Free Credit Report, that is truly free, and this is through a system established by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA.)

Everyone has a legal right to one free credit report per 12 month period from each of the “big three” credit reporting agencies: Equifax, TransUnion and Experian. The reports can be ordered at one time or staggered. Here’s how to get them:

  1. By internet. This should permit you to print your report or reports on the spot. Go to www.annualcreditreport.com. You will have to provide personal information, that is confidential, and you will receive your report;
  2. By telephone. Call 1-877-322-8228 and give your information to the intake person. You should receive your free credit report within 15 days;
  3. By mail. You can complete a form that you can obtain from the FTC web site at: www.ftc.gov/credit. The form can be mailed to: Annual Credit Reporting Service, PO Box 105281, Atlanta GA 30348-5281. Again, your mailed request should take about 15 days.

Do not contact the credit reporting agencies directly! The only method to obtain your free report is one of the three options above.

While you can get a Free Credit Report, you cannot get a Free Credit Score.

Allan Opsitnick

Motor Vehicle Point System

Recently, we have had many client questions about motor vehicle points, so we’ve taken the liberty of posting the Pennsylvania Motor Vehicle Points document for your reference.

Especially now with the holiday time, it’s always good to be prepared if anything comes up. If you have any additional questions or concerns, please contact the office and we’ll be glad to assist you in any way possible

The link is posted below. Opens in a new tab.

Allan Opsitnick

Pennsylvania DMV Point Sheet.