A Killeen woman writes The Watchdog that her auto insurance company is stalling on claims, making customers refile over and over and refusing to do most things an insurance company is expected to do.
This wouldn't be so fascinating were it not for the company's name. Pronto Insurance.
I wrote her back: File a complaint with the Texas Department of Insurance. And do it pronto!
Lots of other news here. Seatbelts on. Here we go:
A lawyer has filed a federal lawsuit against top officials in the Texas Department of Public Safety, saying supervisors tampered with employee records through forgeries and other changes.
Lawyer Ty Clevenger, whom I profiled last year as "the craziest but bravest Texas lawyer," says his client, Trooper Billy Spears, was put on modified duty in retaliation for his previous lawsuit against the agency.
Spears is probably one of DPS' better known troopers. He got in trouble two years ago for posing in a photo with Snoop Dogg at Austin's South by Southwest festival.
"DPS has really doubled down," Clevenger said. "Their plan eventually unraveled."
An East Texas district attorney, Billy W. Byrd from Upshur County, looked at the allegations and referred them to the Texas attorney general's criminal prosecutions unit.
The lawsuit alleges that DPS changed Spears' employee paperwork by back-dating, typing in new information and forging signatures.
DPS spokesman Tom Vinger tells me, "The department looks forward to refuting these spurious claims through the proper legal proceedings."
Google guarantee limit
The Watchdog recently told you about Google's new money-back guarantee. Hire a home services company that advertises on Google and has earned a new Google "badge of trust" approval rating, and you'll be covered if things go bad.
What I didn't know is that Google's money-back guarantee is limited to only $2,000. That won't work on a big job. Thanks to NBC5 consumer investigative reporter Samantha Chatman for cluing me in.
Latest on robocalls
If you follow The Watchdog, you might recall how AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson once told me in an interview that his company lacked the power to block robocalls. After I reported that, the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission appointed Stephenson to head a robocall strike force with other industry leaders.
This month, the FCC took the main recommendation from the strike force, which apparently has disbanded.
The FCC approved new rules that allow phone companies to block numbers known to be fraudulent. But the change will affect only part of the billions of illegal robocalls that annoy us.
Calls from numbers that do not make outgoing calls won't be allowed to fool us. For example, the phone number for the IRS will no longer be displayed on Caller ID boxes by scammers pretending to be calling from that number.
The list of banned phone numbers will be placed on a "Do Not Originate" list.
Experts say it won't stop the problem, but it's a good start.
The chairman of an important U.S. House committee is questioning whether the feds properly run medical emergency research conducted without the consent of the patients involved.
The Watchdog has reported about a study in Dallas-Fort Worth area hospitals that tests two types of airway breathing procedures for EMS patients in cardiac arrest. A Lake Worth husband whose wife died didn't learn she was part of the study until he was notified seven weeks later by UT Southwestern Medical Center. UTSW supervises the studies in this region.
Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., says in a letter to the National Institutes of Health that procedures indicate family members could be informed immediately and permission received in certain cases.
But Walden says it doesn't appear those steps were followed. UTSW officials say getting permission may take too much time in medical situations in which there's no time to spare.
Tax protest contracts
If you're one of the thousands of Texas property owners who hired a tax protest consultant this year, be aware that you should cancel your contract. Otherwise, the company you hired for 2017 will automatically represent you in 2018.
How do you cancel? It's easy. Do an Internet search for "Form 50-813 Revocation of Appointment of Agent for Property Tax." Fill in the one-page form and mail it to your county appraisal district.
Staff writer Marina Trahan Martinez contributed to this report.
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Write: Dave Lieber, P.O. Box 655237, Dallas, TX 75265