Have you ever had your handyperson bring a plus-one over to your house to negotiate an estimate? ​​Negotiating with a contractor shouldn't be a difficult experience. But it can be, especially if the contractor brings their plus-one along for the negotiation.

Genevieve has had this strange problem. She writes to TrustDale: “I’ve hired two handymen recently, and both have brought their girlfriends or wives when coming to give me the estimate. And usually, these women are meddlers, and they don’t trust their husbands, which is insulting to me.”

This is a very interesting situation. On one hand, this could be a staged bit as a way to try to get your business. On the other hand, the couple may actually be business partners. Who knows? The wife or girlfriend may also be handywomen and have just as much to say in the job as the men! 

The issue is that you won’t know unless you ask. That’s why if this ever happens to you, we recommend that you just ask! Clarifying and asking questions is the key to any transaction You shouldn’t feel insulted or uncomfortable when a contractor comes to your home. 

If your contractor brings someone else along, and they are not involved in work or other negotiations, you can always ask them to leave. 

Here’s another thing to think about: if the contractor’s spouse tries to meddle during the estimate, just try to imagine what could happen when it’s time to start the actual job. There are plenty of ways accidental breakage could result from working while distracted. That is the kind of trouble you do not need. After all, the point is that it’s your money and your home. If you don’t like how things are going during the estimate, you can always find someone else you can trust to do the job. 

In fact, at TrustDALE.com, you will always find plenty of certified service partners who come with TrustDALE’s $10,000 Make It Right Guarantee. 


Can a Store Refuse to Accept Cash or Provide Exact Change?


In this day and age, cash is no longer king when it comes to buying things at your favorite store. Many businesses are going cash-free and will no longer give out change. Here at TrustDALE, we explain what you need to know before you go shopping with a pocket full of money.

Adrina writes to us: “Dale, I was shopping, and the store refused to give any change back in coins. Instead, they forced me to use a card for my purchases. They still claimed a coin shortage. Can a store do this?” 

In most cases, yes, a store can legally claim a coin shortage. According to the Federal Reserve, “Private businesses are free to develop their own policies on whether to accept cash unless there is a state law that says otherwise.”

This means private businesses can refuse any cash payments unless it contradicts a state or local law. However, they must let you know about this policy in advance. It won’t work for you to be surprised at the checkout. That is usually why you might see a sign on the door that says, “This business does not take cash and only takes credit or debit cards.”

This also applies to your change. Unless the law says otherwise, a business can refuse to give you exact change as long as the policy is clearly posted for you to see before you go to pay. Some stores may put your change on a gift card. Others may ask you if you want to donate it to charity. It’s important to know these things before you start shopping. A good rule of thumb: ask a store employee or manager about their change and payment method policies. If you don’t like the policy, you can always take your money elsewhere.

But if you come across a business that isn’t following the rules, contact your state’s attorney general. You can let our investigative team know, as well, by going to TrustDALE.com and filling out a help request form.

Does a Dump Truck a Disclaimer Sticker Actually Mean They're Not Legally Responsible?

Imagine this: you're driving down the highway and all of a sudden… SMASH! Your windshield breaks, and all because of that dump truck in front of you that's spilling gravel. But, according to a sign on the back of that truck, the driver isn't responsible for what just happened! He points to a sign that says “WARNING: Stay back 200 FT. NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR BROKEN WINDSHIELDS!” 


One of our viewers wanted to know what's the deal with those "not responsible" signs on the back of dump trucks. Jason asks: “What’s with those signs on those dump trucks that say: the driver isn’t responsible for broken windshields. If something falls off a truck and damages my car, aren’t they responsible?”


If you want legal advice, hire a lawyer. That said, here at TrustDALE, we note that a warning sign alone doesn’t absolve anyone from responsibility.


Warning signs like this typically vary by state, but as an example, here’s what the law says in Georgia: “No vehicle shall be driven… unless such vehicle is constructed or loaded or covered as to prevent any of its load from dropping, escaping, or shifting…” [OCGA 40-6-248].


In short, you can’t just load a vehicle and haul something that isn’t secured. If it falls out of your vehicle and causes a hazard, that’s illegal.


Some dump trucks say the driver isn’t responsible for anything kicked up from the road, either. However, if it’s something that fell from the truck, hit the road, and then hit your car, the truck driver may still be responsible. A lawyer will know for certain if you have a case. If something from a dump truck does hit your windshield and cracks it, talk to your insurance company. Insurers will generally replace a windshield at no charge to you because they don’t want you to drive around with an unsafe windshield.


Additionally, Dale recommends you buy a dashcam. You’ll be able to collect and keep all the evidence of any misdemeanors on the road for you to file an insurance claim with indisputable facts. A $50 or $100 dash cam may be able to save you thousands of dollars or more in vehicle repairs. Your insurance company may even give you a discount for having one!


Are Stores Legally Required to Give Rainchecks on Out-of-Stock Items?

Nowadays, many stores aren’t carrying your favorite items like before. One of our viewers asked whether this means he can get a rain check. Here at TrustDALE, we’ll explain when rain checks do and don’t apply when suddenly you can’t find the product you need at your store.

James writes to us: “Dale, is there a law that says a grocery store must give rain checks when they’re out of an item, or never get it in?” The answer is yes, but there are certainly quite a few catches. 

The Federal Trade Commission states in the Unavailability Rule: “... it is an unfair or deceptive act or practice… to offer any such products for sale at a stated price… if those stores do not have the advertised products in stock and readily available to customers…”

In other words, this rule requires that if a store advertises a product, the store must have this advertised product in stock during a sale. If the store doesn’t, you may be entitled to a rain check, a similar item at a comparable price, or other equal compensation.

Now, here are the catches that were mentioned earlier: the Unavailability Rule does not apply to items not on sale. Neither does the Unavailability Rule apply to items clearly advertised as being in limited supply. 

You should note that every supermarket chain has its own policy on rain checks. When you are in doubt, be sure to check with the customer service desk. Don’t forget, however, that those employees already get an earful from upset and grouchy customers who are disgruntled because they can’t get their favorite items. Remember to be calm, be kind, and be polite. You may find that employees may be able to bend the rules for you.


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Don't Get Scammed: Get Smart!