POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Aug 1, 2011
Question: I shipped 12 boxes via Philbox Express to the Philippines, paying $55 for each, only to find out they were never delivered. Since Millennium Express offered to get the boxes out of Philippines Customs and deliver them, I have had to pay an extra $885 total to have the boxes delivered. I live on Social Security and cannot afford all this money. Can Millennium charge all that money?
Answer: If you want the boxes delivered, you should pay the extra charges with the hope that the state Office of Consumer Protection can recoup the costs for everyone whose shipments were derailed.
As we explained previously, PB Direct and Philbox Express, sister companies in Waipahu, went bankrupt, stranding more than a thousand boxes in the Philippines. Millennium Express & Travel, also in Waipahu, offered to get the boxes out of storage in Customs and delivered, but for additional fees.
Although the charges might appear exorbitant, Millennium has had to pay storage and delivery fees, said Jeffrey Brunton, staff attorney for the Office of Consumer Protection, who has been working on this case.
“Millennium didn’t have to do anything,” he said. “Millennium could have simply said, ‘We’re not going to get involved in this, period.’ In which case, the two containers with (1,300) boxes would still be sitting on the dock in Manila, pending, at some point, an auction by Philippines Customs. … They can’t deliver those things for free.”
To date, Millennium has delivered nearly 1,000 boxes, with about 300 still unclaimed, Brunton said.
At some point, Millennium will have to set a cutoff date for owners to claim the boxes, he noted. That date is likely to be sometime this month. Once that date comes, Millennium will forward Brunton the information he needs to file a claim with the bonding company.
“If a shipper had to pay Millennium extra costs, then that would be the amount of their claim,” he explained. “If the boxes were not delivered, the amount of the claim would be the amount the shipper paid PB Direct (or Philbox).”
For now, time is running out for people to claim the remaining 300 boxes and contact Millennium, he emphasized.
Question: Can one use a leaf blower to blow rubbish, leaves, cigarette butts, branches, paper, etc., onto the street? I had called 911 after seeing someone blow rubbish onto the street, and the operator made it appear that something would be done only if the leaf blower made too much noise. Why waste money on public service announcements about dumping trash if no one does anything about it?
Answer: Blowing leaves or other debris into city catch basins or streams is not allowed, although the city Department of Environmental Services does not restrict the use of leaf blowers on its sidewalks or streets, said spokesman Markus Owens.
He pointed to Section 14-12.23(a) of the Revised Ordinances of Honolulu: “It shall be unlawful for any person to discharge or cause to be discharged any pollutant into any drainage facility which causes a pollution problem in state waters, or causes a violation of any provision of the city (National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System) permit or the water quality standards of the State of Hawaii.”
Owens said the law prohibiting putting any kind of debris or pollutant into storm drains can be enforced by the city or the state Department of Health. He advised calling the city’s Environmental Concern Line at 768-3300 for more information.
“When using leaf blowers, operators should direct leaves, trash and other material away from catch basins and storm drains,” Owens said. “Material should then be collected and disposed of as green waste or trash.”
To a stranger, who spared me the hassle of replacing a credit card I dropped on July 10 at Central Oahu Regional Park. When I heard him calling my name (from the card), I became so flustered that I didn’t get his name and embarrassed that I’m not sure I even thanked him. I hope he sees this and knows how grateful I am.
Write to “Kokua Line” at Honolulu Star-Advertiser, 7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., Honolulu 96813; call 529-4773; fax 529-4750; or email firstname.lastname@example.org.