Category Archives: Consumer issues

North Shore Neighborhood Board considering tour limits

The following information just came in from North Shore activist Blake McElheney:

North Shore Residents Seek Commercial Tour Bus Ban at Special Meeting Tonight

North Shore residents have have watched with interest the success of Windward Oahu residents in protecting their quality of life and important public resources such as public parks.

For example, since February of this year, commercial tour bus activity has been prohibited at the most popular beach parks from Makapuu to Kailua.

The North Shore Neighborhood Board is hosting a special community meeting at Waimea Valley tonight, April 25, at 6:30 pm for the Board and residents to discuss the following Board Resolutions:

1. Requesting City Council member Martin and the City Council pursue measures to protect the community from the increasing utilization of public parks by commercial tour bus operators; and

2.
Calling for the protection of rural Oahu in the General Plan.

Council members Ernie Martin and Ikaika Anderson (author of the Kailua and Waimanalo bans) will be in attendance to share their insights on how the community can approach these issues.

Proponents of the commercial tour bus ban are encouraging North Shore residents to contact the City Council to request that the City Council pass ordinances like those passed for Waimanalo and Kailua protecting public beaches from commercial tour buses.

The meeting is tonight, April 25, at 6:30 pm in the Pikake Pavilion at Waimea Valley.

Has Amazon changed its delivery to Hawaii?

I got this inquiry from a friend yesterday asking whether I’ve noticed a change in Amazon.

If there has been a change, I wonder if this due to the new collection of general excise tax?

I just wanted to check in and ask if you’ve used Amazon in the last week or two.

I’ve tried to order recently and only 1 of 11 items was shown as being deliverable to Hawaii at numerous addresses – including items I’ve purchased before.

I talked to Amazon a couple times (yes a phone call is possible) over the last week and finally got the answer that since their shipping infrastructure has changed many products which now ship direct from 3rd party sellers will not ship to Hawaii (or Alaska) due to those companies’ own policies.

Alibaba is known for this shipping system where they don’t warehouse nearly as much as Amazon has historically, incidentally.

Curious what your experience is in this, if any.

Anyone have personal experience to add?

BOH to cut 14% of its ATM network

A story of the business section of yesterday’s Honolulu Star-Advertiser seems to be an early sign of a seismic shift in consumer banking.

S-A reporter Dave Segal reported yesterday that Bank of Hawaii is removing all of its ATMs from McDonald’s restaurants in Hawaii and Guam.

According to the story, the move is in response to changing market conditions.

“Today, consumer preference is trending toward the use of debit cards and mobile phones instead of cash to pay for food and drinks at McDonald’s.”

The 65 machines represent nearly 14 percent of Bankoh’s ATM network. It will still have 404 ATMs systemwide — the most of any local financial institution — after the removals.

The change was spurred by McDonald’s decision to modernize its restaurants and the incorporation of point-of-sale technology to accept electronic payments.

The story quotes senior executive in charge of “digital channels”:

“An important technological shift is happening,” Oyadomari said. “The role of the ATM as only a cash dispenser has changed to now include the ability to scan deposited checks, count bills of deposited cash and communicate with your mobile phone. As the role of the ATM continues to change, we’ll continue to assess where customers would find the most value in having an ATM.”

So banks themselves are having to adapt their services, and businesses also have to keep up with the increasing importance of digital phone technologies and software advances.

Where is this heading? How will it affect banks more generally? Merchants? Let’s hear your thoughts.

State Supreme Court hits some bank foreclosures

A post here last week discussed a recent federal court opinion that concluded condominium associations were not allowed under Hawaii law to pursue nonjudicial foreclosures against individual owners who failed to pay their regular maintenance fees.

But there was another recent foreclosure-related decision that could have much more of an impact.

In the case of Hungate v. Rosen, the Hawaii Supreme Court ruled that a bank conducting a nonjudicial foreclosure must publish a new public notice each time it postpones a scheduled foreclosure sale.

Apparently it was a common practice for banks to pursue nonjudicial foreclosures under the “power of sale” provisions in their mortgages, publish a notice of the planned sale, and then postpone it at the last minute. A new date would be set but not announced. Sometimes this would be repeated a number of times, and when the sale was finally held, the bank would be the only bidder present.

The Hawaii Supreme Court said that while the common language of these mortgages was ambiguous, the court was required to rule against the bank’s position.

The application of contract interpretation principles to resolve the power of sale clause’s ambiguity supports the conclusion that Deutsche Bank was required to publish postponement notices. “[A]ny ambiguity in a mortgage instrument should be construed against the party drawing the documents,” State Sav. & Loan Ass’n v. Kauaian Dev. Co., 62 Haw. 188, 198, 613 P.2d 1315, 1322 (1980), or in other words, “against the party who supplies the words[.]”

The original circuit court decision had dismissed claims against the bank, but the Supreme Court reinstated key claims, ruling that the bank should have announced any postponements and the new dates of planned foreclosure sales. And the court also ruled that the lower court should have allowed claims of unfair or deceptive trade practices to go forward. The case was remanded to circuit court for proceedings consistent with the ruling.

I was told that there could be thousands of nonjudicial foreclosures brought by banks that had the same defective notices.

There’s obviously a lot going on in the legal world.

Time to sort out just how all of the cases reconsidering previous nonjudicial foreclosures are going to affect the real estate market, title insurers, banks, lawyers, and those property owners who were foreclosed on.

Like the cases involving condominium associations, this isn’t likely to be pretty.