2012年12月17日 星期一

Best Buy 'hold' policy puts pinch on debit card user

He visited the Best Buy website and selected a few items for his siblings. The bill came to $117, and Harper, 18, paid for the purchases with his debit card.

"I didn’t really think twice about using my debit card," said Harper, an environmental science freshman at the County College of Morris. "I used it because it’s the only card that I own and I figured that Best Buy would be safe … and I didn’t think that they could go in and freeze my money like they did."

Best Buy put a $117 "authorization hold" on the Long Valley man’s account, a common practice when debit cards are used.

When a merchant places a "hold" on the amount of the purchase, it basically puts that money to the side, on reserve and out of your checking account,High quality stone mosaic tiles. until the purchase is finalized.

It’s a common practice for restaurants. Eateries do this because when you present your card and the business runs the transaction through, it’s often not the final amount of the bill, as many consumers choose to add a tip to the card.

Debit transactions are typically a two-step process. First, an authorization hold for a transaction is placed on the account at the time of purchase. Later, usually at the end of the day, for purchases that are completed, the merchant processes a batch transfer and funds are actually transferred, said Tom Feltner, director of Financial Services for Consumer Federation of America, an association of nonprofit consumer organizations.

"It can take around one business day for the authorization hold to fall off the account balance," Feltner said. "While this temporarily reduces the availability of funds, the authorization hold doesn’t mean that those funds were transferred to the merchant."

But they’re not available for the account holder, either. Subsequent transactions could be rejected or result in an overdraft, as the Harpers feared.

OC Transpo has contended with hundreds of reports of fumes on its buses this year, according to a log released to the Citizen last week under access-to-information legislation. The Citizen filed a request for the document after a driver of a double-decker bus was sickened by fumes from his own bus, leaking into the cabin from a faulty gasket.

The exhaust systems on OC Transpo buses are fully inspected at least twice a year, the agency’s Jim Greer said Monday by email.

“Of note is the fact that, to meet its daily service commitments, OC Transpo performs over 8,500 trips while using 816 buses twice daily and 1,500 operators. All reported fumes/odors incidents are documented through OC Transpo’s Control Centre and are either reviewed by its mobile service trucks or scheduled for further inspection at a maintenance facility,” he wrote. By implication, the 337 fume reports logged by OC Transpo’s own operators in 2012 aren’t a sign of a serious problem.

The president of OC Transpo’s drivers’ union said last week that clogged ventilation filters don’t necessarily keep out all the contaminants they’re supposed to, including exhaust fumes that get sucked in particularly when buses are stuck nose-to-tail on the Transitway at rush hour. Greer wrote that they’re actually not supposed to screen out fumes from other vehicles.

“Fresh air filters are installed on every OC Transpo bus, however their purpose is to stop the ventilation system from bringing in dust and dirt into the system, not to stop fume ingress or purify the air,If you have a fondness for china mosaic brimming with romantic roses,” Greer wrote.

The KAFD Portal Spas, by the architectural firm WORKSBUREAU, are a duo of diaphanous, polygonal structures--one for men, one for women--that are going to raise the bar on decadence. Because between services, pampered patrons will make their way through meadowlike gardens growing within the building--a three-story tower of life within a massive, light-flooded atrium. Indeed, while they’re called “spas,” the buildings may be the most striking greenhouses you’ve ever seen.

A large part of what makes the effect possible is an outer shell fitted with Tessellate panels, a technology created by Chuck Hoberman. They’re built from four layers of perforated titanium, two of which are kinetic, driven by small linear motors. “As the layers overlap,The MaxSonar ultrasonic sensor offers very short to long-range detection and ranging. the result is a kaleidoscopic visual display of patterns aligning and then diverging into a fine, light-diffusing mesh,” Hoberman tells Co.Design. “In the extreme climate of Saudi Arabia,Argo Mold limited specialize in Plastic injection mould manufacture, with its incandescent solar intensity, the screens will allow a dappled,A wide range of polished tiles for your tile flooring and walls. softened light--like that of a forest canopy-- to diffuse into the spaces during the day.”

The PNC tower is designed to be a warm, inviting place--as much as an impersonal skyscraper can be. Located in the middle of downtown Pittsburgh (AKA the Golden Triangle), the tower will engage the community around it with an open lobby (Ko describes it as "a living room for the city"), retail space at the base of building, and a 300-person auditorium and theater that can be used by the general public outside of business hours. Local partners and consultants are being used whenever possible in construction of the building. The tower will also quite literally be transparent. "The last thing [PNC] wants to do is hide behind a fortress," says Ko.

Each two story "neighborhood" will contain office spaces on the bottom floor and a common area on the other with a space for a pantry or coffee station. Bathrooms will also be located in this space. "It’s about bringing people together, creating spaces that encourage people to have chance encounters," explains Ko.

Comfort is also emphasized in the design; 91% of the building will be lit by daylight, and nearly 100% of the spaces where people spend their time will have enough natural light so that only desk lamps are necessary. The building "breathes" with a double-skin facade: a natural ventilation system that has a glass outer weather and air barrier and an inner layer with automated air vents, a wood curtain wall, and manually operated sliding doors. A series of automatic sensors on both layers open up the building for air when the weather is nice.

Building denizens can step out onto a ledge between the two skins if they want even more air. "If people have control of the environment they’re in, they’re going to be more content, they’re happier, and because they’re happier they’re more comfortable," says Ko. And if people are more comfortable, studies have shown that they’ll be more efficient.

When you open a door or window in other double-skinned buildings, it feels like air is being pushed out, but Gensler has managed to design the PNC tower so that workers instead get the sensation of air coming in. The secret is a system that creates natural suction at the center of the building, so that when a person opens up a door, air moves inward--not in gusts, but gently.

A solar chimney will draw exhaust and warm air up and out of the building, while the double-skin will pull air in--a technique that can dramatically cut down on energy use. A solar photovoltaic array will lie on top of the chimney. Passive natural ventilation can be used for 42% of total working hours in the building, and the abundance of natural light will cut down on energy use even further.

PNC plans on sharing much of the data that the building yields, much as the high-performance buildings around the world that Gensler visited while planning the project shared their own data. Ko wrote in an email: "PNC has not discussed what they will share in specific, but based on our experience with them and their history, I would expect a real transparency of information that includes building performance metrics on energy consumption and water conservation. What I would hope we can talk about too is employee satisfaction and worker productivity numbers. It would be great to have 'scientific data’ that shows how a building like this improves the human experience and thus positively impacts an organization."