We all love charity, but beware of this

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Let’s face it: We all like a good deal. When we go to a charity event, what better way to get a deal and help a good cause at the same time?

Local merchants and others graciously donate their expertise such as photography services, spa services or vacation rentals, to name a few. And the attendee gets to bid on an item of interest, pay what he feels is equitable and help a charity, too.

It sounds good, but all may not be so rosy when the purchaser goes to “cash in” the certificate.

Sometimes the services being offered aren’t clearly marked and confusion can arise. For example, if you purchase a photography certificate, make sure you understand what’s covered and what’s extra, as any photos you decide to purchase may cost extra if the certificate only covers the sitting fee. It can be frustrating to deal with a misunderstanding because the customer becomes unhappy with the purchase he was expecting. This situation can cause animosity on both sides, which isn’t good for either party.

Typically, vendors will “donate” their time and services so they can build their business with the idea of creating a happy and hopefully repeat customer who shares his/her great experience, which brings in more clients for the business owner. This should be a win-win for everyone involved.

Bottom line: If you aren’t clear what is being offered in the information provided at the event, ask before you bid on the item.

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STAR CARD FRUSTRATIONS: I’ve received an update from a Coeur d’Alene reader who asked me to pass along a frustration he encountered while obtaining his new Star Card.

Our reader found that it takes a minimum of 45 days to receive the Star Card once it’s processed. As part of the process, the DMV disables your current license and issues you a paper replacement, which then won’t work if you intend to travel or rent a car. If you’re a frequent traveler, you’ll need to take this into consideration so you don’t get caught in an insurmountable situation. In case you were wondering, this information isn’t posted on the website — which was the frustrating part.

And don’t even get me started about women whose current name does not match their birth certificate because they are married (or divorced) now. I fall into the category of my name across various IDs not matching exactly; so now I have to sort it all out before I can even get a Star Card. I’m trying to remain optimistic that this process won’t be completely frustrating, but I have to admit I’m dreading it. I’ll update you on my progress as I work my way through the process.

For those of you who might not know, the Star Card is part of the Real ID program. It’s a form of identification that meets increased security standards for state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards. Travelers will be required to provide either a real ID or another TSA-approved form of identification, like a passport, to fly domestically after Oct. 1, 2020.

I found the following information on the Idaho DMV website.

“Without a Real ID, citizens won’t be able to board a plane or enter a federal facility after Oct. 1, 2020. You can learn more about it now by visiting www.itd.idaho.gov/starcard and using the ‘Add the Star’ tool. It provides a personalized list of documents you will need in order to renew your license with a Star.”

“Approximately 70,000 of 1.25 million licensed Idaho drivers have secured a Star Card to date. Our goal is to see those numbers increase and avoid long lines and missed travel opportunities ahead of the October 2020 deadline.”

Also according to the website, the federal agency responsible for security of the airport or federal facility will determine whether to permit access/entrance or subject customers to additional screening as prescribed by the agency, if the customer doesn’t obtain a Star Card.

Check out the TSA website for a list of acceptable forms of ID for screening purposes at the airport: https://bit.ly/1MKZXkb

Also, the Idaho Transportation Department is supposed to update information as guidance or information becomes available so you can check there too.

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Cd’A PD WARNING: In case you missed the announcement in Sunday’s paper, if you receive a suspicious call from the Cd’A Police Department demanding money to take care of a warrant for your arrest, hang up and contact the Coeur d’Alene Police Department directly at 208-769-2320. Bad guys are pretending to be the good guys. Don’t buy it.

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Remember: I’m on your side.

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If you have encountered a consumer issue that you have questions about or think our readers should know about, please send me an email at terridickersonadvocate@gmail.com or call me at 208-274-4458. As The CDA Press Consumer Gal, I’m here to help. Please include your name and a phone number or email. I’m a fulltime copywriter working with businesses on marketing, a columnist and a consumer advocate living in Coeur d’Alene.

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