Bamboozled: Being judgmental

In July, we shared the story of Murli and Sunita Kalro, Bridgewater residents who hired Right-Way Paving and Masonry of BB brandingMorristown for a driveway redo.

The $6,000 job was a disaster: There were cracks and material crumbled. Despite a three-year guarantee, Right-Way and its owner Tom Magill didn’t live up to promises to repair the damage.

Murli Kalro took his complaint to small claims court and was awarded a $2,940 judgment, plus court costs, against Magill and Right-Way Paving.

A victory, for sure. But there’s a new challenge: collecting the judgment.

‘‘Collecting on a judgment awarded by the small claims court is arduous and very difficult,’’ Kalro said. ‘‘Once I receive the court order, I will be requesting the Ocean County Courts to help me in recovering the monies.’’

Enlisting help from the court is a smart way to go. For example, if the plaintiff can identify that the defendant has a New Jersey bank account, the court may collect the funds from that account. Or the plaintiff could ask for a wage execution — garnishing the defendant’s wages — but that may prove tough in this case because Magill, as far as we know, doesn’t collect a regular paycheck from a larger employer.

101309If none of those options bears fruit, uh, cash, Kalro can ask for a docketed judgment. That would prohibit Magill from selling real estate in New Jersey with a clear title until the judgment is paid.

Kalro said Magill is no longer returning his phone calls, and he did not respond to calls from Bamboozled.

You can learn more about collecting on the New Jersey Judiciary website (

When the Kalro’s story was first published in this space, Bamboozled was contacted by Supreme-Metro Corp., a paving company that works exclusively for commercial and industrial properties. Company president Jason Ciavarro offered to install a new driveway for the Kalros, donating the labor and equipment if the Kalros would pay for the materials and trucking costs. The two are talking about a possible job in the early spring.

Yes, Ciavarro just got his company a little positive publicity, but Bamboozled thanks him for stepping up to help.

We’ll let you know if the job gets done and if Kalro collects his judgment.

Bamboozled by the Ledger?

Bamboozled received an e-mail from reader Tom Avagliano of Summit.

‘‘Maybe you can help me, but the problem I have is with The Star-Ledger,’’ he wrote.


Avagliano renewed his subscription to The Ledger in March, and was told he’d receive a $25 gas card as part of a promotional deal. The card didn’t come. He called several times. He waited longer. The gas card never came.

We poked around and our circulation and subscriber services departments acknowledged the error, caused when the wrong entry code was used to place Avagliano’s order. The Ledger overnighted Avagliano the gas card, plus a second card as an apology.

Thanks for calling us out. We’re not going to take others to task without pointing a finger at ourselves when it’s warranted. We’re sorry it happened, Mr. Avagliano, and we’re glad we could make it right.

Caller ID Finger-pointing

The Caller ID story is back. We first reported in July that some Verizon customers have complained their Caller IDs give the wrong name when they call Cablevision’s Optimum Voice customers.

Verizon has stepped up each time, making about a dozen fixes, most recently for a West Orange dentist Gerard Freda, whose business phone for five years displayed the name of another dentist. The carrier also made a fix for Barbara Lehmann, who had been trying to remove her late husband’s name from her Caller ID since October 2006.

Bamboozled asked Verizon why these errors keep coming. The carrier maintains what it has said from the beginning: Because their customers are having the Caller ID problems only when they call Optimum Voice customers, there must be a database, or something, on the Optimum side that’s not properly updated.

Bamboozled took another shot at this irritating issue, and we asked Cablevision to investigate again. After several weeks, we didn’t get much of an answer.

Spokeswoman Sarah Chaikin said Cablevision works with phone providers and Caller ID database firms across the country to regularly update Caller ID information systems.

‘‘When the error is related to another carrier’s customer, our ability to correct the information depends upon the cooperation of the company that is providing phone service to that customer,’’ Chaikin said. ‘‘While Cablevision’s policy is to quickly resolve any discrepancies in a manner that is most convenient for our customers, some companies unfortunately take a less responsive approach.“

Then, the real cheap shot. Chaikin said Cablevision’s ‘‘commitment to quality’’ includes making sure customers’ Caller ID information is correct in its database and with the third-party companies that collect Caller ID info.

‘‘This is an important step that some phone companies may be neglecting, particularly if their customers seem to be prone to displaying incorrect Caller ID information to homes served by other providers,“ she said.

With that, Cablevision is saying it’s Verizon’s fault for not having updated records for its customers. But what Bamboozled has always found interesting is that this happens to Verizon customers only when they call Cablevision customers. Not Comcast customers. Or AT&T customers. Only Cablevision customers.

Verizon spokesman Rich Young said Cablevision’s explanation is flat-out wrong.
‘‘In each case that has been brought to our attention, we’ve determined the cable company has not kept their information up to date,’’ he said. ‘‘This has nothing to do with Verizon, but even when we’re not at fault, we’ve worked quickly, on behalf of the consumer, to resolve the issue.’’

Which carrier is correct? Bamboozled doesn’t care. It’s obvious that even after months of questioning Caller ID mishaps, someone’s database, somewhere, isn’t up-to-date.

Finger-pointing won’t fix the problem.

Can’t something be done to make a permanent fix? Bamboozled relishes the day we can hang up on the Caller ID story for good.