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Frank Gray

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Geography blunder causes local headache

If you’ve ever watched a geography bee on television (I watched one once for about two minutes) you know the world is full of places and things most of us have never heard of. So you can excuse someone for not knowing, say, the source of the River Don.

Marilyn Craig may not be an expert on geography, but given that she’s moved about 20 times in her lifetime she’s been a lot of places and knows the routine when it comes time to move. You shut off the utilities in one place and have them turned on in another. You notify all your creditors of your new address and life goes on.

But an encounter with someone who apparently doesn’t know a lot about geography has caused her a headache that has continued for months.

The story is that last year Craig decided to move to Canada. Why isn’t important, but she packed up and moved to London, Ontario, Canada. At the same time she notified all her creditors of her new address.

There was a problem, though, with an account she had at a big box home improvement store. After she had moved, she stopped getting bills on that account.

Craig started getting phone calls from the creditor. She hadn’t made any payments.

Well, Craig said, I haven’t gotten a bill.

After some investigation Craig found out what the problem was. When she changed her address, whoever took down the information noted that she now lived in London, Ontario, Fort Wayne, Ind.

That person didn’t realize that London, Ontario, isn’t a section of Fort Wayne but a place in a whole different country.

Craig says she tried to get it straightened out, but the people she spoke to didn’t seem to understand that you can’t address a letter to London, Ontario, Fort Wayne, Ind., and expect it to get there.

Sounds like someone needs to brush up on their geography.

After a few months Craig decided to move back to Indiana, and the confusion continues. She still isn’t getting her bill.

Craig could make payments online, but she’s not comfortable doing that, which is understandable when you consider how often we hear about hackers stealing the personal information on millions of people from different businesses.

Actually it would be wise for Craig to break down and make a payment online. It would be to the benefit of her credit rating.

It just goes to show you what can happen when so-called customer service reps don’t understand that Indiana isn’t in Canada and Ontario isn’t in Indiana.

Second chances

We’ve written a couple of times now about Indiana’s new Second Chance Act, which lets some people with old felonies have their records sealed.

Having a felony on your record can make it difficult to find a job, and the notion is that people who have paid the penalty for their crimes and who have turned their lives around should eventually be allowed to put those mistakes behind them.

The Neighborhood Christian Legal Clinic, along with the law firm Faegre Baker Daniels, will host an event from 2 to 3 p.m. Nov. 5 at the Allen County Public Library downtown to explain the law and help people understand whether their criminal records are eligible for expungement.

In a release, the clinic noted nearly one-third of all adults have been arrested by the time they turn 23.

Frank Gray reflects on his and others’ experiences in columns published Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. He can be reached by phone at 461-8376, by fax at 461-8893, or by email at You can also follow him on Twitter @FrankGrayJG.