Life in Rio: Don’t feed your children spoiled ham, Escola Americana


A Pile of Dirty Dishes in a Kitchen Sink

English expression: Many hands make light work. Let’s all pitch in and clean this up.

This news story reminded me a lot of a book I’m teaching now in one of my English classes, The Jungle by Upton Sinclair.

The Escola Americana do Rio de Janeiro (The American School of Rio de Janeiro), one of the priciest and most prestigious private high schools in Rio de Janeiro, Brasil (tuition is approximately $2,300 per month), was fined by the Procon (Programa de Proteção e Defesa do Consumidor or Program for the protection and defense of consumers) about $2,400 for selling expired food (ham, cheese, and snacks) to its students.

Life in Rio–motorcyclists shut down the Linha Amarela

This doesn't look like Brasil. Oh well.

This doesn’t look like Brasil. Oh well.

I miss Brasil a lot sometimes,  and lately I’ve been using the awesome TuneIn Radio to listen to some radio stations in Rio de Janeiro, where I spent a few years in during the years of hyper-inflation of the early 1990s. It’s been great for my Portuguese, but it’s also good just to catch up on the news of Rio and Brasil.

Interesting story from yesterday–traffic on the Linha Amarela (is that new-ish? I remember the Linha Vermelho, but not the Linha Amarela. Edit: Wikipedia to the rescue! The Linha Amarela opened in 1997, well after my stay) was at a complete standstill. According to the radio, about 30 motorcyclists were protesting the shooting of a fellow motorcyclist by the police. The police claimed that the motorcyclist was breaking a law (a drug dealer, perhaps?), but the protesters weren’t buying it and staged a protest by blocking all traffic going to Barra (on the outskirts of Rio–there aren’t many ways to get there). Traffic was completely stopped, and some people were taking advantage of the situation by harassing drivers and passengers stuck in cars.

No judgments here. Just the facts.

How to cancel myFICO Free Score Trial

Keeping this quick: I wanted to find out my FICO score, and used the free offer from I decided to cancel, but had a bit of trouble doing so.

I will tell you what worked, and what didn’t. But here’s the quick answer: Call customer service directly at 1-888-577-5992.

How to cancel your “Score Watch® 10-Day Free Trial”

  1. From a U.S. phone, call 1-888-577-5992
  2. Prepare to wait on hold; remember, Mondays are generally the busiest days for this sort of business and request. I called on a Wednesday and was on hold for 23 minutes. I use Google Voice with a cheap but comfortable headset for a lot of my calls, so I don’t really mind waiting on hold.
  3. Have your personal information ready–Social Security Number, correct address.
  4. Give them the information.
  5. They will then give you their spiel to keep you from cancelling. Ignore it. You can say “No thank you.” Note: The fine print of my service agreement said that there was a minimum of 3 months of usage of the service, meaning I would have been charged almost $45 had I kept the service! (“What are the terms of the trial? You may cancel at any time during the 10-day trial period of Score Watch and pay absolutely nothing. Continue your subscription at only $14.95/month for a minimum of 3 months.” Um, why not just say $44.85, since there’s no way to pay less than that?)
  6. Get your Question Reference number.
  7. Check your email to make sure you received confirmation.
  8. In your next two credit card billing statements, make sure you weren’t billed.

How not to cancel your “Score Watch® 10-Day Free Trial”

Yeah, who needs to know how not to cancel the free trial? Well, if you follow the instructions you receive from myFICO, you probably won’t be able to cancel. And if you follow the click sequence of the website, you’ll just get the run-around.

Here is the information from myFICO about the terms of the agreement:

* About your 10-day free trial: You will not be billed unless you decide to keep Score Watch® beyond your 10-day free trial period. Your credit card information will only be used if you do not cancel prior to the end of your free trial – you can cancel at any time during your 10-day free trial. To cancel the trial offer, go to the Support Center and follow the instructions in the “How do I cancel my free score trial?” topic. IF YOU DO NOT CANCEL PRIOR TO THE END OF THE TRIAL PERIOD, YOU WILL BE BILLED AT THE THEN-CURRENT PRICE OF THE PRODUCTS OR SERVICES WITHOUT FURTHER NOTICE.


If you click Support, that will take you to the “Support Center”. From there, if you search for “cancel score watch”, you’ll see this result: How do I cancel my Free Score Trial ? Updated. (The “” makes you think you’re onto something!) So you click. And you get:

This, students, is a perfect example of the word disingenuous.

This, students, is a perfect example of the word disingenuous.

And here’s the text of that image for screen readers:

Thank you for my Free FICO Score. How do I cancel?

Please keep in mind before you cancel:

· FICO® offers this FREE FICO® Score & Credit Report to customers once in a two year period

· After you cancel, your monitoring and alerts will be terminated and you will not have online access to your score or credit report

· A true FICO® Score is the only one used by over 90% of banks in lending decisions. This is important because your scores will change as your credit report changes.

· If you continue to monitor your credit score with Fico® Score Watch® , you’ll be alerted when your score changes for any reason and you’ll know if unwanted or fraudulent activity shows up on your credit report so you can take action.

Learn more about ways that you can manage and improve your credit score

Was this answer helpful? Yes No

I clicked No, of course.

Finally, I clicked around and finally noticed this bit on the myFICO contact page:

You hid that well, myFICO.

You hid that well, myFICO.

You’ll notice that it says:

To cancel your product please call customer service at: 1-888-577-5992

Success! That’s it! As noted above, that’s what I did–called that number, waited on hold for 23 minutes, cancelled, declined appeal to keep the service, got confirmation number, checked email.

Email didn’t work, either

I saw a post online in which someone said emailing myFICO from the myFICO contact page would get the account cancelled. So I tried. I 2013-03-16, and now, five days later, I have yet to receive a reply.

Free credit report (for real)

By the way, don’t forget that you can get a free credit report from this company. Don’t use other services with stupid TV commercials; they’re not really free–they lure you in with a free trial, after which you’ll be billed.