Dear Ben: I loved your article about barking dogs; it gave me a wealth of information. Here's my dilemma: I don't have the last name or telephone number of the family whose dog is causing the problem. Is there a way to obtain this information using just an address?
Alexandria, via e-mail
Dear Alexandria: No sweat! There's so many readily accessible resources thanks to the Internet, it's truly amazing. But since you didn't tell me where you live, I'll give you an answer that everyone can use. The first and easiest way for you to get the name information when all you've got is an address? Go to the appropriate county's property tax information website:
Dallas County/Dallas Central Appraisal District: www.dallascad.org
Tarrant County/Tarrant Appraisal District: www.tad.org
Collin County/Collin County Appraisal District: www.collincad.org
For a complete listing of property tax information websites-listed by county-for the entire state of Texas, here's a pretty good resource: www.ired.com/tax/tx.htm
However, the big exception when using this strategy to obtain the name of the resident at the address in question can be summed up in two words: rental property. The only thing the county property tax databases can guarantee is the name of the owner of the property located at the address in question.
So how do you find the name of the actual resident? (Shhhhhhhh!!! Just keep this between you and me...here's a nifty little on-line resource I use from time to time in my line of business: www.reverseaddress.com)
You should be able to "pop" the name of the resident from here; if you're looking for a phone number, or all you have is a phone number and you want a name and address? Check out this site: www.reversephonedirectory.com
Dear Ben: I'm a 12 year old boy and like to play video games. The problem is, I don't have enough money for the ones I want. Do you know any other places I can buy them cheaper?
DD., via e-mail
Dear DD: Since you didn't tell me what type of game controller you're using, I'm a little short of the essential information needed to help you. However, you might want to get out the yellow pages and start calling pawn shops in your area. Pawn shops have an amazing assortment of merchandise: All types of used electronic gear, computer game cartridges, software, CDs, DVDs...you name it. The merchandise available is going to vary from store-to-store; every pawn shop's different and their inventories change daily. Your success in finding "the deal" on video games is going to depend on (like most things in life) your level of tenacity; calling the stores on a regular basis is a must. (But don't cross the line and become a pest or you'll strike out.)
If you can get Mom or Dad to help out and whip out their credit card (so you can pay them on the spot for using this payment method on-line) a couple of Internet-based resources can open up your options and improve your chances for finding what you're looking for exponentially: Try www.amazon.com; they have a special section reserved for video games, as does www.ubid.com.
Dose of Dover For The Week: In an attempt to catch up on a little housekeeping and try to get as many of your most-frequently asked questions and requests for additional information or resources tied down, here's a few reminders.
- Improving your chances for success on any service (or lack thereof) issues depends on how clearly you state your case. Best resource? Take a look at the popular Six Steps To Successful Complaining section.
- Since it's time to get smart about buying that first (or new) house, I've got a free information package given away at my home buyer's seminars. If you include your name and mailing address when you e-mail me and I'll send you a copy.
- The credit card/banking industry's push for bankruptcy reform is still very alive (and well) in Washington DC; since many of you are scared or uninformed/under-informed about what your rights are if you're tired of "borrowing from Peter to pay Paul" (yes you get to keep your house and your cars in almost every case), the latest updates are posted right here.