Wednesday, January 30, 2013
Help Me Howard: Name & Initial
When you sign your name, do you just put your first and last name? Most people do so can a company punish you if you sign your name on an application and leave our your middle initial? It's what happened to one woman and its why she called Help me Howard with Patrick Fraser.
WSVN -- Some people want a career that pays a lot. Some wanna gain power, and some, like Rose wanna help people.
Rose Wright: "I like when I talk to a patient and I tell them how to take care of their teeth, and they light up and their like, 'Oh, I didn't know that.'"
Rose has always dreamed of being a dental hygienist and has completed the classes needed to get started.
Rose Wright: "And after you graduate you need to take your national dental hygiene board and the state boards."
So Rose paid the fee to take the national exam.
Rose Wright: "Well for the national board its $380."
Then she signed her name on the application.
Rose Wright: "In the application it had my first and last name which is Rose Wright."
The day of the test, Rose had to present her drivers license to confirm her identity. And she got the odd news.
Rose Wright: "I could not take the test because my name in my driver's license had the middle initial A. And it was not on the application."
That's right. Her drivers license said her name was Rose A Wright. She had signed the application as Rose Wright without her middle initial.
Rose Wright: "I asked to speak to the coordinator. I spoke to her and she told me I could not take the test and I forfeited my money because my name did not match. My name on the application."
Now to take the national board exam she has to pay another $380 and sign the application as Rose A Wright.
Rose Wright: "Yes I'm very upset. I'm very upset that really hard to come by especially in the economy."
The dental board representative told her their manual made it clear the name on the application had to match her drivers license exactly.
Rose Wright: "I should have been told."
Now Rose has to come up with another $380 to take the test. And in the meantime, her career as a dental hygienist will be delayed.
Rose Wright: I want to be able to take either test without paying that's all I want."
Well Howard l Finkelstein, some people might think this is unusual to be polite, petty to be blunt, but is it legal to force someone to pay again to take a test because they didn't sign with their middle initial on the application?
Howard Finkelstein: "In this case, no this case, no its not legal because they claim their manual makes it clear you have to match your name exactly. However, their manual is ambiguous and not clear and the law will come down against the writer of the manual and in favor of the consumer so Rose wins."
We first contacted the American Dental Association. They told us they could not discuss personal testing information but that they would look into Rose's situation. Rose then called us and told us that the Association is now going to allow her to take the take the test without paying the exam fee again.
Howard Finkelstein: "If you sign a document or a contract it is valid, even if you don't use your full legal name because even your first and last name without a middle name or initial is still your legal name and its still a binding contract."
With her test trouble cleared up, Rose is ready to take the exam and to get to work helping people help themselves.
Rose Wright: "And a lot people really don't know how to take care of their teeth, so it's a good profession to help people be more knowledgeable about how to take care of their teeth."
Patrick Fraser: "And why would a company want you to sign your name exactly as it is on your ID? Because is easier for them to prove that the person is who they say they are. For example, there are 56 Howard Finkelstein's in the country. But very few have the middle initial l so if a company wanted to find Howard it would make it easier.
Solving your problem like pulling teeth? Want us to chomp down? Sign up with us. We don't need your full name just your initial attention.
CONTACT HELP ME HOWARD:
EMAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org (Please include your contact phone number when e-mailing)
REPORTER: Patrick Fraser at email@example.com