Wait, wait, if it sounds too good to be true…

12 Dec

It’s Highway Robbery! No, It’s Legal Trickery

You Pay Only Shipping and Handling (and a whole lot more once we’ve finished cleaning your clock!)

This is an old caveat emptor but these things tend to surface, die and resurface after a few years or months. I haven’t seen this one in a few years.

It’s those nasty little pop up ads on-line offering free beauty products. You pay for shipping and handling with a credit or debit card and they’ve got you. You know there is no such thing as free, but after all, that famous celebrity’s face is right there in the ad, so if it worked for her…

First of all, that 30 day supply of worthless goo (you know, the kind that Sandra Bullock and Ellen Degeneris use to “deceive their fans”)  doesn’t reach your doorstep for five to ten business days from the time you gave up your credit card info. Second, you have consented to an auto-debit every month. It’s all right there, in an unreadable six- point type font at the verrrry bottom of the ad. What? You didn’t notice? You are not alone.

The merchant is so sure you will love this product, that you will continue to receive a new supply every month. The cost, depending on the product is usually between $75 to $125 every month. You’re only 1/3 of the way through the product you did receive but you’re still slapping it on hoping for a miracle.

But here’s a new wrinkle (yes, pun intended) in the scenario. You have 14 days to try this FREE sample but you don’t even receive it for seven days from the time you placed the order. Those seven days count as part of the fourteen day trial so you really have only seven days to try it. It doesn’t seem to be helping much so you put it aside after ten days and forget about it. Suddenly, there’s a new package at your door and, if you bothered to check your credit card statement, you see a charge for, oh, let’s say $80! YOU DON’T EVEN RECOGNIZE the merchant name and there isn’t even a phone number associated  with the charge.

Don’t open that new package. Call your bank or credit card company to be sure that they do not allow any further auto debits from this merchant. Get the phone number for the “legal scammer” and  call them. Sometimes the bank or credit card representative will place that call for you and stay on the line with you while you talk to the merchant to straighten out this misunderstanding.

frustrated woman

When you call the merchant, have pen and paper or your smart phone handy. You’ll need to take notes. Explain that you did not see any reference to a monthly shipment in the ad. They will dispute that but since you placed the order on-line, unless you took a screen shot of the ad, you have no proof.

Insist on a 100 percent refund. You won’t get it but it’s worth a shot. Usually, you will have to listen to the merchant’s spiel about policy and blah, blah, blah. Then they will tell you how important customer service is to them and offer you a 15 to 20 percent refund. This is when you get indignant and insist on that 100 percent. After some wrangling and threats to YELP, post on FB, Twitter and tell 2-thousand friends, they may offer you up to 60 percent. If you’re lucky and state your case calmly and with conviction, you may even get an 80 percent refund. Whoopee! Be sure to take note of all shipping instructions including any confirmation info.

You’ll have to ship the scam product (mostly water anyway) back to them at your expense but it’s worth it. The product is so light-weight (in more ways than one), it will probably cost no more than $3.00 via USPS plus a 20-minute wait in line at the Post Office.

Wait about six days and check your credit card statement again to see if the promised refund has been posted. If not, call that number again. Also, check your card or bank statement to be sure no more auto debits have come through.

Moral of the story: Sandra Bullock knows nothing about this product. Why she isn’t irate that they are using the “before” picture to show wrinkly corner creases around the left eye, I don’t know. Maybe it’s because her right eye looks so much better in the after picture. Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it isn’t! (true!) Try samples from Macy’s or Nordstrom instead.

3 Replies to “Wait, wait, if it sounds too good to be true…

    • Nothing’s off topic unless it’s just plain mean and hurtful. I love weird, strange, unusual stories, so don’t stop sharing. Sorry for taking three–make that four months to respond.Stay tuned for more good

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