Category Archives: Scams & Rip Offs

What is spam and why do we have to keep seeing this crap?

The problem is ten-fold. The answer is quite easy.

Sending spam is cheap. Guaranteeing delivery is not important. If you send 5 million spams (for free) and 75,000 of those are actually read, you’ll end up with at minimum 100 idiots that will respond to the spam with a buy order.

This is why spam exists today. On the greater scale, it is not worth the return on investment (ROI). However, those few hundred idiots that respond, buy, and pay money is what keeps this circus going.

It’s 2013 and yet there are idiotic people that still respond to spam and pull out their wallets to buy a good deal that can’t be true.  Until that stops, we’re all going to have to continue to deal with spam.

What’s that you say? I can enlarge a part of my body for a simple fee of only $29.95? (Male or Female). Then I’m in.. Have you ever known someone close to you to grow a bigger or shorter nose? How about a bigger ear?

Why are people so ready to believe they can give bigger reproductive organs based on some miracle vitamin they mail order? If someone said “Our studies show, that people’s elbows grow by 300%” everyone would laugh at them. Talk about breasts or that significant male organ, and everyone becomes a believer. Why?

Our physical bodies are what we’re made with. Our DNA isn’t changed easily. Learn to accept the way you are made and stop trying to find the miracle herbal cure that will change you into something you’re not. It doesn’t exist. If spam was non-profitable, then there would no longer be spam on the internet.

Now, for you North American continent folks, or European folks, if you are beginning to think “wait! I’ve never tried spamming, is it really that profitable?”

The answer is a resounding NO!  Spammers may take 8 hours of their day, upsetting over 3 million people to make $5 USD.That $5 buys them a dozen eggs, a loaf of bread, and if they are lucky a bottle of milk.

There are much easier ways to make money than spamming people by the millions. These people, however, are already in the poor house. Their justification is that 3.5 million spams enable them to buy a dozen eggs, milk, and bread. They’re desperate people and will result to desperate tactics.

So how do we handle this type of problem?

Quite easily actually. Do NOT click on any strange links from a strange email that you receive. If you get an email that DHL first class service has sent you a package (and you’re not expecting one) do NOT click the link.

The only way spammers seem to survive is by the recipient’s stupidity and greed. Do not buy into their games. Comb through each and every email, and be suspicious of the ones you receive.

If everyone was more diligent about the email they receive, then spammers would have no ability to use trickery to find new prospective victims. That would slow spam down to a crawl.

As soon as we all stop responding to spam, schemes, and the like, the sooner they’ll stop sending them.

If you have a suggestion or comment, let’s hear it.

 

Dentures: Why they break, how to repair Dentures, and who to trust making them.

My grandmother got her first dentures about 18 years ago. Her first set last her 15 years before they broke.  It’s been a crazy situation over the last 3 years since she got her replacement set (which have broken a third time).

(By the way, the correct term is denture, no one calls them “false teeth” anymore.)

Sometimes when it comes to things like shopping for a new TV or a new refrigerator, we do our research.  Since something like dentures is something we don’t buy often, we normally do not understand the quality difference and we should. After all, it is our mouth and our chewing teeth that we’re dealing with.

Typically dentures are expected to last 5 to 10 years without problem.  Anyone that makes dentures generally has “some” training, and they may even be a member of a local Denturist Association. This is where things change.

In the denture industry, there is something known as BPS certification that we didn’t know about. I’m going to talk about that after you hear what happened to my grandmother.

After 15 years with her first set of dentures, they finally wore out and broke.

For almost $600 she was fitted with a second set of dentures 3 years ago.  Two years later, they broke.  The denturist charged her an additional $200 for a repair.  A week later, they broke a second time!

When she complained to the denturist that the $200 repair didn’t last, he showed her the denture. He said,”It appears they broke in a different spot this time. It will cost another $200 to fix them again, I recommend we order you a new set for an additional $600″.

We asked how long the new set would take, and they said since they “sent away” for them to be made, she’d have to wait until the new ordered set would arrive.  You’d expect the denturist to make them himself.  Well instead, all he does, is take moulds, orders, sends away for the product.  He makes small adjustments and repairs on site, but he doesn’t craft them himself.

Where does he get these dentures from? CHINA is our guess. We don’t really know.

On her small pension, she couldn’t afford to pay the $600 and she didn’t trust him on another $200 repair, so she looked for a repair product and found one called the D.O.C. Denture Repair Kit

Without too much trouble, she was able to glue and sand them back together again.  The dentures worked great for a full year! (It’s an ironic situation when an amateur repair can outlast the repair done by a Denturist).

Well a year later they’ve broken again. It is time to go with a new set, but we are surely not going with the same original denturist this time.  We started making some phone calls together.

First, we called our unreliable denturist anonymously. We asked if there was any warranty with their dentures. “No, sorry. The only thing we do is offer 3 months of adjustments, but there is no warranties on the dentures whatsoever”. (Great, at least now they admit the quality of their product).

Next, we opened the yellow pages and carefully began reading the entire details of each and every Denturist advertisment.

We noticed that a lot of them advertised a “BPS” logo, with the exception of a bare few.

We called a new Denturist and asked them about their warranty. “All of our dentures come with a 2 year warranty against normal wear and tear”, the receptionist stated. WOW! That’s a big difference than the Joe-Shmo who was playing denturist with cheap china made dentures down the street.

It turns out that BPS stands for Biofunctional Prosthetic Denture System which is a high quality denture.

This is why good denturists advertise “BPS” and our unreliable guy did not..

I’ve even seen it mentioned that a true BPS denture has an official BPS logo stamped somewhere on the denture itself, to prove it’s authenticity!  DO NOT be fooled by sub-standard denturists who use cheap quality products, who offer no warranties. From now on, we will only trust a BPS certified denturist. We learned our lesson the hard way.

So if you are wanting to find a high quality denture, made professionally by a BPS certified technican, you can find one on this official website link.

When u think you know someone, it’s $$$ that stands between you.

I have first hand experience at this today, and I don’t like it. However, it is the truth. Sometimes the truth hurts.

Money rules everyone. People are greedy. Reading this, you may think you’re the exception to the rule, but are you?

Everyone has bills to pay, riches to earn, and things they want to be able to have, or to do, in their future.

Many of us, I think a lot more than people may think, enjoy helping someone without getting paid. At least, that is the type of person I am.. If I truly help someone because of talent I may inherently have, I’m always happy to do so.. My thanks is enough by seeing the smile on someone’s face that needed help.

I’d like to believe, and always wanted to believe, that if I help a bunch of people, some day, someone will help me too..

Today, I got slapped with reality, and I got slapped really hard by it.

I could elaborate into details, but that doesn’t take away from the point, so let’s stick with the basic points…

I was working pro bono for someone, helping them with what it is they need, without talking money, expecting that if I needed similar help, they’d be there for me.  I found out today, that is not the case…

Ever see one of those carnival dunk tanks? Where the person sits on a bench, you throw a ball, and they get dunked?

..that is what this person needs to have done for them. They need a fresh, cold water, dunk into a tank to wake up.

I realize I’m beating around the bush here, and I don’t mean to do that, as much as I’m trying my darnest to not publically identify the guilty.

In a nutshell, this is what happened…

1) I did about $1800 worth of work for someone

2) I asked them to help me with a project I was working on, and see what they could do

3) The labor involved in the $1800 I provided them works out to about 35 hours of my talents, abilities, and cost to provide..

4) I needed something that would have also worked out to be about 35 hours of their own talents, abilities, and costs to provide…

5) Fair deal, so I thought.

6) Met with them. They initially quoted me a non-friendly $8000 before the meeting, and then reduced it down to $5,000 after the meeting.

…here is where things get fun..

7) Two days later, this person revises their quote, and goes “Yeah, I’ve re-decided after the meeting, that what it is, I can help you with, is actually worth $12,800 and here is 10 different sweet reasons why you need to pay me for it.

This was a semi-friend that did this to me.  I’m speechless.   How could you possibly quote $8,000, meet with me,  then quote $5,000, wait two days and up the ante to $11,800 ?

I already know the answer to my question.

ANSWER: Because you are in a position to do exactly that.. you did it, because you can.

Just because you can, and are able to do something, doesn’t mean you should.

This type of thing that goes on with people, in business negotiations shouldn’t be hidden. When a wrong has happened, speak about it. You don’t have to identify the guilty parties, but surely you are in the right to share the problem publicly on your blog..

Which is what I am doing, exactly now.

The world is rough enough. It’s even worse when you can’t trust friends (ok semi-friends) which are people you trust to be there for you, when you were already there for them.

So I learned a hard lesson tonight, against my will, which is that you shouldn’t put too much trust in anyone.. Even those people you think are close acquaintances of yours.

Which, in short translation means.. This is not a win-win situation now. Now it becomes a lose-lose situation. You upped your price more than double.. see where I’ll be later when you actually need me.

Money doesn’t rule all here, and now I certainty won’t trust you again.

So Mr. Greed, thanks for your nonsense quote. I’ve now learned that you’re not someone on my short list of people who I’ll ever go to again. Take your greed and stuff it..

Life is funny. Out of every 100 people, there is probably only 2 or 3 that are decent.  I see that more and more everyday.

Life is suppose to be about give and take. It just seems that some people want to always take, without giving anything back.

Whatever. I’ll still manage. But to Mr. Idiot out there that took advantage of my goodwill… you have what is coming to you. With that attitude, and something bad happens, it is not me that caused it. It’s you that deserved it.

..enough said..

Best wishes to the rest of you. Please don’t let life let you become this type of financial monster where you have to lose friends and acquaintances for money, it just isn’t worth it.

Be dynamic and learn to adapt in order to survive. GET RICH QUICK!

 

Surviving this depression requires you to be dynamic and have the ability to adapt to this economic downturn (who are we kidding, it’s more than a downturn, it’s a slow but steady collapse).

Many people reading this probably have full or part-time jobs. Problem is, most people are having a hard time just keeping their cell phones working, rent paid, and groceries bought.  You feel wealthy when you are able to fill up your gas tank.  When it comes time, if we’re lucky, we have a few dollars left over so we can rent a DVD, buy some stuff at Walmart, or order a pizza on Friday night.

What happened to get rich quick? .. There is a lot of false promises on the internet, but those that are attempting getting rich quick are using deceptive marketing tactics in order to rob you of your hard earned money.

Get rich quick marketers use marketing taglines like the following:

 “I can show you how to make $21,000 in the next 21 seconds for only $21.00 !”

If there was an easy method to get rich quick, do you really think they’d be spending their time to tell YOU how to do it? Absolutely not!  They are attempting to get rich by selling false opportunities to suckers who send in $20 or $30 to buy into the scam..

So what is the answer?

First of all, don’t look into get-rich-quick schemes unless you are willing to be let down.. hard..

Instead, create something of value that no one else has..  Do you have a certain talent or persona that you can create or share on the internet that people will see value in?  There are plenty of ways to share your knowledge on the internet and get paid by doing so..

For instance, if you are an expert at making scrambled eggs, then make a Youtube video doing it, and do it with a smile. If your video is that great, and your method is worthwhile, you’ll get thousands of visitors, and you can gain the benefit of advertising Google Adwords ads that pay you a few cents every time someone clicks one..

What about creative writing? Do you have the ability to put words and feelings into print, much like I am doing with this blog? If so, consider starting up your own blog. It’s definitely not going to make you get rich quick, but it surely will make you a few cents a day while you are away, if people are reading your posts.

What about photography? Have a camera? Get some great shots and find a way to list then on www.gettyimages.com

If you are computer savvy, there are hundreds of people in your neighborhood that could use your help, even for a $25 fee.  Share what you know, with your neighbors who are lost and could use some assistance.  Perhaps they don’t know how to operate their computer or install the latest updates. What if they want to create a website and don’t know where to begin?  Lend your talents for a fair price, and that becomes a win-win situation.

Times are tough. The economy in 2012 is the worst that it has ever been recently.

How can someone like you survive it?  I’ll tell you, for free. Make $20 here, and $100 there, and that  is all it takes to stop you from being sucked into the undercurrent of the financial collapse we’re witnessing.

Opportunities you may never have considered before when times were great..  are paramount to financial survival now.  Take the time to recognize your financial situation, and what you can do to mitigate your circumstances. You’ll be glad you made a few dollars while sharing your talents..

This is not a time to be shy. If you have something to offer, then offer it loudly. Get those contracts and jobs. Work hard. Many people out there that are getting laid off are puzzled on what to do next.  Don’t be them.  Work with what you’ve got.

Writing this particular article was easy, but difficult at the same time. I’m aware of what is going on around me in society, and it’s hard to admit. Everyone needs to think about survival these days and making an extra $100 a month can make or break someone.

I’d really appreciate it if you would take a few seconds to share your comments, I’d be interested in hearing them.

Best of luck to you, and your family. We’re all going through it in one way or another.

Weight Loss TV Commercials: Selling lies?

I watched a TV commercial the other day about some diet system. They went on and on with about 4 or 5 people who claim they’ve lost 30-80 pounds on the system.  They have flashy graphics, music, text, make it sound so upbeat, entertaining, and revolutionary.

While you’re watching the smiling faces on the screen, the music beat in the background..

You just might not be paying attention to the bottom of the TV screen, which flashes this:

“Results not typical” – Remunerated Testimonial – Top Results from Control Group   

Want to know what that fine print means?

1. If you buy their diet system, then typically you could not expect these results. 

2. Their testimonials were remunerated. Testimonials were bought and paid for..

3. Their control group could have had 500 participants, and only 2% were successful. Leaving a 98% failure rate

How much worse can these commericals get? They are nothing more than a smoke & mirrors presentation, and they use little white flashed text on the screen to discount what they are really saying.  It’s a scam. Another diet fad. Another way for them to make millions of dollars in just a few short months before people figure them out.

Whenever you hear this: “THIS DIET SYSTEM IS GREAT, YOU TOO CAN LOSE AS MUCH AS I DID”
and then you see this: (text flashes: results not typical)
Understand this: It is a waste of money


I hate commercials that sell lies.
    Actually, I hate commercials period.

 

Reader’s Digest Contest: Winning huge money?

Over the last year or so, I have faithfully participated in two different Reader’s Digest sweepstakes contests.  There is promise of cars, sums of cash, and more.  Now I know Reader’s Digest is a legitimate organization, but they do seem to use their literary skills in a technical way to sell you products unknowingly.

We all realize that the printed magazine industry is hurting with the internet these days.  Naturally Reader’s Digest is constantly on the hunt to obtain more magazine subscriptions. By offering a sweepstakes or free giveaway, it really helps their marketing efforts.  The problem I have, is that the way the sweepstakes is conducted can be misleading to many people.  I’ll create an example below which will explain further.

DISCLAIMER: Not actual statements by Reader’s Digest. I created these examples to express my point.

Affix this gold seal to have a chance at Winning $40,000 and also receive our free-gift**”      

Then buried ten paragraphs down, it could say something like this:

**Not only will we send you our special free gift, but we will also send exciting new books to you each month. There’s no obligation, simply return the unwanted purchases. In the event you do not return them, we’ll assume you want them, and you’ll be automatically charged on your credit card”

But you get the point. Read their fine print. Actually, it’s not really “fine print” either. There is just pages and pages of print.  It gets confusing and information overload takes over. Soon, you find yourself peeling off the gold seal sticker, and affixing it and mailing it back without fully understanding what you are committing yourself to…

I also find the YES and NO envelopes they send quite amusing.  If you want the extra chance at the larger prize (and a magazine subscription), mail back the YES envelope. Otherwise, mail your contest entry in the NO envelope.  Hmmm… I wonder which envelopes will get opened back at headquarters?

I do appreciate the opportunity to participate in the Reader’s Digest Sweepstakes.  What I don’t appreciate is my grandmother might get confused by the overwhelming fine details and information overload.  My grandmother might innocently get caught up receiving tons of unwanted purchases by mail without realizing she “opted in”

Have you, yourself participated in one of these Reader’s Digest sweepstakes free contests before?

Future Shop Product Service Plan (PSP): A PSP from Future Shop is a JOKE

re: Future Shop PSP

I normally would have filed a customer complaint with Future Shop’s head office about my PSP, but they probably know what goes on in their stores everyday with a Product Service Plan. Lucky for you, I’m going to share my experience about it to save someone the hassle of going through what I did.

Anyway, here is my Future Shop Product Service Plan (PSP) customer complaint:

This is an old Future Shop PSP story, but nothing seems to have changed in all this time, so it is worth your time to read it.

On July 2007, I purchased the LG Electronics LRH-880 DVD Recorder for $249.99.  I also bought a 3 year Product Service Plan / Extended Warranty from Future Shop for $69

I get the unit home, and start figuring out how it works. This is my first DVD recorder, so there is a bit of a learning curve. Over the next few months, I get it working, but I notice it is very sensitive to particular brands of Media. It also wants to be rebooted a lot before it works. Some days it won’t record at all. Other days, you have to play a regular DVD movie first, then pop in your DVD-R for it to recognize it.

I finally give up, and Feb 2008 I bring it in to Future Shop for service especially since I plan to start making a lot of DVD-R’s. Future Shop sends in for repair, about about 7 weeks later (49 days) it finally comes back.  On the note it says that it was a Major Repair, they had to change the printed circuit board (motherboard), and some drive mechanisms. Basically they changed the entire guts, and kept the case and powersupply the same.

I take my LRH-880 DVD Recorder home, and it is performing exactly the same way as when I brought it in for repair! It won’t recognize any brand of DVD-R. I bring it back to the store, and the customer service manager says that they can send it in again.

I explain to the Future Shop manager that I do not want to wait another 49 days because I need to use a DVD Recorder now. She says that under the PSP policy, the unit has to receive 3 major repairs before they can offer me a replacement unit or an exchange.  She then says “well, you could always buy another DVD Recorder, use it, and return it”

I then say, well how long would I have to return it? She says 30 days. I said so if this next repair takes 49 days again, I will have to buy a DVD Recorder, use it, bring it in for a refund within 30 days. Then I will have to buy another one, use that one, and bring it back for a refund again.

I then say “So I have 2 more major repairs before my Product Service Plan will allow me to get a replacement or exchanged unit, that will mean I will have to buy 4 DVD Recorders during this repair time, open the box, use the recorder, and bring back the open box for a refund. Do you really want to have four open box DVD Recorders sitting on your clearance table at a reduced price?

She gives me an evil smile, because she knows Future Shop is playing games with me with this stupid “send it in, wait 49 days for repair, it comes back, still broken”

..and as a customer, I also can play games with Future Shop too... “ok, you keep my unit for 49 days on three separate occasions, and I’ll just keep buying other DVD recorders, using them and returning them, while I wait for my repairs. Otherwise, let me trade up to this $489 Pioneer DVD recorder now, and I’ll pay the difference and we’re both happy.”

The Future Shop customer service manager looks at me, and says “Ok, ok, listen, I’m in a good generous mood today, so this is what I am going to do… I will give you a refund of your LRH-880 DVD Recorder now. You buy the more expensive $489 unit plus another 3 year PSP warranty”

She proceeds to type on the computer and says “ok, your unit is selling for $199.95 now, so I can refund that plus tax”

I ask her “Ok, wait, I paid $249 for my unit when I bought it, so thats a $50 loss. Plus I paid $69 for my Product Service Plan, so now I’m losing $119 plus tax!!”

She says “sorry, that’s all I can do, otherwise we’ll have to take this unit back in for repair again, and you’ll have to wait”

By this time, I’m so fed up with the system, and I really do need to burn some DVD-R’s, I finally agree to buy the $489 Pioneer unit, and take a $119 + tax loss on my original purchase!

She says “ok, and you’re getting the 3 year Future Shop PSP warranty with the new $489 unit too, right?”

I say “You know what, just sell me the $489 unit without a warranty. I’ve already taken a loss of $119+tax from this whole deal, and I’m really not happy how this PSP thing works, about bringing something in for 3 major repairs and waiting 6 months (3 separate repairs) before it is exchanged or replaced.”

The Future Shop manager says “Sorry, that’s the only way we’re going to do it then.. You buy the $489 plus the 3 year PSP warranty, and I refund you $199+tax from your original purchase”

I finally give up, and agree. I can’t take this anymore.

I go home, feeling cheated by Future Shop. Atleast I have my new Pioneer DVR-550H that costs me $489 + tax. I am not happy about being forced into the Product Service Plan again, especially since it cost me another $119 for it.

So I go online, and read up on this stupid Product Service Plan nonsense. It turns out that the PSP is an agreement between you, and the American Bankers Insurance Plan of Florida for customers in BC. It also says that the PSP can be cancelled within 30 days.

So we wait 2 weeks, and we walk in and cancel the $119 PSP that was forced upon us as a condition of taking an early exchange / replacement on my original LG LRH-880 DVD Player.

Do you see how this game works at Future Shop?

1. I buy a cheap $249 unit, which has problems and a $69 PSP Warranty
2. I bring it in for repair, they keep it for 49 days, while I need it
3. It comes back saying everything was replaced inside (major repair), meanwhile it is still not working properly
4. They agree to refund me $199, make me lose $50 on the original unit cost, and lose my $69 PSP Warranty, plus related tax, ONLY if I buy a more expensive $489 unit, plus a more expensive 3 year PSP for it too.
5. I agree, just because I need this equipment and I’m tired of play games and waiting for non-existant repairs.
6. I wait 2 weeks, come in, and cancel my $119 PSP Warranty.

So in the end, I am out $119 plus tax, but I have a wealth of knowledge about Future Shop, and their Product Service Plans (PSP) rip off – what a joke!!

I will avoid buying the PSP again. Its a better idea to save the PSP money, and apply it to a more high-end unit in the first place. All the PSP does is let them selling you cheap on-sale merchandise with false promises of “hey! If this low-end cheap product doesn’t work right, or last you, take out the extended warranty (PSP)”

What Future Shop doesn’t really mention at the time of a sale, is that you will have to wait a huge amount of time for repairs, chances are, you will have to bring it in more than once for a repair, and to top it all off, the money you are saving on the cheaper on-sale unit would be better spent on a better quality item anyway.

DON’T BUY THE PRODUCT SERVICE PLAN FROM FUTURE SHOP! IT IS A RIP OFF! Save your money or put it towards a more expensive, better quality unit.

…again, Disclaimer: My memory is a little foggy on the exact price of the original PSP for $69, but the whole concept of what happened remains the same.

EDIT:

I wrote this May 2008.  It is now May 2014 and my Pioneer DVR-550H is still working flawlessly.  This is 6 years later, with an internal hard-drive past its life expectancy in the DVR.