Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Scammed

You know I consider myself a fairly bright person. When something happens condtradicting this belief, it is hard for me to accept. And yesterday, I did something so dumb I've been filled with hatred for myself ever since. Here's how it went down.
I got up sleepy eyed and set the coffee to brewing while I came to my computer. There was a window open that was a kind of news website with the lead article from one of their bloggers announcing some amazing new diet breakthrough. The blogger was from Montreal which intrigued me so I started reading the woman's amazing experience with this, and this is where my stupidity really shines, new pill combo that you take and the pounds just melt off. (I know! I'm cringing as I type!) You might be aware that I'd like to drop about 10 pounds because I've gained 20 since I quit smoking. Anyway, at the end of the article were two coupons for "risk free" trials of the pills. The coupons let you get the shipping for half price, so you could try the stuff for a month for under 10 bucks. Coupons are another weakness of mine and of course they expired the same day. So I went and signed up for the "free" bottles which were from two different companies. The second company I noticed that you were signing up for a subscription and that you would have to cancel before two weeks was up in order not to be charged for subsequent bottles.

Okay, I thought, I remember the music subscriptions where you got free discs and then a new one came to your door each month. Fine, I'll check it out and then cancel before the time limit. I pushed buy and then went to get my coffee. Why oh why oh why. When I noticed that the second bottle had the subscription requirement I went back to the first bottle and looked at the fine print to realize that it was the same thing there only you had to send back the empty bottle (to England) in order for the cancellation to be valid. Ru-roh. Oh and you had to cancel by phone or email and then they had to receive the bottle within four days for it to be valid. Double ru-roh. This all seemed fishy now especially with the coffee now coursing my body waking me up. I wrote down all the things I must do and the dates and then went back to the original site where that article was.

That's when I realized I had been scammed. The "news" site had all the usual tabs, world, local, business, weather etc but when you clicked on any of them, a pop up window appeared with the exact same page. It was a fake page with a fake article about a fake weight loss scheme! Do you know how yucky if feels to realize the depth of your dupage? Well if there's any silver lining, at least you know you're alive with those wildly negative emotions flying around. Then you start typing "acai berry" into google and you get "acai berry scam" as a suggestion and there you see all your worst fears confirmed. See, the problem is, it's impossible to cancel and most folks end up having to cancel their credit card accounts. Fun! Of course I tried to cancel immediately before I even get the trial bottle. I haven't had much luck of course. My "help ticket" while "very important" to them goes unanswered and when I finally got a human at the other place, I wasn't in the system yet and I should try again today. Sigh.

I checked with my card company and there were only the little charges for shipping on there so that's good. Also, it just so happens I'm changing that account to a different type of card which will have a different account number and everything but the bank couldn't say for certain if this would protect me from future charges. I sure hope it does. If it doesn't, my stupidity will cost a couple hundred bucks and I'll cease being a customer of that bank. Now, aren't you glad you're not me? I think this calls for a Georgie pic.

17 comments:

Rick said...

I did the same thing! Last year...an AcaiBerry thing. Was supposed to be only $1. I ended up getting bottles every two weeks with $300 charge to my credit card.

Mel said...

Um, oops. Vanity'll bite you in the ass.

CoffeeDog said...

Ugh, so sorry that you were preyed upon. It does call for a Georgie pic!

Snooze said...

At least you and Rick have now warned the rest of us. I'm sorry to read this - it happens to all of us though at some time or other and at least you took action ASAP. Also, report them to your local fraud squad

Doug said...

Been there, done something similar.

Don't credit card companies give you 3 days to return any purchase?

Re: losing weight. Google "intermittent fasting." It's less scary than it sounds.

Jabacue said...

Yikes! Thanks for the heads up. A cheaper and sure way is to cut back on sweets and 'bad' fats. I did 4 months ago, had to, and lost 15 pounds! It takes a little discipline but the key word is 'cut back' not 'cut out'. Good luck. Georgie saved the day....again.

Rox said...

Ouch! Maybe you WILL lose the ten pounds worrying. That sort of thing would give me instant diarrhea. Here's hoping it all works out for you.

Java said...

Oh snap! I hate that sinking feeling when I realize I've done something really stupid.

A Lewis said...

Let's just talk about Georgie and not the rest of the story. Happy luck in the losing 10 pounds.

heat said...

I did that last year when I ordered something off of an infomercial (yeah, I know). They charged me 15 times what I was quoted and sent me a year supply. After a month, threats from my landlord with eviction cause I couldnt pay my rent, and sending all the shit back, I walk into my local drug store and find the exact item sitting on the shelf for less than what they were "offering" on tv. Ur not the only one bro.....

Lemuel said...

It's a bitch to admit you've been duped, but by sharing your experience perhaps others will be wary. At least that's some compensation.

Cubby said...

I think we've all been scammed in one way or another at some point in our lives. Thank goodness you got out relatively cheaply.

Anonymous, too said...

I'm sure you don't really need any "magic" pills to lose weight. I'm also sure Georgie loves you just the way you are.

Although he might love you more if you had filet mignons stapled all over your clothing, with your pockets stuffed full of Beggin' Strips.

Blobby said...

Anything that offers weight loss via pill or drink to me seems like a scam.

Great angle for Georgie, but I'm not sure he can take a bad shot. Maybe you could have him do doggie modeling.

madtexter (corey james) said...

Note to self: Coffee first, then computer. I got scammed similar to this by a legitimate online company, Red Envelope. They were charging me $15 a month for some special rewards program, and I didn't know it until about 8 months into the 'subscription'.

When I called to report the error, they told me I did indeed sign up for the program, because I didn't de-select a check from a box on the checkout screen. I told them their practice was unethical and borderline fraudulent. They credited my credit card for the past 8 months, and I reported them to American Express to put a block on my account for any charges coming from Red Envelope.

I used to order from them a few times a year, but needless to say, I will never do business with them again.

GayProf said...

We all get duped at one point or another. Goddess knows I have fallen for some pretty foolish stuff in the past (But having a middle name like "Gullible" probably hasn't helped my cause). Anybody who claims to be able to see through all scams is setting themselves up for a pretty big fall.

It seems like the credit card company would block those charges. I'd keep up with them (rather than the scammers).

LSL said...

I feel really bad about this. It hurts the pride a little, doesn't it? If it helps - I've been a banker for 16 years, and a year or so ago I found myself entering all my personal and credit card info into a website (can't you just see what's coming?) to "verify" my PayPal account, and only as I was typing the very last digits and pressing enter did I very slowly start to get that feeling that I'd been duped. I dealt with this kind of crap all the time at work, and there I was - sitting at home in front of the PC with my credit card beside me so I could "verify" my account.

I just hope you don't have to pay much. Most credit cards have a zero liability policy now, don't they? As long as you report it quickly, which you did. I hope those Acai Berry people get the Clap.