Buying stuff online is sure wonderful and easy. For example, if there is a book I want, I type "bn" on the address line of my AOL screen, and Barnes and Noble catalog appears. I click on the name of the book I want, and in two days it appears in the mail, and the cost is charged to my credit card.
Easy? And clothes, and musical instuments, and programs for the computer. They are all as easy as driving my mouse.
But... Of course, there had to be a "but". But... there is a down side. For me, a $210 down side.
Every scam artist who used to roam the streets of the city, or prey on widows in farm houses the nation over, now can stay cozy and comfortable at home and scam his "marks" on his computer. And that scam artist can find suckers like me who still think they can get something for nothing.
The offer was "Free GIANT SCREEN TV". All I had to do was read their great offer and consider it. Oh, come on, how dumb do they think I am? But, thought I, let's see what this scam really is. I am too smart to order anything. But it won't hurt to look. Hah.
I looked. But first I took a little survey to see if I were eligible. I filled out age, date of birth, and citizenship. Oh, oh, you see the signs already, but not I. I read the ad for the ADVANTAGE LANGUAGE program. Nice, programmed Spanish language course with audio, computer CDs, and manual. And only $5.95 or something.
I didn't care to learn Spanish, but when I tried to "X" out of the offer, I could not exit. AND, I could not turn off computer. The only thing I could have done was pull the plug from the wall, and I have been told that is a computer "no no". The only exit was through the order form, which to ADVANTAGE LANGUAGE meant that I wanted the course.
The initial order came. Okay, nicely done and boxed.
BUT... Another "but"? You already had one "but", how many "buts" do you expect us to follow? Well, at least one more: But a month later here came lesson two, and my credit card was charged $59.95, AND a month later here came lesson number three, and my credit card was charged $59.95. AND a month later here came lesson number four and my credit card was charged $59.95.
I screamed to the credit card company, "make no more payments to ADVANTAGE LANGUAGE co." And the credit card company made a "provisonal refund" of $180 (less fifteen cents).
BUT... (Last one.) But... the company provided the credit card company with my order, and my birthdate, and my birthplace. The credit card company considers it a legitimate order. The provisonal refund is cancelled, and I am STUNG $179.85, plus the $5.95 or whatever it was, and I never got my big screen tv, either.
Later, some people never learn, I ordered ERROR GUARD for my computer. "Free download". I am a sucker for that word "free". The free download took about twenty minutes. And I ran the program. It found 29 critical errors. It offered to fix them, but first I must "register" my error guard, and that would cost $29.95. So I authorized the payment. ERROR GUARD took my money, and sent me a l-o-n-g activation code. BUT... the activation code didn't work. An email to ERROR GUARD was never answered.
But Chuck, I hear you saying, just call ERROR GUARD or ADVANTAGE LANGUAGE and demand your money back.
Sure, and whistle into the wind, too.