Thursday, August 25, 2005

Stung !!

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.



jckfrstross said...

Oh my never answer any of those lol



memes121 said...

We all get scammed at one time or another. It's okay to pull the plug once in a while or just push in the button on the CPU for a few seconds and that will turn it off. I would call the Better Business Bureau and tell them. Oh and if you want to download something go to 99% of what they have is safe. They tell you about the thing before you download. So if they say it's free, it is!

kateh2ocolorart said...

good info from memes121....THANKS!  Kate

sieblonde said...

But how did they(Adv Lang) get your CC # is what I want to know.... ~Sie

mavarin said...

You should be able to cancel and/or report these people.  Be persistent.  Good luck! - Karen

plieck30 said...

They sure know how to make it hard to resist and this doesn't have anything to do with what you are talking about but I think cell phone companies are some ot the trickiest there is. Paula

fisherkristina said...

Oh soul mate!  Sorry you had to learn the hard way.


sylviam4000 said...

Think it's about time you found a new hobby Chuck. Take care.
Sylvia x

ryanagi said...

Oh good grief. Send those language courses back, unopened. Get your refund. And try copy and paste with that activation code. And no more freebies or special offers for you! LOL

elleme2 said...

When clicking the "x" brings no response, try using the Task Manager.  Find an empty space on the taskbar (along the bottom of your screen) and right click.  A menu will appear with one of the options being "Task Manager."  Click that option and a box will appear that shows what programs are currently running and gives you the option of ending any one or all of them.  If you're connected to the internet, as you were in the example you give, it will probably just show "AOL running." rather than the particular website you have accessed.   Highlight that "AOL running" and click the "End Task" option at the bottom of the dialog box.   You will immediately end the program and, in this instance, be disconnected from the internet.  

That may not be convenient but you can always reconnect with a fresh start (or
AOL may do it for you nowadays) and it beats being locked into something you don't want to continue.  Works with any program that is not responding.

Better luck...and always read the fine print!

elleme2 said...

Forgot to say (below) that use of the Task Manager does not turn off your computer, only ends the programs you select.  You can also turn off your computer, of course, by clicking "Start" and choosing "Turn Off" or "Restart" but if worse comes to worst,  and not even pushing the On/Off button works, pulling the plug is unlikely to do any harm.  I have done it more than once when things lock up tight and haven't suffered any damage to hardware or software.  

In the old (DOS) days, it was critical that you back out of a program, closing all the files step by step by step as you went along, or you would risk losing important data.  That may be where you heard the "no-no" warning.  But today's computers and operating systems seem to be much less finicky.  

mtrib2 said...

Unplugging your computer would not hurt it.  I have power outages here 7 or 8 times a year.  Just had one today and the computer just shut off.   The biggest risk is lightning strike to the telephone wire, not the electrical connection.  My Belkin surge protector has a plug in for my telephone wire as I am on dial-up.  You should send the unwanted material back.  Also your State Attorney General will send you a complaint form.   Just call on the phone and explain that you need a form sent.  You have been hood-winked.  I would only do ordering over the phone and not type in my credit card number.   It is the only safe way.   Also be absolutely certain that it is a well known business that you are ordering from.  The Internet is full of scams.      mark