Scammin’ the Scam Man ?????

February 26, 2008 at 7:26 am Leave a comment

OK – So I am cautious by nature. A little skeptical of things. Some call it paranoia. I say I’m “extra careful.”

When you hear us do Scam Man warnings on Murphy Sam and Jodi, it’s coming from a very natural place for me. So I was surprised to find myself being scammed just the other day.

Because Scam is a pretty tough word, I will leave the “seller” nameless. This “seller” was pulling a LEGAL scam on me. For the sake of argument, let’s say I was buying a washing machine.

THIS PART WENT SMOOTHLY ( AND VERY NORMAL):

I found the “washing machine” online. Seller has a legitimate website, even shows up in a few of those shopping search engines.

I had done my research on the make, the model – everything I needed and wanted to know before buying. I place my order as usual ( shopping cart to personal info to billing info to shipping info etc etc etc)

I got my confirmation email as usual. It said I would receive shipping info soon. At this point I don’t think anymore about it.

THIS IS WHERE THINGS GOT VERY WEIRD – AND I SHOULD HAVE TRUSTED MY GUT.

I get a second email that says to call the business office of this establishment to confirm my order before shipping.

When I got on the phone I was on hold for about 10 minutes. Finally a gentleman comes on that begins to read off the features of my “washing machine” . Nice guy, polite – begins speaking quickly.

“Hey—this is the older model- I just got a shipment of the new ones in yesterday. It saves water and electricity, plus is one of those cool front loader models. Let me check-it’s got a rebate…let’s see you would have paid…yes…it’s only $95 more after the rebate. Tell you what. If you switch to this one, I’ll give you the rebate off the top and give you the extended warranty that normally costs $115 for $25 bucks….We haven’t even put this one on the website yet so you’re getting it before anyone else….So ….”

You see where this is going.

But in my cynical nature I Googled the model he was talking about at the same time I was being bamboozled by his quick pace. Turns out the new model is $300 than the one I was going to originally purchase – and with the extended warranty I was going to pay $120 more in his store….OR $420 more than it would have retailed elsewhere.

SOOOO- If I had not slowed enough to double check the “new model” he was attempting to switch me to I would have overpaid by $420 instead of the great deal I was getting before.

This is the 2008 version of online bait and switch.

Bottom line from Mr Safety:

1) Follow the usual safety rules for online shopping. ( Good advice at www.safeshopping.org )This retailer had all the right credentials, except for the “call to confirm your order” which opened the bait and switch opportunity.

2) An online retailer worth their salt will contact you ONLY if they need more information because your shipping and billing address are different for your security ( this was not the case in my order, and was my first clue that something was up.)

3) If it makes your gut feel funny, don’t do it. If you’ve already done it, call back and cancel-and double check with your credit card company to make sure you are not charged.

Every have something like this happen to you ? 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Entry filed under: Murphy.

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