Photo Credit: CT Indie
Before I explain why most sales pitches on TV for products sold by phone are scams, a little background: back home I never watch commercials, I record the programs I like so that I can skip past these annoyances.
However, here I am in Cabo San Lucas (see Spending This Week at the Grand Mayan Los Cabos) without a Digital Tape Recorder and so I must endure the repeated and incessant hawking of collapsible coat hangers, powerful glues, and other magical solvents, tinctures and balms.
I should warn my readers that the purpose of these commercials is not to sell the actual item being advertised. The true purpose is to rack up as many charges for other products and services as they can heap on the poor unsuspecting consumer.
For example, let's suppose you see a magical snake oil that will cure your joint pain for only $19.99 plus a 'modest shipping and handling charge' of only $9.99 with a money back guarantee if you're not satisfied for any reason. Here's the rub: the processing charge is not refundable. In that way, even if you return the item, the company still makes money by keeping the shipping and handling charges which are in fact more than the item is worth anyway.
But wait, there's more. This is where the scam gets really good. If you thought the snake oil was a great buy, you can get another bottle for free, all you need do is pay a small, nominal, tiny, insignificant processing fee of only $9.95. So now you paid the original $19.99 plus two shipping and handling charges for $19.98 more. If the product stinks, all you can get back is the $19.99 and not any of the processing charges. Even if you try to send back the second bottle they'll tell you that you cannot get back any money because it was free.
About a day or so later, someone from the company will call you to offer you a 100 dollars worth of gas cards or a 50 dollar visa prepaid card or 75 dollars worth of restaurant vouchers for trying a subscription to a discount club of one sort or another. They will tell you that if you opt out of the subscription within so many days you will not be charged anything and the gas cards, debit cards, restaurant vouchers are yours to keep. These are all scams.
If you're not careful, you can end up with hundreds of dollars or more charged to your credit card. Whatever product is advertised on TV can be bought more cheaply and with smaller or no shipping fees on eBay or Amazon and without the extra sales pitches haranguing you afterward.
These scams happen because so many of us are too trusting. Here, for example, is a very sad story of such a person, gullible beyond belief:
Herald Sun, 14 July 2011, Taiwanese man pays $400,000 in croissant scamA TAIWANESE man reportedly paid about $400,000 for a croissant he never got to eat.
The man, only identified by his last name, Chiu, reportedly fell for an Internet scam that promoted, "French bread which is so delicious that it will make you cry," reported Apple Daily.
Chui reportedly saw the photograph of the alleged croissant and proceeded to transmit 99 Taiwan dollars to the bakery through an ATM. Someone from the company then called him to say there was a mistake and he had to repeat the transaction, which he did.
A second phone call came from a "bank manager," asking him to repeat the transaction, and then a third from someone who posed as a representative "from the Monetary Supervision Commission," asking him to repeat the transaction to avoid charges of money laundering.
He had transmitted 12 million Taiwan dollars before realising he had been scammed.
Before you tell yourself that no one in America would be this gullible, allow me to inform you that there are millions of our fellow Americans who actually believe the scam that Islam is a benign religion no different than any other religion and that extremists have misinterpreted its tenets. These poor gullible fools do not want to believe that the terrorists are in fact the true practitioners of the faith.
The gullible: they live among us.