Don’t Trust. Just Verify.

, , , , , | Legal | May 13, 2021

It’s a Saturday, nothing especially noteworthy going on. I’m on my computer in my room and my mom’s down the hall watching TV. Suddenly, my phone rings; it’s my grandpa.

Me: “Hey, Grandpa! How are you?”

Grandpa: “[My Name], I’m at the bank. I have the money! Are you all right?”

Me: “What? I’m fine, Grandpa. What money?”

Grandpa: “The money you told me to send you! Are you all right? Are you in prison?”

I leap up, freaked out.

Me: “Prison?! What are you talking about?! Grandpa, I’m at home!”

Grandpa: “You’re… not in prison? Does your mother know?”

Me: “No! I’m in my room, at home! Mom’s right down the hall. Do you need to talk to her?”

Grandpa: “I think I might, yes.”

I go to my mom’s room.

Me: “Hey, uh, Grandpa’s on the phone, and I think something weird is going on.”

I handed her the phone and they talked for a while.

Apparently, some scammer had called my grandpa with the ol’ “Grandpa, it’s me, your grandson!” And my grandpa, being, you know, old, didn’t realize it wasn’t me, dropping my name and giving the scammer a chance to latch onto it. The scammer then gave him a sob story about how “I” had taken a trip to the city and gotten “myself” arrested somehow and that my grandpa needed to wire “me” a large sum of money to pay bail. The scammer also insisted that my grandpa not tell my mother about this, which he agreed to for some reason. He was already at the bank, checkbook in hand, but luckily, he had the presence of mind at that point to call my actual cell phone to confirm I was okay. 

The good news is that he didn’t lose any money. The bad news is that my mom was pretty pissed at him for a while for nearly getting scammed and for the notion that if I were in prison, he would attempt to keep that secret from her.

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Just Lawyered Yourself, Part 2

, , , , | Right | May 7, 2021

Me: “I agree that your TV is faulty, so please come over to the desk and we’ll arrange to get it repaired for you.”

Customer: “I don’t want it repaired; I want a refund.”

Me: “I’m sorry, but you purchased the item weeks ago and are outside of your fourteen-day return guarantee. We won’t offer a refund; instead, we’re offering to get it repaired free of charge for you.”

Customer: “You can’t do that! I know the law!”

Me: “Which law is that?”

Customer: “The Sales of Goods Act! It says that you have to give me a repair, replacement, or a refund!”

Me: “And the second half?”

Customer: “What?”

Me: “The second half of that law. It contains two sentences, and you only mentioned the first one. It continues, ‘…the choice of which to be offered is at the discretion of the retailer.’ It’s our legal right to attempt to repair it for you within a reasonable amount of time.”

Customer: “That’s not right!”

Me: “See for yourself.” 

I reach into a drawer and take out a laminated screenshot of the Sales of Goods Act taken from the government website, with the address cited at the top and the two relevant sentences in full, highlighted in two different colours to show that they’re part of the same paragraph.

Customer: “But I don’t want it repaired! I want a refund!”

Me: “You’ve had the TV for weeks; that’s well outside the return period, so we’re not offering a refund. We’re offering a free repair, instead.”

Customer: “I’m going to take this to your corporate!”

Me: “Fair enough. Here’s your TV back, and here are all of the details you’ll need so that the office can track your case, including that you spoke to me today. Just let me know when you’re ready to arrange your repair and we’ll get that sorted for you.”

Unsurprisingly, our corporate office was not fond of issuing full-price refunds for nine-plus-month-old electronic equipment, and I regularly kept an eye on the returns figures. 90% of complaining customers came back for their free repair significantly more polite than before, and the rest just disappeared with their broken equipment, never to be heard from again. Presumably, they either made empty threats or were too embarrassed to talk to me after being refused by my higher-ups.

Just Lawyered Yourself

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Crime Doesn’t Pay, Especially When You Gloat

, , , , | Legal | May 7, 2021

I’m a senior staff member. On Saturday evening, the store where I work had about £70 worth of jewellery stolen. The individual was savvy and did it off camera so we only have a few details, and they describe most of our typical customers. As such, we are a bit stuck.

On Monday evening, one of the college-age workers comes in, phone in hand, and as though she’s on a mission.

Me: “You okay, [College Girl]?”

College Girl: “Are [Management People] in?”

Me: “No, I’m acting supervisor until 4:00 pm. Why?”

College Girl: “I got the thief admitting it on camera!”

It turned out it was her friend’s friend, who bragged about stealing the jewellery in front of the college girl, who happened to be filming at the time.

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Stop! In The Name Of Shrubbery!

, , , , , | Legal | May 7, 2021

For several years, my dad worked as an inspector for the state transportation department, traveling the state to make sure roads were properly maintained.

On one of his trips, my dad got into a minor accident on a city street and was charged with running a stop sign. His boss was, naturally, extremely upset with my dad, until my dad presented his dashcam footage; the stop sign my dad had run was completely blocked by a bush.

Our state has a law that all road signs must be clearly visible from a certain distance, and this stop sign was in violation of that law. My dad’s boss sent another employee to the city for an inspection. That employee found several other instances where road signs were obstructed from view, and my dad’s boss had a field day issuing the citations to the city.

When my dad went back to the city for his court appearance, he told the judge what he did for a living and what role he had played in the entire thing. The judge waived all charges and invited my dad to spend some time in town and “make sure the city engineering office had cleared everything up to his satisfaction.”

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Cargo Too Precious For The Cargo Hold

, , , , , | Working | May 5, 2021

My company does computer forensics. We go through the metadata on a computer to find “fingerprints.” It lets us identify who did what. If you’ve ever read a police case where something was found on the criminal’s computer and used to convict them, that’s us. But it’s also very technical and tricky because we need to prove it was the criminal who used the computer and what specifically they did. “It’s obvious” isn’t good enough.

What that means is that defence lawyers love to find ways to invalidate our evidence. We can’t prove the evidence wasn’t tampered with before we looked at it. For this reason, when transporting the evidence, we cannot let it out of our sight. If the computer has potentially been touched by another person, it can no longer be used as evidence. You don’t want to have to throw out a conviction on a technicality like that.

Anyhow. To the flight attendant who said, “I’m putting this on Not Always Right,” when I told her the second plane ticket was for the computer and that I couldn’t put it in the overhead luggage: that’s why.

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