The Scam Has Been Rent From The Scammer

, , , , | Friendly | October 23, 2017

(I respond to a few of those infamous “nice house for rent at an unreasonably low price” ads, thinking at worst they’re obvious scams and no harm done, or at best I’ve found the deal of the century. I get various replies to my emails of inquiry, all obvious scams. What I notice, though, is how many of them are using the same story: “I’m a Christian missionary going on a two-year missions trip to Africa, and I want to find a nice Christian family to take care of my house while I’m gone. I’ve already left, so please just send me a $100 good-faith deposit and I’ll send you the keys and let you look around. We can exchange paperwork afterwards if you like the place.” I decide to amuse myself in an email exchange.)

Me: “You’re going on a missions trip to Africa, too? Hallelujah! I’ve recently been in contact with [Other Scammer who replied to my emails] about their house also for rent. Do you know each other?”

Scammer: “Yes, we all know each other; we are on the same mission trip.”

Me: “That’s amazing. How many of you are going?”

Scammer: “There are twelve people going. Please send the good faith deposit and I will send you the keys.”

Me: “What about [Yet Another Scammer with the same scam]?”

Scammer: “Yes, we are all friends and are here in Africa together. Here is a link where you can send the good faith deposit.”

Me: “Well, I think it’s wonderful how so many of you are together doing the Lord’s work. It’s too bad all of you had to leave so quickly and none of you could find renters for these nice houses.”

Scammer: “Well, we leave very quickly. Please let me know if you have other questions.”

Me: “Thank you; I do. What are the names of the streets their houses are on?”

Scammer: “I do not understand and do not know about their houses; that is their responsibility. Please send the $100 so I can send you the keys. I know you will love my house.”

Me: “Well, you’re all there together, so can you ask them? Let me know if it’ll take time to reach them if they’re not right next to you; I can wait. I don’t even need both street names. Just one. Name one of the streets their houses are on. And if you can manage that, I’ll throw in a $10,000 donation to your mission trip, whether or not I go with your house.”

(I never heard back.)

Your Days As A Soldier Are Emergency Numbered

, , , , | Working | October 21, 2017

(I am on a military post, and tonight I am in charge of the barracks, which means checking that everyone is in their quarters by curfew. After knocking on doors, I discover that one soldier is missing. Checking the list of people signed out on leave, his name does not appear. Now, if I cannot make contact with him, I need to report him missing. Pulling up the contact sheet, I dial the number he has listed as his cell phone.)

Me: “Hello, [Soldier]?”

Woman: “No, [Soldier] isn’t here. How can I help you?”

Me: *confused* “Ah, I am trying to call him and learn of his whereabouts. May I ask why you have his cell phone?”

Woman: “This is not his cell phone; this is my phone. You’ve called my house.”

Me: “What?!”

(Checking the list again, I see the soldier has listed the same number for his cell phone and emergency contact, and the number I have just dialed belongs to his mother. I immediately backpedal, not wanting to alarm her.)

Me: “I’m sorry for disturbing you, ma’am, but [Soldier] listed this as his personal number. I need to contact him, as I have to discuss something important with him. If I may ask, do you have his personal number on you?”

Woman: “I don’t give out my son’s number to random people on the phone.”

Me: “Fair enough. Good night, ma’am.” *hangs up*

(Luckily, I found another soldier who had his real cell number. I called him and confirmed that he was on leave and had just forgotten to sign out. When I asked why he gave a false number, he brushed it off as no big deal, saying he didn’t want to be disturbed. I then hung up on him and reported the incident to his Squad Leader.)

Getting Away Was A Pipe Dream

, , , , , , | Friendly | October 19, 2017

(My family has recently noticed that our water has been turning off often. For the first couple of times, we just write it off as company problems, but soon, we realize there is a problem with our plumbing. We call a plumbing company and they send out a plumber to check our attic. I am only five years old.)

Plumber: “I’ll need to check your attic pipes first, since that’s where it’s most likely to break.”

Dad: “That’ll be fine.”

(My dad shows him the way to the attic and the plumber climbs up and goes in. He stays there for a few minutes, when he suddenly screeches and practically jumps out of the attic.)

Plumber: “A spider bit me! It looked like a widow; I think I need medical help.”

(My mom, being a doctor, always has medicine for certain common things such as headache, stomach pains, and spider bite, so she lets the plumber sit on the sofa as she readies a needle, after calling an ambulance in case he needs further treatment.)

Sister: “Hey, what are you doing?!”

(The plumber has gotten up and picked up my dad’s wallet, which was on the table. He makes a run for the door.)

Dad: “Come back here!”

(My dad easily blocks him and we call the police, who identify him as a wanted thief.)

Me: “What happened? Why are they taking the pipe man away?”

Sister: “Don’t worry, [My Name]; he was a bad man, so they’re taking him to the place for bad men.”

(To this day, I still have no idea how he thought he was going to get away with it when my dad, a bulky man with at least a foot and 60 pounds on him, was standing right next to him.)

Trying To Posit How Deposits Work

, , , , , , | Right | October 18, 2017

(A customer calls to accept her quote, and pay the scheduling deposit.)

Customer: “Okay, so, I am going to pay $300 deposit today, and pay the rest when the guys get here. I need you here September 8.” *in three days*

Me: “I’m sorry, that won’t work. We are currently booking the end of October, and we require a 50% non-refundable deposit, up to $2,500, now, in order to hold your place in the schedule. Your entire job will cost about $14,000, so that means we need the $2,500 now.”

Customer: “I don’t want to pay that much now, and I can’t wait until the end of October. I will pay $500 now, so you can hold my spot, and I’ll let you come September 15. Then I will call around and see if I can get someone out here sooner than that; if I can, I’ll get the money refunded back to pay them instead of you.”

Me: “Well, you are welcome to call around if you like, but I will need the $2,500 now if you would like your spot at the end of October held, and as it says in your contract, that amount is non-refundable.”

Customer: “Well, that policy is illegal. You can’t keep my deposit if I can find someone else to do it first! You probably lose a lot of money that way!”

Me: “We do lose some jobs because people need us to come sooner than we are able; that is why all deposits are non-refundable. If we lose another job because the end of October is booked with your job, and then you cancel, we can use your deposit to make payroll, keep our employees so we are able to do the rest of the jobs we have scheduled, and cover overhead even though we have nothing booked and have lost other potential jobs for it. We usually book out two to eight weeks in advance, at all times of the year, so I don’t think we are losing a lot of custom over this. It’s also not illegal, and clearly laid out in your contract.”

Customer: “Fine, I will just pay on credit card today; at least that way I can cancel the charge if I find someone else who can do it sooner.”

Me: “And you’ve just said the magic words! Now we require payment by certified cheque or bank draft for the whole amount before we will put you in the schedule. Whenever you drop that off at the office, I can book you in at that time. For every day you wait, our lead time gets two to three days longer until after Christmas, when our lead times start to drop. I will send you an email confirming the new terms of your contract.”

Customer: “You can’t do that; it’s illegal to charge for goods before the customer gets them. You can’t do this. Deposits are always refundable; it’s the law! You aren’t allowed to do this!”

Me: “You should go explain those laws to [Coffee Shop] and to every hotel, ever, ma’am. You have a nice day now.”

Your Service Is Of Grave Concern

, , , , , | Working | October 16, 2017

(A relative in another state has passed away. My part of the family can’t make the funeral, but an elderly relative asks me to help him order flowers. I call a national florist chain five days before the funeral. I get a wonderful, helpful rep who helps me pick out the flowers my relative wants, and I even pay extra to have the flowers delivered on a Sunday, the morning of the funeral. One hour before the funeral, I get an automated call saying there was a problem with the order and it will not be delivered. I call the number but get no answer, just a recorded message asking me to leave a message at the beep. I get a call back THAT EVENING, hours after the funeral ends. The rep calling apologizes and comes up with some story that they didn’t have the flowers I ordered to even make the basket. He offers to deliver flowers on the next day to the gravesite, instead. I tell him no thanks; I wanted flowers for the funeral. I demand my money back. I am told I have to call customer service on Monday. I do.)

Customer Service: “Yes, ma’am. I am sorry, but we do not deliver on Sunday so—”

Me: “They why did your rep not only promise me he would, but also charged me extra for Sunday delivery?”

Customer Service: “Yeah, I don’t know. But I can have flowers delivered to the gravesite.”

Me: “No. The funeral was yesterday. I wanted them for the funeral. I paid you for a service, and you failed to provide the service. The reason is irrelevant. So, I want my money back.”

Customer Service: “Well now, instead, I can give you a discount on your next order and we will send a nice fruit bouquet to a family member. How about—”

Me: “No, I do not want fruit. I paid you extra to have flowers delivered to a funeral on a Sunday. You have failed to do so; therefore, I want my money back.”

(He starts trying to pass off a partial refund, trying to tell me that he still had to pay for the flowers and the employees. I tell him that’s not my problem and that his employee has already admitted that they didn’t even have the flowers. I keep repeating that I paid for a product, I did not get it, and I want my money back. After more BS, I tell him to forget it; I will call my bank and report this as fraud. He is not happy at all, and tries to cop an attitude with me. I hang up and call the bank. It turns out this national company has A LOT of complaints just like mine; they pull this all the time. I call to file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau, and am told that the company has been thrown out due to the large number of complaints. They have a 98% negative rating on most online sites. They sell huge arrangements, like for funerals and weddings, don’t deliver, and then try to pass on cheap fruit arrangements to the customers. I am afraid to tell my elderly relative what happened.)

Relative: *sighs* “Well, it serves me right.”

Me: “What ever do you mean?”

Relative: “I should have sent a donation to his favorite charity instead. That’s what he would have wanted. Not stupid flowers.”

(We did end up sending double the amount we would have paid for the flowers to a worthy charity. I think it ended as it should.)

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