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Deceptive Business Practices -- What's Your Take?

CognisseurCognisseur Registered User
edited May 2010 in Debate and/or Discourse
So I've started noticing a lot more businesses trying to pull a fast one over me in particularly unclassy ways, and it made me wonder how various people reacted to such practices.

Examples:

1. Post Office. I just got back from the Post Office, where I asked the lady for "the cheapest envelope, please", so I could mail a book. Having gone through this bullshit numerous times, I tried my best to act surprised when she came back with a padded envelope, which is not the cheapest envelope. I pointed this out to her and she got pretty huffy at me. Look, you may have your reasons for preferring a padded envelope, but when I ask for the cheapest envelope I expect to be brought the cheapest envelope, or at worst, both envelopes and a lengthy explanation about why I should choose the padded one.

2. Coffee shop in Penn Station. "I'd like a medium coffee". "Sure, sir. Would you like that mild or strong?" "I'd like that stro-- hey wait a minute. No, I fell for this scam before. I'll take mild." Scam? That's a fighting word I'm throwing out there. What warrants such tough vocabulary? Well, "mild" is the coffee that's on their menu with the price on the menu. "Strong" is them adding a shot of espresso and charging you extra for it. No one seems to remember mentioning to you that it costs extra, or that every other coffee place in Penn Station has a variety of coffees and asking for a "strong" one is just asking for a different variety of coffee, not asking to pay more money.

There's tons more deceptive business practices along these lines, but I've gotten my point across. So what's your reaction to these? I imagine there's a full spectrum of possibilities.

Possibilities:

1. In favor: Fuck yeah, this is the American way. Make a buck anyway you can. I'd do the same and I love seeing the ingenious ways that the free market manifests itself. Best of all, I'm on the right side! I've got the insider knowledge! I know to ask for envelopes twice and to order mild coffee, and as a result of you not knowing it, you pay more and the savings come back to me! It's awesome.

2. Analytical: I'm not in favor of this sort of thing, but I'm not some bitch whose going to get all emotional about it. If the mild coffee at this place is cheaper than the other places, and now that I've been burned once I know it won't happen again, then I might as well keep buying the coffee here. It was lame of them, but am I really going to go out of my way or spend extra money to spite them? That's childish.

3. Risk Analysis: I'm not in favor of this sort of thing, and I think it establishes that this is a risky enough venture that it's not worth continuing here just to save 4 cents on coffee. What do I do when I want a muffin? Do I sit there weighing the pros and cons of being ripped off since I've never tried that? No, fuck that. I just go to a place where I don't have to take into account the owner's evil into my purchase considerations. We all have to be cautious in life but I don't find much benefit to intentionally putting myself in situations where I'm looking over my shoulders and calculating ways I could be ripped off at every opportunity.

4. Against: This was a totally dick move and a violation of trust and I will not stand for it. I don't care if your coffee is 4 cents cheaper than the place next door, I'm going there because fuck you. I'm not going to come back and ask for more service when you openly try to con me (unless you're the Post Office since you have a fucking monopoly).

I imagine there's various gradations in between these as well. I fall under category 3-4. Intellectually, I don't think it's worth the risk to put myself in undependable situations. Emotionally, I want to slap the bitch around who really thought "I've got a great scam, but since I'm incorporating it into a successful business it's actually an innovative business solution, not a scam".

How about you? What's your take on these situations?

Cognisseur on
«13456

Posts

  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    I find a place that doesn't fuck me over and I stick with them. Ensuring that my money helps them stay in business so that good people stay good and there are less bad people because people get sick of getting fucked over nonsense.

    Though, upselling is a fan-fucking-tastic way to increase your profits. When I was working at BK when I was younger they didn't upsell, when they started asking if you wanted cheese, bacon, fries, etc they apparently almost doubled their profits in a day.

    As long as everyone's clear that the upselling involves extra costs and it's not just "hey this comes in strong or mild, which would you prefer" and not "strong or mild, strong means we charge you an extra $1" then that's okay.

    bowen on
    Ladies.
  • amateurhouramateurhour One day I'll be professionalhour The woods somewhere in TennesseeRegistered User regular
    edited April 2010
    I feel like the upsell is a perfectly legitimate business practice that can be used in a very shady manner. It's like when I worked at a restaurant and the manager told us that when a customer ordered a water we should ask "tap or bottle". He'd grind every little dime out of a check if he could.

    The problem with the upsell completely depends on what's offered to the salesman. Like with one big box office supply store I was a supervisor at, we got huge comission for the upsell, so it was worth it, but with another store we got dick, so I never bothered unless I was going to get chewed out by upper management.

    amateurhour on

    Arch wrote: »

    I never expected this burn from captain bushmeat
  • UncleSporkyUncleSporky Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    This stuff is extremely annoying. I wasn't upsold, but we definitely could use some clearer business/consumer exchange of vital information.

    The other day I bought a new 23 inch monitor at Best Buy. I know that Best Buy sucks, but for big LCD screens I need the convenience of not having to send it back to the online retailer due to bad pixels, which they may not accept anyway...and my other brick and mortar choices are not so good (Wal-Mart? HHGregg?).

    I asked one of the guys what the policy was for returns, and he told me it was 30 days for any reason other than extensive damage I cause myself. That's fine. Down at the register, the cashier tried to sell me an extended service plan, which I declined, but I was curious and asked him to confirm the return policy. He told me I had 14 days.

    Is this intentionally deceptive so they don't have to deal with returns, or just a poor shmuck who forgot their policy? I'm not sure, but this is kind of important information. The monitor was fine - I tested it the same day just in case I actually had only 5 days or something.

    UncleSporky on
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  • amateurhouramateurhour One day I'll be professionalhour The woods somewhere in TennesseeRegistered User regular
    edited April 2010
    This stuff is extremely annoying.

    The other day I bought a new 23 inch monitor at Best Buy. I know that Best Buy sucks, but for big LCD screens I need the convenience of not having to send it back to the online retailer due to bad pixels, which they may not accept anyway...and my other brick and mortar choices are not so good (Wal-Mart? HHGregg?).

    I asked one of the guys what the policy was for returns, and he told me it was 30 days for any reason other than extensive damage I cause myself. That's fine. Down at the register, the cashier tried to sell me an extended service plan, which I declined, but I was curious and asked him to confirm the return policy. He told me I had 14 days.

    Is this intentionally deceptive so they don't have to deal with returns, or just a poor shmuck who forgot their policy? I'm not sure, but this is kind of important information. The monitor was fine, but I tested it the same day just in case I actually had only 5 days or something.

    Best Buy is notorious for horrible customer service. First off, they can, and will charge a 15% restock fee for open box electronics. Second, it's been documented that they've sold floor models as new.

    Seriously, try to avoid best buy if at all possible. I've had really good luck with Target for returns and exchanges

    edit: Third, their customer support is for shit. It's solid commission, so they'll do/say whatever they can to make the sale (unless that's changed and I'm unaware of it)

    amateurhour on

    Arch wrote: »

    I never expected this burn from captain bushmeat
  • Romantic UndeadRomantic Undead Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    Hey there!

    I work for the Canadian Competition Bureau, which is basically the Canadian equivalent to the Federal Trade Commission. We investigate, among other things, claims of false representation and enforce Fair Business Practices. As such, I have a lot of experience with this type of thing.

    My stance is this: The government does its best to protect consumer for blatantly illegal misleading practices such as false advertising and labelling, but the system is not draconian, and a certain responsibilty does need to placed on the consumer in an open market system like we have here in the West.

    While it is illegal for companies to blatantly lie to you, they don't have an obligation to hold your hand and baby you when you're under-informed about the product or service you're looking to purchase.

    Like it or not, companies have rights too, and that includes the right to try to make their product/service look as attractive as possible within the limits of the law. While you might argue that it's unethical for them to take advantage of an ignorant client, they don't have a responsibility to guess every possible expectation you, as a customer, might have.

    In exchange, you, the customer, have every right to vote with your dollar. You don't like the way a company has treated you: leave. Take your business elsewhere. If that's not convenient, then you have a choice to make: Is the convenience worth the higher price/snarky attitude/puffed up advertising, or not?

    This is why antitrust laws exist. To make sure that you, the consumer, always have that choice. As long as that choice exists, then it's up to you to decide what consists acceptable business conduct.

    They system isn't perfect, but it can work for you, if you choose to take advantage of it.

    Romantic Undead on
    3DS FC: 1547-5210-6531
  • InvisibleInvisible Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    This stuff is extremely annoying. I wasn't upsold, but we definitely could use some clearer business/consumer exchange of vital information in general.

    The other day I bought a new 23 inch monitor at Best Buy. I know that Best Buy sucks, but for big LCD screens I need the convenience of not having to send it back to the online retailer due to bad pixels, which they may not accept anyway...and my other brick and mortar choices are not so good (Wal-Mart? HHGregg?).

    I asked one of the guys what the policy was for returns, and he told me it was 30 days for any reason other than extensive damage I cause myself. That's fine. Down at the register, the cashier tried to sell me an extended service plan, which I declined, but I was curious and asked him to confirm the return policy. He told me I had 14 days.

    Is this intentionally deceptive so they don't have to deal with returns, or just a poor shmuck who forgot their policy? I'm not sure, but this is kind of important information. The monitor was fine, but I tested it the same day just in case I actually had only 5 days or something.

    More likely a poor shmuck who didn't know the policy. Best Buy has one of the most confusing return policies of any retailer I've ever visited and they don't train their sales floor on it at all. The only reason they know about computers is because stickers are placed on the box.

    Though in general, I find Best Buy to be shady with its attachment of extended warranties. Besides extended warranties usually being a scam, on computers if they can't fix it they don't replace it with a similarly priced model. Instead they replace it with a model with the same specs, which is well and good except say it breaks down in 3 years and you end up with a shitty emachine worth $200 when you paid $700+$350 for the extended warranty.

    I just don't think they explain that customers upfront when they tell them they'll replace the machine. Even Target just gave me a giftcard for the TV ($700) I bought from them after it broke almost 2 years after purchase and their warranty was only like $40.

    It's solid commission, so they'll do/say whatever they can to make the sale (unless that's changed and I'm unaware of it)

    No, that's been changed for a while. Even outside vendors can't make commission (except for a few special cases like Clear Wire and I believe Apple).
    Wow, I know way too much about Best Buy for someone who has never been employed by them.

    Invisible on
  • chknsandwichchknsandwich Registered User
    edited April 2010
    I reserve "deceptive business practices" for things like "unlimited" plans that have hidden limits or "full coverage" policies that do not cover everything.

    chknsandwich on
  • CognisseurCognisseur Registered User
    edited April 2010
    I feel like the upsell is a perfectly legitimate business practice that can be used in a very shady manner. It's like when I worked at a restaurant and the manager told us that when a customer ordered a water we should ask "tap or bottle". He'd grind every little dime out of a check if he could.

    You know what, I think I'd even go so extreme as to say "fuck you" to that restaurant. I think I hold particularly high standards for restaurants, but in general I look for businesses where it's clear the businessman is on my side. Sure, he's still looking to sell things, but if he believes he's selling something that people need then he shouldn't feel the need to deceive people who don't need it into buying it.

    Let me clarify.
    1. My friend's laptop broke and he brought it to BestBuy or wherever that bullshit overpriced service is. They "did a full workup" which cost $texas, despite that the problem was related to his power supply, meaning they never even got it turned on. They then sent him a bill and recommended he let them fix the laptop for roughly 1.5x the cost of the laptop.

    2. Another friend's laptop broke and he brought it to this tiny tech shop in our town. The owner called up my friend later that day and told him the connection to the monitor of the laptop had pretty much broke. My friend asked if it was fixable but the dude told him "it's possible but I wouldn't recommend it. It'd cost the same to just buy a new netbook so you should just do that. If you want, I can take the harddrive out of this one so you can transfer the stuff". When my friend came in, the guy was apologetic that he couldn't help my friend out, and he charged him less than his usual because of it.

    Do you see which business I prefer? The latter dude passed up a business opportunity. That may sound like a terrible idea from a business point of view, until you consider that my friend and anyone he's told is much more likely to go to that guy for business than BestBuy.

    Cognisseur on
  • override367override367 ALL minions Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    This stuff is extremely annoying.

    The other day I bought a new 23 inch monitor at Best Buy. I know that Best Buy sucks, but for big LCD screens I need the convenience of not having to send it back to the online retailer due to bad pixels, which they may not accept anyway...and my other brick and mortar choices are not so good (Wal-Mart? HHGregg?).

    I asked one of the guys what the policy was for returns, and he told me it was 30 days for any reason other than extensive damage I cause myself. That's fine. Down at the register, the cashier tried to sell me an extended service plan, which I declined, but I was curious and asked him to confirm the return policy. He told me I had 14 days.

    Is this intentionally deceptive so they don't have to deal with returns, or just a poor shmuck who forgot their policy? I'm not sure, but this is kind of important information. The monitor was fine, but I tested it the same day just in case I actually had only 5 days or something.

    Best Buy is notorious for horrible customer service. First off, they can, and will charge a 15% restock fee for open box electronics. Second, it's been documented that they've sold floor models as new.

    Seriously, try to avoid best buy if at all possible. I've had really good luck with Target for returns and exchanges

    edit: Third, their customer support is for shit. It's solid commission, so they'll do/say whatever they can to make the sale (unless that's changed and I'm unaware of it)

    I'm pretty sure they've switched from commission to "sell X service agreements or you lose your job"

    override367 on
  • RUNN1NGMANRUNN1NGMAN Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    It's not the postal employee's job to comparison shop envelopes for you so you can save 30 cents. That's not a deceptive business practice, that's her getting fed up with the 100th person that day who doesn't actually have their shit ready for the mail or can't decide between the Snoopy stamps and the Marilyn Monroe stamps.

    RUNN1NGMAN on
  • EndEnd Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    What? And if you ask for the smallest box, it's not her fault if she gets you a 5 foot by 5 foot box instead of a 6 inch by 6 inch box?

    End on
    I wish that someway, somehow, that I could save every one of us
    zaleiria-by-lexxy-sig.jpgsteam~tinythumb.png
  • RUNN1NGMANRUNN1NGMAN Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    End wrote: »
    What? And if you ask for the smallest box, it's not her fault if she gets you a 5 foot by 5 foot box instead of a 6 inch by 6 inch box?

    Or you could pick out your own box instead of asking someone else to and then getting huffy when what they bring you isn't what you wanted.

    RUNN1NGMAN on
  • Bionic MonkeyBionic Monkey Registered User, ClubPA
    edited April 2010
    This stuff is extremely annoying. I wasn't upsold, but we definitely could use some clearer business/consumer exchange of vital information.

    The other day I bought a new 23 inch monitor at Best Buy. I know that Best Buy sucks, but for big LCD screens I need the convenience of not having to send it back to the online retailer due to bad pixels, which they may not accept anyway...and my other brick and mortar choices are not so good (Wal-Mart? HHGregg?).

    I asked one of the guys what the policy was for returns, and he told me it was 30 days for any reason other than extensive damage I cause myself. That's fine. Down at the register, the cashier tried to sell me an extended service plan, which I declined, but I was curious and asked him to confirm the return policy. He told me I had 14 days.

    Is this intentionally deceptive so they don't have to deal with returns, or just a poor shmuck who forgot their policy? I'm not sure, but this is kind of important information. The monitor was fine - I tested it the same day just in case I actually had only 5 days or something.

    I just started working at Best Buy (I know, I know! But it's temporary while I return to school!), and most likely it was just some poor schmuck that didn't remember the return policy. As return policies go, it's rather labyrinthine and can be difficult to remember which stuff is 14 days, which stuff is 30 days, which stuff incurs a restocking fee, etcetera.
    edit: Third, their customer support is for shit. It's solid commission, so they'll do/say whatever they can to make the sale (unless that's changed and I'm unaware of it)

    This isn't true. At least not since I've been working there, which is less than a month.

    Bionic Monkey on
    sig_megas_armed.jpg
  • Thor1590Thor1590 Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    You know, much of this sounds less like "deceptive business practices" and more like "poorly trained, misinformed, or lazy employees."

    Thor1590 on
  • EndEnd Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    RUNN1NGMAN wrote: »
    End wrote: »
    What? And if you ask for the smallest box, it's not her fault if she gets you a 5 foot by 5 foot box instead of a 6 inch by 6 inch box?

    Or you could pick out your own box instead of asking someone else to and then getting huffy when what they bring you isn't what you wanted.

    She was the one who got huffy when he told her it wasn't the one he wanted.

    Edit: Also, when I last went to the post office, unless you already bought an entire package of envelopes at walmart or whatever, you'd get an envelope by going to the post office and buy one from the counter. Where someone had to go and get it for you.

    End on
    I wish that someway, somehow, that I could save every one of us
    zaleiria-by-lexxy-sig.jpgsteam~tinythumb.png
  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    RUNN1NGMAN wrote: »
    It's not the postal employee's job to comparison shop envelopes for you so you can save 30 cents. That's not a deceptive business practice, that's her getting fed up with the 100th person that day who doesn't actually have their shit ready for the mail or can't decide between the Snoopy stamps and the Marilyn Monroe stamps.

    ... But it's also that employee's responsibility to do their job. Their job being service postal customers. If that means OP can't go behind the counter and find out what their current selection is, or the name of the smallest envelop, then they must pick the smallest envelope out of their collection.

    It'd be like me asking someone at Starbucks for Coffee and asking for their lowest priced coffee on the menu. It's what they get paid to do. It's also why state workers have absolutely no right to bitch and complain. I've waited 40 minutes in line because the postal worker wanted to take a smoke break halfway through the line, this is a pretty typical experience with state employees like the DMV, post office, Social Services, etc.

    bowen on
    Ladies.
  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    End wrote: »
    RUNN1NGMAN wrote: »
    End wrote: »
    What? And if you ask for the smallest box, it's not her fault if she gets you a 5 foot by 5 foot box instead of a 6 inch by 6 inch box?

    Or you could pick out your own box instead of asking someone else to and then getting huffy when what they bring you isn't what you wanted.

    She was the one who got huffy when he told her it wasn't the one he wanted.

    A lot of rural post offices don't have their packaging material out like they are in the larger areas. For some reason. Even though they're free to take most of the time.

    bowen on
    Ladies.
  • darkmayodarkmayo Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    Dentists

    "Oh you need X or your teeth will explode" is pretty much all I have ever seen from them.

    and I swear that when you got a teeth cleaning they always use to do whitening at the same time... this no longer seems to be the case.

    (Canadian so YMMV)

    darkmayo on
  • EndEnd Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    bowen wrote: »
    A lot of rural post offices don't have their packaging material out like they are in the larger areas. For some reason. Even though they're free to take most of the time.

    Yeah, that was actually the case at the post office when I was growing up, even though I didn't even live in a rural area.

    They've since replaced that post office, so who knows what has changed.

    End on
    I wish that someway, somehow, that I could save every one of us
    zaleiria-by-lexxy-sig.jpgsteam~tinythumb.png
  • emnmnmeemnmnme Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    A sausage biscuit at Burger King costs $1. A sausage biscuit (same size) with some scrambled eggs stuffed in there costs $2.75. I realize the dollar menu is designed to attract customers with low-priced items but the idea that two scrambled eggs adds $1.75 is funny to me.

    They also charge $.30 extra for adding cheese to your burgers but I only patronize fast food joints for their breakfast menu.

    emnmnme on
  • LaOsLaOs Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    darkmayo wrote: »
    Dentists

    "Oh you need X or your teeth will explode" is pretty much all I have ever seen from them.

    and I swear that when you got a teeth cleaning they always use to do whitening at the same time... this no longer seems to be the case.

    (Canadian so YMMV)

    No, I don't believe that's ever been the case... at least, not on any widespread level. You may have had a generous dentist?

    (I don't think they could just automatically include whitening if they wanted, as it's not something everyone should be doing and not necessarily something everyone wants, due to how it works--it sort of weakens the enamel a bit (you're not supposed to do it if you have thin or worn enamel already) and whatnot... I think more you were mistaken about what they were doing or what they are currently doing to your teeth.)

    LaOs on
  • darkmayodarkmayo Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    LaOs wrote: »
    darkmayo wrote: »
    Dentists

    "Oh you need X or your teeth will explode" is pretty much all I have ever seen from them.

    and I swear that when you got a teeth cleaning they always use to do whitening at the same time... this no longer seems to be the case.

    (Canadian so YMMV)

    No, I don't believe that's ever been the case... at least, not on any widespread level. You may have had a generous dentist?

    (I don't think they could just automatically include whitening if they wanted, as it's not something everyone should be doing and not necessarily something everyone wants, due to how it works--it sort of weakens the enamel a bit (you're not supposed to do it if you have thin or worn enamel already) and whatnot... I think more you were mistaken about what they were doing or what they are currently doing to your teeth.)

    Quite possibly, I just remember my teeth looking.. whiter after a cleaning years ago than I do now, of course wear and tear (I dont smoke, dont drink coffee so no stains)

    darkmayo on
  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    Probably because dental cleanings are a lot better than brushing your teeth.

    bowen on
    Ladies.
  • LaOsLaOs Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    darkmayo wrote: »
    LaOs wrote: »
    darkmayo wrote: »
    Dentists

    "Oh you need X or your teeth will explode" is pretty much all I have ever seen from them.

    and I swear that when you got a teeth cleaning they always use to do whitening at the same time... this no longer seems to be the case.

    (Canadian so YMMV)

    No, I don't believe that's ever been the case... at least, not on any widespread level. You may have had a generous dentist?

    (I don't think they could just automatically include whitening if they wanted, as it's not something everyone should be doing and not necessarily something everyone wants, due to how it works--it sort of weakens the enamel a bit (you're not supposed to do it if you have thin or worn enamel already) and whatnot... I think more you were mistaken about what they were doing or what they are currently doing to your teeth.)

    Quite possibly, I just remember my teeth looking.. whiter after a cleaning years ago than I do now, of course wear and tear (I dont smoke, dont drink coffee so no stains)

    Wear and tear, natural aging, etc... I doubt they were actually whitening your teeth way back; rather, I just think your teeth were more naturally bright and the cleaning was more effective at bringing that out. Now, though, your teeth are older and there's less natural brightness to be revealed with the cleaning.

    It could also just be your perception. :P

    LaOs on
  • darkmayodarkmayo Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    LaOs wrote: »
    darkmayo wrote: »
    LaOs wrote: »
    darkmayo wrote: »
    Dentists

    "Oh you need X or your teeth will explode" is pretty much all I have ever seen from them.

    and I swear that when you got a teeth cleaning they always use to do whitening at the same time... this no longer seems to be the case.

    (Canadian so YMMV)

    No, I don't believe that's ever been the case... at least, not on any widespread level. You may have had a generous dentist?

    (I don't think they could just automatically include whitening if they wanted, as it's not something everyone should be doing and not necessarily something everyone wants, due to how it works--it sort of weakens the enamel a bit (you're not supposed to do it if you have thin or worn enamel already) and whatnot... I think more you were mistaken about what they were doing or what they are currently doing to your teeth.)

    Quite possibly, I just remember my teeth looking.. whiter after a cleaning years ago than I do now, of course wear and tear (I dont smoke, dont drink coffee so no stains)

    Wear and tear, natural aging, etc... I doubt they were actually whitening your teeth way back; rather, I just think your teeth were more naturally bright and the cleaning was more effective at bringing that out. Now, though, your teeth are older and there's less natural brightness to be revealed with the cleaning.

    It could also just be your perception. :P


    I am an old man now so its probably a little bit of both.. :P

    darkmayo on
  • Mmmm... Cocks...Mmmm... Cocks... Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    emnmnme wrote: »
    A sausage biscuit at Burger King costs $1. A sausage biscuit (same size) with some scrambled eggs stuffed in there costs $2.75. I realize the dollar menu is designed to attract customers with low-priced items but the idea that two scrambled eggs adds $1.75 is funny to me.

    They also charge $.30 extra for adding cheese to your burgers but I only patronize fast food joints for their breakfast menu.
    Business model for sure.
    The dollar sausage biscuit probably costs them more then a dollar.
    So customers who want the whole deal get to cover their dollar menu costs.


    Deceptive business practices are pretty dick, and I get pretty pissed when I notice them.
    But at the same time I have faith. I like shopping for food because stores always(?) have listed how much you're paying per unit of whatever it is you're buying. Especially with all the "50% more!" and BOGO deals etc etc.

    Mmmm... Cocks... on
  • Dark_SideDark_Side Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    Been pretty lucky to not stumble into too many blatant rip offs. I gave up on Best Buy when they were trying to sell me an extended service plan on a portable cd player I bought for 20 bucks. Or their ridiculous mark up on cables.

    No, my biggest problems of late have come from vets, and I find that I usually have to be super on the ball and constantly watch my wallet when I'm dealing with them. I'm getting really sick and tired of getting upsold on oral flea medication, which is something like 3 times as expensive as the topical shit. When the topical stuff wasn't working for my dog, I gave up and just bought flea collars, to which I was then accused of being "primitive" by one of the vet assistants. But the collars are the only damn thing that reliably worked.

    Dark_Side on
  • DocDoc Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited April 2010
    This stuff is extremely annoying. I wasn't upsold, but we definitely could use some clearer business/consumer exchange of vital information.

    The other day I bought a new 23 inch monitor at Best Buy. I know that Best Buy sucks, but for big LCD screens I need the convenience of not having to send it back to the online retailer due to bad pixels, which they may not accept anyway...and my other brick and mortar choices are not so good (Wal-Mart? HHGregg?).

    I asked one of the guys what the policy was for returns, and he told me it was 30 days for any reason other than extensive damage I cause myself. That's fine. Down at the register, the cashier tried to sell me an extended service plan, which I declined, but I was curious and asked him to confirm the return policy. He told me I had 14 days.

    Is this intentionally deceptive so they don't have to deal with returns, or just a poor shmuck who forgot their policy? I'm not sure, but this is kind of important information. The monitor was fine - I tested it the same day just in case I actually had only 5 days or something.

    At certain places (my experience was at Fry's), you can play this the exact other way around. You can negotiate a discount (usually getting main-in rebates up front instead of weeks or months later) with the salesman if you buy an extended warranty. Then get to the cashier and say you changed your mind about the warranty.

    It's unethical, but fuck 'em, so is advertising using a price caluclated after mail-in rebates.

    Doc on
  • firewaterwordfirewaterword Satchitananda Pais Vasco to San FranciscoRegistered User regular
    edited April 2010
    My favorite thing is the "scratch protection plan" on discs.

    But I do kind of feel bad for the front line employees who're forced to try to do this sort of thing.

    When I worked for Barnes and Noble, god help you if you didn't push their dumb membership card.

    "OK, that'll be three-seventy-five for the magazine. Can interest you in a little bit of plastic that costs $25 and will save you three pennies today?"

    It was an OK deal provided you spent more than $250 at BN a year though.

    Oh and fuck those guys at the carwash. I know how to clay a goddamn car, and I certainly won't be paying you $100 to do a shitty job of it.

    firewaterword on
    Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu
  • MuncieMuncie Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    I've worked contracts for shady small businesses for most of my "career." I'm a freelancer of sorts so I always like to keep my hook out for anything more lucrative and more permanent, so I've had a lot of short run-ins with quite a few of these places.

    I worked for a place for about 5 months that called itself an advertising agency for the Caribbean. I took the (shitty, low paying) contract because I was in a bind. It was doing maintenance on about eleven different websites they ran.

    The main website and revenue earner was an "online phone book" running an open source php script. None of my work was related to this site (despite me being the only developer) so it wasn't for a few months before I figured out where any of their income came from. I was pretty sequestered away from the rest of the business.

    Here's how it worked. In the office was between 7 and 15 callers (weekly turnover rate of about 50%). These people spent their whole day going through actual Caribbean phone book listings and cold calling businesses. "Hi I'm with the yellow pages and we're expanding our listings for the internet!" These people could be pretty abrasive and rude, but it's how the place was run. They would then selectively record an agreement. This agreement was that the company didn't have to pay now, and the service was sold as so many dollars per month.

    Some of the talking points was:
    "Hilton [or some other big known company] advertises with us."
    In fact, the database was seeded with all kinds of big companies that would never waste their money on that shit.

    "We get over 500,000 unique visitors a month, we are ranked on Alexa!"
    When I actually got curious and set up some tracking that number was actually closer to 100 unique visitors per month. I'm not sure how he got the Alexa ranking. I think that can be bought. At any rate all the computers in the office were running Alexa toolbar.

    "We're endorsed by <Ex-Big Name Boxer>."
    This was actually true. Apparently you can get someone who used to be famous very cheaply to endorse your crap.


    A day later the order would go to a collector, who would call up friendly-like and ask for the yearly fee right now, which was some astronomical amount relative to services rendered. The person, would in almost all cases, balk. The collectors would get more vicious, threaten legal action, call several times a day.

    After a week it would go to "Legal Collections." Someone would call the person and say, "I'm with Dodo, Dogsled, and Burkowitz" and would try to cut the person a deal to prevent a lawsuit. They would play the very selective recording from the first caller to show them the "evidence."

    For the customers who actually did pay the first time, a year later, they would be charged again. The collectors would even, at the instruction of the office manager, forge signatures or cut and paste signatures from old faxes and run cards through.

    After maybe three or four years of running this kind of scam, through several business names, it finally closed. The owner was some kind of cartoon character, I've got lots of stories about him and how he ran the place. Despite all that, I have to give him some credit: his company committed wire fraud, blatantly scammed thousands of people, dodged fair labor laws, and sexually harassed his female employees for several years and never got fined a penny, never spent a night in jail, and as far as I can tell, never got hit with a lawsuit.

    Muncie on
  • TomantaTomanta Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    Deceptive Business Practices? Hard to beat the stuff DeBeers has managed to get away with for the last century. But here's the latest tactic: Diamond supply is running out!.

    Never mind that diamonds can be made artificially that are both more perfect and less expensive (although the cost of diamonds is artificially inflated to ridiculous amounts anyway).

    Tomanta on
  • DelzhandDelzhand Hard to miss. Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    Dark_Side wrote: »
    Been pretty lucky to not stumble into too many blatant rip offs. I gave up on Best Buy when they were trying to sell me an extended service plan on a portable cd player I bought for 20 bucks. Or their ridiculous mark up on cables.

    No, my biggest problems of late have come from vets, and I find that I usually have to be super on the ball and constantly watch my wallet when I'm dealing with them. I'm getting really sick and tired of getting upsold on oral flea medication, which is something like 3 times as expensive as the topical shit. When the topical stuff wasn't working for my dog, I gave up and just bought flea collars, to which I was then accused of being "primitive" by one of the vet assistants. But the collars are the only damn thing that reliably worked.

    You want to talk about getting fucked by a vet? I took my cat in a month ago. He had a sorta fat lip and some grody crust on his neck. I googled it and came up with eosinophilic granuloma complex. I took him to the vet and said "here's what I found out on Google, but I know that's no substitute for a trained vet diagnosis". They did some tests and said "Here's why we don't think it's EGC." They gave me some antibiotics and sent me on my way with a $230 bill. They called a bit later with the test results, and they ruled out FLV and some other nasty stuff it could have been. The antibiotics didn't do much, so we took him in about 2 weeks later, and they requested a biopsy, which we agreed to, to the tune of $300+.

    We got the biopsy report yesterday. Care to guess what the diagnosis is?

    Delzhand on
    Steam|FFXIV|Switch SW-3472-4893-0802
  • RandomEngyRandomEngy Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    Hate 'em. I have actually yelled in a movie theater when Comcast ran an ad featuring a "stupid" FIOS customer and a Comcast customer smugly talking about how he has a "fiber optic" network as well.

    RandomEngy on
    Profile -> Signature Settings -> Hide signatures always. Then you don't have to read this worthless text anymore.
  • DocDoc Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited April 2010
    RandomEngy wrote: »
    Hate 'em. I have actually yelled in a movie theater when Comcast ran an ad featuring a "stupid" FIOS customer and a Comcast customer smugly talking about how he has a "fiber optic" network as well.

    Comcast has billboards and ads all over the greater Seattle area talking about how "Verizon FiOS is leaving", and "Comcast XFinity is here to stay."

    Thanks for advertising that I'm stuck with them, like it or not.

    Doc on
  • Romantic UndeadRomantic Undead Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    Muncie wrote: »
    I've worked contracts for shady small businesses for most of my "career." I'm a freelancer of sorts so I always like to keep my hook out for anything more lucrative and more permanent, so I've had a lot of short run-ins with quite a few of these places.

    I worked for a place for about 5 months that called itself an advertising agency for the Caribbean. I took the (shitty, low paying) contract because I was in a bind. It was doing maintenance on about eleven different websites they ran.

    The main website and revenue earner was an "online phone book" running an open source php script. None of my work was related to this site (despite me being the only developer) so it wasn't for a few months before I figured out where any of their income came from. I was pretty sequestered away from the rest of the business.

    Here's how it worked. In the office was between 7 and 15 callers (weekly turnover rate of about 50%). These people spent their whole day going through actual Caribbean phone book listings and cold calling businesses. "Hi I'm with the yellow pages and we're expanding our listings for the internet!" These people could be pretty abrasive and rude, but it's how the place was run. They would then selectively record an agreement. This agreement was that the company didn't have to pay now, and the service was sold as so many dollars per month.

    Some of the talking points was:
    "Hilton [or some other big known company] advertises with us."
    In fact, the database was seeded with all kinds of big companies that would never waste their money on that shit.

    "We get over 500,000 unique visitors a month, we are ranked on Alexa!"
    When I actually got curious and set up some tracking that number was actually closer to 100 unique visitors per month. I'm not sure how he got the Alexa ranking. I think that can be bought. At any rate all the computers in the office were running Alexa toolbar.

    "We're endorsed by <Ex-Big Name Boxer>."
    This was actually true. Apparently you can get someone who used to be famous very cheaply to endorse your crap.


    A day later the order would go to a collector, who would call up friendly-like and ask for the yearly fee right now, which was some astronomical amount relative to services rendered. The person, would in almost all cases, balk. The collectors would get more vicious, threaten legal action, call several times a day.

    After a week it would go to "Legal Collections." Someone would call the person and say, "I'm with Dodo, Dogsled, and Burkowitz" and would try to cut the person a deal to prevent a lawsuit. They would play the very selective recording from the first caller to show them the "evidence."

    For the customers who actually did pay the first time, a year later, they would be charged again. The collectors would even, at the instruction of the office manager, forge signatures or cut and paste signatures from old faxes and run cards through.

    After maybe three or four years of running this kind of scam, through several business names, it finally closed. The owner was some kind of cartoon character, I've got lots of stories about him and how he ran the place. Despite all that, I have to give him some credit: his company committed wire fraud, blatantly scammed thousands of people, dodged fair labor laws, and sexually harassed his female employees for several years and never got fined a penny, never spent a night in jail, and as far as I can tell, never got hit with a lawsuit.

    And not once did you consider going to the authorities with this information?

    Trust me, if this were in Canada, the Competition Bureau offers whistleblower protection to people who come forward to expose fraudulent companies like the one you just described.

    About fully half of the calls I get a day are from small business who have been targetted by crooks like this dude, who harrass secretaries and scare the shit out of them for their crooked "Directory Services".

    I just wish people realized that just because someone says you owe them money doesn't make it true. Scammers harrassing you? DON'T FUCKING TALK TO THEM! Hang up! Call the cops if the calls become actual harassement. Check with the credit bureau if you want to make sure your credit is safe. There is nothing these scammers can do to you if you don't pay!

    Romantic Undead on
    3DS FC: 1547-5210-6531
  • Protein ShakesProtein Shakes __BANNED USERS
    edited April 2010
    I'm against companies blatantly lying about the service or product they are selling.

    Deception though? Asking you if you want mild or strong when you ask for a medium size coffee isn't deception. It's the difference between the size of the cup, and its content.

    Protein Shakes on
    Modern Man wrote: »
    Well, if my mom met the following criteria... I'd be in favor if waterboarding her.
  • SliderSlider Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    I like this topic and, yes, I agree that a business being purposefully deceitful should be grounds for disciplinary or legal action.

    I have an example, it's not shady, but more like a mental f**k up.

    Whenever I go to order a delicious sub sandwich from my favorite restaurant, I always have them remove the onions and tomatoes, but tell them to add mustard (which is free) and olives. Now, you'd think that I could simply replace the onions and tomatoes with mustard and olives for no extra cost, seeing as how the cost should even out, or even be somewhat less than the original cost of the sandwich.

    Well, instead of removing the cost of the ingredients I didn't want, they charge me the full price of the sandwich and then add the price of including a separate ingredient, like, olives. I've gotten to the point where I don't even have them add anything to my sandwich, because they'll tack on these extra fees.

    Next time I'm in there, I'll probably mention this to them.

    Slider on
  • emnmnmeemnmnme Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    What about deception by way of merely being on shelves? People may assume that Airborne junk you find in an aisle at the drug store will cure their cold symptoms because a drug store is selling it. People assume it works as advertised because of the pharmacy's reputation. The pharmacy is selling it! It must work!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8poPKdBpZy8

    emnmnme on
  • CognisseurCognisseur Registered User
    edited April 2010
    RUNN1NGMAN wrote: »
    End wrote: »
    What? And if you ask for the smallest box, it's not her fault if she gets you a 5 foot by 5 foot box instead of a 6 inch by 6 inch box?

    Or you could pick out your own box instead of asking someone else to and then getting huffy when what they bring you isn't what you wanted.

    Just to clarify, at most post offices I've been to recently, they don't really let you pick it out yourself.

    No, it's worse than that actually.
    1. You can pick out certain things. Priority mail envelopes. Overnight mail envelopes.
    2. Naturally, none of those have any prices on them.
    3. Also, the big signs above the windows advertising all the things the Post Office can do for you? It just so happens they forgot to include any prices there either. Or make any mention of Media Mail existing.

    No, the Post Office near me is the sleaziest attempt to scam people out of their money I've ever seen. It's obnoxious, and it's so clear they can only get away with it due to their monopoly.

    Cognisseur on
  • SipexSipex Registered User
    edited April 2010
    Muncie wrote: »
    I've worked contracts for shady small businesses for most of my "career." I'm a freelancer of sorts so I always like to keep my hook out for anything more lucrative and more permanent, so I've had a lot of short run-ins with quite a few of these places.

    I worked for a place for about 5 months that called itself an advertising agency for the Caribbean. I took the (shitty, low paying) contract because I was in a bind. It was doing maintenance on about eleven different websites they ran.

    The main website and revenue earner was an "online phone book" running an open source php script. None of my work was related to this site (despite me being the only developer) so it wasn't for a few months before I figured out where any of their income came from. I was pretty sequestered away from the rest of the business.

    Here's how it worked. In the office was between 7 and 15 callers (weekly turnover rate of about 50%). These people spent their whole day going through actual Caribbean phone book listings and cold calling businesses. "Hi I'm with the yellow pages and we're expanding our listings for the internet!" These people could be pretty abrasive and rude, but it's how the place was run. They would then selectively record an agreement. This agreement was that the company didn't have to pay now, and the service was sold as so many dollars per month.

    Some of the talking points was:
    "Hilton [or some other big known company] advertises with us."
    In fact, the database was seeded with all kinds of big companies that would never waste their money on that shit.

    "We get over 500,000 unique visitors a month, we are ranked on Alexa!"
    When I actually got curious and set up some tracking that number was actually closer to 100 unique visitors per month. I'm not sure how he got the Alexa ranking. I think that can be bought. At any rate all the computers in the office were running Alexa toolbar.

    "We're endorsed by <Ex-Big Name Boxer>."
    This was actually true. Apparently you can get someone who used to be famous very cheaply to endorse your crap.


    A day later the order would go to a collector, who would call up friendly-like and ask for the yearly fee right now, which was some astronomical amount relative to services rendered. The person, would in almost all cases, balk. The collectors would get more vicious, threaten legal action, call several times a day.

    After a week it would go to "Legal Collections." Someone would call the person and say, "I'm with Dodo, Dogsled, and Burkowitz" and would try to cut the person a deal to prevent a lawsuit. They would play the very selective recording from the first caller to show them the "evidence."

    For the customers who actually did pay the first time, a year later, they would be charged again. The collectors would even, at the instruction of the office manager, forge signatures or cut and paste signatures from old faxes and run cards through.

    After maybe three or four years of running this kind of scam, through several business names, it finally closed. The owner was some kind of cartoon character, I've got lots of stories about him and how he ran the place. Despite all that, I have to give him some credit: his company committed wire fraud, blatantly scammed thousands of people, dodged fair labor laws, and sexually harassed his female employees for several years and never got fined a penny, never spent a night in jail, and as far as I can tell, never got hit with a lawsuit.

    And not once did you consider going to the authorities with this information?

    Trust me, if this were in Canada, the Competition Bureau offers whistleblower protection to people who come forward to expose fraudulent companies like the one you just described.

    About fully half of the calls I get a day are from small business who have been targetted by crooks like this dude, who harrass secretaries and scare the shit out of them for their crooked "Directory Services".

    I just wish people realized that just because someone says you owe them money doesn't make it true. Scammers harrassing you? DON'T FUCKING TALK TO THEM! Hang up! Call the cops if the calls become actual harassement. Check with the credit bureau if you want to make sure your credit is safe. There is nothing these scammers can do to you if you don't pay!

    In addition, at least for Canadian business, you can look them up on the BBB (Better Business Bearau) which will give you insight to any shady business activities, customer reviews and can even provide you with help.

    I've been a victem of shady business practices three times, twice the Better Business Bearau has actually gotten me out of crooked contracts and unnecessary payments the third time I never actually tried them (didn't know about them at the time) but they probably would've helped there too.

    1) First apartment I get a solicitator, some nice girl with her little sister offering rate protection for hydro bills. I repeatedly ask if this will cost me anything and she says 'no, no cost at all'. Turns out she's a lying bitch and I'm an idiot for not reading what I sign. I've learned. Nothing happens for an entire year then I start getting $50+ charges on my hydro bill under a new heading. After some researching and calling around I find out it's this company who is charging premium for the price protection. Much much arguing later stating I was openly lied to (and they responding with 'sorry, can't help you') I find out the contract is void if I move somewhere we don't have to pay hydro. We were going to move anyways so I gave up on this one.

    2) A place called Premier Fitness. My wife was looking to lose some weight and get in shape and she signed up but before doing so she asked if her high blood pressure would be a problem. Nope, no problem they said.
    When she goes in they prevent her from working out because she suddenly needs to take this fitness test ($100 for the test) which results in her having to get an assessment from her doctor ($80). Now, she has to wait like, 2 months to get the full assessment (which includes tests) and we finally give up and try to cancel with the fitness center.
    Can't cancel.
    Reported them to the BBB (which, they have an F rating on mind you) explaining they explicitly stated my wife's blood pressure would not be an issue to get her to sign up and a month later the costs were gone and premier left us and our credit alone.

    3) One of those 'buy 10 $1 movies' mail in dealies. I know better than to trust these but my wife hadn't encountered them before and sort of signed us up while we were still young and stupid about this sort of thing. Luckily they never sent us the movies while still trying to get cash from us. In addition they have a horrible record of 'losing cancellation records' and 'movies never turning up'. Reporting these guys to the BBB voided our contract pretty quickly and they leave us alone as well.

    Sipex on
    Horseshoe wrote:
    I've got good news and bad news about 6th level, That Guy. The good news is that Forbiddance spell allows you to prevent enemies different alignment from entering a consecrated area, which is actually useful! The bad news is that the only other new sixth level spell makes lunch for everybody. Guess which one the party is going to expect you to cast.
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