Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Don't Prey On Me

    Isn't it terrible the number of misleading advertisements or outright scams there are out there today.  I recently read an AARP article about a senior citizen who shipped almost three quarter of a million dollars overseas hoping to collect on some lottery there.  It was a scam, of course.  She tried suing the bank for allowing her to wire all that cash but she lost.

    Moral?  No matter what your age and situation, you need to be on guard.  I never thought that would be a problem with me but a couple recent incidents told me otherwise.  The first time occurred when the doorbell rang and a lady wearing a nametag and carrying a clipboard smiled and explained she was from a utility company and asked to my my recent energy bill.

     I assumed she was from THE utility company so when she told me that there was a problem with my bill and I could do something to eliminate some energy recovery charge, I figured it was legit.  Before she left, I had determined there was something a little fishy.  Turns out this outfit, which has been under investigation for its marketing practices outside Michigan here, wants to be your energy supplier.  They become THE middleman who buys energy then sells it to your utility.

    But . . . unfortunately I signed up anyway, for some reason.  I blamed it on turning 60.  I did cancel almost immediately and hopefully it didn't cost me anything to do so.

    Second time: it was the night before my last vacation and I went on-line to make a quick last-minute reservation.  I knew what hotel chain I wanted to stay with, so I went to their website to make the reservation.  At least I thought I did.  Turns out I went to a website that advertises with major search engines so their website which mimics the actual hotel's website shows up at the top of your search results.

    And that's where I ended up.  When I made the reservation, I thought the room cost seemed the normal price, but the taxes and fees were quite high.  Oh well, tourists are getting gouged more and more by taxes, I thought.  Only after I had received the actual e-mail confirmation did I realize that this reservation website had charged me a $10 booking fee.  What a scam!  Had I made the reservation with the actual hotel website, I would have been charged the same price for the room, but without the $10 booking fee.

     Right now I'm looking at a notice I got through the mail.  It looks very official.  It's from the "Motor Vehicle Division" and inside says an 'Immediate Response to this Notice is Required.'  It's addressed to my attention and lists the mini-van I bought a few years ago along with a Vehicle Code number.

     It reads, "Our records indicate that you have not contacted us to have your vehicle service contract updated."    It urges me to call during "operating hours" before October 18.  Gee, I didn't know a service contract was mandatory in the state of Michigan.  Yes, my warranty has expired.  No, I don't want an extended warranty.

     Dirty way to try to make a buck in my book.

     Has it really been six weeks since I last put a blog up?  I think some scam artist is robbing me of spare time too.  But I do spend time with my grandsons.  I took my oldest grandson Grant to a pumpkin hunt just today.  I took six pictures trying to get him to sit still and smile at the camera.  But THAT was worth the time and effort.  See photo.