I get really pissed off with the companies that advertise on the television, offering all manner of goods from make-up to floor cleaning equipment, slimming systems to exercise machines, and much, much more, (sorry if I sound a bit like an ‘ad’ myself here!), and you can have it, for just $1, to try for a month. The $1 price also has to have $39 for postage and packing added of course, but no more information is given than that, except that you can return the goods in 30 days’ time for a full refund, (of $1?), but not of the postage amount. No other charges, like the full price of the product are ever mentioned.
Purely out of interest, I rang the mandatory number included in one of the TV advertisement just to see what would happen, though it did turn out to be much as I had expected. The first thing I was asked for, before I could even speak, was my credit card number! I replied that I was only ringing at that stage to find out what the actual price of the product was and I was told I couldn’t be given that until I had passed over my number. I then said I didn’t want them to have my card number on their files if I decided not to purchase, and in any case if I went into any shop in Australia to have a look round, asked for a price on something before deciding whether to buy, I would never be refused on the basis that they didn’t have my credit card details! I then pointed out that they were, after all just a shop like any other, apart from the fact that they were online, not in my local street. The girl on the other end of the line wasn’t impressed though and insisted that she wasn’t going to supply me with details of the product until I supplied details of my card — so I just hung up!
I really feel this is bordering on, (if not completely on), being a con or scam. What the companies who employ this method of selling are obviously relying on is the lethargy of the average customer, who can’t be bothered to go all the way into town, and pay considerable, (non-refundable), postage to return the product, even if they decide they don’t actually want it after all. It’s so much easier to just let things take their course, with the full price of whatever it is, added onto the credit card, the number of which they had given to the company before the goods were sent to them.
The customer finishes up with a pile of second class goods at a first class price, plus postage, which will most likely be stuffed in a drawer somewhere until it eventually gets thrown out with the rubbish or given to the nearest op-shop!
I have a friend who just cannot refuse any of these offers, and her home is stuffed with them, weird kitchen utensils, window scrapers, blunt knives, thin towels, DVDs, dog coats, chair covers and all manner of other things, most of them still in their original wrappers. She keeps these items until her husband starts to grumble that he can no longer move freely round the house, then she puts everything on the local ‘Buy, Swap & Sell’ site, where she sells it all for about ten percent of what she paid when she bought it, the majority unused.
I know the rule is ‘buyer beware’ but I can’t help thinking there should be some sort of protection for the people who get trapped like this, many of them beyond the age of cynicism and careful consideration — we were able to be trusting of those we dealt with when we were young and we tend to expect the same thing now — a serious error on our part!
Do you agree with Brian? Do television commercials piss you off as well?
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