Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Rip-Offs for $167.90 and Counting...Let's follow up on Cathy Anselmo/Anderson and her very white and apparently pricey teeth.

Several months ago, in the post Ridiculous Ads for $100 Please, i discussed the convenient location of Cathy Anselmo and her very bright teeth, along with Cara and her new wrinkle-free face......some of the entertaining ads that have been showing up on Facebook and other places online.

To my surprise, this post has since generated more response that probably anything else i've written (11 comments). And we've discovered that Cathy lives in Orlando, Syracuse, Kansas City, Gambrills Maryland.....let's just say she and Cara get around.

When i first wrote about Cathy and Cara, it was really just for my own entertainment. But now i am aware that Cara and Cathy are sucking in customers - customers who are going for a much longer ride than they anticipated.

Let me explain.

Ads like these are very attractive.

You look at Cathy's teeth, and you think, "well, maybe it's a cheesy ad, but maybe that stuff really works..."

And then you think, "what could it hurt? Maybe i'll be out a few dollars, and if it's no good, then i'll know."

So you go for it. You "pay only $5.95 S&H for your risk free trial," and you take a risk.

I have no idea whether Cathy's solution for whiter teeth really works, and honestly, at this point it doesn't matter. The scam is not the product. The scam is the charges.

As some of you have already discovered, the real price for Cathy's gleaming pearly whites is $167.90....or more. This is because "Cathy's teeth whitening success" requires 2 separate products. Both of these products have the same deal going: you pay shipping and handling, and we'll send you a month's supply. Sounds easy enough. But if you read the terms and conditions, you will learn the following.

You get a 14 or 15 day offer. Your trial begins the day you enter your credit card number to pay for the small shipping and handling charge. Presumably, if the mail and their shipping office works adequately, you receive your trial products in say, 7 days. Now you have 7 (or 8) days to try the product and call to cancel your free trial. Don't forget, these are calendar days, not business days. If you do not call and cancel, you may anticipate a credit card bill for a total of $167.90. This includes your shipping and handling charges and the actual cost of your first month's supply, which was your free trial. Now, if your credit card bills are timed just right, you might not realize that you've been charged this outrageous amount of money before the 30th day, when your next month is charged and shipped......another $167.90.

This leads me to a very important exhortation: READ THE TERMS AND CONDITIONS. No matter what cool deal you've stumbled upon, READ THE TERMS AND CONDITIONS. Remember, these people really don't want you to READ THE TERMS AND CONDITIONS. That's kind of like letting you in on the details of their devious plan to trick you out of your money. But they have to put it out there, and now matter how tiny the print is, you better read it before you hand over your beloved credit card number.

Let me say this. I dig free stuff. And i have read many many terms and conditions for free offers, free trial offers, etc. And this particular scam is VERY popular right now. So if you're traveling the free stuff internet roller coaster, please allow me to offer a few tips to try to protect yourself.

1. READ THE TERMS AND CONDITIONS. If they put you to sleep, read them out loud.

2. Consider using Visa or Mastercard gift cards instead of your credit or debit card. This helps in two ways; first, if the company won't take your registered gift card, it's because they want to make sure they can keep charging you; second, you limit your possible losses to the amount on the gift card, and they can't keep sucking the life out of your bank account or credit line.

3. Another part of these scams is that they often want your phone number, supposedly to "confirm your order." Don't fall for it. In my experience, they are using your phone number so they can have a phone sales guy call you and try to talk you into some additional perk that wasn't included in the original terms and conditions. They want more of your money, and they can get you to agree verbally, on a recording, before you really know what you're doing. You may, if they talk fast enough, actually think you're confirming what you already did. But you're not; you're agreeing to a whole new series of charges for something you may or may not want or need. I have seen opportunities, in the past, to create "disposable" internet phone numbers that you could create in order to get messages without giving away your private cell or home phone number. If you find one of those (that really is free), i would take advantage of it. Short of that, just don't fall for the follow up sales calls.

4. Also, check out this guy. It's an older post, so verify any information there, but this guy has some good tips and has acquired a lot of stuff for nothin'.

5. No matter what you see on the internet, please, even before you read the ad, scroll down to the bottom of the ad and click on the TERMS AND CONDITIONS. Don't even read the ad. The T&C say it all.

2 comments:

  1. I should have read this before I ordered what was I thinking. I did call and cancel with in the first hour after ordering. I just called my credit card company and canceled my card so at least I will not get billed minor inconvenience but worth the trouble I got myself into.

    Anyone know if you can get Yahoo to remove the add it is posted at the top of my email page 'good suggestive selling' HA HA Barbara

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  2. I got scammed in April. Saw an ad from Cathysteeth.com that if you use 2 products together, it takes stains out. I CANNOT believe I fell for this. I buy on internet all the time. I clicked on the TRIAL offers for the 2 teeth products and must have missed the warning. I was looking for a scam and didn't see it. Anyway, next thing I see are 2 shipping charges for Celebrity Smile and Teeth Whitening for $5.04 and $4.95. Then I got a tiny tube of Celebrity toothpaste in a box and then received a tiny tiny tiny tube with a plastic teeth tray of Teeth Whitening Now. I didn't use them as I got busy and the next thing I know I was charged $79.72 and $39.95. When I called, some guy in India who didn't speak English tried to tell me I agreed to the FULL charge after 14 days for both products. I went off. Told both of them I was going to contact the BBB (A joke company and worthless), the Florida Attorney General (several state AG's are suing them already) and my bank to reverse charges. Whitening Now after the 3rd manager agreed to take off $40 IF I paid to return the product. But, Celebrity Smile said go to hell. I sent both products back certified return receipt requested and waited. My credit card was credited back $33.95 fro Celebrity Smile sticking me with $6 difference and the $4.95 S/H charges PLUS the $6 it cost to me to ship it back. Teeth Whitening Now credited my credit card $40 sticking me with a $39.72 difference and a $5.04 charge and the $6 shipping it back charge. Then my bank told me too bad for the rest. I threw a FIT with my bank-told them I would not cancel their card as I had it for 20 years and that would hurt my credit rating but that I charged over $30,000 last year on my cards with $5000 on THEIR card and that I would NEVER use their card again unless they removed ALL THE REMAINING 2 teeth product charges AND both their shipping/handling charges. I got a phone call today. My bank said they would remove the remaining charges from my credit card for both Celebrity Smile and Teeth Whitening Now including the S/H charges. That THEY would eat the charges. WHAT? Apparently Mastercard/Visa is in on this SCAM. The Mastercard/VISA contractors ALWAYS say no to a refund and the banks which have a slush fund for this kind of thing, takes the hit if they remove the charges for a "good" customer like me. I said take the charges off anyway letting my bank eat it. They have the lawyers to sue MasterCard/Visa and they should and deserve to get screwed if they don't. GUESS WHAT? In April 2009, Cathysteetch.com said Celebrity Smile and Teeth Whitening Now were the 2 products which cleaned her teeth. 3 weeks later, A MIRACLE. Her website is touting 2 different teeth products this time Teeth Whitening Pro & Ivory Brites which when worked together-removed her stains. NOW last week it was Dazzle White Pro & Whitening Now. WHAT A SCAM. BE PERSISTENT PEOPLE-FIGHT TO GET YOUR MONEY BACK. Legitimate websites should NOT allow Cathyteeth.com to advertise on their sites

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What do you think about that?