Monday 24 October 2011

Snake Oil Salesmen

There was a time when people would travel from town to town selling elixirs and potions that promised to rid you of everything from the consumption, polio, bad eyesight and even impotence. These people were called snake oil salesmen because some of the potions allegedly contained snake oil. They promised the world, but by the time the people realized the potions were useless the salesmen were long gone with their money.

We have the same kind of scum around today, but they are more sophisticated in their scams. They will approach the elderly and convince them that their house will fall down unless they are hired to do work which they start but never finish. They promise people a huge return on their investment if they can handle their money for them. They offer a chance at a free trip or an expensive prize if you just register with them. They will call you and say they are from Microsoft and that your computer has sent them error messages. It goes on and on.

These evil people tend to prey on those of us who are trusting and sometimes just a little ignorant when it comes to the things we own. A lot of the time they just prey on our greed. How many times have we heard someone say “If it seems too good to be true, then it probably is.”? I tend to be a distrusting sort of fellow and have rarely fallen for these scams. I figure that by the time I get to hear about these deals it is already too late to cash in. When I get a phone call from some company that says they want to do me a favour I always ask them why? Why would you care about whether or not I am spending too much on my long distance plan? How can you make money if I save money? For that matter, who pays you to help me save money? Most of the time, I just get a stunned silence shortly before I hang up.

A month or two ago my wife got stung when she entered a contest on line to win free air miles. She had to fill out a form that included her cell phone number. It wasn’t too long before she started getting horoscopes sent to her phone from two different companies. When we received our bill it seems that these companies were billing us about $3 per text message. Today, my friend found out that he was stung in a similar way by trying to win an iPad through an on line promotion. They weren’t being greedy, but perhaps just a tad gullible. Yes, those companies are bottom feeding scum and deserve to be force fed their own testicles and then dipped in hot tar and feathers before being dragged out of town behind some angry horses.

The company that I think is really to blame is Rogers communications. In both cases they are the cell phone company that sends the bill. The other companies bill Rogers who then bill their clients. Rogers knows that these other companies are taking advantage of their clients, but because they are making money they just let this go on. Rogers puts the number of these companies on the bill if you wish to discontinue this “service”. So, they (Rogers) know that it is a scam! I feel that they have an obligation to protect us. Tomorrow I am going to write a letter to Rogers, the CRTC, my MLA and my MP demanding that they stop this abuse of the internet and cell phones. It won’t do any good, but it will make me feel better and who knows, maybe Nadir Mohamed (CEO of Rogers) just said “If I get one more complaint about this, I will stop doing business with them!”

Maybe we should all become hard hearted and untrusting, but then our world would become just a little colder. No one you don’t know is going to give you something for free, you can’t get a $600 dollar device by sending an email, and the people that we have elected to protect us are protecting the snake oil salesmen. You are on your own!

I believe in fairies, Santa, the Easter Bunny and the existence of an honest politician (Naheed Nenshi).

1 comment:

  1. You hit it out of the park again today, the consumer is now on the run from even the most trusted companies. The 1% are winning and rest of us should just asume the postion! B