Scammers, Scammers Everywhere

Note: this is a cautionary post about what we have experienced ourselves, not a slam on all businesses.

Well—I thought that the Crankee Yankee and I had winkled out all the usual telephone scams and were pretty “scam savvy” by now. We have been through the old “Sir or Ma’am, your computer has just informed us that it has problems and we need to fix it.” The Crankee Yankee took care of that one pretty fast: he asked the caller which computer he was  talking about.

The caller, understandably confused, asked how many computers we had. The Crankee Yankee replied, “52; which one has contacted you?” The caller said, “are you a business?” The Crankee Yankee said, “yes I am.” The caller then asked what sort of business it was. The Crankee Yankee replied: “cyber security.” The caller hung up quickly.

And of course there have been other scammers who call now and then. We usually just hang up on them.

But, as we all know, just when you think you’ve heard it all, you haven’t. For years I have been sending Harry and David gift baskets to family and friends for the holidays. This year I ordered a Valentine’s Day basket full of fruit, cookies, cheese and candy to send to our granddaughters and their mom and dad. Easy-peasy as always. Until it wasn’t; a few days later I got a call from the company saying that my selection was no longer offered and could they send something else?

I happened to look at the phone number and noticed it read “1-800-FLOWERS.” Which made me suspicious and also because the woman calling had a marked foreign accent. Now, I am not slamming people with different accents; it’s just that in all the years I’ve used Harry and David, this number never came up, nor did the person ever have a foreign accent.

I decided to just cancel the whole thing and go to another company. I asked them to please just refund my money. I was offered a better, more expensive basket for the same price, and politely turned it down. I was then offered discounts and more offers. I thanked the woman and said that all I wanted was a refund.

I got exactly seven more phone calls trying to get me to take another basket, more discounts, etc. Each time I said, no, I only want my money back. I wasn’t rude, I didn’t yell, I just repeated that I was no longer interested in sending a basket and just wanted the refund.

When I got the eighth call, I said that I wanted nothing more than a refund. I told the person on the phone that this was the eighth call I’d gotten, and because of this I no longer wanted to do business with them. They very reluctantly agreed to refund my purchase.

I found another place to get a gift basket out and it was received on time with no problems. I checked my Paypal account and saw that my original order had finally been refunded. I was glad to see the end of this. However, after two more days, we got another phone call. This time the Crankee Yankee picked it up.

He was told ‘so sorry, but the refund we sent you actually was supposed to go to another customer. Would you please give us your credit card number so that we can take back the money we sent you, return it to the correct person and then refund you again?’

After he stopped laughing, the Crankee Yankee told them that that was not going to happen. The mistake was theirs, not ours, and that we certainly would not be giving them our credit card number. (Seriously, who would?!) And isn’t it the company’s fault, not ours, that they made this mistake? (If indeed it was a mistake.) It’s not as if we were trying to scam them; we received the refund we asked for, and nothing more. Done and done.

I did a bit of research and found that Harry and David had sold out to 1-800-FLOWERS two years ago for a cool $142 million dollars. I’m guessing that my piddly little order isn’t going to be even a blip on their bottom line. I don’t think that they will go under because of my departure.

Scammers are everywhere, so watch out!