FOOL ME ONCE,
SHAME ON YOU...
4 April 2003
What do I look like? A patsy?
This must be scam season. First there's T and the wool she pulled over our eyes. As I
mentioned yesterday, we are filing a formal complaint against her. If she is to believed,
she is currently working as a tech a local hospital x-ray department, apparently without a
license, and so we really need to make sure she knows this is not a legal thing to do.
Then I had some salespeople from Quill drop by. Quill is a supposedly reputable
office supply place I've purchased from before, but this guy sweet talked me into signing
a contract for buying a replacement toner cartridge for our brand new copier. I
asked him three times if he wasn't asking for up front money and three times he assured me
he was not--he would give me a "certificate" and when the cartridge was empty, I
would return it and the certificate to Quill for a replacement. When he called the
order in and gave me to the person at the other end of the phone, she said "Now, you
realize you're paying $70..." Halt! No. Excuse me. I am NOT
paying $70 for a cartridge we might use "sometime" in the distant future.
After wasting half an hour of my time telling me how everything that came out of my mouth
was "awsome," Harold Hill packed up his anvils and left the office. When
I ran into the group about 10 minutes later at the supermarket and said hello to them,
they didn't even acknowledge me.
(It reminded me of the time very early in our marriage, when Walt and I sat through a
several hour sales pitch for life insurance and when we told the rep, for the umpteenth
time, that we were not interested, he slammed his briefcase shut and jumped to his feet
and said "Well, all I can say is....stay healthy..." and then he
slammed the door shut.)
Finally, I've had calls--two of them now--two weeks apart, from a company called
It's a neat little scam they have running there. They ask to talk to the office manager
(me). Then they tell me it's time to renew our listing in their directory. The directory
is called Business-to-Business (which, coincidentally, is also the name of the phone
company's business directory).
I nearly fell for it the first time. They talk so fast that it's like it's a done
deal--all they need to do is to verify your information and make sure it's all the same as
Then, after you give them all the information, they connect you with the supervisor who
is just going to verify your approval for the charge. She tells you that she is going to
record the conversation and then she asks your name. Well, at that point, I became very
suspicious. The "renewal" was going to cost $300. Red flags went up all over the
place. My recording (if they were taking it) says that I am specifically NOT authorizing
the charge until it is approved by Dr. G.
At that point, the "supervisor" hung up abruptly.
To be on the safe side, I immediately sent an e-mail to Dr. G telling him what happened
and I cc'd Olivia (whom I called "my attorney") on the e-mail. I was pretty
certain such a thing would not stand up in court, but what the heck--it was the best I
could do under the circumstances.
To my surprise, two weeks--or maybe a month--later, I-Pages America called me again. It
didn't register at first that it was the same company. They went through the whole spiel
but before we got to the supervisor business, I was beginning to get suspicious when they
had our web site address wrong ("women" is spelled "womyn" on our
site, but they spelled it the regular way--odd, I thought, in a directory that is only
"renewing" our listing, since Dr. G is such a stickler for accuracy). I
mentioned that I'd been there for a year and I didn't ever remember writing a check to
"Oh, it's a two year contract," the operator told me.
Well, that immediately was fishy. What company publishing a yearly director has a TWO
year contract? I again said that I had the authority to authorize the charge, but for that
amount of money, I refused to do so without Dr. G's expressed consent.
** Click. **
So I did a little sleuthing and went to the Better Business Bureau. It ain't easy
finding information through the BBB, but I hung in there and through many, many, many
screens on many, many, many links, I finally found out what I needed to know.
Turns out this company operates out of Florida and--surprise, surprise--their scam is
that they pretend it's a renewal of an existing contract and get unsuspecting people to
agree to renew the contract.
I immediately contacted the BBB to file a complaint and so now not only do I have a
complaint in progress against T, but also against I-Pages America.
Not only am I a medical assistant, I'm becoming a paralegal as well!