If I received an urgent e-mail from Boss Meg telling me to send a $9,000 wire transfer to Consumerist’s fedora vendor, I would know that it was some kind of scam. Paying our bills isn’t part of my job, so clearly that isn’t an e-mail that I would receive. What if that were my job, though? Companies have reported losing an average of $55,000 to a scam exactly like this, wiring money to mysterious entities who forge e-mails from the boss. [More]
Do you check to make sure that you’re really pumping gasoline into your car, and not some other substance? Most likely not. More than a dozen motorists in New Jersey bought gas that turned out to be water. This did some damage to the fuel systems of their cars. Who is responsible for paying for repairs? The station owner says that he shouldn’t have to pay one victim’s high repair costs. She disagrees. [More]
Historically, our staff Certified Tax Cat has handled readers’ questions about taxes, but he’s taking a leave of absence to campaign for the legalization of medical catnip. Filling in for him is Laura’s dad, a retired accountant and real live independent tax preparer. Exclusively on Consumerist, Tax Dad answers your questions. [More]
Passing through Saskatchewan, a man from British Columbia, Canada happened to stop in a little restaurant to grab a burger. The visitor wrote a $10,000 check and told the restaurant owner to take his bill out of that and keep the rest. Was it some kind of scam? No, just a very generous lottery winner. [More]
Last week, we explained why we think that the “suspended coffee” movement that allegedly began in Naples, spread all over Bulgaria, and exploded on Facebook isn’t such a hot idea. But don’t just take it from us: the owner of an independent London coffee shop weighed in on the movement. Her take: it’s insulting that people think independent coffee shops don’t already help people who look like they could use a warm cup of coffee, and you should support your local indie shop. Well, that second part was predictable. [More]
Usually, the people who write to us are besieged with calls from telemarketers or companies they’ve done business with, and want us to help make it stop. Brett is on the other side of the phone line. He’s not the traditional telemarketer you might think of, calling ordinary citizens during dinner: his company is just business-to-business, and he was doing some cold calling to drum up business. The person who answered the phone was anything but businesslike. [More]
When Brett’s dad bought a new computer with a shinier operating system, he had to purchase a new version of the accounting software Quickbooks for use on more than one computer. No big deal: Quickbooks comes with multiple licenses so users can install it on more than one computer after buying only one copy. There was no mention of needing multiple licenses for multiple computers in the sales documentation. That’s when Brett learned that you can’t make purchases based on how a product’s specifications used to be. A second license actually costs more than a single copy of Quickbooks. [More]
Shawn runs a small reptile business, selling habitats, supplies, and animals. A customer’s purchase of a $500 snake went smoothly, with payment via PayPal and a critter off to a happy new home. Then the buyer reported the transaction to PayPal as fraudulent. They ruled in the buyer’s favor after an “investigation” that didn’t include talking to Shawn, and took back the $500. Voil√† – free snake. [More]
If you’ve felt the burn of a $35 overdraft charge, just be thankful you’re not Chicago’s Heartland Cafe, which has had to shell out $118,000 in cascading overdraft charges. [More]
Michael writes that his wallet, which he purchased over a year ago, was starting to fall apart a bit. He recently received a new wallet in the mail from Rogue Wallet, the small company that manufactured his, but…. he had never contacted the company. He wasn’t dealing with a psychic wallet maker. (That would be awesome.) Instead, he discovered a company that very candidly owned its mistake and wanted to please customers even if nothing had gone wrong with their personal wallets yet. [More]
Sorry, small businesses, the much ballyhooed protections of the CARD Act do not cover your credit cards. Only consumer credit cards get safeguarded against the most punitive of the old interest rate and fee policies. No wonder credit card solicitations to small business owners have increased 256%, vs 29% for consumer credit cards – they’re more profitable now. [More]
Patten seriously wants the purported “Online Yellow Pages” to stop calling his office. They call once per day, looking for information on the company, but Patten is suspicious. Rightly so, as it turns out—this is a scam, and companies who respond receive a hefty invoice for “advertising” that they never authorized.
After weeks of trying to get our floral cooler fixed, it has been fixed as of 2:00pm today! The issue was with the dryer valve and not the compressor. The valve was completely clogged and we had a new one soldiered on. It went from 85 degrees to 44 degrees in 15 minutes. It is the best $324.45 I have ever spent!
Billy’s wife owns a small flower shop near Austin, Texas. The shop’s floral cooler broke down recently. They can’t afford a new one, and can’t find a used one for sale in the area. A misunderstanding when taking out an insurance policy means that the business’s insurance won’t cover the cooler malfunction.
We’ve heard from many, many readers who are Advanta cardholders since bringing the impending account freeze to their attention before the company did. Some people are just annoyed. Others don’t know what to do to keep their businesses afloat.