If you’ve always suspected that high-end audiovisual equipment is sort of a ripoff, the folks at Audioholics have confirmed some of your suspicions. In their review of the $3500, THX-certified Lexicon BD-30, the site just came out and said it: the player is another manufacturer’s very nice $500 Blu-Ray player slapped inside a new case and sold with a $3000 markup.
Luke St. Germaine worked his way up the ladder of Cydcor, a spinoff of the notorious multi-level-marketing outfit DS-MAX, d/b/a Innovage aka Granton Marketing, from sales grunt to running his own office, until he saw the true face of the sales cult and got out the game. Exclusive to Consumerist, this is an excerpt from a novel he wrote about his experience.
88 websites, a good number pretty big name sites, that earned millions, some in excess of $10 million, as partners in the infamous Webloyalty consumer ripoff. Pizza Hut? Say it ain’t so.
Since the Beatles are notorious for refusing to release their music online, the mere fact that BlueBeat.com was selling them was kind of strange, which probably explains why EMI just sued them for copyright infringement. But BlueBeat has come up with a perfectly reasonable explanation. The songs aren’t really Beatles songs, you see, but “psycho-acoustic simulations” and therefore original works.
It’s a natural impulse to want to support the little guy, the David who faces down a powerful Goliath. That’s why it’s easy to get behind this guy’s claims that a copycat business is suing him to force him to abandon his own copyrights. Wtf!, you might say when you read something like that. Is that even possible? It is, and the story is more nuanced when you look at both sides, which makes it a good example of why it’s sometimes hard to be a “good consumer” when deciding where to spend your money.
California requires limited liability companies to register with the state every two years. You could do this yourself by filling out a form and paying $20, or you could pay this shady company $239 to do the same thing.
Reader Jordan writes in to share a past due “bill” that he received from Bally Total Fitness, where he had previously been a member. It turns out that the letter, which specified the amount Jordan owed and threatened to report Jordan to a collection agency if he didn’t pay, was actually a sneaky solicitation to get him to renew his contract.
Fox 11 News in LA went undercover with an intentionally damaged hard drive to find out whether online complaints about Data Recovery Corp, Inc. were true. Can you guess what the result was?
Update: We asked the Skywalk to confirm that they have a “no-refunds” policy. Their answer is at the bottom of this post.
If man were to dig a fancy pit that rich people would fight to throw money into, we suppose it would look a lot like the Dallas Cowboys‘ new $1.2 billion stadium. For only $800,000 you can rent a suite that doesn’t include tickets to the game — or food and drink.
Last week we mentioned that Costco has a habit of backdating the starting date for lapsed membership renewals, which prompted Monica to write in and let us know of another issue they seem to have with billing. If you renew your executive membership with Costco but then apply for the Costco American Express card, Amex will charge you the membership fee a second time. Monica says the Amex CSR who fixed the problem told her it happens all the time.
If you let your Costco membership lapse, then 2 months later renew it, Costco will backdate it to day it lapsed instead of the day you renew. The result: your 12 month membership suddenly shrinks to 10 months for the same price. Consumer Reports notes that Costco used to backdate renewals by as much as 5 months before a recent class-action settlement.
Take a gander at page 24 of this vintage FOH catalog from 1964, scanned and uploaded by Flickr user “What Makes The Pie Shops Tick?”. Their 2-for-$17.99 deal is actually more expensive than buying the items individually. It’s good to know retailers are consistent, we guess.
One unfortunate side-effect of the downturn is the resurgence of rent-to-own businesses. These stores, which include large chains like Rent-a-Center and Aarons, lease everything from furniture to TVs to consumers who have trouble getting traditional loans or credit cards, and don’t have enough cash to pay for the item upfront. While paying, say, $100 a month for a big LCD TV might seem like a good deal to some cash-strapped consumers, you inevitably end up paying interest rates that can run over 100%, and if you miss a payment or two, you can say goodbye to the TV — and any cash you’ve already paid out.
Tony bought a Tempur-Pedic mattress from healthyback.com last December, and they sent him two pillows as a “free gift.” Tony didn’t want the pillows, but HealthyBack refused to take them back, and assured him they were part of a promotion.
We get that people want to buy objects that either represent or remind them of their faith. We don’t get Stonemarkers, though.