Have you ever visited a restaurant or store that was really terrible, but had lots and lots of four- and five-star Yelp reviews? Maybe they’re engaging in practices similar to a restaurant that Jennifer reviewed. They offered her a refund to change her poor review to four or five stars. She and her fiancé brought a large family group to a steakhouse for a pre-wedding “meet the family” dinner. Was it the second tip that the waiter added to their bill for himself, the extra $400 in seafood dinners added to their tab, or the the attempted sleight-of-hand with bottled water? She wrote about all of it, and the restaurant didn’t like it. The refund, however, was only to come after she revised the original review and pretended the bad experience never happened.
Ever the hotbed of innovation, a new innovation in foreclosure defense is emerging in Florida. Until now, the big question for foreclosure lawyers is “how do we get paid?” If their client can’t afford to pay the bank, how are they going to pay for legal services? One firm has figured out a way. After the original mortgage is nullified or reduced, the client takes out a new mortgage for 40% of the savings, and pays it to the lawyer.
Dan and his wife Kat are geniuses because they guilt Kat’s parents into giving them money orders, but their plans are starting to be foiled because Walmart has suddenly started sticking them with check cashing fees.
An Oregon employee of Fry’s Electronics says his store offered a shady Black Friday deal that let customers skip lines if they bought a certain router. Taking the name George Orwell, he writes:
Chris and his wife bought a Jeep were automatically enrolled in a free credit monitoring service. When they decided they no longer wanted the service, they got a hassle from a CSR and worry they’ll have to go through the process again to cut the cord.
Every time you leave your credit card info at a hotel front desk, it’s natural to worry you’ll be overcharged. Tony’s fear came true, since his card was charged even after his girlfriend paid for the room. And he’s been tangling with Ramada over a hotel stay in which he was double-charged for a stay.
Jim bought an industrial-strength Karcher power washer new on eBay a few months ago, didn’t open it until recently and found that the pump didn’t work.
Ticketmaster will pay a $50,000 fine and shutter more than 100 deceptive brokerage sites as part of a wide-reaching agreement with Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan. Madigan’s office accused Ticketmaster’s always shady subsidy, TicketsNow, of creating sites that masqueraded as local venues selling tickets at face value. The settlement also requires TicketsNow to wait until after Ticketmaster puts non-sporting events on sale before hawking tickets at outrageously inflated prices.
After buying an anti-snoring mouthpiece from a third-party seller on Amazon, reader Bob received an email from the company offering him a free mouthpiece in exchange for a five-star review. He noted this attempted bribe in his Amazon review, and Amazon deleted it. Twice.
Note: this post is about restaurant.com, not restaurants.com. The two websites are not related. Tracey emailed us today to let us know that she just found a mysterious $14.95 fee on her credit card. It turns out a company called Shopping Essentials is now billing her as a monthly subscriber, and all because she bought some gift certificates via restaurant.com in December. To make matters even more shady, Shopping Essentials never contacted Tracey to let her know she signed up for anything, or to send her information about their services, or to call attention in any way to the fact that she now pays them a monthly fee.
Belkin Business Development Representative Michael Bayard has been caught offering to pay anyone willing to leave perfect reviews of Belkin products on Amazon, Buy.com, and Newegg. Even worse, the highly unethical strategy seems to have worked—almost fifteen pages worth of Belkin products on Amazon have perfect five-star ratings.
Eric ordered a hard drive from Buy.com. He never received it, but Buy.com says that it was delivered. Eric’s wife was home at the time that the delivery supposedly happened, and she remains hard drive-less. Now, Buy.com is saying that it’s their policy not to be responsible for items once they are shipped, and Eric wants to warn others about this policy.
Here’s a reminder that one must remain ever vigilant against shady direct mail offers that masquerade as bills that you are expecting.
Reader Andy decided to check his bag curb-side at JFK, that wretched hive of scum and villainy, and the curb-side check-in attendant scammed him out of $15 by promising to sneak his “overweight” bag onto the flight for a “big tip.” Naturally, after the deal was done, Andy realized that his bag probably wasn’t overweight and he’d just been scammed. Now he’s writing in to tell his story so that other consumers can avoid a similar fate.
Bank of America will pay a nearly $10 million settlement to 15,000 customers after feeding investors information that was biased towards its own funds, says the SEC. [CNNMoney]