Shipping Only

“If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live in peace with everyone.”

Romans 12:18

I have to admit, I wasn’t very peaceful during a recent wrangling-with-the-internet ordeal. This lesson-learned-the-hard-way has me vowing that from now on all my purchases will be in real-live stores.  

It Started Innocently Enough

I was scrolling down from a health story, when I saw an ad with the pink-toned drawing of a woman’s face, along with a promise that this particular face crème not only erased wrinkles, but gave a radiant glow to facial skin. And the eye serum that went along with it had the added benefit of shrinking under-eye bags. WHAT? WOW! My right index finger gave the mouse a left click. That was my first mistake.

A Backstory Question

Why would I find these products so tempting? Well, time is definitely showing up in all kinds of ways with my ever-advancing years, but my face is graced with my mother’s olive complexion which tends to retard the presence of wrinkles. In other words, I’ve escaped most of those fine lines and creases, and am regularly told I look years younger than I am.

So what was it? Well, that radiant glow was catchy. I mean who doesn’t want that? And the eye crème hype was talking about giving those under-eye bags the heave-ho. I guess that was really the clincher. Even though those bags are fairly well hidden by my glasses, I do NOT like their presence or puffiness. And so, I was a goner. I clicked.

Get a One Month Supply

“For a mere $4.95!” Wow! Take me to CheckOut! But when I got there I was told my total cost would be $9.90 since these were two separate products. OK, I thought. Makes sense. This is still a steal!” Oh brother, was I wrong.

The package arrived some three weeks later. The product seemed to be good—definitely creamy, but I wasn’t seeing a glow or bag shrinkage, but again I thought, well, $9.90 is not a fortune to get this stuff to try.

Several Weeks Later

As I was reviewing my credit card purchases, lo and behold there were two charges for $89.99! WHAT? I called my bank to dispute the charges which began an investigation. I also tried in vain to contact the distributor known as “The Fulfillment Center.” That was ironic because they didn’t fulfill anything except some mind-boggling agitation!

When I dialed the number a recording came on. This easy-going guy delivered some corny trivia stuff periodically during the holding phase, then a peppy young woman came on and chirped, “Sorry. We can’t answer right now. We are just so busy. Please leave your name and number so we can call you back.” I did, but no callback came. A few days later I tried again—same jokes, same perky girl. My phone was not ringing.

Then, I Went to the Mailbox

The next day I found yet another box with another month’s supply of both of these concoctions. Suddenly, the real deal flashed in front of me. I’d been duped by that “Shipping Only!” Now, I was hoppin’ mad about the whole thing, so I dialed the number, waited through all the yakking and what do you know, finally a real live human being answered. He was a low-level guy, didn’t know much, but was adamant about the fact that I had agreed to their terms and conditions when I got the sample, and that entitled them to charge me $89.99 not twice but four times! So, now I was out a few pennies shy of 360 bucks.

“Let me talk to a supervisor!” I demanded. I held on for an eternity. Finally, a dude named Shack came on the line. (His name had me suspicious from the get-go.)

“Hey! I was supposed to be able to try this stuff for $9.90! Period!” I erupted.

“The terms and conditions are very clear. We give you two weeks to change your mind and cancel your order.” He said smugly.

“I didn’t even get the stuff for THREE weeks,” I countered. “I’ve got a whole new box now, what’s that all about?”

Matter-of-factly he declared, “You gave us permission to put you in our renewal program when you accepted the Terms and Conditions.”

I was loud now. “I NEVER SAW ANY TERMS AND CONDITIONS!”

“They were there. You couldn’t have received the product without agreeing to them.”

Realizing I was getting nowhere I said, “Look, I’ll send back the second box, just give me my money back.”

“No, we do not accept returns, Mam. We will remove you from our automatic renewal program, however. You will not receive any more product.” Then he tipped his hand. “Now, what we can do is give you back 65% of the cost for all of the products you have.”

Whoa, I thought. What a scam! I took a breath, paused for effect then said, “You’ll give me 65% back? Hmmm, well, I don’t think that will work because that would render my dispute investigation with the bank null and void.”

Shack’s voice went flat. “You’ve already done that?”

“Oh, yes I have,” I said in my sweetest voice, and hung up.

Quick Prayer

In all this fuss I suddenly realized I hadn’t asked God for anything throughout this entire trial. Feeling a little foolish, I sent up one quick prayer. “Lord, help!” One day not long after that cry for divine assistance I received an email from The Fulfillment Center informing me that I would be receiving all my money back. It took a few days, but when those refunds hit my credit card I did a little happy dance and gave God a shout! “THANK YOU!”

Now, the most ridiculous thing. I relayed my story to a group of friends. Four of them admitted to falling for the same scam. I guess wrinkle and bag erasers are hot commodities. Some got some money back and some got none.

Word to the Wise

If you are ever tempted by some outrageous “try it” deal on the internet, do NOT let your finger click on it. In fact, step away from the computer until your sense has had time to collect itself or you, too, could be duped by the promise of “Shipping Only!”

SAMPLE-KIT

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