Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Nothing is ever easy

If you ever get a package from Bottom Line Books (Notice I am not putting a link to their site, I wouldn't do that to you) DO NOT OPEN IT! Unless, of course, you actually ordered from them. Feel free to open the package then. Instead, do a Google search and you'll find, literally, dozens of complaints on consumer sites about them. Their scam is that they acquire names, addresses, and email addresses from somewhere (probably purchased), they then send books [unsolicited] to you and then invoice you for the "purchase". These books are familiar snake oil clap trap about health and wellness. My dear MIL got a box from this uh...let's call them a business, but I have more descriptive names, and because she was expecting a package from me (I reuse boxes, even not on Earth Day), she opened it only to find books she never heard of. The smarty boots Googled the company, and found the piles of complaints and called me for help. Here's what I discovered:

They send books to people that the recipients never ordered or even heard of. Legally in PA, if you get something you didn't order you don't have to do ANYTHING (why pay to ship something back you didn't order). They then invoice you ("we hope you're enjoying the books"). When you decide to put this to rest and just ship the books back, they then SHIP YOU MORE BOOKS because you've now JOINED A BOOK CLUB! If you pay for the books to stop the invoices, THEY SEND YOU MORE BOOKS! They ignore pleas to stop the shipments. In one spectacular case (assuming it's accurate), a "collection agency" called a victim who was ignoring the invoices. Now most people, particularly elderly folks, don't want to keep anything they haven't paid for, get spastic if they get an invoice, and generally hate loose ends such as these. My mother-in-law had to be talked off the roof several times over the past month.

As a public service, I'm going to tell you what worked for us with a minimum of stuff and bother. YMMV depending on what state you are in.

File a preemptive complaint with your state's Consumer Protection Bureau, part of the Attorney General's office. I called ours explained the situation, and the rep told me we did not have to either ship the books back or pay for them. I filed a complaint in writing, telling them that we wanted a pre-paid label, and an assurance that she'd never hear from them again, and told my antsy MIL to sit tight. Ten days later she received an invoice, and got all upset (even though I told her not to worry). I found an 800 # somewhere on line, of course there was no contact number on the invoice. I called and scorched the ears off the poor phone center person. Told her we wanted a pre-paid label shipped immediately, and as a bonus we'd send a copy of the filed complaint along with the unwanted books. [She kept trying to read from her "script" that someone with ordered the books blah,blah, but I just cut her off, and explained that I was a computer science faculty at a big 10 university and I was running a web server when she was playing with My Little Pony. Did she really think that I couldn't find a web browsing history? I told her to save her breath. Mean, yeah. I was not in a good mood.] Less than 7 business days later MIL had not one, but TWO, pre-paid labels, and curiously two very different letters instructing her to send the materials back. One said "sorry you got these in error but we have an invoice from you", the other said "sorry you didn't like the materials, of course you can return them". Neither was accurate. I was a little taken aback, but meh. We got what we wanted. She crossed out the "we have an invoice" part of the first letter, enclosed the complaint and the extra label, and sent the crap back. About 2 days later, she got a letter from the AGs office asking what the status of her case was. Was she satisfied with the resolution? LIGHT BULB. The second letter/label was a result of the AG office intervention. So, all told it took about a month to resolve, (it probably took that long off her life, she worries too much), and Tom Corbett's (PA Attorney General) Office is A-OK in my book.

For making it all the way through this saga, you dear reader get a bonus.

My Lace Ribbon Scarf.

It really isn't this orange. The photo below is a better representation of the color.

This fits perfectly with the nothing is ever easy theme of this post. That's because on Sunday morning, after a Saturday of blocking this is what I spent about an hour doing.

There's a story here, but I'll have to get to it tomorrow.


Bezzie said...

Holy crap. YOur MIL is lucky to have a tough cookie like you. What a bunch of jacknards. The 2nd label makes me laugh. Hee hee, someone was caught being bad!

kemtee said...

A*swipes. Go get 'em, tiger! (Or lion, as is the case here….)

Okay, what's with the scarf? You can't just start a story and leave us dangling. It looks fine to me.