Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Heading for the light.

A Note: I know I'm getting all weird on you with this little story I'm putting together. Patience please. I've got a cautionary Baja road tale for you (and a gnarly picture to go with it) and more legitimate content- just let me get this out of my system and we'll soon be back to our regular programming.

Part II: Heading for the light.

Riding the tube ain't easy.
I miss it most of the time. Either I don't see it coming or I just can't quite figure out how to stuff myself in. Matteo calls it, "Occupying the hole". I love that- I just can't do it when it matters. Not this time, this time I was locked in.

I knew what was coming, all the complaints posted on the web explained the same scam: First, there'd be an email saying that I had to call in to "verify" my order.

Here's mine:
Order # 5#####-W

Dear J.A.,

We thank you for choosing 86th St. Photo & Video as your choice for all your photographic equipment.

In order to further verify your order, we will need to speak with you on the phone. Please call our Verification department at 1-800-815-2040 Ext. 213 Jason so we may verify and complete processing your order.

If you have already called and confirmed your order, you may disregard this request.

Second: "Jason" at extension 213 would try to pressure me (the up-sell! kind of like, "Would you like to supersize that?") into buying some ridiculously priced accessories. My conversation went like this:

Jason: Hey bro, did you know that you forgot to buy batteries for your camera.

Me: Really, on your website it says that batteries come with the camera.

Jason: Uh, yeah but those batteries only last twenty minutes (a lie).

Me: No thanks I'm not going to buy any batteries.

Jason: Well how about some memory cards...

Me: Naw, I'll just take the camera- thanks anyway.

Jason: Okay, I'll process your order and you'll receive it in (said quickly in a muffled voice) four to six weeks...

Me: Hold on a minute- I paid extra to have it sent in two days...

Jason: Hey bro- don't you know how hard it is to get these cameras....!

And then finally, the dump. Once "Jason" knows you're not going to buy any $150 batteries- and that waiting a month for a camera is pretty darn ridiculous he just waits for you to back out of your order.

Me: Look I need that camera sooner than a month from now- let's just cancel this order.

Jason: I'll handle that right now.

The weird part was that as I was having this conversation I felt as if I were reading scripted lines. It was an almost word-for-word match of the web accounts I'd found about this place. Strange but completely true. Avoid this place people- creepy and unethical. Trouble, I can tell (read more about it here).

I still didn't have a camera and I'd taken a shot that almost knocked me off my board. But the barrel was still makeable. I could see daylight. Life was just tossing bombs at my head. If I was going to make this one I'd have to bob and weave, compress and release- make like da Cat and head for the light.

Check back: Bricks and mortar save the day- and I make my wave.


Anonymous said...

glad you were able to kick out of that one, ja. close call, though. i thought you were gonna get snuffed. whew!

Anonymous said...

What's the fee for canceling your order?

John Ashley said...

Ouch... didn't think about that! Hopefully nothing but considering the ethics of the parties involved...

They did send me an email that said nothing had been charged to my card- but that could be interpreted a couple of different ways.

Dang- are you the same guy who tipped me off on these guys?

Anonymous said...

na, that was my, the first anonymous. i've had a long and storied history with these kinds of rip off artists, mainly from living in New York for a good long while. glad to hear all's well that ends well.

srfnff said...


Unlikely that they'll try to scam your credit card (company). If they do (or maybe even now) give your cc folks a quick call and a heads-up, they're pretty good with scammers and chances are you won't get stuck with any B.S. charges.