Archive for May 2009

Early Cancellation Fees

May 1, 2009

More and more entertainment and telephone service providers have short blurbs at the end of their announcements declaring cancellation fees for customers who end their contracts early.

Used to be you could hire and fire at will. Of course if you do sign a contract, it may not be so easy to rid yourself of a non-performing service provider.

Nearly all of these clowns offer the same opening come-on. Low rates for the first few months, no installation fees, no equipment to buy, pay by credit card and some even offer mail-in rebates. Significant rebates promising a return of hundreds of dollars. Such promises are immediately suspect. How can they offer more rebate than what most people are willing to pay for the service? In short, all the standard scams engaged in by all of these folk are pushed upon the unsuspecting.

But that is not all. You are also offered an early termination fee! You read the fine print and discover that the termination fee is not insignificant. Depending on when you terminate, the fee usually is the cost of keeping the service to the end of the contract plus any installation charges. Nasty, nasty, business practice.

One can certainly understand why a vendor who offers free installation and multiple discounts would want to protect his investment with early cancellation fees, but you can’t help but wonder if maybe he has an early cancellation problem.

Customers seeking a service, a reasonably priced and valuable service, are not inclined to cancel early. Most folk are tempted to cancel if and when they find out the service is not all they expected. Or if they find a better deal elsewhere.

So when you see a vendor telling you that he has an early cancellation fee, you can be sure that he also has early cancellations. In fact, he is experiencing enough early cancellations that he feels it necessary to impose an early cancellation fee. This alone should be a warning to prospective customers that they should avoid this fool. No need to find out why his customers want to cancel the service before the contract is out.

You don’t work for free. You should not expect others to work for free. So when they offer you ‘free’ installation and equipment, ask yourself if you would be willing to work for such an outfit as an installer or equipment provider.

Also, don’t be surprised if the installation is poor or substandard when it is ‘free’.

Offers that are too good to be true are generally false. These scams suck in the unsuspecting. Some would say that people who get scammed this way are getting what they deserve. Perhaps so.

Just remember to expect to pay a reasonable price for what you get. That super good ‘free’ deal has the potential of being the most expensive thing you have ever bought. Especially if you have allowed some crook to charge your credit card in payment.

The Two Dollar Oil Can

May 1, 2009

Once again the lawnmower self-propel feature stopped working. Mechanism was not properly oiled. A little WD-40 and it was working again but I wanted it to work for an extended period of time. It required oil to do that. I had plenty of oil but no applicator.

Off to the hardware store to buy an oil can.

Lots of oil cans and oilers. Unfortunately no two dollar oilers. They start at five dollars and go up from there. Never mind that they are all made in China. They are all priced at True Value. I always wondered what that meant and now I know. It is a true value for the store.

Okay, well, what the heck. I will pay five dollars for a two dollar oiler but there was a problem. The thing would not scan at the checkout. Minor problem. Sent a flunky to check the price and he came back with nine dollars. Oops, lets check this. No need to check. Mr Flunky knows exactly where I found the oil can and the nine dollar price stands.

Good thing they know were I found it. It will allow them to put it back in the right place. I am pretty sure they are not going to stick it where I suggested. I don’t much mind paying five dollars for a two dollar oil can but I can’t go nearly ten dollars for the thing.

Got back to the car empty handed and explained what happened to my wife. Her comment, ‘ I guess they don’t understand that five dollars is better than no dollars’.

Left True Value Hardware and started driving. Handy Homer? Too far to go and Walmart is closed for remodeling. So off to Harbor Freight. Lordy, lordy, they don’t have two dollar oil cans either. Their oil cans are priced at two-fifty. Guess that is because they are made in India instead of China.

Moral of the story is that if you are looking for a two dollar oil can you need to go to a store that sells two dollar oil cans, not the local rip-off hardware emporium.