An interesting comment on one of my older posts (the script for customer retention) stated

“…  you’re bottom feeding scum that try to bully everyone for nickels and dimes when you aren’t a top shelf customer to begin with…”.

Comment about negotiating for a better price

I am assuming that if the writer is an actual call center employee, they do not speak for their employers (officially). They could easily have been a troll trying to have a laugh as well.

Throughout that article I stressed the importance of being polite with folks on the phone (my daughter works in a call center and I know how crazy some people can get). Politeness is the key when dealing with service folks. Many times they cannot do anything, but if you are polite they will pass you on to someone who can.

I am glad that this one article keeps getting folks reading, and hopefully getting better deals, but, things are changing out there. My inability to get to the Customer Retention group to get a better deal (Cable and Phone service), I will be trying again, but there is hope.

Media Maven Preet Banerjee says he has had an interesting “deal” proposed to him. He set up Rogers Internet in his new Fortress of Solitude in Downtown Gotham (North), and realized two weeks later that he might need a higher monthly bandwidth limit. Did this cause him to give up? NO! He called and he must have used one of his Jedi mind tricks because they gave him a higher monthly limit and they charged him less for it? (This was not the deal you negotiated).

We Deserve Better Deals

I realize that not all of us have a Fortess of Solitude or Jedi mind tricks to fall back on to get a better deal, but Ellen Roseman wants us to get those better deals (and wants to make sure we don’t get ripped off). If you have a chance to listen to this up beat lady talk, do it! She told some scary consumer stories, but she also gave me hope that we can all get a better deal (if we just stay persistent).

It is your right as a consumer to get the best deal that you can get.

I continue to fight to get better deals. Be polite, but also be firm, if you are a good customer. Why should only new customers get good deals? This is true for all services, not just ISPs, but Banks, and other service providers too. This is a rewrite from many years ago, but still very true.

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I received the following email graphic from Starbucks today. I thought, hey that’s a good idea, but then I remembered something from 2015.

Reloading for Points !

A while back, I was the victim of a scam using this system. Starbucks’ customer list had been breached. Using that information, bogus Loyalty Cards were created.

The scam is well described in the graphic below. This outlines the importance of not turning on Automatic Reloads on any card like the Starbucks Reward Card.

It is important to audit your automatic bill payments as well.

The graphic shows how simple it is to start up a quick scam. I only clued in when my phone had many messages about the auto-reloads happening.

Loyalty Card Scam
A Graphic Rendition of the Scam

Things to take from this

  1. If you use your Credit Card to “refill” your Loyalty card, do not allow auto-reload.
  2. Turn on messaging, for the system to tell you when things happen. This will at least warn you about all activity.
  3. If you hear that your loyalty system has been hacked, change your card and log ins, right away. Do not assume it will not happen to you.
  4. Are the points that important? What is the risk to reward giving out your credit card for this reward?

Glad I wrote about this a while ago, or I might have done something silly.

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I continue to be tormented by the Anti-Virus shell game.

Anti-virus software in stores (or on Amazon for that matter) is always on sale. Norton continues to do this, and when you “register” you are asked for a Credit Card. You can’t get updates without giving them a credit card, and that means they have got you. You must keep getting updates to keep the software working to specification.

In a year when your “subscription” is to be renewed, the renewal price is at least twice as much as you paid the previous year.

You do have a way out, you can go on line, and turn off Auto-Renew on your subscription. This is where it gets interesting.

  1. You click the Auto-Renew to “No
  2. Suddenly it asks for a reason why? I answered, “Too expensive
  3. Next the web site says, “What if we give you an Amazon $30 Gift Card?”
    • Where was this perk? This kind of bate and switch silliness I expect from Rogers or Bell. with this “perk” suddenly the cost of renewing isn’t as bad.
  4. If you just don’t like this, keep saying No, maybe you’ll get other “perks”? A set of Ginsu Knives?

I really despise this kind of product silliness, but it looks like the Anti-Virus world is becoming like other Tech Firms (e.g. Internet Provider, Cell Phone Provider, etc.,).

Conclusions

Is the Anti-Virus worth having? Maybe, I am sure folks will argue you don’t need it, or worse, they don’t work, but I will continue to play along (for now).

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FUD Financial Messages

What is FUD Financial messages? FUD is a technical term from the world of politics where you try to create Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt with your message. FUD is usually a strategy to influence perception by spreading negative and dubious or false information leading to fear-mongering and concerns by the public. Naturally, you do this to create an advantage for yourself, or cast aspersions on an opponent.

It is easy to see the power of FUD in the last few elections, but politics is not the only arena where FUD works well.

FUD financial messages are out there. Usually to cause you to wonder whether you are using the right bank, insurance company or you are missing out on a great deal. All Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) messages are in this genre.

Fear Uncertainty and Doubt

Some might argue this blog is a FUD financial message, however, getting out of debt is not really FUD in my book.

The message continues to be confusing to most folks. The Truth in finances is not clear to many folks (if any), and there are few places where consumers can get clear and truthful financial information.

Investing FUD

I find the entire investment industry seems to be a FUD Factory.

  • Cryptocurrency seems to be the leader in FUD. You will miss out on untold riches unless you buy one of the over 200 cryptocurrencies (even though you have no idea what it is).
  • In Canada there is tons of FUD swirling around legalized Marijuana, even though most of the companies seem to spend a great deal more than they are making currently.
  • Actively managed funds want you to be unsure that you are not making the huge growth they can offer, however, Index Funds point out that actively managed funds can’t keep up their claims (and thus are part of the financial FUD game).

Get the tools you need to comprehend truth from fear-mongering, and create Financial Firewalls to filter out the disinformation.

Remember that sometimes FUD is a good thing, and the sales person you are dealing with is trying to allay your personal FUD, with any lie that will cause you to buy their product.

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Rampant Upselling

After sitting through another rampant upselling session from my local “Quick Oil Change” place, I have sworn I will not return, it is just too much. All I want is an Oil Change, I do not want:

  • An air filter changed
  • A cabin air filter changed
  • The engine “power flushed”
  • My radiator flushed
  • Differential checked nor my transmission flushed
  • New tires

Nor any of the hundreds of other things they are trying to upsell. Interesting that they were giving away free wiper blades (with a coupon) and no one asked me about that.

Why is every time I want to buy anything larger than a package of gum someone attempts to upsell services or products to me? Can I not be trusted to know what I want? Am I a dullard who doesn’t understand the complicated world I live in? Do I look like I want a $7 warranty on $20 worth of light bulbs? I suppose I must, because I am being offered that exact “deal”.


It is even worse if I visit a bank or talk to a financial service. No, I don’t need another credit card, in fact I’d love to be able to walk into a bank and close a credit card account (can’t be done). I do not wish to buy your balanced arbitrage forex enhanced Scandinavian backpack futures hedge fund (if such a thing exists, don’t buy it). Michael James tells a story of one of his loved ones (over 60 years old) being sold leveraged mutual funds, luckily MJ cleared that mess up for them.

Upselling financially

You want fries with your GIC?

I know why this upsell is prevalent; most of the folks pushing it are getting financial reimbursement in some fashion for each customer they ensnare. Best Buy claims they don’t work on commissions, but if you buy their warranty you better bet someone is making a chunk of change on that. If you simply follow the money you will know why someone is trying to sell you something.

Does Any Deserve Rampant Upselling ?

If I walked in and said, “I have no idea what I’d like, please sell me something”, I would be fair game for being naïve enough to walk into any retail or service establishment making that statement. If you appear at my Mother’s front door, however, and bamboozle her into taking a service you know she doesn’t need, I hope to one day cross paths with you. There is a special place in Dante’s 17th Inferno, is my hope.

Let me be clear, “No I do not wish to BIGGY that!“. Let me have the service I asked for without being harangued into buying life insurance from you.

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