Paul's Heart

Life As A Dad, And A Survivor

Predatory Companies

I have to give Wendy credit.  She knows a bargain when she sees one.  Unfortunately there are some scumsuckers out there, I would probably use a nicer timer, such as predatory sellers, who prey on people who are gullible to think that they are getting something for nothing.

I learned a lesson the very hard way with my ex-wife.  We had needed to replace our old and drafty windows, so while going through a mall one day, there had been a display in the middle of the mall called “Windowman”.  I am not sure if this exists anymore under this name, or as I would find out, once I filed a complaint with the BBB, they change the name frequently because they are such scumsuckers.  Here is how that event worked.  An appointment was set up with us, “no obligation to purchase, just listen to our presentation.”  This phrase can actually apply to any type of predatory company.

My ex-wife says certainly.  Here is where it turns wierd.  The company insists on setting up our demonstration late in the evening, after 7pm.  For us, the situation was even worse, as it ended up being a Friday night.  I felt uneasy about the whole thing having done the salesman thing myself in my past, but not wanting to irritate my ex, I reluctantly agreed.

By the end of the night, which ended up being close to 11:00pm, we had seen an awesome demonstration on how our windows were failing us, as if we did not notice the drafts in the winter and the heat bouncing of the furniture in the summer.  Their super-duper double-paned windows with vynil frames were gaurunteed for a lifetime.  The savings would be tremendous.  Only one thing stood in our way.  Purchase and installation would cost us $10,000.00 which clearly we did not have and could not afford as we had no equity in the recently purchased home.  No worries, as the salesman was able to reach his manager, the owner no less at 11:30pm on a Friday night, who did everything they could possibly do to get us those windows we so desperately needed.  Paperwork signed.  Windows were to be installed in less than two weeks.  A collaborative effort with everyone seemingly in approval, almost everyone.

On the following Monday, I received a call in my shop from the window company.  It seems that there was an error on the contract, and I that all I needed to do, was to sign the new contract.  When the finance manager showed up, not the salesman mind you, he handed me a new set of finance forms along with the contract.  When I questioned him why the new finance forms, he said it was because they misplaced my original forms.  I was livid.  Those forms had all my account numbers on them.  I told this putz I wanted out.  He did his best to calm me down and assure me that everything was alright, but as I persisted, he grew weary of the argument that I was giving him.  Then he “hit” me.

He warned me that the way my original finance forms were filled out, I stood a risk of not just having the windows to pay for, but an additional amount of this home improvement, because to get the deal done, they were supposed to consolidate the debt.  However, the way it was written, the amounts were never broken down.  So if I were not to sign the new paperwork, they would hold me to the new amount, just for the price of the windows which could have easily topped out at triple the amount.  Feeling defeated, I felt I had no choice but to sign and get this corrected.

Later that evening, I contacted an attorney who informed me of my recision rights.  I had three business days from signing the contract to cancel it.  When I called the window company to cancel it, I was informed that the three business days had passed.  When I questioned that it was only Monday evening, he explained the definition of my three business days:

Day 1 = original contract signed at 11:30pm on Friday night (1/2 hour left of the day)

Day 2 = a Saturday(?) – banks are open aren’t they?

Day 3 = Monday – it was after 5pm, so everything after is transacted on a Tuesday

Again, feeling defeated, I stopped my fight, only to realize that I had signed a new contract on Monday.  That would mean that the old contract was null and void right?  I had three new business days, right?  The bastard backdated the contract date.  I did not notice it until that moment.  I was screwed.  The project would eventually be done, in the middle of an ice storm, as to prevent any attempts by me, to file a lawsuit and have the contract overturned.  The best I could do is file a complaint with the BBB (Better Business Bureau).  There was no end, but conveniently, Lehigh Valley Windowman had changed its name to Windowman of The Lehigh Valley, as it had done before and again and again.  And it always retained the same ownership and management.

So can you blame me for being as skeptical as I am today?

Fastforward to a week ago, as Wendy tried to take advantage of an opportunity.  The “free” vacation.  It is not a time share.  We just need to sit through an hour bullshit session, and we will be handed a weekend voucher for our family to visit the Great Wolf Lodge.  That simple.  Wait, we are not allowed to bring our children to this meeting.  Okay, understandable.  They do not want us being distracted by our children as we are being brainwashed into purchasing what they will be subliminally be trying to sell us, though Wendy insists they are not.

It was scheduled for a Friday night, and it had to be done by the end of the week, as it would be quite some time, before this company would be back in the “area” again.  I put “area” in quotes, because, the place we had to sit through shit was a fifty minute drive.  But on a Friday night, right at the heart of rush hour, because we had to drop our kids off at a sitter, turned into a nearly two hour drive.  Now we did give a courtesy phone call to let them know we were running late due to traffic, but we were coming.

After the lecture about how the doors were expected to be locked right at 6:00pm and my response of “don’t even think of telling me that I drove two f-ing hours to be turned away after I met all of their other demands, we were told that we should just get there as soon as possible.  Unfortunately, due to traffic being worse, the ten minute late, became a half hour, when we arrived.  Okay, not polite, but we should still be able to hear the majority of their crap.

cue the crash sound

As we rushed into the unmarked and unnamed newly built hotel, with a Hooters restaurant as its hotel restaurant-to-be, a gruff, short, middle aged woman came out of the conference room.  Before we could even finish expressing our appreciation for understanding our tardiness, she barks out, “THE PROGRAM’S OVER.  YOU’RE TOO LATE!”

5-4-3-2-1… “ARE YOU FRIGGIN’ KIDDING ME?!?  I JUST SAT THROUGH TWO HOURS OF FRIGGIN’ TRAFFIC BECAUSE YOU WOULDN’T LET US BRING OUR GIRLS WITH AND WE HAD TO TAKE THEM TO A BABYSITTER!?!  F^*%^&$!!  YOU!!!  TAKE OUR NAMES OF YOUR DATABASE AND NEVER SEND US ANYTHING AGAIN.  THIS IS BULLSHIT!!!!”

No.  That was not drama.  That was pure temper.  I am not known for showing my emotions, ever.  But, I did not want to be here in the first place.  I sat through the traffic.  There was supposed to be another full hour of their brainwashing program yet.  And then I knew that I was going to have to head back into that same traffic I just arrived from.  All I remember in my rage was Wendy trying to rush me out of the building as she wanted to try and salvage any effort we came down for.  Remember, we were to be offered a free weekend trip for the family.

As I left the hotel lobby, Wendy caught up with me.  We got into the car.  She was speechless.  She had never seen me get mad like that, but she also knew I was justified with my feelings.  Still, not wanting to give up our “free” gift, she called the 800 number to explain what happened.

The person on the other end of the line gave off the appearance of being flabbergasted and apologized.  “They were not supposed to turn you away.  You are entitled to the free gift that you were promised.  We don’t work like that.”  And with that, the operator put a “supervisor” on the line who offered even more of a consolation as to make up for the inconvenience.  I tried to explain to Wendy that perhaps Karma did us a favor on this one.  After all, you do not get something for free in this country, it just does not happen.  Even with a free trip,  there is still sales tax to be paid, and probably other fees.

It has been over a week since that debacle.  And the company continues to call and email Wendy.  With each contact, they seem to be sweetening this pot.  The representative even went as far as to say, that they would cover the fees (we call them taxes) along with two international flights.  Of course, this would mean more taxes and fees to pay on our end.  With international would come passport needs, and it just keeps adding up.

You do not get something for nothing.  They need to get paid.  They have a right to earn a living.  I just do not want to be their payroll.

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One thought on “Predatory Companies

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