Have you ever been badly ripped off?

I’m a bit upset at the moment because of a transaction between me and an acquaintance where I think I got slightly ripped off: I bought something off him and it turned out to be rather different from what he’d indicated. Now I feel (probably irrationally) like a fool, and that the world is fully of villains out to get me.

Make me feel better by telling me your tales of woe!*

*$100 for the best story. No, really.

Many times. Too many to itemize. Mostly when I was a kid and got sucked into those ads in comic books and magazines where some device was supposed to provide some extra special benefit. They didn’t really cost all that much, even for back then, but the disappointment was as big as if they did.

My favorite was a $3.95 Malayan Throwing Dagger. Guaranteed to stick every time. I ordered one. Every day I met the mailman way up the street to see if it had come. It took weeks. All that time I practiced throwing rocks at trees, poles, anything wooden, so I could get good at throwing that knife like they did in the movies. (You know like when the guy is standing on the porch at night and he’s 50’ away from the nearest tree, rock, hiding place, and suddenly this knife swishes in and sticks up in the post right next to him.)

When it finally came I had to practice and practice for weeks before it would stick up at least 50% of the time, and that was only when I was 10 feet or less from the target. That’s when I started to doubt that God exists.

And that book that supposedly taught you how to throw your voice? Didn’t work.

Lately the biggest ripoffs are movies and TV shows that are nothing like the trailers. And food from Taco Bell.

Bought a TV from Silo, a now expired retailer and paid for an extended warranty. A month after buying the TV, I got some papers in the mail saying the warranty company had gone bankrupt and my extended warranty was worthless. A few months later Silo went out of business too.

Zeldar, that’s a heartbreaking story of unfathomable sadness. And trust me, I tried to fathom it.
Mine was because I was stupid, but I bought some stupid speakers off of some guys selling them out of a van (a morally dubious choice, I know, but I paid the price!). It’s my own fault, but if I see one of those stupid white vans again, I’m going to slash their tires and then call the cops so they can’t get away. Or maybe I won’t slash the tires. Since that just seems like a bad idea. Whatever, it still pisses me off 3 years later.

Zeldar, that is a sad story. I remember buying a pair of X-ray specs from a jokeshop that didn’t really live up to expectation. However, I was so straitened against disappointed I persuaded myself they worked anyway.

A recent scam I saw on telly happening in my home town (go Reading!) was that someone would drive up, offer a bag of electrical equipment for a tenner, somehow swop it with another bag full of bottled water once money was passed, and drive off cackling.

A ripoff industry if ever there was one.

Well we’re finding out that we’ve been terribly ripped off and I’m quite upset about it. So upset, I’m considering taking legal action.

We bought our house a little over 2 years ago. It’s in a nice, small town just south of Columbus. We live in-town, not the rich part, but still a nice neighborhood. The people who wanted to sell this house were asking about $20,000 more than what the county tax website had posted. We figured in inflation and put in a bid at $10,000 more. We awaited the appraisal. When we got back this appraisal, mysteriously it was the EXACT bid we put in. We were concerned, but told by our agent that it was fine.

So we buy the house. Over the course of the past two years, we have put in over $20,000 worth of renovations. Not stupid ones either. We had a new roof and gutters installed, new windows throughout the house, new carpet in the entire house, a new heating and cooling system (and we went with one of the more expensive ones for resale value), a new privacy fence, we’ve repainted most of the interior and are still in the process of finishing it (it was horrible before, the past owners had sponge-painted the family room and the master bedroom), we’ve cleaned out the overgrown and weed-filled flower beds, and we’ve pulled up all the railroad ties throughout the front and back yard and filled them in.

We’re trying to get refinanced to pay off our credit card debt before the credit-raping comes into effect this October (all credit cards will have minimum monthly payments doubled). So we were told that they would only do an exterior appraisal, but the appraiser calls us last night demanding to do an interior one that night. She was here for maybe 15 minutes. She was also the same one who appraised it when we bought the house and somehow she missed our Florida room the last time (it was here for YEARS, long before we bought it). Then she compares our house to our next-door neighbor’s house which is only 5 years old! Our house is almost 30 years old.

When we call the bank after she leaves, they hadn’t gotten a final number yet, but after she did the exterior, she only brought the house up by $4000.

WHAT??? After $20,000 of work that we’ve put into this house - structural improvements - you want to tell me that with typical housing inflation factored in, we only gained $4000?? That doesn’t even cover the rate of inflation. So we’re being told in essence, our house has gown DOWN in value.

So I did some research last night and it seems there is rampant fraud being investigated by the FBI about appraisers, banks, and the agents inflating prices during selling so they can make more commission. I’m 99% certain that has happened to us and unless that appraisal comes in at about $10,000 more than what they said yesterday, we’re finding a lawyer. What’s funny is, before she left last night, my DH asked if he could see her numbers on the house. She told him she was not permitted to share it at this time but that she didn’t think the value would go up any more.

You see I’m fine if our house is only worth x-amount. I’m NOT okay with them inflating the house price so much to where now we are upside-down and we essentially have wasted $20,000 on home improvements. I was so angry last night, I just stood in the kitchen and sobbed. We have scraped and scrimped to pay for these things the house desperately needed and they’re telling us that not only have those things not done ANYTHING to the value of the house, but essentially the value has dropped.

If anyone knows a tiger of a real estate lawyer in central Ohio, please let me know. I’m furious.

Three letters: AOL.

One word: D-I-V-O-R-C-E.

PinkMarabou, that completely sucks. I hope you get it sorted out soon. You seem to be feeling what I’m feeling (even though my problem is infinitely smaller) – it’s amazing how angry things like this can make you feel.

Zeldar might I ask how old you are that you were around in a time where kids could buy weaponry through the mail? That’s awesome :slight_smile:

Unless it was some sort of non-pointy dagger…?

It was a for real throwing knife that I later found a blue jillion of at an Army Surplus store for maybe 50c to a dollar each. I bought a sackful and threw them in batches so I wouldn’t have to do so much walking. They were practically indestructible although they would bend a bit. Never broke one. They had a sort of leather strip wrapped around the handle but it was usually gone after a few hundred throws.

As for when this was, try 1950’s. IIRC there were some low-powered guns, blow guns, bolas, boomerangs, and that sort of thing kids could buy with ease out of funny books, Boys Life, Weekly Reader (jk), and such. I really don’t remember any kids taking such things to school. Switchblades, yes.

When we were married we registered at a local department store and a number of people had gifts sent in our china or crystal pattern. My husband’s aunt ordered us a china coffee pot and some time later inquired whether we had received it. We hadn’t, so my husband made some calls to UPS and finally discovered that a package had been delivered and signed for, by one Doug Pickle. Who Doug Pickle might be and how he happened to end up with our coffee pot is a mystery to this day. Now when something goes missing, one or the other of us is likely to speculate that Doug Pickle has it. He got my wristwatch just a couple of weeks ago. I had it in my hand because it bothers me when I use the mouse. Somehow between my desk and the car it disappeared and I have no idea where it might be. He’s a quick Pickle.

Thanks for reminding me I’m owed $200!

I was a teenager at the time. Some aquaintance of my mother’s had written a book and wanted to have it translated into French. She’d already had a couple translators quit on her, so she asked me since I was in French Immersion (and, in hindsight, probably cheaper). Being young and broke, I decided I’d do it. I’ll admit right now that I didn’t put a lot of work into it, but she had said she had someone who would proof-read the translation afterward–I probably wouldn’t have done it otherwise, since I’m not exactly fluent. At any rate, the ENGLISH version wasn’t that good anyways IMHO, so I’m glad I didn’t put much effort into it. If it wasn’t for self-publishing I would never believe she’d ever see her work in print.

I was working on the chapters in batches of 2. When I finished one batch but still hadn’t gotten paid for the one before, Mom and I decided I wasn’t handing the last bit back until I got paid for the one before. I think I still have it at home somewhere. I don’t know if she ever found someone to finish it, or if she got it published. Suppossedly she was getting some money from the government for it as a heritage project–if she ever did I haven’t seen a dime of it yet.

Cingular… 120 phone bill… 60s dollars in roaming fees for 7 calls… all under 4 minutes.


Sprint. Total bastards. They called and offered me a great deal. At the time, I was making daily calls to England. How much to England, I ask. 7 cents a minute. Whoo Hoo! Sign me up.

I get a bill for $1000. WTF? Turns out that a) their cheapest plan is 9 cents a minute and b) the phone rep didn’t sign me up for any international plan, despite the fact that I asked to be signed up for the fictional 7 cent plan.

They settled for $500. I hate, hate, hate them. I know the phone rep lied to me just to get me to sign up. I will never do business with them again.

Utah, around 1995. Ex-hubby and I had gone camping, and ended up getting our truck stuck in the mud waaaaaay up in the Henry mountains. We debated camping overnight next to the truck and seeing if we could drive it out in the morning, thinking it might get cold enough to freeze the mud. But we’d passed several ranches that were marked on our map on the way up into the mountains, and according to our map, there was another one not ten miles away from where we stood. So we got on our mountain bikes and headed there.

Hubby decided at the last second that we’d better bring our tent, so we packed it into a backpack and took off. A mile later, we ran into more mud - thick sticky mud. Mud so bad there was no way we could bike through it. We started pushing our bikes. We pushed & pushed & pushed. Then it started to get dark. Thank Og we had the tent.

We set it up. By the time we had it set up, it was cold. My clothes were wet from sweat. I started getting hypothermic. Hubby threw me in the tent in a sleeping bag, with the dog, and heated up some water. We made it through the night, but it wasn’t fun. In the morning, the water bottles inside the tent were frozen solid.

We packed up and kept going on our bikes. The ranch was nowhere to be found. After a few hours, we came to a highway, and flagged down some nice people who drove us to the nearest town - a teeny tiny town. We went looking for someone to save us.

As it turned out, there was only one guy with a tow truck in town. The common concensus around town was the Carl was a crook, and would gouge us. We checked around; the only other tow truck was 150 miles away.

So we reluctantly went to Carl. Carl agreed to help us out, but not until the next morning. It was only around noon; I think the delay had something to do with Carl also owning the only hotel in town. We checked in and waited.

The next morning, hubby got up early and went to get our truck with Carl. Carl insisted he needed another guy, so he picked up a friend of his. The three of them headed up into the mountains, in a pickup truck. Why not a tow truck? Carl said he didn’t need one.

They got to our truck. Carl told my hubby “drive it out.” Sure enough, the ground was frozen, and the truck drove right on out of the mud that had so confounded us. :smack: Carl and buddy drove home.

The bill? Over $500.00. For a ride into the mountains. The hotel charge was extra. Carl charged us for his time, his buddy’s time, and mileage. We protested, but there was nothing we could do. When we got back home, I called a few local towing companies, explained the situation, and asked what they would have charged. The highest quote I got was $100.00.

Oh I’ve got something I’ve been carrying around for close to 15 years. I had just graduated from college and moved to Seattle with my newly purchased Isuzu pickup truck (LOVED the truck). About 2 months after I moved and found an apartment (and was about 2-3 weeks into my first real world job), I hit a deer over on the Olympic Peninsula on the way home one evening (I was visiting friends in Forks and was driving back to Seattle). Front end was smashed up pretty bad.
So what do you do first (well after the police report)? Thats’ right I went to a body shop and got an estimate. That would be the MAACO on Rt. 99 in Seattle in case you need a place to avoid. So they give me an estimate (I forget the exact amount - but approximately $1500). THEN the insurance estimator comes along and gives an estimate of approximately $1900. I go into the MAACO store and voila! he changes the estimate to $1900. MAGIC!

I was way too young and shy to scream at him and walk out. But I remember, I remember and I wish them misfortune.


That’s it.

Oh, and by the way, never, ever, ever rent from U-Haul. They suck. And their 800-number is a joke. The national 800-number call center allegedly reserves trucks for you … except that they don’t actually have any power to compel local U-Haul affiliates to honor their reservations. So if you reserved via the 800-number (rather than walking into someone’s shop and asking if you can rent the U-Haul truck parked out back), your reservation very likely does not exist, and you will not be moving.

Amen to fucking U-Haul. Those rotten bastards.

They screwed me on a moving truck, getting it to me nearly eight hours later than they said I was to pick it up. In the meantime I was getting nasty phone calls from the people who were waiting for me to move out so they could move in. They were supposed to attach a unit for me to tow my car, but oops they didn’t have it and could I just go to a different site to pick it up? The other site was closed, so I had to figure out how to attach the trailer myself, and hook up the brake lights and turn signals. If it wasn’t for the help of a random stranger I would never have figured it out.

One time I went to rent a storage space at U-Haul. I signed up for the automatic payment out of my bank account, signed the papers, and when they took me to the unit, lo and behold, it had someone else’s shit in it. They didn’t have any other spaces available, so I said forget it, cancel the transaction, and I went somewhere else.
Since I didn’t have a permanent address, I was having my mail forwarded to General Delivery. It took quite a while for my mail to get there and I was living out of hotel rooms and not paying much attention to my bank statements. About three months later, when I was finally settled in to my new place, I saw on my bank statements that fucking U-Haul had been charging me for the storage space the whole damn time. After several phone calls and several hissy fits, I got all my money back, plus an additional month’s rent for my time and effort. Those miserable fuckheads.