Have you ever been badly ripped off?

Dude, you got ripped off when you BOUGHT the extended warranty.

audiobottle. . .the white van scam? Yeeeeee-ouch! The worst part is that the “white van” is actually a legitimate business that tries to LOOK like an illegitimate business to suck people in.

Me? Hmmmm. I did buy a stock on a “hot tip” once. Lost about a grand. Last year I got a “class action” thing in the mail which indicated I was eligible for a couple hunny. Still waiting, though.

Athena, old Carl kind of had you over a barrel – the Henrys are way out there. What a bastard. Was Hanksville the town where you dug him up?

Yup, Hanksville it was. I’d tried to think of the name, but I’d apparantly blocked it from my memory.

About a year later a friend of mine went through Hanksville, and got a picture of her dog taking a piss on the “Welcome to Hanksville” sign for me.

I’ve been ripped off numerous times but the one that hurts most is when someone broke into my house this January and stole some jewelry. I don’t have much of value but for the two rings he took which were priceless to me. One was a plain gold wedding band that had belonged to my maternal grandmother and the other was a small opal/gold ring that belonged to my paternal grandmother. I found out that I was robbed by the local guy who I had paid to cut my lawn. He traded my jewelry for crack.

I had originally not wanted to have this guy do my lawn, but I had been sick and didn’t have the energy and I felt that at least he was out trying to earn an honest living. I let him mow my lawn a few times and usually gave him a few bucks extra. All I did was enable him to case my house and learn my routines so he’d know the best place to break in and the best time to do it.

Yup, [post=6229048]I learned my lesson about U-Haul[/post]

As for the OP… Hrmmm… Badly ripped off…

That would be the time I had a roommate who was out of work and decided to, with no warning, up and go home to mom and dad, in another state, sticking me with the entire rent or find another roommate with only two weeks notice. Going to matching roommates (or some pre-internet days company) I found a guy willing to move in. Great!

The next month, since all the bills were in my name, I noticed the phone bill was rather high, over $200 and it was all for 900# sex calls. <shrug> Like I care how my new apartment mate spends his time if he doesn’t have a girlfriend. Talked to him about paying the bill, he takes it and says he will pay it himself.

A month later I come home from work and find… he’s gone. All of his stuff is cleared out in the same day. No clue where he went. The next day I get the new phone bill… for over $1200!!! He never paid the old one and stuck me with all the new charges. And since the phone was in my name, I got stuck with it all. I had no way to find him to even try to get money from him. I did manage to work a deal with the phone company where I paid them off over 6 months.

I don’t know about badly ripped off, but we’ve been snookered twice by businesses that have since folded up, leaving us with no recourse.

We moved into our house in Oct 2000. We needed our back yard fenced in because of our dog, so I contacted a local fence installer, figuring I’d help out the local economy, and they quoted a price of $1500. Great. They installed a chain link fence, the dog is happy.

Unfortunately, about a year later, our dog died of cancer, and after a suitable mourning period, we got another dog. She kept getting out, and we couldn’t figure out how, since there were no holes dug under the fence and the gate wasn’t open. Then, one day, we caught her going through the fence. Apparently, there is supposed to be a tension wire installed at the fenceline near the ground. This was not installed, so all our dog has to do is nose her way through the bottom of the fence and it will bow out enough for her to escape. I can’t get anyone out to fix it, as the company is gone and the job is too piddly for anyone else to do it. We ended up paying $100 to a handyman to do it, but it’s still not right, so our dear Buck gets to play in the backyard while hooked up to a long chain.

Second, we spent a large part of our income tax refund to buy tile for our house. We have since found, that although it is beautiful tile, it scratches and chips rather easily. My BIL, who installed it, pitched a fit with the store, who gave us a free box of tile so he could replace the chipped tiles that he had just installed. The store blames the supplier, the supplier says our beef is with the store, which has since closed up.

It’s getting to be that I’m afraid to support the local mom and pop outlets, since I don’t know that they will be around in case we have a problem.

In the '70s, when I was young, horny, and foolish, I co-signed a $1500 loan on a Kawasaki motorcycle for my then-boyfriend, a cute guy named Jim who had lousy credit. A few weeks later, Jim rode off to parts unknown, and I ended up paying the entire loan. If I ever see this guy again, I want my motorcycle.

My little tale takes place in 1994, at a BP gas station in Fair Lawn, NJ, just off Rte 208, across from the Nabisco Factory (I wonder if it’s even still there, the BP station, not Nabisco… anyone?)

I was fresh out of high school and the part time gas jockey job the owner, Tom*, hired me for was my first taste of the real world and my own hard-earned paycheck. I took great pride in being chosen to close the station everynight; being responsible for balancing out the cash drawer, turning out all the signs and lights, turning off the pumps, measuring the remaining fuel in the underground tanks, and locking the place up and setting the alarm.

One particularly slow, autumn night, just as it was beginning to get dark, a gentleman of about 30 rode up on his motorcycle and pulled up to the pump closest to the office I read my sci-fi novels in on slow nights. I threw on my jacket and went out to greet him. In my experience, most motorcyclists prefer to pump their own gas rather than let some 17 year old kid spill gas all over their bike, which I was keen to let them do in spite of the law.

While he’s pumping his middle grade gas, the gentleman inquires if “the boss” is around. “Tom?” I unnecessarily ask. “Yeah, Tom. Is he around?”

“No. He’s not ar…”

“Oh.” He laments. “He said he’d be here about 7 because we was going to loan me some money. I’m a friend of his you see.”

Now. I may have been 17 at the time, but I wasn’t completely stupid. Something about this whole situation raised a red flag, but I was too naive to know how to proceed. Unfortunately, the shark smelled the blood.

Apparently, this gentleman felt he was entitled to $65 (more than half a week’s pay for me) of Tom’s money, based on the word of Tom. My skepticism was met by his increased agitation and the suggestion that I call Tom at home so he could speak with him.

Thinking it a good idea, I did just that. Just as I got Tom on phone, another customer with impeccable timing pulled into the station. Telling my boss that someone needed to speak with him, I handed the phone to Mr. Motorcycle and rushed out to take care of the new customer. A moment later, the man with the motorcycle and the newly filled tank of gas returned to the fuel islands and stated that Tom said everything was cool, but that he should leave his driver’s license number for my peace of mind.

Handling the new customer and wanting this guy gone, I watched as he wrote down his license number, from memory, on a credit card slip. Still feeling uneasy but not knowing any way around it, I gave the guy the $65 and watched him ride off before realizing that he didn’t pay for his gas.

The second customer was pulling out at this point, having finished our transaction, and I returned to the office to a ringing phone. If a phone could ring angrily, this one was.

It was my boss, Tom, and he wanted to know who the hell that guy was and why I’d put him on the phone. It seems that all he’d had to say before hanging up was that he was about to rob him. Feeling smaller than I ever have before or since, I pulled the credit card slip with his DL# and what little hopes I had of catching the guy sank when I saw that all he’d written was “Haha123456” (the rest fading off into a squiggly line).

The $65, and the cost of his gas, came out of that week’s paycheck.

Though the OP asked for stories of being ripped off badly, and some might argue that ~$70 isn’t a lot (especially compared to some of the previous stories), it certainly was for me at the time. But, more important than the cash and gas the guy made off with, he also rode away with my trust in the nature of people. He pocketed my youthful naivete and left blind cynicism that would take years to even begin to circumvent. He stole my self-confidence, and made me hate myself for being so naive.

I replayed the whole conversation over and over in my mind, and with typical 20/20 hindsight, saw at least a dozen things I’d done or said wrong, or should have picked up on.

Considering how trivial it was/is in the grand scheme of my life, it really shouldn’t mean anything, but even now some 11 years later, the mere act of retelling it angers me.

*Name changed to protect the dubious

An agent of mine screwed me out of £8000, a friend out of £2000 and one guy a whopping £15 000… (and almost everyone else on their books as well…)

The snag was, that £8000 was ear-marked for my tax bill, so I had to fight with the Inland Revenue as well explaining to them that no, I DIDN’T have any savings OR money ANYWHERE coz my agent [INSERT NAUGHTY WORD]-ed a whole load of us over and out of our wages for about 6 months…

What’s sad is that I feel awful about it, but my DH feels worse. But he’s going through a lot more than I am right now, his parents are going through a very nasty divorce. The bad part is, we hoped to start a family this winter and we don’t know if we’re going to be able to do that with all this going on (we have fertility issues and that costs a lot of money).

A little bit of info from the last day: We researched what our house has sold for over the past 10 years. Two families before us paid over $40,000 less for this house and the family we bought it from paid around $30,000 less than we bought it for - and they didn’t do anything for the upkeep on the house (I won’t even go into the condition of the house the day we moved in, let’s just say we bought the house from complete scum).

So, I must be crazy here. In 1997, the previous owners bought the house for $32, 300 less than we paid. We bought the house in 2003. They hadn’t done any renovations and the house value somehow went up that much in 6+ years. We’ve had it for 2 years and have added over $20,000 in major renovations and the house appraises for even less than market-inflation rate? With how much the house had increased in value in the past 6 years, we thought we’d easily make money on this place, especially after all the expensive things we’ve done with it. Boy were we wrong.

Of course, this is our first house, and we were taken advantage of. Sadly, it seems to be a trend in the housing market. The FBI has had a major increase in investigations into lending companies, real estate agents, and appraisers for shady work like this. This is federal-level fraud and these companies are getting away with it. A lot of people are finding out now that they have been duped and they’re in the same spot we are.

I’m just so sad and bewildered right now. Unfortunately, this is one of many things with this house that we have been ripped-off about. Right about now, I wish the damn thing would burn down, but I have three adorbale pets so I feel bad for even thinking that. I would never want anything bad to happen to them.

::sigh::

Absolutely.

I think I’ve been reasonably cautious, so in general I’ve only been burned on crappy consumer products and the like, to the tune of a couple bucks each. (Incidentally, don’t bother with Let’s Go travel guides. Get Rough Guide or Lonely Planet instead.)

The only thing where I’ve lost a substantial amount of money is in loans to my ex-boyfriend, for things like music classes and rent. He’s quite poor but he has no motivational skills or endurance whatever, in addition to a lot of leftover psychological stuff from a hellacious childhood.

I don’t even count it as a rip-off because I know what he’s like, I basically gave up the loans upon making them, and I pretty much did it as a mitzvah. Like he calls me up and goes, “You know, I’ve realized that my path is leading me towards a state where I can help others with their inner healing journeys to unlock their full spiritual potential!” And I’m like, I’m never seeing that $450 again, am I.

Whatever. I can eat it, and it doesn’t bother me - just makes me kind of sad for him because I know it does bother him. Oh well, Dios me lo repagará.

-Working for Vector marketing, selling Cutco knives. God what an idiot I was. Now, its not necessarily a blatant ripoff, I’m sure if you found the right location and knew the right people, you could make a decent amount off the job. But unfortunately when I got into this (unemployed and desperate for a job) my aunt had already sold knives to my whole family. NOBODY wanted to buy the damn things, and when I begged them to give me a demonstration, saying I’d get paid just to spend an hour talking to them, they refused, stating that “they would feel guilty inviting me over when they didn’t intent to buy anything from me” :mad: and they wouldn’t give me any references because they knew their friends/family didn’t want any knives. So I essentially had no support whatsoever. After a week, I had enough. I did earn $70, but didn’t get paid for my training, and overall I felt incredibly ripped off. Thus when I got hired to my current job and found out I’d get paid different hourly rates for different tasks, I was very suspicious.

Not that first-time home buying has to suck as a rule, but for most people I know–myself included–it generally does. When I bought my first house (by myself), I got screwed six ways to Sunday. Part of it was my fault for not having made myself better informed, but part of it was a shitty, shitty realtor who deserves to have an entire condemned house shoved up his nether regions.

The good news, for me, was that the house itself didn’t end up collapsing around my ears or anything (it wasn’t flawless by any means, but I loved it and it served me well). And better news is that when Skip and I bought a house this year, we had a much better experience. Hang in there.

soulmurk, if it makes you feel any better, it’s entirely likely that you’re the guy who gave me the kickass directions to the Parkway the first time I ever got lost in my very own car. :slight_smile: I don’t know if that gas station is still there, but next time I’m on 208, I’ll check for you.

When I was nineteen, I was living in Boston, having just dropped out of college. My friend and I had a nice sublet just on the edge of the bad part of town, and when the summer was over, we had to find a new place to live. I had been looking in the papers for apartments, and my parents, far away in New Jersey, insisted to me that I just had to find a realtor. So, we hooked up with a very nice real estate agent who showed us a bunch of places, and finally decided on a two-floor apartment in a converted school in Chelsea. It was cute, it was clean, and it wasn’t too expensive. We were very excited. We gave her our security deposit and the first month’s rent, and went back to our sublet to pack and be all excited about stuff.

On August 30th, she called us to tell us that there was a problem–the family that currently lived in “our” apartment had decided not to move out. She said she’d call around and call us back the next day.

On August 31st, my roommate and I took turns calling her or beeping her every ten minutes. Nada.

On September 1st, my roommate and I packed everything we owned (which luckily didn’t include furniture) into my Hyundai Excel, put our two cats in a cage to take with us, and went to the real estate office at nine in the morning. They shared space with a construction company, whose workers showed up around ten, just as I was seriously contemplating the plate glass window and the baseball bat I could reach quite easily in the trunk. The guys who worked for the construction company let us in, and told us that they hadn’t seen Lisa (the agent) or her partner in a couple days. We sat at Lisa’s desk and made a bunch of long-distance phone calls and waited patiently.

Around noon, Lisa’s partner (I think his name was Jerry) came in, and we explained our difficulty. He claimed to know nothing about it, and set about immediately finding us a place to live. After a few hours, he found a place, just down the street from the building we’d wanted to live in, for the same rent, that was being vacated that day. The landlord came down to the office, ran credit checks on us, explained that the previous tenant had been evicted that morning and was leaving her furniture behind, and gave us the key. Jerry gave they guy a check for the money we’d already given Lisa as a security deposit and September’s rent.

My roommate and I took our stuff over to the new place, which was filthy. And, we discovered later, roach-infested. We found a crack pipe in the closet of my bedroom, and it actually took us at least an hour to discover that there was no refrigerator. We decided that we had no choice, and settled in to make the best of it, enduring the skittering roach sounds and the fact that we couldn’t afford a telephone because we had to buy a refrigerator, and even managing to be almost okay with the fact that “friends” of the former occupant would call at all hours of the night. We usually didn’t answer the door, until one night a gentleman of questionable upbringing informed us that he was going to break it down. (At this point, I opened the door with the chain on and a cast-iron frying pan in my hand and managed to convince this fellow that the woman he was looking for no longer lived in the apartment. To his credit, he was very apologetic once he realized that he had scared the living shit out of the little white girl.)

On September 28th, the landlord visited, because we had no phone. He looked around the apartment and was astonished at it’s condition, though I explained that the roaches had been residents long before we lived there. Then he informed me that Lisa and Jerry had written him a bad check, and we owed him the security deposit, September’s, and October’s rent. I showed him the receipts I had from the “realtors” proving that I had paid them, and he seemed not to care a whole hell of a lot. He then told me that if we didn’t give him the requisite $1650 on October first, he would have no choice but to evict us.

Then I called my parents and explained what had happened, all because they had forced us to consult a realtor. There was yelling, crying, and a lot of other stuff. This was a period in my life where I could do no right in my parents’ eyes, so I’m sure you can imagine the fun that was had by all.

My parents ended up driving up to Boston and finding us a different realtor and a different apartment and paying for it all themselves–I think just so they could control my life a little bit, but that’s a different story and my parents are different people now. I digress.

The new apartment contained a bathtub that never fully shut off, an oil burner that sucked up more than $200 worth of heating oil every two weeks and had a pilot light that would go out without warning just because it felt like it, and the landlord was very Italian and insisted we always pay the rent in cash.

I don’t know if the police ever found the two realtors–Landlord #1 had confirmed for me that they were wanted in several states for doing this. Looking back, I cringe every time at what a complete idiot I was.

There is (or was, depending on if this shyster is still in business) an independant car rental out of Denver Airport. Since there were a buttload of us with ski gear, and his full size van was cheaper than all the big named companies, I - the travel agent - went with him.
The vehicle had 4 bald tires. No heat and a few other problems. But it was the tires that could have killed us driving 4 hours through and up into mountains.
I learned to always stick will the big named companies after that.

Oh, and Sea Monkeys are the second most scarring memory of my childhood. Thanks for drudging it up!

Exactly. And I was an adult with kids when I fell for that hoax. Not much money involved but lots of waiting for anything to happen in that Mason jar. We were ready with names even.

You just reminded me about the time I went out to breakfast with a friend of mine, and the owner of the joint happened to be the one to take us to our table. My friend and I were all giddy and happy and hammy, and the owner (after we’d enjoyed a bit of banter with him) asked me if I wanted a job.

And at that point, besides being a grad student, I was pretty much a waitress by trade (though I didn’t have a job at the time), so long story short, I showed up for a double “training” shift (lunch and dinner), during which my trainer, seeing that I knew my stuff, pretty much let me do all the work (I don’t blame her at all, however, because I truly believe that she was genuinely impressed with how fast I caught on, and fully believed that I was going to be working there). At the beginning of the shift, I was told by the owner’s wife that I would fill out my paperwork after the shift. At the end of the shift (from which I did not earn a dime), I was told that she would look at the schedule and call me when she’d figured out which shifts I’d be working, and that when I came back for my first “official” shift, I would fill out paperwork.

I’m sure you know how this story ends.

I did call her a couple of times, only to be told that she didn’t have any openings, but would let me know . . .

'Course, I think that may have been a blessing in disguise; on my “training” day, I noticed that:

a) all of the waitstaff were women (not that anything’s wrong with that in itself, but it wasn’t a small place, so the lack of testosterone kinda stood out), and

b) Owner, Owner’s Wife, and Owner’s Daughter all referred to the waitstaff collectively as “The Girls”. (Owner’s Wife actually called them “My Girls” during our first phone conversation; when I asked her what I should wear for my training shift, she said, “My girls wear black and white.”)

PinkMarabou’s story makes me wonder if the value on my house was inflated… Hm. Dunno.

I’m usually extra-cautious about everything, so it tends to minimize the opportunities people have to rip me off. I’m fairly certain I had one childhood ‘friend’ who stole from me…

Still, one can’t predict everything.

A few years ago, I had a Canadian photo agency hire me to shoot two portraits for some Oracle in-house publication in Hungary for $1500 US. Months went by. No money. I call. I email. I threaten a lawsuit. I keep getting the “we’re sorting things out” bullshit. So finally, when I get back to the US, I sic collections on them. Turns out they’re in the process of declaring bankruptcy, owed many photographers money, and if I wanted to pursue it legally, it would cost me $400 to file a lawsuit. Not a big deal, except I figured the chances of me getting any money out of it was next to none, so I had to eat that $1500 of work.

The worst part of it is when that $1500 was due to me, it was a time when I desperately needed money. I had little in savings, and the missing check pretty much caused me to miss 3 credit card payments in a row–the only black mark on my 10+ year credit history. I’ve only just recently started pecking at a 700 FICO again (only 14 more points to go!)