Online Businesses that will RIP YOU OFF!

Have you ever been really, really PISSED OFF, but knew that your hands were tied- that there was absolutely nothing on Earth you could do about it? Well, that’s how I’m starting to feel about a couple of online businesses. I figured I’d post this in case anyone else is considering doing business with these companies.

Uniquesurf.com

This is one of those paid-to-surf companies. It looked like a shady outfit from the start, buy hey, what can I say? I’m gullible.

I signed up with these fraudulent fuckers last July and accrued somewhere in the neighborhood of 120 hours of staring at their stupid banner advertisements. At 70 cents an hour, that works out to over $80. Or at least it should. In my case, it worked out to JACK SQUAT!

I did it the honest way, too. I didn’t download any of those programs designed to defeat the banners. I clicked on the advertisements to maintain a 1.5% click-through rate. Of course, that meant clicking on the same banners dozens of times since they only had a few advertisers and the banners changed every 15 seconds or so. In any case, I followed their instructions to the letter.

Their page clearly stated that members would be paid at the end of each month in which they had accumulated $20 or more of earnings. I did that my first month.

Three or four months after the end of said month, I still had not received a check. I emailed them repeatedly over the course of the next two months and never received a single response. Their page showed no contact info other than the email address, so I checked with Internic to see who registered the domain. Contact info simply said “GIBRALTER 00000.” sigh Looks like I got ripped the fuck off…

Essential.com

I signed up with these fools last July, too. They promised a cool $50 check in the mail if you’d let them handle your long distance.

After a few months of using their service and no check, I emailed them and politely asked what was going on. Their response indicated that I hadn’t signed up under any promotion and wouldn’t receive one red cent. FUCKING LIARS! I WOULDN’T HAVE EVEN THOUGHT OF SIGNING UP FOR YOUR SERVICE IF YOU WEREN’T GOING TO PAY ME!

I managed to convince them of this and, in an email dated Nov. 4, they said they would “send the check ASAP.”

December came. Still no check. I emailed them several times that month, but my emails were all ignored.

Around the beginning of January, I found a Customer “Service” phone number on their site and called. I was as polite as humanly possible, considering the circumstances. The man I talked to was unapologetic, but promised that I would receive a check in two weeks. I asked him if he was lying to me like the guy who had emailed me did. He assured me that he was not.

He was.

Fast forward to about four weeks from that date - twp days ago, to be exact. I called Customer “Service” at 4:30PM CST, but the lady I talked to said that I’d have to call back before 5PM EST when their Billing Department was open. Apparently the Customer Service and Billing Departmants are on opposite sides of the country, and keep different hours. Helluva way to organize a business, if you ask me.

I called them again at noon yesterday, forgoing my lunch for what appeared to be a rapidly dwindling chance at the promised $50. The woman I talked to this time (after 20 minutes on hold) was a royal BITCH! And this was a Customer Service rep! I think she should have been a prison guard instead.

Evil Bitch told me that there was no way for her to resolve my issue, despite what the other lady said. I asked to speak to her supervisor. She said no, explaining that he couldn’t do anything either. I told her to let me talk to him anyway. She refused. According to Evil Bitch, the most she could do would be to request that the Billing Dept. email me.

“But they ignore all my emails!,” I protested.

I made it pretty clear that I wasn’t getting off the line until my issue was resolved. She then gave me the number to the Sales Dept, of all places. I guess she was just trying to get rid of me. Fuck her. I wasn’t getting any help anyway.

I called Sales, and got an answering machine message that said they were only open from 9AM to 6PM Monday through Friday.

“9 to 6 Monday through Friday! It’s fucking noon on Wednesday!,” was about the extent of the message I left.

Finally, I called their corporate office in MA. I explained my situation to the operator. She was aghast. The first sympathetic voice I’d heard through this whole ordeal. She transfered me to someone in the fabled, mystical Billing Dept. that had seemed so elusive. The guy I talked to there said that he couldn’t give me a check, but would credit my account for $50. Hooray! Victory! I hope so, anyway. They have lied to me before.

You know, when I think about it, for all the time I’ve spent trying to get this $50, I could have gotten a second job and earned that much! sigh

Sorry for the length of this post. If anyone else knows of any similar companies to avoid, please fill me in. If I have to go through this shit too many more times, I’m going to be the only 22-year-old on the block with ulcers!

…you learned a valuable lesson about getting something for nothing. Occasionally it works out, but the vast majority of the time, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Sorry you had to go through all that crap though. People can promise you the world, but that doesn’t mean they’ll deliver.

Zette :frowning:

Well, I at least thought Essential.com wouldn’t rip me off because I have received similar offers in the past from AT&T ($100) and MCI ($50) and they both paid up.

I was never very optimistic about Uniquesurf, but figured I didn’t have all that much to lose.

Oh, I love AT&T. They kept bugging me to change to thier service. Every other day it seemed like I would get a call, offering more and more money. The day I was moving out of my house in Utah, and coming back to texas. I got a check for $50 and note saying that If I cashed it, they would switch me over to Att…I cashed it, then when I got home I called the phone company and had my phone shut off. They didnt say how long I had to use them.