A couple of weeks ago we got a postcard in the mail from an organization in Utah called StoresOnline. Their claim is that they will teach you how to make easy money on the Internet.
The card was an invitation to an informational meeting, where if we gave up 90 minutes of our time, we’d get a free lunch and an mp3 player.
Well, we have more time than money these days, so I thought why not? The meeting was Friday afternoon and I was surprised by how many people were there – probably more than 120. The majority were over 40 with quite a few who looked to be older than 70.
The man giving the presentation was pretty slick. He used humor and tried very hard to make it sound like anyone could make easy money on the Internet. You know the story, about how you can make money while you are sleeping? Or how you can make money by using a dropshipper so you never have to touch the inventory? He made it sound like once you created this quick and easy website, all you had to do was open your email each morning and write down how much money was deposited in your bank account overnight. Don’t have an idea what you want to sell? No problem, a team of experts would be flying in two weeks hence to help you put everything together.
For the original price of $199 you got a license and all the support needed to create an e-commerce website. Once you were ready to go live, you would be responsible for a $25/month hosting and servicing fee. And that was all there was to it.
Well, not quite. For that afternoon only, you could get the license for the low, low price of $50. Your 50 bucks bought an additional 8-hour training workshop two weeks later where you would learn how to get your website to the top of a search engine list, etc. And we were all encouraged to bring a friend along so they would have an additional sucker to fleece.
We estimated that approximately half of those in attendance paid their $50 and will return in two weeks when they will be told they need to spend an additional $3,600 for six licenses and a bunch of add-ons.
I told Mr. gyma I felt really bad for the elderly folks who turned over $50 for this scam. I estimated that perhaps 1% of the people who go through this training ever makes any money doing it. I hope the elders went home and told their loved ones what they did so they can do a quick google search. If they do they will discover page after page of complaints from people who paid out thousands of dollars and had nothing but trouble and never made a dime.
I noticed on the distributed sign-up forms that people over the age of 62 had 15 business days to cancel and get a refund. That timeframe should even cover those who go through the 8-hours of torture before they realize they’ve been taken for a ride.
I got sucked into one of these schemes a year or so ago when I was researching ways to make money from home. I found a website that for the low price of $49.95 provided you with contacts for taking marketing surveys. Many years ago I knew people who worked from home and were paid to call people and ask their opinions about products. With the advent of the “no-call’ lists, I assumed companies were having trouble getting valid feedback. So it sounded reasonable at the time and it came with a 30-day money back guarantee. I thought I could give it a try and if it didn’t work, I would get my money back.
Here’s what happened. When I signed up I had to provide my email address. I was at least smart enough to create a separate account for just this purpose. Within 24 hours I had thousands and thousands of emails, none of which generated any money. They were requests to take surveys, all right, but after you took the survey you had to purchase something in order to get paid.
I tried repeatedly to cancel and get my money back but every email I sent went unanswered. I contacted my credit card company and asked them to intervene. They suspended the payment, but eventually told me I had to pay. Apparently credit cards won’t get involved in disputes in these cases unless the amount owed is over $50! How clever for this person to charge $.06 less than the limit!
Several years later I still have that email address and every so often I check it. Last time I looked there were more than 5,000 emails, all of which I deleted with 2 clicks of the mouse.
Have you ever fallen for one of these schemes?