Sunday, February 08, 2009

Too good to be true?

Today I've learnt again that if it sounds to good to be true, it probably is.

It started with a phonecall from a cookware company. The lady said that were doing some research and wanted to get people's opinion about their product, no obligations, with an incentive offered.

I was probably being a too nice person. But every now and then, I consent to participate in some market research because I sympathise with people running research like this, since I work in a similar field.

So a guy shows up at our door. Makes small talk. Apparently he used to be an Olympics athlete representing Malta, but due to a sports injury he couldn't run professionally anymore. (Hmmm... I wonder how an ex-Olympian ended up in direct sales? Oh well *shrug* everyone has a story).

Finally we got round to the 'survey'. He pulled out the cookware and asked us to rate from 1 to 10 how we felt about the products appearance. I asked why he did not have a survey form to record our responses. He said he'll remember it in his head. This did not sound like a legit research survey after all.

I supppose I could have asked him to leave. But being a nice person, I thought I'd just let him get through his 'thing' and see how it goes. Everyone deserves a 'fair go' after all.

This was the ultimate miracle cookware. Non-stick, easy to clean, quick and perfect cooking results... can cook rice in 3 minutes, can cook a roast dinner over the stove in 20 minutes, can even bake a cake on the stove! (is it just me, or does this sound familiar?)

19 piece set... guess how much it costs? $5,000!!! But we are entitled to a special promotion of course... interest free payment plan... it will save us money in the long run... etc. etc. etc...

"Ermmm... we'll think about it and let you know"

"OK, but that means you will forgo the promotion, and you'll pay heaps more money tomorrow"

I hate pushy sales people.

Unfortunately I'm too nice to blatantly order him out of my house. I was unable to pin point why I didn't feel comfortable with the product or this guy. So I asked him to give us a few minutes in private so my husband and I can 'discuss' it first.

While he was waiting outside, I jumped on the internet and checked out the company name. After a few minutes, I came across one link indicating that this was a dodgy thing. I didn't have much time to search further, but it was enough.

I just told him that I think the product was overpriced. He tried to push a bit more, asking what I meant, explaining that we could cancel at any time, saying how disappointed he felt that I was worrying so much over nothing... basically trying to play with emotions.

I did not know yet the details of what this possible scam was about. But there was just a quiet, but persistent small voice that told me this did not feel right.

I did not say much... but simply held that we were not interested and thanked him very much for his time.

After he left, I did a bit more extensive research and found a few more article and forums that pointed at mispresentation and unethical sales tactics of this company.

I was just so thankful that we did not fall prey to any possible scams or ripoffs if that had really turned out to be one. I believe it was God's guidance that gave me that 'intuition'. Hubby and I said a prayer of thanksgiving and asked for God's protection over our house, our finances and our lives.

So remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. The only thing that holds up to everything it promises is God's love and grace.

(I'm planning to submit some complaints and reports about this company to the authorities, can't let them continue preying on gullible people, can we?)

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