Cowboys in the digital age [aka RedSave Voucher Pass Scam, sorry “Scheme”]

RedSave - don't deal with these cowboys - they'll enrol you into a voucher scheme that'll take £19.95 per month from your credit card - without your permission - and ignore email requests to be removed from their scam - sorry I mean "scheme").

RedSave – don’t deal with these cowboys – they’ll enrol you into a voucher scheme that’ll take £19.95 per month from your credit card – without your permission – AND they ignore email requests to be removed from their scam – sorry I mean “scheme”).

I like to think that I’m a fairly savvy online buyer – knowing my way round Google Shopping to narrow in on the bargains for instance (and checking the postage and packing costs – watch out, some of them are hidden right up until you tap your card details in!) So to become a victim of what can only be described as a scam does somewhat dent my Netizen (remember that 90’s term – for a “citizen on the ‘net”!?) pride.

Well I searched for a BluRay disc to find the best price and came up with a good price from RedSave – who were on Google Shopping so had at least some form of credibility (though obviously you should still check things out). They had a secure GeoTrust backed HTTPS:// server offering (another tick) and a fairly well laid out site so I committed to the purchase. What I didn’t do (which I admit was, up until this point in my online buying checklist, not a standard move) was to read the reviews on Google Shopping – oh how I wish I had…..

They’re not on Google Shopping any more it seems – I wonder why!? But here are the TrustPilot reviews.

Suffice to say you’re not going to save with RedSave – perhaps the “red” denotes the blood they’re going to suck from you – or your debit card balance as they keep withdrawing a £19.95 “membership fee” from your card every month? There is mention of this scheme in your email confirmation but the information is certainly very well laced into the text and site to make it innocuous-looking. Finding out the actual T&Cs for this scheme however requires MANY clicks and a law degree to decipher it.

So, weeks prior to the elapsing of my “Free 30 day” membership, I emailed cancellation notice. I sent it to support@redsave.com – an address that imbues confidence that the recipient would be able to help (that is what support groups do isn’t it?) and could deal with my notification. What happened?

RedSave ignore my cancellation request and withdraw £19.95 from my credit card

So “nil pwah” (or “nil points” for our non-Eurovision Song Contest viewers) to RedSave. I inform my card company – they tell me that they will block further payment requests. Next month “REDSAVEPASS.COM” has indeed not made a withdrawal from my card (YAY!), however “REDSAVE08453880287” have made a withdrawal of £19.95 (WHAAAAT!?)

Now if this is not straightforward evidence of a company that is NOT being straightforward then I don’t know what is.

My credit card company have assured me that this matter will be resolved – but really why should they NEED to get involved. Businesses like this cause unwarranted anguish and aggravation by not being above board and honest in their dealings. There should be a law against hoodwinking – to deal with all these companies (both corporate cowboys and little old sole trader cowboys) for skirting along the edges of the law. Actually the term “cowboys” is unfair to the hardworking livestock wranglers that ride around the arid parts of North America – let’s call it as it is – more befitting would be “con artists”, “confidence tricksters”, or “shady dealers”. They, let’s face it, escape being labelled criminals because they are “playing the system” and know which side of the line they need to remain on. The government ranted earlier in the year about being ethical with regards tax payment (or avoidance – Google, Starbucks etc, etc.) and this whole “what can we get away with” mentality is where it all stems from. Why can’t people just do an honest days work for an honest days pay!?

Dear Microsoft: A capital J does NOT equal a smiley!

Old Skool SmileyI don’t know about you but I’ve been wondering why people now and then have been putting a capital J at the end of their emails. It got to the point where I became so bemused that I thought I’d Google it.

What’s the juice J?

Whaddya know!? – Microsoft in all their pseudo-omnipotent arrogance decided that the good old : ) (the punctuation marks of a colon and a right parenthesis – otherwise known as a “smiley”) were no longer acceptable to convey a smile in character form. Instead MS software automatically replaces the straightforward, universally recognised and platform independent, two ASCII character smiley with their WingDings font version – which for anyone not using Outlook / Microsoft email systems translates as a capital “J”. Well done! [slow hand clap]….

Yet again Microsoft have taken the view that EVERYONE uses their software (sorry to report guys, your market is receding) and have actually put a “stick in the spokes” of what was already a perfectly acceptable means of communicating within email that something was a joke or lighthearted. Let’s hope nothing too inflammatory is sent from a Microsoft email system – the presence of a capital J is not going to water down the message that was originally intended as a joke!

😉     <— I wonder what they’ll do with the winking smiley!?