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!?

The Sound Exposure difference

A little insight into why buying your audio equipment from Sound Exposure is a wise move.

The difference between Sound Exposure and [any other pro audio retailer] is that you can talk to an expert or read the detailed product descriptions so that you never buy “blindly”. ALL the product images are accurate portrayals of the actual product (where a satisfactory image wasn’t available a photographer was commissioned to obtain a good quality product shot). You won’t see an “actual product may vary” label on anything on the www.soundexposure.com website – so you can buy in confidence.

The Product Range (with simplistic text for those who can’t tell their boom pole from their XLR connector).

Adhesive Tape (Top quality insulation tape, gaffer tape and premium camera tape)

Amplifiers (Crown, Denon, Electro-Voice, QSC, Samson – all quality brands that you can trust)

Audio Solutions (Matching Converters, Limiters etc)

Batteries (Hawk-Woods for all your camera / production equipment powering needs and Procell – the Duracell brand rebadged for the professional market)

Boompoles (for your film/tv/location soundman (or woman) to hold a microphone above the action)

Cables (XLR, Speakon, 1/4″ Jack – custom cables can also be built to your requirements, just call Sound Exposure)

CD players (1U rack mount, 2U rack mount, multi disc autochanger, twin deck, iPod docking, Pro DJ – you name it!)

CD Recorders (recording your audio to a small circular disc)

Audio Connectors (Neutrik, IDC Krone – for constructing your own cable requirements – or Sound Exposure can do the donkey work for you!)

Power Connectors (Neutrik, Schurter, Permaplug – for your power cabling needs)

Data Storage (SanDisk Solid State Drives (SSD) and USB Flash Drives)

DI Boxes (Direct Input, Direct Injection or simply DI is an electronic device that connects a high impedance, line level, unbalanced output signal (like a guitar or keyboard) to a low impedance mic level balanced input, usually via XLR connector)

Digital Effects (add an audio sheen to your recordings)

DVD Players (1U / 2U rackmount DVD players)

Dynamics Processors (Microphone Preamplifiers, Limiters, Compressors, Gates – to ensure the best quality in your recordings)

Earphones (ideal for IEM – that’s In Ear Monitoring in case you weren’t sure)

Equalisers (for tweaking the frequencies with a fine tooth comb)

Equipment Bags (protect your investment with a custom fitted equipment bag – ideal for location work)

Flightcases (if you’re moving your rackmount equipment around on a regular basis – live sound, theatre, location work – then flightcasing your gear is essential)

Headphones (or “cans” – for assisting in the quest of your results equating to your expectations!)

Headphone Amplifiers (to allow more than one pair of ears to listen via headphones)

Headsets (when you need to listen AND talk)

In Ear Monitoring or IEM (systems that enable you to hear yourself without spilling sound from the stage via the standard monitor speaker method)

Lighting (you’re in a dark room with a band playing and they want you to make them sound amazing – these lights will help you see what you’re doing (they do not however add anything to your mixing ability))

Loudspeaker Control (Crossovers split the audio signal into separate frequency bands that can be separately routed to loudspeakers optimized for those bands)

Loudspeaker Stands (for improving the performance of your speaker system)

Memory Cards (Sandisk SD, SDHC and Compact Flash cards)

Microphone Accessories (Rode MiCon Connectors, Reflexion Filters (a virtual portable vocal booth!), Clips, Stand Adapters, Thread Adapters, Isolation Mounts and Stereo Bars)

Microphone Stands (for ensuring your microphone stays where you want it to. In addition there are iPad holders and drinks holders – for those thirsty performers)

Microphone Windshields (Softies, Smoothies, Windjammers, and Suspension – all to shield your microphone from unwanted noise. Plus Rycote Mic Flags for getting your branding “on mic” and “on screen”)

Wired Microphones (a fundamental requirement if you want to record audio)

Wireless Microphones (you want to walk AND talk!?)

Mixers (take your various sources of audio and lovingly splice them together with the aid of one of these)

Active Monitors (for you to listen to your recordings subjectively and make the RIGHT adjustments – active monitors have their own amplifier built in)

Passive Monitors (for you to listen to your recordings subjectively and make the RIGHT adjustments – passive monitors must be connected to an amplifier for them to be heard)

Music Stands (Keyboard stools and stands, drummer’s thrones, guitar stands and sheet music stands – because resting everything on the floor just would not work)

Paging Amplifiers (100V line amps for installation wherever background music / paging needs arise)

Active PA Speakers (for outputting the aural delicacy you have mixed (see Mixers above) – active PA speakers have their own amplifier built in)

Passive PA Speakers (for outputting the aural delicacy you have mixed (see Mixers above) – passive PA speakers must be connected to an amplifier for them to be heard)

Portable Recorders (digital audio recorders that are small and eminently mobile)

Studio Recorders (digital audio recorders in standard rackmount configuration – but can still be mobilised (see Flightcases above) if you wish)

Power Distribution Units (PDUs) (all this clever rackmount hardware requires electricity – distribute the power around your rack from one tidy rackmounted device)

Stage Boxes (rather than having every audio source straggling its cables over the stage and up to the mixer a stage box combines everything into a single run)

Test Equipment (something not working as you’d expect? Use these valuable tools to help you locate the problem quickly)

Tuners (for monitoring your radio stations output a tuner is vital – or you can use one to “just” listen to the radio)

This is not an exhaustive list as products are added to the portfolio all the time, so keep your eyes on your pro audio and broadcast superstore!