Sunday, December 16, 2007

Online fraud??

Ok, this has nothing to do with movies, entertainment or guy stuff. But after all the crap I went through with, I wanted to pass this information along to anyone who stops by here. Because this is completely unreal. Supposedly legitimate companies are overcharging us for online purchases every day. Think it hasn't happened to you? Do you live in a state where there is a tax on shipping and handling? Because even if there isn't, you're probably paying it.

No, this isn't an urban legend, and it didn't happen to my cousin's neighbor's dog. LOL. During my recent battles with TMobile, I finally got to the point where I thought everything was settled. The sequence of events was:

1. I ordered a prepaid phone from the TMobile website on November 15, and paid $11.99 for overnight shipping.
2. It was Thursday night, so I didn't get the phone until Monday anyway.
3. The speaker didn't work. No matter what I did, I couldn't get any sound out of the phone other than the little key beeps.
4. I danced around with their customer service people in the form of a moebius loop of attempts to e-mail them, an absolutely clueless dolt on their chat help thing, and then I finally got someone on the phone who knew what I should do.
5. Phone guy told me there was a return shipping label in the box, and that I should tape it up, stick it on, and send it back. Then I could re-order. The first purchase would be credited to me when they received the phone. Ok, good.
6. Ran out and found UPS drop box, got the thing there in time for last pickup.
7. Ordered replacement phone, paid $11.99 for overnight shipping again, but since it was now the day before Thanksgiving, I wouldn't get it until Friday.
8. Got phone. Phone works. Yay!
9. All is well until I looked at my Paypal balance a couple days ago. I paid for both phones using my Paypal debit card. According to Paypal, I was charged $54.58 for each phone purchase. $39.99 for the phone, $11.99 for the shipping, and $2.60 sales tax. My refund was for $41.99. WTF??
10. I check the "order status" link for the first phone, and find out that TMobile has changed my order date to December 6, even though the shipping date is listed as November 16. And suddenly the order total only shows $41.99, as if they never charged me shipping in the first place! Again, WTF??
11. So I sent Midgey a screencap of my Paypal, and said "am I hallucinating?" She said, no, I was not. They refunded me for the phone, and for $2.00 worth of sales tax.
12. It occurs to me that they must have charged tax on the shipping fee! No way can that be right!
13. Google is my friend. It is illegal to charge sales tax on shipping and handling in Massachusetts. So no, it wasn't right. And I never would have caught it if they hadn't sent me a defective phone and then refused to refund the shipping fee.
14. TMobile has now received a polite(ish) e-mail from me requesting a refund of $13.19. This covers the $11.99 shipping, and the two $.60 tax overcharges. I also helpfully sent them a link to the channel 7 story, in case they wanted to clear up any misconceptions. And I am SO calling up channel 7 if I don't get my refund! Yeah, it's only $.60 each, but it still makes me mad. And frankly, since we are poor enough to get reduced price school lunch, $1.20 will feed one of my kids school lunch for 3 days.

I will be posting this information in several places. Feel free to link to it, or to relate the story. And by all means Check Your Tax Charges! On a large purchase, it could really add up.

I'll be back soon with the actual post I intended to make, but I need to rest my carpal tunnel(s). LOL.

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