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Monday, June 21, 2010

Scam Alert!

There is a website called Restaurants.com where you can type in a zip code and get a list of participating retaurants in that area and purchase discounted gift certificates to those restaurants.

I have some wonderful neighbors.  They are a couple in their early 40s who have 2 kids, and always go out of their way to be helpful to us.  Hubby has severe arthritis in his knees and must use a cane, and these neighbors do wonderful things like shovel our walk in the winter, mow our lawn in the summer, bring our trash cans in from the street on garbage day, and refuse to take money for their kind deeds.

When I heard about Restaurants.com,   I thought it might be nice to buy a gift certificate to an area restaurant so they could have an evening out on us.   The site advertised that I could pay $20 for a $50 gift certificate.  I located a restaurant I thought they might enjoy and proceeded to buy the gift certificate.  Once I had used my credit card to make the purchase and was instructed to  print out the certificate, I noticed that there was a minimum purchase requirement of $100 in order to use the coupon.  I saw no evidence of this, prior to entering my credit card information.

Needless to say, I did not want my neighbors to have to spend $50 on top of the certificate amount in order to benefit, so I called the telephone number listed on the website and requested that the purchase be cancelled.   I was informed that cancellation and refund were not an option, but that I could use the credit toward the purchase of a different certificate.  We went round and round, and I let them know that I did not want another gift certificate (with who knows what minimum purchase requirement), I just wanted a refund.I have exchanged emails with their customer service department with no success, and have had to resort to getting my credit card company to cancel and refund my purchase.  Their customer service says the terms of the certificate were openly disclosed on the website, and basically "tough s@@t" if I don't like it.  I know if that piece of information had been openly available, I never would have made the purchase.

I just wanted to alert everyone to the situation, and hope no one else makes the same mistake I did.  As far as I'm concerned, this website is a scam!


And that's all my bitchin' for today!

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24 comments:

The Vegetable Assassin said...

That's exactly the kind of indifference to people that truly turns me from mellow into the Incredible Hulk. When you do something seemingly simple and end up taken complete advantage of. I hope you can resolve this. The least they could do in your case, since you bothered calling, was refund your purchase. I'm annoyed on your behalf.

Mary at Deep South Dish said...

Okay, that totally sucks. I would do two things. If you have a local tv action reporter call them. Sounds like a story they would like. Another avenue might be Good Housekeeping. I've seen them take action on things like this before. Hope you can get your money back!

Queenie Jeannie said...

That really bites!!! WHY do people do these things??? Greedy buggers!

At least your heart was in the right place!!

Brian Miller said...

thanks for saving us from this eva...sorry you had to go through it...annoying

Margaret (Peggy or Peg too) said...

I'm so sorry that it is now customary to treat customers poorly. You were doing a nice thing and then you get this.

When hubby and I were downsized we started our own business. We hear time and time again how our service won us the job even if our competitor was a bit cheaper. Why don't people understand that if you take care of people you win in the end?

Customers don't know that I am the boss's wife. They think I am just a gal in the office who gives them information, calms them, works with them and directs them. Last week a couple told hubby that gal in the office was so wonderful to them that they have told their friends and neighbors. They said that he had a great staff who "sold" his company and that I was a great first impression. Hubby told them he appreciated hearing that. (I'd ask for a raise if I got paid!)

In the mean time I had told hubby how difficult and awful they were.
Funny huh? But they didn't know they frustrated the hell out of me. customer is always right even when they are wrong!
Wish more people got that.

I'm sorry you had to go through this.

Mr. Stupid said...

Too bad. Most Customer service departments never provide the service. They can be rude all the time. These sites put up the minimum requirements at the end. Thanks for the alert.
Hope you get your money back. Have a good day...:)

5thsister said...

Totally SUCKS! We have used either this service or another similar one that didn't have a minimum purchase option. I'm thinking the individual restaurant must have set that option. Still....the customer service is beyond pitiful. I think you did the right thing by disputing the charge with your CC company. We've had to resort to that in the past as well.

DJan said...

Thanks for the heads up. I will never deal with these guys, or any of their spawn. Some people really don't care about anything except ripping people off. And you were doing a nice thing!

glnroz said...

Dad Gum It,, those toads,, but thanks for the infor. I hope their website goes down,,

The Good Cook said...

Thanks for the heads-up. I have heard of this site but had not yet visited - I may be willing to spend $20 for a $50 dollar certificate and hubs and I would probably spend $100 on dinner for two - so that would be worth it (a savings of $30) BUT I want to know this upfront.

Sorry Customer Service was so rude... what about the service part do they not understand?

Steven Anthony said...

I just heard a radio promo on this very sight...I thought it sounded to good to be true, sounds like I was right..

sorry for your trouble ;)

R. J. said...

Can your credit card company stop payment as a bank might hold payment on a check? It certainly sounds like a scam and after looking at the web site I will stay away from it too. Customer service is more important than they think but unfortunately, too many businesses are getting away with it--airlines for example.

lakeviewer said...

Terrible! How do they get away with it? We need to campaign hard against them. Thanks for standing up to them.

Eva, I want to publically thank you for your loyal support all these months, following my blog(s). Your support has been priceless.

Ann On and On... said...

That just sucks! I always thought it was to good to be true. Darn it!

The Redhead Riter said...

THAT is a total rip off!!!!

Paige said...

So sorry to hear about this!

Thanks for stopping by on my SITS day! Hope you have a wonderful week.

Wanderlust said...

I'm assuming you mean restaurant.com and not restaurants (with an s)? I read through their whole FAQ page out of curiosity and it says nothing about a minimum purchase. Scam indeed. Sorry you got taken in while trying to do something generous for a friend.

The Retired One said...

Pretty sleazy of them, Eva! And if you are as rural as WE are, half the restaurants aren't even available to us.
Good for you to fight them and for spreading the news...they now have to do thousands of dollars of P.R. for screwing around with you...so THERE!! ha

ethelmaepotter! said...

I've seen those ads and wondered about them; thanks for the heads up!

Joann Mannix said...

You know, we saw this in the paper and my husband wanted to look into it. I said it was probably a scam. Thank you for letting us know. I bet you anything you could get your money back by calling them out. Like someone said, a little negative press would definitely do the trick. And news channels love this sort of thing. I would call them up, I bet you anything, they'd be right on it.

I'm Jane said...

No good deed...

Thanks for sharing! Bastards.

Unknown Mami said...

I'm going through a similar situations with something I bought online and I am getting nowhere with their customer service. I have never called my credit card company to ask for help, but I think I will have to.

Pat said...

I have heard about those gift certificate sites, but not about the scam. Thanks for the heads up.

That just sucks.

Wendy said...

Wow, this is crummy. Thanks for the heads up!