Spend any real length of time working in an industry and you'll come out with some insider info. Sometimes that insider info is unimportant to the customer, but other times that peek behind the curtain reveals some shady business practices.
That's where this Reddit thread comes in. User Prokachu asked:
Reddit didn't disappoint. Check out some of the tips and tricks they shared.
1. The Trash-Panda Bandit
I know a guy who does pest control who specializes in raccoon removal. He takes the raccoons from one house in one neighborhood, then takes and releases it in another neighborhood then waits for the people there to reach out to him to remove the raccoon from their home.
2. Sometimes The Check Engine Light Is A Good Thing
If you're buying a used car - or any car for that matter, the check engine light should temporarily come on when you start the vehicle. If it doesn't, the dash has been tampered with to mask a potential issue
3. Cup = Bowl
I waited tables in a restaurant and one time I decided to pour a cup of soup into an empty bowl (a bowl of soup costs a good bit more than a cup of soup at the restaurant). The cup filled up the bowl to the top.
4. "Forgetful" Contractors
When my grandmother was in the hospital, her landscaper and handyman both contacted me to tell me she hadn't paid them and they'd been trying to to reach her and on and on. I'd already paid both bills from her account and when I questioned them, they remembered real quick.
5. Google Pirates
Jacking google business pages. Basically if a google business listing isn't claimed and controlled by a company, a competing company can weasel their way in and direct people to their business by, say, changing the phone number.
There was an article recently about how drug counselors in the Philadelphia area had it happen to them. Their listing phone number was changed to an 800 number, which directed callers to an inpatient rehab facility in Florida. It was discovered when one of these counselors started noticing his patients suddenly not showing up. He called one of them and found out he was at this facility in Florida.
6. That's Identity Theft
Dish Network's door-to-door salesmen will tell you that's it's fine to use your parent's name and Social Security Number for your account if your credit prevents you from getting service. This is not ok, it's identity theft.
7. Ahh, The French Method
In France it's hard to fire or lay off people, so when big companies need to clean house a bit, they move the office to a new location quite distant from the current one. In the process they reduce the office size from 50,000 seats to 30,000 because they've estimated that amount of people will resign rather than endure a 4 hours commute... But officially "totally you still have your job if you want, we are not laying you off, but I need you in the office everyday... Or you could resign if you don't like the new location..."
Nestle did that and apparently it's fairly common now for multinationals around Paris
8. Not A Master Gardener
A friend of mine had a little cactus he showed me. He was so proud of his green thumb, he bragged how it had been blooming for over a year. I took a close look at it and told him it was a fake flower glued on there. He was pretty disappointed.
9. Discover-ing Ways To Rip People Off
I worked in the collections department of Discover Card for a while. One thing they did (maybe still do), to lure customers to them is offer 0% APR for the first year. People would jump on this and transfer all their debt onto their new Discover Card, and then the company would "conveniently" not send the first month's bill. In the fine print of the agreement, it states that if you miss even one payment in that first year, your APR will jump to 29.95%. Half of my calls were to these new customers who would then proceed to throw a fit, because they didn't ever get the bill, and I had to explain to them that it was their job to know when the bill was due, and sending one was just a courtesy extended by the company. I hated hated hated that job. It ate away at my soul.
10. Pet Not-So-Smart
My dad worked at PetSmart for a short time when he was offered a good amount of money to be a department manager. He probably came home with ten different lizards and I believe 3 hamsters during his time working there. Why? They would be shipped to the store and sit in their shopping containers until a space on the floor opened up for them. If they received five bearded dragons that they didn't mean to order, they'd sit in the back and die of whatever killed them first. Dehydration, starvation, heat stroke. My dad would secretly take some of them home so they wouldn't be left for dead, and his coworkers cared so little for the animals in the back that they were never missed. We got some good pets out of it, and he complained all the way up to corporate before he left. He stayed just to complain. Nothing was done. F*ck PetSmart.
11. Ask In Writing
If you're in the UK, working for an agency or temp work for a company, you will accrue holiday pay. However, the company or agency is not obliged to tell you that.
After a certain period, if you haven't claimed it, the agency gets to keep it so often they'll 'forget' to tell you about it.
They are obliged to payout if you've requested it in writing, though.
12. Debt "Detectives"
Debt collectors will have "detectives" call you from a number that appears to be a legitimate law enforcement agency when you Google it. It's actually a spoofed caller ID using a legitimate agency's fax number. The "detective" will threaten arrest and throw around names of local judges. The debt collector will claim to not know the "detective" who left the message, but will be willing to take care of your debt.
EDIT TIME: Yes, it's illegal, but it's very hard to prove and that's why they do it. Law enforcement or courts will only call you in the case of theft (like a hot check) but will never call for an old debt. It's civil and they don't have jurisdiction.
13. Additional Down Payments
Buying a car from a "buy here, pay here" dealership. You put $500 or $1000 down they say you are approved and you drive the car home. Two days later the dealership calls and says that they couldn't get you financed at that down payment and interest rate so we need an additional $2500 down and your interest rate doubles. If you don't have the extra money they take the car and your original down payment.
14. We're Not Resting Easier
Mattress stores that have the "find it anywhere else for cheaper, you get your money back!" deal contract with the manufacturer to make the exact same model of bed, but with a model name specific to that store, so nobody can ever cash in on that deal.
15. Locking In That Next Sale
A locksmith I knew would rekey locks using old, worn-down pins, which caused the locks to stop working prematurely- without the pins being crisp, eventually the lock jams or the key quits working. He would then await the inevitable call to replace them, rekey them with good pins, and be good to go.
You could make an extra $65 a customer this way. We never did (I'm certified as a Master Locksmith, NLA and ALOA) but we repaired a lot of locks this charlatan "fixed". We complained to the NLA and ALOA and got his bond status revoked.
If you get a lock repaired and it doesn't feel as crisp as a new zipper when you put in the key that first time, they may have pulled this trick.
16. The No-Tip Tip
I was a waitress at a family-owned restaurant that paid me $0.10 more than the minimum wage. They were able to require me to turn over all tips that I never saw again because they paid me over minimum wage. I think this is technically legal, but sleazy nonetheless. I made really great tips and it was hard turning the money over. It's also pretty deceptive to the customer, who thinks their money is going to the wait staff, not the restaurant.
17. Get It In Writing. Seriously.
Offering a great deal over the phone to get you to buy or upgrade, then refusing to acknowledge the deal later on because there's nothing in writing.
(my local AT&T rep offered me a 'special' for half off the $80 internet package. I agreed to upgrade and there was no discount when the first bill came)
18. Waste Your Time-Share
I kept getting phone calls for a time share company. I agree'd to come out on my day off to "claim" my prize. I walked around with this sales guy that kept trying to hard sell me on the "buying in" aspect of it.
At the end they sat me down at the table and tried to get me to give up $8500 of my cash. I told him no. He came back and dropped it to $6k, I said No again. He went off and talked to his "Manager" and he came back with a fantastic one-time deal of $4,500 and I said No again.
He finally asked me why I came if I wasn't remotely interested and I explained that his company kept calling me to get my butt in this seat and even though I told the phone person I wasn't interested in a time share that they kept calling so if they were going to waste my time then I decided to waste his.
I have NEVER gotten a phone call from them again!
Sometimes its worth some of your time to piss them off to get taken off the list.
19. Auto Renewal
Automatic renewal/evergreen clauses in equipment leases where the service/maintenance payment is bundled in with the equipment payment. Terms are normally 90-day advance notice with annual renewal. Lessor has to enforce the annual renewal - to amortize the residual cost of the equipment, and give sales leverage to the servicing dealer. Usually by this time in a five-year lease the service portion has increased incrementally due to automatic increase clauses in the lease contract. Lessee: I want to return my equipment. Lessor: You cannot, unless you pay 12 months of rental+service, and then ship back the gear at your own expense. But the dealer can sell you a new machine that we can finance for a much lower payment! Total fucking scam and I was responsible for enforcing those terms for many years. Left with an indelible stain on my soul.
20. Reporting Bullying Is Bad For Business
Be very aware where you are sending your kids and how they treat other students.
I worked at an after school program that was alright enough, but if I ever saw kids being bullied, I was not allowed to tell any of the parents of the kids involved. I discussed this with my boss, but she told me that we would lose business of word got out, so to just do our best to stop the bullying on our own.
I'm one person, sometimes with 30 or 40 kids to look after (also probably illegal), so keeping track of every word or action and finding out who said/did what after the fact was not only exhausting but impossible.
I got out of there as soon as I could.