Top Stories

Predatory Business Tactics That Should Be Illegal But Aren't

Reddit user jwwin asked: 'What is a predatory business that shouldn't be legal, but is?'

Demonstrator holds sign that reads, "Drop this act of corporate gree!"
Patrick Perkins/Unsplash

Companies are typically in business for profit, and very few have the goal of keeping the customer's interests in mind.

But some corporations go even further to get more out of their customer in exchange for their "quality services" and as a result, the line between general business and scam becomes blurred.

Redditor jwwin asked:

"What is a predatory business that shouldn't be legal, but is?"

Students paying an exorbitant amount in tuition in order to seek higher learning should be warned there are additional expenses to cover for.

A Textbook Example

"College textbooks, they will release an 'updated' edition every semester but the information doesn't change. And then after you spent a fortune on the books the places that buy textbooks will give you like 5% of what you paid for the book."

– teethalarm

A "Double Whammy"

"Former Prof here. I talked with a book rep about this once and learned a lot. It is a bit complicated but worth understanding. Book publishers rely on large quantity sales to make any money on a book because the cost of production is so high up front (author, editors, printing, etc.). So, for a book to be profitable, it has to sell a lot of copies to spread the cost of production across all the books. A paperback in the fiction section might sell 100,000 or more. A textbook might sell as few as 1,000. So, the publisher needs everyone to buy the book to break even."

"Now add colleges into the mix. Somewhere in the 1980s (give or take), colleges saw publishers selling books and making larger profits on them than the college bookstore was making per book. So they got the bright idea to start buying used texts and reselling them. Before that, a text would come out and 97% (making the number up but it was close to that) of the students would buy the book in year one, 85% in year two, 75% in year three, 60% in year four and 50% in year five. A $50 dollar book would cost $25 to make (again, making the numbers up), sell to the bookstore for $40 ($15 publisher profit), and be sold to the student for $50 ($10 bookstore profit). Across the five years, the producer would make a profit."

"Then, college bookstores began offering students $25 for a used book and selling it for $40 ($15 profit - $5 higher than that of a new book). Students would then prefer the $40 used book over the $50 new book. But that cut the publisher's sales from 97% to 50% in the first year. Because they could not sell as many books they had to do two things: (1) raise the initial price of the text to cover the production cost in 1-2 years rather than 4-5 years, and (2) cut the cycle down from 4-5 years to 1-2 years to ensure that they got sales of the book. That is a double whammy. Texts that used to cost $50 now cost $300 or more. And they have a new version out every 18 months or so. Students refuse to pay that price and that cuts the sales numbers even further forcing the price up again. And, with new editions out so frequently, it is harder to sell them back to the bookstore."

"That's why you see so many 'course packs' now - where a professor will pick a few pages from a book to give to the students. I went from having nearly every student purchasing a text in my early career to having zero students with a text late in my career. Your professor probably dislikes the state of affairs as much as you do. I cut down what books I would select because I could not justify students paying that much for what they were getting. I would also recommend students look for older editions on Amazon and the like which got me in trouble with my administration because I was not supporting the bookstore. But, it was difficult to teach from a text that no one had or had access to. The University's desire to generate revenue from texts truly was killing the chicken because it was not producing enough eggs."

"So look for an older edition on Chegg, Amazon, or the like and match it up with what your professor is teaching from the new edition. You are right, it probably has not changed. Be careful for the problems at the end of the chapter - that is often where the changes are."

– BewnieBound

These businesses parade as services but they are notorious for taking more than what you're willing to pay for.

For A Future Owner

"Rent to Own (furniture, appliances, TVs, video game systems, etc.) The mark up on the interest over time ends up costing 4 times the purchase - or more."

– PartyAlarmed3796

"Well the trick is to not pay (seems to be what a lot of people do)."

– Expensive_Ad2695

"Which is why those places are so expensive and why they're actually kinda necessary for some people."

"They're taking a pretty big risk on people with no credit, and if a person with shi*ty credit needs a refrigerator or other necessary appliance, there's usually nobody else willing to work with them. Also, most of them report to credit agencies so you can build your credit through them."

"I'm not a fan by any means and I hate that people are buying video game systems and couches through them, but I still think they're filling a need."

– Pitiful-Pension-6535

Money Sucker

"Payday loan companies – they're like financial vampires, sucking the life out of people with high-interest rates."

– neonliolia

"And yet most of them are owned by major banks... hmmmm."

"Bank of America, Wells Fargo, US Bank, JP Morgan/Chase collectively all own the largest payday lender companies."

– Bramtyre

"In Canada, there is an effort to turn Canada Post into a kind of bank that offers basic banking services to the most vulnerable. Not sure what happened to that, but it was an alternative to check cashing and payday loan rackets."

– hobbitlover

Greedy Event Vendor

"Ticket Master."

– LTVOLT

"Agreed. We went to a preseason hockey game the other week. Tickets were $5 each but there was around $8 of Ticketmaster fees for each one and you had to use their app to get in the door because the barcodes change like every 30 seconds or something. It's ridiculous."

– darfus1895

Where can citizens turn to receive genuine care without drying up their financial resources?

Big Pharma

"Health Insurance and over priced perscription drugs."

"Wife is type 1 diabetic. Her pump is over $1000 a month WITH 50% coverage. $177 for just the sensor pack. We have the best coverage we can afford."

– Dukeboys_

"US pays the middle man for health care coverage. The middle man and the health care provider come up with "health packages" you can buy into, just in case you get sick. It's just sick how they funnel money from the middle class into this."

– dcoolidge

"Healthcare insurance industry. They can straight up reject claims you should be covered for and make you jump through near endless hoops to get them to pay for the service that is part of your plan."

– ColdHardPocketChange

All Out To Get Ya

"Homeopathic 'medicine' sellers."

"Psychics"

"Domain search engine registration scams (fake emails or physical mail that shows up saying 'your domain search registration is about to expire' and look exactly like warnings that your domain name is about to expire)"

"Fake homeowner warranty/car warranty scams loaded with so many limitations and exclusions they’ll basically never pay out."

"Multilevel marketing systems like Amway."

– 4wqrewtety

Losing Sight Of Kids' Well-Being

"From my experience working in group homes for youth are awful. The owners only want money and the more kids in care the more money."

– OddReputation3765

Going Nowhere Fast

"Car insurance."

"You get penalized for using it. Even just once in some cases."

– Effective_Sundae_839

"1000% agree. I was rear ended by a hit and run driver while i was stopped at a stop sign. Literally came to a stop for 3 seconds max and got destroyed. Car insurance wanted to give me 4k and shut me up. It’s called the nuisance fee. I eventually lawyered up and got 25k out of it. But like wtf. B*tch that’s what we PAY FOR, following renewal of my policy it increased hundreds of dollars a month and that was even after i switched to a different company. 'A claim is a claim regardless who is at fault.'”

– HitBackZach

Businesses taking advantage of their customers should be a crime, yet here we are.

What companies can you think of that legally continue to look after their own profitable interests above providing a decent service?

People Describe The Moment They Realized Their 'Friend' Was No Friend At All

Reddit user Aesthetik_1 asked: 'What made you instantly realize This "friend" is not a real friend?'

Two guys hi-fiving each other
Tyler Nix/Unsplash

A good friend is not always the one with whom you share laughs and fun experiences.

The friendships you want to keep include those who won't abandon you in a time of need or someone who supports you in a variety of complicated situations where not even a family member can be relied upon.

Unfortunately, many of us have experienced a time when a person's true colors revealed to us that the so-called "friend" we've always trusted wasn't one at all.

Curious to hear examples of this, Redditor Aesthetik_1 asked:

"What made you instantly realize This 'friend' is not a real friend?"

These Redditors didn't realized at the time that they were being used.

Recurring Favor

"When he only called me when he needed something. It didn't hit me until much later."

– Queasy-Location-9303

"I have one of those 'friends'. She always gushes about how we're friends but she never initiates contact unless she wants me to do something for her."

– StiffAssedBrit

The Errand Girl

"Several years back, I had a friend who introduced me to this new boy she was seeing. Maybe a year later, their relationship blew up in a fury of bs (whole other story), but by the time they split, I was equally friends with both of them. He and I were both photographers at the time, so the friendship was instantaneous."

"One day we started talking about her, neither positively nor in poor taste, just kind of in general."

"He then asked me 'when she texts to hang out, what does she usually want to do?'"

"I paused. I thought. Holy sh*t, she'd either be asking for a favour or for help with some kind of errand. I was her f'king errand girl."

"She texted me a month or two later, just a 'hey'. I never responded. She never texted again."

"I'm still friends with her ex, though. That dude is genuine as heck."

– ChamomileBrownies

Testing The Friendship

"When you decide to let them be the one to reach out. And you never hear from them again."

– plzdontgetmad

"Yup. Made plans with a friend three times, she cancelled each time. I finally told her to let me know when she was free, we haven’t hung out since."

"She was a good friend for the season, but not a lifetime."

– NoMrBond3

People were shocked to discover the moment they realized they didn't really know who their "friend" was anymore.

The Chaperon

"I had been giving rides to a girl I thought was my friend. To and from school in high school. She wasn’t really suppose to ride with other teens but due to her mothers work hours we could easily pull this off. I thought we were close."

"One day while on the way home my brakes went out. We were about 2 blocks from her gated neighborhood. I managed to roll in safely and parked at her house to call a tow truck."

"She flipped. Told me I couldn’t stay. She knew my brakes were not working as she had also been terrified when we couldn’t stop. She said she wanted to go to a movie that weekend with other friends and her mom would ground her if she saw me at the house. I offered to lie and say I only stopped there as my car malfunctioned on my way home. I had to pass her neighborhood on my way home anyways."

"She refused. Started to scream at me. She didn’t care what happened I had to go. Started to call the guard at the front gate to tell them I had broken in and was threatening her."

"I left her and that friendship that moment. I managed to roll my car slowly to a mechanic not too far away but never forgot the shi* feeling of knowing I could have been seriously hurt and she wouldn’t have cared. She wanted to see a movie. She had the nerve to sheepishly call and ask me a couple days later if I could give her a ride to school. Told her I was too busy and no longer had time… after all I wanted to help her obey her mom's rules. She rode the bus til she graduated."

– Duffarum

Unwilling Companion

"I had this friend in school. Each year there was a funfair in our city, all students received vouchers for a drink and something to eat. This friend complained the whole day that she had no one to accompany her to the funfair. So, stupid me offered to go with her."

"Once we arrived we met another friend of hers. And another, and another... until we were a group of 5 or 6 people. I didn't know anyone and was basically just walking behind them. This friend took me aside and said, 'My friends think you are annoying, and we would like you to leave.'"

"It was a pleasure to see that she failed her exams a year later."

– Auldale

There's the spirit of competition, but when it's taken seriously, we're no longer game for these friendships.

I Can Do It Better

"Constantly 'one ups' me. A real friend is happy for you."

– Complex-Half8338

"That one time I got a fake bag but she doesn’t know and then 2 weeks later messaged me that she also bought a luxury bag… Then when I got a bf, she also went to get a bf within 3 months which is TOTALLY fine but she constantly messages me for us to go on a double date. Anyways, sadly they didn’t last long :( I mentioned that I wanted to go to Cuba, she went ahead and bought herself a ticket to Cuba but I didn’t end up going lol"

– Hot-Coffee-8465

Never Steal The Spotlight

"When they loved the idea of me shining, but behind their shadow, I could never do or achieve anything above them, and when I did, they would get jealous."

– Jasssin23

"Yes! I recently ghosted a friend because of this kind of behavior. She was trying to compete about EVERYTHING. Like she bragged about how her mom’s car accident was more traumatic than my elderly MIL’s - which is not even an appropriate thing to compare. She would also try to 'outshine' celebrations of my milestones and was mean to several of my friends for no apparent reason. She was a loose cannon at best."

– thefifthtrilogy

All About Me

"ALL she talks about it herself and her problems. Granted she has a a lot but never asks about me or my life until she realizes she just bypassed my attempt to want to talk about something in my life bothering me and continued to talk about herself."

– PokemomOnTheGo

People can just be so rude.

"When I got really sick. Very few came to help."

– Tofflus1

"Same here. I got cancer and everyone I knew was over the top supportive for the first six months and then all but three of my friends just vanished. I saw one of them at a Halloween party while I was going through chemo and she told me that my bald head made people uncomfortable. I was dressed as Captain Picard, it was awesome and she ruined it."

– CatGoNoTail

Not Missing High School

"At lunch, she was sitting with her boyfriend, I was sitting with our friend circle. She came up to me, guilted me into sitting with her and her boyfriend, and then proceeded to ignore me for the rest of lunch."

"She didn't care about me, she just didn't want me talking to the friend circle that she had abandoned for her boyfriend. When I pointed this out to her, she called me a jealous b*tch."

"Ah, high school. How I don't miss thee."

– Symnestra

These examples actually served as a good reminder for me to take a moment and assess my friendships.

Not so much about how I've been treated but more about checking myself to see if I'm respecting the people I call my friends.

We've all been guilty of casually mentioning future plans to get together. I embarrassingly wait for people to initiate something, which is terrible.

Show up for your friends. Make them feel important like the individuals they are.

There are few moments in life more momentous than buying your first home.

Of course, as is the case with any big decision, after going through with it, your mind begins to spiral down into a series of doubts.

Most of the time, once you've moved in and lived there for a while, all these doubts begin to slowly disappear.

In some cases, though, those doubts quickly turn into regrets.

Particularly when you notice more and more elements of what you thought was your "dream" home that is more reminiscent of a nightmare.

Redditor californiabred was curious to hear the biggest regrets from people who recently purchased a home, leading them to ask:

"Homeowners who bought recently, what’s your biggest regret?"

Not The What, But The When

"Not buying 4 years ago."- 3rdPartyArbitor

Location, Location, Location!

"The situation when you bought a house where it was possible and a month later they sell a house in the area where you wanted"- BenefitOk3952

"Not knowing enough about the area/town."

"I hate where we live."

"Hoping we can move by the time my oldest starts kindergarten."- MP1087

jason patric fox GIF by Wayward PinesGiphy

Upon Closer Inspection...

"The inspector told us the main drain in the basement was clogged."

"We thought it was clogged with something normal."

"It was, in fact, 'clogged' with cement from when our basement floor was redone."

"So now our basement regularly gets standing water on one side."- doctorpotterhead

"Hiring the wrong home inspector they missed so much, I really have to wonder if all those reviews were bought and paid for."- CaptainQuoth

Landscaping Decisions

"Not planting the fruit trees sooner."

"It’s a long wait."- SageLeaf1

Plant Hope GIF by The Seed of Life FoundationGiphy

How Long Have You Got...

"Be shameless enough to perform your own base level of inspection of a house so you don’t have to rely on what an inspector finds or get in a situation where you have to make an offer regardless of what the inspection finds."

"Turn all the faucets on and run the dishwasher."

"Start the washer machine for a second."

"Figure out if there is any water pressure issue."

"Bring a multi line laser and a tape measure."

"Check for any significant changes in slope on the foundation for some settling issues."

"Pay attention to the downspouts."

"Do they terminate right at the house or do they have longer pipes that lead the water away?"

"Pay attention to the flooring and create a rough estimate of what it will cost to immediately replace the flooring."

"Way easier to do when you don’t have a house full of furniture and can do it right before you move in."

"On the financial side you need to talk with multiple lenders at all times and make sure they continue to give you the most up to date closing costs."

"There were a lot of sneaky numbers that made there way in that I was unaware of as a first time home buyer."

"Until that mortgage lender gives you the locked in rate don’t trust them as to what number they are currently telling you."

"Discover your maximum mortgage rate + escrow and work backwards as to the maximum house you can afford."

"Don’t buy based on the pipe dream of refinancing."- from_the_Luft

GIF by BlindspotGiphy

Procrastination...

"Not recent, but I still regret not refinishing the floors before I moved in."

"I'll never do it now."- WinterFilmAwards

"I regret not having the inside painted and the carpet replaced before we moved in."

"Been here two years and it never felt like 'my home' until I got rid of the stains of those who came before."- DaisyRage7

Consider A Test Drive...

"Not particularly recent, but we did not pull out cars in the driveway or attempt to park them."

"So we didn't realize that my car could only enter the driveway from one direction, so I had to turn around half a block up every time I needed to park."

"And we just BARELY got two cars in the driveway."

"So my regret is that I took for granted that the driveway met our needs."- gtizzz

homer simpson episode 24 GIFGiphy

Always Read The Fine Print

"I bought a few years ago."

"So many things have gone sideways."

"One thing I regret is not being educated about permits."

"Contractors/handymen/ anyone who works on your house really, never mentions a permit may be needed."

"Learned that it’s up to me and me alone to do the research and phone calls."

"Currently have a job on hold because they needed a permit."

"The company blamed me and now I’m not sure they’re even going to do the work."

"Watch the movie 'The Money Pit'."

"It’s not that far off."

"Some days I wish I’d just be a renter."- MissPeppingtosh

Simply Not Worth The Effort

"Don't bother childproofing your home."

"They still get in."- Blueblackzinc

season 9 friends GIFGiphy

It's easy to question whether or not buying a home was the right decision.

But rather than live a life full of regret, why not make the most out of what you have, and turn your not-quite-dream home into a temporary dream home?

Who knows, it might even increase the resale value.


A dilapidated shack is ablaze at night
Photo by Stephen Radford

In an instant, anything can change in life.

Deciding to turn left instead of right at a traffic light can save your life -- and you may never know it.

That's why the movie "Sliding Doors" is so great.

Small choices and seemingly minor chances can shift things massively.

Redditor Lexie_Mark wanted to hear about how life can change drastically by the smallest influences, so they asked:

"What's a seemingly minor decision you made that ended up having a massive impact on your life?"

I had dinner with a guy once.

I told him a joke and let him read 5 pages of my writing.

Now I write for this website. BOOM!

Right Turn

Never Mind Baby GIFGiphy

"Turned up to a military recruiting day on the wrong weekend as a youngster. Walked into a BBQ for traumatized veterans accidentally. That changed my mind."

flecknoe

Moving on...

"I had moved countries and decided to go back home after initial plans didn't work out. Had a ticket booked, was in a hotel near the airport, and got an invite to stay with online friends for a week or so before going back. Deferred my ticket, took them up on the offer."

"Met the love of my life there- moved to his city, have a new job, new friends, new life completely."

Severn6

Hey Teach

"While I was experiencing a period of career ennui, I treated myself to taking some college classes in biology, which I had always been interested in."

"While walking in the neighborhood close to the university one day, I saw one of the professors walking down the street, contentedly eating some ice cream. I don't know what possessed me, but I actually stopped him, said hello, that I was in one of his classes, and how much I liked the course."

"I have come across many professors in such casual circumstances before and since and never had the inclination or the guts to talk to them, particularly when they are clearly just having an enjoyable moment and likely don't want to be annoyed by a random student they don't even know."

"But I talked to him, and we had such a nice chat that he invited me to come to his lab and potentially do some work there. I came by a few days later, and he asked me a few questions and then asked one of his postdocs if he'd like to have me give him some help on a project. The postdoc said yes, and within 2.5 years I had my MS in biology (advised by Dr. Professor and helped greatly by that postdoc), and I was on my way to getting my PhD.

"Now I'm the prof."

zazzlekdazzle

On the Vespa

"4 months ago I was riding my Vespa to the gym on a Saturday morning, and I was T-boned by a car pulling out of a side street. She was looking the other way to make sure the traffic was clear and didn’t see me."

"I was coming from her right (in Australia, left-hand drive) and the front left of her car hit the back of my Vespa. If I had been half a second faster, I wouldn’t have been hit."

"I ended up with a crushed lower left leg and foot, permanent nerve damage, and 2 weeks in hospital. Fast forward to now, and I still can’t walk or move my leg and foot, I’m in unimaginable pain, and I (just today) lost my job."

"The recovery timeline is looking like 18-24 months and there’s no guarantee I’ll walk again."

"I was just trying to be healthy and go to the gym on a Saturday, and now my life has totally turned upside down. lol. Sigh."

ShoeAccomplished119

Swipe Right

tinder GIFGiphy

"Matched with a guy on Tinder and complained about my current job. Encouraged (and walked me through) the recruitment process for a government job and 5 years later I’ve had 4 promotions, earned almost twice my old salary, and have much higher job satisfaction."

​misssofifi

Maybe Tinder isn't so bad after all.

Key Strokes

Jim Carrey Reaction GIFGiphy

"Taking a typing class in 1974. Almost no guys took typing at my school. Made life with computers a lot easier."

A20Havoc

"Same here, it was the main reason I got a job in IT, I was able to have a lifelong career."

MyIpodStillWorks

Run

"Started running because I heard it helps with chronic tinnitus, now run 5 days a week, lost 20 kg, stopped drinking, and can sleep. It doesn't cure the tinnitus, there is no cure and probably never will be, but it made it more manageable, lowered the volume in my head, and let me sleep easier. I still have it and struggle with it sometimes, but running/exercise for me is the best way to mitigate the stress chronic tinnitus causes."

rickdangerous85

Brisbane

"Buying tickets to Guns 'N Roses. I'm from Northern Australia and went to the Brisbane show. Ended up going with an old friend who was looking for an extra roommate, moved to Brisbane, did an audio course cause I needed something to do, and ended up working in the music industry full-time. Just got off tour with Suicidal Tendencies as their backline tech and have had an incredible career so far."

Acquiesce95

No Regrets

"My current job was a throwaway application I submitted purely for interview practice. It was one of two listings I saw at once, one was quite detailed and looked really good, and the other one was a handful of vague bullet points that seemed interesting enough. The one I was hoping for never replied, the other one offered me more than the maximum salary on the ad. No regrets."

PM_me_ur_navel_girl

Forever

Smooch Love GIF by molehillGiphy

"I decided to have my first ever one-night stand."

"We've been together for 12 years!"

CrabbiestAsp

"So you still haven't had a one-night stand!"

NickyDeeM

Ah, the curse of the one-night stand gone wrong.

Love is all around.

lab test with pipette and test tubes
Louis Reed on Unsplash

At the end of the last century DNA laboratory companies began to offer direct-to-consumer home DNA test kits.

According to The Center for Genetics and Society, as of November 2023 more than 26 million people have taken an at-home ancestry DNA test.

These tests have helped people find and reunite with long lost family members. However not all revelations were well met.

Unknown ancestry was discovered.

Infidelity and secrets and lies were also exposed by these tests which led to strife in some families.

Keep reading...Show less