Thursday, August 14, 2008

From Trial Offers to the Olympics to Taunting Cats

Good Afternoon!

First up today, a look at doing trial offers for products on the internet.
This comes up every now and then so just thought I'd pass on a very basic couple of do's anytime you decide to participate in a trial offer on any website.

The first rule -- read the TOS (terms of service). This is VITAL. You need to find out whether or not you are required to return something, if you'll need a RMA (authorization number to return), and when they will charge you (some trials may last 30 days, but the charge comes in 14). Do not just accept what is printed at the 'order now'. Sometimes it's complete, but if you haven't read the TOS, you're making a mistake. That's why you have to check that box all the time signifying that you've read it. Also, you want the phone number to cancel and any email addresses. What is on the order page isn't always what is in the TOS.

The second rule -- which I do sometimes, but not all the time -- do a google search for the company. Sometimes you'll see 'rip off' reports or complaints. Don't assume because you see a complaint that it's valid. It may just be someone who didn't read the TOS and are angry. Well, read the TOS. However, if you see a large number of complaints, with varying issues, you may then want to avoid that trial. Even if you decide to go ahead with the trial, you'll know to be on guard for potential problems.

The third rule, and this is vitally important once you sign up for a trial, check your credit card daily. Actually, I check mine three times a day to stay on top of it. Verify the name of the company and the trial charge. Keep checking and be aware. Just this week, I had a charge pop up for something I'd canceled on July 23rd. I had to call and have them remove it. If I see a fraudulent charge, the first thing I do is notify my bank. Then I deal with the company. That way, my bank knows up front there could be a problem. Companies don't really want banks going after them, either.

The fourth rule, keep records. Just like you do for all offers completed, it is very, very important to document your information. I *always* cut and paste the appropriate part of the TOS and the copy of the final sales page. Even though they may send you that page in email, you won't have the TOS. You want to always have reference to what *you* signed up for. I had to invoke this last week with a company. I read them what was on their website and in their TOS. I was right, they were wrong.

If you decide not to keep a trial, you want to always write down the name of the person you talked to when you call to cancel, their associate or ID number, the date and time you talked to them, the confirmation number for the transaction if there is one, and you want to ask them if you need to return something or not. Even if the TOS says you have to return, if you ask the operator and they say 'no', you don't, but you have to be able to back that up if an issue arises.

I've had to use each of these rules with trials, so just read and make lots of notes!

Next on the agenda, the Olympics. I don't know about anyone else, but I was absolutely stunned when the news came out that the little girl singing the national song for China was lip synching. Actually, it's not that, but it's that it wasn't her voice. The real singer was deemed not cute enough for the camera. I'm really angry about this. It is not what the Olympics are about. China lost the admiration I had for their opening ceremonies when I learned about this. In addition, it turns out that some of the fireworks were 'enhanced' for broadcast. This begs the question, what else was fake that we don't know about?

Not only that, but I do not believe those gymnasts are 16 years old this year. There has been huge speculation that at least one member of the male team and two of the girls are under 15. In fact, even the English official paper of China earlier in the year listed their ages as 13 and 14.

China is lying in their quest to be the biggest medal winner. You know what? Let them, but they will pay a price. I believe in karma, and it will come back and haunt them. They'd better have those kids' true ages buried and burned -- someone will find the proof. Besides, a passport is so easily faked. Why don't these kids have birth certificates to back up their claims?

So, we've got a little girl who was given the shaft for not being cute enough, images that weren't what we thought, and kids illegally adding to China's medal count. China has marred its own Olympics, and that's too bad. They didn't need to do it. Totally ridiculous and stupid.

The other day a cat was taunting my dogs. I swear, it was so funny to watch. My girls were in the house, looking out the screen door, and here sauntered up this cat. Honestly, the cat moved one paw forward, then another, and then another, staring right at my barking dogs. This cat wasn't the least bit scared; it was taunting my dogs. That cat knew the girls couldn't get out. The cat kept moving forward a step at a time, until it got bored and turned around, walking away casually. My poor babies. They're used to squirrels teasing them, but not cagey felines!

On the financial front, I received my latest payment for forum posting and content writing. This is decent pay for extra income, so if you like to chat online, please use the link to sign up and apply to be a forum poster, and if you have a forum in need of help, use this link to find out more information on how ForumBoosters can help you.

Please continue to check out my writing at Helium and my reviews on Review Stream (links on the right side of the blog). There are a couple of new reviews since the last blog update.

Tonight is Michael Shanks' first appearance on "Burn Notice" on the USA channel. I'm really looking forward to that. He'll be a bad guy, but a cute one! More after I see it!

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