Saturday, May 2, 2020

What The Hell Is

If something sounds too good to be true it always is.

I was looking for replacement heads for our Oral-B electric toothbrush. The electric toothbrush they sell is a really nice product and lasts a long time - like decades.  We have two of them, one in the camper and one of the house.  The heads, however, are quite expensive.  Some people on Amazon are selling grey-market heads from Germany which are an Oral-B product but packaged for the German market.  For some reason they're a lot less expensive over there, just like Mercedes and BMWs are cheaper there.

NOTE:  today, they sell disposable electric toothbrushes.  To me, that is just a scandalous waste of money and resources, but then again, I'm old school.

The product is old enough that the patents have expired, so you could buy third-party toothbrush heads as well.  I've purchased them at the Wholesale Club and they seemed to work pretty well.

I tried entering a search on Google for "Oral-B toothbrush heads" and immediately got a bunch of advertisements from something called "" advertising 60 toothbrush heads for $12 or 20 for $3 or some such nonsense. What the hell was this site? I never heard of it.

I tried to type in "what is" and immediately was sent to the "" website which was promoting  Finally I went to my old backup - just type in "sucks" after the name of the company or website.  This yielded an old Reddit page explaining the scam. The video shown above illustrates what kind of things you can expect from - mostly junk, after waiting weeks.  And in some instances, a bait-and-switch.

Apparently they use a bait-and-switch technique and count on people not reading the fine print on these listings.  For example, in the video above, someone listed graphics cards for a dollar apiece, which of course is a ridiculous price. Some of the listings in the fine print state that you're not actually buying a graphics card, but being put in a lottery to win the graphics card. This is nothing short of illegal gambling.

And by the way, gambling is stupid.  Gambling is for idiots.  You don't play games with your income unless you are particularly dense.

Other listings promise to deliver a graphics card, but after you place the order, the listings were amended to say that it was a lottery to win a graphics card. Nevertheless, in the video above, the fellow paid $1 for four listings, and received three packages in the mail out of the four that he ordered.  In the three packages were a pen and two plastic toy ice cream cones.

I'm not sure what the point of all that was. I guess maybe they feel if they ship something to the customers, the customer has no right to complain, as they received "a product" for their dollar. Or, maybe in the fine print they've agreed to send "a product" but not necessarily the product advertised.  The weird thing was, in other videos on YouTube, people claim to have built entire computers from components from  I suspect these are shills for the company.

It's sort of like these penny auction sites which claim outrageous deals on things like MacBooks and whatnot for only a few dollars. But you're not actually buying the item, you're purchasing bids and then have to hope that you're the last bidder.  Of course, the odds of winning this are probably nil, and that's assuming that the whole thing is legit and they aren't just selling you bids and never delivering products to anybody, which is distinct possibility as most of these companies are located overseas.

I ended up buying some knock-offs on Amazon as the price was pretty reasonable and Amazon shipping and delivery is pretty reliable.  Of course, even Amazon has its own chicanery. They offered free shipping if I purchased over $25 worth of goods so I ordered two packages of these toothbrush heads which should last me years. And of course when I go to check out, there's a $7.25 charge for shipping and I have to back up one page and deactivate the Sunday delivery shipping that they automatically added on.  If I clicked one-click checkout, this shipping would have been automatically added, and I would have had to cancel the order.  So even "legitimate" Amazon is illegitimate.

I note also that Amazon used to send things within a week with "regular free shipping" but now it takes a weeks to get things - I guess they are pressuring us to join "Prime" and using the virus as an excuse to delay packages.

They also changed the price on an item after I bought it.   The price charged to my card was $58.36 and I waited nearly a month for delivery on some sealed containers.   Just before it shipped, they charged an additional $1.40 on my credit card, which I thought was a fraud charge.  I went on Amazon and saw that the price was now $59.76 for my order - but it wasn't clear where the additional $1.40 went - to taxes?   A price hike?

I suppose I could call Amazon and ask them why the price changed, but spending an hour on the phone over $1.40 just isn't worth it.   And that's what they're counting on.

In a way, it is the same modus operandi as or quibids or any other sketchy outfit online. You spend $1 on these sites and you get nothing, and you don't complain, because you know that trying to call or e-mail them over a lousy buck isn't worth your time.

But just think how much money you could make if you could get a million people to send you a buck.

And that's the theory behind this all. sucks.  So does Quibids.   So does Amazon, but at least they deliver the goods, even if they continually resort to trickery in their checkout.   Amazon is king of online retailing - for now.  But the first company to come along and not offer chicanery probably will trounce Amazon.

NOTE:  Again, this is the kind of post I hate to put up, as "there is no such thing as bad publicity".   Some doofus, reading this, will say to themselves, "I think I'll try out this wish site - it sounds like fun!" and all I've done is raise awareness of something stupid.  And of course, if I had comments enabled, there would be 100 shilling posts saying, "I got a brand-new car from them for $8.99 and it was a good deal!"

You just can't fucking win these days.