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The Crafty Craigman

by Shawanda Greene

What self-proclaimed frugal nut isn’t a fan of free? From time to time, I like to see what’s available – for free – on Craigslist and Freecycle. Last Tuesday, I felt like doing a little “shopping” on Craigslist. Crest Whitestrips were the first product listed under the free category. This was welcome news since I’ve been planning on conducting another round of teeth whitening for a while now.

The individual listing the product (hereafter referred to as the Craigman) wrote he’d won the Whitestrips through a raffle with his son’s school. Around 2:45 in the morning, I furiously composed an e-mail to the Craigman requesting he hand over the Whitestrips. Since I responded only minutes after the post appeared on Craigslist, I expected an instant reply. It wasn’t until later that day I noticed the Craigman’s e-mail in my spam folder. Here’s what it said:

Unfortunately someone already claimed the strips and is supposed to be picking them up in a couple hours… If she doesn’t show up should I email you?

If you’re willing to experiment with a different brand than Crest, I’ve had some really good results with another product and I think they still send out free starter kits. I can send the link if you want to try it just let me know.

Scott

Wasn’t that nice? Nevertheless, I ignored the e-mail since so many hours passed between my attempt to claim the Whitestrips and receipt of the Craigman’s reply. At that point, I figured I’d hunt for a Whitestrips coupon code, and buy them at a discounted price on the Internet.

But the Craigman was really nice. Even after I failed to acknowledge his generosity he sent me the following:

Well she showed up and picked up the strips… If I happen to get another box I’ll let you know.

The link for the free starter kit is: http://dazzlewhite.lifeports.com

After only 4 days’ use, my teeth were as white as when I paid my dentist $300 to do the same thing. The best part is I don’t have any sensitivity issues. I sometimes used the trays at home too, but found that this works a lot better for me and is much faster.

Oh, I’m not sure if its still valid, but I entered the word “whiteteeth” to take off most of the shipping charges when I first ordered.

Hope this helps,

Scott

How kind of  the Craigman. I’ve never encountered Freecyclers who’d send a second e-mail after their first offer was disregarded. The Craigman even provided a coupon code to help me out with shipping. It was like he knew me.

I clicked on the link to order a free sample. The web site looked pretty normal.

DazzleWhitePro Home Page

In order to qualify for the free trial offer, I first had to answer a few questions. I’m still not sure how any combination of answers would prohibit me from taking advantage of a sample kit.

While waiting to see if I was worthy of a free trial of Dazzle Smile’s whitening system, this screen appeared.

Proof Dazzle Smile Pro is legitimate

Bona fide proof that the company is legitimate, and their product works. If you’re not paying attention, it appears as if the product was vouched for by reputable news programs. Dazzle Smile has actually noted news outlets their product appeared on. Is it possible Dazzle Smile was seen in USA Today as an advertisement? Perhaps the product was featured on a late night infomercial?

Before providing my personal information, I gave the contact form a once over. First name, last name, address, city, state, zip code. Nothing weird about that.

SignUpForm

Everything looked fairly straightforward until I noticed a strange request. They wanted a phone number – preferably a cell phone number. If I wasn’t sure the Craigman was trying to scam me before, this strange request removed all doubt.

PhoneNumber

I strongly suspect that “cell phone” is one word instead of two. I’m not sure so I won’t harp on Dazzle Smile too much for that one. However, the way “incase” is used here tells me that it definitely isn’t one word. And why is there inconsistent use of capitalization and punctuation? What I find most suspicious is how committed Dazzle Smile is to making sure a prospective customer’s free trial is delivered.

I could’ve stopped here, but things were getting interesting. Don’t worry. I entered fictitious information in the contact form. You shouldn’t be surprised by what happened next.

CreditCardInfo

Dazzle Smile needs credit card information to pay for shipping costs. The Craigman had already given me the coupon code for discounted shipping. Remember? Look. Satisfaction is guaranteed.

But who needs a guarantee for that which is free?

Satisfaction

I see. By providing your credit card information to these crooks, you enroll in an $80 per month membership to receive Dazzle Smile. But wait, they’re not finished yet. You also sign up for World Club Fitness and Weight Loss Resources for a monthly price tag of $7 and $9, respectively. Who said anything about losing weight?!

Of course you can cancel any time. Good luck trying to get someone on the phone who’ll honor your cancellation request.

Maybe the Craigman was trying to give me the opportunity to use a valuable product. Nope. He tried to trick me in to signing up for a membership program through an affiliate network for something I clearly wanted for free.

On Monday, August 17th, the Craigman was up to his old shenanigans again.

Scam

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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Torrey August 18, 2009 at 2:56 PM

Boy, what a hustle!

Reply

KB September 12, 2009 at 8:26 AM

I agree, i can see people going for it.

Reply

KB September 12, 2009 at 8:25 AM

Not bad, I was almost sucked into that deal with a pseudo free offer. I emailed that scammer minutes after the ad was posted for a free $80 Toothbrush. These SOBs are getting kind of clever.

Good info.

Reply

Pam September 12, 2009 at 7:41 PM

OOOh. I got scammed. I wish I’d googled it first. I have still not resolved it. I went on live chat and got the tooth order canceled but have to return the first ‘club’ item when it arrives to get a refund. Then I have to keep calling the fitness club and weight club until someone finally answers. No one answered after 30 minutes today. I bet I’ll be undoing this scam for a long time.
Geesh

Reply

Shyln September 22, 2009 at 5:16 PM

Hello,

If there was some confusion about your subscription, we honestly didn’t mean to inconvenience you in any way. Our goal is not to inconvenience our customers’ .The terms and conditions of our offer are very visible on the order page. Customer service is our number one priority and we do everything we can to be open with all of our customers. Of course, mistakes can be made; and if you were not aware of our terms and conditions in our site, we are happy to offer you a full refund if you return the unused product back to us. We have always honored our 60-day guarantee and will continue to do so.

You can talk to customer support seven days a week. Our U.S.-based help lines are also staffed each and every day of the week to respond to any questions you may have both before and after your order. Simply call us at 888-948-5508 or visit our 24/7 live help at http://www.dazzlesmilepro.com/contactus.php and we will be happy to walk you through the entire cancellation process.

Your satisfaction is our number one concern,

Thanks,

Reply

Torance September 22, 2009 at 8:50 PM

Wow , they actually responded……its still a scam

Reply

Shawanda Greene September 22, 2009 at 9:51 PM

My thoughts exactly.

Reply

Pam September 22, 2009 at 10:06 PM

I finally got through to live person(s). At first they claimed I could not receive a refund for the memberships’ first month. When I threatened to challenge the charge with my credit card company, they quickly canceled my charge (or so they say). I’ll have to watch my statements very carefully.
I had to call three different numbers to undo this scam. It took almost a week of calling.
I’m pretty careful and haven’t been scammed in years. When I thought about getting anything for $2, I wondered where their profit was. I’m so glad you posted this blog or it would have been almost impossible to unravel the source.
Geesh, who would pay $30 per month for poor quality whitener plus two dubious memberships for added monthly charges?

Reply

Shawanda Greene September 22, 2009 at 11:00 PM

Pam – Thanks for keeping us posted. I figured this type of operation would make it extremely difficult to cancel your membership. I remember I signed up for a free pair of pantyhose once. After I received them, I kept getting harassing letters from the company that sent them to pay up. They were supposed to be free! I ended up sending them a check to stop the letters. It was only about $5, but knowing what I know now, I would’ve told them to shove it. But when a scammer has your credit card information , your protests have to be much louder and way more forceful.

Reply

Tom October 1, 2009 at 5:45 PM

I can believe that people wold fall for it….. How many times have we skipped over disclaimers….. “Certificate of Athenticity….” “Money Back Guarantee…..” etc.
How many people read beyond that…… How many would’ve noticed the grammatical errors….. I think these people should be drawn and quartered….

Nice Catch though….. Thanks for the heads up.

Reply

THELMA FRANKLIN November 11, 2009 at 7:44 PM

Hello,

If there was some confusion about your subscription, we honestly didn’t mean to inconvenience you in any way.  Our goal is not to inconvenience our customers .The terms and conditions of our offer are very visible on the order page, they are stated on the order page where you confirm your order, located directly to the top of where your credit card information was entered. There is also a link at the top of the home page that opens up the terms and conditions in a separate window. Customer service is our number one priority and we do everything we can to be open with all of our customers. Of course, mistakes can be made; and if you were not aware of our terms and conditions in our site, we are happy to offer you a full refund if you return the unused product back to us. We have always honored our 30-day guarantee and will continue to do so.

You can talk to customer support seven days a week. Our U.S.-based help lines are also staffed each and every day of the week to respond to any questions you may have both before and after your order. Simply call us at 888-948-5508 or visit our 24/7 live help at http://www.dazzlesmilepro.com/contactus.php and we will be happy to walk you through the entire cancellation process.

Your satisfaction is our number one concern,

Thanks,

Reply

pam November 12, 2009 at 1:53 PM

It took me weeks and many calls to get unsubscribed to the memberships and I still had an $80 charge on my credit card for the 'future' reorders of whitener. The person on the phone said I'd have to return the shipments to get a refund. the shipments never came.

I appealed the charge with my credit card (the phone number on the statement was disconnected). I have not heard if the credit card company will refund my $80 yet. Damn.

Reply

TheyCallMeCheap November 13, 2009 at 3:43 AM

I hope your credit card company comes through for you. These people clearly haven't read my blog post considering they're completely unaware of the fact I never ordered the product. Yeah and um, the responses from the second Dazzle Smile rep is practically identical to the first. I hope more people find your comment and see Dazzle Smile as the sneaky, unethical outfit they are.

Reply

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