Monday, October 23, 2017

Spartan Race Shop - AVOID AT ALL COSTS!!!!!!!!!!

Everybody loves a Spartan Race, right!? 
It's true that the races are overpriced and also full of Venti-Drinkers with too much money on their hands; throwing away their newly purchased $120 shoes at the end of the race because they don't dare place their muddy foot warmers in their brand new Prius, sure.... But what about the Spartan Online Store?

The Spartan Online Store offers great looking Spartan Race merchandise for, well, not the cheapest prices, but the pictures look good! Right? If the Spartan Race owner Joe De Sena attends a race (Which he is known to do often!), he is always sporting Spartan Store merchandise... and if you'll notice... it ALWAYS looks brand new! You may think to yourself, hmmmm this is high quality stuff hmmm maybe that $60 hoodie was worth it, especially if Spartan God and multi-millionaire Joe De Sena is wearing it! Unfortunately, your assumption would be incorrect (Well based on my friends $300 online store purchase).

Joe De Sena

My friend (The $300 one lol) is very deluded you might say, great for the US military - he would make a fine general! but no so much for getting caught this Spartan lifestyle.... Not so much the traditional Spartan lifestyle of minimal clothing, fighting wild beasts and eating very little... but, the more modern Spartan lifestyle of giving all of your money to Joe De Sena in exchange for an AROO here and there. Sorry getting carried away here, back to my point....

You will notice the Spartan Online store offers little descriptions about their items. This is for a very good reason! They DO NOT list materials used to make their clothing, materials used to make their 'swag', nor do they list fitting information. They do not have hardly any Web 2.0 content at all in fact! I.e. No user reviews (Of course, i'm sure they would all be bad!), no comments, no discussion and the list goes on...

Here are some approved purchases my friend made:

Men's Spartan Race Hoodie:
"SPARTAN Bold Helmet Logo Hoodie - Men's"

What the website SHOULD say about this item is:
"Made in Pakistani by young children. Designs look great out of the package, but never wash. If you do decide to wash, even at 30 degrees, your logo will turn PINK. This won't be very Spartan at all!"

Spartan Paracord Bracelet:
"550 heavy duty paracord bracelet. Adjustable up to 9.25 inches."

What the website SHOULD say about this item is:
"Made of copper, may cause allergic reactions. Copper is painted silver, which may come off within 2 weeks or sooner. May turn wrist green. Bolt on the paracord bracelet may dig into wrist and hurt like hell. Adjustable from 9-9.25 inches. Only fits fat man wrists on it's smallest setting"

I contacted Spartan Race on Facebook about this. They didn't offer any apology, but passed me on to somebody else at the Spartan Store. They seemed to be more concerned about ending all of their messages with AROO rather then actually helping or, yet, even sympathizing with my woes. To be honest, I'm sure it's a run-of-the mill operation for them. ("Another person not happy about the merchandise in the Spartan Store!"... "Again!? I'm getting bored of this!")

I contacted the Spartan Store but I've yet to receive a response. The website suggests I direct everything to I'm sure 50 billion other people are directing their multitude of questions to this one email also. So without departmentalizing their support system, this is probably why I haven't had a response in FOUR WEEKS. I do recall getting a quick response when I queried the stock levels of an item prior to this though... Strange eh!

Anyway, if you are thinking about buying ANYTHING, literally, ANYTHING from the Spartan Online Store, DON'T! You will get a better product from Jim Wong who lives in Hong Kong; selling knock-off Spartan Race T-Shirts from his bedroom on eBay. He only charges $5.95 too! That's a $24 dollar discount before you even think about shipping!

If you have had similar experiences, leave a comment here! Share your experiences with us all so we can create a crying circle and wipe each others tears while thinking about how much money Joe De Sena made from us all.

If this post has swayed even ONE person from avoiding the Spartan Online Store, my deed is done and I can sleep peacefully tonight! :)

Friday, October 13, 2017

eBay - Guerilla Seller Protection 101

There are many articles scattered around the interweb with regards to eBay's policies favoring buyers rather than sellers. From personal experience, I have experienced the grasp of eBay's inequitable eBay Money Back Guarantee and the laughable Seller Protection Policy many times. terms like: Return Requested, Payment Reversal, New Significantly Not as Described Dispute, Your Dispute Has Been Escalated to a Claim are all part of another crappy day in the office.

This article was inspired when recently a buyer purchased a phone from me. The phone had a value of around $85. I shipped the phone to the buyer with valid USPS tracking. The USPS tracking stated the package arrived at the buyers address. The buyer then opened a dispute with eBay stated they did not receive the item. Under eBay's eBay Money Back Guarantee, the buyer did not get the item they purchased, so the balance was removed from my PayPal account as a result and the buyer was refunded. I lost not only the amount for the phone, but also the phone itself. Crazy right? As USPS stated the package arrived, I could not file a dispute with them to claim my money back. All was lost!

The tips in this article will enable you to protect yourself better on eBay. These are things I have put together from hours of frustrating support calls, hundreds of returns and thousands of messages with "buyers".

NOTE: Most of this article assumes that the buyer is being unjust. It is assumed you have analysed them and pegged them for somebody trying to pull the wool over your eyes. I don't want to have to write this in every paragraph, so I will put it here. Your judgement is yours an yours alone.

Handling an unjust dispute

PRO TIP: An eBay dispute from a buyer cannot exist in eBay AND PayPal. If the buyer opens a case in Paypal, ALL eBays cases will automatically close-out (Even if the case has already been opened in the eBay Resolution Center - not matter what the status is!). PayPal will ALWAYS have the final say in this instance. If somehow the case exists in both places (There is a slight bug where this can happen), PayPal will process ALL refunds and returns. eBay may tell you that YOU issued a refund, however, it is really PayPal doing this on your behalf.

Avoid paying for return shipping

- Try and get the buyer to open a dispute via PayPal. This way, the buyer will HAVE to pay for the return shipping as part of the PayPal Purchase Protection for Buyers policy. If the return is handled through eBay, you will be lumped with the cost of the buyer returning the item to you. You'll find that scammers, nonchalant-greedy-folk and generic assholes get impatient very fast when multiple message exchanges. Offering them to open a dispute in PayPal is usually quite easy to do. The entire dispute will then be MOVED over to PayPal.

Didn't get your item back?
If the wrong item is returned, or, an empty box is returned:
- You will either need to go to the police station and get an incident report within 10 days. Expect to wait a long time to see your compensation.
- Print out an affidavit and get it notorized by a notary. Within 10 days. Most banks offer a free notary service. Expect to wait a long time to see your compensation.

Getting negative feedback removed

Over a decade ago, it used to be fairy easily to get feedback removed. You would just have to call eBay Customer Service, whine at them for 5-10 minutes, then the feedback magically disappears! Hooray! Today, however, it is very hard to achieve this. Any negative feedback MUST fall inside the rules of the eBay Feedback Extortion Policy. Also introduced around the same time, sellers could no longer leave negative feedback for buyers. This gives the buyer a notion that they -almost- have nothing to lose (In terms of feedback reputation on eBay). A buyer can call you names in messages, tell you everything they apparently did with your mother last night, use profane language and still leave VALID negative feedback. This doesn't leave us much wiggle room to get feedback removed, but we will cover everything we can here...

PRO TIP: eBay secretly keeps track of 'user behaviour' patterns for many things. The list includes and is not limited to: Unreasonable demands, inappropriate feedback, abused a buyer protection program, misused returns and foul and offensive language. Example: If a buyer opens 3 returns sequentially, they will receive an email stating that they are conducting irregular buying habits (Basically, eBay thinks they are trying to rip people off and puts them on close watch). We can use this to our advantage in this section.

Let's be honest, the Feedback extortion policy is crap. If there is something seriously wrong with what the buyer is doing, yes, the feedback can be removed. (I.e. The buyer is threatening to leave negative feedback if you do not ship them extra things not included in the listing). I will not cover these circumstances here.

Profanity - eBay will remove ALL negative feedback that CONTAINS profanity. The profanity HAS to be within the feedback itself. If you know the buyer will soon leave negative feedback, get them to use profane language in message exchanges. I recommend waiting hours to reply and being short with your messages. I cannot teach you to be a pain in the ass, but imagine what might be annoying. If the user has been flagged for profanity previously (See PRO TIP above), use the "Report a buyer" feature and report them for profane language.

Threats - It used to be that if the buyer threatened to leave negative feedback, then this was grounds to get the feedback removed. It's a little more intricate these days because to get feedback removed, they have to threaten you in a -certain- way (The feedback removal qualifying way they threaten you depends on the person you speak to when you call eBay and ask them to remove the feedback  - It really does! - It's worth hanging up and calling back sometimes). A good way to get a buyer to make negative feedback threats is to end your messages with "I hope you leave me good feedback" after giving them no help at all. 

Report a Buyer - You can report a buyer for many things. The "Report a buyer" page allows you to report a buyer for each of the following categories: Unreasonable demands, inappropriate feedback, abused a buyer protection program, misused returns and foul and offensive language. Reading the PRO TIP above, it's a good idea to report them for each and every category. eBay allows you to do this. If they have a prior flag with eBay, your report may lead to feedback removal. It had happened to me twice so far.

Requesting a Feedback revision - This one involves a lot of butt licking, and to be honest, rarely works. It involves grovelling to the buyer, selling your soul to them, then submitting a "Requesting a Feedback revision". Only do this if you have no morals and no pride.

How to get buyers to change their tune

You all know that feeling when a buyer messages you and you get a good idea of where the road will lead after this. The message may read something simple like this: "Item doesn't work, I demand a refund! NOT HAPPY!". A few messages later, you're on a slippery road to negative feedback and a lighter wallet. It seems like you cannot change the attitude of some people. Let's look at some tips to prevent this!

The ol' "I know your friend/neighbour!" - Recently, somebody bought an item from me and was probably one of the rudest, bigoted crap-fests I've ever had to deal with. People get away with this behaviour because they are using the internet. They do not see it as the real world. Of course, it's good idea is to send them a friendly reminder! It's very easy to place their address into Google. Websites like: zillow, redfin and spokeo provide home owner information. Pick somebody that lives down the street and say that you know them. A good conversation changer may start with something like: "I didn't realize, but do you know Bob Smith? I just noticed when handling this request that you live in Billingstown. He's my brother and he lives down the road from you. He says he knows you. Small world eh!?". 9 times out of 10, this will avoid negative feedback and get them to calm down. You can even make this more intricate and use Google Street View to describe things in their area and reminisce of good times!


Again, most of this article assumes that the buyer is being unjust. Take from it what you will. It's a not a bible nor a manifesto. I hope that it will help eBay sellers who have been treated unfairly under the eBay Seller Protection Policy.

If you would like a last laugh, read the eBay Seller Protection Policy and try to keep a straight face! :)

Good tidings to all!

Monday, September 25, 2017

Terrain Racing Review - AVOID AT ALL COSTS!!!!

Terrain racing are at it again!
Constantly pissing around people, up-charging runners last minute, refusing to answer their support emails/calls, cancelling races last minute... and now... a new low!

My wife and I booked the Elite Heat 10K race with them, we paid more to do this. We were told literally a week before the race that the 10K is no longer timed and there will be no rewards for this race. If you want to win, run the first 5K lap as fast as you can, and then enjoy your second lap! What the actual F****!!! I swear this company doesn't have a brain cell between them!

Here is an email I received from them the other day...

from:Terrain Racing
date:Fri, Sep 22, 2017 at 10:58 AM
subject:CHANGE: Award Money for 5k Course!

We will be awarding prize money to the 5k distance at the Las Vegas October 7th race. The 10k will not receive prize money or rankings.

The 10k course at the Vegas race is two loops on the 5k course and only the first loop is timed. Even though you signed up the 10k, we will automatically time your first loop on the 5k course and place you in the results for the 5k. 

Due to changes with course routing at the venue, we have to make this change, thank you for your understanding. After you finish your first lap on the 5k, you can head to the start and run a second lap since you registered for this two-lap 10k option.

There is no action needed on your part for this to happen. You are all set to be timed in the 5k, eligible for prize money, and ready to run a second lap.

Thanks, we will see you soon!


"ready to run a second lap." - They MUST have been laughing when they wrote this!!


The proof:

Monday, September 11, 2017

Instacart - Stolen deliveries, poor customer service - AVOID!

My advice... Use Instacart as a $50 referral scheme, or, get your introduction freebies and MOVE ON!

The first two orders I made, my groceries were never delivered. The first order, the person claimed to deliver them, but didn't. I told Instacart to ban this person from making future orders from me. Low and behold, this did not happen, and this same person re-stole my second order! This driver is now banned, so that is good, but why let it go this far?

I must have contacted Instacart over 40 times over the 4 orders I made. That's 10 emails per order. This isn't a very time saving experience that was originally advertised by Instacart. I might as well go to the store myself.

I then has issues with support providing me credit as a 'sorry that your orders were stolen' coupon. The coupon didn't work when added over $35 to my cart. I had to contact them again and spent all morning today on this. When they finally fixed this bug, my free delivery went away.

Both the website and Android apps have many issues and bugs. The 'Sort by price' filters really do not work at all! Try for yourself! The Android app has a search bug where the search is hidden after the first search, so you have to guess what you search for. There is also an issue with wrong prices and wrong quantities on the website. At Smith's a TWO GALLON milk is $2.14. They WILL NOT deliver this, they will deliver half a gallon and expect you to deal with it. I told Instacart about these issues weeks ago and nothing has been done about it. The list really goes on, I could be here all day!

The support tickets are annoying because I'll get an agent who is really good and understanding, I reply to them, then some idiot in support takes over my case EVERYTIME I reply. They DO NOT READ the entire support chain, and I go round in circles again. This happen EVERY response!

The latest order, somebody thought it would be a good idea to replace a 50lb bag of rice with a 5lb bag. The 5lb bag was also a crappy value per oz. That's 10 times smaller that I wanted. Why didnt they chat with me using the chat feature? I can appreciate Instacart targets cheap people with low ambitions as drivers as they promise the self-employment dream that some job-hunters crave.... But this detriments the entire process. Orders get stolen, drivers get annoyed and damage your property. I mean, really!

Icing on the cake... You will get many emails containing the following: "If you have any feedback on how we can make Instacart Express better, just reply to this email!". Each time, the email will be sent from a no-reply email and your nice informative response will get bounced back, or, forgotten and lost forever.

Their support service is called the "happycustomers" team. I think they call it this so you go easy on them! They promise a 2 hour response, but you WILL end up waiting over 12 hours on some occasions, and when your groceries are missing, 12 hours is a long time to wait wondering where your money and your goods have gone!

Just go to the store yourself! You'll be glad you did!

Friday, January 6, 2017

Cell Phone Scam - celldays on eBay

Please be aware of user: celldays on eBay

Profile - Celldays on eBay
Store - Celldays on eBay

The Scam
The seller deals which selling cell phone. The seller will claim the IMEI is good however, the phone has NOT been paid off! So later, in a week, a month, the phone will be blacklisted by the carrier. This will deem the phone useless and it's resale value will not rock bottom. Once this has happened, it will be outside of the ebay 30 day return and feedback policy.

If you are lucky enough to catch this early... REQUEST A RETURN! - However, you will notice that when you return an item, you CANNOT leave feedback... This is why their feedback looks so good!

Here is the response I received from Celldays on eBay

You will not have a problem, and we will extend our warranty if this happens (but it won't).

Please see our 12,000+ feedbacks, not one problem like this.


My Response

How can you guarantee I wont have a problem? I assume you, I read your feedback, which is why I purchased this.

Let's look at an example of how you are scamming people...

1. I buy a phone from AT&T on a 2 year contract.
2. I make one monthly payment of $50 and then stop making payments
3. I sell the phone on ebay
4. AT&T start sending me bill reminders, which I ignore...
5. AT&T would naturally blacklist the IMEI after x weeks have passed. Why wouldn't they? You have paid $50 for a phone, which you sold for $350 on ebay. You are $300 up!! Why would AT&T NOT blacklist this phone? Again... How can you guarantee I wont have a problem?

Now, I have visited AT&T in person, they have told me that this is a scam.... Not a great first impression. They pulled up the bill for the previous owner and said they have NOT been paying their bill. AT&T told me in person, that this phone WILL get blacklisted.

So again... How can you guarantee I wont have a problem?

I Then checked google, and it's full of these issues... Im not really full on confidence here! They ONLY person that has said I won't have a problem is the person selling me the phones... What does that tell you? Seriously?

Now... I would like TWO phones, with GOOD IMEI, which have been paid off..

Paid off, means that, you fully OWN the phone for which you are selling... You cannot legally sell a phone which is not owned by yourself (As I have explained above)... If you buy a car which has been half paid off by the previous owner, naturally, you as the new owner would pick up these payments or the car would get taken away.

Look... I'm not an idiot, so please don't throw warranty claims at me... Just give me what I ordered please.

Thank you.

Their Final Response
New message from: celldays
I am insulted.

What scam? Who is a scammer?

Who paid $50?

If you do not want it, please send everything back for a full refund. (Yes, we always back our customers)

Please send everything back for a full refund.


Seriously!? They look the only bad points and discarded my whole entire explanation! They know EXACTLY what they are doing!


Tuesday, November 22, 2016 - EasyBus sell journeys which do NOT exist!?

We booked a bus through for 17 Nov 2016 at 7pm from Stansted Airport PTI Bus Terminal Bay 13-14 to Victoria Station.

This service simply does NOT exist!

My wife and I showed up to get our bus and we're told there was no such bus by their contracted company/partner! The next bus to that destination wasn't for nearly an hour!!
Had we taken the later bus, we would have missed our connection at Victoria Station. Instead, we were forced to take the only 7pm bus our ticket was valid for. This bus, however, only went to Liverpool St - NOT to Victoria Station - so we were forced to take the underground to Victoria Station after getting off the bus and walk the rest of the way. Considering my wife had just broken her foot 2.5 weeks prior and was on crutches, you can imagine this was a HUGE inconvenience for us and needs to be addressed.
No response from about this, they have a very bad reputation for customer service. This is made very apparent when doing a quick Google search.


Sunday, July 3, 2016

Consumer Horror Story: Groupon G-Pass Tickets

So I bought some Groupon G-passes to "Bryan Adams Get Up! Tour at The Chelsea" in Las Vegas a few weeks ago. When Groupon produces event tickets, called G-Passes, they really really like waiting until the VERY LAST MINUTE to provide you these event tickets. On top of this, they REQUIRE that you PRINT THEM OUT, otherwise you will be denied entry, despite showing it on your cell phone.

In this instance, Groupon promised to have the tickets available the day before the event. The chat below is when I contacted Groupon for the 6th time ONE HOUR INTO THE EVENT!! To be honest, the first 5 agents were FAR WORSE than Cecilia C, this was the best response I've had from Groupon, and that is saying a lot!

[Me] Bryan Adams Get Up! Tour at The Chelsea has started!! I'm currently missing it right now as I am at home, fully dressed to go, talking to you because my tickets/G-Passes are STILL NOT AVAILABLE!! The deadline for me to receive them was yesterday and the deal says I have to physically print them!

Why are my tickets not available yet!? This is the 6th time today, SIXTH TIME that i've had to contact groupon support! By the way, the last chat representative ended the chat after they said: "Allow me to check what's going on and see what I can do to sort this out."
[Cecilia C.] Thank you for contacting Groupon. My name is Cecilia C.
[Cecilia C.] Hi XXXXX.
[Me] hi
[Cecilia C.] I'm sorry to hear that.
[Me] me too!
[Cecilia C.] I apologize for the inconvenience.
[Me] whats going on??
[Cecilia C.] Allow me to check what's going on and see what I can do to sort this out.
[Me] -_-
[Cecilia C.] I'm sorry for the long wait.
[Cecilia C.] I'm still looking for the vouchers.
[Me] yeh, ive been trying to contact groupon all day (and yesterday!) about these vouchers. The G-Passes were supposed to be available yesterday at the latest!
[Me] the show started at 7pm and nobody has managed to get these tickets to me, it's 8pm now!!
[Cecilia C.] I apologize for the inconvenience.
[Cecilia C.] I apologize. I would need more time to find the vouchers. Would it be possible to send you an email?
[Me] no it wouldnt
[Me] the show started an hour ago
[Me] i need them like now
[Me] that had to be a joke right? this is crazy!
[Cecilia C.] What email address was used to purchase the tickets?
[Me] this one
[Me] i linked you to the groupons
[Cecilia C.] I'm sorry the link is not working on my end.
[Me] Is there a manager I can speak to? this is the 5th time today i have been through this
[Cecilia C.] Hold on.
[Me] I really dont want to do this again
[Cecilia C.] For verification, what is the last 4 digits of the card?
[Me] Visa ending in 7398:
[Cecilia C.] Thank you. I see a ticket has been filed for this issue.
[Me] Yes, that was before the concert started. You can imagine now that the concert HAS already started and I didnt receive an email as PROMISED, that i would naturally come back here and wonder why i hadnt received my tickets nor any response!
[Cecilia C.] I sincerely apologize for this trouble.
[Cecilia C.] Apparently, we have an issue with printing the vouchers.
[Cecilia C.] That's why the previous rep had file an urgent ticket for it.
[Me] But the concert started an hour ago!
[Cecilia C.] Let me see what we can do at this point.
[Me] why wasnt i updated?
[Me] i didnt get any email at all!
[Me] I was PROMISED an email
[Cecilia C.] That is true. We would usually send a notification.
[Cecilia C.] One moment please.
[Me] ok
[Cecilia C.] Sorry for the long wait.
[Cecilia C.] Here's what I advise you to do: please approach the event organizer and let them know we are having issues with the printing of vouchers so as a proof, please use your mobile app and show it.
[Me] but the ticket doesnt work on my mobile app!! The seat is blank, the row is blank and not to mention the app doesnt say anything about the ticket because its, surprise surprise, NOT AVAIALBLE!!
[Me] i have no proof at all! The other agent i spoke to today told me I would be denied entry if i tried this
[Cecilia C.] Is is not showing on your list of Groupons?
[Cecilia C.] I can see it on your list.
[Me] yes the item is, but the voucher is not available. Besides, if i left now, the event would almost be over
[Me] somebody should have offered this solution the last 5 times i contacted groupon support, but the only suggestion I received was to NOT do this from the previous person I spoke to!
[Cecilia C.] You just show that you had paid for this show.
[Me] Yes I understand what you are trying to say, but I was told by the last person I spoke to (Groupon agent) that I cannot do this!
[Me] They told me I would be denied entry into the event!
[Me] I dont really want to drive all the way there to take that risk
[Cecilia C.] This is out of our normal process but at this point it is our only option.
[Me] Ok, lets do a full refund to the card, not bucks as you guys have really messed up on this one
[Me] Tickets were promised to us yesterday and quite frankly, they are still not available. You did not email me, or communicate with me AT ALL, despite being promised you would contact me
[Me] So thats $28.00 for two groupons, $56.00 total to the card used to make the purchase. Visa ending in 3252
[Cecilia C.] Yes. I will have this processed by an account specialist and once it is completed I will send you an update.
[Cecilia C.] You will get an email confirmation as well once these vouchers have been cancelled.
[Me] Will I actually get an update this time? I mean, the other agent promised me they would reach out to me, but they did not
[Cecilia C.] You have my word.
[Me] Can I have a number or ID or anything please
[Cecilia C.] I'll personally see to it that it gets done.
[Me] I dont really want to explain this again to agent number #7, I'm just so tried of this
[Cecilia C.] I don't have any ID to provide but you can use our chat as a reference.
[Me] Giving me a confirmation ID or refund ID would give me peace of mind
[Me] I am beyond stressed
[Cecilia C.] I fully understand. I would be if I were in your place.
[Cecilia C.] But I don't have any ID I can give at this point. The only reference is the ticket number you will get after the chat ends.
[Me] What is the maximum amount of time before I get a response? and please no bucks... Normally this would be fine, but I want to make sure that card is refunded! This has really ruined my night and I will go absolutely spare if I see bucks in my account in 2 days
[Cecilia C.] Understood.
[Cecilia C.] It will be refunded to your card.
[Me] ok great, ill copy this chat as reference and expect a response within 24 hours?
[Cecilia C.] Yes.
[Cecilia C.] You can't redeem using the mobile app but at least you can show that this was paid for.
[Me] Ok great. I really don't want to be back here in 25 hours. I think 2 in 10 times I have received an email as promised from groupon, but I will take your word for it. I guess thats all I can do right now.
[Me] Understood, but by the time I get there, itll be almost over
[Me] I'm cutting my losses and getting de-changed back into pyjamas and going to bed, Bryan Adams-less! You really suck Groupon! I feel sorry for the people whom had travelled from out of state to see this show! These people do exist, they have been posted on the event wall on Facebook.
[Cecilia C.] I understand. It's Bryan Adams concert and who would want to miss it.