A Bully Finds a Pulpit on the Web

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John Q. Public
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A Bully Finds a Pulpit on the Web

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Interesting article about the pitfalls of online shopping and why I recommend at least trying to only do business with known, reputable companies, like OCConnect-Mart (our Amazon store [plug, plug]). This guy sounds like the absolute worst of them but others like him are out there. And they always seem to come up at the top of searches.

A Bully Finds a Pulpit on the Web

By DAVID SEGAL
Published: November 26, 2010

SHOPPING online in late July, Clarabelle Rodriguez typed the name of her favorite eyeglass brand into Google’s search bar.

In moments, she found the perfect frames — made by a French company called Lafont — on a Web site that looked snazzy and stood at the top of the search results. Not the tippy-top, where the paid ads are found, but under those, on Google’s version of the gold-medal podium, where the most relevant and popular site is displayed.

Ms. Rodriguez placed an order for both the Lafonts and a set of doctor-prescribed Ciba Vision contact lenses on that site, DecorMyEyes.com. The total cost was $361.97.

It was the start of what Ms. Rodriguez would later describe as one of the most maddening and miserable experiences of her life.

The next day, a man named Tony Russo called to say that DecorMyEyes had run out of the Ciba Visions. Pick another brand, he advised a little brusquely.

“I told him that I didn’t want another brand,” recalls Ms. Rodriguez, who lives in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan. “And I asked for a refund. He got rude, really obnoxious. ‘What’s the big deal? Choose another brand!’ ”

With the contacts issue unresolved, her eyeglasses arrived two days later. But the frames appeared to be counterfeits and Ms. Rodriguez, a lifelong fan of Lafont, remembers that even the case seemed fake.

Soon after, she discovered that DecorMyEyes had charged her $487 — or an extra $125. When she and Mr. Russo spoke again, she asked about the overcharge and said she would return the frames.

“What the hell am I supposed to do with these glasses?” she recalls Mr. Russo shouting. “I ordered them from France specifically for you!”

“I’m going to contact my credit card company,” she told him, “and dispute the charge.”

Until that moment, Mr. Russo was merely ornery. Now he erupted.

“Listen, bitch,” he fumed, according to Ms. Rodriguez. “I know your address. I’m one bridge over” — a reference, it turned out, to the company’s office in Brooklyn. Then, she said, he threatened to find her and commit an act of sexual violence too graphic to describe in a newspaper.

Ms. Rodriguez was shaken but undaunted. That day she called Citibank, which administers her MasterCard account, and after submitting some paperwork, she won a provisional victory. Her $487 would be refunded as the bank looked into the charge and discussed it with the owner of DecorMyEyes. A final determination, she was told, would take 60 days.

As that two-month deadline approached, Mr. Russo had dropped his claim for the contact lenses he’d never sent. But, she said, he began an increasingly nasty campaign to persuade her to contact Citibank and withdraw her dispute.

“Call me back or I’m going to drag you to small-claims court,” he wrote in an e-mail on Sept. 27. “You have one hour to call me back or I’m filing online.”

A few hours later, Mr. Russo sent details of what appeared to be a lawsuit filed in Brooklyn. It included a hearing date and time, the address of the court, a docket number and a demand for $1,500, which, the e-mail said, “includes my legal fees.”

Ms. Rodriguez did not respond. A few hours later, Mr. Russo raised the stakes sharply by sending another e-mail, this one with a photograph of the front of the apartment building where she and her fiancé lived.

Lots more here: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/28/busin ... ?src=busln
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SoMelo
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Re: A Bully Finds a Pulpit on the Web

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John Q. Public wrote:Interesting article about the pitfalls of online shopping and why I recommend at least trying to only do business with known, reputable companies, like OCConnect-Mart (our Amazon store [plug, plug]). This guy sounds like the absolute worst of them but others like him are out there. And they always seem to come up at the top of searches.
I've ordered 4 DVD's, Bose computer speakers and isloation headphones from Amazon. :thumbsup:
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Re: A Bully Finds a Pulpit on the Web

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I have to wonder if that type of an attitude could improve my sales? :mrgreen:
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Re: A Bully Finds a Pulpit on the Web

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sbayhills wrote:I have to wonder if that type of an attitude could improve my sales? :mrgreen:
It's served me well. :-xxx :-xxx :-xxx
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Re: A Bully Finds a Pulpit on the Web

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SoMelo wrote: I've ordered 4 DVD's, Bose computer speakers and isloation headphones from Amazon. :thumbsup:
For your favorite Admin? :mrgreen:

If they're gifts, you might want to be a little careful about people looking over your shoulder when you're on the computer. I friend of mine bought something for his wife and for a few weeks after that he kept getting banner ads for her present! :shock:
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Re: A Bully Finds a Pulpit on the Web

Post by GOODave »

John Q. Public wrote: For your favorite Admin? :mrgreen:

If they're gifts, you might want to be a little careful about people looking over your shoulder when you're on the computer. I friend of mine bought something for his wife and for a few weeks after that he kept getting banner ads for her present! :shock:
I've used online for years as nearly my exclusive shopping domain. I don't have the patience (I know this is a surprise to some of you) for the mall or mindless drones of clerks who are there for a few weeks and then off to get their nails done...

The spam I get as a result is just the price of the convenience and, while I've never run across a Tony Russo, I do try to be very careful about the companies with whom I do business, as several friends (including in here) have recommended: Deal with only the "biggies" ... research their real business practices (for the smaller or lesser known ones), withhold payment or withdraw payment if it's already been processed. I did, once, find that someone had copped my CC number and was using it out on CA ... but I caught it after only one purchase and put a stop to it immediately (and had that charge reversed).

That NYTimes article is a great warning.
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Re: A Bully Finds a Pulpit on the Web

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