How to Succeed in Monkey Business

While Googling for a hard drive upgrade for an older laptop, I encountered an site called ePartsGiant who was selling 80GB 7200RPM Travelstars for half the price of the competition. They were advertised as new, in-box, with a 30-day warranty. Intrigued, I investigated to see if there were similar bargains in larger drive sizes. I found the original drive listed under two different prices, both marked new, in-box. I also found a 100GB 7200RPM Travelstar listed under the same two prices, both marked new, in-box. Strange.

Since I’ve found shipping to be cheaper and quicker from nearby vendors, I clicked on the “about us” link to see where these fellows were located. The page was blank, except for the title and a vaguely disturbing indication of English illiteracy (“A Giant Store for Hard Drives, Memory, Power Supply, Processor & System Board” and “Term of Service.”) The “contact us” page indicated an unconvincing address in New York.

Warily, I tried their checkout screens. The left margin contained logos for “PayPal Verified” and PayPal payment services… but there was apparently no way to pay with PayPal. You entered your credit card information, or you didn’t play. Now I was growing dubious.

Since I spend my winters away from my credit card billing address, I took note of the following advisory: “If your Shpping[sic] and billing address is[sic] different, then please download the authorized[sic] form by clicking the above link and then fill the form and mail to us. This form will help us to manipulate your order properly.” I downloaded the form, opened it, and almost blew soda out my nose. Here it is:

Application for Employment at US Mission, Bangladesh

I probably should have seen where this was going when I read the copyright line: “All right[sic] reserved by Credible World Inc.” I guess it was critical for these folks to hire someone who could insert some credibility into their website.

Needless to say, I quickly booked out to a more respectable website. I wonder how many people without sensitive hink meters have completed the ordering process here? I’d as soon stick my credit card information into a site like this as I’d chance a one-nighter with Paris Hilton.

I have no patience with whiners who bellyache about how merchants and corporations have all the power and consumers are always the victims. Here’s your power: walk away from bad deals! Do your homework, know what a fair price is, know what fair terms are, and know who you’re dealing with. You have equal power. The merchant wants your money just as much as you want his goods. Shop for a deal on your terms from a merchant with a reputation you can verify.

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