Marketing Billing Scam


Beware of this fake but pretty convincing invoice from Since my company is small I immediately recognized this as a service that we didn’t sign up for. If you send in the $70, you’re signing up whatever service they’re offering.

From the fine print on the back of the invoice: 

We offer a 10-day money-back guarantee from your initial WebsiteBackup plan sign up date. Sign up date is considered the date WebsiteBackup receives your payment. After the 10-day period, there are no refunds. However, you may still cancel your account at any time.

I’m guessing they are able to stay in existence because they probably do offer a service, though based on their method of duping customers, it must be of dubious quality.


Marketing, Technology

Amazon Dash

AmazonDashI saw this- the Amazon Dash on today and immediately checked to see if it was an April Fools’ Day joke. It seems real, but I am not convinced. Do we really need a plastic button in our kitchen to press when we’re out of Mac ‘n Cheese? The Verge calls it the “clearest example of where human ingenuity intersects with laziness”.


Business, Improvement, Life, Marketing

Win First

Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win.Sun Tzu

Sometimes I find myself in the midst of a challenge in business and wonder why things aren’t going as well as I would like. I think this quote pretty might provide a pretty good explanation.

Success is about planning and preparation before the war. You have a clearer mind and strategy that hopefully allows you to avoid some of the pitfalls. In business, often you  feel like you have to jump in quickly, but sometimes problems can be avoided with better preparation.

Amazon Prime Packing Fail

Amazon Prime Packing Fail

In the box, a glass Malden Smartphone Picture Frame and a 11 pounds of liquid baby formula.

Who in their right mind thinks that a large glass picture frame is safe to ship with an 11 pounds of liquid baby formula? Some low wage packer at Amazon who most likely doesn’t care. The picture frame (a valentine’s day gift for my wife) was totally smashed with loose glass tinkling around inside the bubble wrap.

The box was half empty with only a little bit of crumpled paper as fill. With all that space, there’s no doubt the items were constantly being tossed back and forth during transit. No amount of bubble wrap could have protect the frame from damage.

America loves free shipping. As a consumer, I love free shipping. But shipping a product across the country is a real cost. So for Amazon to offer free shipping, costs are being cut in other places. Some of the savings can be made through efficiency but having low wage workers are definitely part of the equation.

Of course, Amazon is going to fix this for me by sending me a new frame and having me ship the old frame back. But, wouldn’t it be better to not have this problem in the first place? Amazon wants to be an aspirational brand, but having your final product being a poorly packed package reflects badly on the company.

Because of Amazon, it’s hard for a businesses to compete with the expectation of free shipping. But not all companies are willing to do because doing so would compromise service or forgo profit.


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Business West Coast Labor Dispute Brings Crippling Delays to Seaports West Coast Labor Dispute Brings Crippling Delays to Seaports

This is the first mainstream reference that I have seen to a growing problem that most people know nothing about that could threaten the U.S. economy. The labor dispute between the Port owners and the longshoreman is causing major delays in the unloading of containers all along the West Coast. The longshoreman have been working without an agreement since July of last year and now the Port owners are accusing them of a slow down and are locking them out sporadically because they don’t want to pay for slow work. This has caused major disruptions in the supply chain of almost every business that involves trade with Asia.

My company has been impacted with two containers stalled for weeks. One in Tacoma, the other in Los Angeles. We have two more containers about to arrive outside of Los Angeles where they’ll be sitting next to 30 other container vessels waiting to be unloaded. The question we have is how many containers can we afford to pay for without getting merchandise to sell?

It’s hard enough to run a business without having something that you have no control over totally casting a shadow over your business. As it is, a quick resolution will leave a several month backlog, a prolonged labor showdown could cripple the economy.

Technology AT&T will pay $105 million for unauthorized charges on customer bills AT&T will pay $105 million for unauthorized charges on customer bills

AT&T (TTech30)has agreed to pay $105 million for “cramming” unauthorized charges on the monthly bills of its wireless customers, federal and state regulators announced Wednesday.

I wrote about this pretty extensively in 2009 after experiencing an unauthorized charge by a third party on my AT&T cellular bill. The improper billing started after a company sent me a text SPAM which led me to be billed $9.95 for some “service”. I called AT&T to complain after seeing my bill and was refunded the charge.

Since most people don’t spend a lot of time looking at their bills, I’m sure there are a lot of people who have been charged improperly.

Now, AT&T is settling with the FTC and is offering refunds that are being processed through the FTC website. If you have been improperly charged or aren’t sure, fill out the form. It only takes a few minutes and basically asks for your phone account information. They’ll go through your account and determine if you are eligible for a refund. I’ve submitted mine just in case there is a charge that I missed in my bill.

The FTC notes that it may take over 9 months to get a refund.



Product Review, Technology

Costco: Excessive Packaging


Just bought this Seagate 1TB Hard Drive from Costco and found the packaging to be ridiculously large and wasteful. The packaging is too hard to open by hand and if you end up cutting them open with scissors or a knife, you’ll very likely end up cutting up the instruction sheet like I did. No, I don’t read instruction sheets for a plug and play device, but if I did I would be out of luck.

Maybe hard drives in warehouse stores like Costco are too hard to find or too easily stolen, but I think this has gone too far.