How Companies Try to Scam Other Companies In Real Life

There are a lot of scams going on all over the place. They seem to come up with something new every day. Here are a few I’ve run into in the last few months.

The other day a call was transferred to my office at work. The person on the line wanted to let me know that our copier’s ink cartridges had gone up in price, from $640 to $708 and she had permission from her supervisor to send us one more cartridge at the lower cost today only.

We have two copiers, one at each end of the building. Both fairly large machines, but one is much older than the other. The older copier was donated to us many years ago, and the donation included repairs, ink cartridges, etc. We do have to pay $0.05 per copy, but we don’t use that copier as much so it ends up being a good deal for us.

The other one has a service plan, and we never have to buy cartridges for these machines.

I thought it would be interesting to tell you how the company that called me got our information in the first place because I’ve gotten those calls, too.

They call you and say they are just wondering what kind of copy machines you use, they would like to have the brand name and the model number so they can call back tomorrow with pricing to see if they can beat our current prices. Now if I answer the phone, or the receptionist answers the phone, we know to get the person off the phone. But lots of people answer phones, sometimes volunteers handle incoming calls. Everyone wants to be helpful, and save the agency money so they freely give the information on all the copiers and printers in the building.

No one calls back the next day. Instead they wait for a week or two, with the urgent call of how the cartridges have all gone up in price, so they have permission to ship one at the old cost, and can they get my permission to do that.

They are really sneaky about it, they sound authentic, they seem to be wanting to help us get a good deal.

When I tell them we have service contracts for both copiers and all printers, they hastily say, “Oh, then I’ll take you off our list.”

That’s one way that companies try to scam you in real life.

Mr. A gets these calls all the time, and he always passes them on to me so I can figure out if they are worth looking into.

One Saturday I got a call from a guy and they were offering radio commercials on one of the talk radio stations that my husband listens to. They had a great radio commercial all set up for my husband’s company, and the guy had me listen to it. It sounded great! Talking about what an excellent company we were and how we helped out in the community, and just on and on. Well, we’re kind of small and we haven’t begun to help the local community, for one thing. The guy said we didn’t even have to pay for the ad until it came out on the radio. Just listen during the times it would be played and they would bill us later.

Well. I guess I’m just cynical; I told him I’d need to call the radio station’s advertising department. The guy hem-hawed a bit, but said that would be fine, and he would call me back on Monday. Of course the radio station didn’t have anyone there I could talk to on the weekend, and the guy never called me back on Monday.

I think it would be pretty easy to pull that one over on someone. You know, you get busy, you forget to listen to the time your ad is supposed to air, you assume the ad aired, and you pay the bill.

Meanwhile, the company took your money and never ran the ad in the first place.

Of course these sales people are always high powered, and want an answer right now, and keep calling back every hour to see if you have made up your mind.

Another company was going to put our ad on the chairs where golfers can rest as they play, and we would be the only business of our type (yeah yeah, heard that one before – it’s because we’re SO SPECIAL) and they had only one position left on the chair and they are offering a special deal today only. We have to let them know today because they are running out of time to print the ads. Guess what? They called back the next day and the next. In the meantime, I had a chance to check out the golf course, and it’s 75 miles from where we live, in a very isolated area. Yeah. Mr. A has enough customers that are 50 miles away, without trying to find more.

Oh, and one more. This one sounded really great. Again, we were singled out, since we are so special and we’d be the only type of our business. This was for a cover to go on your local Yellow Pages book, and they produce this cover only once every ten years, so for a minimal amount we would be on the cover for the next ten years! This company said they give these covers to the local Chamber of Commerce to give to all new people who move into the area. They said EVERY SINGLE person who moves into the area gets one of these covers and our name would be out there available to new people. It wasn’t too expensive, but I wasn’t making any decisions without checking first. I called the local Chamber of Commerce and they told me they do get these covers but they rarely give out more than 2-3 of them each year. They said people just don’t want them. So… we didn’t go for that super advertising deal either.

It’s tiring sometimes, having to be so alert about being scammed. I guess it’s been going on forever… these are just some of the ways I’ve experienced in the past few months.

What about you? Unravel any scams at your job or personally?

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9 thoughts on “How Companies Try to Scam Other Companies In Real Life

  1. My buddy that works in the hospital told me that they once recieved a large shipment of fluorescent bulbs and of course an invoice attached…

    The problem was nobody ordered the bulbs, a company just took it upon themselves to send the bulbs and bill the hospital.

    If I remember correctly, the problem was detected because it was the wrong type of bulb… lol…

    I wonder if the issue would have been detected if it was the correct type of bulb!!!


  2. Several years ago the company I worked for received “invoices” from a company located in Europe for supposed inclusion in some kind of business directory. Not something we’d requested or cared about having. Nope, not paying, thanks. It was several hundred dollars and they tried the same thing 2 or 3 years in a row. I can only assume that there must have been enough companies that just blindly paid the very official looking “invoice” that they kept doing it. (If I remember correctly, careful reading of the “invoice” revealed that it wasn’t actually one but rather some kind of solicitation for you to subscribe to inclusion in this directory and that paying them then did obligate you to continue with it.)


  3. Wow! I don’t live in the States anymore but I have family that was just talking about advertising their small business. I’ll let them know about these scams. What a rip off–particularly the radio spot–very sneaky.


  4. I read this the other day but had nothing to add. Then yesterday the wife got phished! She received a “PayPal” account update request.

    Who would think twice about updating information with paypal? Only because we use multiple e-mail accounts did she realize that this could not be legitimate.

    Caveat emptor!


  5. I opened my mail today and there was an invoice for my Harper’s magazine renewal, they had ALL my information. I do have a Harper’s subscription but I get for free by filling out survey’s via e-rewards. I read the fine print and they basically said they have nothing to do with where your current subscription comes from and if you send back the “pay later” bill/invoice and subsequently change your mind they will charge you $20 to cancel their “service”. The tip-off it was a scam – the return envelope needed you to affix your own stamp!


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