The Amway Scam

It’s hard to imagine that an entire corporation could be based off a scam, but that’s exactly the case for Amway and Quixtar. This article will detail exactly how Amway and Quixtar work, and why it is a scam you should avoid. Because Amway and Quixtar are the same company, I’ll just be using the name Amway from now on.

Like many scams, the Amway scam is based off people’s urge to be rich, drive a nice car, and live in a big house. People often want to live that lifestyle so badly that they will do anything and believe anything in order to achieve that goal. This is where Amway steps in. The main idea is that you become a salesperson and sell Amway products, such as vitamins, electronics, and various other goods. Of course, you won’t get rich selling knifes door to door, but that’s where the twist comes in. The idea is that the more people you recruit into Amway, the more money you’ll make because you’ll get a percentage of their earnings. If the people you recruit, recruit more people in turn, you’ll get a percentage of that, and so on. So the main idea is to recruit as many people as possible, and have an automatic stream of revenue. Does this sound like a pyramid scam to you? Well, it basically is. Technically, it’s labeled as multi-level-marketing, which is nothing more than a legal pyramid scam.

So where is the harm? So far, everything sounds legitimate, and harmless. That’s exactly what they want you to think. The fact of the matter is that once you’re recruited, Amway starts selling things to YOU. That’s right, anything from motivational tapes, to motivational books, to tickets for conventions and rallies, and even entire bus trips to rallies. Through a series of talks, basic brainwashing techniques are used in order to convince you that you will succeed and become a millionaire, but only if you buy motivational tapes which hold the key to your success. In fact, it is commonly said that Amway rallies resemble religious revival meetings more than anything else. Now, I’m not trying to knock on religious revival meetings, but Amway preys on your desperation, and preys on your dreams. They tell people over and over that they will become rich if they follow the Amway business plan. Unfortunately, virtually the only people making any sort of significant money are the people selling motivational tools at the rallies and so forth. According to Amway itself, the average amount of money people make at Amway is a measly $1,400 a year. This doesn’t include all the money for meetings, rallies, travel, books, tapes, and everything else. When all is said and done, most people actually lose their money, friends, and a huge amount of time.

Posted under Avoiding Fees, Avoiding Scams, Hidden Fees, Making Money

This post was written by admin on June 24, 2009

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Download Jeff Paul’s Websites on Rapidshare

You’ve likely seen Jeff Paul’s infomercial about how you can make internet millions with his money making system. You’ve seen the testimonials and the two incredibly hot girls in bikinis hosting his infomercial. But what if you want to try Jeff Paul’s money making system for free, without paying any money at all? Well, you’re in luck, because I’m going to save you more time and money than you can imagine. First, I’m sorry to say that it’s not possible to download Jeff Paul’s money making websites on Rapidshare, Megaupload, or any other file sharing service. The reason for this is that Jeff Paul’s money making websites don’t exist. That’s right, you heard me. Jeff Paul’s shortcuts to internet millions is a scam, plain and simple. But wait, in the infomercial, Jeff Paul says for a little money you can get 10 free websites, right? Well, wrong. Like I said before, Jeff Paul’s shortcuts is a complete scam, and the commercial is full of flat out lies. I’m going to save you some serious time and money by telling you to just walk away, it isn’t worth it. For $50 or so, you get a package with some vague information about how to make money on the internet, but you don’t get any websites as promised. Then, for thousands of dollars, they try to upsell you their internet website packages. These websites need to run on their servers, and they charge you absurd amounts of money for it. Remember in the infomercial when Jeff Paul said you’ll get new money making websites every month for free? Well, that simply isn’t true. You’ll be charged hundreds of dollars. Once Jeff Paul has your credit card number, he will never, ever stop charging you every month. It is not possible to cancel Jeff Paul’s program. The only way to have the payments stop is to cancel your credit card. Sure there are plenty of people who make money on the internet, but not with kits like Jeff Paul. Keep searching, and eventually you’ll find a genuine opportunity.

Posted under Avoiding Fees, Avoiding Scams, Hidden Fees, Making Money, Saving Money, Technology

This post was written by admin on February 7, 2009

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AT&T Pay as you go phones cost more than you think!

This article is mainly about AT&T Go phones, but plans from other companies such as Verizon are very similar. Cell phone plans can be very expensive, and range anywhere from thirty to a hundred dollars a month. This is a lot of money, especially if you don’t talk on your phone very much. Why pay thirty dollars a month for a phone you only plan to use a couple days a month?

If you don’t talk on your phone much, you may have already looked into pay as you go phones, of simply Go Phones. Unfortunately, these phones can also cost you a fortune to use. First of all, there is a daily activation fee of one dollar for AT&T. This means that if you don’t use your phone for a particular day, you don’t get charged anything. This may seem nice, but there’s a catch which will be discussed later. Every day that you use the phone, you are automatically charged a dollar. And by ‘using the phone’ I mean it. If a telemarketer calls you, and you say ‘no thank you’ and hang up immediately, it’s too late. That two second phone call just cost you a dollar and ten cents. One dollar for the daily activation fee and ten cents for the two seconds…what a bargain.

10 cents for two seconds?

That’s right, everything is rounded up. AT&T advertises that they charge ten cents a minute, but in reality, everything is rounded up, and it really makes a difference. If you call someone and their phone is busy, each attempt will cost you another 10 cents even though you used the phone for less than a second. AT&T, Verizon and Cingular Wireless are exceptionally greedy companies that will do anything to take your money away from you. In short, phone calls are not pro-rated. Instead, they just round everything up and charge you as much as they possibly can.

Internet on a Go Phone

If you want to access the internet on a Go Phone, be prepared to pay a fortune for it. You will pay for both the length of time, and the amount of data downloaded. What’s worse is that the phone is intentionally designed so that the internet button is incredibly easy to press by accident. For example, if you want to see the list of missed calls, you could very easily press the internet button by accident. If you haven’t used your phone for a particular day, and accidentally hit the button right in the center of your phone, you just lost a dollar and ten cents.

Text messages

If you want to view or send text messages with your Go Phone, just forget about it because it’ll cost you a fortune. First of all, be prepared to receive hundreds and hundreds of spam text messages. These messages advertise anything from Viagra to high school diplomas. If you view a text message you just received and find out it was just a spam text message, that’s too bad for you. You just lost a dollar and ten cents.

Conclusion

AT&T has intentionally rigged their Go phones to steal as much money from their customers as possible. The interface to navigate the main menu is intentionally designed to trick people into accessing the internet. I’m going to go as far as to say that AT&T actively promote spam text messages as an effort to get people to check their messages and therefore give AT&T more money. The very fact that a two second phone call can cost a dollar and ten cents is proof enough that the Go phone just isn’t worth it.

How to save money on cell phones

Here’s what you can do to save some serious money. Figure out which of your friends use AT&T, and Verizon, etc. Then only give your number to people in your network. In network phone calls are free, and that’s the only practical way to use your Go phone without paying any money. You can either pay money hand over fist for erroneous and inflated fees, or you can carry two or even three phones and use them for free. It’s your choice.

Posted under Avoiding Fees, Saving Money, Shopping, Technology

This post was written by admin on December 27, 2008

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Buying tickets online is a waste of money

Buying tickets online for movies, museums, and other attractions is easy and convenient. Buying tickets online is also a very good way to waste money. Many times, buying tickets online may seem like a great way to ensure you have tickets to an event which may sell out, and it may also seem like a great way to avoid waiting in line to buy tickets. Unfortunately, buying tickets online is much more expensive than calling directly to purchase tickets in advance.

Why is buying tickets online more expensive?

Websites which sell tickets need to stay in business. In order to stay in business, they almost always charge you extra for using their online service. This is often called a booking fee, or convenience fee, and can range anywhere from three dollars to fifteen dollars a ticket! This can add up to some serious money! Here are a couple examples:

Alcatraz Island

If you want to see Alcatraz Island, it is highly recommended that you buy tickets in advance, since they regularly sell out. Some online websites which sell tickets to Alcatraz charge a convenience fee of up to 12 dollars per ticket! If you have a family of four and want to see the island, using these websites can cost you close to fifty dollars, which is not acceptable. What do you get for those fifty dollars? Absolutely nothing. Avoiding the fifty dollar convenience fee is very simple. Simply call the Alcatraz national park service directly and purchase tickets over the phone. It’s simple, easy, and you don’t get charged a super high online convenience fee.

California Academy of Sciences Museum

Frankly, this museum isn’t that great, but I’ll use it as an example. If you want to see it, buying tickets in advance is highly recommended. Like Alcatraz, many websites charge an additional seven dollar convenience fee. Seeing as how the tickets are already extraordinarily overpriced for the science academy, you will want to avoid paying even more. You also want to buy tickets beforehand so you avoid waiting for an hour and a half in the freezing cold just to buy a ticket, just so you can wait another half an hour before getting in the front door. So how do you avoid the online convenience fee? Again, the answer is to directly call the science academy museum and purchase tickets before you go. Again, I’d just like to emphasize that this museum isn’t that great. The building may look cool from the outside, but there are many problems inside…but I’ll save that for another article one day.

Buying hotel tickets

Many popular hotel reservation websites charge a convenience fee. For example, if you reserve a hotel room with Hotels.com, you can expect a ten dollar convenience fee just for using the website. Instead, it’s just easier to call the hotel directly and avoid the convenience fee. This process can be a little frustrating, since some hotels have special deals with online ticket vendors, so it may or may not be cheaper to buy the hotel room online, depending on the hotel.

Conclusion

This article is pretty simple, and can be summed up as follows; if you can call a place directly and purchase tickets in advance, do it. Otherwise, you may be the victim of online convenience fees. The internet is a great place to scout the lowest prices of hotels, airline tickets, Broadway tickets, etc. But once you have the lowest price scouted out, call the venue directly, reserve the ticket ahead of time, and don’t pay the convenience fee. Saving money can be that simple!

Posted under Avoiding Fees, Hidden Fees, Saving Money, Shopping

This post was written by admin on November 9, 2008

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American Express is robbing you!

Recently, I got a letter in the mail offering me an American Express Delta SkyMiles credit card. Right away, you know there will be trouble:

Dear <your name>:

You’ve been experiencing the benefits of Cardmembership carrying a Card on someone else’s account. Now, we’d like to invite you to get a Gold Delta SkyMiles Card, with no annual fee for your first year - that’s a savings of $95. You’ve earned the right to get your own Card and Award Travel! - And you’ll be the Basic Cardmember, so the spending you do will count toward your own excellent credit history.

Okay, did you notice anything in that paragraph? That’s right; the annual fee for the card is $95 dollars. Every single year, you have to pay for the privilege of carrying one of their credit cards, which is outrageous! Credit card companies make billions of dollars because they have a very simple business plan. When you use your credit card and don’t pay it on time, they charge you an extremely large interest fee. All the credit card companies have to do is loan you money, which costs them nothing. That is why most credit cards have no recurring fees whatsoever…the companies can afford it.

So why would anyone intentionally opt to pay recurring fees just for having a credit card? Well, it turns out that there is another part of the story for the American express card. By using the card in your day to day life, you earn sky miles. When you have enough miles, you can get a free or near free plane ticket. This sounds like a good deal, right? Well, yes and no. For most of us, we don’t spend enough money fast enough in order to actually come out positive. That is, if you don’t use the card a lot, the annual recurring fee is going to cost you more than you would ever save by getting a free plane ticket. If you have a very good salary and spend several thousand dollars a month with the American Express Delta SkyMiles card, then it may be a good idea. If you don’t use your credit card that much, the American Express Delta SkyMiles card will ending up costing you a lot of money in the long run. The only responsible thing to do is avoid any sort of credit card with a recurring fee of any kind.

Posted under Avoiding Fees, Avoiding Scams, Hidden Fees, Saving Money, Shopping

This post was written by admin on September 11, 2008

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Avoid Lottery Scams

A common theme to this site is how to save a couple pennies here and there. Sometimes, the best way to save some pennies is to avoid wasting them in the first place. That’s why I’m going to write some articles focusing on a couple non-obvious internet and mail scams, and how they work. A couple years ago, I was even scammed out of thirty dollars online! Anyone is susceptible to internet scams, regardless of where you live, or what your level of education is.

A common scam is known as the lottery scam. Have you ever received an email or letter in the mail claiming you’ve just won a lottery you’ve never entered? Guess what, it’s a scam! Often, these ‘lotteries’ are from foreign addresses, which should be sending up a red flag indicating something is wrong. Because the emails and letters promise to send you money in the form of a check, it’s hard to imagine how these scams could cost you any money.

Here’s how it works:

  • The fake lottery sends you a check, but also demand a small fee for taxes or other bogus fees.
  • After you cash or deposit the check into your bank, the check will appear to have cleared. The bank will release the funds to you.
  • You happily send off the small required tax or processing fees to the fake lottery company.
  • Up to a couple weeks later, your bank will figure out that the check was, in fact, fake.
  • The bank will immediately take out the appropriate funds from your bank. If you don’t have enough money in your account, your account will be overdrawn, resulting in large fees.
  • Your bank may also charge you fees for depositing a fake check

In summary, if you receive a check from a lottery you never entered, chances are overwhelming that it is scam. One thing to keep in mind is that internet scammers are getting more and more sophisticated. They make their livings scamming innocent victims, and to do it more effectively, they have fax machines, telephone numbers, and mailboxes. Don’t be fooled by internet lottery scams. These scams may appear to be legitimate, but they can cost you thousands of dollars and cause you lots of disappointment :)

Posted under Avoiding Fees, Avoiding Scams, Hidden Fees, Saving Money

This post was written by admin on August 25, 2008

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Save money when paying bills

Avoid the convenience fees

We all have to pay bills, but how can we get away with paying less? As it turns out, there are a couple ways to save money while paying bills. Most major companies have ways to pay online, which is simple, and safe. Unfortunately, there is more to the story. Companies which allow you to pay bills online need to pay employees or other companies to make and operate the website. Some companies are benevolent, and end up absorbing the extra cost of operating their website. Other companies choose to charge it’s customers a ‘convenience fee’ for paying their bills online. That’s right; you have to pay just for the privilege of paying your bills. Sometimes, this cost can be very significant in proportion to the actual bill.

For example, I recently got a bill for $5.78 for water and sewage from Minol L.P. I went to their website to pay the bill, and that is when I noticed that they charge a 3 dollar convenience fee, which is ridiculous! The additional fee was actually over 50% of my original bill! It is likely that Minol L.P. pays another company which operates the online billing of customers, and that company receives the majority of the proceeds from the ‘convenience fees.’ But at the end of the day it doesn’t really matter where the money goes. All that matters is that it is no longer in your wallet!

Fortunately, we have a choice. Virtually all companies offer an option to mail in a check. There is usually no convenience fee attached to this. You sometimes need to pay for an envelope and stamp. You can get envelopes from office max for about 2.5 cents each if you buy a box, and you can get a stamp for 42 cents each from the post office. It’s best to buy a little book of stamps to avoid having to go to the post office every month. Your actual checks may cost up to 5 cents each. Let’s do a little math to see how much money we can save from one company for an entire year.

( 3.00 - .42 - .025 - .05) * 12 = 30.06

Just by sending your bills in the mail instead of paying the ‘convenience fees’ online, you can save over thirty dollars each year for each company that charges you extra when you pay online. While there may be a certain ‘convenience’ when paying the bills online, it’s just as easy to put a check in an envelope during a television commercial.

Recurring payments

Recurring payments can be just as deadly. Some companies charge a convenience fee and/or a setup fee to arrange automatic monthly withdraws from your bank account. This is a common practice with some insurance companies. While it is convenient, it costs you a significant amount of money during the course of the year. Again, once a month, during a commercial, you can put a check in an envelope and save some money. Again, some companies are benevolent, and do not charge any fees for recurring payments. If you can not find any information about fees, it may be best to go ahead and enroll in automatic payments. You can even check your bank online and make sure the amount you’re being charged is the actual amount of the bill. If you find any hidden fees, you can always cancel recurring payments.

Sometimes, companies charge a setup fee for recurring payments, but to make a one time payment with a credit card is free. In these cases, it’s best just to pay online. Other companies charge a one time setup fee for recurring payments, and also charge you when you make a one time payment. For this situation, it is usually best to pay the setup fee, since it will generally cost less than buying a stamp and sending a letter through the mail every month. The main point I’m trying to make here is that you need to look at all your options, and see which one will cost you the least amount of money.

Recurring apartment rent

If you live in an apartment, one of the worst things you can do is be enrolled into an automatic payment plan for rent. These ‘services’ charge you 30 dollars a month, sometimes more. Wouldn’t you rather spend a couple minutes each month to write and drop off a check instead of spending 30 dollars? If you are currently using such a plan for automatic rent payment from your bank account or credit card, this could cost you over $360 a years!

Car payments

Car payments are in another field altogether because interest is involved. For my car payments, recurring payments are free, but if I choose to pay an extra, one-time, payment on the car, there is a 5 dollar convenience fee for an electronic check and a 10 dollar convenience fee if you use a credit card. So in other words, you have to pay a lot for the privilege of paying your bills online! It makes very little sense to make a one time payment of 20 dollars, because only 80% of the total money you pay will go towards the actual car payment. If you pay those 20 dollars by credit card, only 66% of the money you pay will actually go towards the car, which is terrible! Instead, save your money up and make larger payments. It usually takes time to save your money up, and during this time you will be charged interest. Therefore it’s important to get out a calculator with your specific interest rate, and one-time payment ‘convenience fee’, and try to work out when the best time to make the payment is, and how much you can pay.

Often, it is not worth it to pay a convenience fee even for a car loan. Suppose you have a low, 6% APR on your car, with $10,000 left on the loan. Suppose you are making a one time payment of $2,000. Now suppose it takes 5 days for your snail-mail to arrive and be processed by your lien holder. In this scenario, interest alone for that $2,000 will cost you $1.65 for those 5 days. So even with the interest, it can still cost a couple dollars less to actually send the payment by mail rather than pay online. If you have a couple spare minutes during the day, it is worth pulling out your calculator and seeing whether or not it’s worth it to pay online.

Conclusion

Hopefully you will be able to integrate some of the advice in these articles into your daily lives so you can save some money. If you have to pay multiple bills for gas, electric, water, sewage, cable, internet, car, and home, it is well worth your time to take that calculator out, and see which convenience fees are worth avoiding, and which are worth paying. Your biggest savings may very well come from your car and home loans. However, if you can save 30 dollars a year per utility company simply by paying by regular mail, that is free money in your pocket!

Posted under Avoiding Fees, Hidden Fees

This post was written by admin on August 6, 2008

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