Article by Charlie Wright
The day started with a hangover, but after 8 shots of espresso, I was buzzing…
As I grilled mackerel and scrambled a few eggs, I listened to my favourite post-punk band, ‘The Fall’. (Probably my neighbour’s least favourite band of ANY genre by now.)
Bobbing my head to the music and gnashing my teeth, I tried to think of news ways to increase the circulation of my newsletter. And how to get more people to find out about my book, ‘The Inbox Tycoon’.
And then I hit on it.
You know how Ryanair have got in trouble recently?
Well, to recap, the ASA (advertising standards) has banned their advert showing a saucy “schoolgirl”, a list of cheap flights and the headline “Hottest back to school fares”.
They got a whopping 13 (that’s THIRTEEN) complaints accusing them of sexualising children. Even though the model is clearly not a child, but I WON’T get into this debate, so please don’t write in!
Of course, now almost EVERYBODY knows about the ad.
Whatever their opinion on it, millions of people who wouldn’t have seen the advert now know about it. They talk about it on online forums and around water coolers. The offending image is everywhere. It was on the national news for heaven’s sake.
Do people not realise that pointing at something and going “it’s awful” actually makes MORE people look.
Basic psychology, right?
So what say I go in the newspapers too?
I could pick a paper with low circulation so it costs under a grand for an advert. I need something that will make no sense but offend at least 13 people, get noticed by the ASA and therefore lead me into the homes of MILLIONS.
I reckon a picture of a giant man in a nappy, having a romantic dinner with a goat which is smoking a large marijuana joint, surrounded by schoolgirls, with the headline “HOTTEST HOME BUSINESS IDEAS.” Then underneath that, my website address.
What do you think?
“You’ve had too many espressos, Charlie.”
Fair enough. I also need to get out more. So let’s get onto something serious…
How to claim your money back
After my email on Wednesday about Soccerform, I got a call from a good contact of mine, a publisher of health and lifestyle newsletters and products.
He thought it would be a good idea if I explained the options available to you when you want to get your money back.
And fair enough. It’s essential information that everyone should know. I can’t believe I haven’t written about this before.
Ah well. Here it goes.
Charlie’s rough guide to getting a refund
The key is to understand the difference between a standing order and a direct debit.
If you pay for something by standing order, it means that you MUST cancel it with your bank and NOT through the company who sold you the product. The company can’t actually cancel it, only you, the account holder.
When you decide to cancel, go straight to your bank and ask to stop the standing order immediately.
As one of my readers pointed out:
“Soccerform didn’t take the money their bank sent it as per their instructions. Of course Soccerform should do the honourable thing and refund the money, but your ‘bizoppjunglers’ must cancel the Standing order themselves.”
It’s good advice.
Of course, we all make mistakes. And even with standing orders, any reputable company should refund you when you go to them and explain.
Sadly, in the Biz Opp Jungle there are as many disreputable companies as there are reputable.
So to get your money back, you need to play a bit of hardball…
How to force the enemy’s hand
To keep the upper hand, make sure you keep a copy of the original sales letter and the exact wording of their guarantee.
Quote it back to them, make them explain themselves.
If their sales literature says “unconditional money back guarantee” this means you don’t have to show any proof that you’ve followed the system.
And you don’t have to explain why you don’t like it either.
Personally, I’d ONLY go for products where this was offered. And if they do play silly buggers, let ME know about it.
Funny how when I mention a company’s bad behaviour in these emails they suddenly take notice.
If a guarantee says, “if you try the system as we’ve explained and you don’t make money, then we’ll return your fee” then you should email or phone the company first and ask them to clarify.
Do this BEFORE you buy into the opp.
It could simply be a badly worded guarantee… OR it could mean that they will ask to see transactions, betting slips or evidence of trading.
In the latter case, these unscrupulous snakes will always find something to trip you up and make the guarantee void.
So find out first whether your guarantee is conditional. If you can’t contact the company behind the product, then be wary.
Okay, so that’s standing orders. Now onto the second possibility…
An amazing Direct Debit tip
If you’ve paid by Direct Debt, the publisher of the product or service can cancel it without the bank. So phone them up or email them and ask for cancellation of your direct debt.
However, you should also inform your bank at the same time.
Now if the company continues to take out money after you’ve cancelled, don’t panic. You are protected by an “indemnity claim”.
This means you can contact your bank, point out the problem and your bank will HAVE to get your money back for you.
This also protects you if an incorrect amount gets debited or if money comes out your account earlier than the agreed date, or by accident.
Your bank may try to wriggle out of this but be firm. Quote the direct debit guarantee, and ask to speak with a senior supervisor if they’re being mule-like.
Once you’ve done this, it usually takes a couple of days to show up on your account.
All companies who enter the Direct Debit scheme have to comply with this. This means, if the company doesn’t play ball when you ask for a refund, you can use your bank to get your money back.
Like I say, the secret is to be absolutely sure of what method you are paying with, and how you stand… BEFORE you take up the trial and get into wrangles.
You also need to avoid the sorts of companies who simply don’t honour their word. So before you buy anything, type the product or company into the “search” facility on the website.