It Could Happen to You

Adore Organic Innovation products. Photo courtesy of Jordana Green.

My friend is a smart woman so we couldn’t believe she fell for it, but after you hear her story, you’ll know she’s not alone.

Karen was on vacation with her husband in Las Vegas. She was walking on an old part of the strip when a cute man pops out from a brightly lit shop and asks if she wants to try the best wrinkle cream in the world. Who doesn’t? She resists a bit, but hey, she’s on vacation, so what the heck. In less than half a second he has her in the back of the store in a chair and he’s applying cream to her eyes. Her husband rolls his eyes, gives up, and wanders out to some of the other stores.

Karen is amazed. Her wrinkles disappeared. She honestly had never seen something work like this. The cute salesman chats her up, they have many things in common and soon he’s inviting her and her husband over for dinner. Karen is now so impressed with the cream (she said it was like magic) she’s on the phone with her sister and mother asking if they want her to get some for them. The salesman is now upselling her the rest of the line. Oh, by the way, he says all of the Adore Organic Innovation products are 100% organic. She’s a goner.

Because they’re friends now he’s giving her an incredible price of only $1,800! Of course, normally, (for anyone else) it would cost $5,000, so she’s really getting a great deal. She says she has to talk to her husband first (as I said, she’s a smart woman) but somehow the cute salesman takes her credit card out of her pocketbook. She tells him not to ring it up but he takes it to the counter anyway and runs the card. No worries, he assures her, your husband will be fine with it.

Her husband is not fine with it. He returns to the store and does that steely, tight-lipped smile when she tells him about her purchases. He sees how happy she is (clearly she has found the fountain of youth) and he relents. She walks out heavy with boxes, but a lighter wallet.

By the time she gets to her hotel, her eyes begin to water and her face is red. She texts her new sales/friend. He says she must have applied it wrong and signed his text “XO.” But remember, he applied it. Hmmm. The next morning her face is red and peeling. Something is wrong. Cute sales/friend is no longer picking up her calls or returning her texts. (I guess the dinner plans are off.) She flies home and begins the research. Karen finds Adore Organic Innovation has 38 complaints against it with the Better Business Bureau and sees dozens, if not hundreds, of stories just like hers on a complaint board.

She calls the store and demands a refund. No refunds, they say. They remind her there’s a sign at the register that states, “No Refunds.” She tells them the cute salesman took her card from her, so she never went to the register. They say it says “No Refunds” on the receipt. She’s dejected. She calls the credit card company; they stop payment. She calls the store and offers to send it all back; they refuse. Now, three-years-later the products are still sitting in her garage.

Karen is a smart woman. Things like this happen to many of us. When Karen told this story at book club and at least two other women had similar stories of scary sales scams. This was a cautionary tale for me. The worst I’ve done so far was spend $29.99 on an As-Seen-On-TV hair dryer that promised to take out my frizz … it didn’t. But I learned a couple of things from Karen’s experience. 1) A scam can happen to any of us. 2) If your spouse does get scammed, don’t say “I told you so.” Karen’s husband didn’t; he’s the hero of this story.

This week I wish you honest sales people, the wisdom to see through the scammers and a non-judgmental mate.

Read more stories from scam victims in this month’s Minnesota Monthly money issue

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