Rip Offs and Other Scams
This page was last updated on Friday, December 14, 2012
Warranty and Fitness for Use
Raw material is simply something that has to be processed to convert it into a useful product. Yet that is not really true because some things do not have processed or changed to be useful. In fact, processing may be undesirable. So this paper could be about not getting what you wanted or paid for.
The grower or the producer of the raw material represents the first of several levels in bringing a product to the customer and retailing is the final step in bringing goods to the consumer. For an example, wholesalers buy large quantities of commodities to sell to individual retail merchants in their sales district. In-turn, the retail merchants then sell these commodities to the public. That is the simplified view, because many ‘intermediaries’ can be involved in bringing the product to the public. These intermediaries are the distributors and the wholesalers of goods.
Many retailers sell both goods and services. For an example, a clothing store that sells clothes and may do alterations. This is especially true for those that sell men’s suits. An automotive store may sell tires or batteries and then also sell the service of having them installed. A store that rents tools also sells the service of having tools available, but does not sell the tools.
Some retailers do not operate from a store. Instead, they sell goods through other intermediaries such as selling through catalogs and this brings potential buyers and merchandise together while giving their customers a wide range of choices and quick delivery. This is why many retail stores offer their products for sale in their retail shops and online. Some companies, such as Amazon.com, do not have retail stores. They only sell their products on the Internet and often through an intermediate (a go-between) and this means that they can bilk a customer without them having any recourse.
It does not make any difference where this company has sold the product. The seller and buyer must follow mercantile law contained in the Uniform Commercial Code. The product must be salable, fit for the purpose that the customer intended. So an article manufactured and then sold, must have at least equal quality when compared with similar products. In other words, the purveyor cannot sell a used product as a new product. The lawmakers have called that misrepresentation, a fancy long word for 'fraud'. However, the cost of litigation can exceed the cost of the item and that is how many unscrupulous firms get away with fraud and shoddy products.
Many years ago I got a cell phone but I never had much use for it, especially after a local cop made a right turn on a red signal while the walk sign was green. Scratch one cell phone. This why I check the driver’s eyes before crossing a street because if that driver is not looking at me then he or she cannot see me. Some employees at government agencies must have mush for brains (a euphemism) because they often post silly signs. For an example, if a person sees a driver using a cell phone while driving, then they should call the local police and that is truly mush for brains. Now go forward to 2011.
I decided to buy a cell phone at a local Radio Shack store. It was small and did what I wanted; or so I thought. I purchased 10 minutes of air time that all that I thought that I had needed. The local ATT store in the shopping center confirmed that I had a full 10 minutes useful air time but they lied. I would lose the entire ten minutes before the end of the month. So if I needed that phone for an emergency, it would probably not be available unless I paid them every month for not using my phone. That is ATT, making more profit by picking your pocket.
Unsafe Utility Companies
We lived in our home since 1952 when nothing was behind us except fields of grains and grasses and an occasional Mary Jane that we had to destroy. Nevertheless, that is a different story. The homes in our area needed the conventional utilities, water, sewerage, gas, electricity, and telephone service. So instead of placing the electrical and telephone lines in an underground conduit, they obtained an easement to erect utility poles on people’s property. This allowed them to provide more power, telephone service, and cable TV to their customers without paying the landowner.
Then the cable companies and other businesses starting using the poles and they began to lean due to the weight of the additional equipment. So the utility companies added anchors and stays to hold up the poles but the poles continued to lean. So the utility company removed the anchors and the stays that held the pole in place. After years of pleading with the utility companies, the pole in our yard toppled and caused a great amount of costly damage. Their response was that they built a higher pole and added additional stays and anchors. Now another utility company has strung more cable on the poles and the opposite pole is leaning in the same direction and that cable is now lower than before, below the height of our chimneys. No now it is possible that the pole will damage our house again and those homes across the street.
Long Time Ago
I began programming in the 1960's when a modest computer would occupy a room and that didn’t include the air conditioning nor the tape library and the disks that would go with it. I usually avoided the computer room because it was noisy and cold. In those days, you could watch the electric meter measure the kilowatt-hours that were being consumed by the system.
But that wasn’t all, a programmer could actually tell what the computer was doing by watching the status lights and the patterns that they displayed. However, the most important notion was that we never forgot the customer. So those principles that we have today remain no different from those that we had established more than forty-four years ago.
The key word here is ‘remanence’ and it refers to any magnetic induction that remains in a magnetized substance that is not under any other external magnetic influence. Moreover, DOD 5220 (the standard for magnetic sanitization and overwriting the magnetic medium) is no longer acceptable. The old method began by writing all ones and then writing all zeros. This was followed by writing all ‘zeros’ followed by writing all ‘ones’. Then this was followed by writing alternating ‘zeros’ and ‘ones’ and then alternating ‘ones’ and ‘zeros’. Finally the process was completed by clearing all memory to zero.
The National Industrial Security Program Operating Manual does not specify any standards for cleaning computer memory or magnetic medium or compact disks. However, some agencies may, such as the Defense Security Service. According to the information that I have found, overwriting is not an acceptable means for the cleaning magnetic media, ‘only degaussing and physical destruction is acceptable’. However, one sure method of degaussing is by melting a computer’s magnetic core and storage devices.
I received a call in 1976 from a group of anxious engineers. Apparently one of them dropped a core memory plane and the cores had spilt out onto the floor and they were very worried about security. Now core frames are very rugged and memory cores do retain information. What these men wanted to know was how they could reassemble the frame that they had dropped. I told them not to worry about that because if the individual cores were loose on the floor, without markings, then there was no way for anyone to reproduce their exact arrangement. However, during the hostage crisis of 1979, the followers of Khomeini managed to reassemble shredded documents that created an embarrassment for our government. What had happened was that U.S. Embassy personnel attempted to burn classified documents in a furnace but the furnace did not work. So the staff used cheap, wide width, shredders to destroy the papers but the Iranians employed female carpet weavers to reconstruct the documents.
Bait and Swindle
I bought Symantec’s Pctools Registry Mechanic last month. I then discovered that it removed my working version of the program and then replaced it with one that did not work. Is not that a form of software theft? Anyway, I tried to contact the company and I got nowhere. So my sense is that this company is a purveyor of tainted goods and not one that I would recommend to anyone (December 4, 2012).
Then I bought WinCleaner today (December 5, 2012) from Office Max and it does not work. Apparently, what I bought was an add-on and I needed ‘original’ to make it work. However, the product says nothing about that on the box. According to the manufacturer, I can install their product on five computers but the problem is that I cannot install it on one computer, my own. The retailer, Office Max, refuses to return my money, claiming that I had opened the box and that voided my right to a replacement of similar value. So their position is that I have to open the box to claim that the product is defective, yet opening the box voids my right to a replacement of similar or better value. So they created a rule that denies a person’s right to receive products for which they had paid and that is a swindle.
I am now using another product called 'Clean My Mac & PC’. So far, I have had no problems with this product except scheduling daily maintenance so that I can use my machine without interruption. Perhaps in the future the manufacturers will produce a hot and shadow system so that routine maintenance and system protection would not impinge on the user's time.
Edward Steven Nunes