I am a Bargain Network employee (telephone sales representative; TSR). I enjoy it, however, our sales practices give me mixed feelings. During the calls, if the caller is not paying close attention, it is easy for him/her get confused and even become signed up for a service he/she doesn't want. So I am writing this report to clear up any confusion for future, former or current Bargain Network members.
I hope that this report will create less confused customers and less annoyed employees.
First, when you call Bargain Network, you are calling about information on either homes or vehicles. The TSR asks you where you saw the ad, you tell them and they enter in that information. Then they ask you for your zipcode and they usually put you on hold for 10-30 seconds.
They confirm the city you live in and go on to tell you about our company and our service. They tell you how many vehicle auctions (they say "# sales", and it is usually a 2-digit number, which seems small, but remember it's the auctions, not the actual number of cars) or homes for sale are in a 60-mile radius in your area. That is just to give you a rough estimate of what's available around you. (It does not mean you have to travel 60 miles to find a home/car, as one stupid caller apparently thought.) The TSR tells you some more info about the service, then explains that it's free for 30 days when you cover $1.95 shipping and handling, and what that includes.
Then they ask you for your name, mailing address, telephone number and email address (if you have one, doesn't matter if you do or not). The telephone number is used for your password when you log onto the website and as your identification code when you call member services, and they tell you this. We don't use your number to call you.
The TSR tells you you're all set and some more info about the pricing of the service. After the free 30-day trial, it's $9.95 per week X roughly 4 weeks per month = $39.80 per month. Then they ask you if you will pay the $1.95 with a Visa, MasterCard, American Express or Discover.
If you do not have one/lie about having one, we will go for the payment in this order:
-ask for credit card again, reworded differently (mandatory clarification)
-ask for debit/bank/ATM card with a Visa/MasterCard logo
-ask you to tear out the next available check from your checkbook
-ask what bank you bank with, and what CHECKING account number you have there
-End the call; we do not accept any other types of payment.
We can also put the order on hold, which means we will take your payment info at that time but not bill it until a later date, whichever date you choose, between 2 days and 30 days. You are not a member and the materials are not sent out to you until that date. If you do not put your order on hold, you become a member almost immediately (you will be able to successfully log onto the website or call member services about an hour after the phonecall ends; do not call us back if it has been less than an hour and you cant log into the site).
Once obtaining the payment info is completed, the TSR will ask you to grab a pen and paper to write down some stuff. The most important stuff is the website and the member services number. Do not lose that number! Put it on your fridge or something. It is the number you call if you want to look up a home/vehicle, and the SAME number you call to cancel.
If you cancel at anytime within the 30-day trial, you still get to use the services in full until the 30 days has completely run out. (e.g. if you ordered on October 1 and cancel on October 15, you can use the service until November 1 and you will not be charged any further.)
Then they confirm they have your shipping information and phone number correct one more time. If you don't pay attention or correct any mistakes here, don't complain if you never get the listings in the mail, or are unable to log onto the website.
The next part starts with "Today is [today's date], 2007, and your materials..." and ends with the prompt OK? PAY ATTENTION here. This is the authorization paragraph. If you interrupt with a question, we are required for legal purposes to answer your question and repeat the entire paragraph verbatim from the beginning. Its fine if you have a question, but unless you want to hear the entire paragraph four or five times, try to get all of your questions out at once. Also, saying Yes or OK here means you have confirmed the order if you have a credit card; if you paid with any other sort of payment you will say OK and then there will be some more info about the payment and you will have to enter the last four digits of your card/checking account number into your telephone keypad.
Okay, so all that means you have confirmed your order for Bargain Network. Now is where a lot of people get confused. You will hear the line Now as a member of Bargain Network and you will hear information about another service called EasySaver, which is owned by a company called the Regent Group. The service is free for 30 days (no shipping and handling cost) and the TSR will tell you about all the benefits of the service, including a way to claim a free $25 giftcard to Wal-Mart. After the 30-day trial it is $19.80 per month, and if you want to cancel, the number will be included in your membership materials. It is a good idea to ask the TSR for the cancellation number just in case, and he/she will give it to you.
If you say OK to the service, you will go through another short authorization process that is different than the Bargain Network one but may involve you entering your 4-digit card number into your telephone again. If you say no to the service, the TSR will give you a rebuttal, and if you say no again, the TSR will give you another, differently worded rebuttal. If you say no a third time, they will not persist any further; they will say OK, we wont send that out to you and move on.
In the next section we will ask you if you have internet access. If you do, we will give you your username to the website (simply your last name) and your password (10-digit phone number, e.g. 5556667777). We will also again give you the member services number just to make sure you have it. If you dont have internet access, we will just give you the member services number and your identification code for them (again your phone number, e.g. 5556667777).
This is also where we save your order, and we are told if the order went through successfully or not. If it didnt, we will tell you and have you repeat some information to verify. It does not tell us why the order didnt go through, so dont ask. Sometimes it is just a computer bug. If it doesnt go through a second time, we have to put it on hold (as explained before) and re-authorize Bargain Network again, but we do not reauthorize EasySaver if you already authorized it.
The cancellation and MS number for Bargain Network Homes program is 1-800-333-1915.
The cancellation and MS number for Bargain Network Vehicles / Autos program is 1-800-300-6140.
Now, we will start telling you about another service. This is the second out of three extra services we offer besides Bargain Network. It is called American Leisure and it is also owned by the Regent Group. The services, benefits and whatnot are different from EasySaver, but it too has a way to claim a free $25 card, except this one is a gas card. The cost (free for 30 days, $19.80 per month afterwards), authorization process and rebuttal process is all exactly the same as EasySaver, so it sounds repetitive, but keep in mind it is a separate service with separate benefits. Again, it is a good idea to ask for the cancellation number for American Leisure, as it will be a separate number.
The third and last service is HomeSource Rewards. Again, its all exactly the same as the other two; this one has a free $25 Sears gift card, different benefits and a different cancellation number, but every other process is the same.
Note, if you live in Maryland, you will be told three different services (not Easy Saver, etc.) with different names, and similar layouts. Same pricing, I believe. I havent memorized these yet because I dont get callers from Maryland that often.
Note, if you live in Illinois, you are told about Easy Saver, American Leisure and HomeSource Rewards, but you are told Youll have a full 30 days to try the program for $1.00 each time. For every other state its free for 30 days, but due to some weird Illinois law you have to pay an extra $1.00 for each service. The $19.80 per month afterwards is the same in all states.
Then the phonecall is over, and you are all ready. If you signed up for all four services, you will get four things in the mail within two weeks from the day you called. They may come at different times. At this point, if you paid with a debit or credit card, we will transfer you to a short recording about a free service we use to protect your personal information. Were not lying to you, it really is short (like 10 seconds) but it doesnt do anything and is useless. Just hang up after you start to hear the recorded voice talking. If you paid with a check or checking account number, we will just end the call by saying something like youre all set, thanks for calling without transferring you.
Well, thats it. It should have taken roughly 15 minutes. I dont have the cancellation numbers for the three extra services memorized, because unfortunately almost nobody asks for them, but I can get them and update this report later.
Thank you and I hope I helped.