The Glucosulin Debacle of 2011
One night whilst watching the television (I think it was around 10:30 or so and in the middle of The Walking Dead), a commercial for what was called Glucosulin came on touting its miraculous properties; designed specifically for diabetics, it not only would help to regulate the blood glucose level but it would also decrease abdominal fat. Yes, another magic diet pill.
So, according to the ad, Glucosulin was eager to send me a free 30-day trial at no cost except I would have to pay for shipping. I would have completely ignored the commercial had it not been for my wife.
You should try that out, honey, she said. It might work.
Translation: You have belly fat and I dont want you to have belly fat. Try it so you can get rid of your belly fat.
So, I called the toll free number and a friendly voice answered.
Thank you for calling Glucosulin. This is so-and-so. How may I help you?
I told the friendly woman that I wanted to order the free trial of Glucosulin.
She said, No problem and then launched into a protracted speech about the health benefits of taking their proprietary blend of natural herbs and other mysterious ingredients. It was like listening to an infomercial. I reminded her that I wanted to order it, that I didnt need the hard sell, that I was willing to give their miracle pills a try, and that Id really like to get back to watching my TV show now.
She didnt care. She was at work and had a script to recite.
She went on and on. Finally, she asked me for my card number so I gave it to her. Then she started talking about other things that I had no clue about restaurant gift certificates and discounts on shopping at retail stores and that I would be enrolled in some trial membership in something or other that I could cancel within the first 30 days without being charged anything else and then, and then, she asked me for my debit card number again.
I already gave you my card number. Why are you asking for it again? I said, dubiously.
Oh, its not for the Glucosulin, its for the membership in the shopping program.
But I dont want that, I quickly stated, red flags flying all over the place in my head. All I want is the Glucosulin and thats it.
We went back and forth for a couple of minutes. She insisted that I wouldnt be charged for anything (right away), that the stuff she was talking about was completely without charge (until they charged me after a whole month had gone by and I had had a chance to forget all about having agreed to the deal) and with each passing second my ire rose to the point where I told her to just cancel the entire order and forget I ever called.
Just bear with me, sir. Were almost done, she said, pleading with me to allow her to finish reciting her script, apparently under punishment of death.
Look, all I want is the Glucosulin. Youve had me on the phone for the better part of a half hour trying to sell me stuff or sign me up for things that I dont want. Skip to the end of your spiel now or forget the whole thing.
So, she did, making sure to add that all I would receive would be the 30-day free trial of glucosulin and that, if I wasnt completely satisfied with the product, within the 30 days I could return the unused pills (or even the empty bottles) and my account would be cancelled and I wouldnt be charged for anything else ever again, forever.
We hung up.
Several days later, I received two bottles in a grey plastic bag.
I started taking the pills, two at a time, three times a day, per the instructions.
I felt something increased heart rate, mostly, combined with a little queasiness. I took them on a semi-regular basis. Several more days went by and I discovered that Glucosulin was indeed not the miracle belly fat burning pill I had been led to believe it was.
I actually had no intention of keeping them (or the bottles anyway) to begin with since the monthly membership would set me back the better part of a hundred dollars a month to continue to receive the regular shipments of these miracle pills.
On November 15th I called Glucosulin and spoke to another friendly voice, this time called Corey. After trying to convince me to keep the trial and, of course, therefore continue to be charged a monthly fee for subsequent shipments, I insisted that he give me the Return Materials Authorization number I needed in order to send the unused pills (bottles) back. Finally, he gave me the number. Then, much to my chagrin, he proceeded to tell me about all the wonderful free gifts they would send me as a thank you for trying their product. Oddly, these thank you gifts sounded exactly like the restaurant gift certificates and discounts on shopping at retail stores the first script-reader had been so gracious to offer me.
So, Ill be returning the pills, Corey, I said, interrupting him in the middle of his shtick. Thanks for the RMA number. You have a good day.
And, with that, I abruptly hung up.
I had seven days to return the pills (bottles) from the time they gave me the RMA number; another flaming hoop they make people jump through as a punishment for playing their little game. So, on November 18, that payday Friday, I went to the Bellflower post office after work and returned the bottles in the same grey plastic bag in which I had received them. I made sure to write the RMA number on the invoice and also on the outside of the package (another flaming hoop) so that there would be absolutely no chance that theyd have some lame excuse to not honor my request and cancel my account.
Of course, I also paid the eighty cents for the Delivery Service Confirmation feature; the wisest eighty cents Ive ever spent.
Sealed with a prayer and a Good riddance, I put the grey plastic bag in the large cylindrical conveyance, sending it on its way to Lewiston, Maine.
On December 8th, my wife calls me.
I thought you said those Glucosulin people werent going to charge us for anything else.
With a sinking feeling in my gut, I slowly raised an eyebrow and sighed. Thats right. I was assured when I talked to them on November 15th that my account had been cancelled and that I wouldnt be charged for anything else. Why do you ask?
Well, because theyve charged us $107.21.
I was speechless. I had done everything by the book, returned the thing by the numbers, done everything I could to eliminate the possibility of being charged anything ever again by this company. Despite my fastidiousness and diligent efforts, I had failed.
You need to call them right now and get this taken care of, she said. And that was it.
I logged onto our Wells Fargo account, half out of some hope against hope that she had been wrong and half out of a need to confirm that what she was claiming was in fact correct. There it was, stuck between a fifty cent charge from Starbucks and a $13.94 Target charge (the two places where we spend most of our money anymore):
12/07/11 CHECK CRD PURCHASE 12/05 GLUCOSULIN 800-2490574 CA 434256XXXXXX1919 341140012006980 ?MCC=5968 01 $107.21
So, I called the 800 number and was quickly informed by machine that the humans had all gone home for the day; yet another strong argument in favor of technological unemployment. If only a human could be as helpful, efficient, informative, and uninterested in monetary gain as that machine had been, none of this s**t would have happened.
I promptly called Wells Fargo and spoke with a customer service rep who perfectly understood my plight. He cancelled my debit card number (ending in 1919) so that my compromised account information couldnt be used again. He asked me if anyone else had access to my card number or my PIN. I said no. He said that a new card with a new number would arrive in the mail in seven to ten business days and would I like to go to a bank branch to pick up a temporary debit card. I said no again.
You see, this isnt the first time this kind of thing has happened to me. The last time it was for another diet supplement that was supposed to make me bigger. Those didnt work either.
Youd think Id have learned my lesson then.
He gave me my claim number and told me that hed need to transfer me to the Fraud Claims Department so Id have to hold. He thanked me and put me on hold.
And I held.
And I held
Finally, a young lady came on the line, introduced herself and explained to me what they would do for me. Then she advised me to call Glucosulin and straighten things out directly with them. They wouldnt be able to give me a provisional credit back to my account for the money that was stolen from me because they would not be allowed by law to be so pragmatic. She gave me the 800 number to call back after I had called Glucosulin to let them know what had happened.
Thirty four minutes after I had dialed the Wells Fargo number, I hung up no better off than I was when I had called.
On December 9th, I called the Glucosulin 800 number. This time a human called Josh answered. After asking for my name, he looked up my account information and verified my address. I told him my sordid tale and he seemed truly empathetic. He explained that the reason I was charged again was because the return package hadnt arrived in time. I told him about returning the package and that it had indeed been delivered well within the allotted time required by their series of bureaucratic flaming hoops I had jumped through. He put me on hold so he could talk to his manager. When he came back, he asked me for the USPS tracking number and looked it up himself. Back on hold.
Okay, sir, no problem. There must have been some kind of computer error. Ive spoken to my manager and well go ahead and cancel your account and process your refund. You should receive it within the next seven to ten business days.
Its always seven to ten business days. How long does it take to click a mouse and press enter?Then, much to my extreme mortification, he switched from talking to reading and began telling me about all the free stuff they were going to send me as a thank you for giving them my business.I cut him off immediately. Look, Josh, all I want is a refund for the money that your company was not supposed to take out of my account. Thats all. I dont want anything else. I dont want a thank you for my business. Ill never do business with your company ever again.
Josh, stop reading, I said. Youre not going to get fired if you skip it just this one time with me.I explained to him that Wells Fargo had nullified my card number to prevent their having access to my account anymore and that I couldnt even buy a pack of gum with my old card even if I wanted to. I told him that I wasnt sure but I strongly suspected that they wouldnt even be able to process a refund because the only number they had that granted them access to my checking account had gone the way of the Dodo.
Well, well either have to get another card number from you or well have to cut you a company check and mail it to you.
I told him that I was not going to give him another card number so that he could, once again, have access to my bank account and that I wanted him to call Wells Fargo and settle this matter between the two of them.
Back on hold
[Why should I, the victim, have to deal with the criminal directly to seek recompense? What kind of a (((REDACTED FOUL LANGUAGE)))
up situation is that? What the hell do I pay Wells Fargo for anyway?]
A few seconds later, Josh came back.
My manager has assured me that, even though your card number is no longer good, it should be no problem for us to go ahead and process your refund without having to either get another card number from you or cutting you a company check.
Thats all I wanted. I could sense that Josh was not so eager to return to his free thank you sales pitch so instead he wished me a good weekend and we hung up.
The next thing I did was write this down.
Then I called the Wells Fargo Claims Assistance Center. The machine told me that they are experiencing high call volumes and that Id have to blahblahblah. I pressed a series of buttons and was rewarded with the opportunity to listen to crappy piano music for several minutes, interrupted by the completely unnecessary Thank you for waiting, a banker will be with you soon message, like I had a choice, it was either wait or hang up and call back so I could wait some more.We apologize for this unusual delay the next available banker will be with you as soon as possible.
I chuckled. More piano
Finally a womans voice, friendly of course, came on the line. I gave her my update of current events and she told me that Glucosulin has until December 24th to process my refund and that, if it hadnt happened by then, to call Wells Fargo back and they would reopen my claim.
I hung up satisfied, for the first time yet. The page turns and now Im waiting for Christmas Eve