Wednesday, November 27, 2013

A Turkey of a Deal

  Three weeks ago, I predicted that Viswanathan Anand would retain his world chess championship over the youthful world #1 Magnus Carlsen in a close match decided by tiebreakers and said I’d love to make a bet on Anand getting two games. It’s a good thing no one took me up on the bet since Carlsen easily defeated Anand 3-0 with 7 draws. Anand had a chance to draw first blood in game 3 but couldn’t get the win and was outplayed in game 5 and a blunder in game 6 sealed his fate. Carlsen will be a great World Champion and having a youthful champion from Europe making millions of dollars just from endorsements will give chess a more popular footing in the mainstream media at least temporarily. I’ll know the boost has staying power and chess is really mainstream when a search for ‘Magnus Carlsen’ on TMZ turns up more than news about Will Ferrell’s son Magnus and some titillating details of Boy George and his male escort from 2008 (Don't believe me? Click this and check for yourself). My prediction of the match had solid reasoning behind it but was as wrong as wrong can be. Unfortunately for me, another plan of mine went so wrong this week it made my world championship prediction look like psychic wizardry!

  Last month I got a phone call from a company wanting me to take part in a brief survey about the air quality in my home. I took the survey in the hopes of being able to pull some sort of phone pranks like I did last year but the questions were pretty vanilla and there wasn’t even a sales pitch to go along with it. Two weeks ago I got a phone call from the FiltroPur air purifiication company thanking me for taking part in the survey and offering me a home demonstration of their fine air purification products and in return for my time I’d get a $100 gas card! I liked the idea of getting $100 for an hour’s non-work so I scheduled the demonstration for Monday since I was taking Thanksgiving week off from work.

Meet Sandra, the FiltroPur demo lady and her laser particle counter which told me I had a quarter million particles per cubic foot of air in my house!

  I forgot all about the demonstration until yesterday when I get a reminder call from the company. The reminder person asked if ‘my wonderful wife’ was going to be part of the demo. Kathy wanted no part of the demonstration and quickly made plans to take Ben (home from college for Thanksgiving week) out shopping. I told the reminder person that while my wonderful wife wouldn’t be at the demo, my two beagles would attend and likely be active participants.

  The demo was scheduled for 1:00 and at 1:30 I got a call from Sandra the demo lady to let me know that she was at the front door (for inquiring minds, yes I do have a doorbell). I turned off the rerun of Walker, Texas Ranger I was watching and let Sandra and her two large cases in the house. Daisy and Baxter barked and howled for a few minutes at this intrusion but quickly calmed down and settled down to watch the demo with me.

  Sandra exchanged some pleasantries with Daisy and Baxter and myself and then got right down to business. She sent up a couple of test balloons by asking if anyone in the house smoked or had allergies which I parried by answering no. Sandra was ready for that and launched into a talk about how the air inside houses is more polluted than the air outside the home. The she plugged in a laser particle counter which told me there were a quarter of a million particles of different kinds in every cubic foot of air in my house. I assumed it was a high number because of the dogs, cats, birds, and rabbits but Sandra said that the number was low and that some of the houses have half a million particles per cubic foot. Sandra started talking about all the different kinds of particles in the house. I must have flinched when she mentioned dust mites because she stopped listing the different particles and mentioned how nasty dust mites were and that morning breath and tired eye were caused by inhaling dust mites overnight and having them land around my eyes and start crawling inside. Dust mites must be a pretty common ‘flinch’ line because Sandra had a picture of dust mites enlarged over 1,000 times and showed off her knowledge of dust mite trivia by telling us that dust mites defecate 20 times a day, a fact which impressed Daisy and Baxter greatly.

Daisy and Baxter inspect the FiltroPur SFS air purifier and Commercial vacuum cleaner

  I was thoroughly disgusted by the thought of breathing in all these dust mites and having them defecating on my eyeballs while I was sleeping and considering building myself a bubble to live out the rest of my days when Sanda told me that FiltroPur had a solution – The FiltroPur SFS (Sanitizing Filtration System). What looked like a cheap plastic air cleaner that was sold at Wal-Mart for $59 was really a hospital grade FDA approved particle remover that could clean 1000 cubic feet in just a few minutes with a very fancy looking metallic filter and a lifetime warranty that was valid as long as you purchased a $129 filter every year. Sandra proceeded to plug in the laser particle counter again and put it right next to the SFS which registered less than 1000 particles per cubic foot!

  I asked how much the SFS cost not so I could buy one but so I could say I couldn’t afford it and get my gas card but Sandra said she couldn’t tell me the price until she showed me two other products. One was the Enviro-Breeze furnace filter that would make the air coming out of my furnace super clean and only cost $149 and never need replacing and the other was the FiltroPur Commercial vacuum cleaner which Sandra demonstrated by vacuuming dirt through a filter using every one of the eight attachments that came with the machine and then pulling out the filter.

  Once Sandra had finally finished with all the air purification and vacuuming, it was finally time for the prices. The SFS and the Commercial cost $1899 each BUT I could buy three of the units for the price of two ($3798) and four for the low, low price of $5048 that was good only during Sandra’s visit.

Only $3,780 for three units with easy payment options...(Click any picture to enlarge)

  Despite the sales pitch, I still wasn’t buying any air filtration products so Sandra played her final card and showed me the three easy payment options for the $3798 two unit package. There was the ‘Budget’ plan where you pay $4,789 over 3 years, the ‘Economy’ plan where you pay $4,624 over 2 years, and the ‘Executive’ plan which costs $4,348 over 1 year. I noticed that there was no plan that allowed for a cash payment so I offered up the ‘Buffett’ plan where you can pay the full price right away. Sandra said she would bring that idea to her bosses and offered to let me pay the full price right away. I declined and Sandra packed up the SFS, the Enviro-Breeze, and the Commercial and put them all back into her car and returned with my $100 gas card.

  Except it wasn’t a $100 gas card. It was a card that had a registration form that I had to fill out and mail in and THEN after 8 to 10 weeks I’ll get a voucher for $10 dollars that I have to mail in with a gas receipt to get a check AND THEN I can mail away for another voucher and EVEN THEN I can only redeem one voucher every 30 days. So it will take over a year to get my $100 in free gas if nothing gets lost in the mail.

When is a $100 gas card not a $100 gas card? When it is a card offering 10 $10 gas vouchers with 19 rules and regulations. It was enough to make these turkeys happy that Thanksgiving was just around the corner.

  I’ll spend some time filling out all the forms in an attempt to get my free gas, but it was wrong of FiltroPur to tell me I’d be getting a $100 gas card when I was really getting a registration card for a voucher system. And I was wrong not to ask for the card up front before wasting my time listening to Sandra talk about clean air and filtration and breathing dust mites in my sleep. I made it clear on the phone and during the demo that I wasn’t going to be buying any air filtration products and now I know that the only reason FiltroPur sent a sales representative was that they weren’t going to be giving me a gas card either. But know that I know this scam, the next time Filtropur calls, things will be different.

In this scene from classic movie 'The Punisher', our hero Frank Castle liberates the ill-gotten gains from the company that preys on the innocents that host air-filtration demonstrations in the expectation of getting a $100 gas card only to be given phony instructions for time-wasting vouchers....


Steve Anderson said...

Wow, what a bum deal. I'd be inclined to share the experience with the state attorney general.

Hank Anzis said...

Hi Steve - I mailed in the form and if I never hear from them at least I got a post out if it!

Happy Elf Mom said...

Yes, the state attorney general's office! They should be able to help you for free! YOUR tax dollars keep them open and I think if you call you might be able to prevent these people from pulling this again.

MY concern with these people is that they are really there to case the house, gift card or no.

Hank Anzis said...

Hi Happy Elf Mom,
I never thought about casing the place...hopefully the beagles dissuaded them. Seriously though, FiltroPur is a legitimate if somewhat shady company.

Say Hi to the Emporer for me!

Happy Elf Mom (Christine) said...

Hi, Hank! I sure will! I hope you get your money eventually. :)

Matthew said...

Wow, I just had a 3 hour experience just like this. The guy showed me the same stuff, and I honestly suspect the demo unit was rigged with a new car smell air freshener.

Mike Johnson said...

These products are quite wonderful. The gas card is a gas rebate card that allows you to get $10 a month in free gas. I'm sure what the people said over the phone was a $100 gas rebate card and you probably heard $100 gas card. I can't tell you the difference these products have made in me and my families life. We are a very healthy family who doesn't have any breathing issues and we have still benefitted from the products. My wife who had bad sleeping issues, is now able to sleep completly through the night. The cleaning system is amazing and we continue to be very happy with the difference these products have made in our lives.

Hank Anzis said...

I'm glad you are enjoying your product. Before I made the appointment I asked THREE time if it was a gas card and I was told yes three times. I have mailed in three rebate forms and have called the rebate company who acknowledged receiving all three forms and "just can't understand why I haven't received my checks yet".

Lori Lindeman said...

we purchased the filtropur system March of 2012. Total disappointment. The company that sold it to us is no longer in business and we did contact the attorney generals office but there isn't really much they can do except keep it on file. Buyers Beware!!!!