Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Choice Home Warranty Scam Is Looking For Fat Albert

I've been getting a lot SPAM lately from a place called Choice Home Warranty, so I decided to fill out one of their web forms. I listed my name as "Albert Cosby". Within 24 hours, I got a call. Initially, the guy on the other end was pretty amused by my Fat Albert impression, but, when Albert took umbrage at having his weight called out, things got a little heated. Soon, Bill Cosby himself had to intervene. The salesman seemed to enjoy my bad Bill Cosby impression at first but grew increasingly frustrated when I wouldn't let him get a word in and hung up about three and-a-half minutes into the call.

The number they call from is (732) 947-5442

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Legal Help Center Calls Me

I got a call yesterday from a lady claiming to be from "Legal Help Center". My caller-ID reported the number as (702) 224-2006. Basically, I got called by a group of virtual ambulance chasers hoping to cash in on class action lawsuits against manufacturers of faulty trans-vaginal mesh p[roducts. The lady on the other end was sticking heavily to her script, so when I told her that I would have no need for a trans-vaginal mesh lawsuit since I was male, she seemed a bit confused as how to proceed. 

The number they supposedly called from, 702-224-2006 is one that has been used for the past 12 months to push various scams like medical research, health insurance, etc. It's obviously connected to a boiler-room call center staffed by foreign workers. 

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Bosley Hair Restoration Calls me

The folks over at Bosley Hair Restoration called me recently. Seeing as I had just gotten my hair cut a few hours previous to the call, I wasn't really in the mood to talk about hair transplants. So, after the rep went into her pitch, I remarked that I didn't know that Tom Bosley was still alive. The lady on the other end didn't seem to know who Tom Bosley was. Must not have been a Happy Days fan. I then told her that I would love to see a movie about Tom Bosley eating beans. Before I could make a pitch for a Kickstarter project to finance a Tom Bosley bean-eating movie, the lady interrupted me, called me unprofessional and hung up on me.

I didn't even get a chance to work in a Charlie's Angel's joke. Maybe next time.

PS: RIP Tom Bosley. 1927-2010

Monday, February 2, 2015

Amazon Started Collecting Sales Tax In Illinois

If there were a Razzie award for "Worst State in The Union", not only would Illinois show up to collect it, but it would then give a passionate speech about how hard it worked to become the worst, would sell the award on eBay and would charge the buyer sales tax after doing it. This month, ensured compliance with the Illinois online sales tax law and has started collecting 6.25% sales tax on all items purchased through its site by Illinois residences. Brick mortar retailers in Illinois have praised the new law without realizing that they're shooting themselves in the foot in the long run for short sighted apparent gains.

I hate to sound like I'm vehemently anti-tax, because I'm not, but I do believe that the tax burden in Illinois is already too heavy. Merely looking at my property tax bill is enough to make my pocket book vomit twenty dollar bills. And while I do support Illinois' constitutional duty to properly fund our schools with tax revenue, I realize that they do so at half the funding rate of other states. Which, again, kicks the tax burden down the road so that other sources of funding can pick it up. Thus comes the online sales tax leading to that sinking feeling that we in Illinois are being taxed into oblivion.

Illinois isn't the first state to force major online retailers to collect sales tax. Twenty-three other states have similar requirements. Amazon can expect purchases to fall off about 10 percent, if Illinois residents are anything like the folks in other states. For big purchases, Amazon could see a decline as high as 25 percent from Illinois residents. The thing is, the 10 percenters and 25 percenters aren't taking that money to brick and mortar shops in their respective states. They're just going to other online retailers that don't collect the tax.

There are some instances where you can buy from Amazon and still avoid the sales tax. Purchase from an Amazon seller or purchase a product that says "fulfilled by Amazon" in the description. Those retailers don't have a taxable presence and will sell to you without collecting sales tax.