On Getting Scammed…

Trust Your Gut.

We have all made mistakes in our lives where we buy something or do something or date someone despite our gut saying “THIS IS A HUGE MISTAKE! RUN AWAY! PUT THE CREDIT CARD AWAY NOW!”

But we tell our gut to shut up, mostly because we really, really want the thing to work out. We have already pictured it working out. We call it optimism, but it’s really delusion.

I recently fell hard into one of these delusional spirals with a product that was a combination of a weight loss wrap and spray tan. Genius idea, right?! Duh- I knew my clients would love it and it would be a great add-on for my business. I would be booked for weeks!

I had seen similar products available in the UK and hadn’t been able to get my hands on them, so when a company in the US advertised them I jumped at the chance. I signed up, paid $199 for a kit, and was ready to do their required “training” when the rep/owner went dark. He wasn’t responding to messages and then, as suddenly as he started, he wrote a long email to me saying the bottles smashed in shipment, there was an illness , and he was scraping the whole thing until…

When a person or company offers personal information on a scale that goes beyond,”There has been a (insert issue here) and I have to step away from X right now. I will be in touch on (this date).” you should know you’re not dealing with the biggest professional out there.And that’s not to say I’m not empathetic to personal issues, but they should never be explicitly discussed with me nor used as an excuse for not following through. (And yes, I have had my share of engulfing personal issues so I understand, but I don’t condone the behavior in business).

Also, the idea that every bottle of your supply smashed in shipping is just laughable. When something that incredible is used as an excuse, you should question the validity of the whole thing.

I was refunded, so I didn’t press the situation. Maybe everything had actually smashed. Some people have all the luck, you know?

A few months later, the rep and company popped up again. Back in action and taking on new trainees for their product. And despite knowing better than to trust this was going to be different, I signed up. Optimism versus delusion.

This time, however, it was $500 for the kit and the training. I asked why and was told I was getting full size bottles and everything was improved and you know, personal training with (nice woman whose name I’m not disclosing now).

I waited again for the kit to arrive. In the weeks I waited, the rep promoted the product all over social media. I checked in a few times and was assured it was on its way soon.

This is when I accepted I was being scammed.

But it gets worse.

I received this message from the rep one night:

I just tracked your package, it’ll be there for you on Monday. I haven’t seen you start to build momentum on your page yet. There is a successful launch map that has been studied and the way that starts is with some ‘sowing of seeds’, type of posts. Just wanting to reach out and remind you that there are some files in our group that might be useful. Let me know how I can help. Thanks,

This is what happens when you buy in to a scam, I thought. The man was so brazen at this point that he was telling me to promote a product I had never used, seen, and been waiting to get for over a year. I told him that in response. Also, don’t tell me about how to run my business unless I ask.

I should also mention he was not being forthright with before and after pictures (couldn’t find the files on his computer ) and no one else using the product was saying a word on the private FB page. Typical scam stuff.

Then the package came (not that Monday, but at this point who even cares).

The training manual had a list of what the kit contained as a page of the training. Here’s that:

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This is what I got in my kit:

  • a black and white training guide (yes, black and white photos of before and after tanning clients) that had no before and after skinny tan picture
  • a key chain that said “Live what you love”
  • a small jar of seashells
  • a plastic .99 measuring tape ( admittedly, I love this)
  • two liters of tanning solution- one of each product
  • a  red Hanes tee
  • a chalkboard clothespin
  • a tote bag

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The whole thing was comical at this point. I was also enraged, but had set up my training with the qualified sunless pro and wanted to see it through.

Oh, did I mention the solutions had completely different ingredients on the labels from what I was told was in them? Yeah, of course they did. ( The rep said it was a labeling error and the lab was going to issue a certificate of actual ingredients and while this may shock you reader, that certificate was never to be seen.)

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My training: The woman was/is very nice and I’m unsure as to how involved in the scam she is versus how much she is also getting scammed.She gets thrown under the bus by the rep later int he story, don’t worry. Either way, for $300 she should know her shit, right?

She didn’t.

She knew less than me about tanning and solutions in general, which was frustrating but didn’t matter because this was a niche service. The issue was she knew little about the product beyond what was printed in what is now my favorite piece of literature of all time, the above mentioned manual.She kept telling me to ask the rep the answer to my questions. She also provided no before and afters or even charts( don’t worry, the manual didn’t have any blank charts in it either….)

It was a nice chat on Skype- but not a training in any way.

I tried the solutions, whatever they are, and they were single-handedly the worst I have every seen or had. Total shit. Nightmare color. And no inch loss at all, of course.

This is fine(some tans suck) but he wanted $110/ liter for the solution. So it wasn’t okay at all.

I was officially scammed. I made a folder called “you got scammed” and put everything in it.

I wrote a rather blunt message to him on 7/5 and didn’t hear back until 8/29. Isn’t that amazing? Why write back at all, guy? (Wait for it-there is a reason). And spoiler alert: he didn’t offer me a refund.

I came strong but correct based on my experience and used explicit examples. I outlined how terrible the manual and training were and gave comparisons to other trainers out there charging less. I explained what was lacking in my one on one training in detail.

In his reply almost two months later, he was of course quick to blame the trainer and quick to defend his $1000/liter ingredients from England( I’ll take your word for it!), but also quick to write off my questioning of actual facts regarding ingredients and concentration as unnecessary. He was also offended I insulted his tan outcome.

But the best/worst part of this scam and why he wrote me back?

Because he kind of won and wanted to tell me to fuck off…

Let me explain.

In his reply, he told me he had sold the wrap/tan formula to a “well-known spray tanning company”.

Sidebar: So if it hadn’t been a scam, I would be up the creek as the solution wasn’t available anymore out of nowhere. I got this message from him at the same time he announced it to the private FB group. Thank you G-d I didn’t buy it or ADVERTISE IT TO CLIENTS.

(Now, I’m taking this as truth, which I shouldn’t, but for fun let’s hash this out.)

HE SOLD THE FORMULA!

This guy made money on every single one of the people he got to buy the kit and product and training, never offered any consolation or confirmation of ingredients, had no before and afters to show that it worked on anyone out there, and still managed to get a company to buy his UK rip off formula- a formula from his former employer that’s available online to the public.

That friends,is amazing. Not worth spending $500 to find out amazing, but amazing still.

I leave you with this picture and the hope you do better than me and trust your gut if ever in a similar situation.I also hope you don’t take as much shit as I did before pushing back.

And also that you forgo buying wrap/spray tan solution combos for now.They don’t work.

Last thing: we can collectively agree that the company who bought the formula didn’t have Google, where they could have just found the formula online and sourced it themselves,right?Jeezzz.

#blessed

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