Français : cigarette electronique

An example of an electronic cigarette (Photo credit: Wikipedia)











I used to smoke.  Well, I am about 95% down the road to being a non-smoker.  It’s a tough habit to kick, and I’ve made many attempts at quitting without success until I closely analyzed what I was spending on cigarettes.

I am an Excel user.  I am not an “advanced” user, but I am farther along than an “intermediate” user.  There should be more than three categories of users.  I am like in a grey area between advanced and intermediate.

So, anyway, I studied how much money I have spent this year on cigarettes and in the next to the last column in the “Cigarettes”, the total by the end of September was nearly $1,300.00.  The last column showed the average per month that I spent on cigarettes.  It showed $130.00 a month average cost.  Wow.  If only I had that $1,300.00 in my bank account now.  That was my motivator.

I enrolled in the VA’s smoking cessation program and have been using the “patch” and Nicorette lozenges since the second week in October.  Once in a while the urge to actually hold a cigarette in my hand and smoke it is a very strong urge; one that I succumb to regrettably.  In comparison, usually by this date (the 21st of the month) I’ve spent nearly $100.00 on cigarettes, but this month I’ve spent only $30.00, so I’ve made significant progress.  Now, a pack of cigarettes will last me 3-4 days, when I used to be a pack and a half a day smoker.  I’m almost there.  My VA doctor made me commit to a date when I will finally be 100% free of smoking, so I picked Pearl Harbor Day; December 7th.

Now, before I was finally motivated to quit, I tried out electronic cigarettes.  I got screwed by a company in Michigan called ecigs.  Stay away from them.  They will screw you, too.

I ordered the starter kit, which came with an AC charger to charge the battery that is in the “white” piece that represented the tobacco end of a real cigarette, a short cable that you can plug into your PC/Mac to charge the battery, the white part holding the battery (of course), and ten filters with an attractive black box to hold a filter and the cigarette part.  The box looked like the box cigarettes come in with the flip top.  All seemed well for the moment.  I had to pay a tidy sum for the starter kit.

Truthfully, I wasn’t impressed with the whole deal.  The ecig just didn’t satisfy my cravings.  I could “feel” a rush of nicotine, occasionally, but overall—it was a waste of money.

So, I telephoned the company and told them I did not want to continue with the product.  It was a good thing I called when I did, because they had scheduled me for a new shipment of filters and were going to bill me by automatically taking money out of my checking account for the amount of sixty dollars.  The sales dude, who sounded like he was as American as Bird’s Nest soup is Chinese, convinced me to hold off until October to decide if I wanted to return the starter kit. So, I agreed to wait until then to decide to return it or order more filters.  That was back in July.

Last Friday, the 16th of November, I reviewed my bank account online.  Boy, did I get angry!

I saw that ecigshop (the name that appeared as the “vendor” with the phone number: 877-527-7565) had taken $40.00 out of my checking account without my knowledge!  I was furious!

I immediately telephoned the company and when a woman answered, I could hardly hear her because of the cacophony around her.  It sounded like she was in the middle of a thousand people all talking at the same time and making no effort to speak in a normal tone of voice.  Obviously, I had reached a “boiler room” operation.

I told her emphatically and adamantly that I wanted my money returned immediately.  (Fat chance of that.)  She informed me five filters had already been mailed to me and should be arriving soon.  When I clearly and angrily told her I didn’t order any filters and did not want to continue with the electronic cigarette, she told me she would email me an RMA (Return Merchandise Authorization number), which I should write on the package along with “Refused” and just drop it in a mailbox, but I could not get my money back until five days after the package was received at the warehouse.

My phone started melting in my hand.  I was hot!

It completely infuriated me that this company, ecigs, took money from me without my knowledge or authorization, shipped a product to me that I had not ordered, and refused to give me back my money until five days after they get their unused product back.

It took them literally seconds to steal my money, but refused to give it back until their sweet little asses held onto it for five days after they get their product back.

That forty dollars was food money.  They literally stole food right off my table; out of my mouth, behind my back and couldn’t care less whether I wanted their product or not or whatever hardship they might cause by taking the money like some thief in the night.

Beware, my friends, of companies like this one who want your banking information and automatically take money from your bank account.  They will rip you off in an instant and hope you won’t discover their egregious audacity to do so at all, or, at least, until some time later.

I was ripped off by ecigs.  Let this be a warning to you.  Don’t let it happen to you.  Protect your bank information and don’t fall for some boiler room telemarketer who is calling from Bangladesh or Ghana or some other foreign and dirty country.  They don’t give a damn about you.  They just want to make a commission, and they have no qualms about deceiving you to get it.

The day after I made that call, I still had not received an email with an RMA in it.  Now I had to call the bastards back.  This time, another woman told me, “We sent an email to you with the RMA. Didn’t you get it?”

“If I got it, why would I be calling you to inform you I DIDN’T GET IT?!” She then gave me an RMA number over the phone.  That same day the package arrived in the mail.  I wrote “refused” on the package and the RMA number.  It was too late to get it back into the hands of my Letter Carrier, so today it will finally be in the Postal system on its way back to Michigan.  Sometime next week I hope to have my food money back in my checking account.  I hope.

My bank’s customer service operator told me if I don’t get the money back as promised, the bank would put the money back and then initiate a claim against ecigs to get their money back.

My friends, be forewarned!