Electronic Air Cleaner Scam
I like an electronic air cleaner. It pulls nearly everything out of the air, and you can clean it over and over again.
It supports my frugal living interests because it works well, lasts for a lifetime, and doesn't require replacement filters.
Many of the electronic room air cleaners are pricey. But, when you need to have clean air, the electrostatic precipitater design is quite effective so they demand a higher price. And, I'm glad to pay a bit more to have clean air.
Sometimes these type of room air cleaners are called ionic air cleaners. They operate on the principle of charging particles in the passing air, then trapping them on a plate that has the opposite charge, similar to how a balloon rubbed on your sweater will stick to you.
None of them are inexpensive like a mechanical filter system, so they can make good products to sell, especially if you can find them cheap and sell them at an outrageously high price - just like the money making scam that I encountered.
Let me tell you about it. This one was definitely a money making scam. No doubt in my mind. And, my approach to frugal living has no room for scams. Your's shouldn't either.
It was a scam put together by con artists and focused on getting money from unsuspecting individuals. The people I interacted with were highly trained and experienced hustlers that tried nearly every trick in their arsenal to get my money.
Note: I am a strong willed person, yet I found the team of scammers for this electronic air cleaner to be very intimidating and manipulative. It is easy to see how others that are susceptible to "salesmen" would have buckled at the knees and parted with their money. I strongly felt the pressure exerted by these scammers. Keep this in mind when you read this story.
One day at my office I received a phone call from a man who said he knew my time was valuable so he would get right to the point. He made a pitch for an ionic air cleaner based on the idea that people have allergies, and there was a fair amount of dust and pollution in the air.
Indeed I had allergies, along with thousands of individuals in my county where allergies were almost at folklore proportions. And, my general area was also known for its air pollution, so an ionic air cleaner would be a good thing to have.
He claimed that his company was looking for representatives in my area to act as customer references for their electronic air cleaner. Of course, he continued, you can't be a representative unless you are also a customer. Okay, it was clear at that point that he didn't want representatives but rather customers for the electronic air cleaner.
I already owned two very expensive state-of-the-art room air cleaners, of a reputable manufacturer, so I was intrigued by exactly what he was offering. I asked a few questions like:
- What type of electronic air cleaner is it?
- How does it work?
- What is the cost?
I asked for information to be sent to me so I could review the product specifications. Of course, this wasn't possible to send information in advance. It would only be sent along with the electronic air cleaner, after the sale was made
. Yeah right!
At that point I knew it was a money making scam. The cost of this unknown electronic air cleaner was twice that of the state-of-the-art ionic air cleaners that I had recently purchased.
He explained (rather poorly) that the product worked based on ionization. I asked if it was an "electrostatic precipitator" and he responded by saying it was "electrical ionization". His answers convinced me that he didn't know his product.
In other words, his training in how to fool people into buying an electronic air cleaner was sorely lacking. I'm hoping that other people who ran into this top notch scam team also ran into this clumsy implementer of the scam - it might be their best hope of quickly identifying this electronic air cleaner game.
Amidst his floundering explanations, he asked me to hold on just one moment because his "supervisor" was coming.
I hadn't asked to talk to a supervisor, but apparently the caller was either over his head in the conversation or thought it was time to bring in the "big guns" to close the sale on the mystery electronic air cleaner. (I imagined his hands waving overhead in a frantic effort to call in the "cavalry" that were probably roaming up and down the aisles between these telemarketing scammers, just waiting for the cry for help to reel in a big fish.)
The supervisor came to the phone and congratulated me on being one of the company representatives. His demeanor and comments were like a large neon sign flashing Money Making Scam in bright red lights.
I noted to this "supervisor" that I hadn't agreed to be a representative of the company. He argued in favor of it for a while, and then I asked him what his position was with the organization.
He noted that he was the marketing director, and then proceeded to tell me repeatedly that he wasn't a salesman and they weren't trying to pressure me into anything. Yeah right! You're the marketing director but you aren't a salesman.
That's like saying you're submersed in water, but you're not wet.
At this point in the conversation, I was up to my neck in very bad feelings, and thinking about how other people might have just buckled under the pressure and made a purchase of the product.
I ended the phone call by telling our supervisory scam artist that I wasn't interested in the product. He of course said I was missing out on a great opportunity. Of course I was - an opportunity to part with $1,100 of my hard-earned money for a product that couldn't be described and that I couldn't even see before I agreed to pay for it.
How many products do you buy in that manner? None that I know of.
The next day, I received a phone call from another arm of this group of con artists. It was a woman that started with "Mr. Schwan, we have met to discuss your interest in our product, and frankly we're baffled at why you won't take advantage of this offer."
Notice how the "...we're baffled..." is intended to put a problem in my lap to solve. And, of course, I had no interest in solving their problem, especially because I knew they didn't have a problem. I knew they were taking another shot at me with this very smooth and professional con.
I very calmly said: "Well, you're just going to have to remain baffled, because based on my experience with your organization and your approach to sales, I won't ever be doing business with you or your outfit."
Problem solved! She immediately thanked me for my time, said goodbye and hung up the phone. She knew that I was wise to their electronic air cleaner con game, and that I couldn't be reeled in for $1,100 or even $11 for some unknown room air cleaner product.
Days after my interaction with these con artists, I was still a bit shaken over the entire ordeal. My concern was that there were many people out there that were far less strong willed than me, and these people would fall prey to this money making scam and wind up with an inferior electronic air cleaner.
The idea that they had a call center, strong armed "marketing directors" and a followup sales team told me that this type of operation was a very profitable enterprise run by professionals that had already snagged themselves a bunch of victims by selling their over-priced electronic air cleaner under the guise of having the prestige of being known as a representative of their "fine" electronic air cleaner product.
Frugal living is more than just saving money. It also involves protecting yourself from scams like this. Be on guard. Be cautious. You worked hard for your money, so you should be actively protecting it.
Done with Electronic Air Cleaner, take me back to Money Making Scam