Monday, November 27, 2006

Uncut Snatch for Stupid People

I was flipping through Parade Magazine this afternoon (I hadn't had any coffee yet and Parade has small words and lots of pictures), when I came across this two-page ad from the "World Reserve Monetary Exchange":

IMG_3573

Two pics, lazily stitched together.

It's an advertorial (note their microscopic "Advertisement" disclaimer) done up to look like a breathless, soft news puff piece about your chance to snatch up sheets of uncut currency from the "World Reserve Monetary Exchange". (You can see the "announcement" on their site.)

How much? Fiddy-nine bucks, plus shipping. It includes a "rich Angus grain cover."

Now, at the Bureau of Printing and Engraving Store (which, as it happens, is where they get the currency), a sheet of 4 uncut one-dollar bills goes for $15-fiddy (shipping and handling included).

So you're paying upwards of 44 smackers for that rich Angus grain cover (note that the word leather is never actually used).

The Roanoke Times has an article about from last year (I found it by doing a search on "angus grain"): "Money for nothin'? Better read the fine print."

It goes over the essentials -- what they do is simply marketing to stupid people, and their fine print disclaimer ("the world reserve monetary exchange is not affiliated with the united states or any government agency") probably gives them legal cover.

Note that I couldn't find a similar disclaimer on their Web site. I did, however, find this gem of a paragraph on their terms and conditions page:
Any communication besides financial information that you transmit to Universal Syndications, Inc. over the website by electronic mail or otherwise, including any data, questions, comments, suggestions, or the like is, and will be treated, at the discretion of Universal Syndications, Inc., as non-confidential and non-proprietary. Universal Syndications, Inc. may, at its discretion, use this communication or information contained therein for any purpose, including, but not limited to, reproduction, disclosure, transmission, publication, broadcast and posting. Subject to our confidentiality policies, Universal Syndications, Inc. is free to use any ideas, concepts, knowledge, or techniques contained in any communication that you send to the website for any purpose including, but not limited to, developing, manufacturing and marketing products or services using such information.
Look, if people want to pay out the nose for this kind of crap (and they will, especially Parade readers -- look at the Franklin Mint, et al.), that's one thing.

But in my opinion, this is a questionable business practice (some might even say, slimy), and in a less-imperfect world, they'd be getting a visit from these folks:

IMG_3337

US Treasury Bureau of Engraving and Printing Police SUV

26 comments:

Anonymous said...

I've got a new printer, i should go into business myself

Anonymous said...

youre quite the vigilante but i work there. and were perfectly legal.

Joelogon said...

Legal, sure. So is the International Star Registry, and all those tiny countries that sell collectible Elvis stamps.

Doesn't make it right.

Selling real estate on the moon probably isn't either one. - Joe

Anonymous said...

If it is legit, as the employee claims, why does the ad in my own paper say that you have to provide not only your credit number but your driver's license in order to get the privilege of sending them money? Isn't that all the info that ID thieves need? Why do they need it to sell you $144 worth of currency for $300? Aren't they already getting rich off dumb people without threatening them with ID theft too?

Anonymous said...

It doesnt ask for your credit card number, just the FIRST DIGIT (3,4,5, or 6) and the EXPIRATION DATE of your driver's liscence (2 pieces of useless information). Now I am an employee there, and I understand asking for the first digit of your credit card copnfirms you have a credit card and can't use the "i dont have a credit card" excuse to get out of paying for what they thought was free. Now as far as the liscence exp. date, how can you steal someones identity by knowing their driver's liscence expires in june?

Anonymous said...

People don't stop to think that diamonds and most jewelry has a 500% mark-up...so does furiture...that's why people travel to the south to buy it...You can't just go into a bank and but uncut, uncirculated sheets of money...that's what makes it special...get off their back...I bought lots of things from them...I love it and so does everyone that I gave to as gifts.

Anonymous said...

No one twist the publics arm to make a purchase. I have also made purchases from the World Reserve Monetary Exchange, and they have very nice collectables. If you are not a collector and dont know what your doing that is not someone elses fault. Everyone tries to blame everyone elese for something they did. I would suggest that people investigate first what they are purchasing before they make the purchase. World Reserve gives a 90 day money back guarante. They give you a full reufund if you decide the product is not for you. So what can you lose. People just need something to complain about. I say to you all try buying from them you may like it.

Anonymous said...

The above poster asks "So what can you lose"
What you lose is the processing fee ($11 on a roll of 25 state quarters) plus they charge shipping and handling in addition to the processing fee. Also you're out whatever it costs you for return shipping.
I think the above poster must work for the company. The newspaper ads I've seen from this company are designed to be deceptive. When I called them about the state quarters and asked where they shipped from, I was told they shipped straight from the US Mint, which I very much doubt, as they are wrapped in the company's "specially designed" jackets.

Anonymous said...

I too work for wrme, not only do they scam people out of money but they also scam their employees! the call center is full of politics not to mention the quack job they got runnin the damn callcenter...There are 3 states we cannot legally sell our products to, due to the shady advertising. My advise is to read EVERY word in the paper before you jump on something "free".

Anonymous said...

that's what you think, but in sad reality, no one cares. one guy who worked for them reported them to the Ohio Attorney General's office, but guess what? they didn't give a damn about it. In fact, the FBI's website for reporting fraud is like a badly conducted business itself - it is broken always, and their hotline doesn't work either. I fell victim of online "discount" magazine scam and tried to report them, but never felt more frustrated in my life

Anonymous said...

In this world, this day in age, do we ever get anything for free? hell no. In the advertisement, it does state that there is a fee! Who in their right mind would think they would actually give people free money? People have to READ! What do people think? " Oh, because they love us so much, they are giving us free money". People at WRME dont even know you!

Anonymous said...

How legit can your company be if there isn't any contact or support number on the website. A classic sign of a shady organization. And a legitimate organization doesn't constantly have to defend itself by strongly stating how they "didn't twist anyone's arm into making the purchase". Get real, and get a conscience.

bioluminescence said...

This company does not answer their phone. You can push a button to have them call you back in an amount of time they specify--form me it was 3 hrs 1 min--and then they call you much much later. It has made it impossible to advocate for my 90 year old deaf grandfather who got sucked into this, since I can't stay with him for 6 hours until they call back. Scam. Or close enough. Bad people.

Anonymous said...

WRME is a company that offers to national consumers every week. They give the public the opportunity to buy rarely seen coins, sheets, etc. It is up to the consumer to read the article and find out what the offer really is. Yes, their advertisements could explain exactly what the consumer is getting...oh wait...it does! But..more than 90% of the people who do call in, didn't read the rest of the "HOW TO GET" part. They just go straight to the phone number and find out from the sales agent that they are expected to use some type of payment.
If the American public would just READ the rest of the advertisement, it wouldn't be so difficult to understand.

Joelogon said...

If "more than 90%" of callers do this on a consistent basis, one might gather that this is part of the business model, and that the advertisements were designed that way. One might.

Anonymous said...

The company IS legitimate... and you will get whatever you order. I used to work there, in the call center. I will agree with everyone though- The "advertisements" are a bit decieving. But it is also true that many people didnt read it all the way through before calling. And that was very frustrating.

Anonymous said...

You can actually buy it from the Bureau here.

the guy who left the last comment said...

Oh, woops, I guess I didn't read the whole article, which mentions the link.

Michael said...

Yes this company is selling common coin related products at a high markup. But then then if you want a nice presentation, thats what you get. Its not a rip-off. The profit margins on these products are way less than on household good bought at Wal Mart or Apple Computers...so are they rip-offs too? A leather case for $49 to hold your uncut notes? Have you priced a non-leather hardback book lately? Or a college text boox?

And the reference to the Franklin Mint is un called for. They market a high quality product that they develop and produce. The customer is savvy...just check www.diecast.org...a huge fan site for FM models. So if you are some type of minimalist and anti collecting...dont dump on those who actually enjoy collecting all types of things...wether serious collector coins..or common items in fancy displays.

Joelogon said...

If you want to buy crap, feel free to buy crap. Just don't delude yourself as to any future "collector's value."

And it's definitely not "Black Angus" leather. And they never actually use the word "leather." Draw your own conclusions.

Michael said...

Plenty of older Franklin Mint items have increased significantly in value. I personally sold some $90 diecast cars for $700+. But thats the exception not the rule. Collect because you like it...not for any investment interest. The WRME was selling a framed gallery of Pres. Dollars for $24.50. There is nothing wrong with that price. The 4 coins included are easily worth $7-10. The frame $15. Considering a reasonable margin. Its something you can keep forever. Now I am not advocating WRME...there are other companies that develop a better product...Danbury Mint and Franklin Mint...both have normal marketing campaigns and decades of product and customer experience. Franklin Mint at one time employed some of the finest designers, artists, copywriters etc.

Anonymous said...

The one thing wrong with the frame is that it doesn't fit the presidential coins out of the WRME capsule. Other capsules won't fit either. When you call the WRME to see if you can buy the capsules, they don't sell them. So you are left with a very nice presidential coin holder with only 4 coins. UNLESS you wanna spend about $200 + shipping to get $44 worth of presidential dollar coins in the proper holders.

Anonymous said...

yes i ordered some 2 dollar bills from wrme company for xmas and would u belieave the tracking number they gave me dosn't exist and neither does my phone number when i call c.s it ask for ur phone number to check on ur order and long behold my number dosn't exist either.. but long behold they damn sure got my checking account right cause they charge me for my order that dosn't exsit.. so be aware of this company is a scam so don't get suckered like i did and read the fine print.. i did read the fine print and still got screwed..

Anonymous said...

People are morons. Read as previous comments stated. Everything is clearly documented in every announcement. Not just with this company but every. Every large company obviously is going to have anouncements legally approved and will do what it takes to have their product look and do well. Read and ask questions to not feel like a dumbass. If you don't, don't try to blame the company of ' scamming ' you because you didn't understand.

Anonymous said...

idiots.

Son0fHobs said...

Thanks. I saw similar in a more reputable paper, I think US News and World Report, and something seemed oddly fishy. I was just trying to figure out what the deal was, and here it is.

Thank you!