Yesterday I discovered I've been being scammed since my first week of work. Fresh on the job in July, I got a call from someone (presumably) with our copier company offering to sell us toner before prices were raised, and to lock us into the reduced price for a year. They'd even call me periodically to see if I needed more. What a deal, right?
So we ran out of toner yesterday, and the new toner I requested last week hadn't yet arrived. Industrious soul that I am, I began figuring out how to order (no doubt more expensive) toner elsewhere so we could get through until my other order arrived. The process put my research skills to the test: Not much info on the Lanier 5235 out there, especially in English, and the Lanier website only features its latest and greatest creations. Further digging revealed that the Lanier 5235 is actually a rebranded Ricoh 350. Fear my research mojo.
My research also revealed some disturbing facts:
- The few places I could find replacement toner (toner buying is a web free-for-all), it was less than half the cost we've been paying.
- A call to Lanier supplies revealed that they do not sell toner. I had suspected this, since our invoices came from another supplier (R. Rosas), and since Phoebe had the job on Friends where she was a telemarketer trying to sell toner to a suicidal Jason Alexander.
- There wasn't even a phone number on our first toner invoice, and each invoice had a relatively low number and was printed on inkjet.
- When I did find the number for "R. Rosas," it bounced me to a rinky-dink voice mailbox.
- My search turned up a news article on toner-selling scams: they followed the "plan" I agreed to, to the letter.
- Searching the files, I could find no record of our ordering toner for the copier prior to my arrival.
- Another call and inquiry to Lanier revealed that, according to our lease, we don't have to pay for toner at all-- they provide it.
I told the Assistant Pastor of my folly and corrected the mistake by getting new toner from Lanier. If a package arrives from R. Rosas, I'll refuse it. And when/if they call again, we'll have a conversation. But since I agreed to everything and received what I agreed to, I think it's just a case of my being screwed, skewered on the spear of my own stupidity. Glad I found out.
Ironically, my mistake may end up making me look good: the expenditures for toner will stop just as I'm taking over the finances.
Oh, and to add insult to injury (though it's difficult to distinguish which is which), an older gentleman called the office yesterday to ask about finaincial help until he got his disability check in May. The bad news for him is that his story didn't add up (he claimed to have met me when he hasn't, and other fishiness), and I recalled speaking with him regarding the same story a month or so ago (that time, he balked and bolted when I told him that financial assistance works through our Diaconate, so I wouldn't just cut him a check). I confronted him, told him that I remembered our prior conversation and that, if he had followed our process, we might have been assisting him now. I then encouraged him to introduce himself to me Sunday, and then I would connect him with the Deacons. Busted-- not the best time to try to pull one over on me, Sparky: I'm tired of it and very much needed someone to take it out on.
Glad God is looking out for me, because I am indeed a fool.