I am telling this story because I want everyone to know that devious people exist in our society and they will prey on people regardless of their age because they can. Because our local government allow them to. Because despite the numerous complaints from victims they still operate.
This is my Mother In Law’s story but I want you to know, because who knows, maybe their next victim might be your own mother or mother in law, or aunt or sister or brother or worse, it might be YOU.
My mother in law is a senior citizen, she is an unemployed widow without any pension. Oh, don’t worry, she can manage, my father in law made sure she would be well taken care of before he died, so her financial status is not something she ever had to worry about, even though she did, you know how old people are, always counting their coins.. LOL.. I don’t know if my mother in law counted coins, but I remember my great grandmother counted coins before she went to bed every freakin night.
So anyway, back to the story..
It was April 14th and my mother in law was going about her normal day, B had already left for work and the kids and I were still in Manila. At around 8 or 9 in the morning, she got a call from a certain “Hazel” from ARYSTA Marketing. At first the lady was looking for the person who the telephone number was registered to, I know that it’s a telemarketing plan, I used to be a telemarketer, I know where local call centers get their leads. The phone book, however, because people here rarely update their listings on the phone book, they never assume because some people have their phone numbers still registered to the same person even after their death. So my MIL said that the number was old and that it was still registered to her diseased husband, when she asked what the call was about, this lady started telling her about a “surprise gift” my MIL has just won and then gave her a “control number” as well as directions to their “local” office here in Baguio. I didn’t believe they were actually calling from outside our city, it just wasn’t believable. Of course my MIL was skeptical, after all, how can anyone win something without joining any contests or raffle draws or whatever. She asked the lady why she had won when she hasn’t join any contests or raffle draws and the lady simply said it was because “her” number was the one flashing on her computer screen which meant she was a winner. Yeah, I know, this screamed SCAM loud and clear!
My MIL’s curiosity got the better of her, and so since she was already in town running some errands, she decided to drop by the said office of ARYSTA MARKETING, located at the Porta Vaga Building in Session Road.
When she entered the small, crowded little space of a mock showroom, the doors closed behind her, she was entertained by a gay guy named “Reno”. My MIL asked told Reno about the call she has gotten early in the morning and the supposedly “surprise gift” she has won, Reno asked if that was the only thing the caller told her and asked about a “control number” which my MIL provided. After checking that the “control number” was “valid” (Yeah freakin right?!) more of their staff went out from the small back office and congratulated my MIL for winning an awesome price in the form of a massage chair. So they asked her to try it out, she sat on the massage chair and then the staff, there were 5 of them now all surrounding her, accommodating her, seemingly screaming in her ear with exaggerated excitement. My MIL felt that there was something off but she was too overwhelmed by the screaming and the continued chatter going on around her. She didn’t quite understand what was happening. She just sat in the massage chair while some of the staff talked to her about their other products. She finally got up from the massage chair, but one staff member still kept massaging her back while the others hovered around to ask her some questions. They asked if she was a PLDT subscriber, and she said yes, a burst of screaming, clapping and exaggerated excitement rung through the air from the staff that my MIL felt really uncomfortable, she said she felt weak and that something was pushing against her chest. They were congratulating her yet again as she received another “free gift”. Then someone asked her if she had a credit card, to which she said yes, and then they asked if it was a BDO (Banco De Oro) credit card, and she said no, it was a BPI (Bank of the Philippine Islands) credit card, another round of exaggerated congratulations, screaming and clapping, she won another “free gift” this time from BPI. At this point, my MIL remembers one of the staff asking to see her credit card to supposedly “verify” if it was indeed a valid credit card so she can receive her supposedly “free gift”. They gave it back after a few minutes. They swiped the freakin card without her approval, without her knowing, without her being fully aware of what was happening! Damn those freakin scam artists!!! Damn them to fuckin hell! At this point my MIL told them how uncomfortable she was and told them she was having a hard time breathing, they then gave her some water. They probably drugged her! She drank the water and shortly after, they resumed hovering over her and shoving all these supposedly “free gifts” at her. Somewhere in all the chaos, she was able to utter phrases like, “Am I dreaming?” and “Is this for real?” to which the staff responded with a boisterous round of laughter and exaggerated laughter. My MIL was not at all appeased, she felt more uncomfortable, sort of dizzy but didn’t know exactly what to make of it. So then one staff member asked her to pick an envelope, the envelopes contained more “free gifts”, what a shocker. My MIL chose one, and surprise surprise, she won the highest prize of P2000. The staff let out another round of loud congratulatory screams, laughter and relentless clapping. By this time, my MIL has totally lost it. She was so overwhelmed with the noise that she didn’t quite place what was happening. One of the staff members of ARYSTA MARKETING then explained to her that the value of all the “free gift” she has gotten has reached P107,00++ but because she was a PLDT Subscriber with a BPI credit card, they are going to give her a 50% discount and then because she also opened a P2000 envelope the total amount comes down to P54,900. My MIL couldn’t grasp what was going on as she was still feeling dizzy and more uncomfortable than ever. The staff packed all of her “free gifts” and offered to take her home, but before they did, they asked her to compose a letter, the letter said something like “I, Lucita Fallarme, am allowing the use of my credit card for yadda yadda yadda..”. I don’t know the exact contents of the said letter, but I didn’t have to know, everyone knows you don’t need to write a letter when you use your credit card! This is totally something unheard of!!! Of course you need to sign a receipt but that’s about it and then of course you get to keep a copy of the said receipt. They didn’t give her a copy of the letter they asked her to compose as well as the receipt of the transaction, I don’t know if they did give her a receipt, she didn’t mention it, I’ll ask her in the morning and tell you later. So they finally got a cab, loaded all the stuff, a massage chair, a slimming belt, a utensil pack, a digital stove and a multi cooker, and escorted her home. While in the cab, she supposedly got a call from her bank, congratulating her for using her credit card, totally absurd, banks don’t care whether or not you use your credit card or not, I’ve used mine so may times and I never got a “congratulatory” call, not once! They were supposed to set it up and try it out as soon as they got to our house, but thankfully, there was a power interruption and they weren’t able to set it up. After they have left, my MIL was still feeling uncomfortable and so she decided to take a bath. After her bath, it was like her senses were back to normal and she realized what has happened to her, she quickly dressed and went to the bank and told the bank what had happened, the bank said that the best they can do is block ARYSTA from charging anything on her account but advised her to ask them to cancel the transaction. She also asked the bank if they called her to congratulate her for using her credit card and they said no, they don’t do that. I knew someone from ARYSTA faked that call! So she made a quick stop to the Police’s office to have an escort and then quickly went back to the ARYSTA MARKETING office and demanded that they take all the stuff back and cancel the transaction in her credit card. Way to go, Ma! Of course, they gave her all kinds of excuses and stuff, she demanded they cancel the transaction because she was not herself during that time and she claimed she has been “hypnotized” or something. They reminded her of the letter she made out, to which she said she wasn’t aware of and she pointed out that if she were to use her credit card, she didn’t need to write a letter like that, which was so true.
So anyway, it has been almost 3 weeks and still the transaction have not been canceled. This afternoon, Reno paid us a visit, he came with a shady document in hand. Take a look:
Click the image for a larger, clearer view
I did not let my MIL sign this document, first of all, it was full of grammatical errors. Second, the dates on some of the documents’ parts don’t match. Third, it looks more like a scrap paper than a legal document, you know something you won’t think twice to read before spitting your gum in it and throwing it out. Fourth, it is not a credit memo, which we need to show the bank to be able to have the bank completely cancel the transaction. Fifth we are not asking for a refund, but a cancellation of transaction.
Is that so hard to freakin understand? All we need is a fucking assurance that we will get a FULL CANCELLATION OF TRANSACTION. Can’t you dense people get that simple freakin point? OMG, it’s not rocket science! I spoke to the very rude, very incompetent supposedly “customer service representative” of ARYSTA marketing and he didn’t fucking get what I was saying because they kept on insisting about the things they want. They wanted the stuff back first, the supposedly “free gift” they gave my MIL. WTF?! If it was free, why do you want it back?! So then I spoke to the Supervisor, Shiela, who is more of a fuckin schmuck than that gay guy who claimed to be a customer representative though clearly he doesn’t know how to speak or act or be like a customer service representative at all. And get this, they don’t have a Marketing Department, what the hell kind of establishment are you if you don’t have a freakin marketing department? Obviously ARYSTA MARKETING is a shady company which prey on innocent people. I was so pissed this afternoon, I swear I wanted to rip that gay guy Reno’s head off, but he wasn’t the one to blame, he was just following orders, poor schmuck. I’d really like to get my hands on that gay guy and that Shiela I talked to on the phone, why? That Sheila cussed me! Bitch! She used a local bad word which when roughly translated meant my mom was a whore, and I am not one to take that sitting down.
BTW, Free and gift shouldn’t even be in the same sentence, it’s redundant! Of course a gift is free, otherwise it wouldn’t be a gift at all! DUH!
So anyway, after this guy Reno left, unsuccessful of their plan to make my MIL sign a seemingly shady contract, I searched online for this said ARYSTA MARKETING company, and lo and behold, I come across numerous complaints and warnings about ARYSTA MARKETING on blogs and forums, from people who have been previously scammed by these people. I was not surprised, I’m just angrier. Now I know I need to do whatever I can to have this place shut down before they do this to someone else. So please, spread the word! ARYSTA MARKETING SCAMS PEOPLE!
Hit me baby, one more time!