If you could pull a “Back To the Future” and go back in time 30 years, imagine telling those folks what you can do in today’s world. Imagine the expressions when you pick up a pack of Post-It notes and say, “we have a device about this size. Press a few buttons, and you can have dinner, a new outfit for this weekend’s party, and dog food brought to your door, without ever having to get off the couch.” Of course, it might add some perspective to add that we have to endure some pretty disgusting behavior from the companies that provide such services. Let’s take a look at 5 such disgusting behaviors.
5. Scams On Online Rental Are Easy To Create
The Airbnb revolution has changed the way many people travel. Unlike hotels, though, these little slices of heaven can be murder to find and may look nothing like what was on the site. A number of travelers have booked accommodations on the site, only to discover the listing they paid for isn’t technically real. Or it was real, but it was somewhere else. When you show up, you get a call from the renter saying the address in the ad was wrong, and they give you the new address. You go to that place it looks like Norman Bates, Freddy Kruger and Jason from Friday the 13th were the last 3 occupants. You’re likely stuck, because you’re presumably in a new place and it would be a hassle to find a replacement for the Death Shack.
This is partly due to the hands-off way Airbnb runs its business. For instance, it can only do background checks on people who register with their real names. Otherwise the company’s hands are tied. And while they say they put effort into hunting down scam listings, Airbnb claims these incidents aren’t “statistically significant.” So if you end up in a fridge box, well, most people didn’t. Deal with it.
Any kind of online rental can do this. They know you’re not going to show up in advance to scout the place if you’re from out of town, and probably won’t even call. So they get your signature on a lease and your deposit money for an internet listing, then you show up to the address to find you’ve been whatever the house version of catfished is.
4. Uber Drivers Can Charge You For Someone Else’s Vomit
Have you ever heard of “vomit fraud”? Are Uber drivers forcing their fingers down people’s throats to transport them to Ralph & Earl’s Buick? It wouldn’t be completely shocking. Vomit fraud is what happens when an Uber driver picks up someone, drives them to their destination, and then later that someone finds a cleaning charge of up to $150 added to their fare because the driver said they did it.
All a driver has to do is send a picture of throw-up in their car to Uber and then blame you for it. They can do this even if that photo is of someone else’s vomit or rubber vomit. Customers have pointed out that it’s extremely hard to get Uber to reverse the charges. If you decide to get your credit card company involved, the lovely and compassionate souls of Uber might be inspired to cancel your account entirely.
Nonexistent vomit isn’t the only thing you can get dinged for. Sure, urinating in a car merits a cleanup bill, but some riders have been billed for water that came off their clothes on a rainy day. Generally, it’s very hard to avoid that unless you have those newfangled hover shoes. Again, it’s photo evidence that a driver will use to back their case. A wet floor mat? Oh, the humanity!
3. It’s Nearly Impossible To Repair Apple’s Phones
If you’ve ever had a broken iPhone, then you’re aware of the Mad Hatter fever dream that follows if you try to get it fixed. Opening an iPhone yourself is navigating the hedge maze in The Shining, but taking it to Apple to fix it can be even worse. Many customers have complained that Apple has a tendency to jack up repair bills by charging you for things you never even knew you needed fixed (or that were more likely not broken at all). That’s one reason the Right to Repair movement is pretty unimpressed with Apple, and they make a good case. Essentially, “right to repair” advocates believe that since they bought the phone, they have the right to fix it wherever and however they want. If they want a random stocker at Target to fix it, that’s up to them. If they want to find a YouTube video on how to fix it themselves, they should be able to do that too.
As you can imagine, Apple disagrees. Apple goes out of its way to make its phones impossible to repair, from sealing them tighter than a Fort Knox bunker to actively keeping design plans off the internet. The goal is to make it nearly impossible for your local (and cheap) repair guy to fix what may be an extremely simple issue. Instead, the company wants you to take it to your local Apple store, where you will likely get nailed for an expensive repair, including parts unrelated to the bit that’s broken. Apple employees will point out that this is because your warranty explicitly states things like “Cosmetic damages must be repaired first before a battery can be replaced.” It’s like telling someone you’re going to punch them before you punch them, and then when they get mad, pointing out that you told them ahead of time. Then punching them again.
If this makes you want to “just say no to Apple,” the rest of the industry is just as shady. To wit:
2. Wireless Providers Are Jacking Up Random and Mysterious Fees
If you never looked at your phone bill for more than the second it takes to sigh at it, you may not be aware of the thing “administrative fee,” along with a whole lot of other mysterious fees no one understands. If you’re an AT&T customer, you may or may not know that in June of 2018, AT&T tripled that administrative fee so that every client was paying $1.99 per line per month. It’s such a minor amount of money that you probably didn’t bother complaining, and it really does look like that was the whole plan.
What is an “administrative fee”? It’s nearly $800 million a year from the pockets of customers, for one thing. AT&T claims it’s the cost of doing business, like cell site rentals and working with other operators. You know, stuff that was already part of your bill. If that’s its own separate fee, then what are you paying for normally on your phone bill? It sounds a lot like this is a “Because we thought we should have that money instead of you” fee.
What can you do about it? Forget switching companies. Verizon actually has an even higher monthly fee. Essentially, if you want wireless service, you’ll pay the fee, because your alternative is a tin can on a string that connects you to everyone you need to talk to – an inconvenient method of sending a text to your BFF.
1. Facebook Cannot Be Deleted On Some Phones
It seems so very long ago, but Facebook was once the coolest thing anyone on the internet had ever seen. Finally, a way to interact with everyone you’ve consciously avoided since grade school. Now it’s mostly known for killing an entire industry, facilitating fake news, and generally giving a middle finger to your privacy. Great news – Samsung has worked out a deal with the site to make sure you can never get rid of it.
Some Samsung phones come with Facebook pre-installed, and while pre-installed software shouldn’t be too much of a surprise for users of any new tech these days, the fact that you literally can’t delete it does seem to be an issue for some. At best, you can disable Facebook and just let it sit on your phone, taking up space and allegedly doing nothing. We have to say “allegedly” because this is Facebook – a better collection of spies than Moscow or Washington D.C. could ever assemble. Which is why people are annoyed. If it’s not doing anything, why are they so desperate to keep you from removing it?
Imagine if I showed up at your house and sat on your bed, then when you asked me to leave, I just kept promising over and over not to look while you change clothes. “But just to be clear,” I say, making unblinking eye contact, “I will never leave.” Have fun trying to sleep tonight!