Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Thank You!

if there's anything better than a new expensive gadget is a free expensive gadget. all the pleasure, none of the guilt thanks to!

if you haven't heard, (my brother's referral link is embedded in that link) is a very legit company, and this is my story.

one day, i was surfing a torrent site, and after seeing the ad for a free ipod for the millionth time, i decided to type up "freeipods scam" on google. surprisingly, i fuond zero results for what i was actually looking for. how about a search for it on no hits. but, an article google found was an article from saying how this site is legit. then i realized how i should have at least gave them more of a look rather than just blow them off for the past year. i wondered if it was too late to sign up for this thing. with nothing to lose, i signed up. at first i tried to tell all of my friends about it. absolutely no takers. i don't blame for anyone being skeptical. even the people who have heard from reputable sources that the company was legit were still skeptical that a company would actually send you an $300 ipod for your small amount of trouble. some, just would not even want to listen as they were absolutely convinced that this site was up to no good. i initially thought 5 people would be easy. boy was i wrong. i pretty much gave up my quest right after i found out how disinterested people really were to the idea.

then a week or two later, we had a pizza party at work, and i got to sit down with some coworkers. we were on the topic of ipods, so i decided to give them some info on the freeipods site. they seemed to express some interest so i told them i would send them the link when we got back to the office. i sent them the link and didn't think much about it. and a week or two later, i find out, they actually completed their offers. now the ipod was 3 referrals away from my grasp.

christmas came around, and i knew my brother would definitely be willing to help me out if i asked for his participation as a favor, being christmas season and all. and another friend told me she'd do it if she was the last one i would need to get the ipod. only as a favor of course. and knowing how enthusiastic my sister is about her ipod, i was pretty certain she'd be willing to help me out.

so after all my referrals got their credit for their offers, the site gave me a button i could click on to request approval so i can order my ipod. it said it would take 5 business days, so i eagerly waited. then i hit a small road block. It turned out that both of the referrals that had hotmail accounts did not get accepted since they never verified that the email address was their real email address since the verification link never got to them (it gets filtered by hotmail's spam filtering system.) It took about 2 emails each showing proof that they did complete their offers honestly, and requesting that their accounts be taken off hold, and verified by hand. what i was surprised about was that their customer support was very reliable. every email i sent them, they responded within 1 business day. after that getting their account in the clear, i got the button again to get my account approved again (5 more days of waiting). this time, it went through, and gave me a button to order the ipod. i ordered it (free shipping of course) and it took 5 days for them to ship it out. and the package was soon to be arriving 2 days ahead of schedule (2 business days to deliver).

so early this AM, i went to DHL's main office in san diego to pick up my iPod. I never have picked up anything at DHL before, and to my unpleasant surprise, there's only one office here in San Diego to pick up your packages. its in Mission Gorge in between the 15/Friars and the 125/8 fwy. I woke up earlier than usual and headed out to DHL an hour earlier than I would have left for work. after getting lost for about 30 minutes around Mission Gorge, I finally decided put pride aside and call DHL for directions. the first person i talked to was a complete moron, and it was just one of those calls with customer service where there was a lot of waiting/ being put on hold, then they would transfer you where you end up getting disconnected for some reason or another. I called again the second time and the person was actually really helpful. He told me that its right after this major street...Katie Ct. or something like that. Katie Ct I recognized. The street after was a tiny street with a tiny sign (not readable when traveling the speed limit for first time visitors to DHL.) So I got there. There's was hispanic gentleman with bloodshot eyes who looked like he'd been put on a wild goose chase for the last couple of days looking for his package. And when the CSR comes out of from the back, there wass no good news for him. He's just more tired than frustrated at this point. The CSR says, "oh there's one more place to look, I'll be right back". I'm sure its typical bullshit, she's just gonna have a coffe and have a little chit chat and be back empty handed. Another CSR comes up and its my turn to deal with DHL.

I hand them my tracking number, and her next question is, "ummm...did you request to pick up this package?" i respond, "yes, just yesterday" with absolute assurance. but i'm thinking, "why in the world did she ask me that question? does it say its not being held in this office? damn it, i can already envision see her coming back from the warehouse to only deliver the bad news. so off she went to find it, from what i can image, a massive warehouse. No matter how sophisticated their sorting system of boxes awaiting pickup is, they still have to read off the names of these shipment stickers on each box. I can only imagine what a frustrating job it could be. And its not like it could be in one place. It could be in many places if there are special circumstances and special directions depending on when the packages arrived. its a very timely process. but luck was on my side today. She came back out within 5-10 minutes, with a small box that could probably only be a fit for a box that the ipod comes in. I signed for it, made sure it was heavy enough before I walked outside with the box. even up until this point before opening the box, there was something inside me saying, could there be something wrong with the whole thing about getting a free ipod? maybe its an open box/refurb? or maybe they just gave me one of those ipod minis to save them some money? i was still had a small bit of skepticism in me. i would hate to be counting my chickens before they hatched, then have some of my friends tell me "i told you so" after i found a 3 lb brick in the package delivered to me by DHL. so not being able to contain my curiosity any longer, i opened the box while walking back to my car from the DHL office. Inside was a brand new, factory sealed 4th gen 20 gig ipod. Exactly what they promised. no more, no less. i couldn't be any more relieved and happy that i finally got my hands on it. i can lay all my doubts to rest.

so far, from what i have noticed, there has been: no spam. no solitication calls. no junk mail that resulted from dealing with they didn't even have my first name (and i didn't even have to give them anything except my email address) until they had to mail me my ipod. so you can't really say they are out there to sell your information. customer service gets to you when they say the would and were more reliable than just about any company that i had to deal with lately. so my advice is if you wanna try getting a free ipod, make sure you DO NOT use your hotmail account, and urge your friends to use a email service other than hotmail (school and work would be even better). this will save you a lot of time trying to prove the validity of their email address, and not having to deal with accounts being put on hold. make sure your friends all have verified their email addresses before hitting that approve button also. and if you want sign up, please use this referal link for my brother. he's one of the 5 that helped me out, so this is the least i can do for him.

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