What's the biggest scam in America?

  1. I scrolled really far and was surprised I didn't see Rent to Own stores. They sell furniture and electronics type stuff to people with bad credit who can't really afford it, let them pay a small amount weekly. If people end up paying on time and pay stuff off, they will pay 2 or 3 times more than the item is worth. If they make a payment late the item is repossessed and re sold to someone else and the first person loses all the money they paid.

  2. At the other end of that, there was a kid I grew up with. At one stage when he was about 20 he'd bought a big-screen TV via Rent-to-own. He paid the down payment and first instalment but then sold the TV and stopped paying the instalments. His reasoning was that he no longer owned it, so he didn't need to pay for it either.

  3. I used to be the sales manager at my local Rent-A-Center years ago. It’s a huge scam and I feel dirty even having worked there. The worse thing I ever had to do was repossess a fridge from a single mother. She cried as she removed the items and kept saying “I have no where to put these. They are going to go bad”. Another one was when i had to repossess a bunk bed from two kids. They asked their dad where they were going to sleep. It’s been years and I still think about it from time to time. Don’t rent from rent-to-own stores. Don’t give them business.

  4. $1000 down? We used to require $2500, which was about 1/2 the value of the car, then charge ~$300 a month for 36 months. So they'd pay like $13k+ for a 5K car, all while ownership was hoping they missed a few payments. fees fees fees.

  5. I was a store manager of one of these rent to own companies in Canada in my early 20's. 2 to 3 times? Pft. We had floor space in a major furniture retailer. If a customer got turned down for in store financing, they would bring them to us and salespeople got a $20 bonus for the referral (not near what the commission would be but better than nothing). We would then purchase the item from the store at cost plus 10% then multiply our price by FOUR. Then it would be divided by the number of months in thier term. Thats 400% interest.

  6. My brother did this when he was younger. "bought" a computer that ended up being 6x the actual price because it was on monthly payments.

  7. Glad this ended up being popular. I crusade against them more than the average person. When I was young with no credit I went in one to check out bed sets. They offered cell phones. You would have paid 3k over 3 years for a 600 phone. Taking advantage of poor people under the guise of helping poor people is some of the most despicable shit.

  8. If they're lucky they'll pay 2-3 times the value. Even if you buy outright from these places the prices are astronomical. I needed to buy a mattress for one of my kids, i went to Aaron's rent to own. A simple basic nothing extra twin mattress was $650, this wasn't rent to own, this was pay in full right now. I waited until i had a day off and drove up to the city and went to Costco and got a really nice mattress for under $175.

  9. I’ve never understood the aversion to buying used things if you’re that poor. You can get a solid 5 year old TV on Facebook for a fraction of new.

  10. Funerals, weddings, and pretty much every other thing we blindly accept have to be insanely expensive without even thinking about it.

  11. Came here looking for funerals. It shouldn’t cost over a thousand dollars to put somebody in the ground. My aunt made payments for her daughter’s funeral for 5 years. It’s a box in a hole, it shouldn’t cost 8k to put a body in a hole!

  12. Musician here. We literally charge up to $400/hr for weddings/funerals--not because those are our rates, but because people will not hire us if we charge less. They think that price = quality, and you need the best quality for these events. Wild.

  13. We just buried my mom and we got the cheapest package possible- cremation with no service. $1200. Death certificate extra. Here's the kicker, everyone was gobsmacked we didn't hold a service. I said if you didn't know her/love her to visit when she was alive you don't need to now that she's dead.

  14. I think Student Loan servicers. For example, Navient manages Federally guaranteed debt for the US Gov in Student loans, has the IRS as their personal collection agency. They constantly, I mean CONSTANTLY fuck up to the extent they get dragged in front of Congressional Hearings, and their CEO is paid $7.7M annually.

  15. I cried on the phone the other day with a student loans agent. I was getting penalized for a form they hadn't processed yet. I was being devastated with financial repercussions - threatening my ability to finish my education - because their processing system was backed up.

  16. My friend told me about his loans, warning me about mine. He forgot to close his student loan account AFTER he had paid it off. He was charged $5 monthly for years and had no idea. He owed a ton of money. ALLLLL BECAUSE HE DIDNT ACTUALLY “CLOSE” his student loan account. WTF?

  17. I've only had my FEDERAL student loans for about 3 months (at the beginning of this semester) they've already changed my loan servicer 4 times, how tf am I suppose too keep track of who I'm supposed to pay?

  18. Agreed. A friend of mine borrowed $40,000 in student loans. So far she has paid $33,000, and yet she owes $54,000. It’s ridiculous.

  19. Navient recently dumped that federal contract, kicked the can down the road to another company. The issue is federal student loans are so easy to get, colleges noticed and jacked their rates up. Now you have ridiculous tuition fees and easy access to a loan, that's a recipe for diaster. Navient was simply the easiest target to blame the entire system on, as loan servicing has to resort to shady tactics to reclaim those unpaid loans. I know it's fucked up, but that's the "system" if you will.

  20. I took $35k out with navient about 7-8 years ago. I’ve made monthly payments for the last 5 years totaling roughly $25k. I currently owe $32k. Student loan servicers are evil.

  21. My wife's loans are serviced by Navient. A couple months ago I decided we should take a chunk out of our savings to pay off one of them. So I went on the website, checked the payoff amount, and submitted the payment with instructions that the payment was to be applied 100% to the loan being paid off.

  22. We drive through Indianapolis at least twice a year where there’s a large Navient building next to the interstate and I flip it off every single time we drive pat.

  23. Student Loans are guaranteed, you can’t even declare bankruptcy to get out of them. Therefore, they should be at a very low rate because the risk is low. They are not low.

  24. Speaking of loans, I wanna say the credit system. It's run by three (?) private companies and is completely blackboxed; we have no idea what variables are actually taken into account with what weight, and it's not government-run so...I'm not sure as to the consequences of this actually but if I'm going to have my financial future in someone's hands I'd rather it be the government than three private companies.

  25. Seriously. The spectrum person that signed me up on the phone gave me a price and simply neglected to tell me it was a “promotional rate”. Price goes up 50% after a year.

  26. And Youtube TV is turning out to be the same sh$& different medium…. hey let’s keep jacking up the price, but let’s add on a dozen or so channels no one f&$&in cares about to keep everyone happy. No that did not make us happy because we’re not that dumb.

  27. I think the real issue with them is that we haven't gotten to thinking about internet as a utility like we have water and power. If we did it could help with rates and quality of service.

  28. I bought a day trading course for $300. I was about 5 minutes in when I said “oh I get it! I’ve been scammed.”

  29. There's nothing wrong with creating a useful course that legitimately helps people. The problem is 80% of them just copy a course or take one course and think they're an expert. That's when it becomes a scam.

  30. I work for a mortgage company. We just wrote a loan for a dude who was buying his first house. Modest home. His income was about $2500 a month with 2.5 years history as self employed income.

  31. “Fake Gurus”. And there is an awesome YouTube channel from a legit business professional that exposes all of these, from real estate, sports betting, crypto, Forex, ect.

  32. I called the pharmacy about a generic today. One that’s been around several years. $379 without insurance. The generic. I guess they just want us all to die.

  33. What’s really insane is that the price has gone up every year, even though generally the price of things gets cheaper over time. It costs them less to make, they have more customers, etc, yet it’s 10x the price it was when it was the brand new miracle analog.

  34. When my husband and I had just gotten married they told us that taking out those loans would help our credit. Turns out they’re considered desperation loans and our credit tanked, even after we paid them off. Took forever to get them off of our backs about “raising our credit and paying off debt at the same time” and now they still send us mail trying to get us to take out another loan. Ugh. I wish we’d had someone there to tell us what a bad idea it was. We trusted them and now we still have four more years until those inquiries fall off of our credit reports.

  35. Can confirm, I managed one of these for three years. I was young and it was just an office job to me where I got to be my own boss. But the job itself was down right depressing and I had to get out of it. Little old lady on fixed income has her car break down? She comes in for a $500 loan with an APR of about 482%

  36. The FCC needs to require broadcasters to CLEARLY identify any "News" program that is actually "Opinion" programming, from the local news broadcasts to the cable networks. If they can brand kids shows in the morning as E/I they can do it for news opinion programming as well.

  37. A few years ago my husband was keen on the idea of buying a franchise. He came across a scheme he thought was promising and asked me to go with him to meet the people selling it. As soon as we sat down my gut feeling was RUN, but being polite people we sat through their spiel. On the surface it seemed legit, but for me the absolute killer was when they started spouting on about how the big boss has bought a helicopter and how cool it would be for us all when we can do that too. They were very pushy, but I’m equally stubborn and held firm that we needed to think about it. As soon as we left I threw away the brochures and crap they’d foisted on us. Had a few emails and calls, but ghosted them. Husband was disappointed for a while, but then one day I was reading Reddit and came across a familiar company name.

  38. Hiiii, it's been a while since we last #talked 🤪🤭 I have made $5,000 A MILLISECOND by selling oils this year! Just say "slide to the left slide to the right cha cha now y'all" to #learn how I did it! 💅 OMG #BossBabe!!!!!! 🤩🤩🤩

  39. I just got reamed in my local Facebook group for pointing out the new adorable protein smoothie shop is actually an Herbalife front.

  40. Couldn’t believe I had to go this far to find mention of MLMs, but then I remembered a lot of Reddit is male. MLMs are so prevalent in female circles, preying on the vulnerable with promises of financial freedom.

  41. I have a friend on Facebook who will shill one MLM for a year or two, then move onto another. She did Lipsense for awhile, now it's some kind of weight loss thing. Just today, she posted a before and after picture, with an 10 month difference, and she looks about the same.

  42. Online convenience fee for paying bills. Not every bill has it but I found it’s usually utilities and it’s BS. Not the biggest scam but something that irritates me

  43. My electric company does that for card payments, but ACH is free. Most companies totally do bury their processing costs into bills though (there’s usually an itemization like “processing fee” somewhere). Someone’s gotta pay the merchant fee and what better person than the end consumer? 😒

  44. Yep. My rent has two options: A. pay online and be charged a "convenience fee" or B. drive 30 minutes out of town to the property management office and drop it off in person. I pay online

  45. Got charged $200 in like a week even after I paused my card because subscription services that I gave my card info were bypassing that to charge my bank directly. I was so pissed. They waived most of the fees. Insane. I only make $800 per month.

  46. If you ask what a procedure will cost, they refuse to say and tell you to call the “medical billing company”. You can call the medical billing company from 10:00am to 4:00pm, during which time you are put on hold multiple times and you give your complete insurance information to 3 separate people. Even if you are all pro free market, how can a market work if the consumer essentially can’t find what the prices will be ahead of time?

  47. Had a baby last year during Covid. Got charged a “rooming in fee” aka, had to pay to keep my baby in my room with me. There was no other option (no nursery or anything, not that I would have used it anyway). Ridiculous. Also, I paid more for my miscarriage surgery (D&C) and related care than for the live birth of my child via c section.

  48. I have no idea how this isn’t the top answer. Yeah I get that college textbooks are a scam, but healthcare is something we all need, and every other “first world” country does it much better.

  49. Ya I work in healthcare and can safely say that this is the most garbage section of America in terms of shitting on its own people.

  50. Not the fact that your quality of healthcare outcomes and out of pocket b costs are tired directly to your employer? That's some distopian shit right there

  51. The not knowing the prices beforehand, or even when you get your first bill is what gets me. Like how can I shop around for the best prices or even know if i can afford to go for lab work and specialists and what not if they can’t tell me how much I will owe? Then you get the first bill and you’re not sure if you should pay it yet because a lot of times the insurance didn’t go through right or go through all the way yet so you don’t want to over pay or if you’re like me you don’t have the money anyway but if you don’t pay the doctors office will tack on late fees so do you risk overpaying or risk not knowing if you need to fight with your insurance company over something or do you wait and get stuck with late fees.

  52. I find that it helps to look at this from alternate perspectives: instead of exorbitantly high tuition, you can think of it as being free debt

  53. I think we do great with community colleges. They accept everyone. Fairly cheap. But the 4 year schools are ridiculous. I actually found my community college to have nicer facilities, better professors and smaller class sizes. And it was like 7 or 8 times cheaper.

  54. Probably our credit score system. For instance, in what universe is paying off your debt a risk factor, such that your credit score drops significantly if you pay down what you owe? So I pay my bills, so that looks sketchy and I am penalized for it? Like I paid off an old credit card and my score dropped 130 points. And the cycle of renting in which you make just enough to scrape by so you can’t get quite enough to get out of the cycle, then the rent increases yearly. So you’re further into the cycle, and all the while your credit isn’t improving to the point that you can escape and you don’t make enough to put a lot away to buy a house. So it continues.

  55. Then having to pay a third party company hundreds of dollars to fix and dispute it with the credit companies because the credit companies don’t listen to normal people

  56. They're not rating how responsible you are, they're rating how much money they can make off of you. If you pay off your credit cards, they're going to miss out on that sweet, sweet, APR month after month.

  57. "If you wanna make a whole lotta money, the best way to do that is to start a religion" -L. Ron Hubbard

  58. COLLEGE TEXT BOOKS. You need edition 10 for this class. They change one chapter in the book make it a new edition over price it and fuck the college kids. Always drove me nuts when I was in college.

  59. One of my professors said- it doesn't matter what edition you got for my class, just make sure to get the book. The first class he saw not a lot of students got the book, so he was again like- it doesn't matter what edition, just get it on ama..n or whatever, the older editions are cheaper, the used ones are cheaper, etc. Then he points at me: what edition did you get? Me: 4th ( there is only 5 editions of that book). He was like: that's awesome! Where did you get it? Me: used books website. Him: how much did you pay? Me: $4.53. Him trying to sound positive but being quite sour at this point: that's great....what a great deal.... I'm not sure 4 dollars is a fair price for this book, but still, great find.... Come to find out later he contributed to that college book, was one of the authors and editors.

  60. My ethics prof thought this practice was unethical, so he photocopied the pages and gave them to us for free. Chapter by chapter for the duration of the course. I always enjoyed the irony of this. And the free “book”

  61. Yes this is ridiculous for sure. I experienced this and couldn't believe how expensive they were and how miniscule the changes in new versions were. And a waste of paper I might add!!!

  62. What I hate most about it is my daughter's doctor prescribed her X medicine for her problem. The insurance company denied paying for the medicine because they don't think she needs X medicine. I think it is really stupid they can deny something a doctor says their patient needs based on their assessment of what they think she does or doesn't need......

  63. Indeed! My private practice Dr once told me his office would bill my insurance “X” amount of dollars, and the insurance would come back and say, “X-Y” dollars. And he wouldn’t expect to receive payment “Z” 3 to 6 months out.

  64. My dentist is in network, says I need my wisdom teeth out. He refers me to the same oral surgeon he refers everyone. That surgeon is out of network. Now I need to find a new oral surgeon.

  65. I had chest pain, so I went to my doctor. After several tests, costing me around $500, they still didn't know what was wrong with me, so she sends me to a specialist. Specialist charges me another $150 for a consultation, in which he tells me that I need another procedure in order to figure what it is. Since I still (somehow) hadn't met my deductible I was told that it would cost me another $900. I paid $650 to be told I needed to pay $900 to know what was wrong, and that was BEFORE any sort of treatment! This country's healthcare system is a joke, and health insurance is the punchline, as in they line up to punch you in the stomach until you pay them money.

  66. I've been living abroad for some years now, and this and public transportation. Y'all know how liberating it is to think I'm not going to die in debt if I have to take an ambulance.

  67. I have a bone broken in my hand from last August that protrudes under the skin. I got tricked into going to the ER by family. That was $3600? For 3 quick x-rays and a hard splint (not a cast) because no insurance. They said go see this doctor....$500 cash just for the visit, didn't include more x-rays or the cast I would've been in.

  68. I talk to health insurance companies at my job every day. Most of the time, I know their policies better than they do. The reps on the phone will claim that there is coverage, but until you ask for just the right person, you won't find out that there's a hidden plan exclusion somewhere.

  69. I just never pay the bills. My company pays into my health insurance and I pay into my health insurance. I shouldn’t have to pay another bill for an emergency visit that I had no control over happening. I simply just throw out the envelopes when they send them. The hospital will write it off one day.

  70. The Weather Channel is more entertainment than anything at this point. All the weather stuff they talk about you can find on your phone for free, all you need is internet. Weather alerts are free as well. But watching ice road truckers isn’t free unless you live in Alaska.

  71. I swear you're better off waiting the 7 years or whatever it is for it to fall off your records than to actually pay it off.

  72. How we have to file our taxes correctly even though the government knows exactly how much we made every year and if we file it wrong we get penalized....

  73. Personally, joining the military. Serving my country. Getting exposed to chemicals. Dying from the inside at forty with no help from the society I served.

  74. Very true. Where I live (Jamaica), my family doesnt have any health insurance (my dad got a free HI card since he's a retired senior citizen), but we get treated free to minimal cost at the public hospitals.

  75. Love this. I have 780 Credit score... annnnnd 70k in debt. Never going to get approved for a "house". Thanks Psychology degree.

  76. When i found out it was only implemented in the mid 80's i almost blew a gasket. Forcing people to buy stuff in order buy other stuff like the hope of being anywhere close to stable

  77. Modern appliances. Fragile and break within a few years. Meant to make money on service or replacement. Meanwhile a 50 year old refrigerator is still running.

  78. My dad died colon cancer. He was diagnosed at 53 with stage 4. We tried to see if it was genetic, but the test came up inconclusive. No history of colon cancer is his family, and my mom was adopted. So needless to say, I was worried about my health. Because not knowing sucked. I had a couple aunts and uncles go for colonoscopies after my dad, a few had polyps. I'm 4 years older than my brother, so I wanted to get tested for his sake too.

  79. Yeah fuck Susan G Komen! I found a lump in my breast a few years ago and had no insurance. They said they'd pay for the mammogram, a month later I got a $3000 bill for it. Fuck them!

  80. I have to pick only one? I think our health care system is the largest and most comically villainous of all of them but man, the list is looooong for bullshit scams in this wasteland.

  81. Yup I had to pay over 200 a month for the most basic health insurance it was all I could afford barely. I barely could afford co pays so I kept putting off getting tested when I tried I wasn't taken seriously and had to pay more co pays while my right side pain spread to my back and left side. When I lost my job and moved to my mom I qualified for free Healthcare as I was unemployed. I could finally try again to be tested and I'm stage 4 cancer with only a few years left. Too bad Universal Healthcare wasn't a thing I could have went and gotten the right tests sooner. But apparently if your not flat broke or rich you get screwed in Healthcare.

  82. I never understood why people panic-bought bottled water when the pandemic started. You’re going to be home, where you have a reliable source of water, not driving across the country. Just get a filter.

  83. “Trickle Down” Economics isn’t a theory of economics, but a mechanism present in all economics. It’s meaning has been tied to one man’s usage while holding office and misrepresented ever since.

  84. Pay significantly more money to provide less and worse services to people who generally need the housing, food, and other supports regardless of incarceration status. Oh, and let's make sure we do little to nothing to rehabilitate people and set them up with the skills they need before they leave so they learn more about surviving as a criminal than they do surviving on the right side of the law.

  85. Paying your taxes and then never seeing a return on your investment. That's OUR money! Fix our roads, give us health care, educate our children PROPERLY, pay our teachers a living wage, RAISE UP people below the poverty line so they can live with dignity. Stop wasting 750 BILLION a year on our military.

  86. I remember driving on the highway down from Eastern Canada and the highways through New England, New York, Connecticut, etc were absolutely terrible and crumbling, despite the fact that I was constantly paying tolls to use it (a true rarity in Canada). It made me value the state of the old highways in rural Nova Scotia, which is really saying something.

  87. I'm in Vegas right now for a conference. 90% of this city is a scam. Only worth while thing is the restaurants.

  88. Big business wielding huge political power. Sure, people go to the polls, but behind the scenes corporation pay exorbitant amounts of money to pay politicians to make policies favourable to them and in the process ignoring the will of the people.

  89. This should be higher up. It’s basically self regulated organized crime that controls the media and politics making sure that the house always wins. And when it doesn’t, guess what, they bring the whole thing down so that the general population socializes the losses. Rinse and repeat.

  90. Lobbying itself is fine. When private citizens sign a petition for the government to take a certain action that is lobbying.

  91. Love him or hate him, Malcolm Gladwell writes directly about this “right place right time” aspect of Gates life in his book Outliers. Gates happen to be good friends with a guy whose mom was involved in a start-up computer science firm at the nearby University of Washington. It’s the combination of this abnormal access for someone his age to a computer with programming software and Bill’s borderline neurotic obsession with programming that made him what he is. Add in the market-timing of such revolutionary technology and you have a sure-fire recipe for a billionaire.

  92. Work hard enough, and you’ll reach the American dream. To reach that, you’ll need alot of hard work, yes. But a ridiculous amount of luck as well.

  93. Needing to pay out of pocket, or forced into contracts with private companies, to get an education, health care, housing, electricity, internet, cell phone service, water, etc.

  94. It blows my mind how the food industry has somehow become insulated from the American capitalistic ideal that stands for just about every other industry… people say “the increase in pay for waitstaff would only result in higher prices for food”, etc… good, more transparency for the true cost of dining… how is that ever a bad thing? Don’t ask your CUSTOMERS to PAY YOUR STAFF… furthermore, it’s a shitty thing to do to someone, relying on tips - an unknown variable, to determine what you’ll bring home weekly. It should be banned… okay, I’m stopping…

  95. I'm astonished that this isn't at the very top. Tipping is easily the greatest and most successful scam ever devised. It's absolutely ludicrous that workers have to rely on the kindness of total strangers in order to make money instead of just being paid a living wage by their employers.

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