Skip to comments.Ben Stein, Predatory Bait-And-Switch Merchant
Posted on 07/16/2009 12:44:03 PM PDT by steve-b
How far has Ben Stein sunk? Far enough that I feel compelled to resuscitate the Ben Stein Watch, just to share this unfunny and positively harmful TV ad which is now being aired:
"I went to freescore.com and found out my score for free", says Ben, while an annoying squirrel holds up a sign with the word "FREE" in some horrible brush-script font.
A few points are worth noting here. First, the score itself is not very useful to consumers. What's useful is the report if there's an error on the report, then the consumer can try to rectify it. Secondly, and much more importantly, if you want a free credit report, there's only one place to go: annualcreditreport.com. That's the place where the big three credit-rating agencies will give you a genuinely free copy of your credit report once a year, as required by federal law.
You won't be surprised to hear that freescore.com is not free: in order to get any information out of them at all, you have to authorize them to charge you a $29.95 monthly fee. They even extract a dollar out of you up front, just to make sure that money is there.
Stein, here, has become a predatory bait-and-switch merchant, dangling a "free" credit report in front of people so that he can sock them with a massive monthly fee for, essentially, doing nothing at all. Naturally, the people who take him up on this offer will be those who can least afford it....
(Excerpt) Read more at blogs.reuters.com ...
Did he support Al Franken?
OMG...Ben Stein was in a commercial! And he probably got paid for it! And the commercial didn’t tell the exact truth!
He didn’t have far to fall. I used to subscribe to the American Spectator in the 90’s but stopped reading it when I realized that Ben Stein’s Diary (a monthly feature) was basically made up.
Cronyism over principle. (I'm not saying I don't have lefty friends, some of whom conceivably might run for elective office. But I hope they would understand that I cannot in good conscience DONATE to them.)
This is what p*sses me off about business and why I am more of a progressive on economic issues. Businesses are darn near as big a bunch of crooks as government. Ben Stein ought to be ashamed. Freecreditreport.com should be ashamed. The french dude they have lipsyncing the stupid commercials should be ashamed. The stations that air this crap ought to be ashamed. The FTC should have stopped this years ago, but they are too lazy. The whole damn bunch of them ought to sued and have to refund every $29.95 per MONTH fee they have gotten and pay punitive damages.
parsy, who gets furious as rip off crap like this
"Progressive" eh? Call it what you like, I guess.
Ben has been hanging around Hollywierd too much.
You got some splaining to do.....do so, please.
I believe he did in the many words that follow the portion that you posted.
No, I ain’t a darn liberal. I just think business interests get way too much of a pass by conservatives, and particularly the GOP. For example, Arkansas is a very conservative state. I do not think you will find many pictures of Teddy Kennedy hanging on our walls. Elvis, John Wayne, and Rebel Flags, yes! But you ask your typical Arkansas why he’s a Democrat and not a Republican, and the answer is usually, “Republicans are the party of the rich” or “Republicans don’t give a damn about the working man.”
I used to think these people were simply misguided, being a proud Republican, but as I have gotten older, I had to admit to myself that they were right. My uncle, the Democrat, still teases me about being stupid for so many years. It hurts, but I deserve it.
So, no, I ain’t a liberal. I prefer to see myself in the Teddy Roosevelt Bull Moose mode.
parsy, who toes the conservative line except on economics.
I’ll ‘splain, but promise me you won’t start calling me names, like a stupid, libtard troll. I am a human being and I have feelings.
parsy, the sensitive
Translation: "I still think it's 1930."
I used to think these people were simply misguided, being a proud Republican, but as I have gotten older, I had to admit to myself that they were right.
I guess that's why Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, and George Soros give so much money to the Republicans.
My uncle, the Democrat, still teases me about being stupid for so many years. It hurts, but I deserve it.
Well, you do now, I guess.
So, no, I aint a liberal. I prefer to see myself in the Teddy Roosevelt Bull Moose mode.
So you're a populist...I'm guessing a Huckabee supporter?
parsy, who toes the conservative line except on economics.
The old line Garry Trudeau wrote for Uncle Duke comes to mind: “Honey, all labor leaders are sensitive to the plight of the working class. That’s how they avoid belonging to it.”
Actually, I do like Huckabee the more I see of him. But I left the “stupid” party back when Bush signed off on the Bankrupcty Reform bill.
Looking back on those days, and I put up a post of FR when I became a Democrat, I was right abiout a lot of things I said. One of my reasons was that I thought the GOP wanted responsibility from the poor clods who got credit card loans at 22.9% but didn’t expect responsibility from the lenders who knew (from credit bureau information) how many cards a debtor had, what credit was out there, and the liklihood of repayment.
IMHO, the lender is often just as responsible as the the lendee. Of course I was bombarded with “They took the loan, they ought to pay it back” and “If they were so stupid to borrow more than they could afford, then to heck with them” sort of responses.
Looking back, after our recent little bo-bo’s in the stock market, and with the sub-prime mess, I think I was right. And gee whiz, look how many people now are blaming the lenders for making poor loans.
So maybe I ain’t stupid. Maybe I am farsighted. Maybe if the GOP had listened to me, and regulated some of these financial institutions more, and hadn’t been so gung ho big business, we might not have quite so big a mess to have pay overt the next few generations.
I can’t blame the GOP for not listening to me because all I am is some little anonymous freeper out here fighting the good fight. But it looks to me like somebody in the GOP ought to have had enough brains to see this coming like I did.
parsy, the bull moose?
Sad to see celebs cash in and sell a service that they wouldn't otherwise recommend we use. Ben Stein has written about other financial rip-offs.
And what do you propose to do about it, aside from letting them twist in the wind when the borrower can't pay it back (my proposed "action")?
Of course I was bombarded with They took the loan, they ought to pay it back and If they were so stupid to borrow more than they could afford, then to heck with them sort of responses.
Probably because those things are, you know, true.
Looking back, after our recent little bo-bos in the stock market, and with the sub-prime mess, I think I was right. And gee whiz, look how many people now are blaming the lenders for making poor loans.
Yes, of course, some lenders made stupid decisions (although many of them were made under government pressure to lend more money to "disadvantaged groups"). But so what? What do you do about it? Again, my answer is to let those companies fail if that's where the market and their decisions take them. What's yours? Have the government take it all over?
So maybe I aint stupid. Maybe I am farsighted. Maybe if the GOP had listened to me, and regulated some of these financial institutions more, and hadnt been so gung ho big business, we might not have quite so big a mess to have pay overt the next few generations.
Or maybe you're stupid. At least in this area. No offense - I ask myself the same question, about myself, all the time. But more government wouldn't solve the problem - more government would exacerbate the problem, like it almost always does. Maybe the solution is to end this "bailout" garbage and allow real consequences for irresponsible, stupid decisions. But like the rest of the "progressive" world, you think that the government telling people to do something just makes it happen, without any unintended consequences, because you think the world is simpler than it is.
I cant blame the GOP for not listening to me because all I am is some little anonymous freeper out here fighting the good fight.
I think the GOP has listened to you and people like you far too much - after all, some of them went along with the massive government expansion of the past year.
But it looks to me like somebody in the GOP ought to have had enough brains to see this coming like I did.
That much is true, especially since the government largely *caused* the current mess. But I suppose you wouldn't see it that way, since the idea of a command economy seems to appeal to you.
.all those weekends in Idaho with Timmy? made up?
Next you’ll be telling us it wasn’t really Ben Stein’s money!
“And what do you propose to do about it, aside from letting them twist in the wind when the borrower can’t pay it back (my proposed “action”)?”
Well, that is what many debtors were doing. They took chapter 7 and told the credit card companies to “twist in the wind.” But here comes the GOP riding to the rescue. (And in fairness, most democrats were in favor of it too). Lets cut back on chapter 7’s! More 13’s where the debt can be soaked out of the poor debtor like blood from a turnip.
And Bush signed the damn thing! Even Bill Clinton had too much personal integrity to sign it, and believe me I don’t like saying that. But when Bill Clinton refused to sign the bankruptcy reform bill over his own parties passing of the bill, and then Bush does sign it, thats says a lot about either the ethics or the brains one of Bush.
So here comes a GOP president to sign off on a bill which favors yankee credit card companies over your typical fellow American.
That kind of innate worship of business or finance or whatever is what keeps the GOP relegated to its usual minority status in this country. And since the GOP is nominally the “conservative” party in this ocuntry, it drags down the rest with it—a strong military, gun rights, limited government, reasonable gov’t regulation, decent social behavior, etc.
Every good conservative value gets sacrificed because of this irrational fling with big business. Its like Gov. Sanford multiplied by millions. And here we are going into what I think will be a greater Depression, and the GOP’s answer. . . . CUT TAXES!
I mean c’mon. There a time when cutting taxes is good and will stimulate an economy, and times when it can’t. But where a good conservative battle is needed agaisnt this damn idiotic “crap and played” stuff, where is the GOP? Huddling over in the corner with the rich folks and holding the blanket and binky because some millionaires might have to pay an extra 5%.
Doesn’t the GOP get it? It ain’t the rich folks that keep the country running. It’s middle class America. That group that has been getting squeezed over the last few decades.
parsy, who has his Bible out now and is spewing fire and brimstone everywhere, you bunch of GOP sinners!!!!
I disagree. If taxes are low enough, the money goes to people who probably have a higher MPS.Just like the interest rate going down to 1 or 2 percent. At some point just a diminishing rate of return.
parsy, the pseudo-economist
Taxes aren’t low enough. They should be no higher than to cover the basics of what is specified in the Constitution. The government needs to shrink dramatically and get out of the business of business and most everything else. Returning the people’s money to the people is the best solution to economic woes.
I agree there should be less gov’t. Most everything they do is three times the cost and done worse. But taxes are a relative thing, not an absolute thing. I think in an absolute sense they are way too high, fed and state, and there is way too much gov’t.
Relatively, we ain’t paying for what we are spending and cutting them only increases the deficit. But, the deficit is so darn high, it can’t be paid off IMHO. This is why I suspect that the gov’t will have to monetize the debt, which will PO the rest of the world, make our paper money worthless and bring our jobs back home. I think whole country will get a Basic Income Grant, and will work if we want more, which most of us will.
But this could be a good thing in the long run. I hate to say it, but our country needs a good Great Depression. Help us focus on what is important.
parsy, the philosopher
Most of our problems are directly related to the size of the government and its insistence on attempting to micromanage almost every single aspect of our lives. There would’ve been no “Great Depression” had President Hoover, followed by FDR, not tried to grab control and begin to expand beyond all reason the size of the federal government, it would’ve ended up the Panic of 1929 and little more. We’d had those types of natural downturns in the economic cycle, and the best approach was merely to have left it alone to correct itself. The same thing that should’ve been done this time, just leave it alone and TRUST the people. We don’t do that, we treat the citizenry like children, and we wonder why so many of us ACT like babies. Spoiled rotten with a grandiose sense of entitlement (and I’ll admit I myself having been raised in such a culture that I feel that, and I’m none too proud of it). But we need a cut clear across the board, the size of government and taxes. We’re spending money we don’t have, and we’re going to end up in an economic situation that makes the Great Depression look like the 1980s.
I think we are on uncharted territory. All the past crashes occurred when more of us were employed in useful and necessary jobs. Now ag and mfg are smaller and big big part of employment has been in “fripperies”, which is why i say we are on the “frippery slope.”
I am not sure doing nothing will work, because I do not know what new jobs it is we are going to do. Retailing and paper pushing requires demand, which currently isn’t available. And yes, I think this crash is going to be the biggest one ever.
parsy, who is hoarding food
We’ve already seen government involvement and interference always makes things worse. What we’re seeing now is that I believe the current regime is DELIBERATELY causing the economic situation to occur. It’s always been the model of the Communist that you have to destroy first before imposing the new matrix. You have some Marxist/Stalinist members of Congress already calling for the ownership or nationalization of industries. This is frightening. Complete economic collapse of industry by industry will give them the opening to do just that.
But as long as you have elections, the two party system works as a brake on that. That and the fact that we are a well armed society. If BO tries to halt elections, then there will be a serious reaction. Plus, we still have a free press.
parsy, who is more afraid of stupidity on capitol hill
Two party system ? You’ve got too many areas of the country where there IS no two party system, and in other areas, you’ve got the GOP falling all over itself to nominate Socialists (one reason why there’s no two party system). You’re in AR, look at what happened to the growing GOP under Huckster. Thanks to his incompetence, the party is almost as non-existent there as it was prior to Winthrop Rockefeller in 1966, and the weakest of any in the South. Powerless to stop the Marxist/Stalinist steamroller.
What actually happened is that a few GOP congressmen in NW Arkansas screwed up. One, divorced and married his asst, which po’ed a lot of his religious base. The other went into private practice as I recall. In 2004, I think Arkansas voted for Bush (I know they did in 2000).
I don’t think Huckabee is the problem. People here just see GOP as the party of the rich, and the GOP keeps acting that way. Arkansas is anything but commie, but when you start boo-hooing over some millionaires having to cough up an extra 5%, you ain’t going to get a lot of sympathy.
Heck, a lot of folks around here live in trailers and have a hard time making it from paycheck to paycheck. They get harassed by yankee bill collectors and struggle, but they would still go with the GOP if there was ever some sign that the GOp gave a hoot about them, not just the fat cats.
parsifal, the practical
I’m just across the creek in Tennessee and I was paying close attention to the situation there, and frankly, Huckster was the WORST thing to happen to the Republican Party in the state. It was almost impossible to screw up growing the GOP there, the AR Dems were overrepresented at the start, you had term limits in place to give the GOP an opening and 10 years of that buffoon managed to turn everything in the opposite direction, right back to the rodents. Not until Beebe became Governor did the GOP make its first gains in a decade in the House last November, and we’re still below the numbers we held a decade ago in that body. The fact that Huckster had the sheer audacity to call himself successful enough to run for President after he sodomized his state party is sickening. He well earned the “Slick Willard of the South” moniker.
It's not either of these that makes America what it is - it's freedom. Freedom - liberty - is what makes America great. You, on the other hand, seem to be advocating what I regard as nothing more than tyranny. You can hate rich people all you want, you can hate businesses all you want, you can give in to your envy all you want, but if you let your feelings, your anger, and your jealousy drive you to the point where you're ready to dump freedom and sign up for the fascist nanny state we're getting, you have a problem.
I don't think you can use geography to differentiate Huck and Bill Clinton, since they're from the same town and all.
Finally something I can agree with :)
This is exactly the kind of thinking that makes me want to pull my hair out. Who the @*$& are you to decide whether someone's job is "useful" and "necessary"? Where does this urge to sit in judgment of people's economic activity come from? Why do you think the government can do a better job of managing people's business than those people can?
Obviously if someone is able to make a living at a non-criminal job, their work is useful enough that someone's willing to pay them. Why is your judgment of that job's worth more legitimate than the judgment of the person who's spending their own money on it?
Oh right. That photo is hilarious...
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