Welcome to Curious Business

Every Friday, I post a small insight into running Curio City and/or Blue Hills Editorial Services. My most recent posts are directly below. You can also start with the first post, or use the subject labels to the right to home in on particular topics. Feel free to comment on anything that interests you.
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Friday, May 13, 2016

Dumb and Dumber

Around the beginning of April I started getting scam letters from people who hope I'm dumb enough to pay them anywhere from $389 to over $1,000 to renew my trademark, which involves verifying an online form and sending the government $400. My favorite was from someone who "only" wanted $250 to send me the relevant paperwork...which, as I said, is just a web form. Obviously, I know better than to pay anyone for that. But I really do owe the government $400 to retain ownership of "Curio City." What I don't know is when the government needs its money. I filed for the trademark in March or April of 2006. The filing was published on Sept. 26, 2006, and registered on May 29, 2007. So which is the 10-year anniversary deadline?

I posed that question to the USPTO on April 7. The recipient of that email dodged answering and linked me to a different office, to whom I forwarded the same simple question. On May 11, the Trademark Assistance Center finally sent me an unsigned reply. As you might have guessed, I waited a month for an email that details the filing process without specifying the deadline that I asked them for. Thanks, Obama!

One of the scam letters says that the "start of filing period" was May 29 of this year, and the actual deadline is May 29 of next year, which is the actual 10-year registration anniversary. I can pay up within that year-long window. I'd have liked to hear that directly from the government, but it's the best answer I'm going to get.   

Speaking of thieves...PayPal finally snatched back $196 plus a $20 chargeback fee for last month's fraudulent charge. Since I got my merchandise back, the actual loss was "only" $20 to PayPal plus $15.68 to UPS for outbound freight plus $23.68 for return freight = $59.36; UPS was the big winner. The actual thief got bupkis. For accuracy's sake, I ought to debit the "return" from this week's sales and reduce my next paycheck accordingly...but, screw it.

Speaking of dumb...I think I mis-shipped a package. I got the customer's name and email address wrong so it won't surprise me if I screwed up her street address, too. Her small order is heading for the loss column since I'll either have to refund her purchase or reship it at my expense. Poor sound quality is just one more reason to hate telephone orders. Here's a pro tip: Not only is ordering online faster and more secure...it's also more accurate than using the phone because you're not depending on some old man trying to understand a crappy speaker. There's a reason that the game of miscommunication is called "Telephone."

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