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I have two cases in point here, and to be fair, if I had just googled these two outfits ahead of time I would have seen all the negative reviews and steered clear. But I did not, so I could not, and now I'm getting landlined like there is no tomorrow (nod to Cougar Town there). So here we go. Writers (and generally others as well), beware!
The first mistake was listening to ads on the radio and television for LendingTree.com. I mean come on, the ad on telly is like a nod to the intersection of Sesame Street and Avenue Q! Go to their website and enter your info and then you have a bounty of options to choose from for mortgages, refinances, loans, and so forth. Sounds great!
I'll tell you what it REALLY sounds like: LANDLINED. I hadn't even gotten all of the info rendered on my screen before our phone started ringing. After the third call in a row (I think? Might have been fourth), Hubs answered it and spent a good long while waiting for the very excited someone from QuickenLoans (I'd be wary of them as well) to stop talking so that he could try to tell her he wasn't interested right now and could we just call them back when we were, please? For the new few days, I got several calls a day (that I did not answer) and at least two emails just from QuickenLoans. Other companies rang/emailed us as well, seemingly on repeat, even though we had made no attempt to get more information from them.
Here's the kicker...the reviews that I should have looked at first, admittedly...say that when you submit info to LendingTree.com, they immediately give your info to all the companies that even remotely suit your parameters. Now to be fair, they do say that they ask for your phone number so that they can pass it on to the companies that could help you with your inquiry. I just thought they would at LEAST wait until I had picked an offer "for more information," but no. Avoid. Avoid, avoid, AVOID.
Okay, number two is the "new" self-publishing arm of Simon&Schuster publishing house. Like other traditional publishers, S&S have made the leap to reach out to those of us that want a bit more control in our publishing process and introduced "self-publishing." They offer you a guide to self publishing once you sign up for it and give them your email address and...yep, here it is, your phone number.
Got a call this morning from "Archway Publishing," the self-publishing arm of S&S. Only they are only Archway in name...they are, in fact, run by Author Solutions which as far as I can tell is an outdated form of a vanity press. I didn't press on far enough to see the price list for myself, but others report charges upward of $1k to publish your book and AS is enough of a scary thing in the realm of self-publishing that I am still as of this writing looking for a way to get OFF their list.
It is easy enough to publish with Amazon's KDP and CreateSpace and their services are professional looking as is their product. Lulu.com was my first foray into self-publishing and it also offers a professional product at no cost to the author. In my mind, the fees that they charge from each purchase are well worth what you get in the end.
So yeah, I'm ignoring my landline now...and so very thankful for caller ID.