Friday, July 28, 2006

Why I Hate Jason Burke

I'm posting this story as a warning to anyone who might be tempted to order medicine or other drugs through the Internet.

It all started about a year and a half ago. I got home from work and found one of those automated messages on my answering machine from Federal Express. The mechanical woman's voice (why are these telephone automatons always women?) telling me that there was a package for Jason Burke, and that it would be held for five days. I didn't think to much of it, except to hope that Jason Burke would think to call FedEx to find out what happened to his package. About a week later, I came home to find several “hang up” calls on my answering machine. Later that evening I got a phone call from a heavily accented Hispanic man asking for Jason Burke. I explained that he had the wrong number.

A month or so later, the same thing happened again---the automated FedEx message followed by the Hispanic caller, all looking for Jason Burke. By now I'm starting to think I've been the victim of identity theft. I did all the things you're supposed to do for that, checking my credit card statements etc, and nothing seemed to be amiss. Finally I called FedEx, after discovering that this company purposely does not list the local phone numbers of any of their offices---what a pain. The person on the 1-800 FedEx number assured me that they would change the number listed for Jason Burke's account.

A month later, same thing---FedEx call, followed by multiple Hispanic phone calls. This time I went to the local FedEx office myself. “I'm the person who is not Jason Burke,” I announced. The district manager pulled out the package in question: “You don't live at...(announcing the address, which I'm very tempted to post)? You didn't order something from the online pharmacy?”

“No,” I said. “Do I look like a Jason Burke?”

“We'll change the phone number on his account. He's a regular customer.”

That didn't surprise me. To make a long post longer, I got nowhere with FedEx, which never did change the number, or with the multiple Hispanics who called me from the Mexican online pharmacy asking me if I needed a refill on my Vicodin. Finally I called Jason Burke, whose number is publicly listed and FedEx could easily have looked up. Turns out that Jason Burke used my phone number to order his drugs. More than once. The first time I called him he sounded totally stoned. After he sobered up I talked...er...threatened to sue him again if he continued to use my number. He canceled his Mexican online pharmacy account.

The Mexican online pharmacy is still calling me regularly a year and a half later, sometimes as often as eight times a day. That's why I'm posting this story as a cautionary tale for anyone thinking about ordering medications through the Internet. If you do it once, they will haunt you forever. If someone uses your phone number to do it, they will haunt you forever.

In the meantime, Jason Burke's correct phone number is...

No, I can't do it. Besides, it's public information. Anyone can look it up.