Every so often I check through my spam folder and am amazed at the offers for Viagra, free credit reports, and breast enhancement surgery, or whatever is lurking in that folder. Unless I spy a legitimate email hidden in the folder, I quickly hit the delete all button and move on with my legitimate email.
Actually, I do pause and wonder – who is it, exactly, that responds to these emails? Who honestly thinks that their long lost relative, living in Nigeria, has died and left them $3.2 million bucks? Why would anybody with an IQ above 65 respond to an email that offers discount Viagra?
Then I got an email that I foolishly responded to – but I was only trying to be polite.
My name is Dipshit and I am the principal of a (City Redacted Here) tax preparation firm focusing on American expatriates. We have an established online presence – (URL Redacted Here) – and serve hundreds of US expats around the world. I came across your blog www.elmada.com while doing online research and found it to be exceptionally interesting and informative for Americans in Germany.
I was wondering if you would be interested in the following proposal:
We’d like to offer you to try our service. Namely – we would prepare your US tax return for free (or double-check your work if you did it yourself).
If you like our service, you could mention it on your blog – but there is absolutely no obligation and you are free to say whatever you like about your experience.
That’s really it. There is no catch – we simply think that we have a great service and would like to let American expats around the world know about it.
Thank you for your consideration.
I responded, with a quick, polite, “sorry, no. I have a tax preparer already.”
And I thought I was done with it.
Dipshit decided that I had missed the FREE part of his email, responding to me emphasizing the FREE part.
I’ll readily admit that I should have disengaged and just hit the delete button, but I wrote back to him a longer form of the email, “sorry, no. I have a tax preparer already,” but also emphasized that I do not accept advertising on my blog and that I do not give promotion on my blog for services/products received. I always pay for everything mentioned on my blog (save for a couple exceptions – but those are years in the past and I was abundantly (and painfully) clear that I received products for free at the time).
In other words, I don’t do quid pro quo – and I actively find it disgusting.
But here’s a bigger question for me – does Dipshit’s method of seeking clients work? Who would be foolish enough to sign up with an accountant who sends them an unsolicited offer to do their taxes for free? Why would anybody think to themselves, “Sure I’ll send all my financial data to some asshole I’ve never heard of before and have no recommendations for at all!”? What drugs are these people taking? Where is the nearest insane asylum that has openings for these fools?
I actually do have an accountant – one that I am thrilled with. I pay him a lot of money to do both my German and my American taxes. He also has been doing my taxes for 6 or 7 years now. When people ask, I happily recommend him. I learned about him from another one of his clients.
Meanwhile, I’ll offer the expats out there some free advice: if you see a blog post where somebody recommends a tax preparing service designed just for American expats, know that the blogger has probably received services for free and is just being a sad, pathetic shill.
If you want to know the name of my guy – he does both American and German income taxes – email me.
And know that I pay my accountant for his services.