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by Abigail Van Buren

Demand for Tips From Online Company Makes Wife See Red

DEAR ABBY: My husband recently broke his eyeglasses. Because they couldn't be repaired locally, he sent them by mail to a company that had been referred to him. They fixed his glasses and returned them to him.

A short time later he received an email from the company "salesperson" requesting a tip! ("If you are happy with me as your salesperson and would like to give me a tip, please click on the link below.") My husband replied, "Can you please send me a receipt? I need it for my records." She replied, "How much will you tip me?" He said, "Is the only way I can get a receipt for my repairs if I tip you?" She replied, "Yes, can you give me $5?"

I have never heard of an online company soliciting tips before, let alone refusing to send a receipt unless one is given. How would you respond to this? Getting a receipt is not the important thing here; it's the solicitation that dumbfounds me! -- DUMBFOUNDED IN TINLEY PARK, ILL.

DEAR DUMBFOUNDED: Every time I think I have heard everything, a letter like yours crosses my desk. The word for what that salesperson is attempting is extortion. Your husband should contact the owner of the company that repaired his glasses, tell the person the name of the employee who is trying to extort money and the date it happened, and request the receipt. If it doesn't arrive posthaste, the company should be reported to the Better Business Bureau.

P.S. Who referred you to that company? That person should also be informed about what has been going on.

Read more in: Money | Etiquette & Ethics