The Amazing Meeting 2014

Like it? Share it!

Sign up for news and updates!






Enter word seen below
Visually impaired? Click here to have an audio challenge played.  You will then need to enter the code that is spelled out.
Change image

CAPTCHA image
Please leave this field empty

Login Form



Priceline.com: Will You Prove Your Spokesperson Worthy for a Million Dollars? PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by D.J. Grothe   

CaputoIn my line of work, I hear horror stories every day. Some involve ghosts and goblins or psychics with premonitions, but not in the way you might expect. The James Randi Educational Foundation exists to bring light to claims of the paranormal, and often to the ways people fake paranormal abilities to take advantage of others: from false hope to reconnect grieving families with dead relatives to offering hollow promises of miraculous cures. So when I heard that priceline.com was featuring "Long Island medium" Theresa Caputo in their commercials, I knew I had to fire off a letter to Priceline's CEO and ask them to prove that Ms. Caputo is what she claims to be. And I even put a million dollars on the line.

Read our letter for yourself, and consider giving priceline.com your own thoughts on the Long Island Medium here.

*****

 

To: Jeff Boyd, Chief Executive Officer, Priceline.com

Dear Mr. Boyd,

On behalf of the James Randi Educational Foundation (JREF) and the countless Americans who have been exploited by fake psychics and mediums, I am writing to address your recently debuted commercial campaign featuring "medium" Theresa Caputo, performing her usual gimmick of claiming to communicate with dead people, and to make you an offer of one million dollars if she can prove her talents are real. As you know, in your ad, she speaks to the fictional "Priceline Negotiator" from beyond the grave, but sadly, she claims to speak to the dead in real life as well, and the results are not so funny.

Since 2011, Ms. Caputo has starred in her own reality series, Long Island Medium on TLC, wherein she purports to speak to her often grieving clients' dead relatives. I have seen the show myself, and as a magician and a skeptic, I couldn't help but notice that her "readings" looked suspiciously like a well-known manipulative collection of psychological techniques by which self-proclaimed psychics and mediums make it seem like they are receiving otherwise-impossible messages from the deceased. It is difficult to watch the show and not feel heartbroken for those who are desperate to hear from the departed... and even more so if they are being manipulated by a charlatan.

I respectfully invite you to have your new representative, Ms. Caputo, apply for the James Randi Educational Foundation's Million Dollar Challenge. Since 1996, the JREF has offered a prize of $1 million to anyone who can demonstrate a paranormal ability under mutually agreed-upon scientific conditions and without cheating. So far, no one has claimed the prize. Should Ms. Caputo win, we would be happy to award the prize to the charity of your and her choosing. Perhaps the Food Bank of Lower Fairfield County, of which your company is fond?

If Ms. Caputo can do what she claims to do, she ought to be thrilled to have the opportunity to prove to the world that her talents are real, and to give the prize money to a worthy cause (or to keep the million dollars for herself). If she is unwilling to take the challenge, I suspect her talents may be as manipulative as her motivations are selfish. In fact, the JREF recently awarded Ms. Caputo this year's tongue-in-cheek Pigasus Award for paranormal performers, to highlight the harm of her untested claims. Please consider salvaging priceline.com's good name by putting your new spokesperson to the test. After all, you wouldn't hire a doctor to represent your company without asking for her credentials, would you? Let's make certain that this medium's astounding claims are legitimate, as opposed to greedy manipulations of those who are mourning.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me. I look forward to hearing from you.

 

Sincerely,

grothe_signature

 

D.J. Grothe, President

James Randi Educational Foundation

Trackback(0)
Comments (7)Add Comment
...
written by Starthinker, August 15, 2012
I think it's obvious the Priceline ad is a spoof and she is spoofing herself. To ask Priceline to stand behind what to them is only an actress in a commercial is a bit ridiculous. I think showing a medium doing something ridiculous in a humor-based ad is actually showing that they don't take themselves seriously so neither should anyone else.
report abuse
vote down
vote up
Votes: +2
...
written by IceSage, August 15, 2012
The chances of Priceline even caring is minimal. The chances of Theresa applying for the challenge is all minimal.

I wouldn't expect a response.
report abuse
vote down
vote up
Votes: +1
The more who write in the more they may take notice!
written by diohuni, August 15, 2012
Just because they might not take any notice is no reason not to try!

The more skeptics who try, the more likely we are to succeed! And threats to their business in numbers certainly may make them sit up and take notice. Even if she does not take the MDC, they may drop her, and that would be a result in itself.

Have written as follows:
F.T.A.O.: Jeff Boyd - C.E.O.

I understand that the James Randi Educational Foundation have invited you to ask your spokeswoman to submit to the Million Dollar Challenge to prove her claimed psychic powers.

I urge you to either urge her to do so, or drop her like a hot potato.

Unless you do one or the other then I will be urging all my contacts to avoid your company like the plague. You may think it is just a fun ad campaign. Regrettably many vulnerable people fall for the psychic scam, and giving her the oxygen of publicity gives the appearance of an endorsement.

Sincerely,

report abuse
vote down
vote up
Votes: +20
...
written by Sc00ter, August 15, 2012
It's not just for Priceline.. Just today I had friends and family talking about Theresa Caputo and wanting to go to her show. I was able to send them this link.

What skeptic organizations do go far beyond the seemingly direct action.
report abuse
vote down
vote up
Votes: +7
...
written by Stanfr, August 15, 2012
I have to agree with Starthinker. If Caputo is stupid enough to appear in an ad that basically treats her 'performance' as a joke--that's her problem, not Priceline's. It would be like John Edward agreeing to appear in a South Park episode...have at it, i say!
report abuse
vote down
vote up
Votes: -1
...
written by Xiphos, August 16, 2012
Price Line is using a "real" psychic for their ads? I'm glad I don't use them.
report abuse
vote down
vote up
Votes: +2
Money Talks....
written by xxi_centuryboy, August 17, 2012
Thank you for calling her out. My wife and I were very offended that this charlatan was given any money by Priceline to be a representative. We have used Priceline in the past and never will again. It made my skin crawl to see her on there. Where is the bunko squad when you need them!
report abuse
vote down
vote up
Votes: +5

Write comment
This content has been locked. You can no longer post any comment.
You must be logged in to post a comment. Please register if you do not have an account yet.

busy