February 2008 Archives

If I were to boil the content of articles on boingboing.net down to just three things I would say they are:

1) Privacy rights advocacy (online and offline)
2) Intellectual property rights reform advocacy (fair use and remixing)
3) Cory Doctorow ego inflation (and self gratification)

It's not that often you see all three of these combine.

Link: Remixable German documentary about me [Cory Doctorow] and Internet freedom
I've had so many bad ebay experiences over the years I could write a book about them. I heard somewhere that "1 in 10" ebay transactions are fraudulent, but my ratio is closer to about 1 in 5. The last one I got hit with was a non paying bidder, one of these mysterious zero-feedback accounts that can never be contacted. I filed a "dispute" with ebay, but guess what? Since they couldn't contact the bidder their system sided in their favor and concluded I still had to pay the $2.64 in ebay fees.

To dispute $2.64 with ebay they require you to take a test of perseverance. You can not contact ebay on the phone, only through their chat system. To do this you must wait. And you must wait some more. And finally, you must communicate with a person over chat who obvious speaks English as a second language and types at a rate of about 3 words per minute. What follows is the complete log of my experiences. Pay attention to the time stamps.

SystemSystem
Initial Question/Comment: eBay Seller Account Fees
8:59:39 PM SystemSystem
Thank you for contacting eBay Billing Support! Your feedback is important to us. Please take time at the end of this chat to fill out a brief survey letting us know how we did today.
8:59:39 PM SystemSystem
You are successfully connected to eBay Billing Support. Please hold for the next available Billing Agent
9:00:35 PM SystemSystem
We appreciate your patience. You will be able to type in your question as soon as you are connected with a Billing Support Agent. Please continue to hold for the next available representative.
9:01:35 PM SystemSystem
We apologize for the wait and thank you for your continued patience. Please continue to hold to keep your place in line. You should be connected to the next available agent shortly.
9:02:35 PM SystemSystem
We are sorry for the delayed connection. Your question is important to us and one of our representatives will be with you soon.
9:20:43 PM SystemSystem
Stanley J. has joined this session!
9:20:43 PM SystemSystem
Connected with Stanley J.
9:20:48 PM AgentStanley J.
Hello, thank you for waiting and welcome to eBay Billing Live Help! My name is Stanley. If you’re a registered member, may I please start by having you confirm your User ID and first name?
9:20:49 PM Customergfm1212
hello, xxxxxx Robert Rose
9:21:00 PM Customergfm1212
I have a FVF issue
9:21:01 PM Customergfm1212
"Normally, Insertion Fees are non-refundable. However, if your listing ends without a winning buyer or ends with an Unpaid Item (UPI), you may qualify for a credit by relisting the item. If the item sells the second time, eBay will refund the Insertion Fee for relisting."
9:21:09 PM Customergfm1212
I have not been given the option to relist my item
9:21:47 PM Customergfm1212
am i speaking to human being?
9:21:48 PM AgentStanley J.
I will be glad to check this for you.
9:21:53 PM AgentStanley J.
To proceed, may I have the item number please?
9:22:02 PM Customergfm1212
you can't look that up?
9:22:23 PM AgentStanley J.
Yes, you are speaking to Stanley J.
9:23:03 PM Customergfm1212
the item number is xxxxxxxxxxx
9:23:24 PM Customergfm1212
what is the capital of washington?
9:24:03 PM Customergfm1212
are you there?
9:24:53 PM Customergfm1212
i never got a FVF credit for my item
9:24:55 PM AgentStanley J.
Olympia, is the capital of Washington.
9:25:14 PM AgentStanley J.
Don't worry, I will help you with same.
9:25:17 PM AgentStanley J.
While I am pulling up your account, could you please verify your full name, address & telephone number and your email address that is registered to the account?
9:25:18 PM Customergfm1212
ok you passed the voit-kamph test
9:25:40 PM Customergfm1212
Robert Rose xxxxxx xxxx@xxxx
9:27:42 PM Customergfm1212
i think the phone number i gave to ebay is xxx-xxx-xxxx
9:28:24 PM Customergfm1212
i was not able to contact the bidder
9:28:30 PM Customergfm1212
i filed a dispute, nothing happened
9:28:34 PM Customergfm1212
now my account is blocked
9:28:39 PM AgentStanley J.
Oh I see...
9:28:54 PM AgentStanley J.
Give me a minute.
9:31:29 PM AgentStanley J.
Robert, the contact information, you have provided does not match with our database.
9:31:59 PM AgentStanley J.
The email address xxxx@xxxxx is correct.
9:32:24 PM AgentStanley J.
The phone number is correct.
9:32:37 PM Customergfm1212
oh you guys have a different address for me..
9:32:54 PM Customergfm1212
Robert Rose
xxxx
xxxxxx
United States
9:33:14 PM AgentStanley J.
Okay.
9:33:40 PM AgentStanley J.
Thanks for the information.
9:35:25 PM AgentStanley J.
Let me bring a smile on your face..
9:37:04 PM AgentStanley J.
I will credit you the Final Value Fees (FVF).
9:38:23 PM Customergfm1212
ok
9:39:10 PM AgentStanley J.
Please give me 2-3 minutes while I process the credit for you.
9:43:01 PM AgentStanley J.
I have credited you the Final Value Fees (FVF) and I would like to inform you that.....
9:43:53 PM Customergfm1212
i still get this error "Your account has been placed on hold due to non-payment. Please make a one-time payment for US $2.65 today to prevent your account from being further restricted."
9:44:01 PM AgentStanley J.
as the Unpaid Item Dispute (UPI) was not closed even after 45 days, the Final Value Fees (FVF) was not credited.
9:44:31 PM AgentStanley J.
Dont't worry, I will remove the hold on your account.
9:46:32 PM AgentStanley J.
Give me a minute more.
9:50:01 PM Customergfm1212
it now shows i owe $0.49
9:50:42 PM AgentStanley J.
Yes, I have credited you the fees, that is the reason why it shows $0.49.
9:50:52 PM Customergfm1212
why do i owe $0.49
9:51:55 PM Customergfm1212
i should owe $0.00
9:52:23 PM AgentStanley J.
It is Buy It Now Listing Fee $0.25 and insertion fee of $0.20 for the item xxxx.
9:52:41 PM Customergfm1212
the FVF was $2.61 not $2.16
9:53:04 PM Customergfm1212
Last Invoice: (Jan 15) $2.61
9:53:20 PM Customergfm1212
then i got charged $.04 in interest
9:54:03 PM AgentStanley J.
The FVF which shows on your account is $2.16.
9:54:14 PM Customergfm1212
where did the $.49 come from
9:54:16 PM AgentStanley J.
I have already credited you that.
9:55:22 PM Customergfm1212
please remove the other $.49
9:57:03 PM Customergfm1212
the only invoice i got in the last 6 months was for $2.61, not $2.16
9:57:08 PM AgentStanley J.
Okay, I will arrange to remove the $.49 charge on your account.
9:57:24 PM Customergfm1212
then i got a $.04 charge for something else.. interest? it doesnt say
9:57:36 PM Customergfm1212
please do, thank you
9:57:38 PM Customergfm1212
can i go now?
9:58:18 PM AgentStanley J.
Please wait for a minute or two.
10:00:03 PM AgentStanley J.
I am crediting the fees for you.
10:00:13 PM Customergfm1212
thank you
10:01:00 PM Customergfm1212
are we done then?
10:01:49 PM AgentStanley J.
Yes, I have credited you the listing fees.
10:02:21 PM Customergfm1212
it still shows that I owe $.49
10:03:48 PM AgentStanley J.
It will take some time to get updated on your account.
10:04:06 PM Customergfm1212
now it shows i owe $.04
10:04:17 PM Customergfm1212
what is the deal stanley j?
10:05:03 PM AgentStanley J.
Oh, I see.
10:05:18 PM AgentStanley J.
Don't worry, it will be $0.00.
10:05:33 PM AgentStanley J.
It will take some time.
10:05:53 PM AgentStanley J.
I will get that rectified.

I couldn't take it any longer. At this point I just left the chat window open and left my computer.

UPDATE 2/20/08: ebay just sent me a notice that they have put my account back on hold... "Your account has been put on hold because the US $0.04 balance on your eBay account hasn't been paid."

UPDATE 2/23/08: After (I'm not joking) 8 emails back and forth with ebay they finally removed the $.04 from my account balance. What a pain. In the future I think I would recommend people use email exclusively to contact ebay. After the 4th message I sent something must have clicked in their system because I finally got a reply that sounded like a human being reviewed what I was writing and not a form-automated response letter.

Telecom Immunity

| 1 Comment | No TrackBacks
What would you say if the NSA came to you and said, "We want you to spy on your neighbors for us. Send us a transcript of everything they say." You say, "isn't that illegal?" They say, "congress is working on a bill that will make it legal in 2-3 years. Don't worry about it, we'll grant you retroactive immunity for spying on your neighbors."

What would you say if the NSA said your neighbor was a terrorist, and that they need you to assassinate him. "If we killed him it would be too high-profile. We need you to do it for us." You say, "isn't that illegal?" They say, "congress is working on a bill that will make it legal in 2-3 years. Don't worry about it, we'll grant you retroactive immunity for assassinating terrorists."

Is that too much of a stretch?

Just because the government asks you to do something doesn't make it right, or even legal.

Take Action!
That's the title from an Associated Press article published today. So wait, did they opt for Blu-ray or High-Definition DVD? I can't tell!?!

Hehe.. OK, so I know what they meant by the headline, but come'on...

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