The Market Ticker
Commentary on The Capital Markets- Category [Company Specific]
2017-07-23 07:00 by Karl Denninger
in Company Specific , 161 references
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Ann Coulter may be one of the most-hated women in America (by half the country, anyway) but that doesn't change what happened with her and Delta.

She paid for an assigned and premium seat.  She was assigned that seat.  The airline then moved her to give that seat to someone else.

Folks, this isn't "overbooking", but it is fraud.

Contract of carriage or no, the facts are simple in this sort of situation.  Today airlines do not give you assigned seats until you get to the airport unless you pay an extra fee.  That is, an assigned seat is no longer part of your "base fare", it is an explicit service for which you pay.

Once you've paid you've had offer, acceptance and an act in furtherance of performance has taken place.

That's a binding contract -- period.

Now the airlines claim there's an "overriding" contract of carriage, but there's a common-law fraud problem with their claim since (1) you can't negotiate that contract; it is a contract of adhesion and (2) the airlines own actions contravened their boilerplate language when they took additional money for said assigned, specific and "premium" seat.

If the airlines want to act like a bus line where there are no assigned seats (ala the now-extinct People's Express) that's fine.  But they want it both ways: They want to charge you for an assigned and selected seat and then refuse to honor the deal on the terms they designed and offered when convenient for them.

That's fraud; knowingly and intentionally inducing you to pay money for something they do not intend to deliver all of the time is in fact fraud.

The argument of exigence (e.g. a legitimate emergency) doesn't apply in this case; that, of course, is a legitimate point if it exists but in this specific case there was no emergency.

Just a desire to screw someone -- and whether it was intentionally aimed at her or not does not matter.

These companies all need to have their executives face criminal prison time for this crap.  They're fully able to stop it and the bottom line is this: If you sell something and collect a fee for it then you're obligated to deliver it absent some legitimate exigent circumstance, not choose randomly to screw the person who paid you and give what that person paid for to someone else.

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The FTC has explicit rules on "reference prices" -- that is, "was $X, now $Y"

You cannot artificially inflate so-called "reference" prices; they must reasonably reflect the actual price at which an item was sold and not be some pie-in-the-sky dreamfest.

Well, it appears that Consumer Watchdog, an advocacy group, has found widespread cases in which the actual displayed "references" prices were in fact nonsense.  In other words the allegation is that Amazon is intentionally misleading consumers on what sort of "discount" it is offering.

This practice was explicitly regulated because it was the subject of outrageously misleading practices by retailers for a very long time.  No, Amazon is not exempt.

Apparently someone over at the FTC stopped watching Porntube long enough to take a look....

Oh by the way they got caught in Canada doing the same thing and paid a fine.... I suspect they didn't "admit guilt", however -- nobody these days ever does, right?

This could get interesting considering that the report included a request for the FTC to block their Whole Paycheck acquisition while these alleged acts are continuing....

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2017-07-20 15:38 by Karl Denninger
in Company Specific , 223 references
[Comments enabled]  

How do you stop Zuckerpig's privacy invasions?

Boycott anyone who advertises on those sites -- do not buy and do not do business with in any other way.  How do you know they're advertising?  You see "Sponsored" or any sort of video ad from a given entity.

This post is exempt and will never go away.  I will add to it as I see new companies, and if you do and can confirm it to me I'll add them.  Here's my pledge: If I see an ad from your firm on any of Zuckerpig's properties or sufficient confirmation (e.g. seeing such an ad on someone else's device in the app) I will never buy anything from you.

You choose -- you advertise and pay that company to do so, you lose my business.  To get it back you must permanently pledge to never again advertise on any Facebook-owned property, in public, via a formal press release or other similarly-verifiable and public method.

Oh and you get one second chance, never more.

Advertising is legal.  So is refusing to do business with you because you are the primary and in fact nearly the sole source of funds for a company that does things I consider detestable.

So here is the start of it folks, and yes, it will grow.... check back often!

  • Best Buy (Oh well; I've bought plenty there)
  • REI (this one hurts; I like them.... but no more!)
  • Consumer Reports
  • Inked Magazine
  • Runner's World (oh well!)
  • 30A clothing company (oops -- that one's local)
  • The Heritage Foundation (oops again!)
  • Huffington Post (no loss there)
  • A&E TV
  • We Are The Mighty (Military-oriented news org)
  • Orbitz
  • iHeartDogs.Com
  • Pensacola Runners Association (ouch; they sponsor races I'd run in...)
  • National Geographic (oh well)
  • CNet (Bleh)
  • 22 Words (Clickbait garbage, but heh)
  • (oops again; and I have bought quite a lot from gearup...)
  • 12 Tomatoes
  • The Penny Hoarder (yeah, another clickbait garbage site, but..)
  • SoWal (oops -- bye-bye Walton County beach businesses..)
  • Innermost House (San Fran Non-profit... good for some west coasters)
  • NTD Television
  • The New York Times (shock - NOT!)
  • Conservative Tribune (news)
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I have recently become aware of an utterly enormous fraud vector problem with both of these related (used to be that PayPal was owned by Ebay) sites.

On every reputable site around the Internet, no matter what it is, when you sign up for an account you have to verify that you own the email address that you give them before they will let you do anything.

That's true everywhere.  It's true for banks. It's true for forums like mine, Garmin's or anyone else's.  It's true in every instance I'm aware of; you sign up, you get a link in your email, you click the link which is only known to you and then, and only then, can you do anything.

Except with eBAY and PayPal.

I do not know when this changed, but it has.  Someone (and I know who it is) used a very old email address that belongs to me and is not used for any of these sorts of things (but has a legitimate purpose) to sign up for an eBAY account and pay for items using PayPal.

They never confirmed the address because it's mine, and has two-factor authentication turned on.  In other words they can't confirm the address because they can't get into the account.  eBAY allowed them to do this anyway and so has PayPal; I have now received multiple notifications of items bought and shipped.

What's worse is that neither firm has any means accessible I can find to tell them that someone has used my email address, possibly for a nefarious purpose, and the accounts in question are fraudulent on their face since the email address isn't theirs.  There is literally no place I can report that -- and no longer is there a "general" email address you can contact these firms via, or a form you can contact them for this sort of thing either.  I cannot sign into the bogus account, obviously -- and any attempt to use "contact support" on Ebay requires you log in first.

eBay, in short, has specifically chosen to make it impossible to report this circumstance to them.

I have no idea who's credit card was used, since only the last four digits display in the confirmations I am getting, and it's not the last four of any of my cards.

Folks, these companies appear to be scraping the bottom so hard that they're willing to allow people to "sign up" for "accounts" using someone else's email and yet they not only let them use their system without confirming it they give the person who has their account used this way no means to dispute it and tell them to shut it down because it's bogus.

Woe be to you if you're the seller of an item to such a person, they used a stolen card and it gets charged back.

You're going to eat that one for certain.

If anyone who works for these firms wants to put a stop to this specific instance of this crap please contact me. If you'd like to stop it generally then don't let someone use a given email address until they have validated that they own it and include in the "intro" email a means for someone who gets one of these and didn't authorize it to immediately dispute the account and force it closed as fraudulent, or simply expire it if not confirmed within a day or two.  This has been the minimum standard of acceptable corporate conduct on the Internet for nearly two decades and it is outrageous that neither of these firms give a damn when someone purloins your email address -- there's no valid reason for someone to do that -- ever.

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