Friday, October 29, 2010

Ebay - Part 2

Despite the fact that I really don't care if Ebay freezes my account or removes me from their books, (there are many e-merchants to do business with on the Internet), I continue to be nettled by what I see as unfair practices on its part. Compounding my irritation is the frustration of being unable to communicate my objections to its corporate arrogance to an actual person.

I realized yesterday that there is little likelihood of an Ebay representative actually reading my reply to the company's email demanding payment for the scale they allege that I bought. I therefore tried to post something to them through a complaint form on their website. After filling out all of the required fields, I tried to send it but got the message that all required fields had to be completed. I tried to do it a second time with the same result.

The conclusion I draw from all of this is that Ebay, in its digital arrogance, really is not interested in hearing from anyone. They seem to expect unquestioning compliance from their members.

While that may work with some, it forks no lightning with me. As a result, after reading Ellen Roseman's column in today's Star about how to use Twitter to get redress, I started an account and posted my first Tweet, not bad for a someone of my generation! The efficacy of the post is yet to be seen, but Roseman suggests it can be quite effective, given that a company's name is bound to be noticed in a Tweet. Since I don't really understand the mechanism involved in that, I will take her at her word and see what happens.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

A Warning About Ebay

I recently contemplated purchasing a scale, one recommended by Consumer Reports, from the Ebay store, as it seemed to be unavailable in Canada. However, after reviewing the details, I decided not to complete the purchase, as the shipping costs, about $32 U.S., were almost equal to the product's cost. I assumed, since I hadn't gotten to the parts that are common in e-commerce business practices, the review of the purchase, the payment method, and final confirmation, that I was under no obligation to complete the transaction. At the time, I could see nothing on the site to actually formally cancel the order.

What follows is the email I received from Ebay. After that, I post my response to that email:

Hi lorne,

eBay opened an unpaid item case for Taylor 7506 Lithium Digital Bath Scale w/ Glass Platfor, because wholesalepointinc either hasn't recorded your payment or didn't receive it yet.

The seller needs to receive your payment no later than Sunday, Oct 31, 2010 16:18:45 EDT.If the seller doesn't receive your payment, an unpaid item will be recorded on your account and your account privileges may be limited or suspended. Remember, when you place a winning bid or click the Buy It Now button in a listing, you've committed to paying for that item. Learn more about our policy.

If you forgot to pay, please pay now so that we can close this case and the seller can ship the item to you.

If you paid for the item already or have questions, please contact the seller.

If you have proof that you paid for the item, don't worry. You can appeal to remove the unpaid item after the case closes.

Taylor 7506 Lithium Digital Bath Scale w/ Glass Platfor
Item # 400154613774
End time: 20-Oct-10 16:28:51 EDT
Seller: wholesalepointinc
Case opened: Wednesday, Oct 27, 2010 16:18:45 EDT

My Reply:

I take strong exception to the threat implied in this email. Since this was to be my first transaction with Ebay, I assumed the procedure followed by most e-merchants would attend, i.e., that there would have been a review of the purchase with all the details, followed by a confirmation of the order, with payment information, before the purchase was irrevocable. The reason I decided to cancel the order was the realization, not clear until I had the full details on the screen, that the shipping costs were highly inflated and almost equal to the price of the product I had intended to purchase.

If you are serious about keeping the item on my account as unpaid, then please remove me entirely form your database, as I will no longer even think about using your services again. As well, I will make certain I inform my friends and colleagues of your inflexible and misleading practices.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Share The Proof

I received this in my email today. I think the short video speaks for itself.

Share the Proof from ONE Campaign on Vimeo.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

For the Love of Elephants

The other night, on David Suzuki's The Nature of Things, I watching a fascinating documentary, about 45 minutes in length, called For the Love of Elephants. Now available online at the C.B.C website, it is a film that I urge everyone to take a look at.

The documentary revolves around a sanctuary outside of Nairobi, Kenya called The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust that takes in orphaned baby elephants who have usually lost their mothers through poaching. The more I watch documentaries about animals, the more I wonder about what really distinguishes us from them, other than the ability to speak. For example, like us, elephants grieve when confronting loss, young ones have a strong urge to play, and they are quite attached to matriarchs. Like ours, elephant culture has a strong need to be part of a group. Indeed, without such support, young elephants usually do not survive.

The other compelling aspect of the show is the tremendous love that so obviously exists between the keepers and the elephants. As is evident in the documentary, the job of the keepers requires long-term commitment, their ultimate goal being reintroducing the orphaned elephants into the wild years hence.

For the Love of Elephants is aptly named as it becomes obvious that the love the keepers show the elephants is a love that is ultimately reciprocated. I hope you will check it out.