Online Store Owner Threats
May 31, 2005 6:54 PM   Subscribe

I was given a link to a online survey, and gave a business a "somewhat dissatisfied" review. The owner of the company proceeded to call me and swear at me about the review.

I ordered a product online from this business and had some problems during the ordering process. It was the worst ordering experience I've had since I began purchasing products online, although I remained polite throughout. They were one of maybe 2 companies in the US that had the item, otherwise I would have cenceled the order.

The owner called maybe 20minutes after I submitted my review. It is a public review, but my response did little to affect their overall rating.

They have since edited their public response to me several times, changing the story each time. It's mindboggling how crazy he got about it, but apparently he's still in his early 20's.

Luckily they're in another state, but should I be concerned about what he might do with my information?

Should I call the local police department? Change my credit card number? Call the BBB (though they aren't members)? Anything?
posted by o0o0o to Computers & Internet (24 answers total)
Change your credit card number for sure, this assclown can't be trusted. Is there any way to revise the survey?
posted by kindall at 7:19 PM on May 31, 2005

Is there any way to revise the survey?

Yeah, I already added extra comments on the review to explain the fact that he called and swore at me for posting an unfavorable review.

After my addendum, he of course altered his response to try and wiggle around my words. He's also now claiming that I was trying to "blackmail" him with my review.

The part that amazes me the most is it wasn't even that bad of a review!
posted by o0o0o at 7:31 PM on May 31, 2005

Find as many review sites as you can and blast this guy's business. Even though it'll make you feel better, this is not so much revenge as it is to give others a heads up when they search for information about the company in question. And yeah, change your credit card number.
posted by Blue Buddha at 7:47 PM on May 31, 2005

You probably wouldn't mention it here unless asked so... Who was this merchant? I'm just curious.
posted by pwb503 at 8:05 PM on May 31, 2005

A letter to his local chamber of commerce explaining the situation might do a bit of good. Even though his company (presumably) operates only online, they might have a bit of shaming leverage.
posted by nathan_teske at 8:11 PM on May 31, 2005

Seconding pwb503's request.

If he continues to harrass you, then contact the authorities. If not, then I'd just forget about the whole thing. This is the sort of situation where trying to get revenge a la buddah's suggestion of writing more negative reviews seems like it could turn into a firestorm.
posted by incessant at 8:13 PM on May 31, 2005

I would suggest pretty much the opposite of Blue Buddha. Don't write any more reviews. Don't communicate with the guy again--if he calls you, don't take the call. You've already discovered that he's an asshole. Any more energy you spend dealing with him is wasted. Don't be tempted to turn this into some kind of war where both sides are going to try to escalate. There's nothing to be gained from that.

You're not a personal Better Business Bureau. It's not your responsibility to inform everyone about this guy. You've written the one or two reviews, and that's enough.

As far as calling the police or changing the credit card number, that seems excessive. If something fraudulent happens on the credit card, you're not responsible anyway, and the credit card company tends to detect that kind of thing and resolve it quickly. And the police probably aren't going to be interested unless a specific threat is made.
posted by mcguirk at 8:14 PM on May 31, 2005

You should *definitely* tell us who it is.
posted by bshort at 8:24 PM on May 31, 2005

What item were you looking for? Surely we can find you another supplier!
posted by five fresh fish at 9:04 PM on May 31, 2005

i third the "please tell us who this was," and second the "we can probably help you find an alternate supplier..."

beyond that, other than changing your credit card #, you should probably walk away from the confrontation. you have nothing to gain from the situation.
posted by dersins at 9:10 PM on May 31, 2005

re: Find someone else
I already purchased it and received it, a month ago. Just did the review and received the call today. Unfortuntely they were one of maybe two companies in the US that has the product. (Ok, it's a laptop)

re: Change CC
I changed my CC#, better safe than sorry. Even though he has all my other info... so it's a bit pointless I suppose.

re: Tell me... tell me...
I've emailed the details to anyone who asked and has their email address listed in their user profile information.
posted by o0o0o at 9:23 PM on May 31, 2005

Agreed: Change your card number if you're security-conscious (I do, twice a year), and don't waste any more energy on the nitwit. You've done your part for king and country by warning prospective customers savvy enough to research his history.
I've emailed the details to anyone who asked and has their email address listed in their user profile information.
What's with the pseudo-secrecy drama? You posted a public review, and thought enough of the situation to bring it here. Just link to the damn company. Jeez.

Don't email me.
posted by cribcage at 9:31 PM on May 31, 2005

Email me, please. I'm in the market for a laptop and certainly don't want to give the guy business.
posted by dobbs at 9:33 PM on May 31, 2005

What's with the pseudo-secrecy drama? You posted a public review, and thought enough of the situation to bring it here. Just link to the damn company. Jeez.

Well, I'd prefer to keep *this* account pseudo-secret. So, sorry.
posted by o0o0o at 9:35 PM on May 31, 2005

There is no email listed with your account, but I too would like to know the details. No business for that guy.
posted by Alison at 9:39 PM on May 31, 2005

Ok, you twisted my arm... here's an indirect link to the review.

You can see how he tried to make it into some BS about me "blackmailing" him. Upon further research, it appears that, according to that site's terms of service, resellers can get reviews removed if there's "blackmail" involved. I already wrote the site administrators explaining how many times he revised his story... unfortunately they don't seem to track that.
posted by o0o0o at 9:47 PM on May 31, 2005

A fourth for "please tell". Further, what kind of public, online survey includes identifying information so someone can phone you and complain about your responses? The source of the survey is at least as messed up as the business harassing you, maybe more. The guy calling you is upset for a reason, his hard work and livelihood is being threatened (regardless whether its his own mistakes causing it). The survey folks are seriously egregious.

What to do? Personally, I'd write a letter and tell the guy how he's being a bozo, and explain in detail why you said what you did. Assume he's just a guy trying to make a living by offering customers what they want. Offer a bit of sympathy, it tends to get good mileage. Point out that he should either accept constructive criticism, or hire someone who can.
posted by Goofyy at 9:53 PM on May 31, 2005

I don't know about other folks, but I just wanted to know the name of the company in order to avoid them -- not for sake of witnessing the message board drama. I was perfectly happy to take your word, and wasn't interested in reading the back and forth between you and the seller.

But since you posted that link instead:
The part that amazes me the most is it wasn't even that bad of a review!
I don't know. There's no profanity, but it looks pretty harsh to me.
posted by cribcage at 10:05 PM on May 31, 2005

Having read your actual problem, I'm surprised you are surprised. Especially on big ticket items, it is normal for online retailers to refuse to ship anywhere but the billing address. These folks have to fight fraud, and that's the only readily available means they have.

Of course, this doesn't excuse the guy's behavior one bit. But really, your complaint should be to the credit card company if they can't allow a second address to be official with your card (perhaps this is a good idea for card companies. I too prefer to ship to the office).
posted by Goofyy at 10:08 PM on May 31, 2005

To clarify. Although, I'm clearly beating a dead horse at this point.

I have things shipped exclusively to my work, including things costing much more than the laptop. Usually a simply phone call verification is all the seller needs to do. The bank was fine, my card does have my work address on it and they confirmed it for me. Again, I have things shipped to my work regularly with zero problems. He didn't want to get on the phone with me and the bank to sort it out. He told me the only way to get it was to ship it to my house, so in frustration, I said fine. I made myself clear at the time that I thought the whole experience was ridiculous.

Again, the seller is flat out lying and changed their story ENTIRELY in response to my comments about the phone call. You can see the various edits in the way his tense changes. I simply stopped commenting back, since as other have pointed out... escalating the matter isn't beneficial for me.

I had (and still have) no clue about an extended Asus warranty... I don't even know what warranty I have on this is right now, nor do I care. I also certainly wasn't trying to get any money... I mean geez, he called me... I would have been more than happy never to deal with the guy again. Infact, I hadn't even thought about it until I was sent the survey. </deadhorse>

Anyway... thanks for the advice.
posted by o0o0o at 10:32 PM on May 31, 2005

That's probably Justin O'Dea at PROPortable, folks. Apparently a class act all the way.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 11:28 PM on May 31, 2005

I dunno, if he's publicly accusing you of blackmail, that looks like libel to me.
posted by salmacis at 1:21 AM on June 1, 2005

I have had big-ticket items, including computers, shipped to work addresses. Never heard of such a policy. It would mean you could not have the vendor ship a gift to someone. Not a real useful policy for the customer.

Don't jump to the conclusion that the review site made oOoOo's information available to the vendor. The review describes a lot of specific interactions, and the vendor probably knew who wrote it from that.

The vendor seems to be um, misguided, but if the situation is allowed to die, it most likely will. It looks like he's already wallpapering the review site with good reviews.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 3:41 AM on June 1, 2005

In my experience many mail order companies will not ship to a non-billing address without other validation. NewEgg and Mwave both simply asked that I fax them a copy of a driver's license or some other supporting information and both agreed to subsequently keep it on file.

That said, however, credit card processing agreements vary and charges that fail AVS (address verification service) can impact discount rate and/or chargeback claims. With hardware sales profits as low as they are a single chargeback or even just a protracted battle could be ruinous for a small firm.

Which isn't to say this guy isn't a jerk, merely that balking at an address mismatch is perfectly reasonable.
posted by phearlez at 8:38 AM on June 1, 2005

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