- Dec 23, 2006
- Reaction score
Second, if I offer to sell someone else your guitar, take their money and then give it back to the buyer when I cannot get the guitar from you then that is not fraud or a scam. At worst it is disingenuous because as the broker I am expecting you to assume I have the guitar and not go searching and buy it directly.
I'm with wileypickett on this - curious how this has any value to anyone, and curious why eBay finds it acceptable given their other policies. But I'm not curious as to whether it's fraud. It is.
Fraud is "wrongful or criminal deception intended to result in financial or personal gain". Not "criminal" in this example, but certainly a "wrongful deception". The seller doesn't have the guitar!
Interestingly, here are some synonyms for "fraud": cheating, swindling, trickery, crookedness, con, deceit, deception, double-dealing, duplicity, hoax, and my favorites, "skullduggery", "flimflam", and "monkey business". All of these fit this situation.
A person who is a fraud is "person or thing intended to deceive others, typically by unjustifiably claiming or being credited with accomplishments or qualities".
This seller doesn't own what he is selling, and is implying by the ad that he does - forget the "fine print", the ad is up under "Items for Sale", the fine print is to cover the seller in a court of law. They know what they are doing is fraudulent and they know eBay will back them if they have the "fine print" in the ad. Shame on eBay.
Caveat - I have taught a class on "Ethics in Business" (I know, perhaps an oxymoron) for years. This is a perfect case of fraud that has been legally "lowered" to simply being unethical by the seller (with eBay's consent) putting in the ad that "well you know, we may not actually have this item but we might be able to get one...".
But wileypickett's overall question still remains, and I'm not sure it can be fully answered. How the heck are they making any money? eBay no longer charges to put an ad up, so the only cost is the effort to produce the ad. They must occasionally successfully score the item to actually sell it, right? I can't see an income stream otherwise.