bikesomewhere.com & Northwest Bicycle accepted my order then treated the order as fraud without notice

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tihaty   100 µW

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bikesomewhere.com & Northwest Bicycle accepted my order then treated the order as fraud without notice

Post by tihaty » Dec 30 2020 3:42pm

Bit of background: Instead of disclosing my email address to every shop I buy from, I use a spamgourmet.com forwarding address. When a shop starts to spam it's far more effective to cut off the TO address than filter on the FROM address. As an extra perk, when an email address is sold, leaked, or exfiltrated by spammers, I instantly know which shop had the data breach.

bikesomewhere.com and Northwest Bicycle (NWB) both accepted the SG address on orders for parts. Both gave a receipt. bikesomewhere.com even charged my credit card and gave a shipping ETA, and NWB said "we already started processing your order". Neither of them shipped the order, and neither of them informed me that they decided to treat use of an SG email address to be a "fraud" indicator. Neither of them attempted to contact me. After waiting a long time for the orders to arrive, I called, left msgs and filled out their contact forms to get order status. They both ignored my msgs.

So I filed BBB complaints. Only then was bikesomewhere.com and Northwest Bicycle willing to come clean with what they did-- kind of.

NWB gave different reasons for the false fraud flag and ultimately pointed the finger to "Stripe Payments", a company they hire to tell them what orders are "high risk". NWB also made misleading statements about their communication effort despite disregrding my voicemails. NWB was able to maintain an A- BBB rating.

bikesomewhere.com outright bluntly lied to protect their A+ BBB rating and it worked. They said: "customer never responded to our calls or emails to confirm their in[f]ormation." Apparently bikesomewhere.com didn't know that SG keeps a count of the email that gets sent, so I was able to prove that they lied about sending email. They also didn't know that calls to me are also logged, so I can prove that they never attempted to call me. bikesomewhere.com also gave multiple conflicting statements to the BBB, so their lies were self-evident. bikesomewhere.com will say anything to try to maintain a high rating. They claimed that SG addresses are "typically used by spammers", thus tried to smear a service that fights spam and makes spammers accountable. They sent an automated message saying "One of our agents will be getting back to you in a timely manner". So I waited. Then they later claimed I did not reply to *that* email, which obviously didn't call for a reply. bikesomewhere.com also tried to claim their card processor could not verify that the shipping address belonged to me. I gave them a valid address. How do they think it's even possible to know who lives where? It's a flawed expectation. It's also a bogus statement because the credit card charge was accepted by the bank, and banks generally check whether a shipping address is associated to acct holders. bikesomewhere.com claimed that "per CDC guidelines, we closed all telephonesupport". LOL yes they will grasp for as many excuses as they can even if it's inconsistent with other statements. There are more deceiving statements from them but i'll stop there and just say that they managed to keep an A+ rating.

I highlighted the vendor names so people can easily find the bits about whoever they are considering working with.

(edit) it's worth noting that bikesomewhere.com not only has their own store but they also sell through Newegg.

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Chalo   100 GW

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Re: bikesomewhere.com & Northwest Bicycle accepted my order then treated the order as fraud without notice

Post by Chalo » Dec 30 2020 3:55pm

If you monkey with the chain of trust, you risk having people not trust you. It's pretty simple that way.
This is to express my gratitude to Justin of Grin Technologies for his extraordinary measures to save this forum for the benefit of all.

tihaty   100 µW

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Re: bikesomewhere.com & Northwest Bicycle accepted my order then treated the order as fraud without notice

Post by tihaty » Dec 30 2020 4:45pm

Chalo wrote:
Dec 30 2020 3:55pm
If you monkey with the chain of trust, you risk having people not trust you. It's pretty simple that way.
There is no sound rationale for distrusting Spamgourmet. But let's say there is. The distrust of spamgourmet is probably the least of the problems with these vendors. Most normies are okay with marginalizing tech saavy users. Those who accept the distrust and resulting collateral damage to legit users still need to face these facts:
  • The order systems could have refused *@spamgourmet.com addresses and blocked order form submission.
  • Once the order is placed, that's a contract. They have a legal duty to execute their side of the contract.
  • They could have asked for a different email address while keeping the order on hold.
  • At a bare minimum, they have a moral obligation to *inform* customers when an order is cancelled.
  • They had a legal obligation to be truthful with BBB. When they lied to the BBB to keep a higher (more profitable) rating, that's fraud. It's illegal. (oh, and I just recalled another lie from bikesomewhere: they claimed tha *I* called and cancelled the order).
  • Some vendors who find that an order is high risk will offer to 3-way conference with the bank and customer. The bank goes through the typical questions until they are convinced they are talking to the card holder. So that option is on the table.

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markz   100 GW

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Re: bikesomewhere.com & Northwest Bicycle accepted my order then treated the order as fraud without notice

Post by markz » Dec 30 2020 5:58pm

You do realize the Better Business Bureau is a scam right?
It takes a lot and I mean a lot to get a bad rating on BBB.

http://bsb.thebluesmokeband.com/bbb.php

https://www.dealnews.com/features/What- ... 46621.html
tihaty wrote:
Dec 30 2020 3:42pm
BBB rating.

tihaty   100 µW

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Re: bikesomewhere.com & Northwest Bicycle accepted my order then treated the order as fraud without notice

Post by tihaty » Dec 30 2020 9:37pm

Calling BBB a "scam" is absolute horseshit. They've had some scandals and the BBB Council shut down a corrupt office, but the BBB process usually works. I usually get a remedy. There was exceptionally no remedy in the above cases b/c the vendors didn't owe me money in this case. The BBB is non-profit, which mitigates the severe conflict of interest that you have with Yelp (a for-profit business with rampant corruption that the 2nd article foolishly endorses).

BBB's occasional over-ratings are annoying, but they are subjective. After I complain the rating always drops when the merchant does not answer. That's because it's easy to be objective in that case. In the cases of bikesomewhere.com and NWB, they replied to the BBB. That in itself made my BBB report worthwhile because the merchants weren't even willing to state that they cancelled my order. I'm not happy with the rating but I'm biased.

The 1st article is from 2005, talking about "AA" and "BB" ratings. He rants about businesses having to pay. If you've lived in a country where the consumers pay instead, you'd quickly realize why that's a bad idea. I've been in that situation where the arbitration org won't even file my complaint unless I (the consumer) pays for membership. Without much confidence that they can get a remedy, I walked (not throwing good money after bad), and my story on how the merchant cheats people never got exposure. User/consumer fees is a recipe for bad businesses to thrive in. Sorrell claims you can't complain to the BBB about the BBB. That may have been true in 2005, but not today. The BBB Council will handle complaints about the BBB itself.

The corruption horror stories from Yelp are countless and the magnitude of extremes shadows BBB flaws. I won't even look at Yelp ratings before dealing with a merchant because I know how perverse Yelp's shenannigans are.

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markz   100 GW

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Re: bikesomewhere.com & Northwest Bicycle accepted my order then treated the order as fraud without notice

Post by markz » Dec 31 2020 4:33pm

Ya well when a company pays to be apart of the BBB in USA/CAD/MEX then the BBB arent exactly on the side of the consumer are they, the BBB is on the side of the company to continue to collect fee's from companies.

Richard Blumenthal Connecticut District Attorney says on ABC 20/20 "This system is unworthy of consumer trust or confidence"
https://youtu.be/LIlT6OG5-_Y?t=12


https://money.cnn.com/2015/09/30/news/b ... index.html
he Better Business Bureau may be a nonprofit, but behind the scenes it's a money-making machine -- squeezing big money out of businesses in exchange for its coveted stamp of approval.

That approval, known as "accreditation," doesn't come cheap. In 2013 alone, the organization raked in nearly $200 million in revenue -- most of which comes from the very businesses it oversees, according to a CNNMoney analysis of IRS filings from the BBB's 102 U.S. bureaus and national office.
he BBB receives the majority of its revenue from membership fees paid by hundreds of thousands of companies.
Joseph Ridout, a spokesperson for watchdog group Consumer Action, said this structure, where the BBB is "funded by the dues-paying businesses and not the consumers," presents a "serious conflict of interest." The BBB, however, says membership dues have nothing to do with the ratings companies receive.



https://money.cnn.com/2015/09/30/news/b ... index.html
A rated BBB BS
A mortgage broker charged by federal regulators with discriminating against minority borrowers. A financial firm accused in an ongoing federal lawsuit of preying on seniors. A medical testing company that settled charges of paying kickbacks to doctors. And a vitamin maker that allegedly misled parents with claims that its supplements could treat symptoms of autism.
Through its investigation, CNNMoney found a sampling of more than 100 businesses that had ratings of A- or higher despite having serious actions taken against them by government regulators in the past year. Some have been ruled flat-out scams and were shut down, but still kept their high BBB grade. Some have already been required to pay multimillion dollar penalties. And others have recently been rocked by big government lawsuits.

tihaty   100 µW

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Re: bikesomewhere.com & Northwest Bicycle accepted my order then treated the order as fraud without notice

Post by tihaty » Jan 01 2021 11:11am

Joseph Ridout, a spokesperson for watchdog group Consumer Action, said this structure, where the BBB is "funded by the dues-paying businesses and not the consumers," presents a "serious conflict of interest."
He hasn't thought that through. I already elaborated on why reversing that fails in places that have already tried it.
BBB arent exactly on the side of the consumer are they
As I said BBB usually solves my problems. Usually the merchant remedies my complaint. So BBB is therefore "on the consumer side" from where I sit. I have no reason to stop using a tool that works.

For the cases BBB doesn't get a remedy, my local small claims court is the ultimate remedy. Court is an example of a consumer paid option, but it only works because a judgement is guaranteed and it carries the force of law (unlike an NGO), and the loser pays the court costs in the end.
Through its investigation, CNNMoney found a sampling of more than 100 businesses that had ratings of A- or higher despite having serious actions taken against them by government regulators in the past year.
Using BBB to get ratings is a different use case than using them to remedy a problem. I've filed BBB complaints against highly rated businesses, and even if the rating was an overrating, businesses are often motivated to keep their undeserved score which compels them to offer a remedy. It's indeed a flaw in the rating system if BBB is relying exclusively on their own data and not public court actions or attorney general data.

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