Sunday, January 4, 2009

Kohl's Scam Continued

After talking with many of you yesterday about the Kohl's scam, I decided to send this email to the seller. People like this are what gives eBay a bad name. Most of us do a legitimate business selling a legitimate product or service. I hate to see people manipulate eBay and make it something sleazy - it just harms eBay's reputation and in turn, our reputations by being affiliated with eBay.

Dear Seller,

I am very disappointed and disturbed by this transaction. First of all, you didn't send coupons, but download links that I had to print. eBay policy states that all coupons sold through eBay must be physically delivered to the buyer, and may not be delivered by electronic means for home printing. No where in your listing did it state that I had to waste my ink and paper to print something. Third, the coupons clearly say 1 per household. Your listing was not only deceptive, but you are clearly violating eBay policy selling these Kohl's so called coupons.

She replied with, "There was nothing "deceptive" about this auction. This is not a "scam or fraud." If this was a scam do you really think I would have had 100% positive feedback."

So I replied with,

1) Your listing is deceptive. You are selling something that ANYONE can get for free on the internet. You are opening numerous free email accounts, signing up for printable coupons numerous times that are only meant to be used by one person one time, and then selling them for profit to unsuspecting buyers who think they are receiving a promotional coupon obtained in an honest way. Furthermore, according to the listing, the buyer will receive COUPONS, not download links. Digital items, including links such as the Kohl's coupons, may only be sold through eBay Classified Ads, and the seller must be legally authorized to sell the item. You can read eBay's policy on selling digital items by clicking here.

2) Your listings for Kohl's coupons violates eBay's coupon policy which states, "All coupons sold through eBay must be physically delivered to the buyer, and may not be delivered by electronic means for home printing." You can read this for yourself by clicking here. Perhaps in your 36 days of being an eBay seller, you haven't taken the time to read what is permitted and what is not. The first rule of eBay selling: Just because another seller is doing it does not mean it is permitted.

3) I buy grocery coupons on eBay all the time. This is the first time I have encountered something so underhanded and deceptive. This is not about a buyer reading a listing; this is about a seller offering full disclosure to her buyers. You are deceiving buyers by offering something that you obtained under false pretenses.

4) If what you are doing is "right," eBay legal, and you are comfortable doing it because other sellers are, I'm sure you won't mind that I have forwarded this information to both Kohl's and eBay.

Guess what? She doesn't have 100% feedback anymore.


Christina G. said...

Good for you! Hopefully the seller has learned a valuable lesson.

John Paul - Vitamin eBay said...

Time it took to create 15 free email accounts:

The sellers profit after eBay and Paypal fees:

The look on the sellers face after reading this part of Suzanne's e-mail:
4) If what you are doing is "right," eBay legal, and you are comfortable doing it because other sellers are, I'm sure you won't mind that I have forwarded this information to both Kohl's and eBay.


Anonymous said...

good for you!! i do think this borders on fraud! and i'm glad you had the guts to point it out to the seller and Ebay and Kohls!! great comment John!! ;)

anajz said...

ROFL at John Paul's comment! Way to go Suzanne!

Anonymous said...

Did you get any further communication from the seller?
Gosh it's just shameful what people will do to make a buck.
The whole scenario this seller went through with the emails, etc...
Just ridiculous!

Anonymous said...

I ran into one today doing the same thing with Victorias Secret. I check the shipping section of the listing and it said. USPS First Class. I relied to the seller that "it violates Ebay policies and I will be awaiting my coupons in the mail. Secondly I reported the deceptive auction to Ebay. If it didn't say USPS first class in the shipping then I probably would just writtenoff the 99 cents.

Anonymous said...

Hi, I just felt I had to chime in on this. I accidentally stumbled across all the Kohls coupons listings on Ebay not too long ago and I too was wondering how on earth they were getting their hands on all these coupons. So, I bought twenty coupons myself for 2.99 and they were digitally delivered although listing said nothing of that, but when I received the coupons, it took me about two seconds to realize what this seller was doing.
What I can tell you is that none of these sellers are wasting time opening numerous fake email accounts, there is a much easier way to get ahold of all these coupons. As a webmaster, it didnt take me long to see what they are doing.
Anyway, I am not sure this is so much a scam, as the coupons do originate from Kohls and can be used. However, I think my husband said it perfect when he said that these ebay sellers are hustling people out of money. The coupons can be found for free on the Kohls website just not in that large of a quantity.
The biggest point of all this that I think everyone is missing that the largest benefactor of all these coupons being sold are not the ebay sellers selling them but Kohls itself. Honestly, think about it. It is a FIVE dollar coupon and only one can be used at a time. Not many people are going to go into Kohls and only spend five dollars. In fact I am sure that the average transaction is above even $20. Kohls doesnt care that these coupons are being sold because it is bringing in customers that may not visit the store at all without the coupon. Just do the math: if 1000 coupon bundles are sold on ebay in a week, that is 1000 people going in to Kohls spending at least twenty dollars each, saving five dollars and Kohls is still ahead $15,000! Now keep in mind those people bought 10-20 coupons! They share those with friends and family and they have to use them because they will expire soon, so figure out how much money Kohls is truly making off of their five dollar coupons.
Its not rocket science. If Kohls wanted it stopped, its simple, stop the promotion and discontinue the emailed coupon. They arent stupid. What the ebay sellers are making is nickel and dime compared to with what they are raking in.

Anonymous said...

I work at Kohl's and unfortunately most of these email scammers do just spend the $5.

Believe me, the Kohl's associates are SICK of all the scammers ripping Kohl's off.

rgm said...

Well I do not sell them. Personally it wouldnt be worth my listing fees IMO but .. something i have to defend...YES i agree the 20 is wrong- i mean its a little excessive. OKAY ALOT buut... most i checked out say it is delivered instantly and also, I dont know if it can be considered breaking the rules since KOHLS themselves deliver in the same fashion- via internet. they are not COPYING a coupon and sending it. that IS the coupon

Anonymous said...

Also, i know personally, without my kohls couopns, i wouldnt be visiting kohls as much- I am always on the look for them. not on ebay or through paying but if one of my friends will not be able to use it etc. and I have many times bought a 70 purse with 5 off- so a purse that cost Kohls 20 maybe TOTAL to have on their shelves.. i guess one could say they are scamming right?

rgm said...

To the anonymous person who said kohls associates are sick of the scammers... and that your upset cuz they only spend 5 $ - KOHLS KNOWS THEY COULD SWITCH THE PROMO TO 5 OFF 10 AND PEOPLE WOULD STILL USE THEM!!!!!! BUT THEY DONT.. for all the reasons stated above..

Anonymous said...

I have gone into kohl's on more than one occasion recently with $5 off $5 purchase and have actually had a few of the cashiers let me use 2 of them in one transaction. Most of the time I was told it is limited to one coupon per day. I agree Kohls knows this is happening, but they are still profiting with them. I think these are something to use occasionally. I only use them every so often now. Even though kohls may profit anyway it doesn't feel very honest to use a bunch.

Anonymous said...

I agree with all the comments.Some cashiers are really mean when you try to use 5$ off coupons more than one time.I had couple of bad experiences with them.So i ask them if i can use another coupon i have before they ring me up.Some let me use and some dont.Some may even call Manager with out asking us.One casher said i can let you use another and i gave her she immediately tear the coupon into pieces.I told her you are tricking the customers and i am going to file compliant on you to Kohl's corporate office.When i asked her she can say can use only one per customer.

Unknown said...

Also what somebody said is right. I'm not a webmaster or coder at all, but it only took me half an hour to figure out how to generate these coupons without needing to sign up for multiple E-mail accounts. It's not rocket science.