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[icon] Where is the ethical boundary here? - Patti — LiveJournal
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Subject:Where is the ethical boundary here?
Time:05:51 pm
Here's the deal. Some ditzbrain moron chick gave out my gmail address as her email address a while ago. She did this a few times, but the specific case that is problematic right now is that she signed up an affiliate for some sports/energy drink company. I know this because I keep getting email that should be sent to her.

Because she's a moron, I have the username and password for her account with this company. I know she's doing business with them because I keep getting UPS delivery notices of her orders. She has a relatively unusual name and lives in a small town in a flyover state, so it's pretty easy to figure out who she is and how to get in touch with her, even if I didn't have her contact info from the signup confirmation mail.

When this happened a while ago, I jumped through all kinds of hoops to get it straightened out. I tried to find a working email address for her, but failed, so I called her and left a message. When she returned my call I explained what was going on, got her correct email address, sent her confirmation email (which she never answered), and even logged into her account on the vendor's website and changed the email address to the one she told me. (And yet the delivery confirmation email is going to my gmail address. I don't understand.)

I'm still getting email addressed to her. I am Not Happy. In fact, I'm annoyed as all fuck and rapidly approaching vindictive.

(Edit: I missed a couple of options. I could also edit her affiliate web page, or order a bunch of shit and have it shipped to her... her credit card is on file.)

Poll #1559926 Is it unethical?

Given the effort that I've made to straighten this out, which of the following would you consider ethical?

Unsubscribing her from promotional email from the vendor
Changing her email address with the vendor back to the one she gave them (i.e. mine)
Changing her password so she can't order more shit
Changing her address so shit she ordered goes somewhere else
Canceling her account with the vendor

What would you do if you were me?

comments: Leave a comment Previous Entry Share Next Entry

Time:2010-05-04 01:30 am (UTC)
There are a lot of people who won't fix broken stuff with/on their computers until it causes them serious problems. The fact that the broken stuff is causing *other* people problems doesn't (usually) factor into this. This is why we have so many botnet controlled windoze systems out there - people know there's something wrong with their computer because it's running slowly but they can't be bothered to fix it until their ISP cuts them off for being a spam source.

You have given her ample notice and opportunity to fix this. So now you need to "cut her off" by unsubscribing from the vendor's marketing email, changing her password (on the account using YOUR email address) and then unsubscribing/canceling her account with the vendor entirely. However, before you do the last step, change info in her account settings - e.g. change her mailing address (or some other data field, or a series of data fields as available/necessary) to "do NOT send ANY email to (your email address) as this address does NOT belong to the person named in this account and was used without permission of the actual email account holder". This way if she calls their customer support number and tries to reactivate this same account (rather than opening a new one) over the phone they are put on notice that there's a major problem with the account's email info, and they shouldn't reactivate it without correcting the problem.

However, an easier option might be to poke around in her settings and see if there's a separate field for delivery email. It may be that one can have delivery confirmation sent to several email accounts - e.g. when you order something for your spouse you can have a delivery confirmation sent to your spouse's email so they know it's been ordered and is on its way. If you can locate and change that field, it would fix YOUR problem. I'd do that first. Then consider unsubbing, changing the password, and canceling. :-)
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Time:2010-05-04 02:12 am (UTC)
I agree.

People will not fix a problem unless they feel the pain. If you fix the problem for them (by unsubscribing her, etc.) then you have just encouraged the bad behavior.

I used to get a lot of "wrong number" phone calls asking for Eric. I would be polite, tell them of their mistake, etc, etc. The problem just got worse. I realized that "Eric" wasn't giving out the right number, or mumbled, or stuttered or was doing something that made people not get the right number when he gave it out.

So I changed tactics.

I would tell people that Eric's number has changed and give them the new number. I would give a 408 area code and make up 7 digits. I'd tell them that he moved out of New Jersey and now lives in California. Everyone was surprised, especially his grandmother.

Within a month I stopped getting these mis-dialed phone calls. I guess Eric started making a point to verify that people heard him correctly.

You need to act crazy so she'll feel pain and go away.
1. Cancel her account

Any time she replies, just start bringing up Eric. Exercise your crazy bone. Every interaction should be more suspicious, crazy, and surreal.

She'll NEVER mistype her email address again.

(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)

Subject:Careful with that....
Time:2010-05-04 05:25 am (UTC)
I once owned "delta.com" as a domain name, legitimately for my company at the time, deltaComm Development, Inc, a software development company. This was 1995 before big business found it "cool" to be on the Internet.

As the Internet became cool, I started getting a HUGE volume of hits to my website looking for a certain airline. I got Emails complaining of lost bags, and other complaints.

After trying to ignore these Emails, I once got frustrated at an airline passenger for being too stupid to know the difference between delta.com and deltaair.com, and sent them back an Email telling them their luggage was in Bangladesh, and they were fucked (or some other such nonsense).

The airline SUED me for impersonating them.

Eventually, after much legal hand-wringing, we settled (they got the domain name and paid my lawyers, and I got some cash after the fact). But it was a HUGE hassle and distraction. Depositions. Lawyers. Bullshit.

Don't fruck around impersonating someone else on the Internet. You never know when you'll find yourself up against some litigious prick.

(No, I've never flown Delta since, and never will.)

(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)

Subject:Re: Careful with that....
Time:2010-05-04 03:44 pm (UTC)
So *you're* the sonofabitch who sent my luggage to Bangladesh! Damn YOU!!!
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)

[icon] Where is the ethical boundary here? - Patti — LiveJournal
View:Recent Entries.
View:Website (pattib.org).