Threatening to stalk, rape, mutilate, and kill your customers over a $150 chargeback is not a sustainable business model. We could have told you that, but it took a New York Times investigation, a Google algorithm change, and federal prosecution to stop the Brooklyn entrepreneur who built his eyewear business on the idea that online, there is no such thing as bad publicity. He allegedly sent out counterfeit designer eyewear, or no merchandise at all, then harassed and threatened customers who wanted their money back. When customers complained online, it boosted the profile of his brand. Now a federal judge has revoked the man’s bail ahead of sentencing after listening to testimony from some of those customers.
We won’t name the company here since the site is, remarkably, still operating. The business owner’s lawyer argued there’s no proof that he ever intended to actually harm any of the customers he harassed and threatened with bodily harm. But most people aren’t used to receiving voice mails that say things like “I hope you die. I want to slice your legs off,” as one customer recounted in federal court.
Last year, the entrepreneur pleaded guilty to charges of fraud and making interstate threats. The judge in this case told the press that he may impose a harsher sentence than the three years indicated in federal sentencing guidelines.
Harassing Customers As A Business Model