We’ve written about the practice of arbitrage in e-commerce in the past. Arbitrage is when you take advantage of different prices for the same items in different places, and make money by buying it from one place and reselling it in another. E-commerce has created a new variation on this business: people who receive orders from one site, order the items for their customers on another, and then ship directly, serving as a middleman. [More]
A regular Victoria’s Secret customer in Wisconsin says that she was surprised when she brought her merchandise to the checkout at her local store, and they served her with what she calls “divorce papers,” banning her from shopping at the lingerie chain. What? What right do they have to do that? It turns out that she wasn’t just any customer. [More]
Target’s collections of downscale versions of products from big-name designers are hot sellers, and the quick disappearance of this year’s Lilly Pulitzer collection from its physical and virtual shelves followed the pattern. A month after that, people began to report that they were being banned from making purchases from Target because they bought too much. No, Target wasn’t rejecting capitalism: the retailer confirmed that they were taking action to deter resellers. [More]
You may remember last month when Target put out its limited-quantity special Lilly Pulitzer collection, and frenzied fans waited in line, fought in the store aisles, and even crashed the retailer’s website. Past Target collaborations with big-name designers have resulted in those items being flipped on eBay for a bunch of money, but after the Lilly Pulitzer debacle, Target has reportedly banned resellers from buying from them. [More]
Would Sephora really ban customers who spend thousands of dollars every year with them? Last year, frequent customers say they had their ability to place online orders taken away for buying too much stuff. This year, frequent customers report having their accounts shut down or their ability to place orders restricted. Funny, thing though: all of these customers have e-mail addresses based in China, or Chinese surnames. [More]
Courtney was on a mission. It’s her job to find things for people at low prices, and then buy them in large quantities. For example, one day she learned that beauty chain Ulta had Big Chi Digital Hair Irons, which usually cost $169.99, on clearance for $49.99. Score! One of her clients wanted these, and there were twenty-seven of them in stock. Now, “Clearance” should mean that the store is trying to clear out stock, and should be happy if someone comes along and scoops up everything on the shelf. Right? Not at Ulta. They’d rather not sell items at all than sell them to Courtney by the cartful. [More]
Ticketmaster will pay a $50,000 fine and shutter more than 100 deceptive brokerage sites as part of a wide-reaching agreement with Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan. Madigan’s office accused Ticketmaster’s always shady subsidy, TicketsNow, of creating sites that masqueraded as local venues selling tickets at face value. The settlement also requires TicketsNow to wait until after Ticketmaster puts non-sporting events on sale before hawking tickets at outrageously inflated prices.
TicketsNow has a pretty explicit guarantee that if the tickets you buy aren’t good, they’ll refund the money. In Sean’s case, they seem to have found a way to avoid delivering on that promise: they just disconnect whenever he mentions the word “refund.”
The Wall Street Journal reported today that for many big name concert events, the people behind a good deal of the really expensive secondary market tickets are the artists themselves, along with their agents and promoters. Recent concerts where the artists and promoters resold tickets on the secondary market and split the profits with Ticketmaster include Neil Diamond, Bon Jovi, Celine Dion, Van Halen, Billy Joel, Elton John, and possibly Britney Spears.
That booming evil laughter you heard echoing across the sky earlier today came from the board room where Live Nation and Ticketmaster agreed to an all-stock merger between their two blighted companies. Ticketmaster Chairman Barry Diller says the merger will benefit customers, who are frequently “frustrated by their ticket buying experiences.” Oh! So by merging the two companies most responsible for those frustrations, we’ll cancel them out! This is doubleplus good, right?
People! Always wipe your cell phone before you sell it, give it away, or trade it in. Do not assume or expect that someone else will do this for you! This was just one of the mistakes that led to Rachel Swanson being called by strangers several weeks after she thought she donated her old phone to charity. But the store that handled the donation, and the company responsible for actually processing the donated phones, screwed up their parts, too. Here’s how it was supposed to have work, and what you should always do before donating your phone to any organization.