Monday, August 12, 2019

Stupid Town

I told Eli 18.0 that I'm getting an OLED when he goes to college. To put downstairs, in his area.

"Hey! That's my space," he said.

"Not anymore," I said. "The day you leave for college, you become the minority shareholder of that area." He laughed.

I've been looking for a deal on the 65" for the last few months. I've watched prices for years, actually, from the day they released the first one (five years ago?).

Saturday, I saw a great deal on the "E" model, which has much, much better sound than the "C" model, but is usually quite a bit more expensive.

The company offering this deal was Greentoe, which is kind of a marketplace where you make bids and suppliers either accept or reject your offer.

I know, that sounds strange, but they're one of the online merchants for OLED that are high volume.

There's a deal posted on Slickdeals with the price to offer, so I go to Greentoe and offer that price. I got an email back within minutes asking me to make a second bid that included tax (fair), which I did. Confirmation that the bid was accepted came within minutes.

Okay, I'm done, right? So, so excited!

Two days later (yesterday), I get this email.
Hi Bill,

I have good news! Your offer on the LG OLED65E9PUA was accepted !

The retail partner that accepted your offer sent us an alert.  They are having trouble clearing your order through their order verification department. Unfortunately we don't know the steps involved here or the reasons they are having trouble.  Many times the issue is a similar name creating a verification challenge.  We have seen people try to spoof the identity of others.  

Can you please provide us with some additional information about yourself that they can use to verify the order?  Usually a work email address tends to clear this up very quickly.  We have sent them things like this in the past and that has helped get people through the process very quickly.  

I'm sorry for the inconvenience. Fraud is a big problem in our industry and retailers aren't willing to take chances with expensive items like this. I hope you understand.  We will keep all information confidential and it is only used for anti-fraud verification purposes.  

Oh yeah, red flags all over the place there.

Let's see. I provide a valid credit card number with a shipping address that's the same as the address attached to the card, and that's not enough? What exactly would they be doing with a work email address, anyway? What kind of information does a merchant need for "anti-fraud verification purposes," anyway?

I sent back a polite but testy response, pointing out how sketchy this was, and got this email a few hours ago:
Let me explain a bit more as I realize this is a strange request. We've had an issue with fraud recently and people logging in and buying things using other people's information. When this happens the retailer gets a chargebacks because the real person says it was not them who bought the item (which it wasn't). As a result, some of our partners are taking steps to double check customers making large purchase (i.e. a tv). We ask for a work email address because it's a great way for us to verify a person due to the fact that a fraudster wouldn't be able to access a person's work email. 

Also, as part of our marketplace seller agreement we have offered to assist the retailers in this process because they don't have the resources to do it themselves for our customers. That's why we are reaching out to you instead of them. 

Let me know if this is something you can provide. We will not add the email to any marketing emails. 

BTW - If you don't have a work email we can also use linked-in private messages and accomplish the same thing if you want to send us a link to your LinkedIn profile instead.

Yeah, that's not happening.

They're not getting any more information from me, obviously. I don't send transparent information into opaque processes.

I cancelled the order. Excitement level returns to normal.

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