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    42 Replies Latest reply on Feb 27, 2009 11:56 AM by SJCarpentry

    A Moral/Ethical Question

    Lighthouse24 Ranger

      What would you do if you saw someone trying to harm or take advantage of one of your neighbors. Step in and stop it? Call the police? Mind your own business?

      What about when it happens to "neighbors" in this community? If the "police" (moderators) aren't responding, do we stop it, or just mind our own business?

      I saw at least three posts yesterday with titles like "FREE Gift for the holidays for you and yours" that promised "FREE beautiful gifts . . . my special way of saying happy holidays to everyone." The posts had a link to a website, and I checked it out (suspecting that "free" probably wasn't).

      The "free" deal required that the gift recipient enter credit card information and agree to pay $5.99 shipping and handling for the gifts. Scrolling on down through the vaguely-worded terms and conditions, the "fine print" revealed that by doing so, the recipient was apparently also agreeing to join some type of club and receive a similar item on a regular basis (presumably forever), and to have his/her credit card billed $44.98 plus tax each time. It noted that the recipient wasn't required to keep the items, but that there were no refunds (they could only be exchanged for a "merchandise credit" within 10 days). Happy holidays.

      On one hand, I tend to think that anyone who falls for something like that deserves what he gets. On the other hand, this community was created for small business owners to help each other, and trying to pull something like that here sort of ticks me off.

      So what do you do when you see things like that? What should we do? Live and let live . . . hope the moderators respond . . . take a more "proactive" approach? Comments?
        • Re: A Moral/Ethical Question
          Elite1 Adventurer
          "On one hand, I tend to think that anyone who falls for something like that deserves what he gets."

          I don't think anyone deserves to enter into an agreement under false pretenses. There are many naive individuals out there who will be stuck in an undesireable situation due to lack of knowledge, intelligence, and paying attention to the fine print. I hate to see innocent people fall victim to predators such as this. It's wrong.

          I do not approve of misleading people to make money. It should be illegal. Free should mean free.....no strings attached. Once they attach a future obligation, the offer is no longer FREE.

          Tanya
          Elite Financial Services, LLC
            • Re: A Moral/Ethical Question
              Lighthouse24 Ranger
              I agree, Tanya (otherwise, I would have just let the thing slide). The question I'm asking is, what should we DO about it?
                • Re: A Moral/Ethical Question
                  Elite1 Adventurer
                  I'm not sure we have many options. The formal avenue I'm aware of is reporting it to the moderator as inappropriate. Is there any other contact information for the SBOC?

                  I suppose we could join together and agree not to respond to those type of posts. This way they won't keep coming up on the home page when we want to view more informative posts. I have been annoyed the last couple days, since I have to search for the informational/educational messages. The home page gets filled with businesses trying to make money or borrow money. If we don't respond to those, they won't get as much attention.

                  Sorry..that's about all I have. I, too, am willing to listen to suggestions. I will be here to support whatever the group decides.

                  Tanya
                  Elite Financial Services, LLC
              • Re: A Moral/Ethical Question
                golfheaven Adventurer
                PROACTIVE:

                Let's vet these as best we can in this commuinity ourselves. A clean house is the best house.
                • Re: A Moral/Ethical Question
                  DomainDiva Ranger
                  Hmmmmmmm, I responded to a 'free' offer this am disagreeing that free was not necessarily good since websites offering free things usually cost something and/or install malware on your computer and then charge for removal that just adds more trojans.

                  That message and my response are nowhere to be found.

                  I am personally tired of these tactics by this member. What an online rep they are building!! (not!!!)
                    • Re: A Moral/Ethical Question
                      golfheaven Adventurer
                      DD:
                      It is hard to ignore the 800 lb. guerrilla in the room when they have what you need, but if they don't have what you want they they are just a little spider monkey that"s a pest.

                      Yes I agree that certain tactics are let's say cheesy and that a quality forum would not allow such. That is why we can deal with them ourselves or as a group effort and make this a better site or allow them to run us off.

                      Comments.
                    • Re: A Moral/Ethical Question
                      val_cards Scout
                      dear Ms Diva: FYI a long long time ago, a gentlemen gave away radios for FREE only to be in a position to market advertising space. His last name, Warner Just imagine a world without radio!
                      • Re: A Moral/Ethical Question
                        HiVelocity Newbie
                        Remeber, there is nothing free in life. Pay me now or pay me later.
                          • Re: A Moral/Ethical Question
                            LUCKIEST Guide
                            A Moral/Ethical Question, Welcome Richard.

                            Not true. There are a few things in life that are really FREE. LOVE is FREE

                            Everybody know that SCORE is FREE. There is still FREE air for your tires (sometimes)
                            This web site is FREE. (yes you have to have a computer etc).
                            There are FREE museums and libraries.

                            So you really can not say "there is nothing free in life".

                            This answer is FREE, LUCKIEST
                              • Re: A Moral/Ethical Question
                                val_cards Scout
                                dear luckiest...if you honestly believe love is free...think again...ask your wife and your daughters...free love went out with the sixties and could be considered a cause for illnesses...not even a free checking account unless your balances are high and you commit long term...but there are free tote bags with purchases of Lancome products and Estee lauder products and items featured on QVC...o course there are minimu requirements often to receive a free gift...do you have problems with them too?
                            • Re: A Moral/Ethical Question
                              Iwrite Pioneer
                              Yes, we should warn people, but in the end it is up to them to avoid being taken. I say this because no matter how many times we have warned members about the loan scams that pop up, people just keep on responding to them.
                              • Re: A Moral/Ethical Question
                                HiVelocity Newbie
                                why was my post removed? is this a politicle site what happen to freedom of speach? Notice the FREE in freedom
                                • Re: A Moral/Ethical Question
                                  fundamentals Wayfarer

                                  From a moral perspective it is quite distressing to see just how low some people will stoop to cut a deal. Very few things these days are really free (ie the air we breath). I donot think we should consider for a moment the attitude of live and let live. When people are deceptive especially from the business community we all suffer. Have we not learned anything from the worst financial meltdown in history over the last two years. No matter how you slice it we are in a manmade disaster which was initiated, perpertrated and encouraged on the basis that there was a freebie attached.

                                  This matter is really becoming offensive to me because even the "legitimate organizations" are enploying this tactic. Before you sign or commit to any transaction you really need to read the fine print. The question is who goes through that effort.

                                  I am not a proponent of big government, but clearly some regulation is required. At least today I dont see how we as a community can police this activity.

                                  Freedom of press and speach is one of our rights, however, sans the deception and con.
                                  • Re: A Moral/Ethical Question
                                    Lighthouse24 Ranger

                                    Thanks for your comments. For those who suggested that a more "proactive" approach may be called for . . .

                                    Nearly all the links that get repeatedly posted here are for U.S.-based websites that reside on cheap hosting services with lousy security. Even if the owner paid extra for a private "who is" listing, it doesn't take a great deal of skill to get his/her name and address.

                                    People who blatantly try to cheat others will always cheat in more subtle ways, too. Like maybe not filing for all the necessary business licenses, registrations, and permits. Like maybe not collecting/paying sales tax. Like maybe not reporting income and revenues accurately. Law enforcement and taxing entities are interested in that stuff. They don't generally have the resources to ferret out potential fraud and tax evasion among small time operators, but if you pass them a lay-up, they'll take it.

                                    So, hypothetically, if someone was insisting on getting attention, one possible option might be to ensure that they got LOTS of it -- by directing simple inquiries about their business to the local BBB, Chambers of Commerce, police department bunko squad, county clerk, state Attorney General hotline, Consumer Affairs advocates, AARP if you're over 50, VA if you're a veteran, (if you're both, you can have your Congressman asking the IRS about the business before the day is over).

                                    That's just a hypothetical extreme, of course . . . I'd hope that professional courtesy and mutual respect would win out long before it ever came to something like that.

                                    • Re: A Moral/Ethical Question
                                      caffeinated Scout
                                      Hi Lighthouse24,

                                      I'm not afraid to report a post as inappropriate. In the Loans an lines of credit forum, a great deal of posts are spam in my opinion. We should form, kind of what you eluded to, a "neighborhood watch" for the Community. We should be the ones policing and not the admin/moderators. We ultimately decide what we want to read and filter out the rest.

                                      I also feel that the moderators/admins should not reveal how they decide what stays/locked/removed on this site. Spammers would read it and find ways around it. They are a sneaky bunch and are getting more and more clever every day.

                                      Kind of reminds me of watching CNN during the Iraq war. The U.S. military would disclose where and when they would attack. And I would say to myself, "Aren't they giving away our strategy to the enemy? What if they're watching this."

                                      caffeinated
                                        • Re: A Moral/Ethical Question
                                          Maddeb Adventurer
                                          Hi Folks,
                                          I've been going though this forum for weeks- and spent countles hours reading. It was easy to spot preditors, spam, and the true leaders. For the most part, I've been following all your posts, copying and pasting- taking notes.

                                          NoBull, DD, Lighthouse, Golfheaven, Iwrite and LUCLIEST.... I've be very attentive to the advice that you've given to so many others; and the inqusitivness to suspects or persons offering bad advice.

                                          I think that if you see a preditor, somehow redirect our 'community friend' in a differnet direction. That woudl be the right thing to do. I see some people are taken. I've done some research on investors that say they have the liquid chase. I find theb in BBB, see the homes the live in on Google Map, and research the heck out of them on the internet. There are bad people out there, and some business owners/entrapreuners get desprit and find hope in these people.

                                          So my advice to your ethical/moral delema is to continue to question motives and provide good advice. You guys are my Mentors (in secret).

                                          I am a business owner, and looking for vaulable and a solid source of funding for a large scale project my company has been invited to do. This is what brought me here a few weeks ago. I've been here ever since, and you folks are the leaders that others should follow. Keep it up- your time, your compassion and kindness is appreciated.

                                          I just want to encourage you guys to continue the positive aspects that you bring to this forum, and "Thank You!" for the advice.

                                          I'm not done here yet... still looking for the answers. So I'll be watching you ;)

                                          See you around, and maybe I 'll speak up a bit now that I've finally joined.
                                        • Re: A Moral/Ethical Question
                                          KarmaKool Newbie
                                          I attempt to let others know about ethical issues such as this.
                                          • Re: A Moral/Ethical Question
                                            desiad521 Newbie
                                            Hello,
                                            Recently there was an execution style shooting of 4 people in my town because someone interviened between to strangers arguing. I believe that you should never interviene like that , stand up for what you believe in but at a distance and call the police. After all You do not get paid what they do to keep your ommunity safe. Thanks For Listening
                                            • Re: A Moral/Ethical Question
                                              SJCarpentry Wayfarer
                                              First of all, going back to the original thought.

                                              Lighthouse - thanks for being someone who tries to think of the good of the community. I think the right thing to do is for all of us to look out for each other. I think if we see free offers and get rich quick offers, small business owners need to be sophisticated buyers. I don't think the moderators should be tasked with researching each post to determine whether or not the marketing message is true. After all, that could be a slippery slope. If someone says that there service is 'the best', should the moderators pull it if they determine the claim is not supported.

                                              So, my thought would be - everyone be wary of crazy ads on this and other sites, secondly, let's not respond to those who post crap - after all, the best way to let a post go unnoticed is if no one responds to it, finally, if you do due diligence on a post and find something alarming - put up a separate post warning others.

                                              I think you did the community a good turn by researchin it and raising the issue