Ethics 101: Is it ever ok to swindle a swindler?

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by edpal, Mar 18, 2014.

  1. edpal

    edpal Banned

    Oct 3, 2007
    I deal in vintage electronics, primarily wristwatches. A gentleman buys a rather expensive watch ($500) off me, goes over the return and refund policies repeatedly. HE receives the item, writes me and says it arrived dead. I tell him to return for repair/replace - for a number of reasons it is quite obvious he has swapped the all-important insides with a broken one, the batteries aren't even the name brand I carry in my store. Understand I load these items with the batteries and set them personally before they are shipped.

    Rather than going through a chained death-match with him via Paypal, which I will inevitably lose, I am thinking about swindling the swindler with a working but mediocre guts.

    Karma, X-igion, ethics - make all arguments for why I will or will not burn in hell for this.:bag: Or is it incumbant upon me to reswindle as a strike back at the bad guy?:spit:
  2. repoman


    Aug 11, 2011
    Kinderhook NY
    "Yes, and it is also OK to kill a killer."
  3. mellowinman

    mellowinman Free Man

    Oct 19, 2011
    Don't get me started.
  4. MJ5150

    MJ5150 Terrific Twister

    Apr 12, 2001
    Lacey, WA
    Rise above. By acting in kind, you are only perpetuating the behavior you dislike.

  5. shadven


    Dec 30, 2009
    Tampa, FL
    I rock therefore I am.
  6. edpal

    edpal Banned

    Oct 3, 2007
    Come at us will be good for you to vent I'm thinking. IF I was a gambling man I'd lay money on which you are going to roll with this. IF you play :)
  7. edpal

    edpal Banned

    Oct 3, 2007
    I know, but this is such a burn, my profit(via my labor) margin is usually only 10-15%. This is my primary source of income.

    But I agree, it sucks to be part of the problem.

    Probably what tears me up the most would be doing it on the sly - I like being direct with people when they piss me off. I wanted to send him the scary "I'm making a police report" email. I explain on my website how my goods are marked with some little hi-tech laser inscribed dots - he STILL pulled the swap on me. But it's my word agisnt his and PAypal will bend me over with no spit.:oops: Data Dots
  8. I would try and take the case to paypal, maybe even to the authorities?

    I wouldn't send him the wrong thing back, wouldn't be difficult for him to ruin your reputation by showing you sold him a bit of a knock off.

    (Basically, you have more to lose here)
  9. tastybasslines

    tastybasslines Banned

    May 9, 2010
    Los Angeles, CA
    If you do, what happens if he recognizes what you did and makes another claim? Can you lose the privilege to use Paypal?

    This is why I don't sell on Ebay anymore. It's a joke how they treat sellers. What about using an escrow service?
  10. edpal

    edpal Banned

    Oct 3, 2007
    My reputation in the watch collecting community is so good I think he would be totally lambasted as fool, tool and just pathetic. I've had a hand at alerting the watch collecting community of people passing fake/imitation parts. Including hi-res photos of the real deal and fakes under the microscope on a fan site I run. There is serious money at stake sometimes.
  11. slobake

    slobake resident ... something Supporting Member

    Personally I would have to refrain from sending him something really nasty in a package. Of course I wouldn't but that is where my mind goes.
    Is there anything you can learn from this? Is there a way to prevent this in the future? Can you warn other vendors about this guy?
    Might also be better to just refund his money at this point. Cut your losses and walk away. If you send him another watch there is nothing preventing him from pulling the same kind of crap.
  12. edpal

    edpal Banned

    Oct 3, 2007
    I don't sell on ebay, I have my own site

    I won't lose privileges, I'll just get screwed on the money.

    !Snap! And I try so hard to help the public, dozens of hours of free advice every year to say nothing of the 2 fan sites I run at zero profit just to give back to the community that helps me stay in biz.

    I'm stalling him for right now.....
  13. floydman

    floydman Supporting Member

    Sep 27, 2002
    southeast CT
    quality control- make a checklist with signoffs and maybe even photos of different stages involved in your preparing an item for shipment. many people do this for the shipping+handling purpose, to have evidence of proper packing in case of damage in transit, but perhaps you need to document the integrity of the specific watch or product also before packaging. then when this happens you can show the Serial Number, watch internals, battery, video of the watch working as advertised, etc. to Paypal or Ebay as your defense. If no video, a checklist with initials and date at different inspection steps would also be evidence in your favor.
  14. edpal

    edpal Banned

    Oct 3, 2007
    That is probably the best idea. The case, box and movement chassis is worth about half the purchase price to me. BEtter a stick in the eye than totally blinded?:mad:
  15. Unprofessional


    Mar 5, 2012
    I agree with this. Refund his money and cut him loose. Don't mess up your peace by engaging in grifter behavior. Those kind of people don't learn lessons, anyway.
  16. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    If you can prove he did the swap, I'd be contacting the authorities!
  17. LSquared


    Jul 28, 2009
    SW Illinois USA
    I think this is something that you should be very proud of, and a reputation you would want to protect. Is "swindling the swindler" something that would help or hurt that reputation?

    There's no such thing as "situational ethics", IMHO.
  18. slobake

    slobake resident ... something Supporting Member

    Also if he posts negative feedback online it will be an opportunity to respond with what you found and say that you refunded his money anyway.
    In a way that might be good PR for you and warn others about him.
  19. edpal

    edpal Banned

    Oct 3, 2007
    Agreed. And I still have the bulk of the watch in hand so I can't lose that.

    Thanks - hey, you could have said this public, it's the truth. I didn't think to cover my tracks... :D
  20. edpal

    edpal Banned

    Oct 3, 2007
    I was hoping for argument that there were.:help:

    Thanks guys, I'm off to take the high road.