Forum Thread

Am I stupid for being too honest?

clearanceman 7,311 1,338 August 12, 2015 at 09:55 AM

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OK, so ordered a hard to find toy for my son online. It's sold out but one vendor had them for 50% over list which is still about 25% less than what they cost on ebay. He really really wanted this and was willing to pay for it with his own savings.

The vendor took their sweet time shipping and even though I ordered on a Saturday, I should have had the item no later than the next Wednesday. Wednesday came and went and by the following Tuesday I had had enough. The vendor refused to provide a tracking number and I was sure they were lying about sending the item. I could see they charged my card though.

So I contacted the CC company and disputed the charged. I received an on the spot permanent credit. So of course the next day the item came in the mail.

I contacted the CC company again and told them.

Am I stupid to be honest, could I have just got the item for free? It was a $50 item. I didn't want to abuse the system, the item did come and it was as described. But I see people all the time in hot deals talk about ripping off different systems. So I wondered.

I don't know how it would have impacted the merchant. Does the CC company eat the cost or take it back from the merchant? In any case, I did the right thing but I feel a little stupid for being honest.


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I believe there is an expression that goes something along the lines of: if you have to ask if something is moral or ethical, you already know the answer.

Yes, you did the 'right thing'. Could you have gotten away with it? Almost certainly. But it could have also been notated in your account, and if you had a legitimate claim down the road, possibly for something much bigger, you might have found yourself in a much more difficult position in dealing with the CC company.

There is also a difference between exploiting price mistakes, coupon code issues, etc., and what would have been borderline credit card fraud. I doubt anyone would have endorsed doing the latter.

The way it is handled depends on the bank. In some cases, for small amounts, they might just eat the loss and write it off without any investigation -- a likely outcome based on your statement about getting an immediate "permanent" credit, as mot of the time they give you a temporary one while they look into it. In other situations, especially if fraud is claimed, they will hold the funds from the merchant and investigate the situation with them. The merchant, if they follow proper procedures, have some protections, but they could wind up being out the money.
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Too honest? Feel bad for being honest? I think you have things confused. You should have felt bad if you didn't do that. You should feel bad for even thinking it.

I think you way jumped the gun by filing the chargeback. It hadn't even been a week yet? I blame the CC companies. They encourage people to do that now since they make money off of it. More on this later. It wasn't always the case. Historically, it was harder to do a chargeback. You had to show the CC company that you put an honest effort into resolving it first with the merchant. Less than a week late would have automatically denied the chargeback.

But.... CC companies make money on chargebacks. They charge the vendor a fee. Since the great depression banks have been strapped for cash, so they have been pushing new ways to earn revenue. Chargeback fees is one of them.

I also don't think you know what a chargeback means. It doesn't mean you will get anything for free. It's the same as doing a stop payment on a check. That does not mean the debt is not still owed. So if I was the merchant, I would have sold that debt to a collections agency. Then you would have ended up with a big black mark on your credit report and owed the original sales price, the chargeback fee and of course the collection agency fee. Also, even if you had ended up paying off the collection agency that doesn't mean that the big black mark would be removed from your credit report.

So not only did you do the honest thing. You did the best thing for the merchant and yourself.
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Last edited by ghostofposterspast August 12, 2015 at 10:11 AM
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The financial objective in life is to get as much free stuff as possible, without resorting to theft, violence, or fraud. That merchant deserves its money, at least most of it (I wouldn't be ashamed of accepting a 10% discount), but maybe it also deserves a less than stellar review.

Card issuers almost never lose money when a charge was initially legitimate, even if the merchant skips town, because merchant accounts require paying into a contingency fund to handle chargebacks. An exception might have been when PayPal charged the wrong credit card of mine on a tiny eBay purchase, so GE/Synchrony/Paypal Mastercard cancelled the charge, but I verified that the merchant did get paid for my purchase.
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Last edited by larrymoencurly August 12, 2015 at 11:17 AM
you don't sound honest

you don't talk honest
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Honesty is always the best policy. But I will screw over Lowes ever chance I get, cause they screwed me over BIG TIME.
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Quote from joshuaNH View Post :
Honesty is always the best policy. But I will screw over Lowes ever chance I get, cause they screwed me over BIG TIME.
They screw me everyday
The prices keep going up. tic tic of inflation. nothing has changed but their bottom line. The rise of the interest rates...........
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Personally I'd rather sleep at night than stay awake wondering if I did the right thing even if it means I don't come out ahead financially. That's probably why will never join the ranks of the super rich lol.
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It seems to me that the cc company most like have came back to you after the merchant submitted a tracking number with the delivery confirmation in response to the chargeback.

Chargebacks are expensive for merchants, not only they do not receive the funds but also get slapped with $30 chargeback fees (maybe less now but still a fee).

Moreover the merchant is also being asked to submit any evidence of transaction if they dispute the chargeback, such as signed receipts, tracking numbers, recorder calls if order was placed over the phone, ip addresses for online orders etc.

So while ur bank issued an immediate credit, they most likely have came back to you after receiving the paperwork from the seller and reversed the credit (and probably noted your account for any future chargebacks u might initiate).

While yes the vendor clearly could have communicated better, and there are many ways to petty profit, but this one is probably one of the slimiest.
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You did the right thing, if you hadn't reported to your CC that you did receive the item and ended up keeping both the item and the credit then that would have been fraud.

Just because people "on the internet" claim they take part in morally ambiguous behavior does not mean that you should do the same. Oftentimes they are just blowing smoke
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I must say, in an age that's confused with moral relativism, I'm happy to see unanimous agreement (to which I'll add mine) that you did "the right thing".
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Yes, you did the right thing. Honesty is rare, rare because it's true.
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You don't sound very honest.
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Quote from charles052 View Post :
You have blind faith whereas I do not.

Quote from skiman View Post :
I can't escape the mental picture. is very clearly some sort of information anus yet some posters seem eager to attach their lips and deliver the product here.
am glad you did the right thing Smilie... in the world we live in today, i think it is normal to question it...
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I know the OP figured out the right thing to do already, but I wanted to put my 2 cents in.

What would you tell your son? You would have to keep his money and not tell him anything, which is pretty much stealing from the vendor, the credit card company, and now your son. Or you tell him what you did and give him his money back, which is just poor parenting all around. Or you make up another lie and give him his money back. Either choice is a bad choice.
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Whoever said money doesn't buy happiness doesn't know how to shop.
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