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Shopping services: legal question 
25th-Jan-2013 11:46 pm
I know it's common practice for shopping services to take payment for an item before they even have it; essentially you are paying for something that the shopping service doesn't have yet and that there is no guarantee you will own. I'm really curious: Is this actually legal?
26th-Jan-2013 08:02 am (UTC)
Isn't it the same as commissioning an artist to paint a portrait for you? Or, hiring someone to track down a particular piece of furniture or pottery that might exist?
26th-Jan-2013 08:20 am (UTC)
That's what I was wondering. But the difference between a bid and a commission is that with a commission, you're guaranteed to get that product (or else you can sue), but with a bid, there's no guarantee you'll win the auction.
26th-Jan-2013 10:53 am (UTC)
But when a commission isn't completed as promised, as with an SS, you get a refund if the commission cannot be completed. Completing a service as-promised and offering a refund if that's not possible is pretty legal afaik. I think in most lines of business if you had a reputation for giving refunds rather than the finished product it would make people unwilling to go to you or recommend you, but it's not illegal.
26th-Jan-2013 08:22 am (UTC)
It's a deposit, not necessarily a payment. It wouldn't make sense for the service to pay out of their pocket for an item which the buyer may change their minds on.
26th-Jan-2013 08:30 am (UTC)
When you buy an item online, you don't have it in your hand. Even if you purchase something at McDonalds, you don't get the food until after payment. I don't see this as being particularly different.
26th-Jan-2013 08:37 am (UTC)
It's kinda the same concept with pre-orders.
28th-Jan-2013 10:02 am (UTC)
26th-Jan-2013 04:50 pm (UTC)
Well if you buy something from an onlinestore, you usually also have to pay before the item arrived at your home. So where is the difference?
26th-Jan-2013 05:26 pm (UTC)
The reason SS need to get money from you before they have the items, is because they actually need to buy it first. Its not much of a business if you have to to buy everything with your own money and hope that the person who ordered it gives you the money on time.
Like everyone said, Its not illegal. If you're worried about it, make sure that you Google the heck of out your SS and make sure they have a good reputation/feed back.
27th-Jan-2013 03:57 pm (UTC)
I would imagine that the laws on that vary from country to country (and in the US laws on shopping vary from state to state). I'm not a lawyer, but, from my understanding, if you order an item with a shopping service and pay upfront for the whole order and then they fail to send you either the money back or the item, then they have broken an informal written contract between you and them, and that is likely illegal most places. Beyond that, I don't know.
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