Such a pleasant surprise at my mailbox this afternoon: A padded envelope with a Pevely, MO, return address, containing the 12 dvds that comprise the Destinos: An Introduction to Spanish video instructional series (52-half hour shows produced by by WGBH in Boston). There was no name in the return address and nothing inside the envelope other than the dvds, in paper sleeves. Still, I’m pretty sure the package comes from the only person I know who purports to have a Pevely address: Derek Daniel Buckner, the subject of our November 12th post, “should we e-shame Derek Buckner (the cyber-peddler not the City-painter)?.”
Our earlier post describes in detail “my highly unsatisfactory consumer interaction” with Mr. Buckner (not the Brooklyn painter with the same name), who was a very responsive correspondent before I sent my check, but who had failed to send Destinos, a month after that check had cleared. His last “communication” was a Yahoo Auto Response claiming that he could not access his email in-box but had shipped all items to his DB Liquidations customers as of October 25, 2007.
Because the metered postage label on the package that I received today has the date “Nov 14, 07,” and Derek hasn’t sent any explanation for the delay or timing, it looks like it was our “e-shaming” of him that nudged Mr. Buckner to fulfill his obligations as a Cyber-Seller. So, I’m quite happy that I took the time to memorialize our transaction, and that the post achieved such robust search engine presence. [Today, it's the 7th result in the Google search /"Derek Buckner"/ (despite the many links featuring the popular painter), and the first result for the query /"Derek Buckner" Missouri/.]
e-shaming can work (at least, when you have a well-linked weblog): I probably would have never received the purchased product or a refund of my money from Derek, had I not brought our situation to the internet. He had apparently lied about his bank holding my check for ten days, and then about shipping the item by October 25th and getting back in touch after establishing a new email account, so there’s little reason to think he was suddenly going to act in good faith and send the Destinos discs.
The Abuse Department at craigslist wrote back a few days ago, saying that they would not be able to do anything for me, and “this may be a matter for law enforcement.” They suggested that I might try “consumer mediation services available in your area” (with someone several states away who I had no way to contact and no reason to trust!) and that I file a complaint with the Internet Crime Complaint Center (not noticing that I had attached the complaint I had already filed with IC3 and mentioned it prominently in my e-mail complaint to craigslist — nor that their reply to me had that same IC3 complaint attached to it.). On the law enforcement front, the St. Louis County Police internet fraud officer called this morning, saying they wouldn’t take any action over a $60 dispute (unless they get more complaints about the same seller). So, it looks like a little cyber self-help was apparently my best bet, and it worked this time.
Nonetheless, I am sensitive to the issues raised by law professor Daniel J. Solove in The Future of Reputation (which f/k/a reviewed on Nov. 8, 2007), about permanently shaming a person on the internet. Therefore, I need to decide what to do with my original posting about Derek Buckner. Naturally, I will place an update blurb in the post tonight, saying that I have now received the merchandise. But, should I expunge it, or otherwise help give Derek a chance to rehabilitate his reputation?
For many reasons, I’ve concluded that I should not remove the earlier post (or details identifying Derek Buckner of Missouri) — at this time. Here’s why:
- as indicated in the earlier post, this does not appear to be the first time Derek Buckner, d/b/a “DB liquidations” or “wrestling_king”, has given buyers unsatisfactory service of this nature;
- Derek was willing to mistreat me as a customer, despite my first telling him (truthfully) that I was on disability and a very limited budget, and was therefore very pleased to find his low price for Destinos; and, even after I informed him that I’m a retired lawyer, but active consumer advocate, with a weblog, who expected fair treatment. That information merely got the dubious stalling response that his bank was holding my check for ten days. So, I finally got a bit more specific, telling Derei:
Unless you give me a very good reason not to do so, I will begin tomorrow to send alerts to Craigslist and other online vendors about doing business with you, and contact US Postal authorities (mail fraud is serious business), and local law enforcement in Missouri.
I will also be posting at my weblog about the risk of doing business with you. My website has about 2500 visits a day and is the #1 Google result for many of the topics discussed there.
That message basically made Derek go into hiding, and garnered the Yahoo Auto Response saying that his email In Box was broken, but he had shipped all orders.
after biting the horse
the horsefly hides out…
………………………… by Kobayashi Issa, translated by David G. Lanoue
- Clearly, Derek Buckner, who calls himself “midwestpokerplayer” at his MySpace.com webpage, was gambling that I would not do anything over losing a mere $60.00.
- Standing alone, then, Derek’s decision to mail me the merchandise — two days after I wrote about him here at f/k/a and received healthy search engine results — with no explanation and no way to reach him, is not much of a guarantee that Mr. Buckner has resolved to be an honest Seller in all transactions from this point forward.
For the sake of others who might be considering a purchase from cyber-peddler Derek Daniel Buckner — especially doing so directly, without an organization offering recourse –I believe the message in our Nov. 12th post needs to stay online, where it will be easy to find using Google or Yahoo or other search engines. It will be informative for other consumers, who mostly do not have the leverage of a weblog with relatively good visibility to encourage Derek to be on his best behavior.
Sunset Clause: Nonetheless, Dan Solove is correct: forever is a very long time. So, I’d be willing to sunset my e-shame post about Derek in two years, if he contacts me requesting that I remove the identifying information in the post (which also has useful lessons and links for consumers). At that time, if my research shows no continuing misbehavior by him as a seller online, I will sunset the e-shaming aspects of the post.
wet with morning dew…
a tough character
waiting and waiting
the willow tree
rain from the eaves
a late sunset
……………………………. by Kobayashi Issa, translated by David G. Lanoue
special delivery –
a smile from
the pregnant mailman
………………………………. by dagosan