More data, as promised. And a call for 2 more months?

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Jason R
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More data, as promised. And a call for 2 more months?

Post by Jason R » Feb 7th 2003, 9:43 am

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

(for the data, go to the end of the message)

First, I've made a decision to post order numbers and names for submitted problems. I've done this because I am about to ask for something I would never in a million years would have thought I'd be asking for.

I am asking us to give AU.com to have 2 more months to provide refunds.

Why am I asking for this? Because there is little else that we can do. Customers have submitted complaints to their cards, to the IFCC and Attorney General, etc. The press is starting to pick up on the story. In sum, if AU is broke, and asking for 2 more months to make payments, there is little else that we can do.

Ok, so why am I posting the customer names and order numbers for submitted complaints?

I am doing this because 1) our public accusations against AU are fairly serious and 2) I cannot think of how this information compromises privacy. Without an email address or location, I'd have to imagine that there are many people with the same name.

Additionally, including names and order numbers will allow people to see if their problem was counted.

Recently, AnotherUniverse.com sent out an email asking people to resubmit problems. They also have not logged in to check data for many months, in fact, I cancelled their passwords when the company "changed" ownership (same owner, but still a change of shell companies).

Anyway, if a moderator feels this is inappropriate, they can remove this post. I just think that it is important to make people know the magnitude of the problem.

Some notes about the data: Some people submitted multiple problems. I have tried to filter out duplicates of the same problem. However, if the same person submitted 3 different problems, they all remain. There still might be a few that the filter missed, although I tried to go through it by hand. It's just that with my new job and less-flexible hours, my time is pretty limited. According to a fairly decent estimate, 1,020 submitted either a double bill, overcharge or a cancellation refund request. Not surprisingly, a large number of people who were double billed subsequently requested cancellations.

Even if those two categories cancel out (i.e. the same person requesting a cancellation and a double bill refund, it is my belief that it still allows us to estimate the number of refunds due. It might be two requests, but it is also presumably for twice the normal amount.

Anyway, here is the data in .txt format:

This includes all problems submitted:
http://www.drygrass.com/documents/complaintlog.txt

And filtered down to 1,011 complaints which require refunds:
http://www.drygrass.com/documents/needrefunds.txt
Last edited by Jason R on Feb 10th 2003, 3:18 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Sascha (sab)
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Re: More data, as promised. And a call for 2 more months?

Post by Sascha (sab) » Feb 7th 2003, 11:50 am

Jason Rosenfeld wrote:I am asking us to give AU.com to have 2 more months to provide refunds.

Why am I asking for this? Because there is little else that we can do. Customers have submitted complaints to their cards, to the IFCC and Attorney General, etc. The press is starting to pick up on the story. In sum, if AU is broke, and asking for 2 more months to make payments, there is little else that we can do.
Hm, don't get me wrong, but what is new? You write yourself that there is nothing left anyone can do, so what difference does it make if you give AU "2 more months" or not?
Maybe I'm missing something here, but as sad as it is, this looks for me like just another ultimatum that AU can easily ignore :-(

I guess AU will continue to give refunds as soon as they have money. The only thing that can be done is keep bugging them so they'll put every single cent they earn in refunds just to get finally rid of all the complaints - one by one. But I have some doubts whether they will ever have any money again...

I think the only positive sign is the fact that AU isn't officially bankrupt. For some reason Ross wants to keep AU alive - even with the depts they should have by now. Wouldn't it be just easier for him to shut AU down? No more refunds or other annoying MSCL customers?
Ok, so why am I posting the customer names and order numbers for submitted complaints?

I am doing this because 1) our public accusations against AU are fairly serious and 2) I cannot think of how this information compromises privacy. Without an email address or location, I'd have to imagine that there are many people with the same name.
Did you maybe check back with some legal expert before doing this? Even if you're only publishing names and order numbers, this could still offend some customers. I actually recognize a lot of names on this list... Maybe just print the first name and the first letter of the surname. But now it's too late anyway.

Jason R
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Post by Jason R » Feb 7th 2003, 11:58 am

EDIT: Thanks to Spartacus for editing out the last names. I reposted the data. I will probably not be able to check back here until tonight.

this thread is also a little call for assistance. spartacus and some of the auSUCKS people have been very helpful, I'm just stuck as to what the next move can be. The problems are submitted, people have filed their complaints to various agencies. The trade press is about to cover this. Seems like anything else is just duplicated effort.

That's why i am essentially asking for permission to focus more on my other projects during the 2 month period.

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Re: More data, as promised. And a call for 2 more months?

Post by Nostradamus » Feb 9th 2003, 6:26 pm

Jason Rosenfeld wrote:First, I've made a decision to post order numbers and names for submitted problems. I've done this because I am about to ask for something I would never in a million years would have thought I'd be asking for.

I am asking us to give AU.com to have 2 more months to provide refunds.

Why am I asking for this? Because there is little else that we can do. Customers have submitted complaints to their cards, to the IFCC and Attorney General, etc. The press is starting to pick up on the story. In sum, if AU is broke, and asking for 2 more months to make payments, there is little else that we can do.

Ok, so why am I posting the customer names and order numbers for submitted complaints?

I am doing this because 1) our public accusations against AU are fairly serious and 2) I cannot think of how this information compromises privacy. Without an email address or location, I'd have to imagine that there are many people with the same name.

Additionally, including names and order numbers will allow people to see if their problem was counted.

Anyway, if a moderator feels this is inappropriate, they can remove this post. I just think that it is important to make people know the magnitude of the problem.
How does the posting of these names change anything? Those of us who had AU problems already believed your statistics, while your critics and any objective observers might point out that since the names and numbers cannot be traced to specific real persons, they could have been pulled out of a hat.

Although I agree that it wasn't a serious breach of confidentiality, as Sascha guessed I was a bit miffed that you didn't use a mass e-mail to ask each of us for permission before posting the names. (I also echo your thanks to Spartacus for the timely editing.)
this thread is also a little call for assistance. spartacus and some of the auSUCKS people have been very helpful, I'm just stuck as to what the next move can be. The problems are submitted, people have filed their complaints to various agencies. The trade press is about to cover this. Seems like anything else is just duplicated effort.

That's why i am essentially asking for permission to focus more on my other projects during the 2 month period.
Heh, methinks that is one thing you don't have to ask our permission for. IMHO, you have done just about everything you could reasonably be expected to do for this project, and maybe more. Other than keeping an eye out for developments here, I don't see any reason why you shouldn't devote most of your time to raking in the profits from your other business ventures and enjoying your life to the fullest.

:)
I have never killed a man, but I have read many obituaries with great pleasure.
-- Clarence Darrow

I didn't attend the funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying I approved of it.
-- Mark Twain

Jason R
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Post by Jason R » Feb 9th 2003, 7:38 pm

I think that the next survey I send out will ask for specific dollar amounts owed, plus I will ask people to report when they do receive refunds. If we keep the attention on AU over the next few months, we can keep the pressure on them to refund the money.

Some have questioned my reasons for hounding AU for refunds.

Here they are:

1) My name was on all of the emails selling the product on behalf of AU
2) I falsely assured people that AU was fixing things (I didn't realize it was false, but I was certainly misled by AU)
3) I decided this summer that I'd rather piss off a company that is providing horrendous service (is "providing" even applicable? it's more like "not providing any customer service") than to screw the real customers who were putting me in business in the first place
4) I'd feel very cheesy if I just moved on after leading the customers to AU.

Finally, and frankly, they deserve it. They are not a good company and they should not be allowed to deal with people's money. And that's pretty much what I've been telling the press. Until they prove otherwise, that's what I'll continue saying.

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Post by starbug » Feb 10th 2003, 8:00 am

I have to say, seeing people's names in those datasets brings home to me the personal nature of the problem. But I already knew about the problem.

I too would have appreciated the chance to give my permission to have my name put on the web... I suppose it's mostly academic now, but I can virtually guarantee you that there's only one person with my name. I'm not kidding.

:D

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Post by countess_of_wit » Feb 10th 2003, 10:21 am

I am on the list for being overcharged but I haven't been getting the surveys and I don't know where to go to report that I did get a refund from my credit card company.

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Post by so-called customer » Feb 10th 2003, 1:39 pm

While I filed through Drygrass about my cancellation, I never authorised the publication of that data to anyone outside AU or perhaps federal authorities. To have our full names (until they were edited out) and order numbers made available on the internet is a breach of the terms of filing the complaint in the first place. If you had stated up front that any personal data was to be released to the public, I would not have used the feedback form, or filled out the surveys. AU's security has already been breached at least once, and adding more data isn't helping matters.

I am done with AU, my bank has credited my money. I don't feel there is any need to be further involved in this. I think that before you go ahead and publish people's private information, which was submitted on the basis of anonimity and statistical use only, you should allow them the opportunity to opt out.

Jason R
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Post by Jason R » Feb 10th 2003, 3:12 pm

unfortunately, email has proven a less than effective way of communicating with everyone.

if i cannot post even order numbers, I simply have to give up. I will be back on April 6 to see if anyone received their refunds.

jason

medellia77
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Post by medellia77 » Feb 10th 2003, 11:26 pm

jason wrote:unfortunately, email has proven a less than effective way of communicating with everyone.

if i cannot post even order numbers, I simply have to give up. I will be back on April 6 to see if anyone received their refunds.

jason
Jason,

I know a lot of people have posted this in the past, but I wanted to let you know that you've been incredible throughout this whole ordeal, and although there is a ways to go before this is resolved, I think we're in a better situation thanks to your help than if you had truly broken off of this project.

Jason R
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Post by Jason R » Feb 10th 2003, 11:49 pm

Well since I helped to create this mess by introducing AU to BMG, and both parties to the customers, I'm in it for the long haul.

Some good press coming up soon. I am confident that AU will have no choice but to refund your money if it wants to continue to exist.

I decided to pull all data offline. I will probably conduct another survey in a few weeks. I will also ask people to "check in" when or if they receive refunds.

Some major, major press in the works. All of AU's suppliers and customers will learn how they do business.

Jason
"who still hasn't received a 1099 and who HAS now reported AU to the IRS."

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elfin
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a copy???

Post by elfin » Feb 12th 2003, 10:58 am

Is there anybody out there who made a copy of this data? I really wanna know if I'm in ...

Do have to check more often this site ...

Jason R
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Re: a copy???

Post by Jason R » Feb 12th 2003, 11:39 am

the old catch 22. not getting everybody by email, and can't post the data either. :x
elfin wrote:Is there anybody out there who made a copy of this data? I really wanna know if I'm in ...

Do have to check more often this site ...

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Post by TessD1891 » Feb 13th 2003, 3:21 am

I'm not getting any emails from you either, Jason, probably because I have a different email address. Can you add me to your list? (cinderellaincomplete@hotpop.com)
Brian, we're not talking about wallpaper here, are we.

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MarkSWalker
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Post by MarkSWalker » Feb 15th 2003, 8:35 pm

Jason-

You mention that some "major, major" press is in the works.

While I am sure you don't want to name publications, I am
wondering if you have heard anything about The Comic Journal
coming out with any info in the near future, and where I could
buy one...

Thanks,

Mark

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