Daddy Clanger (imc) wrote,
Daddy Clanger

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Ebay says spam is fine*

*as long as you don't send it from their system.

I don't know about you, but just recently I received a flurry of spams from someone claiming to offer Microsoft products at huge discounts and including the URL of an eBay auction (item 3619010643 if you really must look). This is a very scammy-looking ad of the form "if you send me money I'll give you the info you need to be able to order this stuff". When sending the first couple of these via SpamCop didn't produce much result (it's to be expected really) I sent off manual complaints to BT (which is where the email was sent from), Yahoo (where the miscreant hosted his contact email address) and eBay. The one to Yahoo bounced with an unintelligible error message.

Sending a spam complaint to eBay is rather difficult as they don't seem to advertise any email addresses on site. Instead you have to navigate a twisty maze of support pages which send you round in circles if you either have JavaScript turned off or don't click on the right links. You also have to sign in to eBay before you can get a poxy web form to type your complaint into.

So I wrote three things: (a) a complaint about the above faff, (b) the actual spam complaint, and (c) a query as to whether this is the kind of thing one should sell on eBay.

The first reply merely asked for a copy of the spam, since I had refused to try pasting into the web form. After I had done that, the reply to my complaint was:

I have reviewed the information that you have sent in regarding the spam email and at this point find that I do not have enough evidence to show that any eBay member has violated any eBay rules.

The offender sent the email from an address outside of the eBay community.

The rest of my questions went ignored (of course).

So that's that: if you want to publicise your eBay auction, go ahead and spam away. Just don't use the eBay system to do it.

Now every reply from eBay support is accompanied by another one asking my opinion of the reply they just sent. The first one of these I ignored (since the issue hadn't been dealt with yet) but I went to the survey site for the second one. It asked me: `Was the issue resolved?' I paused for a second. Well actually, no it wasn't, because they only addressed one of my three points and even that one got a rather lame response. So I pressed `No' on the assumption that it would then ask me why I didn't feel satisfied with the response I got. On the contrary: `Thanks for completing this survey.'

The email to BT generated a reply saying `please send a copy of the spam complete with headers, in plain text and not as an attachment' - complete with a tutorial on what headers are. I did this, but asked them why they hadn't been able to see the copy of the spam in my original mail (which had been sent in plain text, albeit as an attachment - note that this copy of the spam was included in the copy of my email to which they had top-posted the request, although their mail software had cut out most of the interesting headers before quoting it). The reply to that was:

With regards to viewing attachments; rather than an email program, we use a database from which attachments are filtered for virus-protection reasons. This is why we request reports in plain text.

Well that's a bit crap. But at least the reply indicated that they are going to investigate it.

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