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lmbarns

Contracts when dealing by email

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*********************UPDATE*************************************

After several days of no response to my forwarded email chain with his offer to me, and an elaborate screenshot filled post on the Unity forum, I was contacted and given access and asked to edit the post if I could.

What I got me results was threatening to file a complaint with http://www.ic3.gov/default.aspx with the quoted message from a link on that webpage which states:
An interesting point about fraud is that it is a crime in which you decide on whether to participate. Hanging up the phone or not responding to shady mailings or emails makes it difficult for the scammer to commit fraud. But con artists are very persuasive, using all types of excuses, explanations, and offers to lead you — and your money — away from common sense.[/quote]

Which did the trick.....

What I learned from the situation:

  • Only deal with people who have a legit business via email unless you can afford to lose what's being traded
  • Save the emails
  • If they don't honor the email threaten to file with the internet crime complaint center
  • Link relevant definitions of fraud, false advertisement, etc to your specific situation

    *********Original Problem************************

    I always figured since email is written that it's = to faxing and filling out a document.


    A year ago I bought a couple models off a guy's site, he emailed me back offering a lifetime package for a price, I said well I don't have the money, he said you can make payments, I ended up getting the money and buying it in 2 payments over a 1 week period. (had to deposit a check and wait for it to clear)

    I just emailed him to ask a couple questions about models that he has on his site that weren't on the ftp part (mostly the low poly models) and he says actually, I gave you a different deal, it's $150 extra if you want that deal.

    I just forwarded him our conversation chain of emails, but seriously....it was a good deal at the time, lower than he normally charges, and I didn't have the extra money to spend at the time, but I did because it was such an amazing deal. Now he charges a lot more for the same stuff, and said it was another $250 for what I wanted but he'd give it to me for $150.

    This was his initial offer to me via email after I'd purchased some models off his site:

    Thank you for your orders today. As a thank you i would like to offer you a huge discount on LIFETIME membership to CompanyName and CompanyNameSounds. You can download for LIFE all content you see on these sites, now and in the FUTURE.
    Also on Monday im releasing a Medieval NPC pack plus another NPC pack later in the week. Also a dungeon pack tomorrow.
    [/quote]

    So now I'm wondering what I should do, should I print out my emails showing the date/time somehow, what do I need to do to preserve them so that in the future, if I use this guy's stuff, he doesn't come back and say, "Well, actually" again...

    Also, how would you feel in this situation, I purchased the stuff last June, so almost a year ago.

    This is what he said in his email I just received from him:
    Also, everyhing is included in the lifetime deal, except for the base character packs - at the time i did email you when you first asked about the memebrship, but as it was another $250 more and i didnt hear from you, i just went with the first deal i offered as i didnt want to seem too pushy[/quote]

    NOTES: I didn't ask him about a membership, he approached me with the offer. I let him know the following day I would do it but needed to scrounge up the money which I got to him within the week. Edited by lmbarns

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I didn't ask him about a membership, he approached me with the offer. I let him know the following day I would do it but needed to scrounge up the money which I got to him within the week.


I will be honest and say without reading through the emails themselves it is somewhat difficult to make any sort of determination as to the details of the contract between you i.e. what items you were entitled to under the arrangement, what a lifetime membership actually entailed etc and offer appropriate advice. In principle you made a contract with him at the time you exhibited acceptance of his offer (note there are still grey areas with regard the "when" of actual contract creation over email but generically the standard is as mentioned). In principle you might have some issues to legally argue but this is dependant on the contract's wording.

I will say this though and living in the IT world you should also know it as well - BACKUPS are ESSENTIAL. In my case I maintain a generic email address and an archives email address (though there are many different options for back up available). I forward emails into the archives at which time I separate them into the relevant folders. I tend to avoid printing actual hard copies as over the years I have learnt that you generate a crap ton of paper.

One step I would take is to check the other person's website for information (if available) as to what his various "lifetime" memberships and other packages along those lines actually do offer.

As general advice I strongly suggest that when an offer is made to you in the future - you look into exactly what is being offered as well what is not being offered. In such a case as a "lifetime" membership this would also apply to obtaining information (in principle) with regard future content released.

Again I must point out that it is really hard to give specific (or more pointed) advice based on your post. On the surface you are presenting a case - that what you purchased is, based on later developments, not what you had thought you had purchased. The number of issues that are possible out of what you have presented are difficult to narrow down in the absence of details.

Note: I am very much avoiding some of the more interesting issues such as the location of the seller and what legal avenues are/are not available to you if you went down that road.


Thank you for your orders today. As a thank you i would like to offer you a huge discount on LIFETIME membership to CompanyName and CompanyNameSounds. You can download for LIFE all content you see on these sites, now and in the FUTURE.
Also on Monday im releasing a Medieval NPC pack plus another NPC pack later in the week. Also a dungeon pack tomorrow.


Was this entirety of the offer and not just an excerpt from the email? You mention further discussions via email -- did other details get refined through those emails?


at the time i did email you when you first asked about the memebrship, but as it was another $250 more and i didnt hear from you, i just went with the first deal i offered as i didnt want to seem too pushy


You did not mention whether you received this email. Edited by Stormynature

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That was the entirety of the offer. He used the capitalized letters as emphasis on the parts about lifetime, and future content.

There was no second offer, I bought 2 animated characters off his website, when he emailed me the links he included the part I quoted, exactly as it was quoted. The only addition was he mentioned giving me a discount for the 2 models I'd already purchase(he used the $30 I spent as credit toward the entire package)

He's from the UK, has a legitimate company, I'm in the US, ready to file a complaint with the better business bureau if I can against a UK company. I know it's not worth anything but at least is something I can do.

Order of contact:

1) I bought 2 models off his site
2) He emails me back offering huge discount on bulk purchase
3) I tell him I can't afford it, thanks for the offer anyway.
4) He emails me back says he can still give me the package now with a deposit and I can pay the rest as I get money.
5) I make a payment for $100 for a deposit.
6) He gives me links to the downloads
7) Following week I pay off the balance when my check cleared.

A year later I email to ask where the low poly versions of the models are, he says
Also, everything is included in the lifetime deal, except for the base character packs - at the time i did email you when you first asked about the memebrship, but as it was another $250 more and i didnt hear from you, i just went with the first deal i offered as i didnt want to seem too pushy[/quote]


At the time I bought his package he hadn't even created the base character pack yet......

His original and only offer to me:
Thank you for your orders today. As a thank you i would like to offer you a huge discount on LIFETIME membership to CompanyName and CompanyNamemusic. You can download for LIFE all content you see on these sites, now and in the FUTURE.
Also on Monday im releasing a Medieval NPC pack plus another NPC pack later in the week. Also a dungeon pack tomorrow.

I can give you this for $245 - minus one of your purchases today!.. so approx $220. This should cost a lot more

Let me know[/quote]

I email him to ask for the link to my purchase of 2 models he replies:

HI myName

Its hisName from companyName- did you get your email before re discount and also your link information?

Thanks

hisName
[/quote]


That's the only offer, there is no reference to the offer on his site, it's on a per inquiry basis probably because of shady shit like this. I know other developers who've bought the package and it was $300 for them. BUT this was a year ago, the guy was hungry and made me an offer at that time. Should I care that now he charges $500 for the same package today and will sell me the difference for $145?

I wouldn't have bought it under different circumstances, I was just starting in programming, was unemployed, and it was too good to pass up.


I really haven't been able to stop thinking about this, it really pisses me off, and up until this I was giving him raving reviews everywhere I could. Now I'm removing them all and may make a post outlining the situation as a warning to others in the community where he sells his stuff.......

I sent him the following email and forwarded our communication chain of emails:

I'm sorry but what are the "base packs" that are another $145. On your site it's $99 for the customizable npcs so what do you mean base character packs?

Also I didn't have the money to buy your pack when I did, but I did because it was so cheap. This is what I thought I was buying(forwarded attachments). Anyway I'm developing for mobiles now and can't use 95% of things because I don't have low poly versions......

Good luck.
[/quote] Edited by lmbarns

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Should I care that now he charges $500 for the same package today and will sell me the difference for $145?


Can you clarify this -- Is he selling what the original offer was as a $500 package now i.e. the Base character pack is included.

You said


That's the only offer, there is no reference to the offer on his site, it's on a per inquiry basis probably because of shady shit like this.


So am trying to determine if you knew of another developer who had done this etc or where you came to this figure from -- if similar wording was used in emails to them and they had access to all the website it might provide a usable lever.


at the time i did email you when you first asked about the memebrship, but as it was another $250 more and i didnt hear from you, i just went with the first deal i offered as i didnt want to seem too pushy


Again -- did you receive this email? By which I mean the email he is referring to. Edited by Stormynature

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[quote name='lmbarns' timestamp='1336937556' post='4939854']
Should I care that now he charges $500 for the same package today and will sell me the difference for $145?


Can you clarify this -- Is he selling what the original offer was as a $500 package now i.e. the Base character pack is included.

You said


That's the only offer, there is no reference to the offer on his site, it's on a per inquiry basis probably because of shady shit like this.


So am trying to determine if you knew of another developer who had done this etc or where you came to this figure from -- if similar wording was used in emails to them and they had access to all the website it might provide a usable lever.


at the time i did email you when you first asked about the memebrship, but as it was another $250 more and i didnt hear from you, i just went with the first deal i offered as i didnt want to seem too pushy


Again -- did you receive this email? By which I mean the email he is referring to.
[/quote]

1) On Unity's community site this guy's "lifetime membership package" is a very popular recommendation. I've seen other people ask how you get it, to which other customers responded by contacting the guy. Another customer mentioned that he charges $300 for it. He offered it to me at $245. In his newest email now he says it was an additional $250 for the "base character packs" which was never ever discussed previously.

I assumed that made it $500, I've never seen another price other than what he offered me, $245, and what another customer posted they paid $300. As well as what he mentions in his email with
at the time i did email you when you first asked about the memebrship, but as it was another $250 more and i didnt hear from you, i just went with the first deal i offered as i didnt want to seem too pushy[/quote]

So he's saying it's $500, NOW.

2) Only offer ever from him to me is
Its hisName from CompanyName. Thank you for your orders today. As a thank you i would like to offer you a huge discount on LIFETIME membership to CompanyName and CompanyNamemusic. You can download for LIFE all content you see on these sites, now and in the FUTURE.
Also on Monday im releasing a Medieval NPC pack plus another NPC pack later in the week. Also a dungeon pack tomorrow.

I can give you this for $245 - minus one of your purchases today!.. so approx $220. This should cost a lot more

Let me know

Ill also sort your links out

Thanks

hisName[/quote]

That's the only offer ever, there's no 2 offers (he mentions going with the second offer). I bought 2 models off his site, I received above ^^ offer as a response

Then on his site even for models I have access to, it shows multiple LOD's but when I asked him for a link to the low poly versions he says the shpiel about "base character packs" I don't even know what "base character pack" means, it's not on his site. Does that mean low poly versions????? My email response to him yesterday was to ask what he meant by "base pack" because he has a base model pack with clothes and stuff to customize, but it's only $99 so what's he asking for $150 for. I think he's keeping his low poly stuff separate as well as some of the new content he's made. Edited by lmbarns

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at the time i did email you when you first asked about the memebrship, but as it was another $250 more and i didnt hear from you, i just went with the first deal i offered as i didnt want to seem too pushy


Sorry - I don't think you are quite getting what I mean by did you receive this email. In this excerpt of the email you have here quoted he makes reference to another email he sent back then with a second offer.....What I am trying to find out is Did you receive that email he is talking about?

The reason I keep asking this point is that this can actually have a direct bearing on what has been discussed so far.

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No I only got the offer I've posted. The only other email was to ask if I received his offer.

I never in my life was told anything about anything being $250 more. I only received:

Its hisName from CompanyName. Thank you for your orders today. As a thank you i would like to offer you a huge discount on LIFETIME membership to CompanyName and CompanyNamemusic. You can download for LIFE all content you see on these sites, now and in the FUTURE.
Also on Monday im releasing a Medieval NPC pack plus another NPC pack later in the week. Also a dungeon pack tomorrow.

I can give you this for $245 - minus one of your purchases today!.. so approx $220. This should cost a lot more

Let me know

Ill also sort your links out

Thanks

hisName
[/quote]

Our only other communications is me asking for a paypal invoice to pay.

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Okay, So you now have the situation of either:

  • a) He lied, or;


    • b) The phantom email never delivered correctly. Which is possible but you have established correspondence over time that shows successful delivery of mail thus making it "on the surface" not very plausible.



      I would suggest asking him for a copy of this phantom email but I suspect that would be a fruitless enterprise.


      On Unity's community site this guy's "lifetime membership package" is a very popular recommendation. I've seen other people ask how you get it, to which other customers responded by contacting the guy. Another customer mentioned that he charges $300 for it. He offered it to me at $245.


      Are you able to track people down through Unity who bought this package and find out what they gained i.e. were the base character packages included? If you can, get details. Get them to email you a copy of their membership rights etc.

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Okay, So you now have the situation of either:

  • a) He lied, or;

    • b) The phantom email never delivered correctly. Which is possible but you have established correspondence over time that shows successful delivery of mail thus making it "on the surface" not very plausible.


      I would suggest asking him for a copy of this phantom email but I suspect that would be a fruitless enterprise.

      [quote name='lmbarns' timestamp='1336938898' post='4939863']
      On Unity's community site this guy's "lifetime membership package" is a very popular recommendation. I've seen other people ask how you get it, to which other customers responded by contacting the guy. Another customer mentioned that he charges $300 for it. He offered it to me at $245.


Are you able to track people down through Unity who bought this package and find out what they gained i.e. were the base character packages included? If you can, get details. Get them to email you a copy of their membership rights etc.
[/quote]

There is a post where other "lifetime customers" are asking where the new site is, and another customer tells them they need to PM the guy from the company and he'll send them a link. For me he said $145 more dollars.

Yea it's the company you pm'd me about.

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This is the email where he offers to let me make payments:

I have out a pack similar to your needs where there will be a base character plus lots of armour and other clothing items available.
Re the membership - what can you afford today> I would allow a part payment to secure the discount, then another payment when you can afford it. You then get immediate access[/quote]

There is no phantom email, when he asks did you receive my second offer, it was the offer to make payments to secure the discount. The only offer regarding lifetime membership is the initial one I've linked in here.

He even mentions the character pack in the quote above. Edited by lmbarns

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