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Comment: Re:Hmmmm ... legality? (Score 1) 138

by Anonymous Brave Guy (#48619349) Attached to: Amazon UK Glitch Sells Thousands of Products For a Penny

It certainly seems to be true that courts in the UK have shied away from questions of whether any given level of consideration is sufficient, favouring a simple finding of whether there was any consideration or not. My intended point was more that while obvious nominal consideration explicitly written into a negotiated contract might reasonably be interpreted as a demonstration of intent to enter into a binding agreement, in this case I'm not sure how well that argument works. In other words, it's not just about whether 1p constitutes consideration, it's about whether that nominal consideration demonstrates an intent to commit to the deal. It would be interesting to hear what any actual lawyers thought about this argument, but sadly it doesn't look like we'll find out here.

Comment: Re:Hmmmm ... legality? (Score 1) 138

by Anonymous Brave Guy (#48605563) Attached to: Amazon UK Glitch Sells Thousands of Products For a Penny

The way I heard it and have seen it practised in most countries is that the value of the consideration is irrelevant, just that something needs to change hands.

Indeed, but arguably the purpose of recognising nominal consideration is that such consideration is a demonstration of intent to create legal relations.

We're talking about a commercial deal here, so presumably if money actually changes hands there is a strong implication that a deal was intended even for nominal consideration. I'm just wondering whether the accidental 1p pricing case is so far from reasonable by the objective observer standard that a lawyer could argue it. (I don't know the answer to this, nor claim to; as I said, I'm not a lawyer, just someone who's come across some of the issues.)

Comment: Re: How Hard is it to Price Manually? (Score 1) 138

by Anonymous Brave Guy (#48605087) Attached to: Amazon UK Glitch Sells Thousands of Products For a Penny

This has become a significant issue for my friends and family this holiday season, to the point that in some cases we have just walked away from the Amazon ecosystem entirely and bought elsewhere.

If you can change prices so fast that a customer can't look up something we're interested in buying, call their partner in to check it before confirming the order, and then add it to a basket, and the price change can be literally doubling the price from a good deal to a complete rip-off, then the experience of shopping with you is going to suck.

Throw in the inherent risks with any on-line purchase of stuff not turning up on time or being damaged on arrival -- both things I've heard widely reported in recent weeks in the UK, including specifically in connection with Amazon in some cases -- and going back to the High Street to buy anything you can from a bricks and mortar store is quite an attractive alternative.

If only the people going to High Street shops to browse and then getting their phones out and ordering from Amazon hadn't killed off 90% of the good shops. :-(

Comment: Re:Hmmmm ... legality? (Score 1) 138

by Anonymous Brave Guy (#48604937) Attached to: Amazon UK Glitch Sells Thousands of Products For a Penny

FYI, I don't think your description of how contract law works is correct across all of the UK. For example, consideration is treated differently in Scotland.

In any case, for a transaction literally charged at 1p, one might reasonably argue both that this is not sufficient to constitute consideration and that there was no meeting of the minds given that an objective observer would obviously not expect expensive merchandise to be sold for only 1p under these conditions.

(I'm not a lawyer, but as someone who runs businesses including on-line transactions I have spent plenty of time talking about these issues with people who are. Actual lawyers are welcome to dive in and correct me.)

Comment: Re:Amazon is run by Nazis (Score 2) 138

by Anonymous Brave Guy (#48604765) Attached to: Amazon UK Glitch Sells Thousands of Products For a Penny

And that sometimes makes things interesting in the case of responsible retailers who don't charge your card until they are ready to ship, because you're in a kind of limbo as a customer if you've placed an order but the merchant is delayed before sending it.

As I understand it, Amazon is generally reasonable about how it handles these situations. For example, if you have placed an order but it hasn't shipped and been charged yet, you can probably change or cancel it. But you have to watch out with less scrupulous trading partners, who will happily try to eat their cake and have it by claiming your order is final yet also claiming that have no obligation to ship it until they take the payment.

Comment: Re:currency (Score 2) 138

by Anonymous Brave Guy (#48604711) Attached to: Amazon UK Glitch Sells Thousands of Products For a Penny

While we have your attention... please explain Jaffa Cakes to us.

For those who understand, no explanation is necessary.

For those who do not understand, no explanation is possible.

Realise this fundamental truth, grasshopper, and you will reach enlightenment and celebrate in the glory of the smashing orangey bit.

Comment: Re:How crazy (Score 1) 135

by Anonymous Brave Guy (#48582495) Attached to: Bank Security Software EULA Allows Spying On Users

Given the precautions I take and the checks I made at the time, including scanning the machine in question for malware using an independent, known good boot disc, that seems unlikely. It would require a firmware-level infection or a stealthy infection that could hide from multiple malware scanners, either way exhibiting no apparent symptoms before or since, to cause the clash you're suggesting.

Comment: Re:How crazy (Score 1) 135

by Anonymous Brave Guy (#48579013) Attached to: Bank Security Software EULA Allows Spying On Users

And we're currently exploring our options for a move, due in no small part to the poor on-line banking at the current place. Sadly, it turns out that many of the alternatives are also bad one way or another, and in almost every case it takes a crazy amount of effort even to arrange a sensible discussion about possibly moving new business to a bank. Since we're talking about small businesses here, so the same people who need to deal with the banks also need to do real work that brings in revenues and pays everyone's salaries, it's a painfully slow process.

Comment: Re:Failure in EULA (Score 1) 135

by Anonymous Brave Guy (#48578979) Attached to: Bank Security Software EULA Allows Spying On Users

It means that if you use the software, you _either_ accepted the EULA _or_ you committed an act of copyright infringement.

It would be interesting to see what specialist lawyers in various jurisdictions would make of that argument.

If when you use the software you also rely on any permission granted by the EULA that you wouldn't otherwise have, this could be instant game-over if it was considered to imply that you had agreed to the EULA as a contract for that reason instead. And if you explicit agreed to the EULA to download the software in the first place, that's probably instant game-over as well. But if you were relying on the EULA only as a licence, not as a contract, and you were not doing anything that requires more than that licence, it does seem like claiming that you infringed copyright instead might be a reasonable position.

However, a more promising alternative, rather than accepting that you've done anything wrong or consented to anything dubious at all just because some dubious EULA term claimed you did, might be to consider recent changes to the legal position in some jurisdictions. Particularly in Europe, many of the usual complaints about EULAs have been considered more thoroughly in recent years, and in some cases laws have been or are being changed to clarify consumer rights in terms of software, downloaded content, and related areas.

That debate typically starts with the perennial question of whether an EULA necessarily creates any binding contract at all, and if it does, whether the terms of such a contract are fair. It looks like the direction we're heading, at least in Europe and more specifically the UK, is that EULA-as-contract can be valid as a general principle, but then those agreements are also subject to the full weight of consumer protection laws just like any other consumer contract. That means a general requirement for fairness in the terms, various more specific protections like prohibiting certain exclusions entirely, and hopefully also the power for regulators to step in preemptively where unfair terms are present, even if those terms are void anyway, so no more incorporating scary-sounding but unenforceable terms to try to divert consumers from exercising their legal rights.

Comment: Re:How crazy (Score 1) 135

by Anonymous Brave Guy (#48578619) Attached to: Bank Security Software EULA Allows Spying On Users

Something like what you describe should be the norm, and modern operating systems should enforce strict scoping rules for different applications and data. It shouldn't even be possible for a lot of these DRM or anti-cheat systems to work, because they fundamentally rely on doing shady things that no application should ever be allowed to do by the host OS.

Sadly, no mainstream desktop OS defaults to working this way, which makes your perfectly logical response also an unrealistic one for the vast majority of users, who lack your technical skills.

Comment: Re: How crazy (Score 2) 135

by Anonymous Brave Guy (#48578529) Attached to: Bank Security Software EULA Allows Spying On Users

That's not the right answer, the right answer is "Tell your employer to buy you a computer for work use at home."

That's an improvement, but in many cases a better answer will be "Don't work from home at all, and if your employer doesn't like it, find a better employer".

The way it's just taken for granted that a lot of staff will continue to work outside office hours is a damning indictment of employment culture in some places today. This is just like the debate over BYOD vs. employers providing a separate company phone, where it is often taken as axiomatic that everyone needs company stuff on a phone somewhere so their boss can hassle them out of hours. If you're explicitly on call, and being compensated accordingly, fair enough. Otherwise...

Comment: Re:They can go bite a donkey (Score 1) 693

by Anonymous Brave Guy (#48578405) Attached to: French Publishers Prepare Lawsuit Against Adblock Plus

I've no problem with you taking that position. Personally I also don't bother with sites if they don't work properly with my ad/spyware blocking choices. I'm just saying that we should accept that a lot of people just don't care about these issues for whatever reason, and that some businesses are going to make more money from those people by adding the junk than they are going to lose from people like us going elsewhere.

"There is nothing new under the sun, but there are lots of old things we don't know yet." -Ambrose Bierce

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