Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Beating A Software Pirate

Ride this morning was great. Avoided the rain and didn't get killed.

I recently purchased an older version of Garmin street map software on eBay (since I use my GPS for biking this is tangentially relevant). But when I received it in the mail I saw that it was clearly a copy and not a used version of the original. It was a very, very good copy and worked as advertised but I didn't appreciate the seller getting one over on me. So I sent him a pointed email clearly stating he was a software pirate and demanding my money back. He promptly responded and offered a refund in addition to return shipping. I was still peeved and didn't want him to sell the bogus software to anyone else. I said I'd throw it in the garbage instead but still insisted I get my money. The guy wasn't game and at this point I realized he still didn't admit to anything illegal.

Then I really analyzed his racket. I saw he was no longer offering Garmin software but was still selling other types of inexpensive software and had been doing so for months. One can look at the items a person has purchased in the recent past by looking at the feedback left for the transaction. I noticed that for some transactions the buyer's identity was kept private which ultimately hid what was actually sold. This was obviously some way of covering his tracks.

I reported this guy's operation to eBay but I didn't have much hope they would do anything. EBay is very forgiving with their sellers since that is where they get their money. So I contacted the publishers of all the other software he currently had for sale. I told them the titles he was offering and of my strong suspicion's that they were pirated. I also provided them with the crook's name and address.

I checked the guy's auctions for a few days but was disappointed he was still in operation. When I checked again this morning I saw that all his auctions were pulled and ALL his feedback was now private. I would prefer that his account be cancelled but at least I've cut off his immediate source of funding. I'll keep an eye on him.

Distance Traveled: 24.3 miles
Distance to date: 2310.1 miles
Price of gas: $2.81

1 comment:

Tim Grahl said...

So... can I score a copy of that Garmin software? :)

Seriously, nice pull on the ebay guy. I feel like not enough damage can be done to anonymous spammers and crooks.