U.S. EBay Seller Refuses Canucks
By Charles Mandel*
02:00 AM Mar. 25, 2003 PT
VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- On eBay, the highest bid wins -- unless the item on sale is a laser printer from CompAtlanta and the bidder happens to be Canadian.
That's what a tax consultant discovered last week when he tried to buy a printer on eBay, but was refused by the vendor when it was discovered he lived in Vancouver.
David Ingram received notification that his winning bid of $24.50 had been canceled, along with this message: "At the present time, we do not ship to, or accept bids from, Canada, Mexico, France, Germany or any other country that does not support the United States in our efforts to rid the world of Saddam Hussein. If you are not with us, you are against us."
Ingram's .ca address sparked the notice from CompAtlanta, based in Lawrenceville, Georgia. Canada is one of a number of countries that said it would not support an American invasion of Iraq without United Nations' approval.
"I've made a winning bid,'' Ingram said. "To discriminate against me because I'm a Canadian is ridiculous."
Sid Mitchell, CompAtlanta's president, could not be reached for comment. However, an e-mail exchange between Ingram and Mitchell clearly laid out the company's policy: "What part of this listing do you not understand?" Mitchell wrote Ingram. "This item will not be shipped outside the USA, and we do not accept bids from Canadians. Both are plainly stated."
That didn't stop Ingram from trying again over the weekend. He bid for the laser printer a second time, offering $107.50 to avoid being outbid and specifying delivery to an American address. In a separate message, he informed Mitchell that he wanted the printer shipped stateside.
Judging by Mitchell's reply, however, Ingram isn't likely to get his printer from CompAtlanta: "You are obviously trying to get around the fact that you are Canadian," Mitchell wrote to Ingram, "and we will not honor your bid or ship to any location for you."
Ingram said Mitchell lacks a good business reason for not shipping to a Canadian who uses an American address. "If they're going to do that,'' Ingram said, "then they shouldn't sell to the 50 percent of Democrats and the 20 percent of Republicans that aren't supporting the war, either."
CompAtlanta is one of a small number of companies boycotting countries opposed to the war. The German newspaper Deutsche Welle reported late last week that a German shoe-supply manufacturer lost a contract with an American firm over Germany's stance on the war. There have also been reports of American consumers boycotting French wine and cheese.
But the boycotts aren't widespread yet. JoAnn Dupont, a customer service representative with eBay vendor IkeSound.com of Florida, said her company's policy of shipping to Canada and other countries has not changed as a result of the war.
And some eBay vendors selling such items as Saddam Hussein "terrorist hunting licenses" and dart boards will ship them anywhere in the world.
Andre Lemay, a spokesman for the Canadian department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade in Ottawa, said he wasn't aware of any reverse boycott. Nor did he believe such a boycott would be an issue, since Canada and the United States remain each others' two largest trading partners. "We still believe our relationship with the U.S. is good -- in fact, enviable,'' he said.
EBay spokesman Kevin Pursglove said CompAtlanta was the only eBay merchant he knew of that is boycotting buyers for reasons related to the war. He said sellers can decide with whom they want to do business, but eBay frowns on posting overtly political messages. Pursglove said eBay ordered CompAtlanta to remove the auction item and to modify its message to bidders from Canada, Mexico, France and Germany.
But CompAtlanta's message is still more or less intact, which incenses Ingram. He says he plans to pursue the matter with eBay.
He may also take it up in person with CompAtlanta. If he doesn't receive his printer before a scheduled trip south of the border later in the fall, Ingram says he'll pay the computer vendor a visit.
"If they don't send it,'' he said, "sometime in September or October I will park outside their store with a sign saying they discriminate against Canadians."
so much for it being a "free country". I've now seen just too many people "paying" for standing up for what they believe in. Americans...bunch of hypocrits. Like usual, it's their way or the highway.
* I want to state that I understand not ALL american's are acting this way, or even support this behaviour. My husband is one of them. I am simply speaking of those that do fit this profile. Unfortunately those are the ones with the biggest voice it seems...giving their country a bad name in the eyes of others. Hope this war is worth it.
Great a simple-minded American company is polarizing their views and opinions. I'm sure they're good Republicans. Actually that's not fair because I'm sure there are plenty of Republicans who aren't as simple-minded - at least I hope there are.
I understand this guys gripe with the company on principle but perhaps he should just boycott them in reverse - forever. Although I suppose his actions have made us all aware of the company's pettiness and discrimination.
I just love the logic of war. *sigh*
"He has all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire." - Sir Winston Churchill
CompAtlanta is playing to a domestic audience. Making a big deal of their position, as this tax consultant is, helps them play up their position at the local level, getting support from whatever narrow-minded losers who buy into their way of thinking. If it were me, I would just forget about it and move on to more important things.
As has been pointed out, it is clearly hypocritical; but logic is a waste of useful energy with this type of person.
I would like to add, though, that CompAtlanta could perhaps open a full-page newspaper and suggest that owners burn all their 1988 or later Camaros and Firebirds, not a one of which was not manufactured in Canada.
It is very true that Canada is contributing more to the war than anyone besides the US, Britain and possibly Australia. Canadian Frigates are part of the task force(s) that protects the very Carriers in the gulf involved in air strikes on Iraq, and about 30 Canadian soldiers are active in the Iraqi conflict as part of defense sharing & mutual training agreements with the US.
Canada's lack of support has everything to do with the failure of US diplomacy and a major commitment to other areas in the world. Had the US not unilaterally ignored the UN process they started, I'm sure Canada would be right beside them. In fact, under the proposal originally offered by Canada, and rejected by the US, the war would have started this week, with our full support.
Good points, Pamela. I think most folks realize that Americans are generally a pretty sensible bunch. It's a vocal minority--likely the same minority that voted for Bush--who are making all the waves in the tub.
Let's leave aside for a moment the fact that Canada is, in fact, contributing more to the US than many of the members of the "coalition of the willing." There are two (three?) Navy ships doing duty in the Gulf right now. By my count, that's more than the total contributions of at least half of the 45-odd countries who consider themselves in this curious coalition.
Let's consider CompAtlanta's position. Why stop at eBay sales? If they are committed to the notion that the US should ban transactions to and from countries that doesn't happen to agree with the US government's way of conducting foreign affairs, well then I humbly suggest they consider a few more points:
-stop putting gas in their SUVs. It might be made from crude that comes from countries that don't agree with Washington's way of doing things. These are places like Canada, Russia, Venezuela, among others...heck it might even come from Iraq;
-stop heating their homes or cooking with natural gas, it might come from Canada (in fact, it likely did);
-stop using electricity, especially for our friends in the North-Eastern US, it might have come from Hydro-Quebec or Newfoundland;
-stop eating bread and other grain-based foods, they were likely made from the wheat pools of the Canadian prairies;
-stop eating cheese and wine, you know where the best of these come from (hint: not Canada, but another place where they speak French);
-stop using the Internet, a chunk of its infrastructure is supported with Alcatel hardware (a French company);
-stop buying most consumer appliances, they're made in Mexico;
-stop using the US banking system, its shareholders, money lenders and investors include significant representation from European countries and multinationals--and that means Germany and France;
-stop buying major-label brands of clothing or footwear, they're likely made in Mexico, and the really expensive stuff comes from you-know-where;
-stop using medications, since research and pharmaceuticals (especially key cancer-fighting drugs) are being done in France, Canada, Germany (among others);
-stop using the hospital system, plenty of staff (doctors, nurses, technicians) are foreign nationals who come from...you guessed it...Canada and France;
-stop drinking beer, good beer at least (http://www.molson.ca);
-stop investing money in 401ks, otherwise, they'll likely be investing in French, German, Mexican, Canadian, and Saudi companies;
-stop watching TV, but especially programs with animated features, plenty of these are made in France and Canada. Some are even funny;
-stop listening to music and the radio, since they play so many artists from Canada (none from France, mind you);
-stop reading books or newspapers (somehow I suspect this won't be a problem for a lot of people at CompAtlanta), these are manufactured from pulp and paper products that come from...Canada;
-oh and stop buying duct tape. Just stop.
I found it very sad and distressing when I read the article that your firm will refuse to ship to a Canadian address since Canada's official position is to support the UN regarding the issue of Iraq. You are quoted; "You are with us or against us."
You, of course, are entitled to your own opinion and can conduct business in whatever manner you see fit.
May I just remind you of a few things:
1. Canadian embassy officials, at great personal risk to themselves, helped smuggle out U.S. hostages during the Iran hostage crisis.
2. When U.S. airspace was closed on September 11, 2001, Canada accepted all U.S. air traffic that wished to land in Canada. Canadian citizens took U.S. and other citizens on the planes into their homes. Housed them. Clothed them. Fed them. To this day not one Canadian has asked for one penny to help offset their costs. Many planes landed in Newfoundland, a province where the cost of living is high and so is unemployment. These were people not rich in the monetary sense, but rich in the spirit of goodwill.
3. Canadians donated blood, money, materials to help out the victims of September 11, 2001.
4. Canada fully supported and still supports the "War on terrorism" by sending troops to Afghanistan.
5. Four of our brave fighting men gave their lives in Afghanistan at the hands of an U.S. pilot. Eight more were wounded in the same incident. The person in charge of the military tribunal investigating the incident did indicate in his report that there was enough evidence for a court martial, but recommended, for the sake of morale, the issue be handled internally.
We still have troops on the ground fighting the "war on terrorism."
6. In fact, under the UN proposal originally offered by Canada, and rejected by the US, the war would have started this week, with our full support.
Canada and the U.S. have enjoyed a long history together. We trade with each other. We share the longest undefended border in the world. This is something to be proud of and to be cherished. A shining example of democracy and freedom to the world. Two countries that live side by side for many years without the need for military forces along the border.
I am deeply saddened by the stance of yourself and your firm regarding conducting business with Canada and Canadians.
I hope and pray the points I have outlined above will at the least give you small insight into the relationship between Canadians and Americans.