Am I Liable for This? You Be the Judge…

Yesterday I received an email from a reader who had hired a copywriter based on my recommendation in late 2009.

Unfortunately, he was not happy with the sales letter he received from the copywriter, and the copywriter allegedly did not complete the work he had been paid to do.

About seven weeks ago, the reader wrote to me about his negative experience with this copywriter. It was the second complaint I had received from readers regarding this copywriter, and I had also received an additional warning from a fellow marketer.

At that point, I pulled my endorsement of the copywriter, and made it clear on my website that I am no longer recommending him.

Now yesterday I received another email from the reader…

Hi Eric,

I hope you are well.

Just to let you know I contacted BBB.org, PayPal and my credit card company.

The business of [redacted] is not registered with BBB.org.

The complaint with PayPal can only be filed within 45 days from the date of payment and that period is exceeded due to [redacted] procrastination and the story telling.

My credit card company is not able to provide the refund of $1344 I paid to [redacted] for the letters he never wrote as there is an involvement from PayPal between them and the vendor.

I acted on your recommendation to choose services of [redacted] as you described him trustworthy and reliable.

From all people and businesses who gave testimonials on his web site only one responded on my enquiry.

The others simply ignored my enquiry and some of the have URL error.

I do not want to lose $1344 USD for nothing as I acted in full honesty and transparency and am asking you to provide me with the full refund.

Hope to hear from you soon.

Kind regards
Dragutin

As you’ve seen, the reader is asking me to compensate him for the payment he made to the copywriter.

I should mention that I do appreciate his polite tone. If he had sent a “flame” I wouldn’t be featuring it here.

I asked him for some additional information, and here is a copy of his communications with the copywriter:

PDF of email correspondence [redacted]

So there are really two questions at stake here…

1) Am I legally liable for the products I endorse or promote as an affiliate?

2) What is the right and ethical thing to do?

The ramifications are very significant, because the answers to these questions affect not only this situation but also…

– Everything I endorse/promote.
Everyone who endorses anything or promotes something as an affiliate.

This is why the Internet marketing world was in a tizzy last December when the FTC rolled out their new guidelines for endorsements and testimonials.

So let’s answer the first question, as it applies to this situation:

Am I legally liable?

According to the FTC, endorsers may be liable for false or unsubstantiated claims made in an endorsement, or for failure to disclose material connections between the advertiser and endorsers.

Let’s talk about false or unsubstantiated claims.

If I had blindly promoted the product/service without checking it out first (as many affiliates do in this industry, and as I have done in the past on occasion), then I believe I might bear liability if my claims did not match up to the product. Let that be a word of warning to all affiliate marketers: You ARE responsible for what you say/write.

However, in this case I was speaking from first-hand experience. I had actually paid this copywriter $197 to write a sales letter for me, and I felt that the product I received was a good value for the amount that I had paid.

Therefore, my claim was substantiated, and I made the recommendation in good faith that the copywriter would provide similar value for other customers.

Now let’s talk about disclosing material connections.

I initially wrote my recommendation in October of 2009, which was prior to the new FTC guidelines going into effect.

When the new guidelines went into effect on December 1st, I added an “Affiliate & Material Connection Statement” to my website, which I believe satisfies this requirement. If I am shown otherwise, then I might need to get more aggressive about disclosing material/affiliate relationships.

In this particular case, I never did get paid an affiliate commission for the sale in question. So I’m not sure how that affects the material connection from a legal standpoint. Am I still an affiliate if I’m getting scammed too?

OK, so in my opinion I am NOT legally liable for the copywriter’s failure in this situation.

But that brings us to the next question…

What is the right and ethical thing to do?

Although I am someone who believes in absolute truth, and a clear distinction between right and wrong… the realm of ethics can still be grey at times.

I’ve tried to put myself in the customer’s shoes.

If I were him, I probably would have written the same email to me.

I’ve been a victim of scams in the past, so I’m familiar with what he is feeling. It’s one of the worst feelings that the pallet of human emotions can paint. Anger, frustration, regret, self-loathing… all rolled into one. The only way out of it is to go through the grief cycle, and reach a point of acceptance.

From the look of my dear reader’s emails, he’s gone through the denial and anger stages, and has now come around to the bargaining stage. Like I said, I’d be bargaining too.

I see this from two perspectives… justice, and compassion.

From the justice standpoint, I believe it would not be right for me to give him the refund out of my own pocket. Would justice be served by this? No.

Now… IF I had been paid a commission, I do think partial justice could be served if I refunded that commission to the customer. But in this case, there is no commission to speak of.

From a compassion standpoint, I’d love to help out my reader.

If we were talking about a much smaller dollar amount, I probably would have just offered to pay for it (or more likely… I wouldn’t have gotten an email about it in the first place). But $1344 is a decent chunk of change.

We all know the golden rule: do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

If it were the other way around, would I want him to pay for my refund out of his pocket? Yes I would, at this moment in time. But after more time has passed, I would most likely come to the conclusion that justice would not be served by an otherwise innocent affiliate paying me out of his own pocket.

In other words, my sense of justice would eventually trump my desire for recompense. (The two are not mutually exclusive. The victim should be paid back in order for justice to be served, but taking the money from the wrong person is not the solution)

So I do not think it is my moral obligation to pay for the customer’s loss…

But I want to know what YOU think!

I told the customer I would post this on my blog, and take my reader’s opinions into consideration.

I want to know:

What would you do in my situation, and why?

I am absolutely willing to pay a full refund to the customer if the arguments in his favor outweigh the arguments against.

I wish I could just err on the side of compassion, but obviously such a precedent could open me up to a lot of headaches and abuse due to other customers taking advantage of my leniency. If that is the outcome, then I will probably change some things about how I run my business.

Post your comments below. Please do not “trash” me OR the customer or even the copywriter. That’s not the point of this. At the same time I am not necessarily looking for support. I want your honest opinion, even if you are not on my side.

Obviously this is not something that needed to be made public, but I am doing so because I think we can have a good constructive conversation. This is an important topic that affects all Internet marketers. So let us know what you think.

Thanks for your input!

UPDATE: I’ve now posted the conclusion to this saga here:

PART 2

1,059 comments on “Am I Liable for This? You Be the Judge…

  1. Jerry

    Hi Eric, Obviously we all respect you for your clear and incredibly helpful blog “Eric’s Tips”, and are NOT slamming you for recommending Mr [redacted]’s services.
    BUT this blog post (and it’s 1000 responses) is getting disturbing and out of hand, I think. I’ve read all the documents you provided (the pdf file of correspondence, the Govt regulations about testimonials), I’ve followed the link to the Review site given by a reader above, and followed the link in that review to the discussion on Warrior Forum, and I’ve read about 600 of the comments posted by other readers. The sum total effect is gut-churning.

    The Warrior Forum discussion shows positive as well as negative comments in EQUAL number. The pdf file reveals a very vague brief from Dragutin, an actual sales letter produced by [redacted],and a promise to make necessary changes. The comments from your readers suggest enough answers — Mr Dragutin should have made more inquiries before handing over any money, and been alerted when only 1 response came in. He has NO legal claims on you, and is just taking a chance on your ‘good guy’ behaviour to at least get a free and effective letter out of you, if not the entire amount that he spent carelessly.

    [redacted] has been totally trashed now, and absolutely hammered into the ground. His reputation has been destroyed (for the princely sum of $1344). I urge you, as the good Christian-with-a conscience that you are, to stop this thread of comments. I hope you’ve been able to contact [redacted], and give us an update as you promised. You’ll have us sympathising with [redacted] if people keep hitting him when he’s down.

    You have made your point, even louder and clearer than you intended — 1) Your readers have convinced Dragutin that you owe him nothing, but, might give him some help which he should be grateful for. 2) You have cleared your reputation by rescinding the favourable recommendation you had given [redacted] earlier. 3) You’ve proved (to yourself and your competitors) that you write so powerfully that nearly a thousand blog-readers rise up in your defense in a few short days. Now, please stop the bloodbath. Nobody is going to do any more business with [redacted], perhaps in his entire life – we’ve been duly and properly warned. Those who found him a good copywriter when he had a volume of business he could handle will NOT speak up now in the face of the outcry of your readers. Dragutin has a lot to answer for — look at the product he was trying to promote anyway! The pdf file gives an idea. If anything, he has got a million dollars worth of publicity out of this and his ‘pound of flesh’.

    Reply
  2. dennis

    I know how you feel you are 100% NOT RESPONSIBLE for the dealing from the other person, they should of checked him out better.
    he might of been a good writer in the beginning then went down hill after the money started rolling in.I git this selling on eBay people say that they didn’t receive your product when actually i know that they did,he should of opened a claim with pay pal before the 45 days were up now the answer to the question lies with you Eric how do you feel,is it disturbing your sleep or contraction ,my self it always bothered me that someone was out money so to make my self feel better i always refunded there money hope this helpes

    Reply
  3. warwick

    hi Eric
    I am confused.I am new to internet business, but I would say that it was the purchases responibility to check out what they were buying wether someone endorsed it or not, I am looking to joint venture with someone who has a list, but this scares me.If that sale was a scam, it damages all good people. good luck, and keep up your good work with your tips. thanks

    Reply
  4. Chris

    You should not pay.

    I think you pretty well said it all in your own discussion.

    I don’t think “checking out the other person” is the complete answer here, but every consumer has the obligation to do what research they think is appropriate. If you are going to shell out that kind of money, you should do a lot of research and then, based on that research, make your decision. Note that is YOUR DECISION. Then, if it falls apart, use the remedies available to you, which doesn’t or certainly shouldn’t include getting some third party who made no money off the transaction to pay you back. Even then, if the third person did make some money off the transaction, their innocent liability, if any, should be limited to the money they made off the transaction. (I don’t even like that!) If that doesn’t get your money, then you just paid some tuition. Life goes on and this person should, too. They can keep going after the responsible seller if they have a real need to do that, but get on with your life and other endeavors. It ain’t always fair, but they shouldn’t be trying to balance the scales by doing something unfair themselves.

    Reply
  5. BryonR.

    Gee, That sure is quite a problem !

    I’m not exactly sure about the legalities of the situation, you are going to have to consult your Attorney. However, moral/ethically speaking you may be liable and probably only 50%, at best. This is something you are going to have to process through earnest prayer. Sincerely, In His Majesty’s Service.

    Reply
  6. John

    I don’t think you are responsible at all. The copywriter is responsible for refunding the money. As others have said, maybe assist him in another way as an act of good faith.

    Reply
  7. Naser

    Dear Eric,
    Of course you are not responsible for someone else’s fault.
    I wish you had time to teach us a little about ethical issues in internet marketing.
    Thank you so much for yor excellent gob.
    Yours sincerely,
    Naser.

    Reply
  8. Troy

    Hi Reed,
    You bring up some good level headed points.
    However, If this were to go to court and the judge ruled against Eric, the precedent the judge would be setting for anyone recommending anything under any affiliate sales umbrella would have huge implications for the world offline and online.
    Every case will be different, but I just don’t think a judge would like to be that stupid. Although, stranger things have happened..lol Like getting paid money because you spill hot coffee over yourself and sue the cafe owner.. gees.

    Reply
  9. Troy

    Hi Reed,
    Again very good points.
    I think a lawyer should be consulted yes however, If I recommended Mcdonalds under an affiliate relationship and I had tried the product and it was great.. My recommendation is for that exact same product. IF Mcdonalds did not serve that exact same product or did not deliver that product at all then Mcdonalds is at fault. I only know what is in front of me at any given point.
    Also, I would not recommend something that I know would be detrimental to others.
    So, Eric recommended something that he believed would at the time, be repeated as a service and with the same quality as he had gotten before. However, if that service has changed then he can not be held liable, because the service he recommended was not the same service as what was given to others later on. Hence, the copywriter is liable.
    I feel this would be the argument in a court of law.
    I am no lawyer, but if I were, I would fight tooth and nail for Eric and go after the copywriter for ALL legal costs.

    Reply
  10. Anonymous

    Hi Eric,

    You are not responsible for the refund. But probably as a sign of empathy you should offer something to help the victim.

    Reply
  11. Mike

    I can see your delema right off the bat. My couriosity lay’s in why all of a sudden this copyrighter decided to stiff this person. He even stated after reading client post on his website that he decided to hire the guy. At that point in the conversation, I would feel releived and not morally or leaglly responsible. But I would still be courious as to why now, why him, in this day and age 1344.00 is not really a lot of money, now I know to some of us it is. So to answer your question, I agree with you that your not responsible leagaly or morally. But that I would offer him any kinda help to him to try and get a refund from the copywriter.

    Mike

    Reply
  12. Mark

    When a waiter recommends a bottle of wine the customer does not have to buy it even though it is poured and tasted.

    ethically I would be careful about your affiliates as you can’t know everyones business practices.
    Is it cheaper for you to refund Dragutan or to give him an hour of your time to coach him?
    Although in this case it appears the customer was expecting alot more than the vendor was planning to give.
    I think this case is a sticky one.

    Good luck mate.

    Reply
  13. Mark

    I like that someone who’s not afraid to let em hear the truth.

    I havn’t made a lot of money online! it seems complicated and irksome. It’s Not bloody fare!

    I like the Idea of the wealth generating and I can see the route but I’m afraid of the road! Isn’t it wierd? I don’t know it could be one of 3 things I’m afraid of Success, Failure or the work! or all of the above. So I too will sit here and blame you or any one else who makes it as lucky gits who have opportunity kicking their arse with every step.

    hmmm wouldn’t it be nice to win for a change……….

    Reply
  14. Amber

    You are not responsible in any way for providing a refund, as others have mentioned here. How many times have every marketer online, recommended a product / service, only to have something go bad? Was the person who recommended it liable? No, not if it was like you said, your own experience.

    It’s like saying, you recommended a hotel to a friend… who went and had a horrible trip, but had to pay the bill because they (probably) paid it in advance. Did you have to refund the person because he wasn’t happy?

    (Yes obviously this is slightly different because that’s an offline service, but a service just the same).

    Is every editorial or legitimate recommendation (with no compensation) liable for providing a person for a refund for the same reasons?

    ** In fairness to your subscriber though ** if he really didn’t get the service, (which frankly we’ve all been through, and it’s a business write off)… there IS a time frame of 6 months in most places, even with paypal being in between, you can do a chargeback.

    Some companies (Visa I think) provides 9-12 months.

    They must file the chargeback with their credit card company first – then paypal will handle it… and the person would have to prove that it was provided.

    Alternately, depending on what countries both parties live in… there IS a small claims court, or even collections 🙂

    Not ideal, but if the person is slapped with a letter from a lawyer or a court date, or even a collections officer, it might force them to take note.

    In Canada you can go to the courthouse and file a lien against property of a person (i.e. a car).

    In some of these instances, the costs might be more than they’re worth for the money spent, but the fact is, there ARE options.

    File the complaint regardless with Paypal – they may consider stopping his account for Fraudulent transactions (not supplying the service) even if it was after the time frame.

    Call them personally – don’t do the automated system.

    Hope these help.

    Reply
  15. Pete Moring

    Hi Eric, I’ve not read all the comments here so this could be a duplication of another comment, but considering your ability to operate profitably in the Internet Market (I think you should ‘not’ admit liability as you were peobably as much a victim of the transgressor as your complainant) to show good faith you could run a campaign for him alongside one of your own until such time as the person has recouped his outlay.

    He would gain extremely valuable experience, you wouldn’t be out of pocket, and your conscience would be clear.

    I hope you have a satisfactory outcome to this, and I hope it doesn’t put you off helping others the way you do.

    Pete.

    Reply
  16. Elaine

    It is the copywriters responsibility to refund the money. The transaction of money for service was between the two of them, it does not include you. If you recommend a restaurant to me and I go and eat there and then I get sick, should you pay for my meal? No, the restaurant owner is responsible for my bad experience and should compensate me.
    Perhaps you could assist this person into finding a legal avenue to take, if that is possible in this situation.
    I don’t think you owe anything to this person, but out of kindness you could try to help him find a way to resolve it and hopefully get some or all of his money back.

    Reply
  17. Sylvia

    Hi Eric
    My first question would be how come you paid $197 and Dragutin paid $1344, was he getting a book written? If only one person, who had given a testimonial, replied to his queries why did he proceed in the first place? You gave a recommendation based on your experience, did you make it sound to good to be true? I can’t see how you can be held responsible and if you are crazy enough to pay this money every nutter will be wanting refunds from you for anything you have been foolish enough to promote. Is it a little bit of greed when we see people working the affiliate side of the market? Stick to your own products, they stand on their own feet, and leave it to others to ‘promote’ associated products. The whole thing is out of hand. Speaking for myself I am sick to death of the emails I get from people I have done busines with and purchased their personal material, and then they try to flog someone else’s to make that extra buck, there is only so much ‘back end’ marketing a person can stand. I have only had a couple of occassions when I asked for my money back and because I was dealing with the person who owned the product there was no problem. Sadly I think Dragutin needs to follow the old adage of ‘Byer Beware’.Regards Sylvia.

    Reply
  18. Jerry Habecker

    Eric, a follow up to my post of a few days ago. I just took a few moments to read the wide variety of responses you have received. A true study in human nature and emotion.

    Let’s say that I followed all of your instructions (hopefully) to the letter, dotted all of my (i’s) and crossed all my (t’s) and failed to get one person to come to my web site, are you responsible? So I get rid of the we site and try again, start over and the same thing happens, are you still responsible?

    That’s exactly what has happened to me. But I am learning. Knowing nothing about the web just four (4) months ago, I can say that this old dog is learning new tricks every day. I will continue to learn and do my best not to blame others for my mistakes. I’ve done that for five years, now it’s time to move forward, again.

    Maybe we all should start by taking a good look at ourselves.

    Reply
  19. Roger

    Notes to take into consideration for your problem.

    1) It depends what you said in your recommendation. This is important because it will demonstrate your intentions e.g. good, bad or indifferent!

    2) Did you infer, in any way that, if all fails, he could regress to you for recompense? If not, then that should be the end of the matter for you. The complainant can only proceed with business with anyone else after his business with you. If you told him, like, “Come back to me if it doesn’t work out” or “Allow me to recompense you if you feel you aren’t satisfied with the work supplied by ‘a person.’” In either case, I don’t think that you are a chap who would sell yourself down the river, somehow.

    3) Unfortunately, when formal proceedings develop then emotions go out the door with a definitive slam. What we are left with is a cold hard look at the case and there is only one thing that decides whether you were in the right or wrong and that is ‘evidence.’ If you examine your written work and find that you left the ‘back door’ open then any low, sinister lout can have a look around and because you left the ‘back door’ open then anyone can enter. So, did you leave the ‘written’ back door unlocked which will give him a way back to you. Of course, having said that, we mustn’t forget your honourable or dishonourable ‘intentions.’ Did you say to this ‘any person’ that although his work isn’t up to scratch you will still recommend him… for, say, 10% more than normal commission. Or, did this ‘any person’ say that if you recommend him then you can have 10% more than normal. It seems to me, as a non-legal practitioner, that the last thing he wrote could, indeed, be the ‘open back door.’ He inferred that you described ‘any person’ as ‘trustworthy and reliable.’ If you put that in writing then it’s possible that he has a way back to you but if it’s not in writing then that ‘back door is well and truly closed. Your protection may be that ‘you know of him and your mention of him was to assist the writer as a
    ‘first-instance’ contact and not a first class recommendation of his work as you have never seen his work.
    What transpired beyond that was clearly between the ‘person of choice’ and the complainant.

    What is left is that you must prove that your intention was ‘trustworthy and reliable’ when you recommended ‘a person’. If you can prove that then his only recourse is to ‘the person of the writers choosing’.

    I would like to point out that the points raised in this writing are merely my own opinion and I must point out to you that I am in no way a legal professional. I, therefore, cannot condone anyone using what I’ve written as a final legal understanding but, merely, my honourable wish to assist you in any way possible. I am so disappointed that anyone could come back to such a good man as you and throw the legal responsibility onto your good self. I hope that you have provided yourself with a ‘disclaimer statement’ which may well help you out of this sorry mess. I hold, in contempt, anyone who seeks any way possible, regardless of blame, to achieve their goals to retrieve money or any other loss from those who are innocently endeavouring to be helpful. I wish you success in your endeavours to free yourself of such a diabolical mess. Maybe your job was done when you innocently provided the writer with a contact for his work. His would be the responsibility of researching the person in question

    Thank you,

    Roger.

    Reply
  20. Dave

    Hi Eric,

    A little late to “party” sorry. In can empathize with the moral/ legal dilemma, I’ve been there myself.

    In short you are not obligated. Hopefully the phrase “caveat emptor” has come to mind. I know your reputation on line is arguably spotless, and kudos for being up front and honest.

    One thing you may want to consider, if you accommodate one person, what is to say this won’t trigger a deluge of “refund requests”?

    Also, how do you know the person you recommended hasn’t had a change of heart? (not mind). Meaning since your initial work with them- they became corrupt.

    Going by what is stated in your post all this transpired without you being directly involved and hence you are free. The dispute is between your reader and the referred person. Best guess is the reader is mad, wants his money and is trying every avenue he can to get it.

    I’ve used a quote by Abraham Lincoln many times to settle disputes, “it’s not the strength of your position that counts, but the quality of your compromise.”

    Dunno– just my two cents.
    -Dave

    Reply
  21. Bob Mills

    As much as you would like to help the guy out, just not your problem. It would not correct the issue anyway. Good luck…

    Reply
  22. Lawrence Bush

    Hi Eric,
    Legally: probably no responsibility,
    Ethically: probably yes, I agree with the people suggesting a comp product from your library, better than what he didn’t get, also better than what he paid for

    Reply
  23. Kaycee

    Eric in the many years that I have been in the personal customer service realm, I have seen recommendations flourish and others fail. In all cases I have listened to the complaint of the individual who felt wronged, it takes a lot of sifting to get to the truth of some matters in others it is apparent readily. In all cases as a manager I realize that there are some situations that cannot be rectified and in others I have performed the service myself to correct the issue. In the situation before you, it is integrity that is being brought into question, your professionalism in this matter is your redeeming virtue. I understand that this post may not be viewed as you are rectifying what you are able, however it is only yourself and your God that knows which direction you must take.
    I believe you are a praying man, and God is not one to with hold himself from you, and the way you should go. Trust is hard to recover once lost, your talent and heart is your redemption. I believe that you will exercise wisdom here and act accordingly.

    Reply
  24. Zack Angster

    Is ABC, NBC, CBS, or any other advertisers responsible for the products they promote?

    Reply
  25. kimberlee

    kim….Hi from another of the same but different.

    Yea so i just wanted to let u know that hairdresser u said was great? well i went to see her …took two months to get an appointment, so I’m thinking that you must know what you’re talking about….right.

    I asked just for a trim on the style that i already had that was looking shaggy…..omg she chopped my hair like no one else….remember you said she really knew her stuff and could really highlight my hair and make me look like a kid again? Wrong..but she said that she did everything that i asked of her and no refunds…..so I’m think-in’ …..you refund it right. by the was she pricey’…$375.00. What do you say when they all ready took the first cut and right in front?…..No way put it back that’s way shorter than I requested.

    I knew you’ed understand so i’m sure you’re all ready writing the check and lickin’ the stamp to make things right….huh….?

    Don’t think so even though you feel bad that my experience wasen’t at all like yours but …lets face it you have no control what that , or anyother person, including but not limited to ANYONE!!!! that is of course unless you’re my ex-husband and well he did for a while till the yo girl wake up light blinded me.

    all right so you don’t know me and back to you so this is just another possible situation that would example that ultimately explains that we are human….and you might look at my new doo and think wow…that cut looks soooooo great on you when i’ve been crying my eyes out over the whole thing. It seems to me that 1st. hella lot of money for one sales letter and that this also is quite ironic since the materials he’s trying to market are saying what!!!!? he needs to read what he’s selling..by the way one of the “gurus” that He likes I don’t particurally care for even though I like the total message that is the bottom line.

    We are our own maker so even though Eric had satisfactory results and “mr.hey dude look at all the corespondance writing that was done” I’m thinking phoey with the ghost you have plenty to say yourself”

    The feeling that i have from all the correspondance …..is….there was no scam here. He’s obviously written for others who had total sattisfaction…i can’t get no so i’m glad some have , but back to reality are all the satisified consumers responsible to refund whomever, that is not me and has diferent tastes, likes and dislikes…etc? If that is the bottom line there’s a lot of people out there that need to send me checks.

    Let’s b real and thankfull sthe stepford wies was just (so far!) a movie and we live in a country where being different is what keeps us spinning!

    I hope that whoever reads my reply to kim, which is ment to double as a reply to eric, dosen’t in any way
    shape or form offend anyone. sincerely. It is upsetting that he feels that his money was wasted, he wanted the ghost to go by the sales letter and just change some verbage which I thought he did….I’m thinking he really didn’t want it changed at all afterall.

    Dori are you a nice person? I could use some of the money i wasted trying new things that didn’t work out so i guess it’s OK for me to send you a current list for refund? what the heck is that? I want to know why some advertise that they were bla, bla, bla now they’re ;-)bla, ;-)bla, bla because they met that guy that drives around in that farrari and asked what was his profession and the next week that $$$ guy showed him this formula that bla, bla make him/her, bla bla…for free!!! why are they not willing to do the same for….lets’ say ME???

    This could go onfor ever now couldn’t it?…..but if that farrari is reading this and needs a legit. new charity i’m it!

    kim….you made an assumption in which u are assuming he is new to this,which makes just have to ask u. How long have you been marketing? are you making decent money? you must be to say such things, so then i ask you why don’t you refund him the money? just call it a donation!

    Thanks for letting me run with it and if you’re reading this without just skip scrolling down a 2nd thank you!

    All feedback/remarks openly welcome…be openminded! to all! Peace, joy, abundance, goodwill, prosperty and remember there’s plenty to go around and old dogs don’t need tricks.

    I’m just trying to take it all in learn, grow and find freedom.

    Reply
  26. marjory

    Eric. I was taken for a large sum last year and loss on other related purchase that was to be handled by a company. I tried every recourse to be reembursed by the company without success. I am still paying for it not only financially but in other ways too. but I would pay even more if an innocent party paid me for what they did not owe. That would cause me much anguish. No, you are not responsible just because you recommended someone for a service you had previously used and did receive good service from.

    Reply
  27. Peter Gotti

    Tihs is the main reason I would never buy any of these scams! I don’t care how many 7777’s the price ends in!

    Reply
  28. Daniel Stowe Sr

    I agree with you. You can’t be held responsible on how a copywriter treats other customers. He did right by you and that’s where you drew on your recommendation. Especially since you did not receive a commision from the transaction. If you do anything out of compassion for the person you could be opening a can of worms which you would regret in the future. The person deserves a refund but not from you.

    Reply
  29. Bev Richardson

    I agree that you do not have a responsibility to pay the money.

    A compassionate response to the person is ok. Expain that you have taken the persons name off the recommendation list.

    Reply
  30. bet

    No, I know little about lawsuits, but I don’t think you are liable.

    Reply
  31. Sigmar

    Hi Eric!
    The old saying “Buyer beware”. You are not responsible at all. If I tell you there is a discounted computer at Wallmart. Its up to you to investigate and you decide to buy or not. Does not mean you get the same deal I got. Tough Luck. No, you are not responsible at all.

    Reply
  32. Reed

    Hi Troy,

    Thanks for your reply.

    I have one question however.

    You liked what McDonalds offered, and you recommended it to others. But for a moment just consider the two situations –

    (i) You recommend McDonalds WITHOUT taking any money from them (or WITHOUT any intent of taking money from them), and

    (ii) You recommend McDonalds FOR money (or WITH an intent of taking money from them).

    The first one is for free, so its what I call a “Pure Recommendation”; i.e. a recommendation made with solely the benefit of the seeker of information in mind, and without any intent of personal gain.

    The second however, is somewhat reverse. Here, the intention of personal gain is established; however, the intention of benefitting the seeker of information has to be proved.

    See the dilemma !

    However, as I’ve said before, what might come to Eric’s support in this situation is that –

    – he has tried the product himself before recommending it.
    – he has removed the copywiter from his list of recommended people the moment he has come to learn of his unscrupulous ways.

    So thats how I’m looking at the situation. And that also is the reason I feel it might be better for Eric to consult a lawyer before making a decision.

    Anyway, those were my two cents. Hope you like it.

    Thanks,

    Have a Great Day,

    Reed.

    Reply
  33. Brian

    I would at least recommend breaking up the payment 50/50. Yeah you could lose the first 50%, but it’s more likely that the contractor will be motivated to finish the job so they can get the 2nd 50%.If you bought a house that developed problems, would you expect the realtor to pay for the problems or the contractors, read the fine print on the disclaimer, get help to understand it and it will usually say that any legal issues will be dealt with in your county or state, not where he or she lives, which may varies a lot. Was this person aware of the new FTC rules before signing on the dotted line? Not knowing that it was a bad recommendation isn’t your fault, it should still be buyer beware when making a big purchase and to check if others have been satisfied with his work before hiring him to do some work. By offering to pay him back partial payment would open a court case for him to get more from you plus any court costs.
    This is his problem with the copywriter, not yours to deal with. Its a hard lesson about buyer beware, but you are not at fault for what he or she does with his choices that are being made.

    Reply
  34. Bartholomew John

    You are not under any moral nor legal obligation to pay for such a travesty.It should be a law suit against the copy writer who did not deliver.From an emotional point of view ,perhaps you can find a copywriter friend who will do a pro-bono job for the plaintiff in exchange for either a product or endorsement in the future.This may sound like a catch 222 considering the circumstances that initially spawned this.However,most copy writers wish to protect their reputation at all costs.

    Reply
  35. Melvena

    A good heart is always susceptible to abuse. All the good advice you give out for free could benefit you financially but you choose to share it. It is obvious that you are not in this business just to make money. However, there are those who are just “in it to win it” and will cheat you “by any means necessary”. A scam can be a team effort and anyone who tells you to pay for someone else’s mistake because you have a good reputation could be a part of the plot. Anyone with good, adult sense would not tell you to do that. The fact that you are troubled by this man’s loss and asked for help in resolving it is a sign that you want to help. This tells me you are not out to dupe anyone. What I’d like to know is, did you try to get in touch with the copy writer to get the other side of the story or did you see the copy that the buyer was not happy with? You might just find that the problem has more to it than you know. I suggest that you get all the facts from all sides before you even consider throwing money at the problem. What if you find that there is no problem at all? What if someone is just cunning and greedy? What if there is an easy fix that doesn’t cost you money? I’m just saying……… what if? It’s just smarter to do the math before giving the answer. Mel

    Reply
  36. Melvena

    Eric does have a long line of supporters and his long time of honest relations will not be overturned by this (one lone) unfortunate situation; because, his reputation speaks for him over time. However, you sound like you might get a kickback for your efforts to get the injured party paid by an innocent party. Who are you really?

    Reply
  37. Melvena

    Eric, you do have a responsibility; however, it is not a financial one. You have a responsibility to take the time to get all the facts from both sides before you go throwing money at the problem. You don’t know either of the parties on a personal level. Do the math before you supply the answer. Make sure you have all the (true) facts from both sides. You may find that what you don’t know can hurt you. Don’t underestimate the power of fraud or the cunning of fraudulent people. I’m not making accusations, I’m just saying look at other possible scenarios and be ware of those who want you to pay for someone’s mismanagement of their personal business funds. Think!!! You gave a recommendation based on a project that cost you less than $200. Not more than $1,000.. The fact that he allegedly paid much more shows that he gave more credit to the copywriter than your recommendation allowed for. And, do really know that he did infact pay that? Don’t pay it, there are other alternatives. Mel

    Reply
  38. Melvena

    Eric, you do have a responsibility; however, it is not a financial one. You have a responsibility to take the time to get all the facts from both sides before you go throwing money at the problem. You don’t know either of the parties on a personal level. Do the math before you supply the answer. Make sure you have all the (true) facts from both sides. You may find that what you don’t know can hurt you. Don’t underestimate the power of fraud or the cunning of fraudulent people. I’m not making accusations, I’m just saying look at other possible scenarios and be ware of those who want you to pay for someone else’s mismanagement of their personal business funds. Fraud can be a gruop effort. Think!!! You gave a recommendation based on a project that cost you less than $200. Not more than $1,000.. The fact that he allegedly paid much more than you did shows that he gave more credit to the copywriter than your recommendation allowed for. And, do really know that he did in fact pay that? Don’t pay it, there are other alternatives weigh them all out. Mel

    Reply
  39. ricardo

    Such desconsideration trying to get you pay for work you can’t guarantee…You are already making your best trying to provide the best information for on line marketing…He should pay you instead for the free information which can be used to make money.

    Reply
  40. James

    I have been away for over a month since seeing this letter and it has given me a chance to think of my response.
    You made the recommendation in good faith and you and your creditability, as well as the customer has been burnt by the actions of the writer.
    I do not support a repayment by you.
    Looking at the quality of the correspondence would also suggest that the writer does not appear to represent quality work.
    I have also had now the chance to read your response and others and feel that my support is still as above.
    The client has scored well from your obtaining of another writer.

    Reply
  41. TOM THOMPSON

    What I`d like to know is:
    1.When recommending this writer did you actually have a notification of no liability on it, you know, a bit like a no guarantee of earnings disclosure if you purchased a system to make money on the Internet? I believe if you had, the complainant wouldn`t have a leg to stand on!

    2.Have ALL the facts been disclosed to you by both parties?

    3.I personally believe that the complainant is chancing his arm:
    (A) Although you made the recommendation in good faith from personal experience, the actual CONTRACT if we can call it that, was structured between the writer and the complainant.
    (B) The complainant should have carried out further research on the writer`s abilities and required other references – come on, how naive can a person be.
    (C) In this day of “Easy-Sue” there is more burden being placed on a complainant – YOU JUST CANNOT EXPECT A REFUND IF YOU HAVE NOT EXERCISED FULL RESPONSIBILITY OF YOUR OWN ACTIONS – (NO FURTHER RESEARCH OR REQUESTING OF REFERRALS AND WORK SAMPLES)

    I do not know your Religious background but think that if you are a true Christian, then you would probably refund in full just because you think it might be the right thing to do.

    I SAY HALT – “LET THE BUYER BEWARE”

    Reply
  42. Kevalin

    Hey, Eric

    I know it’s a bit late to be commenting on this subject again…but I recently happened to be re-watching some of your Lessons– specifically, Lesson 51–and was shocked to find that it still mentions [redacted] as an inexpensive reliable copywriter for people to hire.

    Granted, chances are that a person who might go looking for his services based on your recommendation probably won’t find him, since word about his duplicity has gotten around…still, wouldn’t it be a good idea to do a bit of editing on that particular lesson so that he isn’t mentioned at all?

    I noticed that you made some changes to Lesson 1 since I first listened to it, so it seems sort of unfortunate that you haven’t done the same with this Lesson, in light of [redacted]’s horrible reputation. Those of us who are aware of it won’t bite, of course, but I, at least, have gladly recommended your Lessons to people who are interested in learning a bit about internet marketing, and they would be unlikely to realize that this guy’s a sham.

    Just a thought. Hope you get a chance to look this over, since I wasn’t sure of where else to contact you about it.

    Reply
  43. Kevalin

    Oh, hey, my bad…it was Lesson 52, “Outsourcing Copywriting,” that still recommends [redacted], not Lesson 51.

    Reply
  44. David Secret Marketing Links

    I think you could offer your customer to write the sales letter for him, just do the job your client is missing, and you will both be happy. I know you can write sales letter Eric without beeing pushy, just pre-sale and show the benefits and you can do the job this guy is missing out.
    David Norden
    http://www.secretmarketinglinks.com

    Reply
  45. Eric Post author

    I haven’t had a chance to re-record that lesson. However, if you go to the URL that I mention in the lesson you will see that it does not go to [redacted]’ site, and it says that I no longer recommend him. Thanks!

    Reply
  46. Kevalin

    Ahhh. Well, that’s all right, then. Admittedly, I did not got to the link first; I was too busy being taken aback by the continued existence of the video, and so immediately came here to comment.

    I’m glad you’ve make it clear that you no longer recommend [redacted], should a new internet marketer decide try to go to link mentioned in the video–and I should have expected that you would, knowing your reputation and how seriously you take it.

    Thanks for your reply, Eric; it’s good to know that you read and take concern even for older posts. Truly, you’re a gem among Internet Marketers…and human beings.

    Reply
  47. Winson

    That is a very interesting analogy “the bank robbery” Well yup you can’t just ask someone else for a refund just because you are not satisfied. Anyway what he wrote in his letter is not acceptable ,just by asking from you is kinda out of this world ….but he paid $over a thousand dollars… he has got to trust you ALOT!

    Reply
  48. Brian

    You are right. If I hire a contractor to put in some electrical work and pay him for a good job, then pass his name on to someone else out of kindness, that does NOT mean that if THEY do not like his work that I should have to pay the bill.

    Many people in our society have such a sense of entitlement. They want everything handed to them for nothing no matter where it comes from. This is spoiled behavior and does a person more harm than good in their life.

    Doing the right thing means sometimes saying “no”. Don’t give the money, Eric.

    If saving money is so important, marketers should spend more time studying the other videos that you made on copywriting and “just do it” themselves.

    Reply

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