Assuming that most of us are trying hard to be fair in our dealings with others; it seems that the world on the whole is continuously failing every day in providing fairness and equality to everybody. Every now and then, we come across, hear about or suffer from instances of cheating, fraud, spam, misrepresentation, lack of due diligence, ignorance, indifference, negligence, lack of duty of care etc. etc. We must accept that everybody makes mistakes. No one is perfect. But we also have to accept and try to implement that no one is beyond the laws of fairness and equality. While to make amends, to fix the mistakes and to compensate for losses to others is quite fair after a mistake has been committed, it is becoming alarming how most people, organizations, companies and governments, manage to get away with almost anything at the expense of the customer.
The customer used to be the lord in good old days. Now a days the customer has been demoted to the rank of an ultimate loser in the marketing chain. The big guns, the deep pockets, the conglomerates, the mega mergers, the global franchises, or I should say the untouchables never ever lose; and as a matter of fact, more they plunder and trample the rights of customers, more successful, powerful and wealthier they become. Since these untouchables can hire law firms, manipulate law making bodies, create biased interpretations, create lobbies in the decision making circles, and fund researches and laws to support their untouchable status, the customer has no venue or choice left or available to demand or anticipate fairness. The customer in most cases either finds no information to seek help, to support his or her cause or is reluctant to put up a fight against these untouchables.
While disclaimers are grafted and crafted to safeguard the biased conditions which apply almost everywhere, “Buyer beware” has become the new unwritten fine print of the new world. Most of us face financial losses on daily basis at the hands of these unfair untouchables and have found nowhere to go to for help or justice.
The question arises how do you fight for your rights against these super untouchables like an airline or a courier company, or a car rental, or an electronics manufacturer, a mega chain grocery store, or a government organization. Not everyone as an individual has the time, energy and resources to seek justice against these super untouchables which hide behind the law firms, auto-attendants and sketchy disclaimers.
While feelcheated.com, cannot help to fight the unfair untouchables in a court, (and definitely not on the street), it does provide a forum to create awareness about the unfairness through stories shared by the members. It is hoped that it will help the unfair untouchable become fair and the customer to be more aware. Who knows, if all goes well, members will keep sharing their experiences and people will keep learning from other mistakes. Public opinions and experiences will create smart and fair choices and hopefully the customers will become lords again.
We always are doing something or not doing something. Sometimes by doing something or not doing something, unintentionally, we might cause harm or injury to others. It’s even a bigger problem if we cause harm intentionally like assault, battery, conversion, fraud, false imprisonment, trespassing and invasion of privacy. Sometimes the harm is caused to others unintentionally but because of wanton behavior not specifically meant to cause harm, fear or injury, but is considered reckless or willful. Similarly harm could be caused to others due to negligence when a party fails to demonstrate the kind of care a prudent person would take in the same situation and an injury or harm results from the action or inaction. Many manufacturers (even distributors, suppliers, retailers, and others involved) of products are who make products available to the public are held responsible for the injuries those products might cause.
Knowing the law, your rights and consequences is the first step to never feel cheated in this world. The following are some related basic concepts…
Assault is often defined as an attempt to injure someone else, and in some circumstances can include threats or threatening behavior against others.
One common definition would be an intentional attempt, using violence or force, to injure or harm another person. Another straightforward way that assault is sometimes defined is as an attempted battery. Indeed, generally the main distinction between an assault and a battery is that no contact is necessary for an assault, whereas an offensive or illegal contact must occur for a battery.
In law, it is the intentional offensive or harmful touching of another person without their consent. Under this general definition, a battery offense requires all of the following:
1. intentional touching;
2. the touching must be harmful or offensive;
3. no consent from the victim.
Blackmail is an act, often a crime, involving unjustified threats to make a gain (commonly money or property) or cause loss to another unless a demand is met. Blackmailers violate the free will of an individual to induce a desired response. Blackmailing tactics involve making threats to physically harm a person, or to start criminal prosecution or to reveal substantially true or false information about a person to the public or a family member.
A contract is a voluntary arrangement between two or more parties that is enforceable by law as a binding legal agreement. Formation of a contract generally requires the following;
1. An offer
2. An acceptance
3. A consideration
4. A lawful/ legal purpose (A contract made to harm another person does not constitute a legal purpose)
5. A free will (not under duress/ undue influence)
6. A genuine and legal intent to be bound (Meeting of the minds, and not based on mistakes or false statements)
7. Legal Capacity to enter the agreement. (Minors, intoxicated persons, and those under a mental affliction may have insufficient capacity to enter a contract)
As a part of due diligence or to show due diligence reasonable steps are taken by a person or a company in order to satisfy a legal requirement, especially in buying or selling something.
In law, a disclaimer is a statement denying responsibility intended to prevent civil liability, to escape responsibility and/ or the effects of negligence.
One has to be careful whether the law permits exclusions/ omissions of liability in the particular situation. Normally a business cannot use a contract term or a notice to exclude or restrict its liability for negligence causing death or personal injury. Nothing in the lines/ terms of a disclaimer can exclude any liability that cannot be excluded by law.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission once successfully sued a company for the usage of inaccessible disclaimers in advertisements. These televised advertisements in question contained disclaimers that were only shown on screen for 1.50 seconds, and obviously were not readable by an average human.
An “email disclaimer” is a disclaimer, notice or warning which is added to an outgoing email for confidentiality, copyright, contract formation, defamation, discrimination, harassment, privilege and viruses etc., as follows;
“This message and its contents including attachments are intended solely for the original recipient. If you are not the intended recipient or have received this message in error, please notify me immediately and delete this message from your computer system. Any unauthorized use or distribution is prohibited. Please consider the environment before printing this email”.
Since the disclaimer is usually attached at the end, below the signature line, it might go un-noticed and most people no longer take them seriously. Several courts have ruled that email disclaimers may have a legal effect when intentionally included in an email, generally before the text of the email or in the body of the email.
DISTORTION OF FACTS
A representor may make a statement which prima facie (based on the first impression) is technically true; however this may tell only half the story. If a statement of fact is made but the representor fails to include information which would significantly alter the interpretation of this fact, then a misrepresentation may have occurred.
It is a situation whereby a person performs an act as a result of violence, threat or other pressure against another person. Duress is pressure exerted upon a person to coerce that person to perform an act they ordinarily would not perform.
DUTY, DUTY OF CARE, BREACH OF DUTY
A duty is a moral or legal obligation, a responsibility. It is also something that one is expected or required to do because of a person's position or occupation. In tort law, a "duty of care" is a legal obligation which is imposed on an individual requiring adherence to a standard of reasonable care while performing any acts that could foreseeably harm others. It is the first element that must be established to proceed with an action in negligence. Once it is established that one owed a duty (duty of care) to the other, the matter of whether or not that duty was breached must be settled.
The test is both subjective and objective. One who knowingly [subjective] exposes the other to a substantial risk of loss, breaches that duty. One who fails to realize the substantial risk of loss to the other, which any reasonable person [objective] in the same situation would clearly have realized, also breaches that duty.
One is not negligent if the damage to the other was not a reasonably foreseeable consequence of one’s conduct. If a person standing outside of the baseball ground is hit by the ball does not have a legitimate claim because the danger was not sufficiently foreseeable.
In law, fraud is deliberate deception to secure unfair or unlawful gain, or to deprive a victim of a legal right.
Fraud can be business related, family related, and/ or government related. There are other types such as Affinity fraud, Charity, Confidence trick, Counterfeiting, Forgery, Hoax, Impersonation, Mail and wire (honest services), Spyware, White-collar crime etc etc.
Fraud can be committed through many media such as Mail, Wire, Phone, and the Internet. International dimensions of the web and ease with which users can hide their location, the difficulty of checking identity and legitimacy online, and the simplicity with which hackers can divert browsers to dishonest sites and steal credit card details have all contributed to the very rapid growth of Internet fraud.
In some countries, tax fraud is also prosecuted under false billing or tax forgery.
There have also been fraudulent “discoveries”, e.g., in science, to gain prestige rather than immediate monetary gain.
Harassment covers a wide range of behaviors of an offensive nature. It is commonly understood as behavior which disturbs or upsets, and it is characteristically repetitive.
It is the act of systematic and/or continued unwanted and annoying actions including threats and demands such as the following;
1. Racial prejudice
2. Personal malice
3. Attempt to force someone to quit a job
4. Attempt to force someone to grant sexual favors
5. Apply illegal pressure to collect a bill
6. Creating conditions that are uncomfortable for one or more in order to induce willing abandonment of contracts
7. Sending any type of text message, sext, photo message, video message, or voicemail from a mobile phone that threatens, torments, humiliates the recipient of these messages. It is a form of cyber bullying.
8. Gain sadistic pleasure from making someone fearful or anxious
Libel is a published false statement that is damaging to a person’s reputation; a written defamation.
Marketing is a form of communication between you and your customers with the goal of selling your product or service to them. Communicating the value of your product or service is a key aspect of marketing. This may also be called “Ethical marketing”.
Marketing, to many people, automatically means manipulation, lying, and corporate greed. Unethical marketers use marketing lies to mislead and manipulate potential customers. Lying is always a choice. Doing it in the context of marketing doesn’t change what it is.
Most common marketing lies can be, “Great Results are promised”, “100% satisfaction guaranteed”, “Terms and conditions apply”, “It will go off the market soon”, “teaches you everything you need to know”, etc etc.
Misrepresentation is a concept in the contract law of England and some other Commonwealth countries, referring to a false statement of fact made by one party to another party, which has the effect of inducing that party into the contract. For example, under certain circumstances, false statements or promises made by a seller of goods regarding the quality or nature of the product that the seller has may constitute misrepresentation.
Negligence is a failure to exercise the care that a reasonably prudent person would exercise in like circumstances. The area of tort law known as “negligence” involves harm caused by carelessness, not intentional harm. People should exercise reasonable care when they act by taking account of the potential harm that they might foreseeably cause to other people.
It is the action or crime of making a false spoken statement (or broadcast) damaging to a person’s reputation, also termed as the oral defamation.
Who is the man that desires life, and loves days, that he may see good therein? Keep your tongue from evil, and your lips from speaking guile. Depart from evil and do good, seek peace and pursue it (Psalms 34:13-15)
I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak. (Matthew 12:36)
Behold, you received it on your tongues, and said out of your mouths things which you had no knowledge; and you thought it to be a light matter, while it was most serious in the sight of God (Quran 24: 15)
A tort, in common law jurisdictions, is a civil wrong or wrongdoing that unfairly causes someone else to suffer loss or harm resulting in legal liability for the person who commits the tortious act, called a tortfeasor. Common Torts are given below;
Assault, Battery, False imprisonment, Intentional infliction of emotional distress, Transferred intent
Trespass land chattels, Conversion, Detinue, Replevin, Trover
Assumption of risk, Comparative negligence, Contributory negligence, Consent, Necessity, Statute of limitations, Self-defense, Defense of others, Defense of property, Shopkeeper's privilege
Duty of / standard of care, Proximate cause, Res ipsa loquitur, Calculus of negligence, Rescue doctrine, Duty to rescue, Negligent infliction of emotional distress, Employment-related Entrustment, Malpractice (legal/medical)
Product liability, Quasi-tort, Ultrahazardous activity
Public nuisance, Rylands v Fletcher
Defamation, Invasion of privacy, False light, Breach of confidence, Abuse of process, Malicious prosecution, Alienation of affections, Criminal conversation, Seduction, Breach of promise
Fraud, Tortious interference, Conspiracy, Restraint of trade
Liability and remedies
Last clear chance, Eggshell skull, Vicarious liability, Volenti non fit injuria, Ex turpi causa non oritur actio, Neutral reportage, Damages, Injunction, Torts and conflict of laws, Joint and several liability, Comparative responsibility, Market share liability
Duty to visitors
Trespassers, Licensees, Invitees, Attractive nuisance
A trespasser is a person who commits the act of trespassing on a property, intentionally, without the permission of the owner. Trespassing is an intentional physical invasion or a refusal to leave when ordered to leave. A person walking in a public park who trips and rolls down a hill will not be liable for trespass just because the bottom of the hill is on a private land.
At the same time, the status of a visitor as a trespasser (as opposed to an invitee or a licensee) defines the legal rights of the visitor if they are injured due to the "negligence" or "lack of duty of care" of the property owner.
ULTRA HAZARDOUS ACTIVITY OR INHERENTLY DANGEROUS ACTIVITY
Several categories of activities are commonly recognized as being inherently hazardous; those who engage in them are subject to strict liability. These include:
1. Transportation, storage, and use of dynamite and other explosives
2. Transportation, storage, and use of radioactive materials
3. Transportation, storage, and use of certain hazardous chemicals
4. Keeping of wild animals (i.e. animals that are not normally domesticated in that area)
5. Keeping of domesticated animals that have a known propensity for dangerous behavior (e.g. keeping a dog that has attacked people before)
If someone while trespassing is injured by any one of these inherently hazardous activities is barred from suing unless they prove that the property owner was negligent.
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BLOCK EMAIL SPAM
Also known as junk email, is a type of electronic spam where unsolicited messages are sent by email. Many email spam messages are commercial in nature but may also contain disguised links that appear to be for familiar websites but in fact lead to phishing web sites or sites that are hosting malware. Various email service provides many ways to block spam emails. Always check the help section of the service provider to learn how to block spam. Some of the methods are given below.
READING EMAIL MESSAGE HEADERS
An email consists of three vital components: the envelope, the header(s), and the body of the message. The envelope is something that an email user will never see. The body is the part that we always see as it is the actual content of the message contained in the email. The header(s), the third and the most interesting part of an email, contain vital information like From, To, Subject, Date/ Time Stamp etc. Emails headers should always be read from bottom to top, and here is how one looks like;
X-SpamCatcher-Score: 1 [X] Received: from [184.108.40.206] (HELO dc.edu) by fe3.dc.edu (CommuniGate Pro SMTP 4.1.8) with ESMTP-TLS id 61258719 for email@example.com; Mon, 23 Aug 2004 11:40:10 -0400 Message-ID: <4129F3CA.firstname.lastname@example.org> Date: Mon, 23 Aug 2005 11:40:36 -0400 From: Taylor Evans User-Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en-US; rv:1.0.1) Gecko/20020823 Netscape/7.0 X-Accept-Language: en-us, en MIME-Version: 1.0 To: Jon Smith Subject: Business Development Meeting Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii; format=flowed Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit
The most important information while tracking a spam is the “routing information”, which shows the route an email takes as it is transferred from one computer to another. The following link by Google shows how to read the email header(s).
INTERPRETING EMAIL MESSAGE HEADERS
There are tools provided by various good people that help to read email message headers.