Caution Archives

Why is Amazon insisting that its retail sellers break the law? must provide its retail sellers with the means to collect state sales tax on sales that are shipped to addresses in the retailer's state.

It is simply unbelievable that an allegedly sophisticated technology company like Amazon can not find a way to allow its retailers to comply with the law.

Why is Amazon insisting that its retail sellers break the law?

Also see this:

Orwellian? - "I'm a big fan of the Amazon Kindle, and think that electronic book readers are the future. But behavior such as that described on David Pogue's New York Times blog can do much to alienate prospective readers"

We're not fans of the Kindle because Amazon does not make clear enough that you are not buying a Kindle book, you are only renting it. And as this situation makes clear, what Amazon gives (or "sells"), Amazon can take away. We prefer other ereaders, like the Sony 505, the Sony 700, and other ereaders.

Also see

Renting books on the Kindle - "I wish they'd just call these Kindle book transactions what they are, but I guess 'Rent now with 1-Click® until we decide to take it back from you or maybe not' doesn't fit neatly on a button."

Posted July 19, 2009 02:37 PM  ·  Permalink   ·  Caution   ·  Comments (0)   ·  TrackBack (0)

Amazon insists that its retail sellers not collect sales tax, busy fighting off attempts by many states to collect sales tax, is now insisting that retail sellers on Amazon who are required by their state's law to collect sales tax for shipments to buyers in their state not collect sales tax - or face suspension by Amazon.

Now, not only does Amazon not want to pay sales tax on orders, it is insisting that retail sellers on Amazon either 1) pay the sales tax themselves, or 2) break the law by not charging sales tax on sales shipped into the state where the retailer is located.

That's a bad call Amazon. It's one thing to fight state moves to make you collect sales tax. It's another thing completely when you encourage retailers on your site to ignore or break the law as a condition of doing business on your site.

Amazon refuses - or is unable - to provide the means for Amazon sellers to collect sales tax on And yet Amazon would have us believe that it uses cutting edge technology? Pathetic. Every online shopping cart out there can do this. Maybe Amazon should try MIVA.

Posted July 18, 2009 07:37 PM  ·  Permalink   ·  Caution   ·  Comments (0)   ·  TrackBacks (0)

Bubbles: Housing and the next bubble

"In the future, scientists will learn how to convert stupidity into clean fuel."
Prediction 16, "The Dilbert Future: Thriving on Business Stupidity in the 21st Century," by Scott Adams (1998).
A financial bubble is a market aberration manufactured by government, finance, and industry, a shared speculative hallucination and then a crash, followed by depression.
. . .
Because all asset hyperinflations revert to the mean, we can expect housing prices to decline roughly 38 percent from their peak as they return to something closer to the historical rate of monetary inflation. If the rate of decline stabilizes at between 6 and 7 percent each year, the correction has about six years to go before things stabilize, leaving the FIRE economy in need of $12 trillion.
. . .
There are a number of plausible candidates for the next bubble, but only a few meet all the criteria. Health care must expand to meet the needs of the aging baby boomers, but there is as yet no enabling government legislation to make way for a health-care bubble; the same holds true of the pharmaceutical industry, which could hyperinflate only if the Food and Drug Administration was gutted of its power. A second technology boom--under the rubric “Web 2.0”--is based on improvements to existing technology rather than any new discovery. The capital-intensive biotechnology industry will not inflate, as it requires too much specialized intelligence.
. . .
The next bubble must be large enough to recover the losses from the housing bubble collapse. How bad will it be? Some rough calculations: the gross market value of all enterprises needed to develop hydroelectric power, geothermal energy, nuclear energy, wind farms, solar power, and hydrogen-powered fuel-cell technology--and the infrastructure to support it--is somewhere between $2 trillion and $4 trillion; assuming the bubble can get started, the hyperinflated fictitious value could add another $12 trillion. In a hyperinflation, infrastructure upgrades will accelerate, with plenty of opportunity for big government contractors fleeing the declining market in Iraq. Thus, we can expect to see the creation of another $8 trillion in fictitious value, which gives us an estimate of $20 trillion in speculative wealth, money that inevitably will be employed to increase share prices rather than to deliver “energy security.” When the bubble finally bursts, we will be left to mop up after yet another devastated industry. FIRE, meanwhile, will already be engineering its next opportunity. Given the current state of our economy, the only thing worse than a new bubble would be its absence.

There is one industry that fits the bill: alternative energy, the development of more energy-efficient products, along with viable alternatives to oil, including wind, solar, and geothermal power, along with the use of nuclear energy to produce sustainable oil substitutes, such as liquefied hydrogen from water. Indeed, the next bubble is already being branded. Wired magazine, returning to its roots in boosterism, put ethanol on the cover of its October 2007 issue, advising its readers to forget oil; NBC had a “Green Week” in November 2007, with themed shows beating away at an ecological message and Al Gore making a guest appearance on the sitcom 30 Rock. Improbably, Gore threatens to become the poster boy for the new new new economy: he has joined the legendary venture-capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, which assisted at the births of and Google, to oversee the “climate change solutions group,” thus providing a massive dose of Nobel Prize–winning credibility that will be most useful when its first alternative-energy investments are taken public before a credulous mob. Other ventures--Lazard Capital Markets, Generation Investment Management, Nth Power, EnerTech Capital, and Battery Ventures--are funding an array of startups working on improvements to solar cells, to biofuels production, to batteries, to “energy management” software, and so on.

"The next bubble: Priming the markets for tomorrow's big crash," by Eric Janszen, Harper's, February 2008 (footnotes omitted)


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Posted March 13, 2008 06:37 AM  ·  Permalink   ·  Caught Our Eye , Caution   ·  Comments (0)   ·  TrackBacks (0)

BEWARE Amazon Pro Merchant sellers - Amazon will close fully paid Pro Merchant seller accounts with no notice

We have been selling on Amazon for several years. Today, attempting to access our Amazon seller account we continued to get a "no such account" message. What the #@#@!?!?!

When we contacted Amazon seller support, we were told that our Pro Merchant account had been shut down because of unspecified activity. What the #@#@!?!?!? Amazon seller customer service could not give any more information.

We were given no notice that our Amazon Pro Merchant seller account was being closed; we only happened to discover it when we attempted to access it Friday evening to check some inventory.

Despite Amazon having our COMPLETE contact information, including email address, cell phone number, and office phone number, Amazon NEVER contacted us to alert us that they were closing our Amazon buyer and Pro Merchant seller accounts.

This unilateral action by Amazon is the equivalent of renting a store, and, despite paying your rent on time and in full, the landlord comes to your store when you aren't there and not only closes your store, but disposes of all of your inventory. With no notice and no warning. And no explanation.

This enormous breach of trust and complete failure by Amazon to contact us to let us know that Amazon was closing our buyer and Pro Merchant seller accounts with no advance notice, indeed, with no attempt to contact us, has now caused us to examine our relationship, and trust in, Amazon.

If you use Amazon as a buyer or seller, especially as a Pro Merchant seller, be very careful of all information you entrust to Amazon.

As a seller we are now very reluctant to continue to sell items on Amazon due to Amazon's failure to notify us or to make any attempt to contact us to let us know they were closing our account. (And yes, our seller account fees were paid in full and current.)

If you are an Amazon Pro Merchant seller, be warned. You might find your account closed and your inventory pulled - WITH NO NOTICE and for no reason. Sheesh.

Posted December 28, 2007 09:27 PM  ·  Permalink   ·  Caution   ·  Comments (0)   ·  TrackBacks (0)