2016-09-26

Improve the World by Complaining

I've bought recently lots of cheap trinkets from mainly Chinese eBay sellers. In about 1-3 cases out of 10 there is something objectively wrong with the item or it doesn't fit the description, so I send a reclamation and typically get my money back.

"Well, what do you expect?" I expect to get what I pay for. What it says on the tin. "Why waste your time?" Firstly, I have time, and secondly, I enjoy it. The small act of calling bullshit and taking a few dollars worth of stuff from a seller who wants to spread the gospel of "bullshitting is fine, caveat emptor" makes the world a tiny bit better place. If I'm scammed, it's not only my right but my responsibility to all who might follow me to do something about it.

[edit: The rest of the post details the process of buying specifically a fake 64GB thumb drive. This is a waste of time: although the drives have 16GB of working memory, it stops working after a while. If you want to do it anyway to waste the time and money of the sellers, hats of to you of course.]

If you don't want to buy anything specific and still want to better the world by complaining, here's my tip: USB thumb drives . A small step by step guide:


  • Go to eBay, and search for "64GB metal USB drive". You can pick anything you like, but I like the simple ones about halfway through the results. Remember to sort by price, and buy something that is too good to be true. No point in buying a 64GB drive for the price of a 64GB drive... you'd risk getting a real one, heaven forbid! Buy it,[Don't] wait for a few weeks.
  • Before you plug it in, make sure you've disabled autorun, because some of these drives contain a virus that sends your secrets to China or something similar.
  • Analyze the drive with h2testw, a program that gauges the actual capacity of a thumb drive by writing and reading test data. I consider this step important to maintain your moral high ground: maybe, due to some freak accident, you actually get a 64GB thumb drive, in which case, congratulations!
  • Format your drive to have a partition that is slightly smaller that the size reported by h2testw. Voilà, you have a 8/16/32GB shiny pretty thumb drive!
  • Ask for a return, stating the problem. You will probably get a copypasta requesting a picture of the product, which of course doesn't make any sense, but humor them, or not. When asked if you want a refund or a new one, get a refund to keep the cycle in control: your case will expire if you wait for the replacement and want to complain about it.
  • When you get the refund, leave a negative feedback. There is no need to pretend being ok just because you got a refund — they tried to scam you and put your data and possibly privacy in jeopardy. After this they might send a sob story about how life is hard in China and the employee will get a salary cut for negative feedback, which is, true or not, just all the more reason to give a negative feedback. If they don't send a refund in sensible time, escalate to eBay or Paypal within time limits.
  • Rinse and repeat until you start to get actual 64GB drives, or drown in fake ones.

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