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Chris Paris of Oxebridge - Waging a Personal War


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  Post Number #1  
Old 8th June 2004, 03:58 PM
Marc's Avatar
Marc

 
 
Total Posts: 24,611
Caution Chris Paris of Oxebridge - Waging a Personal War

Jim Petro
Attourney General of Ohio

30 E. Broad St. 14th floor Dept 066 Columbus, OH 43215-3400 Telephone: (800) 282-0515 Telephone: (614) 466-4986 Facsimile: (614) 728-7583 www.ag.state.oh.us

June 8, 2004

Elsmar Business Systems
8466 LeSourdsville-West Chester Rd.
West Chester, OH 45069-1929


Re: Christopher Paris
Complaint #: 256873


Dear Sir/Madam:

I have been assigned to mediate the enclosed consumer complaint that has been filed in our office against your company.

As you may be aware, two primary functions of the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Section are to mediate resolutions to consumer complaints and to bring companies into compliance with the Ohio Consumer Sales Practices Act (C.S.P.A.), Ohio Revised Code (O.R.C.) 1345.01 et seq. and the Ohio Administrative Code (O.A.C.) 109:4-3-01 et seq.

After reviewing the consumer's allegations in the complaint, we are most concerned with possible violations of O.R.C. 1345.02(A) and (B), which specifically prohibits a business from committing an unfair or deceptive act in connection with a consumer transaction.

Please note pursuant to O.R.C. 1345.09(A) and (B), the consumer is entitled to rescind the transaction or either recover minimum statutory damages of $200 per violation or treble damages, whichever is greater, if these allegations are proven in a court of law. Additionally, the consumer may be entitled to recover attorney fees.

Before we determine what action will be taken in this matter, we would like to give you the opportunity to present your side of the controversy and propose a compromise or possible manner of resolving the complaint.

I would appreciate it if you would provide me with your written reply within ten (10) days of receipt of this request so the complaint can be resolved without further action by the Consumer Protection Section.

In the event this complaint has already been satisfactorily resolved, either because you believed the complaint to be justified or because you have offered a good faith adjustment, please advise me of the terms of the resolution so I can confirm with the consumer that the resolution offered is acceptable and close the file.

Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.

Very truly yours,

JIM PETRO
Attorney General

Nancy M. Woodruff
Consumer Protection Specialist
Consumer Protection Section
(614) 644-8397
NWoodruff@ag.state.oh.us
(614) 728-7583 (Fax)

Enclosure
2206


Home <http://intranet/apps/private/ccapsplus/welcome.asp?VisitorId=108643> Complaint <http://intranet/apps/private/ccapsplus/complaint.asp?VisitorId=108643> Inquiry <http://intranet/apps/private/ccapsplus/Inquiry.asp?VisitorId=108643> Literature <http://intranet/apps/private/ccapsplus/Store.asp?VisitorId=108643>


Complaint No.


Complaint No. 256873
The Status of your complaint is: New.
Consumer:
email: cparis@oxebridge.com

Christopher Paris
1025 West Lake Hamilton Drive
Winter Haven, FL 33881
863-651-3750 Supplier:
Elsmar Business Systems <http://www.elsmar.com>
8466 LeSourdsville-West Chester Rd.
West Cester, OH 45069-1929
513-777-3394
Sweepstakes/Prizes
Solicited via: Store Visit
Purchase Information:
Product or Service:n/a
Purchase Date: 6/1/04
Total Price: $0
Disputed Amount: $0
Amount Paid so Far: $0
Description:
The proprietor of the website www.Elsmar.com is running an illegal prize contest, the details of which can be seen here: http://www.elsmar.com/Forums/showthread.php?t=8476 In short, he will run a contest each month whereby guests to his site can submit articles; he then puts the articles up for "voting" and the winner gets $150. The violations are that: (a) the proprietor, Marc Smith, has "banned" many individuals from participation in his site, including the contest; (b) the site does not address the age of contest entrants; (c) the site owner has indicated he will send the prize money to countries currently on the US list of international sponsors of terrorism; (d) the current technology of the site allows administrators to alter poll results, by their own admission; (e) the rules of the contest are not spelled out properly; (f) the site regularly engages in slander, libel, religious slurs, and other forms of internet harassment; (g) the contest may be illegal in many states or countries outside of Ohio, but the site allows any person, from any country or state, to apply... so long as they have not been banned by the site owner. I am sure there are other aspects of local Ohio law the company is in violation of.
Satisfactory Solution:
The AG's office must notify Elsmar that its contest is illegal, and the contest must be shut down.
Complaint No. 256873

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  Post Number #2  
Old 8th June 2004, 04:15 PM
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Marc

 
 
Total Posts: 24,611
BTW - Your comments are welcome. I will be answering this e-mail and intend to continue the 'contest' unless forced to do so by a court.

My reply:
Quote:
In Reply to Parent Post by Reply to the Ohio Attorney General

Subject: Re: complaint # 256873
Date: Wednesday, June 9, 2004 12:02 PM
From: Marc Smith <Marc.Smith@SpamCop.net>
To: "Nancy M. Woodruff" <NWoodruff@ag.state.oh.us> Cc: <Marc.Smith@spamcop.net>
Category: Junk Gray
Ms. Woodruff:
In response to complaint 256873 The complainant:
Christopher Paris
1025 West Lake Hamilton Drive Winter Haven, FL 33881 863-651-3750
Specifically with respect to the following in your e-mail to me:
"After reviewing the consumer's allegations in the complaint, we are most concerned with possible violations of O.R.C. 1345.02(A) and (B), which specifically prohibits a business from committing an unfair or deceptive act in connection with a consumer transaction.
Please note pursuant to O.R.C. 1345.09(A) and (B), the consumer is entitled to rescind the transaction or either recover minimum statutory damages of $200 per violation or treble damages, whichever is greater, if these allegations are proven in a court of law. Additionally, the consumer may be entitled to recover attorney fees."
Initial comments and response: There was no consumer or other ‘transaction’ and no ‘transaction’ is required.
Quote:
1345.01.01 are definitions; the meat follows:
1345.02. Unfair or deceptive consumer sales practices prohibited.
(A) No supplier shall commit an unfair or deceptive act or practice in connection with a consumer transaction. Such an unfair or deceptive act or practice by a supplier violates this section whether it occurs before, during, or after the transaction.
(B) Without limiting the scope of division (A) of this section, the act or practice of a supplier in representing any of the following is deceptive:
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(1) That the subject of a consumer transaction has sponsorship, approval, performance characteristics, accessories, uses, or benefits that it does not have;
(2) That the subject of a consumer transaction is of a particular standard, quality, grade, style, prescription, or model, if it is not;
(3) That the subject of a consumer transaction is new, or unused, if it is not;
(4) That the subject of a consumer transaction is available to the consumer for a reason that does not exist;
(5) That the subject of a consumer transaction has been supplied in accordance with a previous representation, if it has not, except that the act of a supplier in furnishing similar merchandise of equal or greater value as a good faith substitute does not violate this section;
(6) That the subject of a consumer transaction will be supplied in greater quantity than the supplier intends;
(7) That replacement or repair is needed, if it is not;
(8) That a specific price advantage exists, if it does not;
(9) That the supplier has a sponsorship, approval, or affiliation that the supplier does not have;
(10) That a consumer transaction involves or does not involve a warranty, a disclaimer of warranties or other rights, remedies, or obligations if the representation is false.
(C) In construing division (A) of this section, the court shall give due consideration and great weight to federal trade commission orders, trade regulation rules and guides, and the federal courts' interpretations of subsection 45(a)(1) of the "Federal Trade Commission Act," 38 Stat. 717 (1914), 15 U.S.C.A. 41, as amended.
(D) No supplier shall offer to a consumer or represent that a consumer will receive a rebate, discount, or other benefit as an inducement for entering into a consumer transaction in return for giving the supplier the names of prospective consumers, or otherwise helping the supplier to enter into other consumer transactions, if earning the benefit is contingent upon an event occurring after the consumer enters into the transaction.
(E) (1) No supplier, in connection with a consumer transaction involving natural gas service or public telecommunications service to a consumer in this state, shall request or submit, or cause to be requested or submitted, a change in the
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consumer's provider of natural gas service or public telecommunications service, without first obtaining, or causing to be obtained, the verified consent of the consumer. For the purpose of this division and with respect to public telecommunications service only, the procedures necessary for verifying the consent of a consumer shall be those prescribed by rule by the public utilities commission for public telecommunications service under division (D) of section 4905.72 of the Revised Code. Also, for the purpose of this division, the act, omission, or failure of any officer, agent, or other individual, acting for or employed by another person, while acting within the scope of that authority or employment, is the act or failure of that other person.
(2) Consistent with the exclusion, under 47 C.F.R. 64.1100(a)(3), of commercial mobile radio service providers from the verification requirements adopted in 47 C.F.R. 64.1100, 64.1150, 64.1160, 64.1170, 64.1180, and 64.1190 by the federal communications commission, division (E)(1) of this section does not apply to a provider of commercial mobile radio service insofar as such provider is engaged in the provision of commercial mobile radio service. However, when that exclusion no longer is in effect, division (E)(1) of this section shall apply to such a provider.
(3) The attorney general may initiate criminal proceedings for a prosecution under division (C) of section 1345.99 of the Revised Code by presenting evidence of criminal violations to the prosecuting attorney of any county in which the offense may be prosecuted. If the prosecuting attorney does not prosecute the violations, or at the request of the prosecuting attorney, the attorney general may proceed in the prosecution with all the rights, privileges, and powers conferred by law on prosecuting attorneys, including the power to appear before grand juries and to interrogate witnesses before grand juries.
HISTORY: 134 v H 103 (Eff 7-14-72); 137 v H 681 (Eff 8-11-78); 148 v H 177. Eff 5- 17-2000.
The Administrative Code doesn't seem to apply at all.
Quote:
Ohio Administrative Code 109:4-3-06 Prizes.
(A) It shall be a deceptive act or practice in connection with a consumer transaction for a supplier to in any way notify any consumer or prospective consumer that he has
(1) Won a prize or will receive anything of value, or
(2) Been selected, or is eligible, to win a prize or receive anything of value, if the receipt of the prize or thing of value is conditioned upon the consumer's listening to or observing a sales promotional effort or entering into a consumer transaction,
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unless the supplier clearly and explicitly discloses, at the time of notification of the prize, that an attempt will be made to induce the consumer or prospective consumer to undertake a monetary obligation irrespective of whether that obligation constitutes a consumer transaction. The supplier must further disclose the market value of the prize or thing of value, that the prize or thing of value could not benefit the consumer or prospective consumer without the expenditure of the consumer's or prospective consumer's time or transportation expense, or that a salesman will be visiting the consumer's or prospective consumer's residence, if such is the case.
(B) A statement to the effect that the consumer or prospective consumer must observe or listen to a "demonstration" or promotional effort in connection with a consumer transaction does not satisfy the requirements of this rule, unless the consumer or prospective consumer is told that the purpose of the demonstration is to induce the consumer or prospective consumer to undertake a monetary obligation irrespective of whether that obligation constitutes a consumer transaction.
(C) The following example illustrates a violation of this rule as a result of a lack of disclosure relative to a promotional presentation which is not a consumer transaction:
A free vacation is offered in connection with the purchase of a set of encyclopedias. All disclosures required by this rule are made except that during the vacation the consumer is required to observe a sales presentation for real estate. An offer to sell real estate is not a consumer transaction, but it is an attempt to induce the consumer to undertake a monetary obligation, and such attempt was initiated in connection with a consumer transaction (the sale of encyclopedias).
(D) It shall be a deceptive act or practice in connection with a consumer transaction for a supplier to in any way notify any consumer or prospective consumer that he has:
(1) Won a prize or will receive anything of value, or
(2) Been selected, or is eligible, to win a prize or receive anything of value, if the receipt of the prize or thing of value is conditioned upon the payment of a service charge, handling charge, mailing charge, or other similar charge.
HISTORY: (former COcp-3-01.06); Eff 6-5-73 Rule promulgated under: RC Chapter 119. Rule authorized by: RC 1345.06
How is the complainant injured or damaged? If he personally suffers no injury or damage, what is his standing to complain?
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************************************** To further address EACH accusation individually:
The complainant states:
The proprietor of the website www.Elsmar.com is running an illegal prize contest, the details of which can be seen here: http://Elsmar.com/Forums/ showthread.php?t=8476 In short, he will run a contest each month whereby guests to his site can submit articles; he then puts the articles up for "voting" and the winner gets $150. The violations are that:
(a) the proprietor, Marc Smith, has "banned" many individuals from participation in his site, including the contest;
My Response: No one is banned from the site. There is, however, 1 individual, Mr. Jim Wade, an English citizen and friend of Chris Paris, who last year came to the site, established multiple identities and proceeded to cause problems by trying to start arguments and to play people against each other. This individual's accounts were discontinued - erased. The individual was told through direct e-mail, through an internet quality assurance related news group and another forum, that he is welcome to register again IF he 1) Uses his real name - Jim Wade, and 2) Jim Wade apologises for the problems he caused when he 'played his games'. The following is the e-mail exchange in its entirety:
#############################
"On 9/9/03 7:12 AM, Jim Wade at jim.wade@bin.co.uk wrote:
Marc
At thread http://www.Elsmar.com/Forums/showthread.php?t=6964, someone asks about a rival to BRC.
Pleased to be of help.
Can I come back if I promise to be good? rgds Jim
My Response:
It’s less of a matter of being ‘good’. It is the problem that you purposefully created multiple accounts and played people against each other. You were often rude and many people were quite offended.
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After you were deleted, it also happened that a number of hacking attempts occurred which is when the FBI here got involved with British Telecom. Several accounts – such as the htanaka account – were identified as you by the FBI here.
After a day of discussions, we have decided to let you register and participate again. Of all people, energy was the one who made the difference. Whilst he did not defend you ‘glowingly’, he did make the difference.
However, you must do a few things.
1. You must register under the name Jim Wade.
2. After you re-register I expect you to start a new thread titled “I apologise” in the Coffee Break forum, tell us all of your identities from the past. And I want an apology, therein, with a brief description of what you did, and why, for the problems you caused me and others.
3. You will not use the ‘Better than thou’ tone which your are famous for. Many comments which came up during the discussion were as follows:
“I can't stand the guy. He is an arrogant, childish snob. I always found he took every opportunity (well, not every...but a lot) to be argumentative, especially when calling his card.”
“I believe he was somewhat arrogant (the pot calling the kettle black here)”
“I don't think I have to remind anyone about the major uproar we had here, and how much calmer the Forums have been lately. I simply do not want to see a repeat performance.”
"Well, someone has to bring it up. They say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. The question I would ask is what's different. Why would Jim behave differently?”
4. If you get into tag team mode with Martin Greenaway, you'll be gone again for good.
Marc T. Smith #################################
Jim Wade is not banned, but rather I set reasonable conditions for him to register and participate again based upon his previous behavior. Jim Wade has chosen not to register again probably because the last thing he wants to do is to openly acknowledge his actions and apologise.
Mr. Paris, in his complaint, states "...many individuals..." are banned. Mr. Paris himself registered in the forums recently and Mr. Paris knows no one is banned from
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the site. Mr. Paris is aware of the above e-mail exchange.
Mr. Paris is lying. Can Chris Paris be charged for knowingly giving false testimony to the Ohio Attorney General's office?
The complainant states: (b) the site does not address the age of contest entrants;
Response: There is no age restriction. The site is a 'standard' business process discussion site focused on Quality Assurance and Business Systems. If an 8 year old would like to register, she or he may and may participate in the monthly content award. However it is highly doubtful that anyone other than business professionals would have an interest in so much as visiting the Elsmar Cove web site - http:// Elsmar.com . I would suggest that you visit the site, if you have not already done so, to see what the site is about.
If a child is advanced enough to read and understand the forums postings I would encourage it. When a child knows at a young age what they want to do in life, or is even asking him/herself that question, why would anyone want to keep that child from participating? From learning? Is Quality Assurance and Business Systems a 'bad' thing for children?
If I was charging a fee or posed some other requirement, we would be talking a different story. But in this case, if an 8 year old was to submit an article and the registered users voted that child's submission the best, I would be PROUD that on my site such a young person expressed quality assurance or business systems knowledge and interest - win or lose.
However, if someone makes me aware of a violation of law with respect to age I will amend the 'terms and conditions' of the article submission rules to comply.
The complainant states: (c) the site owner has indicated he will send the prize money to countries currently on the US list of international sponsors of terrorism;
Response: Mr. Paris should get a life. We're talking about US$150. People from all over the world do visit the site, I fail to see this as a significant aspect. Mr. Paris is seeking, by any means possible, to initiate trouble. Potentially federal trouble. This is NOT rocket science. In some ways, the Elsmar forums has become a peer group forum unrelated to any military, political or other similar group. We discuss manufacturing issues mainly related to civilian products - from cars to lawn mowers to machine shops to metal stampers - and on and on. This is not trade. It is discussion and recognition to those of us who appreciate quality assurance and related interests. Not to mention - so far no submissions are from anyone residing in any country on the US list of international sponsors of terrorism. I really think this is a bit much.
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The complainant states: (d) the current technology of the site allows administrators to alter poll results, by their own admission;
Response: This was explained AND discussed by members of the forums and the decision was made to make poll votes open. That is, while there are numbers attached to the results, each vote has a member name attached which cannot be changed without finding someone who knows the software and can manipulate the database. But - even if someone were to change a name and number to another person's article, the person who voted would know it because their name would not be next to the article they voted for.
Mr. Paris makes this out to be a big thing - as if this is a gigantic web site with millions of visitors a day. It is not. Roughly 3000 unique individuals visit the site every day. Not exactly a big draw. It is a 'niche' forum. In all the job interests in the world, quality assurance is not exactly the largest interest group.
If it were, we might be looking at something significant. In addition, there is no fee or other requirement other than to register using a valid e-mail address. Requiring a valid e-mail address to register is standard procedure at most forums. It is intended to keep those who want to make 'trouble posts' from doing so, or if someone does, as Jim Wade did, it allows traceability to an individual in addition too the IP. It was a combination of IP logged in the Apache server log and the IP he used to retrieve e- mail from his 'free' e-mail addresses which was used to 'dead ringer' Jim Wade by cross referencing the two.
The complainant states: (e) the rules of the contest are not spelled out properly;
Response: They were spelled out AND discussed in this thread: http://Elsmar.com/ Forums/showthread.php?t=8476
Last month that above thread was at the top of thr May 2004 Submissions forum: http://Elsmar.com/Forums/forumdisplay.php?f=80
However, at months end it was moved to the current forum of June 2004: http:// Elsmar.com/Forums/forumdisplay.php?f=84
The complainant states: (f) the site regularly engages in slander, libel, religious slurs, and other forms of internet harassment;
Mr. Paris has been upset with me for some time. It goes back to when Mr. Paris was spamming a news group with what many of us considered to be borderline fraud in promoting a "40 day ISO registration" (see http://Elsmar.com/Forums/ showthread.php?t=1815 ). Mr. Paris considers criticism and discussion of what many
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of us in the profession to be misleading claims as 'slander' or 'libel'. It is my understanding that in the United States a person may state their opinion in private or in public without hinderance by way of accusations of slander, libel and the like.
As to accusations of 'religious slurs', the closest you might find is jokes in the Coffee Break forum in very old threads. This potential problem aspect was recognized, along with other potential objectionable aspects, and addressed in a thread last fall (2003). In this forum: http://Elsmar.com/Forums/forumdisplay.php?f=33 very near the top is a thread labeled 'Sticky: Pls. Read Rules and Guidelines for Coffee Break Forum Threads and Posts'. It's url is: http://Elsmar.com/Forums/showthread.php?t= 7171
I might add that in part this thread wherein we set standards for forum content (which became the "Readers Digest Acid Test") came about because of Mr. Jim Wade including his posting a picture of naked girls/women in a thread. I'm not a prude and it didn't bother me particularly, but Jim Wade was the general catalyst for my starting that thread. There was a complaint and as a potential liability, not to mention the purpose and scope of the forums is quality assurance and business systems - not pornography or someone like Jim Wade using multiple e-mail addresses to establish multiple identities and then 'creating trouble' - and I took action. This is the same Jim Wade, an English citizen, who Chris Paris is referring to in a) above. If there was a reason to ban someone from the forums, Mr. Jim Wade's actions while using multiple identities in the forums and fermenting trouble, such as getting arguments started between participants, this would be only 1 of many potential reasons.
There is more slander in Mr. Paris' accusations than there is in my forums. In the complaint you sent me, it appears the complaint is the online input of Mr. Paris and as such it is an obvious attempt to paint the forums, my site and myself through the use of words meant to inflame. I suggest Mr. Paris provide evidence of these claims - especially that of 'religious slurs'. That's so far out of the ball park that it is not funny. It has been made very clear that religious or political content will NOT be tolerated.
The complainant states: (g) the contest may be illegal in many states or countries outside of Ohio, but the site allows any person, from any country or state, to apply... so long as they have not been banned by the site owner. I am sure there are other aspects of local Ohio law the company is in violation of.
Response: Well Chris Paris does a good job of cobbling together some words here. What he appears to be asking for is that the Ohio Attorney General do his work in asking for a general investigation. That is, he appears to be asking the Ohio Attorney General to start a fishing expedition. I suggest that if Chris Paris wants to 'widen the investigation', that Chris Paris do so on his own time and if he finds
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cause for complaint he file his complaint WITH EVIDENCE.
And again, Chris Paris brings up the topic of people being banned. Again he is knowingly lying to the Ohio Attorney General's office in his complaint. No one is 'banned' from the forums. Not even Chris Paris' friend Jim Wade.
General Comments: Mr. Paris has been upset with me for some time. It goes back to when Mr. Paris was spamming a news group with what many of us considered to be borderline fraud in promoting his company's "40 day ISO registration program" (see http://Elsmar.com/Forums/showthread.php?t=1815 ). Mr. Paris considers any discussion or criticism of his 'methodology' as slander when one reads the posts in the thread as he charges here as "...the site regularly engages in slander, libel, religious slurs, and other forms of internet harassment;..."
This is really a personal vendetta by Chris Paris and to some degree Jim Wade. The 40 day wonder thread ended and all was in the past. Then about a month ago some remarks were made on another forum the ISO1Stop.com forums. I won't say they were slanderous - but then I'm not a person who believes lawsuits are the answer, particularly in revenge. But I did get mad and made some comments. That episode is somewhat addressed in http://Elsmar.com/Forums/showthread.php?t= 8347
Basically what happened is someone - whom by the tone and such I believed to 'probably' be Jim Wade - came to my forum and, as I soon found out also posted to the ISO1Stop forum, and started a contentious thread. On the ISO1Stop forums Jim Wade and Chris Paris made - shall we say negative - remarks about my forums and their content. I take pride in the site I have had online since January 1996 (forums were added in June 1997 or there about - see http://Elsmar.com/old_forum.html ). So, the needling started up again
So, what you have here is a disgruntled person whose business model is sinking and he's not at all happy about it.
ABOUT THE 'CONTEST' - Is it really a 'contest'? What it is and why it is
As I sat here one night I was looking at the ASQ's website www.asq.org as well as the Quality Digest site www.qualitydigest.com . We have a lot of discussions in the forums and we have some very intelligent and experienced people who visit. Many every day. There is a 'core group' of about 150 'regular' visitors. As I perused their web sites I was impressed by the articles. We don't have that - or didn't - in the forums. I liked the idea. In part I saw this as a good thing. My site is small. Last year I GROSSED less than US$8000. It was mostly a good place to come, for the most part I enjoyed it, I'm relatively proud of it so I tried to do different things to make ends meet in paying to keep the site online plus have a few bucks for myself. In
Page 10 of 20
December 2003 on the 22nd I tried Google's AdWords program and started to see some decent income. To pay out US$150 for some good articles wasn't a big thing. Basically, in wanting to emulate more 'official' sites I decided to look for articles. But I couldn't afford to say hey - I'll pay everyone who submits something. I'm not some big company. It's a one man show - me. And considering a gross of less than US$8000 last year, it's relatively obvious I'm not making a killing off the web site and make absolutely no money off of reader submissions.
What I particularly thought amusing in Chris Paris' complaint was that he entered this information:
####################### Purchase Information:
Product or Service: n/a Purchase Date: 6/1/04 Total Price: $0 Disputed Amount: $0 Amount Paid so Far: $0
#######################
Nothing was purchased yet Chris Paris puts in a purchase date.
This is not a product or service and Chris Paris has not bought or been promised anything, nor is there any requirement to buy or do anything other than to register in the forums which is necessary for identification of individuals and to prevent people from causing trouble in the forums.
Chris Paris can submit an article if he would so like. If Chris Paris is so aggrieved that he believes that he will submit an article and his article will be rejected by 'devious means', I would be happy to PAY Chris Paris US$150 every month that he submits an article just to be able to say I do. That's how juvenile I think this whole complaint is. Just so we are all clear on this, however, there is the assumption that what Chris Paris submits is a serious attempt - as would be the case with any submission for publication – to provide a useful, informative quality assurance and/ or business systems related article. If Chris Paris submits nonsense, I surly will NOT pay him. Chris Paris should ALSO read the Rules and Guidelines thread - http:// Elsmar.com/Forums/showthread.php?t=8476 - because Chris Paris must understand that whatever he submits will be FREE OF COPYRIGHT TO EVERYONE. I make no money on submissions, and have no claim of any sort to them - they are PUBLIC DOMAIN. THEY MAY BE FREELY DISTRIBUTED WITH NO COPYRIGHT CLAIM. This is true for every submission, even if the submission is not voted as the best submission.
What does this mean? This means I don't make money off the articles submitted and neither does anyone else. To categorize this as a 'CONTEST', taken in context,
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is simply silly. This is not a "You MAY have won $1,000,000!" scheme. See: http://Elsmar.com/Forums/showthread.php?t=8692
Marc T. Smith
Cayman Business Systems
8466 Lesourdsville - West Chester Road West Chester, OH 45069-1929 United States
US Teleco: E-Mail: Internet: Forums:
513 777-3394 http://Elsmar.com/Forums/sendmessage.php http://Elsmar .com
http://Elsmar.com/Forums/
************************************************************* Neither the confidentiality nor the integrity
of this message can be guaranteed following transmission on
the Internet. Period. To believe otherwise is silly. *************************************************************
On 6/8/04 9:39 AM, Nancy M. Woodruff at NWoodruff@ag.state.oh.us wrote:
Page 12 of 20
30 E. Broad St. 14th floor Dept 066 Columbus, OH 43215-3400 Telephone: (800) 282-0515 Telephone: (614) 466-4986 Facsimile: (614) 728-7583 www.ag.state.oh.us
June 8, 2004
Elsmar Business Systems
Page 13 of 20

As you may be aware, two primary functions of the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Section are to mediate resolutions to consumer complaints and to bring companies into compliance with the Ohio Consumer Sales Practices Act (C.S.P.A.), Ohio Revised Code (O.R.C.) 1345.01 et seq. and the Ohio Administrative Code (O.A.C.) 109:4-3-01 et seq.
After reviewing the consumer's allegations in the complaint, we are most concerned with possible violations of O.R.C. 1345.02(A) and (B), which specifically prohibits a business from committing an unfair or deceptive act in connection with a consumer transaction.
Please note pursuant to O.R.C. 1345.09(A) and (B), the consumer is entitled to rescind the transaction or either recover minimum statutory damages of $200 per violation or treble damages, whichever is greater, if these allegations are proven in a court of law. Additionally, the consumer may be entitled to recover attorney fees.
Before we determine what action will be taken in this matter, we would like to give you the opportunity to present your side of the controversy and propose a compromise or possible manner of resolving the complaint.
I would appreciate it if you would provide me with your written reply within ten (10) days of receipt of this request so the complaint can be resolved without further action by the Consumer Protection Section.
Page 14 of 20
In the event this complaint has already been satisfactorily resolved, either because you believed the complaint to be justified or because you have offered a good faith adjustment, please advise me of the terms of the resolution so I can confirm with the consumer that the resolution offered is acceptable and close the file.
Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.
Very truly yours,
JIM PETRO Attorney General
Nancy M. Woodruff
Consumer Protection Specialist Consumer Protection Section (614) 644-8397 NWoodruff@ag.state.oh.us (614) 728-7583 (Fax)
Enclosure 2206
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Introduction <http://intranet/apps/private/ccapsplus/ Complaint.asp?VisitorId=108643> Form Category Consumer
Supplier Complete Status
Complaint No.
Complaint No. 256873
The Status of your complaint is: New. Consumer:
email: cparis@oxebridge.com
Christopher Paris
1025 West Lake Hamilton Drive Winter Haven, FL 33881
863-651-3750 Supplier:
Elsmar Business Systems <http://www.elsmar.com> 8466 LeSourdsville-West Chester Rd.
West Cester, OH 45069-1929
513-777-3394
Sweepstakes/Prizes Solicited via: Store Visit Purchase Information:
Product or Service:n/a Purchase Date: 6/1/04 Total Price: $0
Page 17 of 20

Total Price: $0
Disputed Amount: $0 Amount Paid so Far: $0
Description:
The proprietor of the website www.Elsmar.com is running an illegal prize contest, the details of which can be seen here: http:/ /www.elsmar.com/Forums/showthread.php?t=8476 In short, he will run a contest each month whereby guests to his site can submit articles; he then puts the articles up for "voting" and the winner gets $150. The violations are that: (a) the proprietor, Marc Smith, has "banned" many individuals from participation in his site, including the contest; (b) the site does not address the age of contest entrants; (c) the site owner has indicated he will send the prize money to countries currently on the US list of international sponsors of terrorism; (d) the current technology of the site allows administrators to alter poll results, by their own admission; (e) the rules of the contest are not spelled out properly; (f) the site regularly engages in slander, libel, religious slurs, and other forms of internet harassment; (g) the contest may be illegal in many states or countries outside of Ohio, but the site allows any person, from any country or state, to apply... so long as they have not been banned by the site owner. I am sure there are other aspects of local Ohio law the company is in violation of.
Satisfactory Solution:
The AG's office must notify Elsmar that its contest is illegal, and the contest must be shut down.
Complaint No. 256873
Need Help? Call 1-800-282-0515 or 614-466-4986 attorney general home <http://www.ag.state.oh.us> privacy
<http://intranet/apps/private/ccapspl...asp?VisitorId= 108643> statement problems <http://intranet/apps/private/ ccapsplus/problems.asp?VisitorId=108643> with this site terms <http://intranet/apps/private/ccapspl...asp?VisitorId= 108643> of use
Page 18 of 20

Marc T. Smith
Cayman Business Systems
8466 Lesourdsville - West Chester Road West Chester, OH 45069-1929 United States
US Teleco: E-Mail: Internet: Forums:
513 777-3394 http://Elsmar.com/Forums/sendmessage.php http://Elsmar .com
http://Elsmar.com/Forums/
************************************************************* Neither the confidentiality nor the integrity
of this message can be guaranteed following transmission on
the Internet. Period. To believe otherwise is silly. *************************************************************
Page 19 of 20
Sponsored Links

  Post Number #3  
Old 8th June 2004, 04:42 PM
ralphsulser's Avatar
ralphsulser

 
 
Total Posts: 1,573
My first reaction is "Oh God, what an idiot".
Obviously he dosen't have enough to do, and is bored and trying to stir up something from nothing. He wins first prize for DA of the month
  Post Number #4  
Old 8th June 2004, 04:47 PM
Al Rosen's Avatar
Al Rosen

 
 
Total Posts: 3,546
Marc:

Can't a private organization or club (closed to the general public) hold a contest? Couldn't the Forums be considered a private organization only open to those who register? What is the law in Ohio?
  Post Number #5  
Old 8th June 2004, 05:25 PM
Wes Bucey's Avatar
Wes Bucey

 
 
Total Posts: 11,020
Quote:
In Reply to Parent Post by Marc

Jim Petro
Attourney General of Ohio

30 E. Broad St. 14th floor Dept 066 Columbus, OH 43215-3400 Telephone: (800) 282-0515 Telephone: (614) 466-4986 Facsimile: (614) 728-7583 www.ag.state.oh.us

June 8, 2004

Elsmar Business Systems
8466 LeSourdsville-West Chester Rd.
West Chester, OH 45069-1929


Re: Christopher Paris
Complaint #: 256873


Dear Sir/Madam:

I have been assigned to mediate the enclosed consumer complaint that has been filed in our office against your company.

As you may be aware, two primary functions of the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Section are to mediate resolutions to consumer complaints and to bring companies into compliance with the Ohio Consumer Sales Practices Act (C.S.P.A.), Ohio Revised Code (O.R.C.) 1345.01 et seq. and the Ohio Administrative Code (O.A.C.) 109:4-3-01 et seq.

After reviewing the consumer's allegations in the complaint, we are most concerned with possible violations of O.R.C. 1345.02(A) and (B), which specifically prohibits a business from committing an unfair or deceptive act in connection with a consumer transaction.

Please note pursuant to O.R.C. 1345.09(A) and (B), the consumer is entitled to rescind the transaction or either recover minimum statutory damages of $200 per violation or treble damages, whichever is greater, if these allegations are proven in a court of law. Additionally, the consumer may be entitled to recover attorney fees.

Before we determine what action will be taken in this matter, we would like to give you the opportunity to present your side of the controversy and propose a compromise or possible manner of resolving the complaint.

I would appreciate it if you would provide me with your written reply within ten (10) days of receipt of this request so the complaint can be resolved without further action by the Consumer Protection Section.

In the event this complaint has already been satisfactorily resolved, either because you believed the complaint to be justified or because you have offered a good faith adjustment, please advise me of the terms of the resolution so I can confirm with the consumer that the resolution offered is acceptable and close the file.

Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.

Very truly yours,

JIM PETRO
Attorney General

Nancy M. Woodruff
Consumer Protection Specialist
Consumer Protection Section
(614) 644-8397
NWoodruff@ag.state.oh.us
(614) 728-7583 (Fax)

Enclosure
2206


Home <http://intranet/apps/private/ccapsplus/welcome.asp?VisitorId=108643> Complaint <http://intranet/apps/private/ccapsplus/complaint.asp?VisitorId=108643> Inquiry <http://intranet/apps/private/ccapsplus/Inquiry.asp?VisitorId=108643> Literature <http://intranet/apps/private/ccapsplus/Store.asp?VisitorId=108643>


Complaint No.


Complaint No. 256873
The Status of your complaint is: New.
Consumer:
email: cparis@oxebridge.com

Christopher Paris
1025 West Lake Hamilton Drive
Winter Haven, FL 33881
863-651-3750 Supplier:
Elsmar Business Systems <http://www.elsmar.com>
8466 LeSourdsville-West Chester Rd.
West Cester, OH 45069-1929
513-777-3394
Sweepstakes/Prizes
Solicited via: Store Visit
Purchase Information:
Product or Service:n/a
Purchase Date: 6/1/04
Total Price: $0
Disputed Amount: $0
Amount Paid so Far: $0
Description:
The proprietor of the website www.Elsmar.com is running an illegal prize contest, the details of which can be seen here: http://www.elsmar.com/Forums/showthread.php?t=8476 In short, he will run a contest each month whereby guests to his site can submit articles; he then puts the articles up for "voting" and the winner gets $150. The violations are that: (a) the proprietor, Marc Smith, has "banned" many individuals from participation in his site, including the contest; (b) the site does not address the age of contest entrants; (c) the site owner has indicated he will send the prize money to countries currently on the US list of international sponsors of terrorism; (d) the current technology of the site allows administrators to alter poll results, by their own admission; (e) the rules of the contest are not spelled out properly; (f) the site regularly engages in slander, libel, religious slurs, and other forms of internet harassment; (g) the contest may be illegal in many states or countries outside of Ohio, but the site allows any person, from any country or state, to apply... so long as they have not been banned by the site owner. I am sure there are other aspects of local Ohio law the company is in violation of.
Satisfactory Solution:
The AG's office must notify Elsmar that its contest is illegal, and the contest must be shut down.
Complaint No. 256873
Wow! Just imagine if you had urinated on Chris's shoe! I think he'd probably want you up for capital punishment.

I'm surprised old legal eagle Chris hasn't quite figured out the difference between slander and libel. "Religious slurs"? I do note you have been particularly bigoted toward us Huguenots. (Nothing new - we survived St Bartholomew's Day Massacre; we can take anything.)
Quote:
1345.01.01 are definitions; the meat follows:

1345.02. Unfair or deceptive consumer sales practices prohibited.
(A) No supplier shall commit an unfair or deceptive act or practice in connection with a consumer transaction. Such an unfair or deceptive act or practice by a supplier violates this section whether it occurs before, during, or after the transaction.

(B) Without limiting the scope of division (A) of this section, the act or practice of a supplier in representing any of the following is deceptive:

(1) That the subject of a consumer transaction has sponsorship, approval, performance characteristics, accessories, uses, or benefits that it does not have;

(2) That the subject of a consumer transaction is of a particular standard, quality, grade, style, prescription, or model, if it is not;

(3) That the subject of a consumer transaction is new, or unused, if it is not;
(4) That the subject of a consumer transaction is available to the consumer for a reason that does not exist;

(5) That the subject of a consumer transaction has been supplied in accordance with a previous representation, if it has not, except that the act of a supplier in furnishing similar merchandise of equal or greater value as a good faith substitute does not violate this section;

(6) That the subject of a consumer transaction will be supplied in greater quantity than the supplier intends;

(7) That replacement or repair is needed, if it is not;

(8) That a specific price advantage exists, if it does not;

(9) That the supplier has a sponsorship, approval, or affiliation that the supplier does not have;

(10) That a consumer transaction involves or does not involve a warranty, a disclaimer of warranties or other rights, remedies, or obligations if the representation is false.

(C) In construing division (A) of this section, the court shall give due consideration and great weight to federal trade commission orders, trade regulation rules and guides, and the federal courts' interpretations of subsection 45(a)(1) of the "Federal Trade Commission Act," 38 Stat. 717 (1914), 15 U.S.C.A. 41, as amended.
(D) No supplier shall offer to a consumer or represent that a consumer will receive a rebate, discount, or other benefit as an inducement for entering into a consumer transaction in return for giving the supplier the names of prospective consumers, or otherwise helping the supplier to enter into other consumer transactions, if earning the benefit is contingent upon an event occurring after the consumer enters into the transaction.

(E) (1) No supplier, in connection with a consumer transaction involving natural gas service or public telecommunications service to a consumer in this state, shall request or submit, or cause to be requested or submitted, a change in the consumer's provider of natural gas service or public telecommunications service, without first obtaining, or causing to be obtained, the verified consent of the consumer. For the purpose of this division and with respect to public telecommunications service only, the procedures necessary for verifying the consent of a consumer shall be those prescribed by rule by the public utilities commission for public telecommunications service under division (D) of section 4905.72 of the Revised Code. Also, for the purpose of this division, the act, omission, or failure of any officer, agent, or other individual, acting for or employed by another person, while acting within the scope of that authority or employment, is the act or failure of that other person.
(2) Consistent with the exclusion, under 47 C.F.R. 64.1100(a)(3), of commercial mobile radio service providers from the verification requirements adopted in 47 C.F.R. 64.1100, 64.1150, 64.1160, 64.1170, 64.1180, and 64.1190 by the federal communications commission, division (E)(1) of this section does not apply to a provider of commercial mobile radio service insofar as such provider is engaged in the provision of commercial mobile radio service. However, when that exclusion no longer is in effect, division (E)(1) of this section shall apply to such a provider.

(3) The attorney general may initiate criminal proceedings for a prosecution under division (C) of section 1345.99 of the Revised Code by presenting evidence of criminal violations to the prosecuting attorney of any county in which the offense may be prosecuted. If the prosecuting attorney does not prosecute the violations, or at the request of the prosecuting attorney, the attorney general may proceed in the prosecution with all the rights, privileges, and powers conferred by law on prosecuting attorneys, including the power to appear before grand juries and to interrogate witnesses before grand juries.

HISTORY: 134 v H 103 (Eff 7-14-72); 137 v H 681 (Eff 8-11-78); 148 v H 177. Eff 5-17-2000.
The Administrative Code doesn't seem to apply at all
Quote:
Ohio Administrative Code 109:4-3-06 Prizes.

(A) It shall be a deceptive act or practice in connection with a consumer transaction for a supplier to in any way notify any consumer or prospective consumer that he has

(1) Won a prize or will receive anything of value, or

(2) Been selected, or is eligible, to win a prize or receive anything of value, if the receipt of the prize or thing of value is conditioned upon the consumer's listening to or observing a sales promotional effort or entering into a consumer transaction, unless the supplier clearly and explicitly discloses, at the time of notification of the prize, that an attempt will be made to induce the consumer or prospective consumer to undertake a monetary obligation irrespective of whether that obligation constitutes a consumer transaction. The supplier must further disclose the market value of the prize or thing of value, that the prize or thing of value could not benefit the consumer or prospective consumer without the expenditure of the consumer's or prospective consumer's time or transportation expense, or that a salesman will be visiting the consumer's or prospective consumer's residence, if such is the case.

(B) A statement to the effect that the consumer or prospective consumer must observe or listen to a "demonstration" or promotional effort in connection with a consumer transaction does not satisfy the requirements of this rule, unless the consumer or prospective consumer is told that the purpose of the demonstration is to induce the consumer or prospective consumer to undertake a monetary obligation irrespective of whether that obligation constitutes a consumer transaction.
(C) The following example illustrates a violation of this rule as a result of a lack of disclosure relative to a promotional presentation which is not a consumer transaction:
A free vacation is offered in connection with the purchase of a set of encyclopedias. All disclosures required by this rule are made except that during the vacation the consumer is required to observe a sales presentation for real estate. An offer to sell real estate is not a consumer transaction, but it is an attempt to induce the consumer to undertake a monetary obligation, and such attempt was initiated in connection with a consumer transaction (the sale of encyclopedias).
(D) It shall be a deceptive act or practice in connection with a consumer transaction for a supplier to in any way notify any consumer or prospective consumer that he has:
(1) Won a prize or will receive anything of value, or

(2) Been selected, or is eligible, to win a prize or receive anything of value, if the receipt of the prize or thing of value is conditioned upon the payment of a service charge, handling charge, mailing charge, or other similar charge.

HISTORY: (former COcp-3-01.06); Eff 6-5-73

Rule promulgated under: RC Chapter 119.


Rule authorized by: RC 1345.06
Say simply - "How is the complainant injured or damaged?" If he personally suffers no injury or damage, what is his standing to complain? If his sole damage is that he is "barred" or thinks he is barred, many contests are limited by gender, age, relationship to contest sponsor, etc. For example, athletic contests are frequently gender limited.

Positive defense: our contest is the equivalent of a Poetry or Essay contest which awards a very nominal prize. Our administrator is capable of changing the ballot at the request of a voter who realizes he made a mistake on the ballot. In this regard, we have taken the concept of "spoiled ballots" out of the picture.

I note the contest rules of an Ohio newspaper $100 prize. (The Columbus Dispatch - Columbus, Ohio's Daily Newspaper ... ... www.dispatch.com):
Quote:
Contest rules
  1. The contest is free and open to persons 18 and older. No purchase is necessary.
  2. Dispatch.com and TheBAG.com respect the privacy of visitors to the Web sites, and do not sell the e-mail addresses, names, street addresses, phone numbers or information about the users of its services. For more information, please consult our privacy policy.
  3. To enter, complete the form above and click the submit button. Each contestant is permitted to enter each contest only one time.
  4. Entries must be received by 11:59pm Thursday June 10, 2004. The Dispatch is not responsible for lost entries.
  5. Employees of The Dispatch Printing Co., promotional partner companies, their affiliated companies, their advertising agencies, their immediate families are not eligible. Independent contractors of Dispatch Consumer Services are not eligible.
  6. The prize winner will be selected at random from all correct entries. Odds of winning are based on the number of entries.
  7. Contestants agree that The Dispatch Printing Co. shall have the right, free of charge, to publish and broadcast by any means, the name and photograph of contest winners.
  8. The contest winner will be notified by e-mail within one week of the end of the promotion. To claim a prize, the winner must present a driver's license, school ID, birth certificate or Social Security card to verify his or her identity. Entries that cannot be validated by e-mail will be disqualified. Entries that do not have a current and/or complete mailing address will be disqualified.
How is that legal and The Cove contest not?

Even student lawyers compete in writing contests - see http://www.abanet.org/lsd/stulawyer/...gcontests.html
The ABA Student writing Contest limits participants
http://www.abanet.org/domviol/garlow.pdf
Another contest with a big award, which limits who may enter
http://www.abanet.org/lsd/notices/nlgla.pdf
Here's a typical contestant disclaimer: also from a contest which limits entrants [my emphasis in blue]:
Quote:
In consideration of its entry in the 2003 Legal Assistance Contest, conducted by the American Bar Association ("ABA"), I hereby assign to the ABA all my right, title and interest in the essay now submitted by me. I certify that I am an eligible entrant and that the essay was prepared by me for this contest and has not heretofore been published. I agree not to divulge my entry number to anyone prior to the selection of the winning essay, and I agree to abide by the decision of the ABA Standing Committee on Legal Assistance for Military Personnel on any question raised in connection with the conduct of the contest and the selection of the winning essay. If my entry is judged to be the winner, I also agree to authorize the committee to edit the manuscript.

__________________________________________________________________________
(Signature of Contestant)

Last Updated: 12/11/02
I'd give Nancy a phone call and ask - "Can you point out specifically where you believe we have crossed the line? In the absence of that, can you explain why Mr. Paris is not guilty of some form of 'barratry'?"
(The offense of persistently instigating lawsuits, typically groundless ones.)
  Post Number #6  
Old 8th June 2004, 06:03 PM
Claes Gefvenberg's Avatar
Claes Gefvenberg

 
 
Total Posts: 4,859
Unhappy Groan. So that's what he was up to....

I was briefly lost for words there... when I saw this:

Christopher Paris Registered User
4 Days Ago

I found this yesterday, and wondered why on earth he registered. Obviously not to take part in the contest. I didn't think he wanted to have anything to do with us? Now I realize what he was up to....

I have little knowledge of U.S. law, but I know one thing: I know a personal vendetta when I see one. Tragic....



/Claes
  Post Number #7  
Old 8th June 2004, 07:19 PM
Marc's Avatar
Marc

 
 
Total Posts: 24,611
I have prepared a draft response. I was out since early this morning with a client and got back this afternoon and read new e-mail and there it was. you can tell the time by the time I posted above as I immediately posted it here because I consider this PUBLIC INFORMATION. And, admittedly, I wanted feedback.
I've decided to wait until later to post my response in public as it is in draft. I'm listening to some advice.
  Post Number #8  
Old 9th June 2004, 01:47 AM
Howard Atkins's Avatar
Howard Atkins

 
 
Total Posts: 2,921
Quote:
In Reply to Parent Post by Claes Gefvenberg

I was briefly lost for words there... when I saw this:

Christopher Paris Registered User
4 Days Ago

I found this yesterday, and wondered why on earth he registered. Obviously not to take part in the contest. I didn't think he wanted to have anything to do with us? Now I realize what he was up to....

I have little knowledge of U.S. law, but I know one thing: I know a personal vendetta when I see one. Tragic....



/Claes
Goes for me to
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