In another section, we took a look at how to spot misinformation and rumors in the digital currency community. We'd like to take a moment to go into detail about one of the more prevalent rumors we've seen online, one that deals directly with the interaction between cryptocurrency users and merchants.
This particular rumor is usually presented in a “Don't Let This Happen to You!” tone of voice. If it isn't told in the first person, the incident has invariably happened to someone close to the storyteller—their wife, cousin, brother-in-law, or so forth. The “victim” in the story goes into a store, or shops online, and purchases goods from a merchant; the purchase is usually for a fairly high-dollar amount. The goods turn out to be defective, or the wrong size, and the customer tries to return the merchandise. Since the purchase was made with Bitcoins (or some other type of digital currency), there is “no record” of the sale, and the customer is stuck with the damaged or unwanted goods. Since the transaction wasn't made with “real money” (it is implied), the customer has no recourse. They've been scammed! Don't Let This Happen to You!
This rumor is, in a word, preposterous. First, cryptocurrency transactions must, by law, be recorded as income by merchants, just like any other sale; it's impossible for there to be “no record” of a sale from a responsible and reputable business. Second—and this applies to any purchase you make, either with digital or traditional currency—if the business doesn't offer you a receipt, ask for one. Finally, virtually every store on the planet has a clearly-stated return and refund policy. If you're not sure, again: ask.
The only situation in which we see this rumor as being even remotely plausible is if the transaction itself is illegal, such as on the black market or involving the sale of illegal drugs. If such is the case, a) stop it, you are not helping the industry's reputation, and b) frankly, you probably have it coming. Otherwise, for customers and merchants among the law-abiding, this rumor is utterly false.
Next Merchants Topic: "Recruiting" New Merhants