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eBay Practices Damage Control with Virginia Tech Gunman Accusations



When you’re one of the world’s largest brands, the last thing you want is to be associated with a crime as heinous as the recent Virginia Tech shootings.

eBay has been accused of being the site from which Cho Seung-Hui purchased ammunition for his two handguns. The company has reacted quickly to refute this accusation, stating that it does not sell ammunition while conceding Cho Seung-Hui did purchase ammunition clips and gun holsters.

“Empty ammunition clips and gun holsters are unregulated items that can be legally bought and sold on eBay as well as in retail stores across the US. However, we are saddened that Mr. Cho purchased on eBay any item that may be linked with his actions last week,” the company said in a statement.

Having any part of this event is bad for a company’s reputation, but eBay is smart to squash this suggestion, before it becomes some kind of urban legend and hurts their brand.

  • http://www.brianchappell.com Brian Chappell

    I am not sold on their statement. Couldn’t someone post they are selling them and the transaction happen so fast it doesn’t get caught by moderators. If the transaction doesn’t go through the person could at least exchange emails and contact each other outside of EBAY.

  • http://www.u-g-h.com Owen

    Do you really reckon that if it turns into an urban legend it will damage their brand? One could claim there’s no such thing as bad PR and this could reinforce the “you can get anything on eBay” image.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trivialising the shootings. But trying to disassociate themselves in this way feels a bit like a publicity stunt to me.

  • http://www.MichaelZWilliamson.com Michael Z. Williamson

    Right. There’s a secret conspiracy to post ammo on eBay, then pull it down so fast no one sees it, while arranging to sell it outside of eBay.

    Because, you know, going to WalMart and buying it is so much trouble.

  • Rick Randall

    Of course, someone wanting to buy ammo could just go to one of the several GUN-ORIENTED online auction sites and buy it there, or mail-order it, or order it online directly from the distributors, etc., if they were too lazy to drive down to Wal-Mart or any sporting goods store.

    There’s no point in trying to sell ammo through eBay — no one will even know it’s there, except by accident, and you’ll just get your account cancelled (and have any funds in transit in your PayPal account “frozen” indefinately for violations of the combined eBay/PayPal “Acceptable Use Agreement”.