Jet Blue has gained a lot of notoriety with the recent announcement the Airline would be auctioning off flights on eBay. Unfortunately the big box retailer of airfare and travel packages apparently has not read the eBay rulebook or terms of service and has begun breaking the very same rules standard sellers on eBay must abide by within the first week of Jet Blue/eBay operations.
Jet Blue offers Mystery Auctions on eBay - breaking an eBay policy announced May 19, 2008 by: John McDonald of eBay Trust and Safety.
Mystery Auctions prohibited
Due to the high rate of claims and bad buying experiences related to these listings, starting early June, the Chance Policy will now also include Mystery Auctions as a prohibited item.
The Jet Blue listing above offered a "Mystery Auction" with the following ad text:
PACK YOUR PASSPORT AND SUNSCREEN AND JET AWAY TO A “MYSTERY” TROPICAL DESTINATIONPlus, get a complimentary $100 food and beverage credit**Get ready for an exciting travel adventure! This JetBlue Getaways vacation package includes roundtrip flights for two (2) and five day/four nights accommodations at a 4 star Marriott resort in one of JetBlue’s tropical destinations such as St. Maarten, Bermuda, Cancun, Aruba, or Puerto Plata.Your final destination will be revealed at the end of the auction so bid now! VALID PASSPORT AND DOCUMENTATION REQUIREDFLIGHT DETAILSRoundtrip flight on JetBlue Airways for two (2) people:
JFK -New York, NY (or valid connecting city via JFK) to Mystery DestinationPlease note - VALID PASSPORT AND DOCUMENTATION REQUIRED
The Chance Policy on eBay Defines Mystery Auctions This way:
Mystery items are listings where the seller doesn't specifically identify the contents, number, quality or condition of the items for sale. Mystery item listings are not permitted.
We suppose Jet Blue could say that a flight to an unknown destination which requires a Passport is not a mystery... but how many regular eBay sellers would be allowed to dance this fine line of semantics? As an eBay seller myself, I am painfully aware of how the rules can be very specific in some cases and not so much in others. In this case, I think Jet Blue got a "pass' from eBay...
The fact is Jet Blue offered an item for sale on eBay and they did not define what exactly the bidders would receive in exchange for the $3,350.00 final bid. Jet Blue auctioned off a chance to receive an undefined item. This is the definition of a Mystery Auction and Jet Blue called it a Mystery Auction boldly in the description. Resulting in a clear violation of the eBay terms of service and the listing should not have been allowed.
eBay has allowed numerous instances "Mystery Auctions" as presented by Jet Blue however, as of the date and time this publication several of these Mystery listing have closed with winning bidders who obstensably have no idea what it is they have won or where they may go... No "Mystery Auctions" are currently live on eBay however.
The point here is not that Jet Blue is defrauding anyone. I have every confidence the winners of these packages will receive their money's worth from the airline... The point is eBay has turned its head away from a violation of listing policies for one of the new big box vendors they recently have courted with rumoured discounted fee structures and other incentives, something they swore would never happen. eBay made a promise to the long standing sellers and users of the eBay platform which stated that something like this would or could never occur...
Well it has, on multiple occasions.
For the record, I have stated in public that I am not against Jet Blue offering flights or travel packages on eBay... I am against them getting away with breaking eBay terms of service that the rest of the community of sellers must abide by...
What do you think?