(The Current) Blame Game: Recalls & Craigslist

November 26, 2014 Updated: April 23, 2016

Earlier this week, an ABC News reporter ambushed the owner/founder of Craigslist regarding the illegal sale of recalled items currently listed on the site. The man was clearly caught off guard and did not even have a chance to really respond other than to say that he was no longer involved in the day-to-day business of the online classified ad website.

Normally, I don’t mind seeing criminals get sideswiped in this way, although I’m pretty sure the purpose behind it is just to publicly humiliate those who get caught doing bad. 

However, this time it was different, and I was disgusted. I’ve also been noticing a recent trend in this direction–this blaming the “big” guys (corporations/manufacturers) when the “little” guys (Joe Citizen) get “hurt.”

I think that the people that should be exposed are those who are actually doing the “bad deed.” So, if you have an ad on Craigslist, and you are selling recalled items, isn’t it you who is breaking the law? 

Now, Brian Ross, said reporter from ABC News, suggested that Amazon and Ebay both have mechanisms in place to keep that type of thing (the illegal sale of recalled items) from happening. So, I guess it stands to reason that Craigslist should also do something to protect people, too, right?

Wrong! Craigslist is nothing more than a listing of ads; they don’t make money off those ads because they’re free ads. They also don’t limit what you can sell–used, new, whatever–so unlike Amazon and Ebay, where you can only sell items using the UPC, there is virtually no way that Craigslist can use any kind of software program to filter out what people are trying to sell and catch those who are trying to illegally sell recalled items. It’s like blaming your local paper when someone puts an ad in the classifieds for something that’s been recalled–no one would expect that!

In any case, even if they could do something, I’m not sure that that is their responsibility. Are they supposed to make sure that their “customers” aren’t doing something illegal or harmful? Why don’t we look at those “customers,” instead? Aren’t they the real “bad” guys?

This blame game happens all the time, and it’s part of the reason why our society has become overrun with lawyers and litigation. People need to take responsibility for their own actions, and blame the people who are really responsible for crimes–those who are actually committing the crimes.