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How to do business like a jerk and disgrace a campaign

October 1, 2008

1. Be “GOP Trunk” and sell McCain campaign merchandise.

2. Link to the McCain campaign website.

3. Act like you’re open for business. Be specific. Specify when you expect to ship an order.

4. Do not ship the order as expected.

5. Do not ship the order at all.

6. Pre-charge the purchaser’s credit card although you have not shipped the order. After all, your customers are here to float you till you can afford to ante up for the stuff you claim to be selling.  Pre-charging is illegal in some jurisdictions, and is considered a crummy way to do business by most consumer advocates.

“Even if the company is in an area where pre-charging is legal and their merchant account does not preclude the practice, the legality of this behavior is predicated upon the customer being informed of the policy. The only remotely fair way for this policy to be implemented is if at the time you place your order, the salesperson tells you that some items are backordered and that your card will be charged for the item(s) immediately, unless you want to remove them from the order. As much as I don’t like pre-charging, I have to admit that this is at least reasonable–the customer is in control of the situation and can decide if this is acceptable or not.” —Source

7. Do not respond to email inquiries about the order.

8. Ignore your phone to the point where callers receive a “mailbox full” message.

9. Close your website for “upgrades” less than four weeks before the election. Be sure to post a date by which you will reopen.

10. Do not reopen your website on the date you posted.

11. Do all of the above to this blogger, who has an excellent VISA Signature Card history. Blogger will fuss to VISA, the FTC, and other instruments of your imminent doom.

Disappointed GOP Trunk customers will receive their campaign apparel, if ever, too late to have much fun or impact with it prior to the election. I deal quite well with disappointment. VISA is launching a dispute on my behalf against GOP Trunk, and has issued a provisional credit to my account.

GOP Trunk uses a payment processor that comes through on the credit card statement as “e-donation.” But the outfit is a for-profit corporation, and makes it clear on its website that purchases should not be considered campaign contributions. Is GOP Trunk trying to make it look as if the purchase was a donation so they can pull off pre-charging credit cards? Or were they planning to call the purchases donations when challenged by credit card companies? I don’t know.

GOP Trunk has accomplished the elements of doing business like a jerk and disgracing the McCain campaign. I declare GOP Trunk disgusting, and it’s really too bad. Honesty and efficiency go together, and the unfortunate thing is that this for-profit enterprise is linked to the McCain campaign. Leadership means the right hand knows what the left hand is doing, and GOP Trunk stains the Campaign’s claim to leadership. That is far more disappointing, and damaging, than not sending out someone’s McCain-Palin hat.

  1. James permalink
    October 1, 2008 4:12 pm

    Thanks for this blog post. I had no idea the owners of were such slimy characters until I started wondering where my order was. My mistake for unguarded trust on the web. They, the owners of GOPTrunk, give but one more reason to lose trust in the US Economy. I’m starting to look for some leverage to squeeze these guys out of business. For starters, here is the whois record for, although the name ‘Frog Leg’ and the POBox lend a fair degree of first-level anonymity:

    Frog Leg
    PO BOX 3000
    Ft. Wayne, Indiana 46808
    United States

    Registered through:, Inc. (
    Domain Name: GOPTRUNK.COM
    Created on: 05-Nov-07
    Expires on: 05-Nov-09
    Last Updated on: 05-Nov-07

    Administrative Contact:
    Frog Leg
    PO BOX 3000
    Ft. Wayne, Indiana 46808
    United States
    8775421426 Fax —

    Technical Contact:
    Frog Leg
    PO BOX 3000
    Ft. Wayne, Indiana 46808
    United States
    8775421426 Fax —

    Domain servers in listed order:

  2. October 1, 2008 5:27 pm

    James, thank you for this. This will lend further heft to an FTC complaint. VISA’s cool. I’ve contacted the McCain Campaign.

  3. Peggy permalink
    October 6, 2008 2:52 pm

    I too was scammed by goptrunk. Purchased signs and item on 9/10/08. Credit card was charged on 9/10. The order was for 250 signs and bumper stickers for a total of $630.00. To date (when I can get someone on the phone) I have been promised they are being shipped or have been shipped so many times I gave up counting. I canceled the order 3 times and told them I wanted my credit card credited. They just call back and tell me the order was shipped 2 days ago. My final statement to them today was I want a response by tomorrow to credit my account or a tracking number on my merchandise. If not by tomorrow 10/7 I will file fraud charges against them for charging for items not received. I understand the owner of this company is a democrat and really gets the Obama merchandise delivered quickly.

  4. October 6, 2008 3:01 pm

    Peggy, I hope you will get your credit card company to do a charge back and/or dispute. I also encourage you to go to and fatten the Federal Trade Commission file on this. Click “Consumer Complaint” under Quick Finder. It’s an easy interactive online form.

    UPDATE: This morning (Tuesday, 10/7) I received an email from GOPtrunk, their first communiction since confirming my order a month ago. It was a response to my perfunctory official cancellation of my order. They provided a FedEx tracking number, and the number is in the FedEx system, and scheduled for delivery tomorrow. Possibly Frog Leg is catching up and is simply incompetent rather than pernicious. However, nothing excuses his pre-charging of credit cards a month prior to shipping. Assuming the order arrives as expected, I will permit VISA to reinstate the charge. I also intend to crusade against the practice of pre-charging. VISA’s merchant agreements should prohibit pre-charging because it is hostile to the interests of consumer cardmembers. The more people who contact VISA and request that they do this, the more likely it is that VISA will effect such a policy.

  5. October 8, 2008 9:59 am

    GOP Trunk is likely to be merely incompetent and not crooked. Frog Leg seems to have hopped to it. My hat arrived today–it’s uncommonly well made, and in the USA, at that–and I’ve read around the Net that others have also finally received their merchandise, after waiting one to two months.

    The really annoying thing was that Frog pre-charged my credit card long before shipping, but my inquiries to VISA have turned up no prohibition of this practice. It’s a good idea to inquire whether or not a merchant intends to charge you before shipping your order, if such things offend you. They do me.

    I still maintain that Frog did business like a jerk and was certainly no credit to the McCain campaign.

  6. October 30, 2008 6:06 am

    The McCain-Palin 2008 campaign appears to be one of their customers. According to a recent filing with the Federal Elections Commission, the campaign owes $1,146.39 to Frog Leg. (It’s on page 14 or the 235 page document)

  7. Lindsey permalink
    October 31, 2008 10:27 am

    Thank you for posting this. I too am a victim of the GOP Trunk store. After waiting over a month, I finally received part of my order. However, a shirt I ordered was cancelled. They tried giving me a store credit. Being that I will never do business with them again, I called the first of October to have them give me a refund. The lady got my information and ‘said’ she processed it. No refund. I called back on October 23rd and spoke to a supervisor. She processed the refund, but it has to be send to the Republican headquarters to be processed and said it would be credited to my card in 7 days. Today, I called back, because…guess what…no credit on my card. Was treated so rudely by regular employee and supervisor. They say they have no way of contacting the headquarters to follow-up on the refund request. The supervisor also mentioned that she has gotten multiple complaints from people today. Don’t you think that if you’re this bad of a company that you would do something about it? Will NEVER do business with them again. I am currently filing a complaint with the Better Business Bureau.

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