|Jeff, I agree with most of your post 47. It should be obvious. One qualification is at the very end, when you say that both parties are behaving voluntarily. |
Fraud only appears to be a voluntary act by both parties. It's getting the victim to voluntarily part with their property based on a deception. The fact that it appears to be voluntary, since the victim physically transfers his property to the other person, is just an illusion. If it is fraud, it would appear to be voluntary.
In this case, I think it is fraud. And if the store had an explicit policy of "no renters", even if they couldn't prove you were renting, it would be certainly be fraud. But really, it's simple. If the store was informed of your intentions, and decided not to make the "sale", it would show that they consider your intentions as part of the transaction. If you've misrepresented your intentions, tricking them into making a trade they don't consider valuable, it is fraud.
Jon, you seem to get the point in post 50. In post 48, you talk about deception like "I can't go any lower than X". The problem here is that deception itself isn't necessarily fraud. Fraud is when you offer something for trade, and you don't actually provide that. When you offer to buy the product, but you are actually renting, it's trade because the other side didn't get the value they were promised in the exchange.
To everyone who said they wouldn't have the policy if it didn't benefit them, I think you have to recognize that the policy is not for these "renters" but for the other people. The fact that they can't easily distinguish between the two does not mean they want both. Nor does it mean they benefit from the renters. The benefit is from the non-renters, and as long as they outnumber the renters in value, the store might continue it. But don't pretend that the store is okay with the renters just because they keep the policy.
Eric, is your scenario supposed to be that the store tells people they're welcome to come "rent" the product for a week? If so, then clearly it's not fraudulent. But the wording you use does not convey that clearly. It sounds just like another wording for a return policy. Instead of renting, it still is still worded as a purchase.
John, your posts have been excellent, even if you don't seem to entirely agree with me. 62, I think, was a little unfair. It may sound silly to have an explicit policy that says no renters while still having a policy of returns for any reasons, since as you said it's meaningless in terms of enforcement. But evidently there are people here that think unless that is actually spelled out, it's perfectly moral to take advantage of the store. It may sound silly, but given the already silly position that stores who have these polices want you to "rent" from them, it seems like a reasonable precaution. Yes, you the store can't do anything about the renters. But maybe Objectivists would decide that the act is immoral under those conditions. Perhaps not.
I'd be curious from the pro-renter group to hear whether such a policy would transform this behavior into an immoral action and/or fraud. Bill? Eric?