Meals Ready For eBay

from the no-surprise-here dept

My grandparents happen to live in the path of Hurricane Wilma, and a week after it tore through their neighborhood they are still without power (local officials tell them they hope to have power back by November 22 — nearly a month after the hurricane hit). FEMA finally showed up this weekend and dropped off some food, which they’re thankful for. However, it appears that others in various parts of the country hit by hurricanes are looking at FEMA’s food as more than just a meal… but as something to sell on eBay. It’s unclear just how much profit any of these eBay sellers are making, but it seems that FEMA is a bit upset by the news. The packages clearly say: “U.S. Government property – Commercial resale is unlawful,” and FEMA says they’ll go after those breaking the law. There’s just one problem: eBay says they’ve asked for proof from the government on exactly what law the resale violates — and have not received an answer. So, as far as eBay is concerned, the sales are perfectly legal, despite what the packages say.

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Comments on “Meals Ready For eBay”

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Bret McDanel (user link) says:

FEMA response

People have complained about FEMA’s response lately, and while some of it is unfounded (FEMA is a check writing agency basically, they arent first responders, secondly FEMA can only enter into an area if the state Governor allows them, they cant force their way in).

As people complian there is not enough food and other things to go around, and people are taking food from FEMA for sale on ebay you have to wonder … Does fema ask everyone getting food or have any other information stating its for those in need of food not those in need of money?

By selling the food on ebay people are demonstrating they do not need the food, they are demonstrating that they may or may not have given a false statement to FEMA about their need, and false statements are a crime (at least 18 USC 1001 covers false statements, possibly others).

The worst part about this is they are depriving others who may actually need food from getting it, just so they can sell it on ebay. And that should be the greater wrong rather than whether or not they can legally sell it. I am sure that those getting the food and selling it have a neighbor or someone else that isnt far from them that could benefit from the food. While much of this country was founded on free enterprise I think this shows that we need a smaller government that is responsible for less.

Take the food program away from FEMA, let the states fend for themselves. I want a refund on my tax dollars for every MRE sold on ebay (or anywhere else).

Rootman says:

So what is the big deal?

So the government dumps a lot of these MRE’s on people as aid, other charities offer a REAL meal. What would you choose to eat?

Many of the “refugees” have fled the area taking their unused MRE’s with them and sought conventional food from restraints, non Fed refugee centers and such.

So what is the big deal on selling all this unused MRE’s? What do you want them to do with them, throw them away? Turn them back in? Yeah I can just see the Feds taking MRE’s back, they would just destroy them in fear some have been tainted or altered.

I can just see the Feds locking up some homeless single mother for selling her unused MRE’s through an Ebay power seller to get a few bucks.

YES, I am sure there are some abusers but why expend any more energy on this situation than necessary? I think this is one battle the Feds ought to skip.

Adam says:

Labels vs Laws

Good on eBay for asking for something staturary to back this up. In 99.999% of cases if you read a notice that says “this is illegal don’t do it” you would take their word for it, but you don’t really know if there’s an actual law on the books that relates to it.

It’s like EULAs that say blah blah can’t reverse engineer, blah blah no liability, blah blah not suitable for any purpse, blah blah do not disclose benchmarks but none of those things are legally binding in places that have laws to specifically disclaim them (yes it is required to do what it says on the box it will do)

Apparently about 10 years ago in South Australia it was determined that there was no law to prevent motorists turning right at an intersection if the “right arrow” traffic signal was red. We had the signals, we just didn’t have the laws to require people obey them.

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