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It was most likely a mistake.  LEGO Customer Service has several "form" letters to choose from and they replied with the wrong one.  The 4 Exo Suits is what triggered your ban.  No doubt.  They are watching that set like a hawk.

There must be some other factor or some sort of randomness. Put two orders (separated by a few minutes) with 2xExo+2xInstitute in each. Both orders were shipped 

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There must be some other factor or some sort of randomness. Put two orders (separated by a few minutes) with 2xExo+2xInstitute in each. Both orders were shipped 

 

Maybe the quantity of VIP-points someone has?

 

I remember when I was a kid there was a mom's and pop's shop where you could get stamps with every purchase. And when you had the booklet full of stamps you would get something for free. I forgot what it was. So my grandma became a regular customer. But every time my grandma came in the shop to silver the full booklet, the owner would say that these stamps and booklets were old and not valid anymore. But he had new stamps and booklets. So if she wanted she could start all over. 

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There must be some other factor or some sort of randomness. Put two orders (separated by a few minutes) with 2xExo+2xInstitute in each. Both orders were shipped 

There has to be.  I was going to post this before, but my thinking was that how can LEGO not be able to really tabulate a VIP members total sales since inception...basically to look for repeat and multiple orders?  The answer is they can and probably do know exactly what every person buys and knows that many of us have histories that would indicate a reseller.  If they don't, they need to hire a competent programmer(s) to make it happen.  

 

Bottom line is that I think these audits are random and are meant to punish a few to scare the whole.  They like my business and many other reseller's/collector's business, they just want to keep it in check with these random audits. 

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If I buy within limits @ Lego SAH , and then buy more in store without using VIP card (I assume using VIP card that tied to the same Lego online account is not a good idea), and pay by another credit card (while have the same billing address as the Lego online Credit card I use), is it considered safe?

 

I am by no means a major investor (at least for now) while once in a while I want to buy more than one or two for collection purpose (one to open and display, one to keep). And in the exosuit case, there's actually a legit reason to get a few more and put them up together, almost like people buying multiple storm-troopers and form an army.

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There has to be.  I was going to post this before, but my thinking was that how can LEGO not be able to really tabulate a VIP members total sales since inception...basically to look for repeat and multiple orders?  The answer is they can and probably do know exactly what every person buys and knows that many of us have histories that would indicate a reseller.  If they don't, they need to hire a competent programmer(s) to make it happen.  

 

Bottom line is that I think these audits are random and are meant to punish a few to scare the whole.  They like my business and many other reseller's/collector's business, they just want to keep it in check with these random audits. 

Could it be that they take the list of possible offenders (their Lego account names) and just run it against ebay seller IDs. and just kill anything that matches, without much of extra investigation?

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So they're not looking for any response. They're just saying your days are numbered. I wonder if anyone has gotten the warning email...continued buying Lego...and not been banned?

I have. About two years ago I placed a $2k order (I know, I know...these were the days before avoiding the Banhammer and exploiting the freebies were common practice). The order went through with no problems, and I received everything I ordered. A few weeks later I placed $700 order. I received a cancellation email shortly thereafter. It didn't mention anything about reselling in the email, just that it was cancelled. I called CS to find out what was going on, and was accused of being a reseller. Ok. Weird, I thought. My account was frozen and my VIP points disappeared. A few weeks passed and I placed a small order. My account was active and my points were back. I have been buying on the same account ever since with no issues (so far). I have purchased multiple grand emporiums and tower bridges (one per order). Five ectos in one order. I was able to get 18 hearses during the fire sale (two separate orders to qualify for free shipping), as well as several Jabbas during the clearance event, and a few other odds and ends here and there.

I don't go crazy trying to get the free polybags. The most I ever got of one is six Martian man hunters, otherwise I usually get 1-3, depending on if I am buying something already. I don't buy just to get a freebie. To me the freebie is a bonus if I'm already buying.

I think my situation occurred when they were just starting their witch hunt, and they probably didn't have their internal banning guidelines in place fully yet, which is probably why I was/have been spared thus far. I'll continue to purchase one set at a time, spread out here and there, and if the hammer falls then so be it. It's not that big of a deal, really.

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Could it be that they take the list of possible offenders (their Lego account names) and just run it against ebay seller IDs. and just kill anything that matches, without much of extra investigation?

eBay and Bricklink accounts are one way to check.  Many people have the same username spread among many different accounts. What was once thought of as a convenient thing to do is now a liability.

 

I guess that is why I started this thread.  We have over 30,000 members and I want to see how common a LEGO ban really is.  If a couple thousand members are really active and 10 or 20 are banned, it is not that big of a deal.  

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There has to be. I was going to post this before, but my thinking was that how can LEGO not be able to really tabulate a VIP members total sales since inception...basically to look for repeat and multiple orders? The answer is they can and probably do know exactly what every person buys and knows that many of us have histories that would indicate a reseller. If they don't, they need to hire a competent programmer(s) to make it happen.

Bottom line is that I think these audits are random and are meant to punish a few to scare the whole. They like my business and many other reseller's/collector's business, they just want to keep it in check with these random audits.

When you enter your VIP card in a store they can see your history. I'm not sure if they can see everything you've purchased exactly, but they can definitely see your lifetime total VIP points. They can do the same at [email protected], no doubt. However, the two systems are currently separate. I believe they are working on making it all one, tracking purchases, returns, etc. which will likely result in a little more of a hassle if you get banned at [email protected] as it would likely result in losing your accumulated points everywhere and possibly allowing them to limit sets across stores and [email protected] Of course, you could just not use your VIP card in store, as long as they don't know who you are if they really want to get serious about it.
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So given that my secondary account for my wife is in some sort of ban state, I'm hesitant to use my primary account, even though it hasn't received any notification of a ban, since it has the same billing address.  What are some suggestions?  Only use the primary account in store?  Try to use it online?  I still need to redeem my VIP points in case they cancelled it...  I was trying to save up for a Haunted House, but since I can only get that online, I may just have to spend it on something else...

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When you enter your VIP card in a store they can see your history. I'm not sure if they can see everything you've purchased exactly, but they can definitely see your lifetime total VIP points. They can do the same at [email protected], no doubt. However, the two systems are currently separate. I believe they are working on making it all one, tracking purchases, returns, etc. which will likely result in a little more of a hassle if you get banned at [email protected] as it would likely result in losing your accumulated points everywhere and possibly allowing them to limit sets across stores and [email protected] Of course, you could just not use your VIP card in store, as long as they don't know who you are if they really want to get serious about it.

It makes sense.  I know various site functions here need to be separate for various reasons.  I always ask Jeff why don't you just make it work this way and he gets mad at me and basically tells to me to get lost.  LOL.  

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So given that my secondary account for my wife is in some sort of ban state, I'm hesitant to use my primary account, even though it hasn't received any notification of a ban, since it has the same billing address.  What are some suggestions?  Only use the primary account in store?  Try to use it online?  I still need to redeem my VIP points in case they cancelled it...  I was trying to save up for a Haunted House, but since I can only get that online, I may just have to spend it on something else...

Use it.  Buy the HH. Listen, if they are going to ban you, it's already done.  If you don't use the VIP points or program, it's like you are banned anyway.  

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It makes sense.  I know various site functions here need to be separate for various reasons.  I always ask Jeff why don't you just make it work this way and he gets mad at me and basically tells to me to get lost.  LOL.  

 

Yep, that's one of the times when Service Oriented Architecture and isolated data stores can be used to your advantage haha.

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This isn't true. At least, it isn't always true.

 

No, but the point remains valid - they CAN go poof immediately (and sometimes do) so using them as they're earned is the safest way and has no practical downside - and if TLG does get their act together integrating LEGO Shop at Home and stores, as Mos Eisley (I believe) mentioned they may be doing now, soon it may always be true.

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  • 1 month later...

Do we have any better idea what brings the banhammer?

 

I haven't bought anything from LEGO Shop at Home for years until the last few months. Since the beginning of August, I've made 10 purchases. I've only ordered multiples in the same order 1 time (Ecto 1 x2). I managed to land 6 spacemen and 9 Chima bikes promo-wise.

 

My orders (oldest to newest):

 

2 Ecto 1s

1 Sopwith Camel

1 Haunted House

1 VW T1

1 GE

1 HH (Cancelled)

1 Benny's SSS!!! (For me, of course)

1 Horizon Express

1 VW T1 (with the free polybag)

1 3E

 

As you can see, variety. Most of the orders were spaced by a day or two at least.

 

Am I running risk here? Or is this the way to play the game?

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Am I running risk here? Or is this the way to play the game?

Again, nobody here could tell you. But from what I see you walk on a slippery slope, even with the variety. There are not a lot of people that could sustain a hobby that expensive over a long time, without selling of course.

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Do we have any better idea what brings the banhammer?

 

I haven't bought anything from LEGO Shop at Home for years until the last few months. Since the beginning of August, I've made 10 purchases. I've only ordered multiples in the same order 1 time (Ecto 1 x2). I managed to land 6 spacemen and 9 Chima bikes promo-wise.

 

My orders (oldest to newest):

 

2 Ecto 1s

1 Sopwith Camel

1 Haunted House

1 VW T1

1 GE

1 HH (Cancelled)

1 Benny's SSS!!! (For me, of course)

1 Horizon Express

1 VW T1 (with the free polybag)

1 3E

 

As you can see, variety. Most of the orders were spaced by a day or two at least.

 

Am I running risk here? Or is this the way to play the game?

I would say you are pretty safe with that buying pattern.  It's when guys are buying multiples in back to back orders that they start pinging on Lego's radar it seems.

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eBay and Bricklink accounts are one way to check.  Many people have the same username spread among many different accounts. What was once thought of as a convenient thing to do is now a liability.

 

That has always been a no-no for me. I am "Spanky" on this site and this site only. Every website I visit I create a new username. I've never used my primary eBay account name anywhere but on eBay. I would never use my real name (or anything that connects to my identity) anywhere.

 

This isn't just a matter of avoiding retailer bans, it is controlling what information people can find out about me online.

 

Example: Let's say I was a malicious individual. What if someone make posts here that reveal they have significant resources to invest into LEGO, and there is enough information posted by that person (either here or on other boards under the same username) for me to figure out where they live. Now that person could unfortunately be a target for robbery.

 

To each their own, but I go out of my way to keep my online "personas" not easily connected to my personal identity.

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  • 6 months later...

I didn't read all the way through the 4 pages so I am not sure if this is mentioned by anyone else, but while I haven't had this problem while shopping online with Lego, I have had a problem with them in the store. Recently I was there with my mom and my aunt. We all have different addresses, different Lego accounts (well at least my mom and myself do), but we came in and shopped together, and each made a qualifying promo purchase (which my aunt was buying for her grandkids, my mom half for me as gifts half for my dad as gifts, and myself, well, for myself), and they were not going to give us each a promo. I was like what the heck. Then they say its one per household, then they say it's so everyone has a chance to get one... I told him, these legos were going to at least 3 different people, and there were 3 different buyers, you cannot deny promos to that. Anyhow, I do think it may have been a chaotic day for them. I shop there often enough for them to kind of remember me. (That and I am a redhead and more memorable than the average person I would say.) But really, I cannot figure out why they seem to be so worried about the secondary market. If they are going to offer a promo with minimum purchase then why don't they just make enough for every expected qualifying purchase!?! I just don't get. If they worry that the promos are sought after by collectors to then go resell cause they are limited and go up in value, MAKE MORE! Problem solved. Flood the market with those little sets ensuring everyone gets a chance to have a try with different themes. I think the promos are really cool, a great way to ensure purchase minimums, and expose people to a variety of types of Lego themes, but them seemingly being so worried about the secondary market is ridiculous. So if it is multiple purchases online that cause a trigger, number one it wouldn't surprise me based on my one experience, and two think it quite absurd.

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