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I understand that if I make a bitcoin payment my purchase is recorded in the blockchain and cannot be reversed. My bitcoins are gone. But all transactions imply a vendor providing a product. So ...

  1. Does the system record and link the record of my bitcoin spend to the product I'm buying? If so, how?

  2. Does bitcoin/blockchain at least record the total transaction such that I have at least a contractual right to the product I've purchased?

  3. How can I be sure I will receive the product I purchased in a timely fashion (or at all)? Why wouldn't the vendor just keep my bitcoin and tell me to get lost?

  4. Consumers use credit cards BECAUSE they are protected against such ripoffs via chargeback and other rules. I gather bitcoin/blockchain doesn't provide such protections. Are we talking about 'caveat emptor' aka let the buyer beware? If so, that's fine for small purchases but sounds hopeless for any purchase where I can't afford to be ripped off.

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Does the system record and link the record of my bitcoin spend to the product I'm buying? If so, how?

No. But entities (like governments, secret services, companies, or individuals) my attempt to do so.

Does bitcoin/blockchain at least record the total transaction such that I have at least a contractual right to the product I've purchased?

Total transactions: Yes. As in "total number of transactions in the blockchain".

As in "total transactions you ever made": Your wallet records this. Bitcoin does not provide a way for you to prove that you purchased something (Does anything actually provide a way to proof this? I don't think so.) but you can prove that you're in possession of the private keys necessary to have made a certain transaction.

How can I be sure I will receive the product I purchased in a timely fashion (or at all)? Why wouldn't the vendor just keep my bitcoin and tell me to get lost?

You can only believe in promises or have a contract assuring you that (e.g. a promise by or a contract with the trading platform you're using). The currency you're using doesn't matter at all for this.

Consumers use credit cards BECAUSE they are protected against such ripoffs via chargeback and other rules. I gather bitcoin/blockchain doesn't provide such protections. Are we talking about 'caveat emptor' aka let the buyer beware? If so, that's fine for small purchases but sounds hopeless for any purchase where I can't afford to be ripped off.

You seem to confuse currencies and payment methods a lot. Have a look at this answer.

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But all transactions imply a vendor providing a product. [..] Does the system record and link the record of my bitcoin spend to the product I'm buying? If so, how?

Not all of them. If I pay the kid across my street to mow my lawn, I would hardly say he's a 'vendor.' In any case, if there's a chargeback, he's not going to have a paper trail to prove that he mowed my lawn - it's just going to be my word against his. It's not clear how chargebacks protect people in this case. If the arbitrator generally finds in favor of buyers, it hurts the kid across the street when he really did the work. If the arbitrator generally finds in favor of sellers, it hurts me when I pay and the work doesn't actually get done. If the arbitrator tries to decide who's more trustworthy, it's pretty much going to be a crapshoot.

How do credit cards deal with this situation? They don't. They never give the neighbor's kid the ability to open a merchant account.

How can I be sure I will receive the product I purchased in a timely fashion (or at all)? Why wouldn't the vendor just keep my bitcoin and tell me to get lost?

Credit cards might guarantee that you receive a product, and maybe even ensure that the product is as described. However, they don't guarantee that the product is any good. If you're buying music or a game, it's hard to see how a credit card company could decide something so subjective. How do you find out whether a game or piece of music is good? Reputation. We're just taking reputation one step further.

Consumers use credit cards BECAUSE they are protected against such ripoffs via chargeback and other rules.

Bitcoin escrow/arbitration services do exist, though you must agree to use them before the transaction in question, making them an opt-in rather than opt-out system. Given that there's no stampede of customers towards those escrow services, that suggests that most customers don't care about escrow, and most of them only use arbitrated systems because of the hassle of switching.

Are we talking about 'caveat emptor' aka let the buyer beware?

Yes, we are.

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Bitcoin does not formally provide any protections similar to credit cards such as chargebacks. But if you are buying something from a legitimate retailer that is specifically accepting bitcoins, you have all the effective protection of a credit card. You even have protection on the Dark Web. I was a vendor on Silk Road and what struck me was the high level of trust involved between vendor and customer. And such sites have feedback mechanisms. So you can always register your displeasure over something. A legitimate dark-web vendor will certainly at least consider your request for a refund or a return, and the same certainly goes for a regular retailer. Frankly I wouldn't worry about it.

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