This may serve as a cause of amusement for you, it may serve as a stark warning as to the level of fraud still prevalent in eBay culture, or it may just provide a good laugh, ..either way i could not let this one go under the public radar.
Last week I listed my Sony HD camcorder on eBay hoping for something around the £900 mark. Now personally i would not buy such a high value item from eBay, but mine is a warranty clause not one of trust.
However in search of the bargains people do, and i have sold many high value items in this manner with great success.
So this auction passed without incident, no requests to ship to Romania, Nigeria or would i accept payment twice the value of the item by Western Union.
However when the auction ended at the excellent sum of £931.87 I was a little concerned that the winning bidder had 0 feedback score.
Although alarm bells ring i am always willing to give people the benefit of the doubt until they prove me wrong and initially i thought all was well as the buyer immediately contacted with the following message:
“Am having problem making payment for the item, so get to me as soon as possible regarding the payment for the item.”
I responded accordingly, although a little confused as the buyers registered address was in the US and i had not given a postage amount yet, however i assumed this was the confusion and responded accordingly:
“…not sure what problem your having …or what you want to do about shipping so maybe best to give me a quick call on +44 7960 214407 anytime.”
No answer was the response, ..not that evening or the following day. I started to worry a little, but more at the delay in payment as i really wanted to complete the transaction.
I knew however, that even though posting to the states was not going to be ideal, this buyer had won the auction far and square and i could do nothing about it.
Well, ..not quite nothing, …assuming it all went wrong i quickly sent a second chance offer to the bidder below just to test the water.
the bidder below replied quickly and informatively as one would expect of someone who wishes to purchase a high value product, and informed me that although he was bidding on another item, i should keep him informed as he would still be interested. We agreed to talk agin in a few days.
However around 4 hours later i was suddenly pleasantly surprised to see a PayPal payment notification pop through my inbox, ..you can see it yourself below
The amount was correct, and furthermore he had given me £200 for postage costs that i had by this time calculated and invoiced at £73.
Now look a little closer, ..well at this paragraph in particular:
“This payment is pending because it was sent in a currency in which you do not currently hold a balance. Get back to us with the Shipment Tracking details so that we can verify that the item has been shipped and transfer the funds deducted from the buyer’s PayPal account to your account. If you have any question or you want to send the Shipment Tracking details to us at :email@example.com You can also send the Shipment Tracking details to the buyer if you want.”
Does this look like the kind of paragraph that would be written by PayPal copywriting department, …me thinks not.
Oh wait, .and what is this, .look at the delivery address that has suddenly appeared:
27 Medical Road,
ALARM ALARM :) ….it appears although the display name of the email is firstname.lastname@example.org, the actual sending address is email@example.com !!
So i logged into my paypal accounts, ..both of them, ..surprise surprise, .no payments.
So i responded:
“oh dear, ..unfortunately i am a computer programmer and i know that the paypal receipt was not from paypal and you are having a laugh.
unless you phone me on number below i will not be continuing this transaction or conversation and will be reporting you to both paypal, ebay and the relevant legal authorities.”
Suddenly this arrived in my inbox:
“Thanks for your mail, i want you to know that i have sincerely made payment for the item, which i have received a receipt from paypal concerning the payment to your account, so i want you to get the item ready for postage first thing tomorrow morning and get back to me with the shipment details so i can confirm to my client that the item is on its way.”
So i sent this response:
“Look mate, ..i don’t mean to be rude BUT, your account address is in the US, you paypal address is in Nigeria, and your other postcode is in PO9
If you wish to continue with this transaction you will need to phone me as i will not be going any further until you can make some specific contact with me.
I know you made a paypal payment, …but it was not to my ebay paypal acount and quite simply i will not send the item until the money is clear.
You have 24 hours from my previous email to phone me before the item is sold elsewhere.”
Was i still being too nice, ..i really wanted him to phone, ..really i did.
I must tell you at this point the second chance offer was agreed with the new buyer, and this became more of a point of interest rather than a concern, …until the next day, ..this arrived in my inbox:
*nice choice of font for ebay :)
It would appear that as well as attempting to defraud me out of a camera, i was now being bullied into sending the item under the premise of an unposted item strike, ..a fake one at that (sending email was firstname.lastname@example.org).
The funny thing was he was well within his rights to have issued me a REAL one :)
I responded accordingly:
“ha ha ha ha ha ha ha”
..and funnily enough have heard noting since.
Now i am a professional, if i didn’t spot this i would be very angry at myself, but for those of you out there that are a little worried, ..follow these key steps:
- never ship an item to nigeria, ..it is officially the most corrupt country in the world, there is no REAL eBay market there.
- always use a unique email address for your ebay account, ..i use email@example.com, which the buyers/sellers never see, …i then contact them from my personal email account, ..therefore when official(!) ebay emails arrive suddenly to my personal email address, i know it is a fake.
- always encourage phone contact. a genuine buyer will greatly appreciate this. a fake will not.
- never ever click on links in emails EVEN if they are official if the site in question holds any personal information or anything that can be used against you, ..facebook, myspace, banks, ebay, etc etc …always open a browser window and go to the site yourself.
- always put immediate contact/payment terms in your adverts, ..a genuine buyer will have no problems paying within 24 hours, or at least contacting you in person, ..this gives you enough time should it fall though to offer a second chance offer before the second place bidder has moved on and forgotten about the item.
Help stop the illegal trafficking of our electronics to Nigeria ;)