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How to avoid getting ripped off on the internet

Discussion in 'For Sale: Amps, Preamps, and Cabinets' started by Jugghaid, Jun 2, 2004.

  1. slapnuts


    Aug 9, 2005
    Marietta, GA
    I am sorry, you have missed out on a great part of life.
  2. luknfur


    Jan 14, 2004
    testing 1-2-3

    Well, guess I can post here.

    I've had recent ebay experience which I've been waiting to happen. Scammer running the table. Bassgear.com all over but sanctioned by ebay. I suspected as much but just got it verified today.

    This was dude was reportedly from Maldova - wherever that is. Anyway, he bid on some cheap pups I had up but it was a US auction and I always post for anyone with Negative/low feedback (5 or less) to contact me before bidding, he had 3 transacton at the time. 2 red flags immediately. Occassionally I get inquiries for my stuff from over seas (as often as not Americans there) and as long as there's no language barrier, I say no problem. And I've had no problem with them. Couple I refused cause I couldn't understand them and it's bad enough when you can communicate. But they've all asked first.

    This guy didn't ask, was definitely not American, and in the lower 10 percentile of the foriegnors for communicating, 3 strikes and long gone. Anyway, I told the guy he screwed up and I was going to void the auction. An hour + of my time and 17 days later that came to pass.

    That ebay garbage about being able to tank an auction immediately when someone bids from a "wrong" country is BS. It strung out and strung out. All the while he's trying to get me to ship the pups trying one tactic after another, including leaving positive feedback in advance, and shipping them to Atlanta or Seattle. I don't think so. The shipping desitnation is not just the country, it implies the source of the funds as well. Then he tells ebay we've agreed to settle dispute. I don't think so and I inform ebay otherwise. Never even knew that the other party could close a dispute. What's the point for it to begin with if so?

    Time's past and it's mid January, this dude just started ebaying in December and he's accumulated $2,000 of buying (no sales) in that time. All the while guys are leaving him positive feedback with lots of Kudo's and I'm thinking, this dude has 60 days to jerk the card carpet - and that's in this country. I didn't even think ebay would let anybody new rack up that kind of bill.

    By the end of January, I seen the first negative feedback for non-payment - a cheap set of pups no less. This guys bought several basses/guitars. He's up to $3K in purchases now. Convinced enough of what's going on, I chuck my negative feedback in. Then another follows and he's down in the 70's now for a rating and his feedback stops.

    Today I get noticed from ebay saying they pulled his plug - which I assumes means he didn't pay ebay - and they said all feedback he'd left would be removed.

    I was in David McNaught Guitars one day when he got a call from a distributor that said they got stung for $3500 worth of his guitars from a shanghai card and they were just out the funds. So are these guys in the $3,000 bundle I'm guessing. Hope you weren't one.
  3. Something folks should know:

    Most money orders issued in the USA originate from only a few companies. By looking carfully at the money order and doing a few simple searches, it is frequently possible to find an 800 number for the institution behind the money order. The larger institutions have automated systems that allow you to enter the serial number of the money order and then tell you where the money order was issued, the amount and IF THE MONEY ORDER HAS CLEARED BACK TO THEM. They will also flag known stolen numbers.

    This has allowed me to deposit a money order and not ship an item until I know it has actually cleared and been accepted by the issuing institution. This usually takes 5-14 days from the time I deposit it in my personal account.

    When I do an auction for more expensive items, I follow this procedure and state in the auction that money orders must clear back to the issuing institution in the listing. I had one purchaser squack because he thought that should happen in two days and it took about five or six days. I explained things to him and while he was a little impatient, I preserved my peace of mind by waiting. In the end he was overjoyed with the bass he bought.

    I have not seen this information about money orders posted elsewhere, so I thought it may help someone.

  4. luknfur


    Jan 14, 2004
    That's interesting,

    Not sure what the technical difference between a cashier's check and money order is but I know when I've recieved a cashiers check I contact the bank to verify it's was obtained there. And my bank has told me it's like 5 months before a stop can be put on a cashiers check unless the purchaser has both halfs.
  5. lowrez

    lowrez no.

    Nov 27, 2004
    New Englandish
    I try to use us postal money orders as much as possible. You can cash them at the post office, they verify it as legit and no waiting for them to clear. Easy nuff! :)
  6. luknfur


    Jan 14, 2004
    Yeh I was just trying to answer my own question and ran across this on verifying genuine postal money orders.

    http://www.antiqueadvertiser.com/AABBoard/Money Order Security.pdf

    I've taken several into USPS before and asked directly about verifying them cause they never checked them that I could tell and I know for a fact they didn't say anything about the above or give any indication they new otherwise.

    Also, they will only cash it if they have the amount on hand so small amounts is no issue.

    I recently saw an ebay add that refused USPS money orders in particular which struck me as strange cause they're usually preferred. So I emailed the seller and he said his bank won't take them any more so he's not.
  7. UrbanIvy


    Aug 1, 2004
    San Francisco
    I purchased a bass on bassgear and went through escrow.com

    Makes it real easy because you can check out the purchased gear to make sure you got what you paid for before the money is exchanged. If you don't receive what you wanted to purchase, you can simply send it back and get your money back, less the escrow costs.

    If you go through an escrow company, make sure it is a well known one though!

    I have a friend who scammed the scammers. He sold them "top of the line" laptops that they had no intention of paying for. Same thing, broken english response with red flags waiving all around. He played dumb through the entire process, making sure to keep a record of every e-mail. He finally convinced the scammers to commit to covering the certified shipping costs. They told him the check was in the mail, so he shipped off several wrecked laptops in a heavy crate box that was encased with heavy metal junk thrown in to make the whole thing weigh a ton. The "purchasers" had to accept the shipping charges before opening the package. When they opened it, they were highly confused and then totally pissed off.

    Definitely not recommending something like this for obvious reasons, but it is funny as hell :)
  8. Earl of Houston

    Earl of Houston

    Feb 11, 2005
    Fellow TB'ers,
    If you bid on something on EBay and DON'T WIN, watch out for this latest wrinkle that is very sophisiticated: fairly soon after the auction ends where you were outbid, you may receive a private email with EBay logos and such stating that the winning bidder has not been able to complete the bid and giving you the option of buying the item at the highest price that you bid (which will be a discount over what the item won for, obviously). Some of the emails were very careful not to ask for personal or financial information that would look suspicious, but the latest said that everything would go according to EBay policy. Then, they faked an email that they sent to me from ebay@2ndchance-offer-ebay.com with instructions to send the amount via Western Union and all of this extra stuff about Square Trade Seal Program protection and refund policies and procedures and legal-looking jargon, but not a thing about feedback process or working through the official EBay site. Well, the Western Union ONLY option sent off a late red flag, and now it all looks very flakey. The real transaction, in the mean time, has closed with the real buyer and seller entering their feedback, so apparently, someone on foreign versions of EBay can grab personal email information from bidders and INSERT themselves into a transaction and act (spoof) as the real seller, but they advise not emailing to the seller EBay mail account, so that is a tipoff. So, if you bid on something and don't win, WATCH OUT!

  9. luknfur


    Jan 14, 2004

    All possible ebay communications should be run through ebay, then there's no need to watch out. That also gives you an inhouse record of all our communications. I also avoid any communications by phone as there's no record. If I do have phone contact and the other party makes a statement of consequence, I get them to put that into an email so there is a record. If they won't then it's just BS as far as I'm concerned.

    I use to never communicate through ebay. Now outside of ebay, I delete any ebay related emails that come to my email addresses without even opening them. I had someone hack my account (sell stuff using my screen). That came about through operating outside of ebay. Now the only thing I do outside of ebay is send additional pics - which I haven't figured out how to do through ebay messaging. But I know who those people are cause they originally contacted me through ebay.
  10. Just a heads up, looks like fonefinder.net isn't totally accurate.. my landline shows up as a nextel number. If I were to guess, I'd probably say my number was originally a nextel number but got ported to a different provider.
  11. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are. Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 11, 2008
    Masks, people, masks!
    Song Surgeon slow downer.
    More info on accepting personal checks:
    You can always call the issuing bank and verify that the funds are available. They may not give you the exact balance on hand but will give you info on whether there's enough money in the account at the moment you call. There's still a chance that the money can be withdrawn before the check hits his bank.

    Also, ask your bank to let you know how long it takes to clear a check at the issuing bank. These days with electronic transfer between banks, it's sometimes over night for check clearing.

    Escrow would seem to be a good way to go or the Ebay "buy-it-now" item sale is something to think about.

    The question I have is: how do you know if it's stolen merchandise or not?
  12. luknfur


    Jan 14, 2004
    Somebody must have posted then deleted it cause no new post.


    What's in an account when you call and what's in account when a check arrives can be grossly different things. It basically only tells you enough money was there when you called.

    Anyway, my bank told me you can't ever know if a check has cleared, you can only know if it bounces. You essencially conclude its cleared if it hasn't bounced - that's why you often have to wait a week or two before someone will send an item paid for by check. Not very comforting.

    I don't take checks.

    A bank CS or MO on the other hand has been funded up front and you can verify those funds are good before you ship your goods - so why bother with a check. A USPO MO you either it get the funds for or they tell you it's fake before you ship.

    How can you know anything you buy used is not stolen - let alone anything used shipped to you.
  13. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are. Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 11, 2008
    Masks, people, masks!
    Song Surgeon slow downer.
    If a check bounces you will get hit with bounced check fees, maybe two times if it's the banks policy to put the check through again. It could be up to $50 total, depending on the bank.
  14. More often than not, if you think you're being scammed on eBay, just do a google search for any of the names in any emails. You may find a post on a forum talking about the scam.

    I've had many scam attempts on eBay and every time someone else has posted something about it being a scam on the net.

    My favorite one was this very elaborate and clever scam when someone bought my Xbox on a hijacked eBay account. It involved emails from all sorts of people and agencys, including the buyer, "eBay", "Directorate of International Relations", "FBI", "Secret Service", "Ambassador to Nigeria", and even "PayPal" who was going to close my account and prosecute me for internet fraud. It was classic. I just kept responding to all the emails with horrible, broken english saying I haven't been paid.

    My cheque policy has always been cashier's cheques and money orders must clear before shipment and personal cheques must clear, plus 2 business days before shipment - this hasn't backfired on me... yet.
  15. One of the things that really helps if you're buying, is to ask for more pictures, but to also ask for a picture of today's newspaper with the bass/effect/set of strings. That way you know they have it and it's one less worry out of the way. :)
  16. I have had nothing but negative experiences with Ebay and Paypal when it comes to dealing with flakes. I used to work in the fraud dept of a ISP so I had access to some resources that most folks dont. Like a professional phone number lookup that costs $100 per seat to use. When Ebay and Paypal have you jumping through hoops to get your transaction 'disputed' all it takes is for the other party to match you move for move and run out the clock. If you have a busy week around the 60 day mark and miss a deadline, tough.
    So I would just look people up with the info I could glean from ebay and paypal, then do some skip tracing and next thing you know I am talking to the fella at his work. Inform, (not threaten) the fella that I have the number of the state police and the local FBI. Maybe let slip that I know his middle name and his home address.
    Then he promises he will get that amp right to me!

    OTOH it kind of sucks when you don't have a paypal account. I have close mine and now I find it hard to sell or trade things with all the fine ladies and gentlemen on TB.
  17. BlueTalon

    BlueTalon Happy Cynic

    Mar 20, 2011
    Spokane, Washington
    Endorsing Artist: Turnstyle Switch
    I got some things of eBay through the 2nd chance thing. The easiest way to tell if something is legit is to go straight to eBay (don't use any links) and check your messages in My eBay. If the 2nd chance message came from the actual seller, it will be in your eBay inbox.
  18. punkrockdave

    punkrockdave Supporting Member

    Jun 21, 2004
    Can anyone speak to best practices for trading items on TB?
  19. 4DGeorge

    4DGeorge Thank You Clive Button! www.clivebutton.com

    Aug 24, 2014
    Houston, TX
    I've never thought of this kind of angle. Maybe that's partly why I'm having such a hard time getting several of the Craigslisters to sell me an amp. (trying to hunt down a Trace Elliot 2x10 combo)
  20. Tracebassplayer

    Tracebassplayer Sometimes Darkness Can Show You The Light.

    Dec 15, 2000
    Portland, OR
    I usually pay with a United States Postal Service money order.
    (Impossible to fraud that. Unless the seller doesn't send item, USPS GOES AFTER THEM FOR MAIL FRAUD. A FELONY IN THE USA )
    I arrange for FedEx to pick up pre paid on my FedEx account.
    I send the shipper label via email to the seller. He prints and attaches label to the box.
    Done deal.
    bassmeknik, Spidey2112 and 4DGeorge like this.

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