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Author Topic: Buyer Beware EBAY stories!  (Read 6073 times)

Offline compasspnt

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Buyer Beware EBAY stories!
« on: February 27, 2005, 03:54:50 pm »
Bill Mueller wrote on Sun, 27 February 2005 14:43

One of the smartest audio purchases I have ever made was a Yamaha DM2000, however, how I went about getting it bordered on one of the dumbest stunts I have ever survived.

I knew I wanted  the DM2k when it was first advertised, however getting one proved to be extremely difficult in the first year. It seemed that only a handful of dealers had them and were selling them ABOVE retail by almost three thousand dollars. So one day, you can imagine my surprise and glee to see one for sale on Ebay!

I outbid everyone ($14,000.00) but did not make the minimum. So, I sent an email to the seller asking to know how much he wanted for the console. He said he would take $14,500.00 and I said, deal. I had experienced a few small issues on Ebay before that and wanted to make sure that I was not getting ripped off by this person. I had him send me two phone numbers, his mailing address (no post box) and a copy of his driver's license. After getting enough info on the guy to feel safe, I cut him a check for $14,500.00.

Then the fun began.

Everything went hunky dory until the day that the console was supposed to arrive via UPS. No console. I called Jason (his real name) and asked what had happened. He said we had a problem, in that the console was slightly damaged by UPS and they were holding it temporarily to file an insurance claim. Oh boy. I told him to send me the UPS documents for the claim and he did. I waited patiently for a couple of weeks, calling him every couple of days to stay in touch.

Things then started to get hairy. Another shipment did not arrive and he started getting harder to get in touch with. I told him to send me a check for $14,500.00,  I would hold it until the console arrived and then I would send it back to him. He sent me a check. But another couple of weeks went by and no console.

I started getting very suspicious. I called the bank the check was made out from and they never heard of him or his company. Shit. I scanned his documents into Photoshop and blew them up. They were forges. Every time something like this happened, he had some kind of semi plausible story about why this thing or another was delayed or didn't work. At one point, I received an email from his wife saying he had been in a car accident and would be in the hospital for a few days. I called and a female confirmed that story. Finally he told me that he had been paid by UPS for the console but that they had kept it. He said he was going to buy another one from Sweetwater and mail it to me the next day.

I was about ready to take things into my own hands and had called the Indiana State Police to report a potential Internet fraud case. I filed the info and waited for a return call from a detective. I filed a case with the FBI for interstate fraud. I also called Sweetwater and talked to a manager. They don't sell DM2000's at Sweetwater. Damn.

I was going out of my mind and my poor staff was taking the brunt of the damage. Something had to be done.

Jason kept swearing that he had bought the console privately from a Sweetwater salesman, and it was in route to me via UPS. I checked the tracking number and sure enough, there it was, in Indianapolis on it's way to Maryland. Ok, now were getting somewhere. The next day it was in Pennsylvania on it's way to Hunt Valley and everything seemed to be fine.

On the Wednesday that it was to arrive, I kept the UPS tracking page open on my computer throughout the day, checking on it every half an hour or so. While I waited for it to arrive, I got a call back from the Indiana State police detective. He told me that while I might think that $14k was a lot of money, in reality it wasn't! If it was fraud, it would probably never get pursued. In any case my money was gone if so.

Meanwhile, the package arrived in Hunt Valley and was on the truck to be delivered to my door. Yes!

Then, all of a sudden, the tracking software said, RETURNED, Wrong Address! Damn!!! I jumped in my MR2 and flew to Hunt Valley. I stormed into the UPS office told them they were holding evidence in a FBI fraud case and I needed it and all information regarding it immediately. They looked at me like I was nuts, but there was a room full of people who now all wanted to know what was going on. A manager came out with a puny little box and handed it to me along with printouts of all their data relating to that shipment. My heart sank. I truly was being ripped off. There were two little computer speakers in the box.

I called my wife, who was in Philadelphia for the week and told her I was going to Indiana and would call her in a day or so. I then went home and packed. I did a Yahoo map to the guys house and it was 14 hours. I would drive through the night, sleep one hour between 2:00 AM and 3:00 AM and arrive at dawn. I would catch him in his jammies and scare the living crap out of him. I would either get my money or deliver him to the local police.

I took no weapons. I don't like jail.

When I got to his house, there was a nice Infinity QX4 sitting in the driveway with Michigan plates. I knew I was in the right place because Jason's drivers license was from Michigan. I blocked the SUV in with my car and cleaned out the road trash from the passengers side. I then took out my video camera and made a movie of the front and back of his place. I looked for escape routes and when I was ready, I knocked on the door.

When the guy finally came down, in his jammies and rubbing his eyes, I told him "Jason, you know who I am, get out here". He was about 25 years old and about thirty pounds heavier than I but I knew I could take him if I had to. He came outside and I explained a few things to him. I won't go too far into the details but he knew that I was not talking shit. He had two choices, my money or jail. He went back inside to get dressed so we could go and get the money. I waited outside, walking back and forth from his front door to his back door in case he tried to bolt.

When he came out he was holding a stack of papers and looking white as a sheet.He said he did not have the money, but would I please take his car?!!! He had used mine and someone else's money to but it with cash and was trying to sell it to pay me back. More stories. I told him no, but he eventually convinced me that we could take it to a dealership and sell it to get my money back. He had paid $21,000.00 for it.

Se we went to a dealership. It turned out that all the buyers from all the local dealerships were in Chicago buying cars at auctions. My next option was to try to drive it back. Jason offered to drive the Infinity if I would get him a plane ticket back to Indiana. That was cheaper than trailering. So I went to a hotel and slept for one hour. I met Jason and we left for Maryland. We stopped for one hour in Ohio and otherwise drove on though. When we got to my office, one of my staff, not knowing that Jason was sitting around the corner, made a comment about what he would like to do to Jason's face. Jason waited outside.

I then put him on a plane. Between Wednesday morning and Friday evening, I had three hours sleep in three, one hour increments. My mental stability was in question.

My wife loves that car.

I then bought the DM2000 for $17,500.00 from Manny's in New York... like a good boy. I love that console.

Best Regards,

Bill


Let's try to keep OTHER people from getting ripped off by EBAY scammers!

Terry

Offline Greg Dixon

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Re: Buyer Beware EBAY stories!
« Reply #1 on: February 27, 2005, 04:51:39 pm »
The seller feedback is definitely your main weapon in not getting ripped off. If they have any negative feedback, I find it, even if it goes back a few years, just to see what it was about. When buying gear, I look at what else they've bought and sold, to check that they know what they're selling. There are a lot of dealers, who sell whatever they can find and often don't know anything about it.

Offline David Kulka

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Re: Buyer Beware EBAY stories!
« Reply #2 on: February 27, 2005, 06:29:55 pm »
WOW.  Bill, that was one incredible story, my heart was pounding as I read it.  Thank you for taking the time to tell it.  And bravo on the successful outcome.
http://www.studioelectronics.biz

Service & Restoration of UREI dbx Neve Eventide Marshall AMS Tube Gear and more

Offline Kennyd03

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Re: Buyer Beware EBAY stories!
« Reply #3 on: March 01, 2005, 03:12:32 pm »
Wow, that is a really incredible story - thanks for sharing. What is the guy's eBay name? Also, have you contacted eBay about this?

Thanks,

-KD03

Offline Bill Mueller

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Re: Buyer Beware EBAY stories!
« Reply #4 on: March 01, 2005, 07:46:23 pm »
Kenny,

I keep an HTML copy of most of the ebay transactions I am involved with. I copied the actual text from the transaction so you can see not only his Ebay name but also the ebay item number and everything else. I did not involve Ebay because the actual transaction occured after the Ebay auction was over.

However, BEWARE. Ebay WILL NOT help you in a conflict. I have had issues over (I don't know if I should even mention this) a grand piano and a celtic harp. But those are other stories. Actually the piano belongs in the worst purchases ever made thread.

After I resolved my situation with Jason, I received a call from the Indiana State Police asking if I wanted to press charges. Apparently, he ripped off six other people and was eventually arrested. I stayed out of it because I didn't think the Gendarme would appreciate my uh, methods.

See below for details.

Best Regards,

Bill




Yamaha DM2000 96kHz Digital Console
Item # 894112279
Music:Musical Instruments:Pro Audio:Mixers

Bidding is closed for this item.

"Don't take it personally. But this shit is a science." J.J.Blair

“The Internet is only a means of communication,” he wrote. “It is not an amorphous extraterrestrial body with an entitlement to norms that run counter to the fundamental principles of human rights. There is nothing in the criminal or civil law which legalizes that which is otherwise illegal simply because the transaction takes place over the Internet.” Irish judge, Peter Charleton

Offline Norwood

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Re: Buyer Beware EBAY stories!
« Reply #5 on: March 01, 2005, 09:56:03 pm »
A couple of weeks ago I was looking on ebay at computers.  Mine is ok but I was seeing if there were any good deals on a G5.  I came across a guy selling a 2.5ghz dual processor G5, with a 30 inch hd cinema display, 8gb ram, 2 250gb hdds, crazy amount of extras, and he had a note on the item saying that if you bought it within 24 hours he would sell it for $1500.  He had like 48 positive feedback points and only 1 negative, like 2 years ago.

Sounded too good to be true, so I emailed him and asked about it, he quickly wrote back and said he just needed the money to buy something else.  So I looked on mac.com and with all the options it would have cost $11,900.  His ebay info said that he was in Newport Beach, CA, about 20 minutes from my house, so I said if he would meet me personally, I would buy it, but I didn't trust him to send him a check. Something just seemed fishy.

He wrote back saying that he lived in Romania and that he had created an account with Ebay and deposited $20,000 into it for purchase protection.  He said if I was unsatisfied all I had to do was contact ebay and they would refund me out of that account.  I checked with ebay and they said there is no such thing.  I emailed him back their response, and told him that I notified ebay of what he said and within 10 minutes he'd taken the item off.  

Do your due diligence before commiting.
Michael Norwood
Wood Bros. Productions

Offline compasspnt

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Re: Buyer Beware EBAY stories!
« Reply #6 on: March 01, 2005, 11:29:16 pm »
Yes, and NEVER buy the item directly from the seller after the auction has ended!

Offline thesoundguy

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Re: Buyer Beware EBAY stories!
« Reply #7 on: March 02, 2005, 05:14:05 pm »
this is pretty much the best way to flush out ebay scammers, simple email:

Hi, I live close to you, if I win the auction, can I pick up and pay in cash.

They usually respond with, oh no, I live here but the item is located in this other town.

at which point you conveniently have a friend in other town who can pick up and pay cash.


I have sold tons of stuff on ebay, and while its sometimes a pain in the ass to meet people, on real expensive items its real nice to get cash and not have to deal with shipping and the worry of things getting damaged, etc.  Its hard to imagine a REAL seller giving you attitude about actually making the sale easier for the seller...

dave

Offline Joe Giannone

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Re: Buyer Beware EBAY stories!
« Reply #8 on: March 02, 2005, 11:21:12 pm »
As a long time eBay seller who doesn’t allow in person inspection and pick up, I thought I’d give you a look at the other side of the coin.

Why I no longer allow in person pick up:

1) Buyers who tell me that they’ll be by to pick up and pay for an item around two and show up at six in the evening, so I’m forced to sit around all day waiting for them.

2) Everyone has to use my bathroom when they show up, including the guy who locked himself in there for thirty minutes.

3) ”I was the high bidder on this item, but I’m going to look at it now, and decide if I really want it” including the fellow who came by to pick up the mountain bike, but wanted to try it out first, taking it around the block and vanishing for forty minutes while I stood there wondering if he’d ever come back.

4) Creepy dudes, like the fellow who was the high bidder on a ceramics kiln I sold. Once here, he gave me the breakdown on his business plan, bragging to me that he was one of the biggest “dealers” in the area, and revealing that he intended to use the kiln to manufacture glass bongs to sell with his weed.  

I could go on, but you get the point.

That being said, I would personally prefer to pick up an expensive item in person if I had the choice, ‘cause I don‘t trust nobody  Very Happy  

Offline Lee Flier

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Re: Buyer Beware EBAY stories!
« Reply #9 on: March 02, 2005, 11:43:56 pm »
I don't usually invite people to my home to pick stuff up, but I will meet them in a public place.  Seems like the best way.

I guess I've been lucky... I haven't done all that many eBay transactions and, knock on wood, all the ones I have done have gone smoothly.  They haven't been for a lot of money either.  Bill, your story is unbelievable!

Offline Bill Mueller

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Re: Buyer Beware EBAY stories!
« Reply #10 on: March 04, 2005, 06:08:22 am »
Am I just a crap magnet? Here is the actual transcript from a guy who is trying to rip us off on Ebay by getting us to send him a projector before we receive payment! Damn. The communications start at the bottom and work up to the top.

Best Regards,

Bill

Re: Response to your question for item #5169385876 - NEC MultiSync  MT820 LCD Projector w/ ATA Road Case

thanks you have got a deal though i will be paying out
of my skin for the item,but i am positive thats its
worth every penny.but i have just been contacted by western union money order that my account has some deficits so i won't be able to send any money orders for a while,so pls anyway ,what i will do now is get
in contact with my client there in the US who owes me
some money
"Don't take it personally. But this shit is a science." J.J.Blair

“The Internet is only a means of communication,” he wrote. “It is not an amorphous extraterrestrial body with an entitlement to norms that run counter to the fundamental principles of human rights. There is nothing in the criminal or civil law which legalizes that which is otherwise illegal simply because the transaction takes place over the Internet.” Irish judge, Peter Charleton

Offline Level

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Re: Buyer Beware EBAY stories!
« Reply #11 on: March 04, 2005, 06:20:14 am »
I bought a car on ebay. It was described well and as advertised. I had to drive it back 360 miles.
When I met the seller, I did not question a thing. I gave him the cash, he signed the title (I had done a carfax to make sure it was not hot) and off I went. I would have been a jerk to act like I could "check it over", try to "hack him down" and to act and anyway other than to do a 5 min. transaction.

I agree that some buyers can and will be jerks on a pick up situation and I agree I would not sell anything for "pickup"

You buy...you are bound to the item. Buyer beware...always.

Bill M. That one is a rippoff. You know not to do crap about that one. Africa? Red Flag. Bogus Money orders...Horrible.


http://balancedmastering.com

"Listen and Learn"
---Since 1975---

Offline compasspnt

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Re: Buyer Beware EBAY stories!
« Reply #12 on: March 04, 2005, 06:23:58 am »
Reads a lot like those Nigerian scam letters.  I wouldn't even bother........

Offline Fletcher

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Re: Buyer Beware EBAY stories!
« Reply #13 on: March 04, 2005, 09:03:58 am »
Bill Mueller wrote on Fri, 04 March 2005 06:08

Am I just a crap magnet?


I don't know about "crap magnet"... but you are indeed one exceptionally lucky son of a bitch!!

I know several "real theives".  Their profession is that of theif.  It's an honorable profession, in fact, it's an industry.  Without theives, we'd have almost no police [which would mean fewer police cars/motocycles sold... and fewer cop toys like 'handcuffs and tasers' sold, etc]; fewer lawyers [who some could argue can be theives as well]; fewer jails; yada, yada, yada [I digress].

At any rate... if you had been taken down by a real theif... they would have either [depending on the theif, his demeanor, and knowledge of the local laws]: A) shot you for trespassing; B) called the local police to get you off his lawn [this is a civil matter until you engage the police... when you engage the police it is then a criminal matter, at which point it is incumbent upon "law enforcement" to enforce the law... not you... though you could perform a 'citizens arrest' thing once he was off his property, and out of his vehicle, etc.]; C) told you to fuck off and die then proceeded to eat breakfast, read the paper, move to Texas.

You should consider yourself exceptionally lucky... and believe it or not, really should have flown the kid home 1st class as he was really exceptionally "stand up" about the whole thing.

Most of the real theives I know probably would have told you to get the fuck off their lawn or suffer the consequences... then disappeared into the sunset... though one in particular probably would have shot you for the sport of it [he, fortuntely, is out of circulation for the next several years].

In the future, unless you're really fond of shit like driving to Indiana... I'd highly suggest you treat any kind of "person to person" transaction like a drug deal... or deal with reputable companies [like Manny's for instance].

Peace.
CN Fletcher

mwagener wrote on Sat, 11 September 2004 14:33
We are selling emotions, there are no emotions in a grid


"Recording engineers are an arrogant bunch.  
If you've spent most of your life with a few thousand dollars worth of musicians in the studio, making a decision every second and a half... and you and  they are going to have to live with it for the rest of your lives, you'll get pretty arrogant too.  It takes a certain amount of balls to do that... something around three"
Malcolm Chisholm


Offline Bill Mueller

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Re: Buyer Beware EBAY stories!
« Reply #14 on: March 04, 2005, 07:02:06 pm »
Thanks Fletcher,

I also think I'm lucky, but for a lot of other reasons. Regarding "real" theives, I grew up in East St. Louis in the 60's. I know up close and personal. People who rip off other people using the internet, do so because they think they are safe at a distance. Take that away and it's a big shock.

In the end however, you are right. I took a big chance and luck was on my side. Don't try this at home.

Best Regards,

Bill
"Don't take it personally. But this shit is a science." J.J.Blair

“The Internet is only a means of communication,” he wrote. “It is not an amorphous extraterrestrial body with an entitlement to norms that run counter to the fundamental principles of human rights. There is nothing in the criminal or civil law which legalizes that which is otherwise illegal simply because the transaction takes place over the Internet.” Irish judge, Peter Charleton