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  1. #1
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    eBay Scammer Sued On Judge Judy
    Just watched part of the Judge Judy show and the first case was a person suing an eBay scammer. The buyer bought and paid like $400 for some cell phones and when the shipment came it was just a picture of a couple of cell phones.

    I guess the scammer thought she could keep the money just because she put "this is for the pictures only" somewhere in her discription.

    If you have the chance still to watch the show today it is good entertainment. She really ripped the scammer a new one.

    Amazing what people will pull to try to scam some money out of people.

  2. #2
    Kung Fu Master Eathan's Avatar
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    eBay is getting to be more and more like a crash course in buyer beware these days.
    Eathan Mertz

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  3. #3
    Affiliate Manager cbsturg's Avatar
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    I'm a huge fan of eBay. I've gotten some great stuff at a great rate. But you got to read carefully.

    I feel bad for the person who got suckered, but am more surprised that eBay wouldn't have taken steps to ensure that this was handled privately and not on Judge Judy. That can't be great for business...

  4. #4
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    I saw the same show. The woman running the scam was ridiculous. They did say that she is being investigated for ripping off other people and she might face criminal charges.

  5. #5
    Affiliate Manager Alan Hamilton's Avatar
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    People actually watch Judge Judy?? Oh my... Oh well, to each his/her own. I like Sponge Bob and South Park, so who am I to criticize!!
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  6. #6
    Newbie foxyasian's Avatar
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    People are coming up with brand new ways of fooling other people. We havent seen the worst of these scammers.

  7. #7
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    I can see that this ebay seller would appear to be a scammer (and they are probably deliberately preying on people who do not read ebay ads properly before bidding).

    But on the other hand, the seller properly described the item in the ebay item description. Buyers are expected to read the item description before bidding/ buying; its part of ebay's TOS. And its common sense...I mean who bids on a picture? Wouldn't the buyer at least want to know the condition of the item, whether it works etc etc?

    Ebay would have reimbused the buyer, had they been deceived. I'm not sure about the amount in US dollars, but in AUD the amount is $375.

    They cannot do this if the buyer neglects to read the decription of the item they purchased, becasue technically the buyer received what they purchased.

    I get the sense that scammer will get away with this, from a legal POV.

  8. #8
    ABW Ambassador simcat's Avatar
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    This is tricky, not sure where I stand on this. People SHOULD read the Auction Terms, TOS, EULA, Service Agreements, etc. but they don't always. I confess to joining aff programs without always reading every word.

    On the other hand, companies or people should be taken to task for including fine print/ legalese designed to take advantage of others. Its a huge judgement call for the judicial system.

    Ever see those car lease commercials (for example) where they flash about 500 words of fine print on the screen for about 1 sec? They expect the consumer to think "that does'nt matter, its just required by law" lol.

  9. #9
    Affiliate Manager Alan Hamilton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by simcat
    This is tricky, not sure where I stand on this. People SHOULD read the Auction Terms, TOS, EULA, Service Agreements, etc. but they don't always. I confess to joining aff programs without always reading every word.

    On the other hand, companies or people should be taken to task for including fine print/ legalese designed to take advantage of others. Its a huge judgement call for the judicial system.

    Ever see those car lease commercials (for example) where they flash about 500 words of fine print on the screen for about 1 sec? They expect the consumer to think "that does'nt matter, its just required by law" lol.

    Some good points here Sim. The first is that people don't read. I know that in my business and personal life, I am so innundated with mail, manuals, search engine information, program instructions, G Adwords forums and other written forum discussions, snail mail, contracts, etc etc that it can be a real bite on time to try to keep up. However, if I do not have time to read something (especially agreements), I don't enter into the agreement until I do have time to fully read it.

    The bottom line is that if people actually read entire agreements (there are a few of us who do) much of the problem would be eliminated. Certainly in the Judge J episode, had the buyer actually read what the bid was for and what they would be getting, the order would never have been placed. However, if the judge had ruled in the sellers favor (which would have been a good lesson for the plaintiff) it would have been interpreted by the seller to mean that she could now stand on precedent and keep doing the same deceptive thing to injure others.

    In fact, the seller KNEW that most people do not read. So she cleverly buried the picture disclosure in what was probably a lengthy, boring description that she knew would outlast the readers attention span. As for the court system, in many states, and I believe the FTC deceptive trade practice guidelines, written disclaimers (such as the picture issue in this case) must be in a 9 point or 10 point font so it is more easily recognized. Video commercials are notorious for small / blurred 2 second disclaimers. But in numerous deceptive trade practice suits, this comes back to bite them because they cannot explain why the main ad is so clear and sharp, and the "pitch" text is so easily readable while the disclaimer text is so blurred and small. Courts often interpret this as a demonstrated intent to deceive, and in many cases they are spot on in assuming that.

    Either way, this struck me as an interesting topic this morning, so wanted to add a few thoughts....
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  10. #10
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    Yes, those are also good points.

    I am not in a position to agree or disagree without actually seeing the advertisement and how it was worded and written.

    Some of us are assuming that the item's true description was written in `fine print', and heavily disguised by lengthy, deceptive text. Is this what happened though? I'd be curious to see the advertisement.

  11. #11

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    Actually, there are laws now in many states that it's fraud to try to do the empty box/picture of the item thing regardless of how the seller puts it. I also believe on ebay that text has to be of a certain size and placement as well to qualify for such a thing, but they have been policing these things more often (though it's still hard to do with 10 million listings at any given time).

    Also note that ebay doesn't reimburse anyone had they been deceived. If you qualify for buyer insurance (good luck) then you still have the $25 deductible and a limit on the amount you can recover. Paypal you might have a bit more luck but still questionable (yea I know they are owned by ebay, but still a separate company).

    People think that ebay has gotten "safer" over time, but in truth it seems the scams are worse than ever and increasing. The more ebay takes action seems they open up a whole new means for new scams. It's also true that non-delivery or deceptive delivery are still the mainstays for most fraud on ebay. All the restrictions, rules and laws doesn't seem to stop it or even slow it down.

  12. #12
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    So what was the ruling on Judge Judy?
    Michael Coley
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  13. #13
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    Judgement for the buyer... the seller also got the privelidge of being called an IDIOT too!

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by nakedgamer
    Also note that ebay doesn't reimburse anyone had they been deceived. If you qualify for buyer insurance (good luck) then you still have the $25 deductible and a limit on the amount you can recover. Paypal you might have a bit more luck but still questionable (yea I know they are owned by ebay, but still a separate company).

    People think that ebay has gotten "safer" over time, but in truth it seems the scams are worse than ever and increasing. The more ebay takes action seems they open up a whole new means for new scams. It's also true that non-delivery or deceptive delivery are still the mainstays for most fraud on ebay. All the restrictions, rules and laws doesn't seem to stop it or even slow it down.
    I can only relate my own experience, which is that Ebay do indeed reimburse buyers who do not receive their item, or receive an item which is `significantly not as described'. They almost always side with the buyer (which can be a pain if you post your customer's items using a non-trackable means, like I do).

    If a buyer makes payment via internet banking or similar, the maximum amount Ebay will refund is $383 (thats the dollar value in Australia, anyway).

    If it was made via paypal, Paypal will refund $1000.

    You need to ask for this within 60 days of purchasing the item.

    I have gone through a dispute process over the course of December/ January and I was refunded the maxumum amount, no problems. I had to provide proof of payment and a letter from a third party describing the condition of the item. It was settled within two weeks after I provided this to ebay via fax. Ebay are not a bank and this comes out of their pockets, so I really appreciate what I received from them.

    Knowing that these maximum refund amounts exist, I hesitate before buying anything on ebay over $1000, but still I have spent up to $2000 on ebay based on good instincts about a seller, such as my new plasma screen and one of my large format printers. I saved thousands of dollars and i've been so happy with these products.

    Anyway, it is a pity that scammers exist, more to the point. I have been very happy with ebay's response to being scammed....its the scammer who leaves me feeling disappointed.

  15. #15
    ABW Ambassador beachcom's Avatar
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    I watched that episode also. Judge Judy nailed the scammer on the fact that in the item description she wrote that the items weighed 8.3 pounds (or something like that), and the picture the buyer bought did not weigh 8.3 pounds.

    Judge Judy really made the scammer out to look like a fool.

    Joey

  16. #16
    Full Member markschok's Avatar
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    I saw a scammer recently on ebay with multiple items under the laptops category.
    They were actually selling one of these police-goverment auction booklets that the scammer bought themselves for 99p (checked their past purchases). The bid sthese were recieving were around £200 - £400.

    Of course the description had a disclaimer and even claimed these listings weren't against ebay rules (wrongly). My thought was they shouldn't have been listed as laptops but under the correct category.
    That said their feedback plummeted and their account was shut down.

  17. #17
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    For more protection when paying with PayPal, pay through PayPal funding with an American Express card. (Make sure the entire balance is funded with AmEx.) That way you have three places to dispute a charge: eBay, PayPal, and AmEx. I had one case where eBay and PayPal wouldn't do anything, but American Express did.

    I've found American Express to be wonderful for disputing charges. You can easily dispute charges for up to six months, and I've almost always had successful disputes.
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  18. #18
    Affiliate Manager MINDsprinter's Avatar
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    I gotta say, these kinds of things are why I've never bought anything from eBay. Combined with the fact that I never find great prices for the stuff I'm looking at (mostly electronics, usually $50 under list which never really seems to justify the risk), I just don't use it!

    I think there is quite a market need there. If someone were to open up the ShareASale of online auctions, with intense fraud protection, I think they'd make a killing because I'm betting there are a lot of people like me out there who would buy if things were safer.
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  19. #19
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    Hi Mindsprinter!

    I think Michael is onto something; credit card companies seem to be the best online fraud protectors right now. I like his idea of funding paypal via a reputable credit card company.

    The other issue is that fraud protection needs to go both ways; It needs to protect both buyers and sellers.

  20. #20
    Affiliate Manager Alan Hamilton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelColey
    I've found American Express to be wonderful for disputing charges. You can easily dispute charges for up to six months, and I've almost always had successful disputes.
    Right ON Michael! Absolutely true.

    Am Ex is far superior for both consumers AND merchants in handling chargeback claims. In my business involvements, we have accepted Am Ex for over 20 years, and I can say without hesitation that as a merchant they provide far better assistance on charge disputes (both ways) than PayPal, Visa, Mastercard, Discover.
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  21. #21
    Affiliate Manager MINDsprinter's Avatar
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    I think you're right, credit cards and particularly AmEx are really where the buck stops in terms of fraud these days. Still, chargebacks with any company are always an annoyance, and sometimes a real pain. I think there is room for fraud protection BEFORE the customer buys anything, and I think eBay is dropping the ball here.
    Jason Rosenbaum
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  22. #22
    Affiliate Manager cbsturg's Avatar
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    While I scored high on the cynical test, I'm not that paranoid about eBay. I've found some great deals, and I've found eBay to be pretty proactive when in comes to issues of non-compliance. That said, if I'm looking to buy something high end, I'll only buy from PowerSellers, or I'll make my purchases from other companies.

    Then again, I pour through the feedback comments from everyone with whom I'm looking to do business. I'll spend upwards of 20 minutes reading one seller's comments...

    I guess my thought is that while it's impossible to eliminate all fraud, if the consumer takes the proper steps to protect himself, the odds of being scammed are pretty low. Additionally, if I see anything I find questionable (even if the product doesn't interest me), I usually contact eBay so that they are made aware. While it is eBay's policy to not inform the "snitch" of any action taken, I can personally attest to having closed down more than one auction.

  23. #23
    ABW Ambassador writerguy's Avatar
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    Good to know I'm not the only one who watches Judge Judy.

    I saw the same episode. Indeed, all the points made in this thread have been good.

    I've bought several items on ebay, always aware of what I was buying. I usually just take a "Buy It Now" price because I've not the nerves to bid. And when I've bid, I've usually lost.

    I think one of the comments above is very relevant to the whole business in the case on Judge Judy: the scammer (and her husband, who also had some involvement in their "business") honest-to-G*d had to know the ad was written to fulfill disclosure rules, but in such a way as to mislead or deceive a buyer. I mean, come on, nobody in their right mind would bid more than $400 for a poor quality photo of cell phones??

    Interesting stuff. Everything about ebay is at least that -- interesting!

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  24. #24
    ABW Ambassador simcat's Avatar
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    People need to get the mindset that they are buying from the SELLER, NOT ebay. (and then they blame ebay/paypal for their misfortune)

    Buy from sellers who have experience (and feedback) selling the kind of items you are bidding on. LOOK at the feedback! If some guy built his feedback up selling $1 baseball cards and now he wants to sell you a 2K plasma TV ????? duh!~

    Buy from sellers with hundreds (at least) of sales, a feed-back rating of at least 96%.

    Buy only from sellers in the US. (if thats where you live).

    Buy from sellers who have been on ebay for years. (not months or days, lol)
    Avoid problem categories. I've heard for years that electronics/computers is a problem so I avoid it. YMMV.

    DON'T count on chargebacks to fix all your mistakes.

    I've been buying/selling on ebay for years and can't remember being ripped off as a buyer. Actually the poor sellers have less control over the entire process.
    Last edited by simcat; February 11th, 2007 at 05:17 AM.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by simcat
    People need to get the mindset that they are buying from the SELLER, NOT ebay. (and then they blame ebay/paypal for their misfortune)

    Buy from sellers who have experience (and feedback) selling the kind of items you are bidding on. LOOK at the feedback! If some guy built his feedback up selling $1 baseball cards and now he wants to sell you a 2K plasma TV ????? duh!~

    Buy from sellers with hundreds (at least) of sales, a feed-back rating of at least 96%.

    Buy only from sellers in the US. (if thats where you live).

    Buy from sellers who have been on ebay for years. (not months or days, lol)
    Avoid problem categories. I've heard for years that electronics/computers is a problem so I avoid it. YMMV.

    DON'T count on chargebacks to fix all your mistakes.

    I've been buying/selling on ebay for years and can't remember being ripped off as a buyer. Actually the poor sellers have less control over the entire process.
    Simcat, you made some great points, but I'm afraid I could not agree with the following advice:

    simcat said: Buy only from sellers in the US. (if thats where you live).

    Avoid problem categories. I've heard for years that electronics/computers is a problem so I avoid it. YMMV.

    Firstly, I'd like to add Australian sellers to the list of recommended ebay sellers for US and internatonal buyers. The exchange rate means that US and UK customers get real bargains when buying items in our currency .

    Customers tell me that our postal system is much faster than USPS (its only 4 days delivery from Australia's east coast to US east coast). Also, there is a free trade agreement between the US and Australia which means there are no import duties for a wide range of product categories.

    I buy shoes, computer parts, as well as a large portion of my business equipment globally, on ebay. Often I do this because the product just isn't available in our country (like my preferred brands of shoes, computer ink, and specialised business equipment); at other times its because the savings involved are huge. I regularly buy from the US, Hong Kong, and Germany. I occasionally buy from the UK, Malaysia, and Egypt.

    I find that the risks are no different to the risks I take when I am buying from my own country. Nothing has gone wrong for me so far, but if it did paypal would refund my money. I only use trackable postal services such as fedex and EMS, and buy from powersellers with great feedback and who offer paypal.

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