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A bit of a cautionary tale about eBay

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by pdh, Feb 26, 2011.

  1. pdh

    pdh Mu-43 Top Veteran

    May 6, 2010
    this made me smile ... in a wry sort of way

    Idly surfing around eBay this morning, I came across a used, boxed Summicron 35/2 + all original accessories with a starting bid of £0.01 and located in the UK ... hmmm I thought this looks a bit too good to be true ... then I noticed it was a 24-hour auction ... hmmmm again ...

    checked the account history ... all +ve but oddly also all in the USA, all in $ transactions and almost all domestic items (it looked sweet actually, there was a pregnancy testing kit bought in May last year and then increasing purchases of baby stuff since) ...

    anyway, I thought I'd have a look at the other items for sale ... almost every single one (nearly a hundred of them) was a high-value electrical or electronic item or a bike or bike accessories, all listed with a £0.01 starting price and all on a 24-hour auction ... yes, funnily enough, all the sorts of things you could break into a house or a car or a garage and take easily ...

    so I whacked in a bid on the Summicron of 6p :) smile:) , and sent an email to the vendor asking for serial number and why, if the goods were in Leeds, was the account in the USA?

    Astoundingly I did not get a reply, but I did get an email from eBay within about 10 minutes of my bid & question telling me the bid had been cancelled and all the items for sale removed ....

    So, the moral, as ever, is: If it's too good to be true ...
  2. Spuff

    Spuff Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Dec 5, 2010
    Berkshire, UK.
    Fishy things on Ebay are hardly new. You don't expect every vendor to be entirely above board in a massive marketplace of random private sellers, and there's no reason to think they would be on Ebay.
    You always have to shop on Ebay with your sense hat on.

    I remember looking for Mac stuff, and there were several Mac Pros maxed out with every possible upgrade for a bargain price. It didn't take much invetigation looking at feedback history to see those accounts were all hijacked (someone taking control of other people's accounts, I guess probably by successful key logger trojans).
  3. pdh

    pdh Mu-43 Top Veteran

    May 6, 2010
    No, Spuff, I wasn't suggesting this was a new phenomenon, but something about the scale and blunt obviousness of this one that made me think it worth recording ...
  4. Spuff

    Spuff Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Dec 5, 2010
    Berkshire, UK.
    Point taken.
    • Like Like x 1
  5. Boston Chris

    Boston Chris Mu-43 Rookie

    Feb 20, 2011
    Belmont, MA
    Can never be too safe shopping online. I recently was hit with identity theft somehow they had my card number and the 3 numbers on the back even. They ordered a $900 panasonic TV from B&H with my billing, and an address in Detroit. Everyone should be very careful to make sure they are on HTTPS sites when entering in information as an unsecured site could lead to your data being swiped. I've had over a 150 positive transactions through EBAY. Only problem I've ever had is a pair of $30 new shoes I bought that were never sent, and the money I sent was never recovered. Maybe the person died? But probably more likely they were a scammer.
  6. squeegee

    squeegee Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 26, 2010
    the easiest way to protect yourself is to pay by creditcard, although this may vary in different countries or credit card issuers...

    If I pay by credit card, my bank will reverse any charge I ask them to. I can randomly bid on things that look too good to be true if I wanted (and had time to waste) and if it doens't arrive, or doesn't arrive exactly as I expect it... I just get my bank to reverse the charge.

    Contrary to popular advertising... paypal doesn't provide any protection at all. It's well documented as to how you will get scammed by paypal... i.e. seller doesn't sent anything, you raise item not sent problem with paypal, then seller sends you a piece of rock, now pay pal cancels your complaint because an item has been sent, you complain that you received a rock instead of a camera... and pay pal responds with "you're only allowed one complaint per transaction, no action will be taken". And the seller leaves with the money and you get ... a rock. Now if you paid with a credit card... you just get them to cancel the transaction and paypal is screwed and you're happy (or happy ish).

    I've even had my bank to reverse gym membership fees and things like that when the gym wouldn't cancel my membership.
  7. Not true, and for the rare worst-case scenario that is why you pay through Paypal using a credit card.
  8. jimr.pdx

    jimr.pdx Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    Dec 5, 2010
    ~1hr north of Portland OR
    Jim R
    I was looking at a Pentax lens on offer today. Typos galore, it was described alternately as two different versions of the same lens, then had a spec sheet for a third lens.
    Below that came disclaimers that typos were not their problem, and restocking fees may apply!

    I've been thru similar before: you send me the wrong lens, I send it back & point out your original listing title, wait a month & maybe I get the correct lens.

    Once is enough, thanks.
    As noted above: it's nothing new, and definitely read through the listing slowly before pressing any buttons!
  9. floppymoose

    floppymoose Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 22, 2010
    It's also possible that a store employee at a restaurant or brick and mortar outfit swiped your card data when you purchased there. Some people have small devices they can run the cards through to record the info while they are back at the register processing your credit card. It works best at a restaurant where you typically don't have vision on your card during payment.
  10. squeegee

    squeegee Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 26, 2010
    I consider a system to offer no protection when the majority of scammers know how to circumvent the rules. It's subtleties in the rules as like in the example I posted above which effectively make the paypal system useless as the scammers know the rules and how to use them to their advantage.

    However, I really can't be bothered to debate this in any more detail as this is just my warning from personal experience near-miss, along with well documented example. If anyone wants to believe that paypal offers protection... that is their risk to take.
  11. flash

    flash Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Apr 29, 2010
    1 hour from Sydney Australia.
    i agree. I've had two bad ebay transactions. In both cases i contacted paypal and they arranged a full refund, within a couple.of days. My actual experience leads me to have a high degree of confidence in paypal.

  12. Iconindustries

    Iconindustries Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Same here. I've had 5 cases of items not being sent and each time paypal has refunded the money. I recommend from experience.
  13. DarrenG

    DarrenG Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 3, 2011
    Hampshire, UK
    Keyloggers are very rare, by far the most common method is phishing emails, purporting to come from your Bank, eBay, PayPal of whatever.

    They can very easily catch out the unwary, unschooled or novice user.

    And as for PayPal, I've never had a bad experience with them. On the two occasions where I had an issue, in ten years as a customer, they promptly refunded my payment.
  14. If you've had a bad experience using Paypal I am truly sorry that it didn't work out. There is an entire website dedicated to "I hate Paypal" or somesuch which shows that their system is not infallible. I personally find internet scammers to be some of the lower forms of life who are emboldened by the anonymity and indirect nature of the internet to bring down misery on others, and they will eventually find holes in any system designed to stop them. However, making a blanket statement that Paypal offers NO buyer protection is an untruth that I am more then prepared to refute.
  15. BBW

    BBW Super Moderator Emeritus

    Agreed, about blanket statements, Nic. As long as we all remember that, I think we'll be AOK.
    • Like Like x 1
  16. Burkey

    Burkey Mu-43 Regular

    Nov 26, 2010
    Northern New England
    An interesting thread. I've personally done well over the years with eBay, especially buying and selling photo gear. I have over 500 transactions with a 100% positive rating. (Not all photo gear. :cool: ) But applying some serious caution is absolutely imperative. There's no such thing as a free lunch seems to be a good mindset whenever using eBay.
    One area that I continually check is for leather camera cases, half cases in particular, from China. I have a leather half-case that fits both my E-PL1 and my E-P2. Incredible workmanship and a cost of less than $40. Still some good deals on da' Bay but "safe shopping" is imperative.
    Good eBay shopping and shooting to all.
    . . . Burkey
  17. pdh

    pdh Mu-43 Top Veteran

    May 6, 2010
    I've used eBay for years too, and have only ever had one experience where I had to involve eBay/PayPal, and it was soon sorted out ... I hope as my original post shows, there's plenty of clues about the safety of a particular item or vendor that can be got with a few clicks ... what surprised me was how blatantly obvious (and doomed) this particular scam was ...
  18. Lucky?

    So far, no issues with purchasing or selling items on eBay using PayPal. Have had problems like most people with some credit card fraud. There are certain foreign countries where it's best to stick with cash. Fraud & foreign transaction fees get to become a nuisance.

    One item that I've been following on eBay has been the Oly 9-18mm mu43 lens. For new lens and even some used lens the lower prices have been the retail prices at established online/brick&mortar stores. What's up with these higher eBay prices. Price increase in the near future?
  19. lenshoarder

    lenshoarder Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 7, 2010
    Yeah, but that requires you give your CC # to PayPal. Who's to say some employee there won't steal it?

    The safest way to go is to use a VCC. Even if it's stolen, it's useless.

    I've had my CC # stolen and used a few times. Just 2 weeks ago, someone charged $6,000 on to my card. The merchants that accepted it were idiots. The credit card company said that they didn't even use my name, but someone else's. Luckily my CC company is like a hawk when it comes to fraud and they called me about it.
  20. Narnian

    Narnian Nobody in particular ...

    Aug 6, 2010
    Richmond, VA
    Richard Elliott
    My eBay account was hacked several years ago when I discovered I had over 100 designer purses listed, much to my surprise.. Even before I reported it eBay had caught it and removed the items just after I changed my password.

    As for the higher than retail prices I have seen for stuff I assume these are people hoping to find a sucker. Someone probably makes that mistake or the seller would not keep doing it since there are listing costs.
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