Possible eBay/PayPal scam involving Oly 45 mm.

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by wildcat, Oct 21, 2011.

  1. wildcat

    wildcat Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 7, 2011
    Hey folks,

    Just wanted to give you a heads-up on a transaction I've had over the last couple of days that I fear is going to result in me being poorer and wiser. I consider myself to be pretty cautious when it comes to buying online and on eBay, and have safely done so for 10+ years, but I think I may have finally misstepped.

    A couple of days ago I won an auction from a seller in Thailand for the Oly 45 mm for ~$350. I went to pay via PayPal through the auction page immediately, but encountered this error message:

    I sent the seller a message regarding the error but did not hear back from him within the next 24 hours. I then used the eBay "request total and an invoice from the seller" feature and included another note about the PayPal error.

    A few hours later, I received an e-mail from PayPal titled: "Invoice for Lens Olympus ED 45mm F/1.8," which was nearly identical to the lens listing. I logged onto PayPal separately and saw the invoice, and proceeded to pay it. Normally, I pay with a credit card to provide an extra level of protection, but PayPal said it would cost an additional $10 for currency conversion, so I let them use my bank account instead.

    The payment went through and I logged onto eBay to be sure everything was good on that end. However, the auction page did not reflect the payment. I also had a message from the seller stating he had used the wrong e-mail for the eBay listing, leading to the currency error, and he would send me a PayPal invoice for the item. I checked the PayPal invoice again, and, sure enough, it wasn't linked to the auction, and said it was for "services."

    Essentially, then, we completed the transaction outside eBay, which normally removes any buyer protection. Additionally, PayPal states they do not provide protection for "services" purchases. Thus, it appears that, assuming this was indeed a fraudulent transaction, I'll be out my money and the seller will be out eBay and PayPal usernames that he probably created for this very purpose.

    So many places along the way I should have been more careful...I was rushed when doing the bidding, noticed the auction late and didn't have enough time to thoroughly vet the seller, or would have noticed his 8 positive feedback all came within the last month. Warning sign.

    I was again rushed when making the PayPal payment, so didn't stop to notice it might not be linked to the auction and it was actually for "services."

    I should have been especially careful given the initial PayPal payment error. And I should have gone ahead and used my credit card, as I usually do, despite PayPal's usual assurances that I'd be just as safe using my bank account.

    I filed a report with eBay almost immediately after noticing the situation last night to report the transaction completed outside eBay, but if this guy's intent was to get the money and run, I'm afraid he's probably going to succeed. So be careful out there, folks...
  2. Luke

    Luke Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jul 30, 2010
    Milwaukee, WI
    Real Name:
    Have you asked the seller to refund your first payment yet so that you can pay through the proper channels? It may have been an simple mistake.

    But I'll admit it sure looks like you may have been taken. Thanks for sharing your experience. A good reminder to double check all transactions.
  3. WT21

    WT21 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 19, 2010
    I got scammed outside of eBay earlier this year, but I had done everything correctly, so PayPal covered. It's important to share this stuff, so we can all learn.

    Thanks for sharing.
  4. Luckypenguin

    Luckypenguin .

    Oct 9, 2010
    Brisbane, Australia
    Real Name:
    Thanks for the cautionary tale. Hopefully you can get something hack out of the transaction.
  5. Alanroseman

    Alanroseman Super Moderator Emeritus

    Dec 21, 2010
    New England
    So, we might as well go all the way if we're interested in applying caution.

    Who was the seller, either it'll be an honest mistake or we'll all know who to stay away from...

    • Like Like x 1
  6. MrDoug

    MrDoug Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 5, 2011
    Boise, Idaho
    I got Burnt bad when E Bay started back in 1999 or so.. they told me to take a hike.. so to speak.. never have been back and never will.. LOTS of SHAKY people there..
    RISKY.. just my 2 cents.. try LETS TRADE or one on the many others.. Craigs List is the WORST..
    • Like Like x 1
  7. WJW59

    WJW59 Mu-43 Veteran

    Feb 20, 2011
    eBay started in 1995, I've been a user since 1998, and I've had about one bad transaction a year. In all but 2 cases the issue was resolved and I either received a refund or a replacement item.Those two cost me about $150 total and I hate to think how much I've spent on eBay since 90% of my used computer and camera equipment and 50% of the new stuff came via eBay. The main thing is eBay is like the real world, if the deal looks too good to be true, it likely is.

    In Wildcat's case, he broke four of MY cardinal rules for eBay purchases over $100:

    1. Never buy from someone with less than 99% and less than 50 feedbacks without contacting the seller.

    2. Never spend more with a foreign seller (non-USA) that I'm willing to lose OR be sure they are reputable such as Henry's of Canada or any number of Canadian, Japanese, or Chinese sellers with long histories.

    3. Never rush into an auction/purchase. I never bid on anything until I check the seller and wait a few hours (or overnight) to decide if the risk/reward ratio is there or decide EXACTLY what I'm willing to spend.

    4. Never pay outside Paypal/eBay and be sure the payment is linked to the auction.

    Using these rules, and a few others that don't apply in this case, I've never had many problems.

    i really hope that Wildcat can get his money back, or the lens, and it all turns out well. I've generally found eBay to be a good place and at least as trustworthy, if not more so, than all the shady sellers you used to get in Shutterbug (pre-Internet days).
  8. SCT

    SCT Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 8, 2011
    Landover, MD, USA
    Don't you have to see that person IN-PERSON? Unless your transactions require mailing or payment other than personally handing the cash. That's the only way I do it, cash in hand and see the guy's face. If he decides to jip me, he's right there and depending on the outcome, either me or both of us are satisfied or his face would resemble a bag of nickels.

    My friend almost got scammed about two years ago. He posted his fox body Mustang up for sale and some guy from across seas wanted to buy it. My friend later receives a check and tried to deposit it. When I came over his house the same day, he showed me the check and said the bank told him it was fake. I looked at it and it was no different than me taking a real check and make copies of it then print it out on a typical home printer. The print pixels (or dpi I guess) was too obvious. The paper, as well. And the guy said he was contacting from across seas. The fake check had an Alaskan bank on it.

    I seriously hate scammers. It truly ruins the people who you can actually trust, even people you would go out of your way for.
  9. wildcat

    wildcat Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 7, 2011
    Yep. And really, it came down to #3. If I hadn't rushed into the bid/payment, I would have appropriately considered the other factors, like I usually do.

    I did get an e-mail from the seller today, saying he would ship within the next couple of days. Still not optimistic, but he's already got my money, so it's not strictly necessary for him to send the e-mail to keep up the racket. We'll see. He doesn't have any other photo auctions pending, but if I wind up having to file a PayPal dispute (whether or not it will work), I'll post his username here.
  10. stillshunter

    stillshunter Mu-43 Regular

    Sep 27, 2011
    Please keep us posted Wildcat.

    I'm rooting for you getting the lens and being left with a valuable QC lesson and a memory of the adrenalin rush...
  11. WJW59

    WJW59 Mu-43 Veteran

    Feb 20, 2011
    That does sound encouraging as most take the money and run. One other thing I watch out for is a low feedback seller with multiple of the same item OR several relatively high dollar items and everything shows stock photos. That always makes me nervous, usually enough so not to bid.