The Museum of HP Calculators

HP Forum Archive 08

[ Return to Index | Top of Index ]

How to handle an eBay swindler?
Message #1 Posted by glynn on 23 Apr 2002, 1:49 a.m.

I am trying to be calm and rational, but really do not know which way best to proceed... so I hope to hear from you clear thinkers in this forum.

I have just been swindled by an eBay seller. There is no doubt in my mind that it was an intentional and bold bonking. An item (hp computer) was shown in pictures and represented as complete; "as pictured, as is"...

I won the auction, and got the box today. It was packed in conformal foam. Inside, the computer had been stripped (even forcibly) of some critical parts, leaving it quite useless. This obviously happened prior to the foam packing.

It is now a spare parts depot only... can't use the thing as it sits now. To try to repair the damage to make it functional would require finding ANOTHER unit with the right components in place. The parts had been clearly visible in the original auction page pictures. But they were gone before it ever left their warehouse.

Naturally, I am angry. This seller has many glowing eBay feedbacks and VERY few negative. But I am beginning to decide that there is a DISINCENTIVE to complaining on eBay about anyone.

I have all good feedback myself. I like this fact. I COULD write what I think of the seller on eBay, but in his feedback and his response to mine, he can rebut my assertions any way he likes-- so IF I care about MY eBay reputation, it almost pays just to keep my mouth shut and move on, doesn't it?

Is this how to handle being conned? Is it just a case of "be a man and accept the risks of online auctions-- you are gonna get taken sometimes, and that's that"?

Or is there a better way to deal with a crooked seller? Have any of you had similar experiences, and what did you find yourself doing for redress or as warning to others?

Geez. I LIKE eBaying, have good experiences most of the time, but this one BITES. I mighta bid on the thing assuming the parts were non-functional and I could fix them; but to get the idea that the parts were considered "for the taking" AFTER I bought the unit, and may be a future auction, or a part of a refurbished unit that they sell-- well, makes me feel quite "used".

--- So. What do you all think is "the wise course"?

-- glynn.

Re: What are the details?
Message #2 Posted by Mike on 23 Apr 2002, 2:50 a.m.,
in response to message #1 by glynn

It may well be as you say. But you only give your version. Just because it's obvious that the unit has been stripped, it may not have been obvious to the seller. He may not have even tested it. If it does not work and has been stripped and the seller said it was, then it may be that you've been swindled. Can you provide some more details?

1) What was the auction number, if you don't mind? I realize that you may not want to give it out. If you don't want to list the number, give a description of what they said. Remember the code words "as is" means "known to have problems" in most cases.

2) Computers are a very hard item to buy, unless you are buying from an individual.

3) Be vary wary of any seller with 3000, 4000 or more sales. They almost always have 30 to 100 negatives.

4) These with many thousands are likely wholesalers and don't have a clue what they are selling.

If you have been out-and-out swindled, you can take advantage of eBay buyer protection policy. It's a hassle but does two things. a) gets you some money back and b) registers a strike against the seller.

Of course, you have to prove your case.

Re: How to handle an eBay swindler?
Message #3 Posted by doug on 23 Apr 2002, 6:01 a.m.,
in response to message #1 by glynn

1. Contact seller and notify him of the conditon of the unit upon arrival if you haven't.

2. ASIS by law doesn't mean doodley if it doesn't have a stated condition. Some people think putting the word asis excuses anything and it doesn't. If you omit asis the unit is assumed to funciton properly. If asis is present then it must have a description that discloses all known problems for asis to be valid and for asis to have a meaning.

3. If seller didn't put the exact condition it arrived in, in his ad, then there is a problem. First did you inspect the package to make sure it hadn't been tampered with before you opened it. In other words did it arrive as packaged by the sender. Take a photograph of the box in as many angles as possible.

4. If the ad didn't state the condition and the seller doesn't offer to make it right then file with squaretrade. They will be a in-between to collect information. You can opt for a mediator for $15.00. With or without the mediator, it will build a case file that shows ebay that you are interested in resolution.

5. If they refuse to participate then it is time to file fraud charges.

6. Don't just jump into anything until you have asked the right questions. There is always the posibility that it got taken apart in transit though unlikely.

7. Last, if none of that works and it was insured and shipped USPS then you will want to file a FORM 1000, and they will investagate and send the form you file a claim with to the seller for his input. They will have to answer all questions, and show the receipt for insurance coverage, unless the receipt was mailed to you.


Hope this helps.


Re: How to handle an eBay swindler?
Message #4 Posted by Ron Ross on 23 Apr 2002, 12:51 p.m.,
in response to message #1 by glynn

I also sympathize with you. I feel the ebay system is flawed in this respect and made a suggestion to ebay as to its feedback policy. I feel that the buyer should not be able to leave feedback at all until the seller leaves feedback. If a sellers negative feedback reaches some unacceptable level, he/she should be banned. If a buyer's feedback reaches some unacceptable level, he/she should be banned and all his/her feedback into the system should be nuetralized.

If after 30 days the seller cannot leave ANY feedback. If the seller hasn't recieved payment from the buyer by then, the seller should be leaving Negative feedback anyway.

This method would result in more honest reporting of ebay sellers so that buyers could be more honest and not worry about revenge feedback. The worry of a bad feedback revenge would be gone.

At present I use this method: I check feedback, if it is greater than 2%, I move on. If the seller has any neg feedback, I also check to see how he responded to his feedback. If the seller engages in revenge feedback, I move on. If the seller posted negative feedback first and suffers from negative revenge feedback I don't worry to much as long as his ratio is low, ie >2%. Sellers have to sell to any jerk who wins an auction, vs a buyer puts himself in that position by bidding the Highest amount.

Still, I like my idea for feedback rules and emailed ebay as to its merrit. However, ebay is a sellers market and the seller pays ebay. Therefore ebay caters to the seller. It probably always will.

Re: How to handle an eBay swindler?
Message #5 Posted by Plampione on 23 Apr 2002, 3:10 p.m.,
in response to message #1 by glynn

I also wondered about it... first, does the period you have for feedback on ebay expire before, or after, the one of the seller? Reason would call for it to expire _after_, since you receive the package after he receives the payment. If they expire at the same time, you could "snipe" wait till the last moment then post your negative feedback, leaving him no time to complain.

Finally, you could always sue him...



Re: How to handle an eBay swindler?
Message #6 Posted by db(martinez,california) on 23 Apr 2002, 9:01 p.m.,
in response to message #5 by Plampione


as another american once said; "i feel your pain." i also believe you unconditionaly. you've always been a positive contributor here.

i think you should do what was suggested about going through all those established channels and see what can be fixed that way. it's early in the game and there are a few "inocent" reasons that this could have happened.

if he is a rip off and a regular seller; stalk his auctions and e-mail all his big-ticket-item bidders a short and concise version of the story. let them decide if they want to risk this kind of thing. hit him where it hurts. the worst thing that can happen is that you'll get kicked off ebay and have to use a different credit card and email address to get another ebay account.

btw; i'm assuming that this will all turn out fine but if he won't make it right please tell us the bastards name so we don't make the mistake of dealing with him.

Re: How to handle an eBay swindler?
Message #7 Posted by doug on 24 Apr 2002, 2:22 a.m.,
in response to message #5 by Plampione

Many people I have spoken to don't seem to be aware of this:

You must sign in. You never have to wonder what is pending for you to leave feedback.

Re: How to handle an eBay swindler?
Message #8 Posted by Spice_Man on 23 Apr 2002, 11:29 p.m.,
in response to message #1 by glynn

I've always had good luck working with the seller to resolve any problems. I will also open a case with Square Trade immediately so there is another party involved as well. Usually it gets resolved without much trouble.

If the square-trade case does not proceed well, then I file a fraud complaint with EBay. EBay will notify them about the fraud charge and request input from the seller.

Be sure to check out the EBay fraud filing requirements, and fraud insurance claim requirements.

Re: How to handle an eBay swindler?
Message #9 Posted by tdkessis on 24 Apr 2002, 9:23 a.m.,
in response to message #1 by glynn

All the advice given so far is great and usually effective. I would try any of these approaches as they vary with the situation. With respect to revenge feedback, here's how I handle it if the circumstance appears to have the potential for this occurring (and I feel I might get screwed).

I write a nice succinct note to the seller / buyer detailing the transaction as I've experienced it. I then tell them I either will or won't (depending on the situation) be posting feedback. I then state that if they even think about posting any negative feedback to me I will respond via feedback with a brief negative message and a link pointing potential viewers to a page on my website were I have archive the original auction listing, all email communication involved and my side of the story.

If I truly feel that it was an unfair situation and that anyone with half a brain could see this once they had all the information then I can slept easy at night even if I get some bad feedback from some bum.

The problem with the ebay system is you get like,... 2 lines to describe a facocked transaction. My approach has work in several instances. Once a deadbeat seller who's 1st responded was two weeks after the auction wanting to know why I didn't want the item anymore, left me positive feedback after I took such an approach.


Re: How to handle an eBay swindler?
Message #10 Posted by Steve S. on 24 Apr 2002, 3:36 p.m.,
in response to message #1 by glynn

I know how you feel. I purchased an HP 16C on Ebay advertised as perfect condition. It had perfect listed three times in the add and the photos showed it to be perfect. When I received it, it had his initials carved in the back in an area cut off in the photos. I asked to return the item for a refund, and he refused. He said I sould have aked him if his initials were in it before I bid and that it was in perfect working condition, not perfect condition. His add said perfect condition, not perfect working condition. After three weeks, I left negative feed back on vbeachbum. Within thirty minutes, he had left negative feed back on me. His complaint was "buys now and asks questions later."

Re: How to handle an eBay swindler?
Message #11 Posted by Steve S. on 24 Apr 2002, 3:42 p.m.,
in response to message #10 by Steve S.


About one week later, vbeachbum emailed and said he was thinking about giving me a refund, but after leaving him negative feed back, he had changed his mind. How stupid does this guy think HP calculator people are. I replied yes and pigs have wings.

Re: How to handle an eBay swindler?
Message #12 Posted by Ellis Easley on 24 Apr 2002, 4:51 p.m.,
in response to message #11 by Steve S.

I think there might be an inverse relationship between Ebay sellers who clutter their ads with lots of superfluous pictures, and honesty. They are obviously trying to distract a bidder's attention. One big seller I run into frequently has his auctions play the first few notes of "Born In The USA" over and over, and has an annoying text message attached to the mouse cursor. I turned off my sound two months ago because of this guy. I only look because I think his auctions are so annoying, some other potential bidders might be staying away.

UPDATE: contacted seller
Message #13 Posted by glynn on 26 Apr 2002, 11:26 a.m.,
in response to message #12 by Ellis Easley

I want to thank all of you who responded-- the roadmap of options you've given me is FAR superior to the dark thoughts I managed immediately after opening my "surprise".

I called the seller. Explaining that the unit as pictured was not how I received it, and that it appeared to have been packed that way, the seller responded cheerfully that he would simply send me the parts that had not been included, from a stock of several units he has. He even asked if I wanted more units of this type.

Hmmm. I have my doubts about whether he will follow through with the proper parts, but we shall see. In the meantime, I have possibilities for follow-up, myself. I'll update when something happens either way.

In the meantime: Noticed that a high-feedback seller can still have sunglasses-- because you can, apparently, change your eBay ID at anytime. And keep your feedback. And no trace of your original ID exists on eBay. Theoretically, you could do business with the same bad penny every couple of months, and not even realize it.

In my feedback, good, bad or other, I am now going to include the ID as it exists at that time; as in "Thanks 'LowLeader'-- item arrived quickly". If LowLeader becomes HighChamp, his feedback will still reflect his old persona.... I can't believe eBay would not have a "formerly... " line in their User Profile-- and I think eBay is making it too easy for the sleazy.

Re: UPDATE: contacted seller
Message #14 Posted by Rick on 27 Apr 2002, 4:57 p.m.,
in response to message #13 by glynn

you can see the ebay id history for any user. fill out form and submit.

Re: How to handle an eBay swindler?
Message #15 Posted by doug on 24 Apr 2002, 7:05 p.m.,
in response to message #10 by Steve S.

I have had simular problems on ebay. But you don't have to ask every possible question there is. It is the responsibility of the seller to disclose any unusual condition of an item for sale. That is the law. eBLA rules don't change the law. You should file the whole string of events you can as I put in a previous response. I found out you can file fraud charges through eBay, not just the authorities. Then you can file with the authorities also. What you described is FRAUD with FRAUDULENT intent. URL:

I contacted the person "vbeachbum" about some HP16C's I had and he put my contact information in his ad as if I was lieing, some time ago. I normally wouldn't type this anywhere but he is a S___T A_S.

He is not a knowledgeable programmer or calcualtor user.

[ Return to Index | Top of Index ]

Go back to the main exhibit hall