Scammers and defrauders

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Peter
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#1
I recently put my pristine Nikon D800e body on a well known sticky-plant site for sale. I received over half a dozen requests for me to post it overseas or to send posting details before payment was authorised. I knew they were trying to steal from me so I reported it to the sticky-plant fraud prevention team. It took them well over a week to reply to me! By this time I had changed my advert to Cash On Collection only, no PayPal (they were sending me false PayPal emails to get me to send them the product without payment first).

Well, I still received further fraudsters trying it on, they hadn't even read the advert but wanted me to send it to them. Suddenly my advert disappeared from the site and I've now found out from them that "I" breached their rules (I don't know how as I am the honest seller) and they would not let me use their site in the future! Is their fraud prevention policy to simply remove sellers accounts to remove the problem and ignore the criminals? I don't know as they also said they would not discuss any further correspondence with me!

I then went to sell my camera on another well known auction site but was warned of yet another type of scam used on that site. This is where the seller sends the item, it is received and the 'buyer' then says it is either defective or incorrectly listed, they then send back a package for which they have a proof of posting certificate. When the seller receives it they find a carboard box with a brick inside. By this time the 'buyer' has received a full refund from PayPal and keeps the camera.

It seems to me that there is a lot of this happening, am I correct or paranoid? The second scenario has not happened to me but I am wary of advertising it on there in case it does.
 
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Geoff
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#3
Its at epidemic proportions im afraid Peter. And I don't really have anything to offer in the way of reassurance. When dealing with refunds faulty/returns on the bay the bay will err in the buyers favour from my experience. that 30 day money back guarantee, does little to protect legitimate sellers.

The only way to avoid loosing out money wise is not to refund the purchase until (as the seller) you have received the good back and confirmed all is in order. In fact the bay now offer that functionality. Making the buyer aware, that your aware of any serial numbers helps a lot in this regard as it forces them to at least return the right item, whether it works or not after the fact is a different story.
 
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Looperp55
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Peter
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#4
For the second site in your example, you can always see a bidder's feedback rating, and even put a note on the listing to say that buyers with less than XXX feedback will have bids cancelled, then just cancel any bids that don't fit the right criteria.
Thanks, good idea. I was recently selling non photographic items on there and one guy won 8 items and did not pay. They refunded my sellers fees and I relisted them. The same guy won 4 more items and did the same again. I contacted them and they told me to blacklist him and told me how to do it and while I was there I did upgrade my account so bidders who have had a non payment or bad feedback cannot bid for any item I sell. Perhaps this will safeguard me. Fingers crossed.
 
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Looperp55
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Peter
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#5
Its at epidemic proportions im afraid Peter. And I don't really have anything to offer in the way of reassurance. When dealing with refunds faulty/returns on the bay the bay will err in the buyers favour from my experience. that 30 day money back guarantee, does little to protect legitimate sellers.

The only way to avoid loosing out money wise is not to refund the purchase until (as the seller) you have received the good back and confirmed all is in order. In fact the bay now offer that functionality. Making the buyer aware, that your aware of any serial numbers helps a lot in this regard as it forces them to at least return the right item, whether it works or not after the fact is a different story.
Thanks, I will give it a try.
 
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droj
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#6
You do have to be a bit canny and protect against pitfalls as much as you can before listing. The sticky plant place is essentially about face-to-face and cash. The auctioneers' set-up is rather more governed. Listings are often free and selling fees 10%, which is worth it for the national or wider spread - I tend to say UK only and use RM special delivery on anything of value.

I have to say that yes there are rogues out there, but most participants are honest.
 
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Looperp55
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Peter
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#7
You do have to be a bit canny and protect against pitfalls as much as you can before listing. The sticky plant place is essentially about face-to-face and cash. The auctioneers' set-up is rather more governed. Listings are often free and selling fees 10%, which is worth it for the national or wider spread - I tend to say UK only and use RM special delivery on anything of value.

I have to say that yes there are rogues out there, but most participants are honest.
The sticky plant place removed me for some reason, yet I advertised face to face and cash only, as you say. Strange.

I will use your advice on the RM postage but will wait for the max selling fees of £1 offers when they come around.
 
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Nick
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#8
I’ve always found here and AV forums better places to sell cameras and equipment. Sticky plant site is choc full of dodgy characters and the auction site is awful too
 
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#9
It seems to me that there is a lot of this happening, am I correct or paranoid? The second scenario has not happened to me but I am wary of advertising it on there in case it does.
It depends on how you want to look at it, there's more buying and selling online than ever before and equally there's more crimes around them occurring, I would still personally say the vast majority of people are good and decent but that's no real comfort for anyone who gets taken advantage of.

When I sell things I take as many reasonable steps as I can to protect myself and my customer (selling and buying stuff should be a positive experience for both parties) but if someone is truly determined to rob you they will find a way, I've never had someone send me back a brick but someone could certainly try that and another common scam is someone pays via PayPal and then collects in person, PayPal will automatically side with the buyer if there's no proof of delivery but most people aren't aware of that.

In my experience as a seller they've handled most things reasonably well but if you've got a fresh account that probably makes it harder for them to give you the benefit of the doubt, if you can sell on here or trade in via Wex/MPB etc that is always going to give you peace of mind.
 
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Looperp55
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Peter
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#10
another common scam is someone pays via PayPal and then collects in person, PayPal will automatically side with the buyer if there's no proof of delivery but most people aren't aware of that.
Wow, never thought of that with PayPal. Best to photograph the buyer collecting it then as evidence.
 
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#11
Wow, never thought of that with PayPal. Best to photograph the buyer collecting it then as evidence.
Make your life easy, if someone wants to collect just ask they pay cash on collection or bank transfer.

I told a buyer they needed to bring ID if they wanted to collect, he shows up presents his ID but then panics a little when I go to take a photo. OK fair enough I wouldn't want some random person taking a photo of my ID either but he then refuses every other option (get cash out of the nearby ATM, leave positive feedback so I can show he's collected etc) and storms off saying the whole thing was weird.

In fairness I was somewhat at fault for not fully explaining why the ID was needed but it's hard to politely tell someone you can't take the chance on a stranger because there's a small number of people who do take advantage; where possible when selling stuff I find it best to let the buyer know all the details then they can decide for themselves if they want to go ahead or not but misunderstandings still easily happen.
 
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#12
In fairness I was somewhat at fault for not fully explaining why the ID was needed but it's hard to politely tell someone you can't take the chance on a stranger because there's a small number of people who do take advantage;
I would tell them exactly that. ID is required for all sorts of things - buying glue (my 60-year-old face was not enough to convince them I was over 18!), knives, alcohol to name three.
 
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MG
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#13
I have the same experiences as you really when i sold my D750.

In the end I listed it on here and another forum, but had no real interest so i listed on ebay.

When i listed on ebay i made it clear that it was a cash/bank transfer on collection in the listing (in large letters). However, when you list on ebay you had to allow paypal as an option, so i put in the listing you'll be refunded if you pay by paypal.

Luckily i had a nice guy come and collect the camera and bank transfer on the spot. It of course opens you up to a few issues (someone buying and paying via paypal as one), but definitely worth considering. Worse case just refund them.

But any geniune person shouldn't have an issue with cash/BT on collection.

Here's my listing if you want an example of what I did: https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/254025591792
 
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Craig
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#14
I don't use eBay to sell anymore after being on the sore end of a couple of disputes raised by buyers who claimed spurious things and eBay siding with them almost regardless. I wouldn't use Gumtree for buying or selling unless it was cash and collection, but that is maybe just me, but never had a problem with it doing things that way.

People say things don't sell on here, but I've never had a problem selling things if the price is right. I suspect the people that struggle to sell have priced their equipment too high.
 
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Robert
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#15
Make your life easy, if someone wants to collect just ask they pay cash on collection or bank transfer.

I told a buyer they needed to bring ID if they wanted to collect, he shows up presents his ID but then panics a little when I go to take a photo. OK fair enough I wouldn't want some random person taking a photo of my ID either but he then refuses every other option (get cash out of the nearby ATM, leave positive feedback so I can show he's collected etc) and storms off saying the whole thing was weird.

In fairness I was somewhat at fault for not fully explaining why the ID was needed but it's hard to politely tell someone you can't take the chance on a stranger because there's a small number of people who do take advantage; where possible when selling stuff I find it best to let the buyer know all the details then they can decide for themselves if they want to go ahead or not but misunderstandings still easily happen.
How were you expecting him to pay?
Curious as to why he needed to show you id?
 
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Nightmare
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#16
ebay, cash on collection only + £1 max selling fees offers. I'm sure they don't mind checking it over and being sure they go away with decent goods. Or walk away if its rubbish which I had to do just a couple of days ago. "Perfect" monitor... with like a gazillion of dead pixels. All three of them. £30 down on fuel. It's still not as bad as 20kg doorstop and hassle to send it back.

Tech is nowhere near as bad as car spares. You get some real fruitcakes. Non-paying ones are the least of your worries.
 
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#17
My daughter recently sold a camera on eBay to a buyer with lots of positive feedback. It took the buyers a week before they opened the package after delivery - they said it was a Christmas present ( surely you would check anyway?). When they opened it, they said there was no camera, but a dress inside! They sent pictures, and it did appear that there was some different wider tape on the box as if it had been interfered with. All very strange!!

It took some time to resolve and eventually the courier compensated the buyers although they didn’t accept responsibility.

It made us think it might be worth photographing any parcels beforehand to show tape.
 
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#18
Selling can be a real pain, especially on platforms like eBay and Gumtree. I’ve used both quite a bit in the past and still use eBay to sell only because it has a larger audience and you get some protection, although not as nearly as much as the buyer.

But there are things you can do to protect yourself. Some already mentioned but when dealing with eBay and PayPal, I’ve started to use security tape to package boxes and take photos of the contents and package before sending it. I send the photos to the buyer so they know what to expect and think twice if they’re thinking of pulling a fast one. PayPal and collections are a definite no no. And only send to the registered PayPal address even if the buyer requests differently because it’s their work address or a relatives. For collection I always meet in a public place, normally somewhere with CCTV coverage like a coffee shop or train station. I once sold a watch and the buyer came to collect with £4k in cash. We met at my local bank branch and he paid it directly into my account before I parted with the watch. We agreed this beforehand and the buyer was fine with, it as I imagine anyone would if they were genuine. I now do this for any large cash sales. You also have the option of a bank transfer. With faster payments, money is normally in your account instantly. I normally send my bank details to the buyer ahead of time so they can set me up as a payee and send a test transfer of £1 to make sure everything is ok. Then when they collect, it’s quick and easy.

Fortunately I haven’t had any returns yet (touch wood) but I’d advise taking a video of you unboxing it in case someone has sent you back a brick. Not sure how much this would help in a claim but again it might put the scammer off if challenged.

The above is a hassle and it does sometimes put me off but I’d rather that then lose my hard earned. And of course there’s always the forum here and elsewhere that have a good classifieds section, but of course they have their own pitfalls.

TL;DR

Just use your common sense and gut feeling, and remember... buying or selling, if it’s too good to be true, it normally is! :)
 
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Dave Pickett
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#19
Not camera related but just a point on taking cash. We sold a horsebox for £4000 and the buyer arrived with an envelope full of cash. Whilst we counted it the buyer went to hitch up the horse box. There was only £3500 in the envelope and when we confronted the buyer he accused us of taking £500 out as it was straight from the bank! We had not taken the money out and he paid the extra £500, but it left a very bad taste, when you are honest it's not nice to be accused of theft. On reflection, the pile of new £50 notes was just that normally from a bank they would be banded in £500, or £1000 lots which left us suspicious that he was trying it on and was angry cos he got caught.

Moral is simple: Ask to get paid by bank transfer, or if taking cash immediately count it out in front of the buyer, it may seem obvious but we had no reason to doubt his honesty.
 
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#20
Not camera related but just a point on taking cash. We sold a horsebox for £4000 and the buyer arrived with an envelope full of cash. Whilst we counted it the buyer went to hitch up the horse box. There was only £3500 in the envelope and when we confronted the buyer he accused us of taking £500 out as it was straight from the bank! We had not taken the money out and he paid the extra £500, but it left a very bad taste, when you are honest it's not nice to be accused of theft. On reflection, the pile of new £50 notes was just that normally from a bank they would be banded in £500, or £1000 lots which left us suspicious that he was trying it on and was angry cos he got caught.

Moral is simple: Ask to get paid by bank transfer, or if taking cash immediately count it out in front of the buyer, it may seem obvious but we had no reason to doubt his honesty.
If I was paying in cash, I would want to watch the other person count it. The fact that he walk away and left you to it is suspicious.
 
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#21
How were you expecting him to pay?
I didn't mind, cash, PayPal, bank transfer it's all fine by me.

Curious as to why he needed to show you id?
I required ID because he wanted to pay via PayPal and collect, I always tell people they have to pay in cash if they're collecting so suggested he bring ID as a compromise.

As I explained above, in the event of a claim PayPal would side with the buyer if you don't have proof of delivery so him bringing his ID was to prove he actually collected otherwise it's just my word. I don't know if PayPal would actually accept that as proof but in a worst case scenario it gives you the option of small claims court.
 
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#22
Not camera related but just a point on taking cash. We sold a horsebox for £4000 and the buyer arrived with an envelope full of cash. Whilst we counted it the buyer went to hitch up the horse box. There was only £3500 in the envelope and when we confronted the buyer he accused us of taking £500 out as it was straight from the bank!
I had a similar experience once but on the other end, rocked up to a painters shop in Birmingham to pick up a single bit of equipment and suddenly find myself surrounded by high end studio equipment, paid for as much as I could carry in cash and leave only to get a call later saying I was £100 short.

Now I don't like handling money, I'm still stuck with that stigma that it's somehow 'grubby' (for lack of a better word) but that's just a stupid hang up on my part, both seller and buyer should always check. In the end my wallet did seem to have more money than I thought it would/should so I accepted them on their word although I was already halfway back to London when they pointed it out so it took a while to pay them.

We had not taken the money out and he paid the extra £500, but it left a very bad taste, when you are honest it's not nice to be accused of theft. On reflection, the pile of new £50 notes was just that normally from a bank they would be banded in £500, or £1000 lots which left us suspicious that he was trying it on and was angry cos he got caught.
Whenever I take larger amounts of cash out at the bank it's puked out of a machine and they just hand it to me loose or offer to put it into an envelope.
 
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Dave Pickett
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#23
Just to add a little, when the buyer paid the remaining balance I saw his bank balance, just under £300k in his current account..........
 
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Robert
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#24
I didn't mind, cash, PayPal, bank transfer it's all fine by me.



I required ID because he wanted to pay via PayPal and collect, I always tell people they have to pay in cash if they're collecting so suggested he bring ID as a compromise.

As I explained above, in the event of a claim PayPal would side with the buyer if you don't have proof of delivery so him bringing his ID was to prove he actually collected otherwise it's just my word. I don't know if PayPal would actually accept that as proof but in a worst case scenario it gives you the option of small claims court.
Ah, ok.
Doubt that would work. You should never accept PayPal then allow collection.
That's how the scammers work.
 
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Allen
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#25
I had a bad deal some years ago, Listed a Sony digital camera and lens on eBay
Had contact from a buyer stating his partner makes jewelry and wants to build a album of images of her work , Cant afford a pro photograper so want to buy a decent rig and do it themselves
Then askes " Can I come and see the camera " and make sure it works OK ? Yes I say , A date and time is arranged and the very smartly dressed African man is at the door , Suite white shirt Tie polisehd shoes , He did look the part , Shakes my hand and introduces himself
Looks over the Sony " Yes thats just what we are looking for "
Can I pay by PayPal ? as I have funds in my account .
Ok said I " What could go wrong "
He used my computer to transfur the funds . I log into my computer and sure enough a email from PayPal saying I have £500 funds , Look in my paypal account and yes a payment of £500 is seen STATUS COMPLETE
OK say I thanks , He shakes my hand again on the way out , Thats it think I job done .

Following day I get a email from PayPal saying " We have taken the £500 payment back " as the paypal account holder has claimed Fraudulent use of his account

A big learing day for me , I am OVER CAREFULL now
 
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#26
Ah, ok.
Doubt that would work. You should never accept PayPal then allow collection.
That's how the scammers work.
I know and I agree but when I already tell people no PayPal with collection and they ignore it they also don't tend to understand why I'm being a pain in the arse about everything.

Much better to sell obscure things really, cameras and lenses make for easy and profitable targets!
 
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#27
Not camera related but just a point on taking cash. We sold a horsebox for £4000 and the buyer arrived with an envelope full of cash. Whilst we counted it the buyer went to hitch up the horse box. There was only £3500 in the envelope and when we confronted the buyer he accused us of taking £500 out as it was straight from the bank! We had not taken the money out and he paid the extra £500, but it left a very bad taste, when you are honest it's not nice to be accused of theft. On reflection, the pile of new £50 notes was just that normally from a bank they would be banded in £500, or £1000 lots which left us suspicious that he was trying it on and was angry cos he got caught.

Moral is simple: Ask to get paid by bank transfer, or if taking cash immediately count it out in front of the buyer, it may seem obvious but we had no reason to doubt his honesty.
I had this when selling a car. Not £500 short but a £20 note had somehow become separated from the rest of the notes... Discovered because, as you suggest, I counted the money out in front of the buyer.
 
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Jeff
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#28
I have to admit e.bay does favour the buyer just had a problem with a lens I bought ,seller was reluctant to refund me , and then took out a case against me . e.bay has now refunded me in full . works both ways
 
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