A CAUTIONARY TALE ...................

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About the perils of  buying things on eBay!


I think of myself as a fairly honest & decent person & mostly I think others are as well. Very rarely do I think I'm going to be ripped off - this is because I would never in a million years contemplate doing such a thing to others - call it naievety (is that how you spell it?) or stupidity, whatever...

Anyhow, it came to pass that last year, my partner needed a new phone - AHA! I thought - I'll have a scout about on eBay and see if there is anything on there that takes my/his fancy - and there was!!!

A great phone (think it was a Samsung something or other), a pretty good price, and a person who seemed like myself - good feedback (checked it out - no eBooks, penny whistles etc;), checked out what he had bought - all kids stuff - he had a valid address, PayPal verified etc; etc; And put a bid in .. And another .. And another .. As you do, after all this is an auction site!.......... AND WON!! Woohoo!! Mass excitement all round!!

A flurry of emails went back & forth - we were going on holiday & wouldnt be in to sign for it - arranged an alternative delivery date - arranged for postage & payment via cheque etc;

THEN - an email came from the seller ... His marriage had gone for a burton, (this was the reason he was selling all this stuff) his soon-to-be ex wife was being most unreasonable & was demanding this, that & the other, threatening him with no access to the kids, hate to ask but -  would it be possible that - instead of sending a cheque (as his wife had access to his bank account & could quite easily get her grubby mitts on the £180.00) we could send cash instead ?????

Being two recently divorced people, who had gone thru the most acrimonious of splits, we totally understood the frictions that can arise when this happens and although alarm bells were ringing faintly in the background, we both thought - poor sod - and sent the cash. We took all the necessary precautions, sent it registered, got it signed for, insured, photocopied the receipts etc; and tripped off on our well-deserved holiday.

We arrived back in the UK, tanned, toned & fit to bust... Emailed the seller to tell him to send the phone .. no reply .. emailed again .. same response. Got his details and phoned him .. no answer. Went to his feedback page and nearly died - there must've been a page full of RED negs - all for the same thing .. none delivery of an item. Looking more closely, we realised that it was EXACTLY the same thing he had been selling! Every single one of us had bid for and bought the same one phone! Every single one of us!

We contacted a few of the other buyers & some of them had sent as much as £300.00, some as little as £100.00, but if you totted it up the total it came to over £1500.00!!! And thats just from the people who left feedback! On contacting eBay it was found that there were 3 other bidders/buyers each of whom had paid between £100.00 - £380.00. Total .. well in excess of £2000.00. Not bad for one advert is it!

A few of them had sent cheques & cancelled them as soon as they found out what was going on, but the majority of us had all fallen for the same story and sent the poor sod cash so his evil wife couldnt get hold of it.

Police were called, this chap was well known to them (!) advice was given, evidence was sent to Kent Police Station, more advice was given & we waited........................

This morning, some six months after the event, a letter arrived from the Witness Care Officer at South East Kent Criminal Justice Unit - it reads as folllows............


Dear Sir/Madam

Offence: Obtaining property by deception - between 27/09/06 & 11/10/06

I am writing with reference to the above mentioned incident to confirm that M*** E**** appeared at F********* M********** on 15/03/07. The offender(s) appeared before the court charged with another matter, however he requested that the offence committed against you be taken into consideration.

At the hearing the defendant(s) was sentenced as follows:

* Committed to prison for 120 days - suspended for 12 months.

* Unpaid work requirement of 20 hours. 

On behalf of the prosecution team, I take this opportunity to thank you for your support in this case.

Yours sincerely,


Witness Care Officer




Nothing else!!!

A thank you!!

Meanwhile the bloody crook who ripped us all off  got no punishment at all - his sentence is laughable!

It may well be that his circumstances WERE as he said ..........

BUT ............. My advice to you all who think that everyone is the same nice, honest & thoroughly upstanding person that you are is...... Think again!

NEVER EVER SEND CASH - no matter what the circumstances!

Trust your instincts ...................

if something doesnt seem right - its your money that youre parting with - youve got a right to ask as many questions as you want .. get information to verify who youre dealing with - if they are honest, they wont mind giving it to you. Check it out once youve gotten it.

Scammers arent just from Nigeria, Ukraine or Malaysia - they are right here in the UK too and are just as ruthless. 

And dont EVER be hassled into something or blackmailed by a seller over your feedback rating - you have every right to pull out of a sale if you think its dodgy or the seller is blackmailing you into buying.

Use this tale a a cautionary one - its not just for mobile phones, its for ANYTHING that gets sold on eBay. The temptation to make money is a strong one and if it seems easy then at least one person is going to try it - dont let it be you that they try it out on!


For all you honest & fair Ebayers out there - thank you.

For the poor lass who I bought a phone off at Christmas - faith restored.

For all the people who buy things off me - you will never ever be ripped off, whether by fees or postage or whatever.

For all the sellers who I buy from - this is why I ask so many questions!

For all you scammers, crooks, one-offs etc; - what can I say ????????????? 


Was this helpful?? Probably not... Its a case of locking the stable door after the horse is bolted isnt it?

And anyway .... who would be dumb enough to fall for a sob story & send cash in the post anyway?

12 of us did

None of us are stupid - we are all old enough to know better, we all know the ins & outs of buying & selling online, but we all have one thing in common - we all never thought that we could or would be ripped off, especially by someone who seems just like us.................

eBay is supposed to be about trust & fairness - not trussed up & fairystories................ 

Vote if you want to - but thanx for reading anyway!

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