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There are a large number of Chinese fraudsters operating in the popular areas of eBay, particularly consumer electronics.

They are all over the place but in particualr they are trying to sell non-existent laptops.

They sometimes use nonsense names but have tried more credible ones and they always have up to 15 positives as feedback but if you look at the feedback, it is either for 1p listings or similar nonsense and is too recent. Often the feedback makes no sense; it may be illiterate or it may be buyers' feedback but coming from sellers or sellers' feedback from buyers.

They invariably use one-day listings and the prices are far too cheap. The former is to maximise the possibility of getting away with it before they are rumbled and the latter is to trap the gullible. A real seller would use 7 or 10 day listings to maximise profit.

They sometimes have PayPal accounts but usually not and so you are expected to wire the money or send cash.

Sometimes, these crooks have registered in Ireland, Sweden, the Netherlands and in fact anywhere but when you look at the listing you can see that it has still been put up by one of these crooks.

It is also important to understand that although these crooks are terribly easy to detect by most seasoned eBayers and therefore by eBay itself, eBay cannot be bothered to act unless we tell them! There is certainly no attempt by eBay to bring this situation under control.

The following checklist will help to protect you:

  1. Look very carefully at the listing before you bid.
  2. Read the seller's feedback
  3. Look closely to see if the listing is only for one day
  4. If the listing is for one day, NEVER BID
  5. If the item is too cheap, then it is a fraud
  6. If the seller is in China or is trying to conceal the fact, do not bid unless they have a VERY high rating.
  7. Never pay for items by Western Union or by cash - you will never get it back
  8. Pester eBay to remove them
  9. Notify other bidders to help them, as I do

Please remember that although there are bargains to be found on eBay, current consumer electronics can only be bought at a small discount!

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