How to bring an eBay thief to justice

Let me tell you the true story of the videogame I purchased that took three months to arrive. As I’ve done countless times before, I got the winning bid on an eBay auction from a seller who had 100% positive feedback (I always check), this time for a copy of Crackdown for the Xbox 360, a game I was looking forward to playing. Unfortunately the seller did not accept Paypal payments. No big deal, except I would probably have to wait a week or more for delivery due to the cheque having to clear. Two weeks went by, and there was no sign of the game. I emailed the seller and got a positive response. I did some more waiting. Still no game. I emailed again. This time no response. Well over a month later, I rechecked the seller’s feedback rating and saw that three negative comments had appeared. So, I wasn’t the only person this guy had decided to rip off. Well, either that or he had died. Who could tell?

Anyway, I added my own negative comment to the others. Fair’s fair; he cashed my cheque and walked away without sending the goods. And if he’s now in heaven, he’ll hardly mind an extra stain on his eBay account. Next, I registered a complaint with eBay. Nothing happened except the seller’s account was shut down. So I had to decide: do I take this further or put it down to experience? Well, this wasn’t the first time I had been ripped off on eBay; it was the third. So I thought, No more. This time I’m not letting it rest.

eBay had turned out to be prettty unsupportive, so I formulated my own plan. First, I used Google to locate the nearest police station to the seller’s address. Then I used eBay’s “Contact Member” form to write a message to the three other victims of the seller. I asked each of them to compose a letter addressed to the police in the seller’s area, detailing exactly what the seller had done, including as much detail as possible, right down to the cheque numbers and dates cleared. Instead of having the buyers forward their letters individually to the police, I asked them to mail them to me. Two of them did so. Along with myself, that made us a party of three. I then forwarded all three letters directly to the police in the seller’s area. This whole approach saved several different police stations having to forward and collate (and possibly misplace or ignore) the data. Instead, I provided them with a nice tidy all-inclusive package. I was prepared to leave nothing to chance.

Sure enough, I eventually received a call from a police sergeant. He advised me there were two ways he could play it. He could either have us fill out an official form of complaint, or he could simply call round to the seller’s house today and quiz him. Collectively, we all agreed to the latter, because it was simple and quick. Boy oh boy, I would have loved to have seen the seller’s face when the sergeant arrived at his door and told him why he was there. Little did the scoundrel know that there were three offended customers from different parts of the country secretly conspiring against him.

Yes, the seller was very much alive, and quick to make his excuses. His story was that shortly after the auction he had been admitted to hospital for three weeks, during which time he also had problems with his girlfriend. And it was the girlfriend who was the actual owner of the eBay account he was using to trade. He was actually able to show the sergeant the very games he had listed on eBay and he then agreed to post them the next day. The presence of the games indicates that there actually was some original intent to make good on the sales, and I’m willing to believe that the seller’s story would check out, if investigated. However, the excuses are rather feeble when you consider how I had been waiting three months for the game. I think it was more theft by laziness than theft by intent. But theft is theft, and if I had never brought the matter to the police, I doubt that I would ever have received the game. Crackdown finally arrived yesterday.

There you have it. Honourable eBay users take note: if someone rips you off, now you know how to bring him down!

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10 thoughts on “How to bring an eBay thief to justice

  1. Phil says:

    Crackdown what a game! I have to admit its one of the better games, it can be very addictive at the start, trying to get ur guy to a decent level

  2. Darryl Sloan says:

    Initially, I was kind of peeved at the game, but once I started being able to do insane jumps, it got very addictive. I was at it for a couple of hours yesterday evening. Just finished The Darkness last week. Very good, but short.

  3. phil says:

    i loved the fact that in the darkness, its almost as if you are watching a movie?
    just the way they show everything, especially the start, didnt like the long loading times between different areas though! you should try bioshock! amazing game, busting zombies all day

  4. Darryl Sloan says:

    Yeah, The Darkness was quite cinematic. Bioshock is probably the next game I’ll buy. Other unreleased titles I’m looking forward to in the future are Condemned 2, Alan Wake and Dead Island – especially that last one!

  5. phil says:

    dead island?? havent heard that much about it yet…what exactly is it??
    you should also be looking forward to “assassins creed”, its basically free-roam adventures through out old jerusalem, through one of the crusade era’s!
    looks amazing, worth taking a look at online!

  6. Darryl Sloan says:

    Details on Dead Island are sketchy at present, and the release is quite far away, but there are plenty of results if you Google it. Assassin’s Creed sounds good.

  7. PRAEst76 says:

    I should do this rather than just getting frustrated and punching holes in the wall. I’ve had such experiences in the past.

  8. Jeff Jurkanis says:

    Myself and 17-18 other people were ripped off for about $380.00 each by a woman that had 100% positive feedback on ebay for the sale of Garmin Astro 220 and DC30 hand held GPS receiver and dog tracking collar.

  9. girly says:

    Nice to know.I’m actually deleting my ebay account after my issue is resolved.I along with many others were scammed.This guy even changed his username the next day,trying to outsmart us I guess.He stole $20 from me,and almost $900 from someone else,along with everything in between.He redeemed the gift cards,then filed a paypal dispute against all of us.Supposedly his account was hacked,but there’s too many things wrong with the story that he gave.I’m assuming that neither paypal nor ebay will help out us sellers that were stolen from.I’ve read so many stories on how both sites keep wronging people.Ebay also has fees that are crazy.One month I only sold $10 in items,and had a $6 ebay fee.My advice is use Listia.com.They run differently,but its worth it to be protected.Even though they did screw me over on over $10 once as well(for postage,even though I had confirmation,plus the points got returned to the bidder,and they kept the items),I trust them more anyhow.Sorry this was long.Thanks for the post.

  10. ThatOneGuy says:

    I too got ripped off on ebay :/ i sold 16 games to some bloke who sent an email back saying that the games weren’t up to standards which was fine as they had a few missing manuals and one game had a minor crack on the box. so it was agreed he’d send me the games back and i’d pay him the £35 back no problem. When the games got back i was ready to send him the money until i opened the box containing the games, 16 games just as i sent but 2 were different. the orange box and bully scholarship edition (the 2 most valuable games i sold) were not there, instead they were replaced with fable 3 and F1 2010 which are worth…well not a lot. i told him that there must’ve been a mix up and i got his fable 3 and F1 2010 instead of my games but he insisted that nothing had happened :/ so i contacted ebay saying that i didn’t get my correct package back but they favored the receiver and have given him the refund he deserves and have told me i need to pay ebay the fee which he paid (which is fair enough). It just annoys me how ebay don’t listen to the people who make the complaints :/ any tips on what to do? im tempted to just give the £35 to ebay and deal with it but this was supposed to go towards my uni fund which annoys me greatly. anyway thanks for listening to my rant about ebay and the crooks out there

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