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Lowballed by a member, need advice

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14 replies to this topic

#1 of 15 OFFLINE   Daman


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Posted July 29 2007 - 03:18 PM

Im not sure if this is the right place for this topic, so if a moderator thinks otherwise, please move it to the right area.

I'm posting this to see if i can get some advice from the forum members on how to go about my situation.

Based on this thread http://www.hometheat....energy veritas i purchased a set of Veritas speakers from a forum member names SRE. I paid him 1550(via Paypal) for the whole set that includes 3 fronts and 2 sides. The person(Paul Smith) was very communicative initially. He was having trouble finding a shipper for a decent price and told me he would be sending the surrounds seperately and the fronts and center via a different carrier.He promptly sent me the tracking number of the rear speakers and they arrived within 4 days. The fronts and the center havent arrived till date.

It has been a whole month through all this now. I was able to contact him on the phone and he mentioned that he sent the fronts and center via his some frieght company which GE uses. He also mentioned that he's having some family issues that i understood and have been very patient throughout believing his word. Since last week though there has been no communication, i did manage to reach him on phone once where he mentioned he would call me back but never did. He hasnt responded to my emails either.

Im not sure what path to take here, i did talk to paypal for a dispute but they mentioned that since the person did put a tracking number in the transaction(of the side speakers) they cant do anything about it. I do have email's from my conversation with him, but im not sure what help would that be.

Ill really appreciate if someone can mention me what are my options at this point. I transffered money via bank of america account to paypal for this transaction. Is there a way to recover my money back somehow?

Thanks a lot for looking and all your suggestions in advance.


#2 of 15 OFFLINE   Dan Driscoll

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Posted July 30 2007 - 04:19 AM

When they stop communicating it's generally a bad sign and there's a good chance you've been ripped off. I would suggest filing a complaint with PayPal right away. You can always withdraw it, but you need to get it on record. But don't expect much, PayPal's history on these things isn't the greatest. It looks like he joined the same day he posted that ad. Did he provide any references or maybe a selling hsitory from another site? BTW, "Lowballing" is when a prospective buyer offers a ridiculously or even insultingly low price for what you're selling. A more accurate term for what you're describing is "Rip-off".

"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."
--Benjamin Franklin

#3 of 15 OFFLINE   Wayne Ernst

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Posted July 30 2007 - 04:58 AM

#1) I doubt if PayPal will be of much assistance to you, if the funds have already been moved out of the PayPal account. If you paid via PayPal with a credit card, then I'd dispute the charge with your card company. PayPal will just "freeze" the account so the person can't do any transactions via the account until things get resolved. It doesn't stop the person from going and creating a new account, though. #2) I'd file a report with the police department that is local to the individual. I had a very similar issue this past spring. Nearly $300 was sent to an individual. I received an e-mail response from the guy's brother indicating that the guy was hospitalized due to an accident, etc. and he'd be back in communication with me once he was released. This was all a big lie - there was no accident. PayPal couldn't recover the funds since they had been removed from the account. I contacted the person's local police department. Initially, they indicated that it was a civil case and I should file a small claims case. However, it was Internet theft - which didn't appear to be civil to me. I then contacted the criminal investigations unit directly. They were very responsive. They stopped by the guy's apartment a few times, but he wasn't there. They persisted. Finally, they reached him. They then contacted me and indicated he'd be in touch with me within the week. Sure enough, he came up with the funds and sent me a certified check from his credit union. Keep the pressure on. Contact your credit card company ASAP, if you used them through PayPal - since there might be some deadlines involved with filing a claim through them. Best of luck to you.
"My reality check ... just bounced"

#4 of 15 OFFLINE   Ron_Phelps


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Posted July 30 2007 - 05:55 AM

Wow! interesting story and some good advice. bet that guy was surprised when the cops showed up at his door .....

#5 of 15 OFFLINE   Daman


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Posted August 01 2007 - 02:48 AM

Thanks a lot Wayne, that advice is very helpful. Is there a website for the criminal investigations unit? Or a phone number i can reach them on? Ill try and google it up and see if i can come up with anything. Once again, thanks for all the advice everyone!

#6 of 15 OFFLINE   Daman


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Posted August 01 2007 - 03:01 AM

Thanks Dan, i have filed a complaint with Paypal but they werent much help. I guess its partly my mistake as well since i didnt check his history and references. Ill go Wayne's way and see if that can help.

#7 of 15 OFFLINE   Wayne Ernst

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Posted August 01 2007 - 03:24 AM

You'll have to search for it for the city the person lives in. You can try the main, non-emergency police number and ask to be connected to that unit. Also, the FBI has a task force where they work with local police agencies on Internet crimes. I submitted such a request through the Baltimore, MD field office of the FBI. However, by the time the FBI responded, the local police force where the guy lives had already responded. I didn't perform my actions with a stealthy manner, either. The police chief of the city where the guy lived, had his e-mail address listed. I sent an e-mail to the chief letting him know about the criminal that lived within his jurisdiction. I copied the criminal on my e-mail, too. I also forwarded a response from the FBI field office, with the case #, etc. that was provided to me via e-mail to the individual. I wanted to let him be fully aware that I was using every legal method within my means to: 1) get him to send me the item I had purchased, or 2) get my money back. I'm sure my notes created a bit of nervousness in the individual - but, it wasn't until the police were face-to-face with him that he finally caved in. Use any and all *legal* recourses that you can think of. In my case, the guy had lived just 100 miles away. Sure, it would have been easy for me to hop in the car, drive the 100 miles and take care of things a.k.a. "Tony Soprano" style. However, I'm glad that I followed the legal methods. For a while, the guy even threatened me that his lawyer was going to contact me due to slander. I'm the victim here ... and due to my contacting him to get my money back, he's contacting his lawyer to get me for slander and harrasment? What's wrong with our society? Best of luck to you. Put the heat on ... and, keep it on. I did realize the seller had provided his phone number in many of his postings. I'm not sure if it would help or hurt the situation if some of us members were to provide some "encouraging" phone calls to the individual to do the right thing. Maybe, if one of the moderators of the forum made a phone call? Not sure what's best here.
"My reality check ... just bounced"

#8 of 15 OFFLINE   Daman


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Posted August 01 2007 - 03:41 AM

Thanks Wayne, Ive managed to find the Michigan Cyber crimes unit's number and will try to get in touch with them to see if they can help. Would contacting the FBI office be a better option? It sure would be great if some of the members left some encouraging phone calls to him. He just doesnt pick up my phone when i try to call.. I just left him a voice mail telling him that im going to contact the local law enforcement agencies regarding this. Let's see what happens.. thanks again for all your help in this.

#9 of 15 OFFLINE   Vito/D


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Posted August 01 2007 - 04:40 AM

From now on, I suggest using a third party for anything over $500. I had a case when I paid $1200 for an amp, but I put up front $200 as an act of good faith. When I were to receive the amp, I have time to inspect, test, and determine if it's the condition as described. Sounds good so far, right? Well..... The freight carrier delivered it to a wrong address and couldn't find the amp. I was refunded the $200. The seller now had to deal with the carrier for the worth of the amp. The third party would've help prevent your situation. Next time you know.

#10 of 15 OFFLINE   Andy_A


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Posted August 01 2007 - 05:53 AM

*67 then the number will block caller ID

#11 of 15 OFFLINE   Daman


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Posted August 01 2007 - 06:23 AM

Thanks Andy, he still doesnt pick up though..

#12 of 15 OFFLINE   karl_burns


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Posted August 02 2007 - 04:15 PM

I think you;ve received the bulk of good adivce so far: 1) no communication is a bad sing 2) contact your credit card 3) contact PayPal I had a seller on eBay string me along for $380, saying he would ship the amp.. He claimed family issue too, which I caould relate too with a recent death in my family. Well, the amp never showed up, and it was past 30 days once I decided to investingate my options. He strung me along just long enough.... I've learned that you pay via credit card, with PayPal, and you've got the best protection you can get. Karl
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"Don't tackle vast projects with half vast ideas."

#13 of 15 OFFLINE   Joe S.

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Posted August 03 2007 - 10:31 AM

The suspicious part to me is that he entered a tracking number into PP so they won't follow up for you. Very smart if he is a con artist as now it is your word vs. his essentially as to what was shipped. The only fact you could present would be the weight of the package (look up weight of all 5 speakers online and show that package weight is only 2 speakers worth.) I feel for you man, this looks like a quagmire of time.

#14 of 15 OFFLINE   DaveNel


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Posted August 22 2007 - 01:35 PM

I know this is kinna a old post couple weeks old..

here is a few more things you can do as well..

Did you run the tracking number, Follow it through.

Google or yahoo that user name, His phone number, reverse phone to get his address, Also if that person has moved use intelius.com or ussearch.com to find what city they have moved to. intelius.com also supplies relatives names as well. There is no charge on either service to find what cities they live in or relatives, But if you want to go deeper into your search there is a charge for that.

When you google or whatever search engine you use they are different sometimes... You may find some info on Yahoo and different info on google and such. Always use 2-3 different search engines.

Steps to take before purchases:

1. Know who you are dealing with. Unless I know who they are I will get detailed info and talk on phone with seller. Then I will do a reverse phone check on the number to match the name with the seller. If they dont match I ask questions.

2. get pictures with sellers name on them, If its high end equipment you know the seller usually has a camera. If they say they dont have one.. I dont buy. Also have them put your name on it as well Posted Image

3. Get detailed tracking info, Then have the receipt scanned, faxed, emailed to you. Make sure its a real receipt from USPS, UPS, fedex or whatever

4. Inspect equipment the second you get it. Maybe even when the shipper is standing there. That really helps.

ALways on the road, Loves his laptop and wireless modem

#15 of 15 OFFLINE   Alf S

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Posted August 22 2007 - 02:16 PM

Man I'm sorry you got stiffed... But I have to ask folks...why in the world would ANYONE buy anything from a website forum full of mainly faceless strangers whom you know NOTHING about??...Especially big ticket items. I know a lot of folks think this (and many forums) are like one big happy family and they think they can trust every person on here and trust everything they say, but common sense says it's just not a safe bet to be buying pricey and fragile equipment via a website forum that has zero ability to protect the buyer. Hope things work out for ya, but this is for sure a case of buyer beware and hopefully serves as a good lesson for others.

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