Letter of the Week: Buyer Beware

To: POP Editor Subject: Deal or no deal?

To: POP Editor
Subject: Deal or no deal?

There is another side to the "deal or no deal" inquiry in your Apr 09 edition of Popular Photography.  I listed a Nikon D2X body and lens on e-bay for sale.  I received notification from e-bay that the item was sold, an amount stated and a buyer's e-mail address given.  I e-mailed the buyer (in Nigeria) that once notification was received that the amount was in my pay-pal account, the item would be shipped.  I subsequently received an e-mail from the "Pay-Pal Team" that the amount had been deducted from the individual's account and once proof of shipment (a scanned photocopy of the ship documents) was received, the funds would be released.

Items were shipped but no funds appeared in my account. Attempts to contact e-bay were futile as it is impossible to contact a real person there. I was able to contact an   individual at Pay-Pal who told me, in effect, that I had been had.  He indicated that there is no holding accounts at Pay-Pal and the funds would have been directly deposited in my account. Interesting is that all communications received from e-Bay and Pay-Pal were on their identical letterhead format. I filed a complaint with the IC3 Department of the Government Fraud division but never received any feedback. Interesting ending is that I received an e-mail from the buyer (??) several months later stating that the equipment was not meeting his expectations and if I forwarded $300. for postage and insurance, the equipment would be promptly returned. I may be dumb but not totally stupid. I also became aware that there are a number of these type scams coming from Nigeria. Your readers should be aware and that doing business through e-Bay is far from bulletproof.

Dick Behling

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