back to article eBayer invites buyers to rip him off

Here's an eBay auction with a difference: an apparently innocent-looking punt of a Sony VAIO VGN-NR21J/S laptop: eBay auction for SONY VAIO VGN-NR21J/S LAPTOP BNIB There then follows the usual item description, but what makes this particular sale a little more interesting is the vendor's candid purchasing advice for users of …


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  1. David Willis

    Letter from eBay's Founder

    A great letter (sniff) and from a Froggie at that..(sniff) brings a tear to the eye..

    Perhaps e-bay need to reword the letter -

    "Most people are honest. And they mean well. Some people go out of their way to make things right. I've heard great stories about the honesty of people here. Occasionally you may meet people who are not honest. It's a fact of life."

    This is true.. I've been an e-bayer for many years and had very few bad experiences.

    "Here, those people can't hide. We'll drive them away. Protect others from them. And this depends on your active participation. Become a registered member. Use eBay's Feedback Forum. Give praise where it's due — make complaints where appropriate. Let everyone know what a joy it was to deal with someone."

    This is complete twaddle.. People can and do hide. Getting rid of feedback and hiding paypal behind a cloud of "safety insurance" does nothing to drive away these scum.

    As a reword..

    "Here, those people may hide, we won't drive them away (after all we need every commision payment made on every transaction) But be assured you may be protected by insurance that may cover you (caveat emptor). Become a registered member (the more people that use us, the more money we make). Don't bother yourself with eBay's Feedback Forum (we can't be bothered running it as costs too much and is far to complicated). Let everyone know what a joy it is to loose your hard earned products and still pay a cut to a large American Multinational Corporation. PS. If you choose to leave e-bay and our company flounders our directors will simply take a large pay off and go run one of the other internet auction sites into the ground. Resistance is futile..

    I don't think they'd publish the bits in brackets

    Hmm maybe a bit jaded for a Monday afternoon ?

  2. Craig Peters
    Black Helicopters

    Viral Marketing?

    Seems to me like viral marketing for

  3. oxo

    It's been updated..


    On 08-Feb-08 at 01:24:50 GMT, seller added the following information:






  4. Edward Pearson

    A Clever Scam.

    This smacks of a clever scam to me.


    In the unlikely event that you are actually a genuine buyer then you really should be shopping in a real shop and not this scammers paradise. However this laptop does really exist and is really for sale. You can email me or skype me with suggestions on how we may actually transact this item to both our satisfaction – with both our safety in mind. Don’t even think of buying it using paypal. I’ve only listed it as accepted because ebay run a protection racket that means I have to accept it. If you do pay by paypal I will simply refund your payment and give you a nice new shiny NEG."

    The genuine buyer calls/writes, the seller suggests one of these other payment methods, most probably an escrow agency nobody's ever heard of.

  5. Del Merritt

    Gone, but...

    ... is it also forgotten? Did anyone who saw the auction see what the final post-pull bid was? Just curious...

  6. Ian Ferguson
    Thumb Down


    I agree, it's probably an ad for tazbar (which sounds hellishly dodgy to me). But the points it makes are more than valid. I have, at a guess, bought about ten items off eBay, and sold about five. The items I bought were fine, no problems. I had problems with scammers with EVERY SINGLE one of the items I sold. Four of them were ok once I figured out who I should ignore (I think I had to relist a couple of them), the fifth was using stolen credit card details, so I lost out (over £300).

    Don't use eBay. More importantly, don't use PayPal to receive money - despite their assurances, there is no guarantee you will keep your money. I had received £300 in my PayPal account, and transferred it to my bank account - you would have thought that meant it was mine - but because PayPal got stung with a stolen card chargeback, they billed me for the £300 via a debt collection agency, and locked my account.

    Moral of the story - scammers continue to get away with it, honest users get punished.

  7. DrXym

    ebay just doesn't seem to care

    My impression of ebay is they'll pay lipservice to scam busting, but that is it.

    A simple example - search for "wholesale list". A wholesale list is a scam where someone advertises a iPod, or a Hi def TV, or a Trampoline etc. complete with picture and a low price. So suckers bid, or hit the "Buy it now" thinking they're getting some bargain item and get an email of wholesale outlets for their efforts. As I type there are 20 suckers bidding on an iTouch wholesale list. They may be suckers who should have read the text but they are also being conned.

    How hard would it be for ebay to stop the wholesale list scam? The answer is not hard at all. They could start by banning pictures against those kind of items, and shoving wholesale lists into a category all by themselves. They could even plaster the auctions with warnings and popup acknowledgements to indicate the item was just a list, not an item.

    This is just one scam that runs and runs. It seems that counterfeit goods are also a popular scam on ebay. How hard would it be to offer advice on how to identify a counterfeit item such as a memory card? Or to weight ratings on certain items based on buyer's ability to spot fakes vs genuine articles? Or to limit sales of certain items to certain regional areas, or merchants with established ratings? Or to identify repeat scammers by their IP address or the text of their adverts? Or for ebay fraud teams to purchase suspect items to identify if they're counterfeit before a buyer gets stung?

    The fact is ebay really doesn't seem to care so much. The reason may be in paypal. Once a fraud is reported they freeze the paypal account with the funds still in it. A few people probably work through the drawn out complaints procedure and get a refund. What happens to the rest of the money? I expect that eventually it goes in ebay's pockets, as does the all of the advertising, keywords, paypal commissions etc. the scammer used to place their ad. I would not be surprised if ebay make a tidy pile of money from the scammers.

    So their anti-fraud measures feel more like lip service. At the end of the day, it'll hurt them more than anyone else to let the site continue this way. If ebay is associated with thieves and conmen, buyers will stay away.

  8. fred

    British Territory - Good Condition - No Reserve

    Another classic Ebay auction was this, which was pulled a long time ago:

  9. John Bayly

    On a slight tangent

    If it's viral marketing, it almost worked on me as I went straight to and got an error as there's no DNS record, is ok though.

    Does anyone else get miffed with domains that have no A or CNAME entry for the root, or am I just being lazy not typing in the www?

    As for the listing, it brought a little bit of joy to my day. To be honest I've never had any trouble selling anything on ebay, but then I've never sold anything due to the fact that I really can't be arsed dealing with a bunch of muppets to make a few quid on some tat.

    If you want to get rid of unneeded stuff, freecycle it (and their DNS is configured for lazy people).

  10. DR

    sadly deluded

    well if it was a marketing campaign for tazbar, then it worked,

    I hadn't heard of it, but now I have I had a look, and just like ebay it's rammed full of everyone else's shit that they don't want! people hocking their second hand goods to try and make a little money, professional sellers selling their goods to try and make a lot of money.

    it's exactly the same as ebay in principal, and will I imagine, in time be subject to the same kinds of scams etc... (albeit that there are less things here as it doesn't seem to be as popular).

    there is no way of getting around it.

    A few years back I bought a sega megadrive, I got it from a car boot sale, it didn't work. I lost out.

    I met the guy, spoke to him, paid in cash and shook his hand, a lt more than you get on ebay, and i wasn't surprised when it didn't work, in fact I almost expected it not too.

    there really are no guarantees... and no system of any online shop will create a workable guarantee that neither sellers nor buyers will fall foul of scammers, and they'll be investigated at length, fairly and impartially with compensation being paid. (and if they do the scammers will just scan the auction house site rather than the traders).

    if you want a real guarantee like you'd get at a real shop, then chances are you might actually have to go to a real shop...

    ebay has it's place, paypal has it's use, as do all the other ebay copies (like tazbar) and the various money moving organizations...

    but so long as money will change hands, people will try to think of ways that they can make money illegitimately.

  11. Anonymous Coward

    That name...tazbar...

    Hmm... 'tazbar' - 'tat bazaar' - the resonance is a bit eerie, or is it intentional?

  12. Tim

    @John Bayly

    There is nothing more annoying.

    I often email the webmaster and more than a few times I've got back an "oh - We didn't think of that" type message and they've fixed it. Mostly I get nothing though.

    Yes, get off my lawn.

  13. voshkin

    Western Union

    Western Union transfers are virtually instantaneous, meaning that if you receive the fake notice, all you have to do, is come to the nearest WU agent, and see if the money is there (you do not even need the notice, just some ID)

    If the money is there (unlikely) ship the item, if the money is there, do not. It is quite simple.

    The moron who would get ripped off by “WU Scam” deserves it, for Darwin reasons.

  14. Les Matthew
    Thumb Up

    @John Bayly

    "If you want to get rid of unneeded stuff, freecycle it"

    Then wait for it to appear on eBay.

  15. Anonymous Coward

    Pigeon English?

    Is this something unique to punters in the UK? Ah, maybe this is supposed to be "pidgeon" English eh? Do taz pidgeons home very well?

    Anyway, eBay is especially good for obsolete and unique items.

    Current production, Amazon is frequently safer and about the same price.

    I've rarely had any problems, the vast majority of sellers are honest or nearly so. Ran across the few percent who are crooks though, and despite the whining of the sellers that one hears, eBay tends to believe them not the buyer. So I buy expecting to take some losses (that is, "new price" is only offered to Amazon, not on eBay for instance, to make up for 'shrinkage').

  16. Anonymous Coward


    I've done fairly well selling electrical stuff on ebay until selling a phone. The top few bidders were all scammers on that, ebay didn't care less.

    Not that it matters now, my account was hijacked some time ago, recovered then hijacked again within 2 weeks (even with a password along the lines of "x;f6z"). Since then I just closed the PayPal account and killed the email address - good luck to the scammers with my 7 +ve feedback.

    If I want to shift my old crap it goes down the local Cash Converters - they pay more than ebay ever raised.

  17. Colin MacDougall

    Tazbar.... WTF ?

    Agree with some this guys sentiment but having a look at the ebay alternative he keeps touting doesn't inspire me with confidence, it looks a little, how you say, crap?

    A tad reminiscent of the eBay layout except eBay as a Yankee company does manage to get the 'Centre' v's 'Center' bit on their version of the site correct. Twatbar claims to be based in Shropshire (always thought that was in the UK) but must get their site written across the pond given the spelling..... grrrr.


  18. J
    Dead Vulture

    Re: Pigeon English?

    Neither pigeon nor pidgeon, AC. The guy really meant PIDGIN English.

    I know because that's what I speak (and, scarily enough, sometimes it seems like I'm better than most natives... a sad reflection of the state of your educational systems indeed).

    Does eBay sell dictionaries?

  19. Gareth
    Thumb Down

    Tazbar spelling

    It's probably a) an off-the-shelf auction software package, all of which are crap (as I found out after evaluating a number of rather expensive ones for a startup a while back) or b) a Bombay Special created at lowest possible cost from one of the freelance sites.

    The problem with eBay is that it is the only auction site that seems to get any traffic, which for me justifies its fees with certain items (ie. high value ones of interest only to well off people who tend not to be scammers), but I recently stopped selling electronics on there as it was an utter waste of time what with all the scams.

    Angry at eBay for the buyer feedback issue, as I've had maybe one or two problems with sellers in 5 years but dozens with fraudulent, abusive or just plain stupid buyers. Case in point: Recently had to give thousands of dollars back to a woman who bought a point of sale system from me and then realised she had no idea how to use it, then yesterday a buyer filed an "item not received" claim with Paypal despite being an overseas buyer who only paid a few days ago.

    If there was a half decent alternative that had anywhere near the traffic of eBay I'd be there in a flash.

  20. Shabble

    Blowing ones own trumpet

    eBay do listen to suggestions - back when folk started putting items on with tiny prices the only way to find the postage cost was to actually look at the item's page. I complained about this and said it would be helpful to see the total cost on search results. A couple of months later the p&p values for items was added to the search results pages.

    Then sellers simply flooded the site with items costing £0.01 so that filtering by price put all their items first whilst items that were cheaper when you included p&p were sometime several pages along. I emailed eBay and suggested that they changed it so you could order search results by combined price - and today I see that now you can!

    I'm not claiming that my emails are the sole reason these changes have taken place, but I bet the changes wouldn't have happened so quickly if people like me hadn't taken an active role in making suggestions.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Viral Marketing?

    I'm guessing it is or just coincidence that the seller was based in Shropshire as are Tazbar, looks like their 'Corporate Headquaters' is in fact a residential address, nice..

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    not everything works on the internet

    So go down tesco, its probably cheaper there anyway.

  23. Ronny Cook

    Leading www...

    There are good and rational reasons for *not* pointing the A record for the base domain at the company's web site. The main one is that a domain hosts many services, and the web site doesn't really have any better claim than any other service. The Internet hosts many different services, of which HTTP is only one.

    In fact given the default logic (and importance) of mail delivery the email servers arguably have first dibs on the A record. However, given that many web browsers will try a leading www if the base domain fails to resolve, simply omitting the A record is logical.

    If you don't type the www then yes, you are just being lazy.

    It's a very common form of laziness so from a marketing point of view pointing the A record at the web site makes a certain amount of sense. Making allowance for somebody else's laziness doesn't make it any less a matter of laziness however.


  24. Ozwadi Ogolugi
    Thumb Up

    I huv an affer

    I will be gaveing you £5000 pounds for the Laptop. I will pay with chack, you minas the amunt you want plas a small drink and gave the rest to me in chash.

    Thunk you Boss.

  25. Anonymous Coward

    Do Never

    I never click on search results that point to eBay. eBay is best avoided, stick to real bricks and mortar shops or (at worst) online sellers with excellent reputations.

  26. galbak

    anyone have an opinion/experence of ? looks kinda like ebay, before they sold out.

  27. Benjy


    Ronny - with all due respect, I don't think you understand how DNS is involved in the delivery of E-Mail.

    MX records and A records are nothing to do with each other, and you can easily have A records for and pointing to the same webserver (configured with name-based virtual hosts and therefore hosting hundreds of domains), while separately having the MX record for pointing to a mail server (that could again handle mail traffic for multiple hosts), allowing the mail to be delivered regardless of what the A record(s) point to.

    That said, if the domain doesn't have an MX record, then most mailers will attempt to send to the server pointed to by the A record (I think). But otherwise it doesn't matter.

    As you say, of course, there are plenty of other services that are hosted on the internet, and indeed we might have "" and various others. But as most people (certainly in the general public) want the website, it makes sense to have the truncated "" be assumed to be "".


  28. John Stag

    It's just as easy for sellers to rip you off...

    Cry me a river..It's just as easy for sellers to rip you off:

    a) Promise the item has been sent, wait a month and say the post office returned it and you put it in the post again, it should be there in a couple of days. Repeat until the 60 day reclaim period is up.

    b) Send wrong item, get buyer to send it back, promising to refund the postage. Dally around using variations on method (a) until 60 days pass - you got the money *and* you got the item back!

    Remember to always use negative feedback as a weapon - after all, the seller has the last word even though the buyer sent the money five minutes after the auction ended.

    c) Send broken goods and put tiny disclaimers in the auction that the buyer should always pay for postal insurance and the seller is not responsible for damage during transit. Use tit-for-tat feedback to enforce your position. Finally, after much bargaining say you'll change it but buyer has to pay return postage. Best case scenario: You offloaded a broken item onto some poor sucker for full retail price. Worst case: You sell an item and make a small profit.

    d) Sell stolen foreign goods which are the wrong region/language for the buyer. Put this fact in tiny writing in the middle of a fifty page garbage-padded description. Use tit-for-tat feedback to make sure the buyer doesn't complain.

    It's much better for buyers to feel safe then it is for sellers. The sellers must be making money despite the bad buyers - if they weren't, they'd stop doing it.

  29. kain preacher

    am I the only one

    I've been on ebay and have a few claims filed against me. I always one because I ship with a confirmed receipt. and a tracking number Paypal has refunded me when I was scammed

  30. Sean

    And this is why I don't sell on Ebay anymore.

    In all my time dealing with Ebay - a few hundred transactions all said and done, I've only ever been stung as a seller. Partly my own fault i know, I should have refused to deal with Americans - the notion that people in other countries might use different video formats never occurs to them.

    That said, even when the complaint went to paypal, paypal staff clearly understood that the item was exactly as described and working exactly as described - just not working the way the buyer wanted it to - they awarded in the buyers favor. I don't understand why they even bother having rules instead of just saying 'Full refund at buyers request, no questions asked'

    I'm still more then happy to buy from them - a sensible buyer should have no risk of issue.

  31. Andy Worth

    Re:sadly deluded

    As DR says, Ebay is not the only place that you can go to get scammed....likewise I have bought a couple of things at car boot sales that have gone badly wrong, but yet more that worked perfectly. The fact is that whatever you do, the likelihood is that someday, each and every one of us will be diddled by a scammer. Of course, you can lower your chances of being scammed by using a bit of common sense but in some cases it's just down to luck.

    Personally I've bought about 20-30 items from Ebay and have been lucky in that I've never bought a dodgy one, even when buying PC parts, console games and the like. I've also sold two mobile phones and despite a single mail from a scammer (who I told by return of email that I'd sell him the phone in exchange for his sisters virginity), managed to sell both without incident.

    All you can really do is to protect yourself as much as possible - like when you use a cashpoint, cover your fingers so the pinhole camera in the fake fascia can't see what pin number you enter. Chances are, you'll still get scammed someday but at least you will have done what you can to prevent it.

  32. Michael


    I got had once when I sold a few items to a seller he claimed they had never arrived.

    Sadly I did not send via recorded delivery so i could not prove I had sent them.

    Ever sicne I have used recorded delivery for stuff I sell on there, I just charge a litte more for postage.

  33. Nìall Tracey

    Re: viral marketing

    Possibly, but if you check out the guy's feedback he has been a reasonably active eBay seller in the past. It could actually be a genuine protest.

  34. Slaine
    Black Helicopters


    ... lost me as a visitor a long time ago.

    If I explain the reason why though - this comment will be deleted... again. Oh happy days. I can say "fuck" but I mustn't tell the truth.

  35. tim

    piss poor viral marketing

    oh dear, they couldn't even be arsed to stick a fake auction up on their own site..., the user (class-it) doesn't exist and provides no link through to this amazing interweb bazaar sale of his shite laptop.... maybe they should worry less about ebay and more about their choice of online pr agency

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    ebay feedback

    eBay feedback blackmail is getting a bit ridiculous now. I think they should allow more space for explanation when you give or receive negative feedback so each side can explain the situation.

    As a seller on eBay, you can be blackmailed by buyers who just don't like the item or say they haven't received it, and then threaten to leave -ve feedback.

    I also suggested a combined price+P&P column to eBay ages ago as I am sure many others have done.

    I too have had experiences with PayPal and have not been impressed by their policies or 'arbitration'.

    Does anyone know the best way to get payment when selling on eBay for a private seller (i.e. safe and without having to pay a large %age to anyone).

    PayPal - not much protection and costs

    Cheque - need to wait at least 1 week AFTER payment has gone into my account before I know it is safe to send the goods - this means a 2 week delay for the buyer.

    BACS transfer - does not give the buyer any protection ??? Need to give a stranger your bakn details.

    Any others?

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Never been stolen from!

    I have never been the victim of crime in my entire life. If I was robbed in a park I would be a scarred for life. Correction ... I have been robbed and only ever been robbed in EBAY! If I was robbed 5 times in the same park I would want to see someones head on a block.. makes you think hmm???

  38. Stuart Halliday
    Thumb Up

    I like eBay

    I've sold things and bought things on eBay. Never had any trouble at all....

    Oh and I used Paypal too.


  39. Anonymous Coward

    One word...

    craigslist. You get to meet the people and look over the product and you can skip all the billing nonsense and fraud.

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This was my auction, I am class-it

    I have given the register my email address at my blog so they can confirm I am who I say i am!!! To confirm my identity I have used the email address published on my blog to register here!

    My Blog is

    The biggest scammers are Ebay!!!!

    25,000 (and counting) emails seem to agree!

  41. Terry Smith

    One final note.

    This was not an inented "viral marketing" or any other kind of advertising.

    I wish I was that clever, but the reality is that I was bored one night and thought Id have a dig at ebay!

    It simply struck a chord with thousands of people accross the world - Sellers that get ripped off day in day out by Ebay

    The laptop did sell yes, but got only one bid and i lost £50 on it - so great scam there!!!!

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Use you head!

    It is posable to be scammed anywhere, either on the net or face to face.

    Rule 1 is simple If it seems to good to be true, it probably is.

    Rule 2 is if the seller promises like for like feedback they are clearly expecting a problem, so leave it.

    Rule 3 if the spelling and grammar is bad, then it is likely that some urchin is trying it on. *Example* On a listing I read for an 03 reg Audi A4, amongst the appalling howlers the seller had written

    " don't bover trying too scam me becos I am an Solisitor and I no all the scams'.

    He was, however he was bright enough not to put in the ad "steering lock broken' or "Drivers door handle/lock damaged'.

    Basically read the ad well, read the feedback they have received and given and get a feel for the type of person you likely to be dealing with. If in any doubt leave it.

    Always a good idea to ask the seller a question that way you gauge by their response and if the item is listed through a hijacked account then the true account holder should reply with "what the f**k????'.

    Finally see what else they have been selling and buying, if the item you are looking at is "out of character for them?

    I agree ole' ebay is a minefield at times but nine times out of ten those scammed usually have walked in to it.

    I am anonymous for this post because I don't want to end up like Clarkson!

  43. Anonymous Coward

    Already gone!

    I found out a year ago no one can be trusted. I' been ripped of a couple of times as a buyer. Fake iPod advertised with Apples photo's and info. and CD copies with handwriting stacked each other in same case marked as unopened original software.

    I've also been (attempted) ripped off as a seller. Some twat in some pathetic country tried to scam me of my playstation 2, games and extras. I didn't fall for it but they scared off all the genuine bidders by overbidding. After rejecting the fraudulent bidder I couldn't convince the other bidders to take up the offer at a discount.

    Account closed and much bette for it. Never go back. Just wish I could tell my good account to ignore all ebay references.

  44. Jim Adams
    Thumb Down

    Ebay Protest

    Guess as always ebay didnt take long to remove the auction

    As i always thought you look even more of a fool when you stop people from stating their minds about others and let others speak their mind about you in an attempt to seem fair

    With stacks of people turning to protest like the Anon Coward

    I doubt that claims of traders liking the change to prevent them from saying their side of a disagreement is actually true but then again who knows their are many many people out their that are just that silly thats why scammers exist in the first place!

    I took my fight here so i can plead with google to just start up even the lowest budget auction site so i can be their first member

    i miss all the big name auction sites of yester year

    Shame i would really love a QXL now but that site too is gone.

    The register, why not try to shine some light on some of these alternative sites (the good ones i mean)

    a Uk seller Seeking a new Auction site for selling goods

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