Edited by stephenoverbury on December 5, 2017, 7:34 pm
Same thing happened when I recently purchased a doctored sterling silver rather expensive large inkwell.
What drew me in was this huge logo of an animal shelter which had a link to this huge slick animal sanctuary page. I thought I was buying from their fundraising sale. The type was really small and had I used a magnifying glass I would have read this was part of paypal's charity thing. IF you donate some of the proceeds of the sale to a charity, you pay less to paypal. The seller would eventually write to me and admit he used this to get his costs down because he hated paypal. HE would also unknowingly tell me a lot more about himself and his activities, not realizing he had pissed me off shelling out a ridiculous sum for a forgery.
The seller was a real pro, as slippery as they come, totally aware of every single loop hole in the book, and as cheeky as they come (believe it or not, more so than me). HE told me flat out in email through ebay that yes, he had doctored the thing. Tough luck. Give it your best shot, he told me rather brashly. Now, based on experience I knew I could not leave a negative heads up ebay feedback comment as France and England (the leading centres for forgeries) have these slander laws and ebay allows the sellers in those particular countries to expunge those negative feedbacks. So I began by leaving a NEUTRAL CATEGORY feedback, choosing my words with care and praising his ability to remake this thing using all sorts of modern parts, on how good a con job he quite deceptively got away with. That stuck this time.It was a big red flag for future buyers for sure. I had done some good by then. (POSTSCRIPT: Somehow this brilliant con got the neutral comment erased but managed to leave me a negative feedback.Apparently ebay removed all of my feedback when the seller appealed the ebay final ruling, which he did, just to get my heads up warning feedback removed.His new rouse for appealing was this: he never got his inkwell back. He just didn't tell them an investigation found he had been caught forging an item. The system just does things automatically and he knew this. So clever. Incredible but true.However, by calling the escalations department (which used to be the resolutions department, that negative feedback was removed for me... The deals of ebay countries are amazing.)
I opened an investigation with ebay right from the start, when I got the item in the mail, determined to expose this rouse.He knew the drill from experience: Send it back for a full refund plus shipping. But here is the catch for the con artist. He has an endless number of" tools" up his sleeve: item sent back was not item sent, it was damaged, a hole in parcel and no item. Any way you cut it paypal and ebay will return his money and he gets the item back and you are just plain out of luck. Now, knowing he was a con I kept pestering the resolutions department (known by different names and understood by some staffers when you call, but not all....it's fun and games reaching these overseas staff let me tell you). You have to go through the textbook "process" of different levels, I was told by the ebay staff. I needed to have the case closed so another rep would refund my money and order the item destroyed rather than returned. Ebay wanted to close the case only by me returning the item for a refund but they also told me they would not guarantee I got a refund from the guy. He could as I note dispute receiving the item. You see, I didn't want the guy to get away with this bad behaviour and shaft someone else wtih this fake...I wanted to stop him. The time it took to sort out this mess was considerable and I was determined to bring justice to the con artist. The final step was what took the most time. I had to prove it was a fake and several reps just would not accept the obvious that the guy even wrote to me admitting his role in this deception.My plea was rejected by one supervisor after a three hour session. I slept on it and called another supervisor the next day. In the end, ebay voted in my favour, refunded my money, told me to destroy the doctored thing. I will now use the inkwell as a teaching tool to show others just how they can get conned and how to avoid this kind of land mine. But I will now be most apprehensive about doing business with the world's largest retailer. Thought I would share...The main lesson with all of this exposition is this: don't shop there!