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$7000 ebay fraud
October 7, 2005 7:45 AM   Subscribe

I bought a $7000 item on ebay, paid through paypal, received a giant box of sand... I know all of this guys contact info but local police, fbi, fedex, ebay and paypal don't seem to be willing to help. How can I get my money back (or should i just firebomb his house)?

k, so here are the details...

i bought a dual 2.7 g5, maxed out everything, 30" cinema display, klipsch ifi and 60gb ipod... seller emailed me and told me he had shipped me a 3'x3'x2' 65 pound box. i asked if items had their original boxes and he said everything was packed in their OEM boxes and then put into the giant box.

when fedex came, my neighbor (who is a detective w/ the philly PD) offered to help the fedex guy w/ the giant box. put it in my living room, noted a giant 2'x8" L-shaped gash in the side of the box. i then opened it in front of him and inside there were boxes filled with sand. so i called the cops, filed a report, etc.

while I waited for the cops, i called the seller and asked him what was up. he said he was really sorry, and said he thinks the contents of the box were swapped by a fedex employee while in transit. so i called fedex and put a claim in there. cops came and i filed the report.


so i start doing some detective work... i find out that there is NO physical way that the actual boxes of all the original items wouuld fit in the 3x3x2 box, and that the total weight would be more along the lines of 135 pounds. so basically i proved that this scumbag was scamming me from the beginning.

fast forward 2 months and NOTHING has happened. philly cops said they won't do shit, fbi hasn't responded to my claim at all, fedex said theres no way the stuff was swapped. ebay forwards all my claims to paypal. paypal said that they have contacted the seller and he has agreed to refund my money as long as i ship back the items. i don't want to do that because a) ill have no evidence and b) have a feeling he'll just refuse the refund and tell paypal i shiipped him back a box of sand.

so basically i now have a ton of people 'looking into the situation' but nothing seems to be happening. what are my options? i have ALL of this scumbags contact info, i know where his family members live, etc.

the guy was an ebay member for almost 3 years and had 50+ 100% feedback rating, he seemed like a casual trader. what i think happened is that this guy needed some quick money and heard somewhere that ebay scams were an easy way to make quick $$$. i say this because he called me a few times AFTER i told him the boxes were filled w/ sand, so he certainly didn't seem like an experienced scammer.

ive had plenty of offers from friends and family to go out there and 'talk' with the guy. at this point im tempted to take them up on those offers. WHAT SHOULD I DO???


help me :(
posted by hummercash to Law & Government (51 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
File a civil suit.
posted by 517 at 7:48 AM on October 7, 2005


im in philly, he's in akron, OH.... where do i file?
posted by hummercash at 7:49 AM on October 7, 2005


I would also think about small claims court. However, another thing to consider is that if he needed some money fast for some reason, he probably spent it fast. It may be that even if you win, you won't see your money because he just won't have it to pay.
posted by duck at 7:51 AM on October 7, 2005


Small claims court in Philly has a limit of $8,000. Sue him there.
posted by cmonkey at 7:53 AM on October 7, 2005


Ebay=Fraud.

A similar situation arose with a friend of mine where she paid for a digital camera thru paypal with a supposed "power seller" who promptly took the money and ran.

At this point, I think a physical violent altercation is indeed in order.
posted by Makebusy7 at 7:55 AM on October 7, 2005 [1 favorite]


So the paypal "protection" is no protection at all, since you got your boxes delivered?

Put the screws to Paypal, THEY have the money to refund yours. They should have removed it from this guys account the moment you complained. You DID complain immediatly, didn't you?

Oh, this would also make a good 'human interest' story for the news, print or TV. Perhaps in Akron, Ohio.
posted by Goofyy at 8:00 AM on October 7, 2005


To reiterate what duck said, even if you win a civil judgment against him, you'll have about the same amount of luck collecting as you are now.
posted by fourstar at 8:01 AM on October 7, 2005


I would avoid any sort of confrontation with this guy as it will probably result in your arrest, not his. This is real life, not TV. I doubt you'll actually get anything out of him in a civil suit unless you can actually prove he sent you a box of sand as opposed to a FedEx employee. It's really just your word against his, and you made no requirement of proof.

My advice would be, that in your future dealings on eBay, be more cautious when looking at a deal that's too good to be true.
posted by doctor_negative at 8:04 AM on October 7, 2005


As well as the physical violence route, you could also invent some sort of story that you have sold the debt to an acquaintances collection agency

Make correspondence cutting yet business like and avoid direct threats that could implicate you

ie. Their practices are within the law, inventive with high success rate

Offer a deadline. "The first where they will look is..."

Say you're looking forward to being updated on progress.

Etc etc.

If you keep correspondance, cutting, to the point and business like, it can be really quite haunting.
posted by jwhittlestone at 8:07 AM on October 7, 2005


Wouldn't this be under the Secret Service jurisdiction? They handle wire fraud, such as Nigerian scams, and this seems to fit with that.
posted by Pollomacho at 8:11 AM on October 7, 2005


Might also try contacting the Office of the Attorney General for some more advice. When it comes to fraud, they've heard it all. There are online complaint forms here, but actually talking to them might be more helpful -- the number is 1-800-441-2555.
posted by JanetLand at 8:13 AM on October 7, 2005


Wow, that sucks. Sorry to hear about your experience =/

I'll just add a little bit of experience I have from running a fairly large web forum. We have a lot of people buying and selling items, and for the most part things have gone well. On one occasion, however, someone sold another member an item valued at about 1500 bucks for a little over 700, not unreasonable. When the buyer got the package, it was a box of cement. The kid who pulled the scam wasn't too bright, and we had all of his contact information, but as the administrators we pretty much stayed out of it.

A month or two later, the guy who owned the domain name got a call from the FBI. Apparently the kid had ripped off a couple of people, and they were going after him for fraud.

I would think that they'd take a scam for 7000 pretty seriously, and I wouldn't lose hope just yet.

Also, FWIW, if it was indeed FedEx that switched the packages mid-transit (sounds unlikely in this case), it wouldn't be the first time I'd heard it. The same friend that owns this website had shipped about 10K worth of motorcycle parts to a buyer in Canada, and they just _disappeared_ somewhere within FedEx. He had it "insured" through FedEx for the full amount, but they've yet to pay him. It's "under investigation", still.

So, FedEx sucks, PayPal isn't going to care, and neither will eBay. Best of lucking nailing the scumbag. Keep records of all your correspondence. It sounds like you have a pretty good case were you to take this to small claims court.
posted by kableh at 8:14 AM on October 7, 2005


What you need to do is take these lemons and make lemonade. Find a way to sell those bags of sand for way more than $7000, then send the guy pictures of you with all your new money.. and on the picture, you've written, Hey, thanks for these awesome sand bags, sucker. Except with like 4 exclamation marks.
posted by Hildago at 8:16 AM on October 7, 2005


How did you pay paypal?

If you paid by credit card, or even some check cards, call your credit card company and do a chargeback. Your CC company will usualy be happy to return your money and simply take it directly from paypal.

The orgional seller will get to keep the $7k, but so will you. And paypal will close your account, but why would you want to keep doing bussness with them anyway?

You really need to hurry, though because you only have 90 days to do a chargeback.
posted by delmoi at 8:16 AM on October 7, 2005


I thought that if you had a civil judgement against someone, you could garnish their paychecks. That's the route I would go. Sue him in Philly. He probably won't show, so you'll win.
posted by u2604ab at 8:16 AM on October 7, 2005


You should start making problems for him where he lives. Call the Akron PD. Call the Ohio Attorney General's consumer fraud division.

Also, did you use a credit card? Can you dispute the charge through them? Does the credit card have any kind of insurance/protection for on-line purchases?

If nothing else, I would hire a collections law firm to sue him. You'll have to give them a hefty cut of the $7,000, but you might get something like $5,000 back. They will file a lawsuit in PA, will get a default judgment (the guy won't show up to defend himself), and will then garnish his bank accounts or otherwise seize property. This takes a long time -- 6-8 months at least -- but there are firms that specialize in this.
posted by Mid at 8:20 AM on October 7, 2005


Also, I recommend you do not go beat this guy up
posted by delmoi at 8:21 AM on October 7, 2005


Send a certified letter to E-Bay's president detailling the situation and stating that you expect E-Bay to rectify this situation. State very clearly that if this situation is not fixed immediately you will have no choice other than to make a full time job of criticizing E-Bay on every forum, blog or venue that you can find. E-Bay cannot afford these incidents being publicized and will find a way to make things right.
posted by Xurando at 8:21 AM on October 7, 2005


Again, Beezlbubba to the thread (he got ripped off on a laptop similarly). Hopefully you paid with a check or credit card. If you did, Delmoi's right. If not, it is time to get a lawyer.
posted by klangklangston at 8:22 AM on October 7, 2005


paid with funds that were in my paypal account... NOT through credit card or check ;/
posted by hummercash at 8:34 AM on October 7, 2005


You've already gotten some good legal advice. If my advice were to talk to your friends, I'd never post that here. But generally speaking, sometimes the law is impotent. It's not that it doesn't provide recourse. The thing is, these people, you've got to speak to them in a language they understand.

In your case, however, my advice isn't to call your friends. You've already complained to his local police, probably your local police, the FBI, FedEx, eBay, and PayPal. You can't touch him now. For future reference: Legal and extra-legal approaches are mutually exclusive. You've made your choice.

This last part won't help you, but let it be said for lurkers: Do not buy expensive items on eBay. Your first mistake was using eBay for anything more complicated than a book or a CD. Your second mistake was using PayPal and FedEx. If you're ever tempted to break the first rule of eBay, pay with a USPS Money Order and ship via USPS. The Postal Inspectors are your friends. You broke both rules; and although it doesn't help you to point that out, it may help someone else.
posted by cribcage at 8:35 AM on October 7, 2005


WTF? Ask.Metafilter is not the place to encourage assault. Grow the fuck up, people. Matt could catch serious shit if something happened as a result of your idiotic "advice".

Ebay=Fraud

This is horseshit. eBay didn't commit fraud here or do anything else wrong. This is like saying if I go to the amusement park and get pickpocketed they're responsible.

USE YOUR HEAD if you're buying a $7k item from a complete stranger in another state.

the guy was an ebay member for almost 3 years and had 50+ 100% feedback rating, he seemed like a casual trader.

Is his eBay account still active? If not, I'd suspect the account was hacked and used for a few auctions until he was caught.

Here's a long winded bunch of nonsense with helpful and not so helpful advice:

1. when buying expensive items on ebay, go thru the person's history and email buyers of similarly priced or described items and tell them that you are considering purchasing from this dude and have been screwed before by a hacker. Ask if they still have the seller's email address or paypal address on file as you'd like to compare it with the data the current holder of that account has sent you. In addition, if the feedback positive, ask them if it genuinely reflects the experience they had with the transaction.

I've done this many times and do it EVERY time I'm going to buy electronics. I've often found out the accounts have been hacked. I've also found people who were in a similar situation to you and the seller said, "I'm not giving you your money back because you'll leave negative feedback. Leave me positive feedback and I'll refund your money." So, stupidly, they do, and the guy doesn't return the money and now has positive feedback.

You say he has 50+ feedbacks--sorry, but that's not very much. At least not to be trusting for a $7000 purchase. Are the feedbacks for similar items to what you bid on? If not, if, for instance, he's got 50 feedbacks for comic books and all of a sudden has computers and plasma tvs on auction, it's a scam or the account has been hacked.

Now, I know you're thinking that the advice I've given you so far isn't helpful. Here's the thing. IF this person is a legit seller (account has not been hacked) and his account is still active and he is selling items. WATCH EVERY AUCTION HE HAS happening. Email every single person who is bidding on his auctions and tell them what happened to you and that you strongly advise him to cancel their bids. Send them pictures of the sand and a link to your auction. (If I were you I would get a screen grab of your auction as it will be dead in 30 days if 2 months have already passed.)

Those people will then start cancelling their bids, if they're smart. Eventually, he's gonna wonder what the fuck is goiing on because he won't have sold anything for its true value in quite a while. He'll ask someone who cancels and they'll tell him about your email. Hopefully then it will be him that is coming to you to sort this stuff out (though with only 50 feedbacks, it might be "cheaper" for him to start a new account).

In addition, go to the advanced search of eBay and do a search for him by username. Then, do a search for him by username "and show completed items only". This will show you all the auctions that he has completed in the last little while. Email any of these people that have not yet left him feedback. You're doing this for 2 reasons:

1. To alert them of the scam and potentially save them from having the same thing happen to them.

2. Fucking up this guy's revenue stream because these people will then be VERY wary of sending him cash.

This last bit is more harmful than getting people to cancel their bids for current auctions. Why? Becuase the dude has to pay fees on any auction that's ended and if they're for $7000 items, them's a lot of fees. However, he can avoid these fees by reporting the buyer as a NPB (non paying bidder). But if he reports 3 or 4 people of this in a row, eBay will chime in and wonder what the fuck's going on.

Note: Any of the above has the possibility of having your own account canceled by eBay.
posted by dobbs at 8:42 AM on October 7, 2005


Unfortunately, because you didn't go through the USPS, you can't file a mail fraud complaint. But you might try here.

And while the following is not helpful to you, it may be helpful to others: when buying expensive items on EBay, do it through an escrow service. EBay recommends at least one escrow service; you send them the money, he sends them the item, they verify that they have received both and that all is well, and then send the item and the money on to the other party. The fee is reasonable. If you had done this deal via escrow, the escrow service would have found the bags of sand and simply returned your payment to you.

Even if FedEx stole the items, it is still the responsibility of the seller to return your money. You didn't pay $7K for something to be shipped; you paid $7K for something to be delivered. If he didn't insure it, that's his fault, not yours. Sue his ass. Make his life a living hell.
posted by solid-one-love at 8:49 AM on October 7, 2005


Please refrain from threatening violence against other human beings in AskMe questions not specificially concerning consensual BSDM &c. Fucking savages.
posted by cortex at 9:05 AM on October 7, 2005


Garnishing his wages will be the best way to get your money back. I don't think he has $7000 just sitting in his bank account to even pay you. People don't steal $7000 then prudently invest it, they steal to pay off debts or buy luxury items.

I like everyone getting all high and mighty about violence. This is exactly how organized crime starts. The police don't protect a certain group (Italians, Chinese, eBayers) and the group begins to bring justice from within.
posted by geoff. at 9:06 AM on October 7, 2005


For the record, I wasn't threatening violence against others, I was simply encouraging another person to engage in it. There's a big difference.

But yeah, I guess you could try filing a civil suit too. That might work.
posted by rocketman at 9:13 AM on October 7, 2005


Someone I know got burned on an eBay purchase and months later after many complaints and dead ends eBay gave him something like 75% of the item price. I'm not sure how many hoops he had to jump through for that, but I was shocked he got anything at all.
posted by frenetic at 9:19 AM on October 7, 2005


Just a tip, if you are seriously thinking about assaulting this guy it's probably a bad idea to have your intentions permanently documented on Metafilter. Even the threat of assault could possibly get you into trouble.
posted by bondcliff at 9:20 AM on October 7, 2005


Look, it's never Fedex. Fedex employees might make a box disappear, but they would have absolutely no reason to create a new box filled with sand. The sand is super-duper proof positive that you were intentionally scammed.

Document everything. Get a signed statement from your neighbor about the delivery. Continue to pursue Fedex and Ebay and Paypal - one of them will reimburse you, they're used to this sort of fraud.

The case is prosecutable by the local police in either of your jurisdictions, or by the FBI (wire fraud). File reports with them, and send copies of the police reports and neighbor's statement to Ebay, Paypal, and Fedex.

Don't talk about violence on a public website.
posted by jellicle at 9:22 AM on October 7, 2005


I would suspect that this guy's account was phished. When you call him, is it a cell number? If it isn't and you have an address, for $7000, I'd be tempted to hop a flight to wherever he lives, visit the local police department with your story (and as much proof as you can carry) and ask them to accompany you to the person's house.

As others have suggested, do a chargeback if you paid by credit card. If you didn't pay by credit card and my suspicions about account phishing are correct, you'll probably never see your money again, as it is probably floating around somewhere in eastern Europe or Asia.
posted by MegoSteve at 9:29 AM on October 7, 2005


Escrow, escrow, escrow.

If you're buying something this big / expensive then you need some actual assurance that you'll get it.

As it is, I'd start harrassing the guy. Find out where he lives, who he works for, etc. and start making phone calls. Let him know that you mean business and that you'll track him down.

Let his boss know that he's a scumbag. Call his neighbors and do the same.

I bought a lens on eBay once that turned out to be a piece of crap. The seller moved and wouldn't respond to my emails, but with a little bit of legwork I got her new address and got my money back.
posted by bshort at 9:30 AM on October 7, 2005


Escrow, escrow, escrow.

Precisely.
posted by BorgLove at 9:44 AM on October 7, 2005


A couple years ago a fellow who got screwed over buying computer equipment on eBay hunted down the seller and had him arrested. The story is here. Maybe there are some ideas you can use?

My experience with PayPal last summer sucked. Long story short, although my purchase was covered by their Buyer Protection insurance and I filed a claim within the timeframe required, they said that the form was "incorrectly routed" and thus they were only able to refund 2% of the sales price. Ultimately, I got the seller to issue a refund but I am not a helluva lot wiser about buying on eBay now.

I always check a seller's history to find out what kinds of things they've sold in the past. And I always pay through credit card with PayPal so that my purchase should be protected by my credit card agency.
posted by Sully6 at 10:04 AM on October 7, 2005


I saw a story very similar to this on a news show, I believe it was 60 Minutes. Three guys in Ohio payed for a video camera from a guy in Las Vegas, who sent them nothing. They complained to eBay and the police and received no help. So they drove to Vegas, filed a small-claims suit and had the guy brought into court. The judge decided the seller was lying and ordered him to refund the money plus all their expenses. You can probably find similar documented cases online.
posted by soiled cowboy at 11:08 AM on October 7, 2005


A few things:
-Don't bother assaulting him, threatening him or badmouthing him to his friends / family / boss / coworkers. Nothing good will come of it. Even if this method convinced him to pay you back, he'd likely raise the funds by scamming another person.

-If all else fails, talk to a collection lawyer. They'll want a hefty cut of the money, but if you can't get a chargeback or a refund, it will get you partially compensated. Also, these guys might end up calling his boss / friends / family as part of their collection process, thus doing the badmouthing that you'd love to do... but doing it in a legal manner.

-Try to detach yourself from the money, and relax. $7,000 will buy a lot of tacos, but the real crime would be if this scammer robs you of your happiness for months on end.

I'm very sorry that you were scammed, and I hope you find a peacable resolution.
posted by I Love Tacos at 11:11 AM on October 7, 2005


Let his boss know that he's a scumbag. Call his neighbors and do the same.

Careful. Not only are you in slander territory but an adventurous soul could try to go after you as attempting unfair collections activities. Besides, if you called my neighbors they'd say "who?" and my boss would get a good laugh out of it... till you got on their nerves at which point they'd go after you themselves for making crank phone calls.

Although the folks saying a judgement is still something you have to collect on are correct, it has the advantage of a long lifespan. There's also usually several ways to attach people's property. Cash in hand would be better but I wouldn't give up if small claims is the only option.
posted by phearlez at 11:12 AM on October 7, 2005


There's also usually several ways to attach people's property.

If the guy owns any property, and you manage to get a lien put on it, you own his life.
posted by aramaic at 11:25 AM on October 7, 2005


The damage is already done. Next time, you will know to use escrow, pay with a CC, or avoid ebay. But that doesn't help you now.

My advice: Do precisely what Paypal's dispute resolution people tell you to do. You are solely at their mercy to get your money back (barring taking the person to court.) Make sure you take copious pictures of the boxes of sand, and then send them back if that's what paypal says. Make sure you do it with registered mail so that you have a paper trail.

If the scumbag says he never received the merchandise, you can prove that he did. Then just lean on Paypal and if you're lucky you will get the money back. You really have to follow whatever moronic steps they prescribe, however dumb they sound.

The law enforcement route will be much more satisfying if successful, and I'm not saying you shouldn't try that route. But it will take MUCH longer and have a lot smaller chance of panning out. So if the money is your main concern work within the confines of paypal.
posted by Rhomboid at 11:30 AM on October 7, 2005


Send a certified letter to E-Bay's president detailling the situation and stating that you expect E-Bay to rectify this situation. State very clearly that if this situation is not fixed immediately you will have no choice other than to make a full time job of criticizing E-Bay on every forum, blog or venue that you can find. E-Bay cannot afford these incidents being publicized and will find a way to make things right

That's just silly. This sort of thing happens on ebay all the time, and people are well aware of it's possibility.

paid with funds that were in my paypal account... NOT through credit card or check ;/

Good god man! In the future, you should never keep more then $0.00 in your paypal account when you're not using it.

Always pay paypal with a credit card, so you can do a chargeback if needed, IMO.
posted by delmoi at 11:34 AM on October 7, 2005


Also you might try contacting your Congressman's constituent services person.
posted by lrivers at 12:02 PM on October 7, 2005


I might have used to work for eBay. Notify the police, use the eBay fraud protection plan, contact PayPal, your payment etc. Never spend any money you can't afford to lose. to say the least, and avoid the watchful eyes of a huge multi corp, which frightens me to even type this much; i would say be very very careful with online transactions.
posted by cascando at 12:09 PM on October 7, 2005


"$7,000 will buy a lot of tacos" posted by I Love Tacos

If that doesn't cheer you up, not much will.

As Rhomboid says Paypal is your target/focus. I've dealt with them a few times regarding Ebay purchases. It often takes more patience than you have, but I've been rewarded for not making an ass of myself and for documenting things in minute detail.
posted by shoepal at 12:41 PM on October 7, 2005


Escrow, escrow, escrow.

Great. Now the conversation just shifts to escrow fraud and escrow scammers.
posted by spock at 3:08 PM on October 7, 2005


I suspect what you were hoping in this thread was: Hey, I have a cousin/friend at FBI/Paypall Fraud, let me make a call. Since that hasn't happened....

There have been some good advice in this thread about nothing you asked about (escrow, how to determine who is a safe persont to buy from...)

Pursue bank (you paypal connected to your bank. you still may have protection)
Contact call paypal every day. Make sure you document everything.
Call ebay every day. Make sure you document everything

With that being said.

1) You need to know the Officer who is in charge of your case here in philadelphia. S/he will have documented the fraud. With this case number:

then Call the Akron Police.
Number's and email addresses here:
http://publicsafety.ci.akron.oh.us/police/departments/phone.html


There's a fraud number (and possibly others there). Explain to them what happened, with the name, address, amounts, etc....and then connect them to the philadelphia detective who is handling your case

If at any point they say, we shouldn't handle this...ask who should, and their phone number

2) Call the Akron Better business bureau. Even though this person doesn't belong, they may very well have dealt with similar problems.

3) Contact the people who wrote these press reports (found by searching google for fbi ebay fraud)
http://news.com.com/2100-1017-250310.html?legacy=cnet
http://www.auctionbytes.com/cab/abn/y01/m05/i23/s04

Sooner or later you'll get the name of a person in the FBI or Paypal. A human being in either location (or secret service) may help.

4) Last, please, contact the Secret service as well this is fraud.
posted by filmgeek at 3:55 PM on October 7, 2005


If all else fails, I live a half hour from Akron.
posted by sciurus at 5:07 PM on October 7, 2005


the guy was an ebay member for almost 3 years and had 50+ 100% feedback rating, he seemed like a casual trader. what i think happened is that this guy needed some quick money and heard somewhere that ebay scams were an easy way to make quick $$$. i say this because he called me a few times AFTER i told him the boxes were filled w/ sand, so he certainly didn't seem like an experienced scammer.

That's bizarre. Shades of p-p-p-powerbook. My first thought was that it was a case of a good eBay user being hijacked. Then again that could just be part of the scam.

You will want to have a copy of the original auction. People used to say "Playstation 2 NEW BOX" and sell you the box -- with a dubious legal defense that that was what you understood you were buying.
posted by dhartung at 6:46 PM on October 7, 2005


Document every possible assertion that you have made or could be called upon to make in court, especially the dimensions and weight of the shipment, and documentation from the OEMs on the dimensions and weight of the merchandise. That right there will kill the "some FedEx employee was responsible" defense. I'm sure FedEx would be more than happy to send you a letter on official letterhead confirming the routing history, tracking number, size and weight of the shipment. Definitely document the auction and its exact wording, in a screen capture if necessary - maybe eBay would be willing to send you some "official printout" so the court can be assured that you didn't do any creative editing.

Also, be sure that the person you spoke to on the phone is the same person at the address where you believe the auctioner to live. If the eBay account was hijacked, then they won't be the same. If they are the same, the account probably wasn't hijacked (and the good feedback was part of the scam).

Assuming you do all this, take the auctioner to small-claims court, and get a favorable judgment, and he still is unwilling or incapable of paying, you always have the option of selling the debt (at a discount, obviously) to a collection agency and get back at least some of your money. It's not ideal, but it's better than nothing. Alerting the local media and law enforcement in Akron as soon as you file suit is also a nice, legal way of putting the screws to the guy. If he caves and pays you the full amount, be sure to notify the local media of that as well. It's only common courtesy.

On preview: Mid already gave a nice all-in-one solution with the collections law firm, I see.
posted by skoosh at 7:42 PM on October 7, 2005


While it might sound like a remarkably silly idea, have you thought about any of the judge tv shows? As in Judge Mathis, People's Court, Judge Judy? There's five thousand dollar limit, so it's not all of your money, but I could see you winning this and I think the winnings come from the show not the other person, so you'll get paid at least.
posted by nadawi at 7:52 PM on October 7, 2005


Reconsidering my comment above, you'll want to consider whether to sue him in PA or Ohio. An Ohio collections firm might be the best way to go. It's easier to garnish stuff with an in-state judgment.
posted by Mid at 8:21 AM on October 8, 2005


If you paid PayPal using a credit card, be careful about just asking your credit card company for a chargeback on PayPal--i was in a similar situation a month and a half ago, using my debit card to pay through BidPay for an item that never arrived. I got the chargeback (and thought everything was great so I didn't pursue him through eBay's scant buyer protection offerings) but then a couple weeks later BidPay threatened sending a collection agency after me to get their money back, saying they were only a conduit and the fraud issue was between me, the seller and the auction site. It was less than a hundred dollars so in the end I grudgingly sucked it up and took it as a lesson learned.

While PayPal might be more receptive to chargebacks on them because of their relationship to eBay and the fact that they're a "more legitimate" business than BidPay, I tend to doubt it.
posted by reflexed at 10:46 AM on October 8, 2005


Follow up from my contact @ paypal.

"The case was NOT a chargeback but a complaint. Since "hummercash" is pursuing this through the legal system, paypal has closed the case. There is no activity on this one at Paypal."

Best of luck, hummercash.
posted by shoepal at 1:17 PM on October 20, 2005


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