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Boo hoo. I got scwewed!


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OK, so I know I've been vocal about people making offers on Ebay items, so maybe I deserve this, but my intentions were honorable. So here's my story...


One day, I happened upon this auction:


Noticing some of the rare games in the list, I emailed the seller and asked them not to accept any offers and allow the auction to proceed until the end. He responded that he would accept a good offer, so I felt forced to make one. He ended the auction and I sent him what I considered to be a fair deal (it wasn't peanuts). So today he writes:


before i had sent out your package i double checked all of the games and as it turns out there were 3 games missing Quadrun, Crazy Climber, and SwordQuest Waterworld. I know i am missing a bunch of games because i know i had more than i had listed for you. So instead of 147 games there are 144.


What are the odds of those 3 out of 147? Of course, he's refusing any kind of refund. I can only guess that he has sold those 3 to someone else. My request: If you are the "someone else", please contact me and let me know. I won't berate you for "stealing my games" - I just want to verify if my theory is right before I continue what may be an interesting battle. Many thanks!

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If the auction isn't what he advertised, I see no reason why you should feel any obligation to pay. Especially since those were probably the main reasons for bidding. Ask him if he'll take off - oh say 80%. He could probably be suspended for pulling that crap. I'd be pissed as hell if it were me. :x

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While you thought that you were getting the best of him, it sounds like he took you to the cleaners instead. A newbie seller too, and you have no feedback recourse now. He obviously found out just how much those 3 titles were worth and someone else "made him an offer he couldn't refuse" . I'm sure you didn't tell him you were swimming in your own drool over those 3 carts, so he must have figured you didn't really know that much about them anyway and wouldn't care.


My mammy always said if you play with fire, you will get burned. :ponder:

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That would be good advice, but I've already paid. Although there are some other nice things in the lot (assuming I get it), I will still be out a few hundred bucks. By the way, here's his response to my refund request:


i can't refund you the money because you are still getting a tremendous

deal with everything i have sent you. i am sorry that those games are

not in there but you are still getting a great deal.

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I'd simply tell him that those three games were the sole reason you wanted the lot (add that you already have every single other game in the lot). Maybe he'll be decent about it. Probably not though or he wouldn't have pulled that crap.

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How did you pay for the item? He could be in an actionable position if you used a Credit Card, or a Personal Check, as (I'm not sure) this most likely constitutes some sort of fraud, or something of that nature.


Also, having his emails, stating that you will not be receiving exactly what you paid for is very much in your favor.



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I paid by money order, so there's no help there. By the way, I knew I was taking a risk with this guy, so I'm not crying. I just need to know if this is outright fraud or if he really made a mistake, because I plan to pursue this on principle. That's why I'm asking if the other buyer can contact me if he exists.


I'd be happy to hear any thoughts on my options....

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I would consider twice before making a personal offer to someone on eBay. I did the same thing for a "new" Dreamcast system and ended up with a used system. This was someone with over 3000 positive feedbacks. If you paid by money order I would atleast try and threaten him with mail fraud. He accepted the payment through the U.S. mail system and I think the threat might be enought to scare him into returning your money. Good luck.

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I hope you do pursue this, and don't just let

him get away with it.


It doesn't matter how tremendous he thinks

the deal was. The fact is that you purchased

147 specific games from him, and you only

recieved 144 of them. He admitted it himself.

Make him realize those three missing games

are an integral part of the lot you purchased.

And it really does matter he did not include

them. If it was really a mistake he would offer

you a refund, when you explain this. Try to

make him understand. If he still refuses, he

most likely he is intentionally defrauding you.


You may never know if he actually owned the

extra three games or not. Like MrRetroGamer

suggested, someone could have written to

him, and bought them off him. Or maybe he

discovered their worth, and will hold onto

them for a few more days, weeks, years, who

knows how long, before he decides to sell

them. Tough to every really know the truth.


Hope you find some answers, and can get a

refund from him.

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The mail fraud thing works great. I bought my computer from a person on Ebay who was putting them together himself. It was 1.1ghz and had the motherboard, hard drive, cdrom drive, ram, but didn't include monitor, printer, burner, etc. so it was like $400. This was over a year ago. I paid him with a money order through the US postal service. 2 months later I still had not gotten it. I emailed him and didn't get any replies. He had put his home phone number in the listing as one way to reach him. I got out my phone card and called him and said it was mail fraud and all this other stuff. A week later I got my computer with a "sorry note" in the box.

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well, you didn't practice some of the tenets of safe transactions:


1. seller only has a feedback of 4, and only purchases

2. NO PHOTO. seller probably doesn't even have quadrun.

3. you conducted an off-ebay transaction so there is no recourse thru ebay

4. if you had used ebay payments or paypal you could have charged back the payment


this was probably a setup from the beginning.


this is from the ebay listing:

"Note: This is a Reserve Auction in which the reserve price was not met. Therefore, there is no transaction between the seller and the high bidder. Since there is no transaction, this item is not eligible for eBay services that protect buyers and sellers, such as transactional feedback, escrow or insurance. Those services are available only for items listed, bought and sold on eBay in compliance with our guidelines and policies. "

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I'm sorry, are you the winning bidder or not?


If you the winning bidder, then you have the full force of eBay's "Safe Harbour" (or whatever). You're possibly even insured. Send eBay the full details and you should at least get revenge, if not get your money back.


If not, then you're screwed -- you went against eBay policy and if you report the details they'll probably kick both of you off their system. They have rules for a reason. Your *only* option is court. Does the US have a "small claims" court?

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I actually think you have many options. First I would email him telling him that what he did could be considered mail fraud and that you have all the emails and will take him to court or whatever if he doesn't give you your money. Also tell him if he doesn't think you'd be able to do anything, remind him you have his name and address. Then he will know you could sue him, take him to court, report him to the authorities, etc. if you don't get your money. Just because the transaction wasn't actually on Ebay doesn't mean you have no options. It would be like if you bought something from somebody on AtariAge and they frauded you. If you have their name and address there's probably many different things you could do. So I hope you get your money back! Maybe I didn't say anything that could help you, maybe I did. :|

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Thanks for the advice. I know doing business outside of Ebay is risky. I took that risk into account with my offer, but now that it's soured, it's time for action. If it was fraud from the beginning, then it was a very good one because the listing was quite subtle. I think it's more likely that he accepted an offer from someone. I have enough evidence to show that he knowingly sent me less than I paid for (if you're going to defraud someone, don't write them to let them know), but if I could show that he sold the 3 games to someone else, then it would be more likely considered criminal. It's a big difference to me.

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The only problem with filing mail fraud complaints is that it might take a long time for anything to get done with them. From what I've heard, they will only look into things if there are a sizable number of complaints registered (how many, I don't know) -- so it probably wouldn't hurt to put that into motion. I have heard that the Internet Fraud Complaint Center is a pretty effective tool (http://www1.ifccfbi.gov/index.asp) and any contact from them might just be enough for the buyer to send out a refund. I don't think that is out of hand at all, if you were to file for it -- I strongly encourage it.


This seller sounds awful fishy to me, I don't think it's any coincidence that the three games missing were the rarest of the rare. And when this seller closed out the auction page with your offer -- if he would have clicked on "close auction and sell to the highest bidder" link, you would have some recourse on eBay for the refund -- it sounds like he really knows what he's doing.


Do you think this might be one of those hacked accounts anyway? There's a note on there to contact some other e-mail address than the one listed for eBay.


I will be curious as to how all of this will turn out, do keep in touch with how it goes. Personally, I'm not a fan of sellers ending their auctions early for "private offers" because it seems like the same collectors always snatch up anything worth buying from unsuspecting sellers and then making a disgusting profit reselling the carts on eBay for inflated value.


Out of curiosity's sake, how much did you end up paying for the whole lot?



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I have a simple solution for you.


If you have all the info on what was supposed to be for sale, print out the ebay ad with all that info.

Print out all the emails back and forth with him.


If he mis represented and did not offer a refund, take him to



You can file a claim in your local small claims court

he will either have to show up or hire a lawyer to show up on his behalf.


It will cost him way more to show up or higher a lawyer.


your only cost will be a few dollars in filing fees and your time in court.


If he does not show up or does not have a lawyer, YOU WIN by default.

just make sure you are there.


Make sure you show up in case he does or does hire a lawyer.


Either way carefully explain to the judge what you were expecting and I don't see anyway he can win.


Now the court should make him pay, even if he doesn't you will have a judgement agaist him.


My last bit of advice is get all the info together, ebay ad, emails etc.

Once you have all this printed out, send him one last email, saying that if you don't recieve the games you want and were promissed in his ad or a refund . in 7 business days you will file a claim in your local small claims court.

Say nothing else.


this should make him move and do what is right.


hope this helps,

need any more info just post a message

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If this happened to me I'd be pretty pissed off also. Regardless of whether or not the three games that he suddenly "couldn't find" were rare or not, he changed the terms of the sale after you paid him. Of course, the fact that they are rare games makes the whole situation highly suspicious in that he either never had those games in the first place and his intent was to deceive, netting a higher price for the games, or he sold them to someone else, thinking he could get away with making a handsome profit from two different people. If the seller was honest, he would refund your money immediately.


I would also not let this person get away with it if I could help it. Once you have exhausted dialog with the seller and he refuses to refund your money, I would definitely go the mail fraud route. Small claims court could be an option also, but unless you are both in the same area that wouldn't probably be workable.



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I could be wrong, but I don't think I am and I'll attempt to contact my lawyer friend to find out for sure, but if he files a claim in his local small claims court, it should be doable.


I know that if you get screwed by a company that is out of state and you file a claim in your own court they have to show up or hire a local lawyer, so it should be the same for an individual.


I'm not trying to totally dismiss the mail fraud route but that seems to me to be the longer and harder route.

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I had a small claims court victory against an uninsured motorist a few years back. We set up this little payment schedule where she could pay me back over time. I got one payment from this person and then they dried up. I really didn't pursue it because it seemed like squeezing blood out of a turnip. Interestingly enough, she recently called me asking if she could resume her payments. It seems she's unable to renew her driver's liscense because of this outstanding judgement. ;) Sooo, even though you're not guaranteed the money if you win - eventually this person will find a compelling reason to pay you back (at least that's how it works in SD). If this person is at all rational, he/she will most likely just give you your money back once he/she is served with a summons for small claims court. Hopefully... Good luck!

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I know that if you get screwed by a company that is out of state and you file a claim in your own court they have to show up or hire a local lawyer, so it should be the same for an individual.


I'd be interested to hear what you find. I would have thought that suing across state lines is difficult, but I'm just a dumb engineer. I will be consulting my own lawyer if I don't hear anything positive soon. I think this discussion is valuable for all, and I'd be willing to write a "What to do when..." article if it goes the distance. I plan on fighting this as long as necessary. It's not as much about the money, as that I just don't like being lied to.

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Al, just noticed you've proclaimed yourself "Master Monkey". I'll have you know that this monkey bows to nobody! In fact, I'm marking my territory now, the old fashion way!


Here's the response I got from this guy when I told him that I didn't get a "tremendous deal" as he had written me.

I think your wrong in that area. You are getting all those games plus

all of the systems and accessories are in there original boxes. The

boxes are worn like i had written in my auction but they are pesent. I

also threw in those nintendo accessories that are also in there boxes so

don't tell me yor not getting a good deal. It seems to me that i'm the

one that is screwed by selling for so little.


Me thinks this will be fun

:wink: [/i]

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