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The not so good side of eBay

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20.12.2006 (03.02.2007)

Advantages:
You can find the odd bargain

Disadvantages:
A nice place for criminals

Recommendable Yes:

37 Ciao members have rated this review on average: very helpful See ratings
exceptional by (30%):
  1. jenny967
  2. IanM73
  3. bean372042
and 19 other members
very helpful by (68%):
  1. euphie
  2. dolly03
  3. carcraig
and 47 other members
helpful by (1%):
  1. kingjim

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This is a story how eBay can and is used for crime. It a cautionary tale so stay with me, it may help.

*** A few things to look for when the scammers are about***

If it looks to good to be true - Stay away - If you know someone is selling something for £80 less than the shops there is a possiblity its a scam

Look when they joined eBay - You should never trust a "newbie" with big cash amount Auctions.

Check the feedback...have they been buying items for £1, £2 etc ? - This is a quick way to bump the feedback up.

If you are going to buy something in bulk, buy using your credit card you maybe covered with your insurance (Read your small print).

My personal favourite is to ask if you can come and pick the items up, when the lad was asked by one person this.... he told them he was wheelchair bound and needed help to even move around the house and his helper was on holiday for 2 weeks so it wasnt convienient to come around!!

The person in question went on a £100.000 criminal spree, and i think he was helped in a way as eBay did nothing to stop him.

There was a huge amount of people who was duped by this lad, there is atleast 12 people that i knoew about and the police say atleast 50 people contacted them about it, and around 12 people have come forward after the story hit the press.

All these people had emailed Ebay's so called security deparment and most of the time they got a email saying they had closed his account. Ebay are happy to take your money but when the S**T hits the fan they soon dont want to know.

He pretended to have items for sale, for example 12 brand new phones. You bidded for them sent payment and you got nothing back. I hear you ask if you pay by payal you can get your money back, well not if he set up bogus address details and bank details. He was doing this for 2 years until he was caught, even then he still decided to trade on ebay. All ebay did was close his account, then he would open another within a few hours.

Ebay was at fault....

How can he register when he is 15 years old ?.

Why dont they do a verified address and verified bank details scheme ?.

How come when the C.I.D tried to get contact with them, they couldn't find a number ?

I have been trading on eBay since 1999 and I have a 100 percent positive feedback, with over 500 feedbacks received :)

I started to sell the "Big Heads" football figures and did very well in them, and then I started to get in to selling incense sticks which I bought direct from Nepal or India, not the rubbish you buy in the shops but the medicinal incense (insomnia, stress etc).

You may remember my story as it was in all the National paper and I was also on the Trevor McDonald's Tonight Show.

I thought I was a cautious person when it comes to trust, how wrong I was.

It all started when I was selling my old mobile phone. I was selling my Nokia 8210 as I fancied a change and was looking to upgrade my pay as you go. I listed the item on eBay with no problems, after a day or two; I was contacted by a Mr Philip Shortman asking if I fancied a swap as he had a phone that he didn't like. I looked at the phone on the official site and I thought, hmmm not a bad phone.

I asked for a reason why he didn't like the phone, he said he didn't like the way it was set up and it was hard to use the menus. So we had a chat through the email about swapping the phone, we even chatted on MSN a few times. The phone he was swapping was only a couple of months old. I thought this is a bargain and was happy to do so. We exchanged address and we said we would send the items via recorded delivery. I went to the post office the next day and sent my parcel. When I got back I contacted Philip and gave him the details of the tracking number. He also gave me the details of his parcel.

So I sit and waited the next day, no phone? I emailed Philip about the parcel and he said it may take a day or two to get through. Fair enough I thought, but most recorded delivery items get there the next day?

Philip told me he had got my parcel and was very happy with it, so I waited in the next day and nothing! I decided to ring the post office up and try to track the parcel, they told me there was no parcel with that tracking number in there system. I thought Mr Shortman must have given me the wrong tracking code. I emailed him to find out, I got no reply, I tried to get him on MSN but he was set to away. After another day still nothing in the post. Eventually I got hold of him on MSN, two days later. He said I was far too nice to send the parcel to him, I asked him about my parcel and he said "tough I have ripped you off" I was not happy and there was a lot of verbal abuse thrown both ways. But not forgetting I actually sent my parcel down to him, I had his address!

He said as he lived over 400 miles away what was I going to do about it, Well Philip didn't know I had ways of finding information. I got a friend to look for some information on this Philip Shortman. It turn out he was at the time only 16!. A day later my friend got me a phone contact. I rang the number I was given and I spoke to his mum and explained what had gone on, But she didn't believe me. To be honest you are not going to believe your son is committing fraud when a stranger tells you on the phone.

I started to do some investigating of my own, and with a sudden bright idea I decided to list a auction on eBay saying "Mr Philip Shortman from Pontypool has ripped me off for a phone" etc, it lasted about 2 days before eBay deleted it. But at this time I was contacted by 7 other people who he had also ripped off using the same method as he got me.

After getting all there information, I decided to put a case together to pass on to a solicitor. I got emails from what Philip Shortman had sent to them, Proof of postage of the address where they where sent to. I also passed on all the information I had, like the phone number etc.

Turns out that he had done 3 of these people for over £100 each by selling phones he didn't have, They just tried to get there money back via Paypal but Philip had emptied the money after a few days and just re-registered another account with a different card.

About a week later I got a letter in the post from his dad saying if I didn't leave him alone he was gone to press charges. The funny thing is his dad put a cheque in it for £25, £25 the phone alone was worth £100 with all the extras. I rang his house and his mum answered and I explained that this was not enough to cover my lose, his dad came on the phone and his son had told him a pack of lies, he told him it was me who had ripped his son of, his son would never rip people of, as selling on eBay was his business. I explained to him I have proof of 7 other people he has also ripped of, he said I was lying and put the phone down.

I didn't know what to do next, so I sat on it for a few days, then a friend said get a small claims court summons against him. I disgust this with the other people he committed fraud against and they agreed they would be witnesses for me and against him. I went down to my local court and decided to take a summons out on him. I sent the cheque back via recorded delivery and a letter about the summons, hoping his parents would get it, but Philip intercepted the letter.

A few days later I was contacted on MSN by Phil asking me what was going on and I told him I wanted my money back and I would be seeing him in court. He begged me not to go through with the summons and said he would send me a cheque for £100, I said I wanted a extra £50 for the cost of the summons. He was fine and said he would send it today so I should get it the next day. The cheque came for £150 I placed it in my back and it bounced! By this time I was fuming and I rang Philip's house up his parent said he was not available as he had gone away for a holiday.

I decided I would wait for the court date and sort it out that way. So on the day my friend who was a eviction officer with court experience came with me, Now for some strange reason I had to go all the was down to South Wales, something to do with the crime was committed down there?

A 400 mile plus journey and hours of driving and finally get there. There we where all suited up nice tie etc, in comes Philip with his "friend" both in tracksuits scruffy as anything, no respect for the courts at all. Where are his parents the judge asks? Working Philip says? The judge was not happy with the clothing they had on and was going to adjourn it, but we explained that we had travelled over 400 miles for this and asked for her to not adjourn, she read the information I had put together and she decided to set a date for the future to sort it out. I asked if it can be transferred to my court as don't drive and it cost me a lot of money to get there, she said "no".

We came out and Philip was laughing saying as he was only 16 (which we didn't know at the time) I wouldn't get a penny of him. I just stood behind my friend and tried to ignore him as they talked about coming to an agreement, Philip said I would get nothing and the courts can't make him pay anything. With that Philip said bye see you at the next court date.

I was LIVID, what more could I do? Apart from the obvious :(

We got in the car and drove through Pontypool, and we passed the Police station. I asked my friend to stop the car I have had an idea. We went into the police station and asked to speak to someone in CID. A CID officer came down and we went into a room so we could be in private. I explained about what had been going on and told him the name, He smiled I said "you know him" he said "yes" we have a have a bit of a run in with him. Turns out a few people who didn't like the proper channels had decided to come and visit him :).

I showed him all the evidence I had…. Emails from Philip taunting us and laughing saying thanks for the money and he was going to New York for his holiday. The police said he was lying as he was not going anywhere. I left all the evidence with the CID and decided to head home. I couldn't go through all the court stuff again it was looking to be a waste of time.

After a few weeks I got a call from the CID asking if it was ok to come and take a statement, they came 400 miles to take a statement, why couldn't my local CID take it then fax it ? No wonder the police have no time to solve proper crimes.

Anyway they came and I gave them the statement, turns out he had been arrested the week before on another fraud charge and was bailed. I told them I was getting emails from people who have been ripped of by Philip only last week. They took all the new information I had and took it with them. Next thing I know the press have got hold of this story and it appeared in Philip's local press and then the Nationals got hold of it, and I was contacted by the CID and asked not to talk about it to the press as it would jeopardise there case, I was contacted by at least 6of reporters asking for a story. I told them I couldn't as the CID told me not to.
The CID contacted me and told me his case was in court in the next 2 days. They also said that the Trevor McDonald's Tonight Show was hoping to do a story on this and it was ok to speak to them.

When the court case was heard and it all came out, Philip had been detained for 12 months.

What Phil told the press and the Trevor McDonald's Tonight Show

"This is my business - I make people fools."

He had deceived more than 100 eBay customers over a 13 Months.

He spent the money on top of the range computer equipment, hi-fis and flat-screen televisions, as well as designer clothes and hiring stretch limousines.

One of Phil's victims lost over £1,000 when trying to buy a set of mobile phones.

He was staying at posh hotels, travelling the UK.

"I was going to all the theme parks in the UK. I was going abroad, travelled quite a bit of the world then... so it was really just all greed and it's just having the money there.

He took two friends on a trip to New York, staying in a five-star hotel and taking a helicopter ride over Manhattan

While on bail awaiting sentence he re-offended by conning eBay customers into paying £8,000 for tickets to the Welsh international rugby team's Grand Slam decider match.

The court said he had made around £45000 via eBay, But the CID told the press it was more like £115,000 as 63 charges where taken into account!

The judge ordered the forfeiture of £615, the only cash Shortman has left after his spending spree, as well as other items belonging to him, under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

**The head of eBay security even said was keen to met Shortman to discuss a possible role. Mr. Griffiths says that he is even willing to visit the teenager in prison to talk about his offer, should he be given a custodial sentence at his forthcoming hearing.
After being told of the teenager's new career plans, Mr. Griffiths says: 'I'd love to have a chat with Phillip Shortman. Let's talk about it, very happy to have a chat.'
The company apologized to his victims - but told people to read carefully the terms and conditions of sale - in other words, it's not their responsibility.
***
Philip Shortman was sentenced for 12 months, where he was released 4 months into his sentence. Not bad really de-fraud over £115,000 go on holidays of a life time; buy things that we can only dream about. Then when it gets a bit though decide to have a baby and become a model citizen
Defending, Lawrence Jones said: "Since he has admitted his guilt, his life has changed. He has undergone a sea-change.
"He is relishing fatherhood and looking forward to the responsibility of being married."

So crime did pay for him he only had £615 left out of the £100,000+ he robbed of everyone.

All I got out of the whole episode which went on for at least a year and a half was £100 from ITV.

It didn't even cover my costs. I couldn't claim for compensation as my amount was small compared to some of his other victims.

If eBay had acted on the advice of me and many others includingthe C.I.D he would have been caught a lot quicker than he was. I was amazed when the head of security at eBay actually wanted to offer him a job !

Do a google for philip Shortman :)

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/wales/4615117.stm

****End of January update****

I have just been sent a news story on the lad who ripped me and loads of people off. Seems he has been at it again !!!!

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/wales/6310975.stm

Thanks for reading my reviews, and thankyou for rating them.

Tashi Delek (May everything be well)

the_enlightened_one © 2007

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Comments about this review »

jenny967 12.08.2008 12:08

A well deserved E, I have been using Ebay for a while now and thankfully I have had no bad experiences, although after reading reviews similar to yours I have been put off using Ebay, it`s just not worth the risk, Jenny xx

pgn0 24.11.2007 13:26

Caveat Emptor - covers a lot of ground! A true tale of woe and a catalogue of disasters, I wonder how this con-artist will re-surface (as I am sure he will!) in the years to come? A good read, thanks!

Maxlarndison 02.02.2007 01:39

Great review, i got had on ebay, i logged on one day and found i was selling loads of stuff, but actually i wasnt, someone from America had (god knows how) got on to my page and was selling there stuff, luckily no monies where taken from my paypal account and ebay did refund what it cost to list the items straight away which did come out of my account. But what a cheek, cant trust any one Amanda

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Review Ratings »

This review of Buyer Beware! (urgent warnings about products/services to avoid at all costs) has been rated:

"exceptional" by (30%):

  1. jenny967
  2. IanM73
  3. bean372042

and 19 other members

"very helpful" by (68%):

  1. euphie
  2. dolly03
  3. carcraig

and 47 other members

"helpful" by (1%):

  1. kingjim

The overall rating of a review is different from a simple average of all individual ratings.