EBay Fraud: How to Avoid Buying a Fake Machine

Whynter ARC-12S Eco-Friendly 12,000 BTU Single Hose

Whynter ARC-12S Eco-Friendly 12,000 BTU

EBay is a great place to find deals. I have made many purchases on eBay over the past few years and gotten some very good deals. I was very lucky though as I hadn’t yet been a victim of purchasing fake items on eBay. (At least I didn’t think.) Whenever I think about purchasing something for the house my first thought would be eBay. There are always good prices and they are usually better at beating the competition online. Although, this past Christmas a couple of friends and I witnessed our first case of fraud on eBay.

My sister really wanted a pair of TOMS shoes I’m not sure if you’ve heard of them. They are this new craze in women’s and men’s flats and are supposed to be the most comfortable flat or you can wear. I don’t care much for them but in any event I decided to go on eBay to make my purchase because the prices there looked so great. The price was somewhere between $50 and $60 USD but they were going for $30 USD!? They used stock photo’s so you couldn’t’ see the actual product in somebody’s hands, but I figured I’ve purchased items with stock photo’s before, so no big deal. Well it turned out to be a big deal on Christmas day.

When she opened the box she was excited, but after trying them on and taking a second look she realized they were not the real thing. Even her friend who was coaxing her to purchase them said the same. We contacted the seller and he was actually helpful in helping us return the item and giving us our money back. I understand we got away very easily and after this event I learned a lot about what really goes on behind the scenes with eBay.

A good friend of mine is a freelancer and regularly applies for jobs online. He told me that there is a regular demand from contractors overseas looking for high-ranking, North American positive feedback eBay accounts to work with and sell items for on eBay. He tells me at least 2 to 3 times a week you’ll see “jobs” being posted in a graphic designer section looking for eBay sellers. He says they post them anywhere and it gets much worse during holidays such as Christmas.

The thing about these jobs is it’s almost like creating a craigslist ad. You go to a place that looks like a reputable job site, post a position that looks very lucrative, but don’t close the job. Nobody gets credit and nobody gets the awarded the job. What happens is these contractors communicate with you and settle the job outside of the freelance website. That way there’s less of a trace. If they didn’t officially select anyone for the job, then nobody can officially or legally complaint in the end.

If you’re unfamiliar with how these freelance websites work they are in a sense like an eBay for jobs, except a lot less secure. Meaning I can create 10 fake accounts and hire 50 people and never pay them. What this does is it allows fraudulent sellers from overseas to get access and use real genuine good feedback accounts to sell their fraudulent items. If you don’t believe me go to freelancer.com and do a search for “eBay”. I guarantee you will see many open job offers and none of them closed. Or you will see a hidden list of applicants. A lot of them will promise hundreds to thousands of dollars a week just to sell their items. Who wouldn’t want this job? But you have to ask yourself why do they need so many people all of the time?

This brings me back to portable air conditioners. Be very careful of the deals you see on eBay for the top brands. A lot of the best portable air conditioner brands are not sold outside of reputable online marketplaces such as: Amazon.com, Best Buy.com, Wal-Mart.com etc.  Plus, most of the good deals on portable air conditioners on eBay are for refurbished items or for pre-owned units by the home sellers.

If you’re on eBay looking for a second hand or refurbished AC then I think it’s a great option. Although if you’re looking for a brand new unit I wouldn’t recommend eBay and I would second guess any large discounted deals you see. The great thing about purchasing from a reputable online source is not only are you guaranteed a genuine unit but you also have a real manufacturer’s warranty. So if anything goes wrong within at least a year, you’re covered.

To be clear, I’m not saying that eBay is a bad place to shop. Just be very wary of who you purchase from because their prices just might really be too good to be true.

Click here for more info on The Top 5 Myths About Portable Air Conditioners