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I have seen a NEC 60” plasma TV listed on Ebay for $2000, the only catch is the seller wants me to wire the money to a relative of his in Romania. Should I consider doing this, he seems to have a high rating on Ebay. Antony Bells, Mahwah, NJ
We have received several reports from people who have been looking at purchasing plasma screens from online auctions including Ebay.com and Ubid.com.
Lets first consider how some online auction houses work. Like a traditional "live" auction, the highest bidder wins. That's where the similarity ends. Because an online auction house doesn't have the merchandise, the highest bidder deals directly with the seller to complete the sale.
If you're the highest bidder, the seller typically will contact you by e-mail to arrange for payment and delivery. Most sellers accept credit cards or use a third-party escrow agent to handle the entire process. This would be fine because there is at least some recourse if the seller does not deliver the goods.
The con artists typically list 50" screens for around $1500 and a 60" screens starting at $1800 going up to $3000. Now why would somebody be willing to sell a 60" screen which costs over $14,000 from reputable online stores for $1800? Click here to check the latest prices on NEC Plasma Displays for several online stores.
After further investigation we made a number of online bids and successfully won a bid on an NEC 61MP1 plasma display for $2100. This plasma display currently lists for around $14,000 at most online stores.
We quickly received an e-mail from the seller who was using a fake Yahoo e-mail address asking us to wire the money. Please read the following which is a copy of the e-mail we received.
Date: Wed, 24 Apr 2002 20:18:42 -0700 (PDT)
From: "firstname.lastname@example.org" | Block Address | Add to Address Book
Subject: Re: NEC 61" Plasma TV
Here are all the details regarding the deal:
The product is new sealed in its original box. The
product will arrive at you with all the accessories
that you need and be shore that it will
be a fast way to ship it and off course safe. If any
damage appears during the shipping I will support them
all and if necessarily give you back the
money or the same product new too. The shipping will
be made by UPS and you will get the product in 2
days.It cost 100$. To complete this
transaction, please email me your address so I can get
your package ready to ship. Payment will be done by
cash money transfer through Western Union
Cash Money Transfer or MoneyGram. . I will
ship you the products immediately after I have
the confirmation for paying from you.You will have
just to go to a western union or money gram office and
fill in a form with my name and adress .After you
make the wire transfer you email me the money transfer
control number so I will check it
on their site and then I will forward you the
Here are my details that you need for money transfer:
First name:Adriana Georgiana
If you agree please don't forget to email me your adress so i know where to ship the address.
No Name Given!
As you can see the seller is asking us to wire the money to Romania, Do you think we would ever see our NEC 61" if we wired they money? How would they service the product from Romania? What would happen if they did ship the product and it was an empty box?
If you wire the money to a non reputable company there is no recourse you can take.
You can often find some good deals at online actions but you are taking a risk unless you do your homework before making any payments. Here's a breakdown of the things to consider before buying at an online action:
Here at the PlasmaTVBuyingGuide we would always suggest purchasing your plasma TV from a reputable store which offers professional sales and service advice. For more information please read our How and Where to Buy a Plasma TV/Monitor
- Use common sense. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Trust your gut feelings - especially when you have a bad feeling about an offer or a company or an individual.
- If you want to buy something at an online auction,
always check the references of the seller, and only buy from sellers who
have good references. Almost all good auction sites have buyer and seller
rating systems. If the item is more expensive than an amount you could
comfortably lose, consider using an online escrow service like i-escrow.com.
There is a fee, but it might be worth it to you.
If you are unfortunate enough to be the victim of an auction scam we suggest contacting the National Fraud Information Center (NFIC) toll free at 1-800-876-7060, 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Eastern time, Monday-Friday. The NFIC operates a consumer hotline to provide service and assistance in filing complaints.
Here's an update from a reader.
From: "Biswaroop Chatterjee"
Sent: Sunday, April 28, 2002 11:33 AM
Subject: Plasma TV scams shipping from Europe
Thanks a million for the heads up on these scams. I had seen them but was
wondering how the hell it was done. I was sure it was a scam.
I got into e-mail conversation with a bunch of the sellers. Some of them
say they are shipping out of London, or Madrid or even Paris sometimes.
One guy was asking for the funds to be sent to Sweden with the shipping
taking place out of Brooklyn in NY. He even gave me his home address (he
says) where I could arrange to have the units picked up so as to save cost
on shipping. I even chatted with him on MSN for about an hour at point
trying to understand what was going on.
In some cases, I mentioned that I would fly in to where they were located to
see the product and then pay in cash. But that immediately scared them off.
One said he had to go to New Zealand (from Amsterdam) because Best Buy was
opening a new shop out there and he was being sent there. Interesting ......
What I have been able to glean so far is:
The products are never shipped form where the money is sent.
The scam is not only with plasma screens but also with Sony Vaio laptops.
(The new Pentium 4 units with a 16.1 screen)
Also seen a few with shipping out of Sydney in Australia.
I am fortunate to have contacts all over the world and had a few of my
associates pay these provided address a visit to check them out. They turned
out to be restaurants, a car showroom and in one case an empty plot of land.
I have all the e-mails from all these people in case you wanted to have a
Just thought I should drop you an e-mail.
Is there a agency or authority where I can report a possible fraud candidate (selling plasmas on Ebay). I tried to contact Ebay but they don’t seem to be all that responsive to my queries. I have his name email address and home address. Its very similar to the scam you have outlined. BTY great site!
I would continue to try eBay. Another posibility is to contact the local police near the seller. The FBI also investigates credit card fraud and may be able to assist.
Are there any specific rules for moving a plasma TV from one home to a new location if the original packaging is not available?
You want to keep the panel in a verical plane or upright to reduce the chance of the screen from cracking while transporting it.
The Plasma TV Forum is responses to questions sent into the Plasma TV Buying guide.
All questions are answered by Editors of the Plasma TV Buying Guide.
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