Lately there have been several cases of buyers paying Market Place forum participants for goods, but never receiving what they bought and not being able to contact the "sellers." Unless there's a legitimate excuse, this is not just unacceptable behavior for a seller, it is a crime in just about any jurisdiction.
Short of closing down Market Place, KVR can't keep buyers from being scammed. But we members can work together to support each other, to raise awareness of the potential for fraudulent sales, to provide information to help tip the balance in favor of honest buyers.
In this thread I will collect advice on how to avoid getting ripped off. While it can't help those who have already lost their money (I'm working on that by other means), it may serve to help avoid future tragedies.
I'm going to keep this thread locked because such threads usually get so overwhelmed with comments and off-topic posts that they become unreadable. I'll be glad to consider advice from KVR members for inclusion in the list though. Just PM or Email me.
Here's the first installment, with info pertinent to recent events.
Know the seller!
A seller who is a regular KVR member is a known quantity, someone you've had a chance to observe for months or years, someone whose behavior is on record. This is far from foolproof; as Willy Wigglestick wrote in Hamlet, "one may smile, and smile, and be a villain." But in combination with other precautions, sticking with people you know pretty well can help keep you out of the Danger Zone.
Before sending your hard-earned cash to someone you've not met, at least get to know his or her online presence. Not already on familiar terms? Access the user's KVR profile and read back over past posts. Is this someone who seems involved in the community? Or someone racking up a post count quickly?
Check the KVR Market Place's Feedback Thread to see whether the seller has made other transactions, and how they ended up:
(Replace SellersKvrNickname with the actual account name of the seller you're searching the Feedback Thread for.)
Choose a payment option wisely!
If you use Paypal's usual payment method you have some protection against fraudulent sellers.
But if you use Paypal's "gift" option for any transaction that is not actually a gift, you are voluntarily giving up any protection Paypal might have provided. You're also entering into a legal agreement stating that the money is not being provided in payment for goods or services. If that's not true, then you are scamming Paypal. You might be turning a "gift" (nudge, wink) into an actual GIFT -- meaning the seller might say you're not legally entitled to receive anything in return. The money was a gift, after all. You said so in a legal agreement when you sent it.
Don't use Paypal "gifts" unless you're really making a gift.
Western Union is another payment method to avoid. Anyone can go into a Western Union office and pick up a payment without providing any legal identification. All they need is the transaction ID number. Needless to say, it's a favorite of scammers.
Don't pay via Western Union unless you know and trust your seller.
Does the would-be seller insist on using one of these methods, rather than ones that provide you some protection? Explain to him or her exactly why you can't agree to those terms. Be polite but firm. The seller might not have realized it's a bad idea, and you can agree on a legitimate payment method that doesn't leave you completely unprotected.
If the seller is inflexible even after the explanation I'd consider that highly suspicious, would forget about buying from that seller, and I might (as a warning to others) post in the sales thread saying why I wouldn't buy given those terms. Again, I'd be courteous but frank about it.
Be alert to the possibility of identity fraud!
If someone claims to have great feedback at another forum, on eBay, or wherever, it might be proof that they're honest, legitimate sellers. Or it could be that they've simply appropriated the name of an honest, legitimate seller -- identity theft.
How to tell? Visit the places the seller mentioned having good feedback. Send the person at those places a link to the Market Place forum sales thread you're interested in. Ask that person to verify that he or she is the same one selling the goods on KVR.
Check to see if email addresses are the same, and if not, ask the person you contacted via the sites with positive feedback to email you using the address being used by the seller in the KVR Market Place.
Another check is to ask for the Paypal account name, if that method of payment is available. If the seller in Market Place gives a different account name than the person with the good feedback, something funny could be going on.
It might seem pushy or obnoxious to demand info in this way. Don't be embarrassed to do it! If something's fishy the legit seller will want to know they're being scammed too. Wouldn't you?
Enough for now. I'll add to this thread as time allows and as advice comes in.
|^||Joined: 10 Jun 2004 Member: #29021 Location: Pony Pasture|
Another item, after all this time.
Don't assume a successful registration means the license must be legit.
At least one large music software maker have stated that they will disable a license, even after registration, if they find that the original purchase was not completely legal. For instance, it might have been purchased with a stolen credit card number, appearing at first to be okay... right up until the card owner notices surprise charges on the account and reports it to the card issuer.
If that happens, if you've bought such a license, then even though you were able to register the software initially, it will be deregistered and you'll be left holding the bag.
Certain countries are especially well known as havens for credit card fraud, but crime knows no boundaries.
Let caution be the watchword. ALWAYS.
|^||Joined: 10 Jun 2004 Member: #29021 Location: Pony Pasture|
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