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Subject: Buyer scam to de-list games? rss

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Tracy Baker
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I've had nothing but pleasant surprises selling here until recently when a new user purchased one of my OOP games and never paid or responded to any messages. I noticed they did the same thing to someone else recently, buying another OOP game and not paying/communicating.

I'm starting to wonder if this is some new scam to force sellers to de-list games so the fake buyer (or their partner in crime) can list the same game for sale during the busy holiday season. Both my games were at the lowest price available in the marketplace for games in like-new condition, so by getting me out of the mix without actually paying for anything it could have been set up for them to list something at a higher price for Christmas shoppers.

Probably just being paranoid, but it's an unsettling pattern and I wonder if any other sellers are seeing the same thing. It makes me wish there was a feature to deny people with negative (or even zero) feedback from buying games.
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How close to the holidays was it? Can you give them 48-72 hours to pay, and then notify them and re-list? I've never had anyone not pay, so I don't know how that part works.

If that was the intent, I'd have to assume they'd have a more established user account to sell under, as I wouldn't want to buy an expensive OOP game from a new user with no marketplace record. Did you see any new listings on either game?

It sounds more like someone just flaked, or bit off more than they could chew (What's that quote, 'never ascribe to bad intentions what you can attribute to incompetence' or something). But if it is a pattern, it's worth knowing about, and knowing what sellers can do.
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Jacob H. T.
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The way the scam would work, would be an established seller would create a new account just to jam up the competition. This would make it difficult to link the new account to the established seller.

Of course, there's also a chance the new user is just flaky. I've had a new user ask me to sell a game I had in my trade list. She never responded to my reply.
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Kendahl Johnson
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Totally off subject but I had a new user email me and ask to buy a game I had listed as owned (not even for trade). I only bought the game because it wasn't in the database yet and wanted the geekgold. He ended up sending me a $20 bill in the mail.

My guess is they bought it and then had second thoughts. Everyone has done that. The established users work it out via good communication. The new users just disappear.
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Matt K
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Hmmm, I also had an offer for Stronghold two days ago. I confirmed the order but have had now further communications and no payment. The buyer had created the BGG account that same day. Too good to be true I suppose.

I was the only one in the U.S. selling a copy. Now there is another posted by a person with 5 games for sale and no other info on his profile. Something smells fishy to me.

Update: Paypal received for full amount this evening. Whew!
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Tracy Baker
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indigopotter wrote:
How close to the holidays was it? Can you give them 48-72 hours to pay, and then notify them and re-list? I've never had anyone not pay, so I don't know how that part works.


It was a few weeks before Christmas. The way it works is that once they buy and I confirm the order the game is de-listed and I have to wait nearly a week sending messages into the void before BGG will completely cancel the transaction so I can re-list. I suppose I could have re-listed before all that happened, but I was busy at the time and didn't think to do so. I also figured the buyer would eventually get back to me since I've never had any trouble selling on the Geek until now.

Technically, though, I could set up a bunch of new user accounts and start snapping up low-priced copies of games (without paying) just before I list one of my own using an established account. That would give me at least a few days with no competition until the sellers started re-listing, which is perfect around the Christmas rush. I only thought about this when I saw the new user had another negative feedback transaction for a similarly expensive OOP game, but I have no idea if other copies were listed after that. It's something I'm definitely going to keep an eye out for in the future.
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Jonathan Price
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I once had a guy from Australia offer to pay $150 for an $88 game if I would sell outside the U.S. I said sure and never heard from him again. Dropped him a couple on notes, no replies. He too was a 0 in feedback.

Happy New Year guys,


Jon
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Aaron Brooks
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Seems to be happening to me, too. I have probably 5 sales that haven't closed yet. Many from reputable buyers, one from someone I can't even find any more, hopefully they're just stressed with the holidays. Why buy if you're not going to pay right away??
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Ronald Stephanz
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I have a buyer who agreed to purchase a game in November and still hasn't paid. There has been limited communication from him, a flaky excuse really. I have sold 21 other games here on BGG to buyers in several different countries without a problem of any kind. Now I have one problem transaction.
 
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Runs with scissors
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There's a reason why they have new user badges. I really don't think that it's a scam. I think that they just see something hard to find here, register, buy it, and then start thinking about it, and whether they are spending too much.

This complaint about new users comes up frequently, but at the same time I've had several new users come through so I always try to give them the benefit of the doubt. I'd say about 20-30% of my sales to new users don't end up going through, especially during the November-December months.. If they are a old user, I can't think of ever having problems off the top of my head. It just goes with the territory. I make sure to promptly send payment reminders, and if I haven't heard anything in over a week, I follow the process to cancel the sale. Most of what I sell is out of print, so there isn't a list of users saying, "I must have this in my hands in the next 5 days".

Think of this from a new buyers perspective. They've probably only had experience (maybe) with E-bay or on-line retailers. There's no way to guarantee that the guy they are buying from isn't trying to rip them off, or maybe they think they can find it cheaper, so maybe they get cold feet before they paypal the money. (Before the flames start, if they've spent a lot of time at this site, they know that this isn't a big risk, but we're talking new users.)

You can always decline the sale to a new user, if you'd rather not take a chance. Again, if it's from December and he hasn't paid, cancel the transaction and you won't be charged fees. In your feedback, be as clear and accurate as possible about what happened. Don't loose too much sleep over this, happens. If you sell a lot, it will happen more than once, but I've never lost money yet, or had what I believe to be a clearly fraudulent buyer, and I think I've sold/traded several hundred items.
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Kurt
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Is it possible for the admins to figure out if these are sock puppet accounts? For some reason I thought it was. I imagine they would be interested in finding out if one of the marketplace participants is attempting to corrupt the system.

It might be worth sending them the names of the new users with an inquiry as to whether they can decipher anything beyond just new user flakiness.
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J.L. Robert
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Add the increased number of visitors because of holiday shoppers, and it makes sense that there'd be an increased number of these instances at this time of the year.
 
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